Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish


Syndicate content
Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 55 min ago

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).

Battistelli’s EPO Became Extremely Reliant on China for Distraction and on Endless Supply of Applications (Supply Which Doesn’t Exist)

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 12:13:58 PM

Applications are quickly running out in spite of ‘discounts’ (which reduced revenue and failed to spur much ‘demand’)

Not much ‘growth’ in Europe (as in European Patent Office)

China is ranked 38th for patent applications per capita (at the EPO) and accounts only for 5% of applications

Summary: Discussion about the EPO granting machine (or patent-printing machine) and figures the way EPO management would rather the public won’t ever see them; the concept that China means redemption for this patent system is as laughable as always

IF the EPO was a goose that lays golden eggs, those eggs would be the backlog. Pending applications don’t last forever and Battistelli now slaughters the goose, making redundancies quite imminent; Office rumour is, the Office will lay off about quarter of staff (the numbers/estimates heard vary).

“…Office rumour is, the Office will lay off about quarter of staff (the numbers/estimates heard vary).”We don’t wish to depress staff, but realistic expectations prevent disappointment. Earlier this month (and even this week in Twitter) the EPO was spreading false or misleading information which it called results. We responded in the following 4 posts (and limited that to 4 although we could go on and on):

It’s no secret that the EPO typically isolates graphs and figures that help mislead the media (so-called ‘journalists’ who simply repeat EPO PR staff/external agencies); last year, for instance, the EPO isolatd the European nations where there were positive rather than negative figures. We wrote about this many times a year ago, e.g. in the following reactionary posts:

We don’t wish to write as many rebuttals as we wrote last year because much of the deception is identical or at least similar. China, with a relatively small contribution to EPO totals, is still being emphasised everywhere. It’s not hard to see why; the biggest ‘growth’ comes from there (relative growth, not absolute).

“China, with a relatively small contribution to EPO totals, is still being emphasised everywhere. It’s not hard to see why; the biggest ‘growth’ comes from there (relative growth, not absolute).”Yesterday the EPO wrote: “Applications from France up again (+0.5%) in 2017 after a drop in the previous year…”

Pretty pathetic considering the fact that Battistelli gave them a discount. Had he not done that, it would be negative again. Notice how they send a shoutout there to INPI, where a lot of Team Battistelli came from.

What are we seeing at the EPO that actually gives room for hope? Almost nothing. Appeals are being made more expensive in order to discourage repeals/rejections of patents. Especially when it comes to oppositions, not rejections being appealed. Figures pertaining to rejections don’t take fee alterations into account (so year-to-year comparisons are inadequate). The same goes for the number of applications (the prices were lowered to artificially increase ‘growth’, just not in terms of revenue).

“Appeals are being made more expensive in order to discourage repeals/rejections of patents.”Don’t expect any law firms to speak about it. They profit from this turbulence and the increase in so-called ‘production’ typically means more business for them. They also longed for the UPC, knowing that a growing number of lawsuits would help their bottom line (at the expense or everyone else).

Laura Carney and Thomas Zvesper from Marks & Clerk now speak about the Boards, but they will never ever mention the EPO scandals as that might ‘upset’ their monetary supply chain. Yesterday they wrote this self-promotional piece (infomercial as we called it yesterday) about an old case:

In the present decision, the Board had to consider the validity of the priority claim of patent EP1773302. In particular, the Board had to consider whether the granted patent’s priority claim was invalid in view of an earlier document which was the “first application” from which priority should have been claimed. The patent and the application from which priority was claimed were directed to a tablet having, amongst other features, a gelatinous first and second coating, a gap being provided between the two gelatinous coatings of from 3 to 33% of the length of the tablet. However, the patentee had filed an earlier application (US 2005/0152970, D22) which was identical to the granted patent, except that the disclosed gap was 5 to 33%.

“Perhaps Europe could take a lesson from south Asia.”Like we said some weeks ago as well as last month, with an upcoming appeal regarding CRISPR patents we worry that the Boards won’t be able to rule impartially. They themselves complain about it on occasions. Yesterday, as usual, patent maximalists from Managing IP were celebrating CRISPR patents, neglecting to note that these are bunk and usually void in the US (and more recently in Europe as well). “Filing trends include a 194% increase globally between 2013 and 2015,” it said, but filings and grants aren’t the same, never mind actual court rulings (of which they are few that can assess/determine patent eligibility in light of Myriad, Mayo, the EPC and so on).

Perhaps Europe could take a lesson from south Asia. India, for example, successfully resisted the patent maximalists and antagonised many software and pharmaceutical patents. It usually explains (correctly in our view) that when it comes to patents the interest of the people (not very rich people and corporations) should come first.

“As many people expected (Glyn Moody for instance), China now uses US courts to hit American companies over the head, essentially taking the patent aggression abroad, too. Makes one wonder what Chinese firms can do with all these European Patents, with or without a horrific system like UPC in place.”IAM just won’t leave India alone. Jacob Schindler wrote many articles last year in which he shamed India. Coming from the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), this is more or less expected, albeit it seems like they softened their tone after that. Instead of bashing India like it was some kind of ‘pirate’, IAM now calls India’s policy something “controversial among multinational patent owners.” They kept bullying India, yet the language changed somewhat. Yesterday IAM said: “Litigation developments in Delhi over the last few months have put a spotlight on a somewhat unique feature of India’s patent system: Form 27, which requires patentees to disclose how they commercially exploit their granted rights. Now, it appears that the Patent Office will consider making changes to the form, which has long been controversial among multinational patent owners. Each year, patentees must submit a disclosure to the Indian Patent Office stating whether each patent they own is being “worked” on a commercial scale in India.”

So they realise that a massive pile of fictional patents on fictional things isn’t dedirable. Unlike China?

China officially opened the floodgates to software patents about a year ago (April) and since then we have seen a lot of patent aggression in China. It’s chaotic. “Meanwhile,” IAM noted yesterday, “Chinese tech giant ZTE disposed of seven US assets [patents] in a deal which was executed on 22nd January and recorded on 15th March.”

These are going to patent trolls, which IAM euphemises as “NPE”, as usual. Here’s what remains outside the new paywall:

ZTE and Panasonic have both transferred small packages of patents to a relatively new US NPE called Global Innovation Aggregators, a Delaware registered entity with offices in Pasadena, California. According to the assignment records Panasonic handed over 11 US grants in two separate deals that were recorded on the USPTO’s site earlier this month and executed in late February. Meanwhile Chinese tech giant ZTE disposed of seven US assets in a deal which was executed on 22nd January and recorded on 15th March. For Panasonic it is the latest in a long line of patent divestments which most recently included the transfer…

ZTE is Chinese. As many people expected (Glyn Moody for instance), China now uses US courts to hit American companies over the head, essentially taking the patent aggression abroad, too. Makes one wonder what Chinese firms can do with all these European Patents, with or without a horrific system like UPC in place.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Against Comcast, Courtesy of the Intellectual Ventures-Connected Rovi

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 10:48:53 AM

Reference: Administrative Law Judge Photos

Summary: The USITC/ITC, which mostly serves to impose embargoes (sometimes in shocking defiance of PTAB decisions), is being invoked by a firm connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures

WE occasionally mention the ITC in relation to sanctions. The ITC mostly services technology giants in the US, protecting these from foreign competition. A decade ago, for instance, Microsoft used the ITC to embargo imports of rival mice, using nothing but patent allegations rather than claims of counterfeiting (which would be more severe).

Yesterday the Docket Navigator picked a case in which the ITC had gotten involved.

“What we find most interesting in all this is that here, for a change, a large company from the US is being targeted and the instigator is connected to a very notorious patent troll.”“The ALJ [Administrative Law Judge],” it said, “denied respondents’ motion to certify for judicial enforcement its prior art subpoena to two nonparties whom complainants sued for infringement of the same patents in district court because the documents sought were protected attorney work product.”

Days prior to this we found this report about Rovi Corporation, which is connected to the world’s largest patent troll and is suing a lot [1, 2, 3], using the ITC against Comcast. “The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has instituted a section 337 investigation into Comcast over the alleged infringement of Rovi Corporation’s patents,” the report said.

What we find most interesting in all this is that here, for a change, a large company from the US is being targeted and the instigator is connected to a very notorious patent troll. A new form of sanction/extortion?

Tinder/Match Group Uses Software Patents to Sue a Rival, Obviously Choosing to Sue in Texas

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 10:21:32 AM

Summary: Software patents are being used for leverage, but only those which were likely granted before Alice and only in courts at districts somewhere around Texas

THE remnant of software patents granted by the USPTO is a massive liability. A lot of lawsuits rely on such patents, which are likely toothless and thus worthless after Alice.

A few days ago it turned out that Tinder had become a patent bully. It’s suing over alleged infringement of software patents (which are likely bunk and void). Maybe it was hoping that the rival will just settle/fold/sell, or even remove features (modifying the platform); eventually came a lawsuit in an expectedly biased court:

Match Group, the online dating company that owns services like Tinder and, wants to buy Bumble, another popular dating app that lets women make the first move.

But Match may be trying to push the deal along in an unconventional way: A new patent infringement lawsuit filed late Friday in U.S. District court in Waco, Texas.

Match Group is suing Bumble, which was founded by one of Tinder’s co-founders, for infringing on two of its patents, including a design patent for Tinder’s now-famous swipe-to-connect feature, according to the suit.

Assuming that the lawsuit cannot be relocated (venue change), there’s a chance they might get away with it.

“Examiners ought to stop allowing monopolies on algorithms and applicants oughtn’t bother patenting software (because courts don’t really care for these).”In the meantime, Judge Gilstrap is said to have supported a defendant in a patent case in the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX). That’s rare! So rare in fact that Docket Navigator gave it a special mention yesterday. The case is Adjustacam LLC v, Inc., et al and the summary is as follows: “The court awarded defendant its attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and rejected plaintiff’s argument that defendant was not entitled to attorney fees prior to claim construction.”

That does not mean that the defendant is safe though; the best way to assure one’s safety is to exit EDTX or appeal to the CAFC (which is even more expensive).

A lot of these issues boil down to the granting of software patents, which patent trolls love and judges like Gilstrap uphold in spite of Alice. Yesterday we saw this new outline of recent patents in New Hampshire. Some of them sound like classic algorithms, e.g. “data gathering devices on behalf of a calling secure software application.”

Examiners ought to stop allowing monopolies on algorithms and applicants oughtn’t bother patenting software (because courts don’t really care for these). Such patents are only useful when you can bully small companies outside courts. As long as examiners continue to grant these…

Links 19/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC6, Atom 1.25, antiX 17.1, GNU Mcron 1.1

Monday 19th of March 2018 05:27:48 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • If you owned a ‘fat’ PlayStation 3 you could be entitled to $65 from Sony because of Linux option

    Cast your mind back to when Sony released the original PlayStation 3, and you may well remember claims that the console was also a “computer”. The claims were such that Sony suggested that owners could install Linux — which, technically speaking, they could.

    However, installing Linux on a PS3 also posed something of a security issue, and Sony backtracked on the “Other OS” feature, killing it will a firmware update. Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit followed, and the result of this is that you could in line for a pay-out.

  • PlayStation 3 Phat owners have a month left to claim ‘OtherOS’ class action settlement
  • If you bought an original PlayStation 3, you could be $65 richer
  • Original PlayStation 3 Owners Could Be Entitled To A $65 Check From Sony
  • In re Sony PS3 “Other OS” Litigation –
  • Sony paying up to $65 to people who purchased the original PlayStation 3
  • If one owns an original PlayStation 3, he could be 65 dollars richer
  • PS3 OtherOS settlement claims end next month
  • Desktop
    • Ubuntu-Based Zorin OS Gets Better Support for Windows Apps, Desktop Improvements

      A new maintenance update of the Ubuntu-based Zorin OS GNU/Linux distribution arrived at the end of this week with a bunch of enhancements to its desktop environment, as well as the latest versions of core components and apps.

      Zorin OS 12.3 is here as the latest stable update of the Ubuntu-based operating system with a focus on improving the security, stability, and functionality of Zorin OS, which was always known as one of the most reliable open-source alternatives to Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

      Therefore, probably the most important change of the Zorin OS 12.3 release is the introduction of Wine 3.0, the latest stable version of the compatibility layer for running Windows programs on Linux and UNIX-like systems, which ensures better compatibility with more Windows apps and games on Zorin OS.

    • Microsoft tries forcing Mail users to open links in Edge, and people are freaking out

      Under the new rules, it doesn’t matter which browser you have selected as the default; if you use the basic Mail app within Windows, any link you click will open up Edge.

    • Google picks up another win for G Suite as Airbus grounds Microsoft Office

      With over 130,000 employees, Airbus uses a lot of office productivity software. It recently decided to make a big bet on Google’s G Suite software package after running the company for years on hosted versions of Microsoft Office, according to a report.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 3.18.100
    • Linux 4.4.122
    • Linux 4.9.88
    • Linux 4.15.11
    • Linux 4.14.28
    • More Spectre + Meltdown Updates Heading Into Linux 4.16

      Thomas Gleixner who has been wrangling all of the Spectre and Meltdown related patches for the Linux kernel tree has submitted another pull request of more changes to land for the Linux 4.16 cycle that is nearing the end of its development.

    • Linux 4.16-rc6

      This has been a nice quiet week, so rc6 is pretty tiny. Everything
      looks like we’re on a usual schedule – I’ll make an rc7, but hopefully
      that will be it.

      Mostly driver changes (usb, gpu, sound, scsi, md), but it’s all tiny.
      Some arch fixes (x86 and microblaze, tiny changes to others), and some
      filesystem fixes (a couple of small core vfs fixlets, and some btrfs
      and nfs fixes).

    • Linux 4.16-rc6 Released: Looking Good For Final Release In Two Weeks
    • Linux Foundation
      • Linux Foundation announces open source ACRN hypervisor for the Internet of Things

        ACRN’s small footprint is partly attributable to the fact that it takes a mere 25,000 lines of code for a hypervisor. There’s already involvement from the likes of ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LG Electronics and Neusoft Corporation, and it’s likely that many more names will join this list.

      • Linux Foundation Announces ACRN —Open Source Hypervisor for IoT Devices

        The Linux Foundation announced a new project called ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) that will provide generic code for the creation of hypervisors for IoT devices.

        A hypervisor is computer code for creating and running virtual machines. Project ACRN aims to provide a generic structure for an IoT-specific hypervisor component.

        The Linux Foundation says it built ACRN to be fully-customizable, and as such, the project is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor itself and a device model for interacting with the underlying hardware.

      • Linux Foundation backs new ‘ACRN’ hypervisor for embedded and IoT

        The Linux Foundation has announced a new hypervizor for use in embedded and internet of things scenarios.

        Project ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) will offer a “hypervizor, and its device model complete with rich I/O mediators.”

        There’ll also be “a Linux-based Service OS” and the ability to “run guest operating systems (another Linux instance, an RTOS, Android, or other operating systems) simultaneously”.

      • Linux Foundation LFCS: Ahmed Alkabary

        I always knew about Linux as an alternative to Windows, but never really got to experience it until 2011. I decided to buy a new laptop, and the laptop that stood out for me had Linux pre-installed on it. I remember well the pre-installed distribution was openSUSE. I was hesitant to buy it as I had no experience with Linux whatsoever, but I thought to myself, Well, I can just install windows on it if I don’t like it. Once I booted the system and saw how fast and neat everything was, I thought it is a message from the Linux gods.

        It’s really weird because on my first day I felt that Linux was meant for me not just as an operating system to use, but I felt my life will be centered around Linux from that day.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMDKFD GPUVM Support Updated For Discrete Radeon GPUs, Adds Userptr Support

        Unfortunately the AMDKFD GPUVM support for discrete GPUs isn’t looking like it will make it for the Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        This past week brought the AMDKFD updates for DRM-Next, a.k.a. Linux 4.17. While it has much of the discrete GPU support landing that we have long been looking forward to seeing in the mainline kernel in order to run ROCm OpenCL out-of-the-box, unfortunately, the GPUVM support wasn’t part of that pull. The GPUVM support for discrete Radeon GPUs was still being discussed and not ready for pulling.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Dolphin Getting More Improvements For KDE Applications 18.04 & Other KDE Happenings

        KDE contributor Nathaniel Graham is out with another recap of the usability and productivity improvements made this past week by the KDE community.

        The Dolphin file manager has been seeing improvements recently. The latest Dolphin work includes help for installing Konsole if it’s not available when trying to launch the terminal pane, reporting of a symlink’s target fi

      • [Krita] Interview with Jennifer

        When I used Krita for the first time I already knew most of the tools, so it was easy to use. But I needed to learn more, then I watched a video that explained the basic tools and method to paint. I thought then that Krita was a good tool for painting. Today I can tell it’s a great tool for digital artists. My personal opinion: Krita is the best and I really can’t use a different program.

      • Akademy-es 2018 in Valencia – 11-13 May
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Here’s GNOME 3.28 – See What’s New

        The latest version of GNOME 3 has been released today. Version 3.28 contains six months of work and new features by the GNOME community and comes with many improvements and new features.

        One major new feature for this release is automatic downloading of operating systems in Boxes, which takes the work out of creating and running virtual machines – just pick the operating system that you want to create a virtual machine of, and Boxes will now download and install it for you.

        Other highlights include improvements to the Calendar and Contacts applications, the ability to star files and folders in the Files application, and improved support for Thunderbolt 3 and Bluetooth LE devices. GNOME’s default UI font has also been overhauled to be more attractive and easy to read, and the on-screen keyboard has been rewritten to be more reliable and has layouts for a number of different locales.

      • textures and paintables

        With GTK4, we’ve been trying to find better solution for image data. In GTK3 the objects we used for this were pixbufs and Cairo surfaces. But they don’t fit the bill anymore, so now we have GdkTexture and GdkPaintable.

      • Web Engines Hackfest 2014

        Last week I attended the Web Engines Hackfest. The event was sponsored by Igalia (also hosting the event), Adobe and Collabora.

        As usual I spent most of the time working on the WebKitGTK+ GStreamer backend and Sebastian Dröge kindly joined and helped out quite a bit, make sure to read his post about the event!

      • GStreamer’s playbin3 overview for application developers

        Multimedia applications based on GStreamer usually handle playback with the playbin element. I recently added support for playbin3 in WebKit. This post aims to document the changes needed on application side to support this new generation flavour of playbin.

      • GTK+ 4.0 Getting Audio/Video Playback Integration

        The GTK+ 4.0 tool-kit has just landed its GtkMediaStream / GtkMediaFile / GtkVideo / GtkMediaControls widgets for now having native multimedia stream playback support in the tool-kit that in turn is backed by GStreamer / FFmpeg.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Review: ArchMerge 6.4.1

        The distribution I have been asked most frequently to cover so far in 2018 is ArchMerge, an Arch-based project which runs the Xfce desktop environment and can be installed using the Calamares system installer. If the description sounds familiar, it should, as this summary could equally well apply to Archman, SwagArch and one edition of the Revenge OS distribution.

        There are two main features which set ArchMerge apart from its close relatives. First, ArchMerge is available in two flavours. The full featured desktop edition ships with three graphical user interfaces (Xfce, Openbox and i3). A second, minimal flavour is available for people who want to start with a text console and build from the ground up.

        The other point which helps ArchMerge stand out from the crowd of Arch-based distributions is its documentation. Arch Linux is famous for its detailed wiki, and rightfully so. ArchMerge takes a slightly different approach and, instead of supplying detailed pages for virtually every aspect of the distribution, the project supplies quick overviews and tutorials for common tasks and issues. These overviews are each accompanied by a video which shows the user how to perform the task.

        The ArchMerge website places a strong emphasis on learning and the tutorial pages guide visitors through how to install the distribution, how to configure the desktop, how to install additional software and how to set up file synchronizing through Dropbox. There is also a section dedicated to fixing common problems, a sort of FAQ for distribution issues. Since there are videos for the topics covered, we are shown where to go and what each step should look like, rather than just being given a written description.

    • New Releases
      • antiX-17.1 released

        antiX-17.1 (Heather Heyer) released

        This is primarily an upgrade of antiX-17 with a new Meltdown/Spectre patched kernel and a few new applications for users to enjoy.

        As usual we offer the following completely systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • [Mageia] Weekly roundup 2018, Week 11 and CLT!

        Very small Roundup this week, so there will be space for the CLT report and pics – thanks Marc for writing this up!

        Loads of updates through; as always, you can check for yourself on Mageia Advisories, the Mageia AppDB, PkgSubmit to see the last 48 hours, and Bugzilla to see what’s currently happening.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • GSoC and Outreachy: Mentors don’t need to be Debian Developers

        A frequent response I receive when talking to prospective mentors: “I’m not a Debian Developer yet”.

        As student applications have started coming in, now is the time for any prospective mentors to introduce yourself on the debian-outreach list if you would like to help with any of the listed projects or any topics that have been proposed spontaneously by students without any mentor.

        It doesn’t matter if you are a Debian Developer or not. Furthermore, mentoring in a program like GSoC or Outreachy is a form of volunteering that is recognized just as highly as packaging or any other development activity.

        When an existing developer writes an email advocating your application to become a developer yourself, they can refer to your contribution as a mentor. Many other processes, such as requests for DebConf bursaries, also ask for a list of your contributions and you can mention your mentoring experience there.

      • Derivatives
        • Tails 3.6.1 is out

          This release fixes several security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • UBports Continues Work On Moving From Ubuntu 15.04 Base To 16.04

            For those still holding out the dream for Ubuntu on phones/tablets, the UBports community continues their work in updating their Ubuntu Touch fork to riding off a 16.04 Xenial base rather than the existing Ubuntu 15.04.

            UBports is working on Ubuntu 16.04 support to eventually replace their 15.04 stable base. Ubuntu 18.04 isn’t being pursued yet due to the Mir changes around Wayland support, and just being a much different target than going from 15.04 to 16.04.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 19 ‘Tara’ Cinnamon will be faster

              Is Linux Mint slow? Hell, no! The operating system is plenty fast. Speed is in the eye of the beholder, however, and the Mint developers apparently thought app-launching seemed slow when using the Cinnamon desktop environment. They didn’t have any proof, but they felt that both Mate and Xfce were faster in this regard.

              Well, rather than allow their feelings to remain unproven, the Mint devs decided to come up with a speed test to see if they were correct. Guess what? They were! Windows build time was four times slower with Cinnamon compared to Metacity, while recovery time was nearly four times slower too. So yes, app-launching on Cinnamon — as of today — is slow comparatively. The big benefit to pinpointing a problem, however, is that it is the first step in solving it. And so, Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will be faster as a result.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS Will Ship with a New Default Layout Called “Familiar”

              Ubuntu MATE’s lead developer Martin Wimpress announced that the forthcoming Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system would sport a brand-new default layout for new installations.

              If you plan on installing or reinstalling Ubuntu MATE this spring, the upcoming 18.04 release sports a new default layout called “Familiar.” According to Martin Wimpress, the new layout is based on the Traditional layout with the menu-bar replaced by Brisk Menu, which was used in previous Ubuntu MATE releases.

              The decision to replace the Traditional layout with the Familiar one was taken due to some technical issues when the development team tried to update it for Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). Traditional will still be available, but not enabled by default, and bears no changes.

              “I experimented with a change to the Traditional layout earlier in the 18.04 development cycle and this was met with some hostility and brought into question my commitment to community opinion because it strayed from something I’d previously communicated, that we would retain the Traditional layout as default,” explains Martin Wimpress.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS: What’s New?

              Ahead of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS release next month you may be wondering what new features and changes the update will bring.

              Well, wonder no more.

              In this post we round up all of the key information about the next release of one Ubuntu’s most popular community flavors.

            • Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will open apps a lot faster

              The Linux Mint development team plans to launch the next version of the popular Linux distribution Linux Mint in the coming months.

              Linux Mint 19 will be offered in multiple flavors including MATE, Xfce and Cinnamon. If you have used Linux Mint Cinnamon in the past or plan to take it for a test drive in the future, you may benefit from application loading improvements in the upcoming version of Linux Mint.

              A new blog post on the official Linux Mint blog offers some insight. It all began with a perceived feeling; team members noticed that app loading “felt” faster on MATE or Xfce versions of Linux Mint and slower on Cinnamon versions.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Google Pixel 2 Portrait Mode Tech Is Now Open Source

    The tech behind the portrait mode on Google Pixel 2 has been made open source by the company. For those who not familiar with it, one of the main draw to the algorithm in the Pixel 2’s camera app is excellent subject isolation without needing additional apparatus such as specialized lens or second camera.

  • Xiaomi releases Oreo kernel source code for the Mi A1

    Xiaomi promised that the Mi A1 would receive Oreo by the end of 2017, and the company hit a buzzer-beater by rolling out Android 8.0 to the Android One device on December 30th. But the kernel source code was nowhere to be found, a violation of the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), and an affront to the development and enthusiast community. It’s about two-and-a-half months late, but Xiaomi has finally released the Android 8.0 Oreo source code for the Mi A1.

  • Mi A1 Oreo Kernel source code released by Xiaomi

    Xiaomi’s first Android One phone, the Mi A1 was expected to receive Android 8.0 Oreo update by the end December, and the company did roll out the update to the device under the stipulated time. However, the kernel source for the upgrade was left covered with no access to it for third-party developers. This also violated the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2) and also hampered the advancement of developers who base their codes on source codes. Thankfully, after a delay of more than two months, Xiaomi has finally released the kernel source code of Android 8.1 for the Xiaomi Mi A1.

  • Events
    • 11th Open Source Day Conference

      On May 23rd, Warsaw will host the 11th edition of Open Source Day. OSD is the largest conference about open source in Poland and CEE region, gathering every year nearly 1000 participants. The programme of the upcoming edition is focused mainly on practical sessions devoted to the most important directions of IT market development. Registration for the event is already open. For the first 600 attendees, participation in the conference is free-of-charge.

      Open Source Day is the biggest event in Poland and CEE region dedicated to open source. Over 6,000 people took part in previous editions, and several thousand followed the event online. Open Source Day is the knowledge exchange platform about open software, as one of the most important trends in the development of modern technologies, enabling creation of high-quality, stable IT solutions, which today are the basis for all branches of the economy.

  • Web Browsers
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • 6 common questions about agile development practices for teams

      You’ve probably heard a speaker ask this question at the end of their presentation. This is the most important part of the presentation—after all, you didn’t attend just to hear a lecture but to participate in a conversation and a community.

      Recently I had the opportunity to hear my fellow Red Hatters present a session called “Agile in Practice” to a group of technical students at a local university. During the session, software engineer Tomas Tomecek and agile practitioners Fernando Colleone and Pavel Najman collaborated to explain the foundations of agile methodology and showcase best practices for day-to-day activities.

  • The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller
  • Elon Musk says The Boring Company’s Loop will prioritize pedestrians, cyclists

    A system of small tunnels could bypass some of the aesthetic concerns that communities might have, but it may not eliminate some of the structural concerns. Of the California High Speed Rail project, the Times wrote: “The cost of environmental reviews jumped from a projected $388 million in 2010 to more than $1 billion. The rail authority found that nobody could be sure what was under the ground in Fresno [a California city through which the bullet train would pass], driving up the cost of relocating sewers, water lines, communications cables, and electrical conduits by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

  • Elon Musk’s Boring Company Is Now All About Public Transit, and It’s Confusing

    Now, Musk seems to have heard the criticism. Well, at least part of it. In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, the CEO announced his company’s work would “prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars,” emphasizing public transit over private transportation.

  • Hardware
    • Apple Is Secretly Developing Its Own Screens for the First Time

      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.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Deadly superbug just got scarier—it can mysteriously thwart last-resort drug

      It’s the first time researchers have seen colistin-heteroresistant germs in the US.

    • 7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court

      “All of the sudden, this big cloud engulfs us,” Torres said. “It wasn’t white smoke, like you would see from a steam leak,” he explained, but it also wasn’t like the black smoke he saw from the burning oil fields during his deployment in Kuwait in 1991. “It was like something I’d never seen before.”

    • EPA inspector general says Flint water crisis report expected in summer

      A report on how Flint’s water was contaminated and how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded isn’t expected to be completed until summer, a spokesman for the EPA Office of Inspector General says.

    • Transnational beer corporation creates water crisis in northern Mexico

      Just in its initial phase, it is calculated that the plant will use 81 percent of the total water currently used by Mexicali’s industries. If Constellation Brands is allowed to operate at full capacity, the company’s Mexicali plant would consume more water than all industries in Mexicali and the neighboring city of Tijuana combined. The company has stated that it plans to stay in Mexicali for at least 50 years, with the plant’s opening date set for 2019 or 2020.

      The water situation in the municipality of Zaragoza, with a population of 8,000, has already reached crisis levels because of the company’s operations. “We have no more water for human consumption,” stated mayor Leoncio Martínez Sánchez. “We are worried because we are being affected by this extraction of 1,200 liters of water per second by this beer manufacturer. It does not make sense that while Constellation Brands has industrial amounts of water to make beer, the municipality does not even have 100 liters for people to drink or use in their homes.”

    • Save water for future generations: Kavinder to people

      Kavinder Gupta said that Water is the most important element in human life and called for a need to find out a comprehensive strategy to save the portable drinking water for the future generations. The Speaker said that there is only 3 percent of portable water available for the people and providing portable drinking water to every household is emerging as a tremendous challenge for both state and central governments.

    • First case in Finland: [Moose] dies due to chronic wasting disease

      CWD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy like BSE (‘mad cow disease’), but no cases of transmission to humans have been confirmed. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns hunters in areas where the illness has been found not to consume parts of deer and elk that may harbour the disease, including the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes.

    • ‘We Must Protect the Water’: Indigenous Leaders and Allies Stage Sit-In to Protest Kinder Morgan Pipeline

      Building on the massive march against the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline that brought 10,000 people to the streets of British Columbia last weekend, Indigenous leaders and their allies staged a sit-in on Saturday at a pipeline construction site on Burnaby Mountain, kicking off a wave of civil disobedience that is set to continue through next week.

  • Security
    • Google Says Android Is as Secure as Apple’s iOS and Wants You to Know That

      Google’s Android security chief David Kleidermacher told CNET today that the Linux-based Android mobile operating system the company develops for a wide range of devices is now as secure as Apple’s iOS.

      Google recently published its “Android Security 2017 Year In Review” report where the company talks about how Android security has matured in the last few years and how it fights to find new ways to protect Android users from malware and all the other nasty stuff you obviously don’t want to have on your mobile phone or tablet.

    • Behind the scenes with the Bitwarden password manager

      Having to remember passwords for web applications, email, banking, and more begat the password manager. And that begat such popular and proprietary services like LastPass and 1Password.

      A little over two years ago, software developer Kyle Spearrin decided the open source world needed its own web-based password manager. His company, 8Bit Solutions, develops and markets an open source alternative to services like LastPass and 1Password called Bitwarden.

      Recently I had the opportunity to ask Spearrin some questions about Bitwarden’s origins, how it secures user information, where he sees Bitwarden going, and more.

    • Episode 88 – Chat with Chris Rosen from IBM about Container Security
    • Feds: Russian [Crackers] Are Attacking U.S. Power Plants

      The targets of these attacks include the country’s electric grid, including its nuclear power system, as well as “commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the statement said.

      The report is damning confirmation of what has for months been suspected: that [crackers] in Russia are capable of infiltrating and compromising vital systems relied on by millions of Americans. According to the new report, the attacks began at least as early as March 2016, thriving on vulnerabilities in these systems’ online operations.

    • Firefox’s Weak Master Password Encryption Can Be Cracked In Just 1 Minute [Ed: If you have physical/remote access to a machine and an account, then you have a lot more power over it than just a list of passwords]

      You might rest assured after setting a Master Password in the Firefox web browser, but it’s not as secure as you think. Last year, Mozilla did a major overhaul of their browser in the form of Firefox Quantum. But the non-profit forgot to fix the security holes that exist in their ‘very fast’ web browser for nine years.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • US moves to soothe Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

      Beyond quarreling over the Kurds, the US and Turkey have also traded diplomatic volleys in the aftermath of a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stoked anti-American sentiment at home, and American policymakers have explored the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey in response to Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian policies.

    • Targeting Midanki dam caused water crisis ,municipality seeks to resolve crisis

      Due to inability of the Water Corporation to cover all of the city’s neighborhoods with water, hundreds of families suffer from lack of water. Some neighborhoods do not reach the water for 5 to 7 days.

    • U.S.-Funded Afghan Military Units Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse, Report Says

      NPR’s David Greene talks to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont about a new report that details the Pentagon’s refusal to end military aid to Afghan military units who commit “gross human rights abuses.”


      The abuses include the routine enslavement and sexual abuse of underage boys by Afghan military commanders. Senator Patrick Leahy wrote a law requiring the Pentagon to stop funding foreign military groups who commit human rights abuses. But in Afghanistan, that has not happened.

    • Detroit’s Iraqi Christians Voted For Trump Then Faced Deportation

      Assyrian is a term used to represent the now nationless people’s ethnicity, and the term Chaldean commonly represents the group’s affiliation with the Catholic Church. They are sometimes grouped with Arabs, but that’s a distinction Assyrians try to make. While many Assyrians learn to speak Arabic at a young age, their mother tongue is Aramaic, which is similar in sound to Hebrew with its “khh’s” and other difficult throaty tones.

      The ICE detainments of Assyrians began June 11, 2017, but Naoum saw warning signs much earlier. “I rang the alarm bell in May, and people laughed at me,” Naoum says. He noticed Arab immigrants were becoming a larger focus for the Trump administration, which was enacting the immigration ban for majority-Muslim countries; he also noticed Iraq was left off the second ban list and wondered what bargaining chip was used to remove it.

    • Where Are the Syrians Kidnapped by ISIS?

      Amer tells me that the process of identifying DNA in mass graves may take years. In addition to the graves, he informs me, “there are dead bodies still buried under the rubble from the US-led military campaign.” He adds, “Sadly, these families, including mine, can’t do anything but wait.” The only thing they can do now, he says, is to prepare, collect evidence, and preserve it until human-rights organizations can provide further assistance.

    • China and India flex muscles over tiny Maldives

      A Chinese naval combat force that entered the Indian Ocean for the first time in four years may have helped deter an Indian intervention in the Maldives after its pro-China president imposed a state of emergency, according to military and diplomatic sources and analysts.

    • Taliban urge religious scholars to boycott peace conference
    • Teenage girl left for dead for resisting gang rape in Nawabshah

      They said that police had first refused to register the case and lodged it only after the news was flashed in electronic media. Police had not yet arrested the main suspect while influential people of the area were pressurising them to accept compensation money and withdraw the case, they said.

    • Boris Johnson Attempt to Refute My Sources on Porton Down the Most Hilarious Fail

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a statement to refute my report from well-placed FCO sources that the British government continually re-uses the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” because its own scientists refused government pressure to say the nerve agent was made by Russia, and as getting even agreement to “of a type developed by” was bloody, the government has to stick to precisely that rather odd choice of phrase.

    • Craig Murray Radio 5 Interview on Skripal Attack
    • Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on “Russian Novichoks”
    • Portonblimp Down – A Tale By Boris Johnson

      If you harbour any doubts at all about the plausibility of Mr Johnson’s story, you are a crazed conspiracy theorist and a traitor. Plus you will never, ever get employed in the BBC or corporate media.

    • McCabe: A War on (or in) the FBI?

      Andrew McCabe’s claim that his firing amounts to a “war on the FBI” doesn’t make sense considering it was the FBI’s own internal affairs office that recommended he be fired, as FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley explains.

    • In #CallForPeace Address, Sanders Takes on Endless War and Global Oligarchy

      “Increasingly, in the United States and around the world, we see an economic and political system in which a small number of multi-billionaires and corporate interests have increased control over the world’s economic life, our political life, and our media,” Sanders said. “Inequality, corruption, oligarchy, and authoritarianism are inseparable. They must be understood as part of the same system, and fought and opposed in the same way.”

    • Cambodia Joins China for Military Drills as US Relations Cool

      Hundreds of Cambodian and Chinese soldiers began a 15-day joint military exercise in central Cambodia this week, involving live-fire rocket launches from helicopters, mock tank battles, and anti-terrorism and emergency relief training. China will reportedly also donate tanks and armored personnel carriers on the occasion.

      The unprecedented show of military cooperation, dubbed “Golden Dragon,” is the latest sign that the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is relying on Beijing to further shore up its control of the country through growing diplomatic, economic and military support, according to analysts.

      They say increased Chinese military support will also aid the Cambodian army’s balance of power with its neighbors. But some warn that Cambodia’s suspension of planned joint exercises with the U.S. military last year signals Phnom Penh’s growing divide with Washington and its regional allies, as well as other Asian countries that seek to counter China’s aspirations for regional primacy.

    • US Empire on Decline

      US empire is in decline. Reports of the end of the US being the unitary power in world affairs are common, as are predictions of the end of US empire. China surpassed the United States as the world economic leader, according to Purchasing Power Parity Gross National Product, and Russia announced new weapons that can overcome the US’ defense systems.

      What is happening in the United States, in response, is to do more of what has been causing the decline. As the Pentagon outlined in its post-primacy report, the US’ plan is more money, more aggression and more surveillance. Congress voted nearly unanimously to give the Pentagon tens of billions more than it requested. Military spending will now consume 57% of federal discretionary spending, leaving less for basic necessities. The Trump administration’s new nominees to the State Department and CIA are a war hawk and a torturer. And the Democrat’s “Blue Wave” is composed of security state candidates.

      The US is escalating an arms race with Russia and China. This may create the mirror image of President Reagan forcing Russia to spend so much on its military that it aided in the break-up of the Soviet Union. The US economy cannot handle more military spending, worsening austerity when most people in the US are in financial distress.

      This is an urgent situation for all people in the world. In the US, we carry an extra burden as citizens of empire to do what we can to oppose US imperialism. We must be clear that it is time to end wars and other tools of regime change, to become a cooperative member of the world community and to prioritize the needs of people and protection of the planet.

    • Iraq +15: Accumulated Evil of the Whole

      Robert Jackson, the Chief United States Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, once denounced aggressive war as “the greatest menace of our time.” With much of Europe laying in smoldering ruin, he said in 1945 that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime: it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of whole.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Pruitt: California ‘can’t dictate to the rest of the country’ on fuel emissions

      Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said that when it comes to determining new federal vehicle emission standards, California doesn’t have the right to lead.

    • Poaching for trophies poses threat to Big Cats

      Uganda is home to three famous Big Cats; the Leopard, Lion, and Cheetah. Two of these are members of the Big Five. Most of them are located in Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo Valley National Park. Unlike the other big cats, the Cheetah is found only in Kidepo Valley. In his speech at the World Wildlife Day celebrations in Kasese, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities(MTWA) Prof Ephraim Kamuntu indicated that the lion population had declined from more than 1,000 individuals in the 1990’s to the current estimated 420 individuals nationwide. Cheetahs and leopards are under assessment but Dr Akankwasah Barirega, a board member at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) estimates the leopard and cheetah population at 2500 and less than 100 respectively. Out of the wild, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), a rescue, rehabilitation, conservation, and education centre boasts of eight lions, one leopard, and two cheetahs.
      Conservationists are worried about survival of the big cats in the wild. Unless this trend is reversed, the cats could become extinct in Uganda.

    • India lost 40% of its mangroves in the last century. And it’s putting communities at risk

      Mangroves provide excellent nesting and breeding habitats for fish and shellfish, migratory birds and sea turtles, underlining their importance to coastal fishing communities. An estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests either directly or indirectly, a 2008 paper in the Journal of Sea Research claims.


      Mangroves are also great carbon sinks. They isolate carbon at two to four times the rate of tropical forests like the Amazon and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests.

    • Greenland is melting

      Greenland is melting. As it melts, it adds roughly 1 millimeter of water per year to global sea levels. And the pace of melting is quickening.

      If all the ice covering the world’s largest island were to thaw, sea levels would rise roughly 6 meters. Scientists don’t know how fast, or how likely, that is to happen. East GRIP is looking for evidence to inform both those questions.

    • Research hints at tipping point in the Atlantic’s currents

      A new study, however, suggests that there’s a tipping point for the Atlantic conveyor that could be reached much sooner. It only relies indirectly on warm temperatures; instead, it is driven by the melting of the Greenland Icecap. And the new research suggests we’ve already gone nearly halfway to the tipping point.

    • Why what we eat is crucial to the climate change question

      Did you know that what’s on your plate plays a larger role in contributing to climate change than the car you drive? When most wealthy people think about their carbon footprint, or their contributions to climate change, they’ll think about where their electricity and heat come from or what they drive. They’ll think about fossil fuels and miles per gallon, about LED lights and mass transit – but not so much about combine harvesters or processed meals or food waste. Few consider the impacts of the food they eat, despite the fact that globally, food systems account for roughly one quarter of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than the entire transportation sector, more than all industrial practices, and roughly the same as the production of electricity and heat.

    • Wanna limit global warming to 1.5°C? Get cracking

      One surprise in the international Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions was the addition of the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. Nations have long stated that their aim was to avoid exceeding 2-degree warming (though they’ve largely failed to follow through with actions that would make that possible), and so scientists have studied that scenario in great detail. But nobody had been promising to keep this a 1.5-degree world, so the information was lacking.

    • Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire

      Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay’s densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Considering sea level rise alone, models show that, on the low end, 20 square miles could be inundated by 2100. But factor in subsiding land and that estimate jumps to almost 50 square miles. The high end? 165 square miles lost.

    • Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017

      The slaughter of people defending their land or environment continued unabated in 2017, with new research showing almost four people a week were killed worldwide in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects.

      The toll of 197 in 2017 – which has risen fourfold since it was first compiled in 2002 – underscores the violence on the frontiers of a global economy driven by expansion and consumption.

    • Climate of Fear

      Now, we are the people of the gulf and of the islands who fear for every ripple on the water, every puff of wind, and every drop of rain. We are the people of the drought who fear for every day without moisture. We are the people of the temperate lands who fear the extremes of heat and cold. We are the people of the tropics who fear the cold, and of the polar landscapes who fear the melting of the ice. We are the people of the burned lands who fear for every wisp of smoke. We are the people of the debris flows who fear for every rivulet and rill. We are the people of the flood lands who fear for every rise in the water; we are the people of the tide who fear its every incoming, and we are the people of the storm who fear its every surge.

    • Ahtium, former Talvivaara Mining, files for bankruptcy

      A state-owned firm, Terrafame, is now running the mine that previously faced bankruptcy under the Talvivaara name. After extensive environmental problems with the company’s production process, the Finnish state stepped in to take over mining operations through Terrafame in 2015.

    • Standing Rock is everywhere: one year later

      In the protection of Mni Woc’oni, it is more than oil pipelines threatening the well-being and future of our water. Near the native territory of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, concentrated animal feeding operations or “CAFOs” are draining and degrading the land and water. As a result, the air is toxic, swamps have dried up, and aquifers, to which the people are supposed to have water rights, are being drained. Residents have mortgaged their homes to fight these threats in court and lost. In other places — in mining spills across South America and Africa and at Fukushima — man has gone too far.

      Water is a source of life, not a resource.

  • Finance
    • Bernie Sanders Wants to Tell the Story That Corporate Media Fails To Tell
    • Twitter is reportedly planning to ban cryptocurrency ads
    • As Brexit Britain heads for the rocks what does Corbyn’s Labour stand for?

      The diminished global status of Britain and our future post-Brexit has been on display in the last few days. The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and the possible role of Russian authorities; the visit of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, and the continued saga of Donald Trump’s unpredictable, erratic Presidency from trade wars to his state visit, all illustrate the challenges a diminished UK will face in the aftermath of Brexit.

      Twenty-one months on from the Brexit vote we have no clear plan or detail from the UK Government. Indeed, the kind of Brexit and Britain which the UK Government represents is nothing more than a sketch and vague principles, much to the increasing consternation of the EU and the remaining 27 nation-states.

      Brexit is full of contradictions, tensions and paradoxes. Can the fabled Tory Party with its reputation for statecraft really be reduced to its current incompetence and divisions? Decades of Tory appeasement of Euroscepticism culminated in David Cameron’s pledge in 2013 to hold an in/out referendum – a pledge he thought he would never have to deliver. His subsequent failed attempts to secure renegotiated terms of EU membership – echoes of Harold Wilson in 1975 – were followed by the subsequent referendum campaign and Brexit triumph.

    • Cable’s confusion – on Brexit imperial “nostalgia” and what it means to be English

      Vince Cable’s swipe at Leave voters ‘nostalgic for a world where passports were blue, faces were white, and the map was coloured imperial pink’ sounds like the latest proof that most Remainers would rather abuse their opponents than engage with them. But, let’s assume for a moment that Vince was on to something. What if Leavers did yearn for an older if irrecoverable, idea of greatness? Why should that be, and why in England in particular?

      It wasn’t Britain that voted Leave. It was England, and above all it was England outside London, that chose to take the UK out of the EU. Within England, it is those who felt most English who gave Leave their strongest support. If it was simple nostalgia for the British empire, then the British would have been Leavers too. But residents of England who identified as British rather than English were strongly in favour of Remain.

      For all its historic resentment of its larger southern neighbour, Scotland was as invested in the British Empire as any part of England. From the financial elites to the active colonialists and administrators to the working classes in the shipyards and the protected textile industries, Scots appear to have as much reason to be nostalgic for Empire as most in England. Yet Scotland voted strongly for Remain, as did Northern Ireland. True, Wales voted narrowly for Leave, but much less than England outside London. London, significantly, also voted Remain.

    • Could Britain’s Labour Party Under Corbyn Hold the Answer to Europe’s Woes?

      For over 40 years, Britain has pushed extreme, free-market policies in the European Union (EU). While the EU has delivered, for Britain, better workers’ rights, cleaner air and water, and more enforceable human rights, Britain has consistently argued against the regulation of big business and big finance and against better social protection.

      While enjoying special privileges and rebates, Britain consistently argued for opt-outs, believing it was an exceptional member of the EU, too good for the rules that apply to everyone else. David Cameron’s pre-referendum negotiations wanted more exemptions, which would have allowed it to crack down on migrants’ rights, protect the City of London’s financial excesses and drive deregulation.


      They urge Corbyn to commit to remaining in the EU if he wins the next election, and working with allies to push a series of dramatic reforms to transform the EU.

    • Northern Irish party donors finally published – but source of DUP Brexit money remains secret

      While all major political donations in the rest of the UK have been public since 2000, yesterday’s data release marks the first modicum of transparency for Northern Irish politics.

      The Electoral Commission’s disclosure comes after a long-awaited change in the law in Northern Ireland – and after additional pressure for transparency was triggered by openDemocracy’s revelation that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had taken a controversial £435,000 donation for its Brexit campaign. The source of that money is still a secret, because the UK government reneged on its previous commitment to publish details of donations from January 2014 onwards.

      But the data – which only goes back to July 2017 – does include some interesting details.

    • Donald Trump Is Determined to Privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs

      Aaron Hughes, who was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 and 2004, now has a serious, very rare lung condition. But he told In These Times he gets “really outstanding care” at the nearby Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. “The doctors are at the top of their class,” he said.

      Because his condition is so rare, Hughes has been sent to a hospital outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for specific tests. And his taste of the private healthcare system has been sour. “As soon as I went there, all hell broke loose,” he said said, explaining there were problems with sharing records between the two institutions. “With the VA system, when you do tests, it’s all integrated.” Every doctor Hughes sees is aware of all the other treatment he gets, from vision to mental health. The private hospitals, on the other hand, often refuse to send the records back to the VA. “The private sector isn’t about sharing your information,” Hughes explained. “It’s not about healthcare, it’s about ownership of care.”

    • Statistics: Nearly 12% of Finnish residents at risk of “living in poverty”

      One-third of individuals who were at risk of living in poverty in 2016 were young adults between the ages of 18-34.

    • Forget about GDP: it’s time for a wellbeing economy

      GDP doesn’t capture the value of non-monetized or non-marketed work, like housework, raising children, caring for the elderly, or volunteering.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Koch Brothers Get Their Very Own Secretary of State

      After serving for a little more than a year as Donald Trump’s top yes-man at the Central Intelligence Agency, Pompeo is Trump’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson, the administration’s listless placeholder at the Department of State.

    • Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary

      MSNBC prides itself for progressive reporting on national security issues but continues to use apologists for the Central Intelligence Agency in reporting on key intelligence issues. The network’s reliance on former deputy director of the CIA John McLaughlin is an excellent example of the skewed and tailored information that it offers to viewers on matters dealing with CIA. McLaughlin, a former colleague of mine at the CIA who I remember as an amateur magician, regularly pulls the wool over the eyes of such MSNBC veterans as Andrea Mitchell.

      The most recent example took place over the past several days, when McLaughlin made the case for confirmation of Gina Haspel as the first woman to become director of the CIA. McLaughlin and former CIA directors Leon Panetta and John Brennan referred to Haspel as a “seasoned veteran” who had the support of senior CIA leaders. Perhaps MSNBC should acknowledge the fact that Deputy Director McLaughlin was Haspel’s boss during this terrible period in American history.

    • The Mad King

      Now he’s either fired or is in the process of removing the adults. He’s replacing them with a Star Wars cantina of toadies and sycophants who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself, and help sell it on TV.

    • ‘Trump Must Be Desperate’: President’s Lawyers File to Move Stormy Daniels Suit to Federal Court, Out of Public View

      “Attorney Charles Harder—best known for representing Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, which resulted in its bankruptcy—is handling the case on the President’s behalf,” CNN reported.

      The moves by the Trump legal team came just a day after it was reported that CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview with Clifford and her attorney will air March 25.

      As Common Dreams reported on Friday, Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said his client has been physically threatened to remain silent about her alleged affair with Trump.

      “I think it will become apparent to people when they tune in to ’60 minutes’ on March 25 as to the details relating to the threat,” Avenatti added.

    • Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared

      This blame game turned out to be a hugely successful effort to divert attention from the content of the emails, which showed in bas relief the dirty tricks the DNC played on Bernie Sanders. The media readily fell in line, and all attention was deflected from the substance of the DNC emails to the question as to why the Russians supposedly “hacked into the DNC and gave the emails to WikiLeaks.”

      This media operation worked like a charm, but even Secretary Clinton’s PR person, Jennifer Palmieri, conceded later that at first it strained credulity that the Russians would be doing what they were being accused of doing.

    • Edward Snowden: “How the Deep State Shapes Presidents”

      When Edward Snowden emerged from the shadowy world of American intelligence contractors five years ago to reveal the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, he immediately became one of the most wanted men on earth. A hero for public opinion, an enemy of the state for governments and secret services. In fact he asked twenty-one countries for protection, mostly European nations, and they completely shut their doors to him. In a newly published book “Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks” by Renata Avila, Sarah Harrison and Angela Richter (Or Books), fresh details of this global manhunt emerge, revealing what was happening behind the scenes as the social networks, reporters and TVs pursued Edward Snowden alongside the US government.

      Yes, because as soon as Snowden handed the top-secret NSA documents to journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, the United States government immediately charged him, using a draconian law created in 1917: the Espionage Act. “A law which has been around for a hundred years that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and selling secrets to foreign enemies for a personal profit”, explains Snowden’s US lawyer, Ben Wizner, to Repubblica, elaborating on the serious impact of this law on journalistic sources: “There is no investigative journalism without unauthorized sources”, says Wizner. Today Snowden lives in exile in Russia, where he only has a temporary residence permit.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • How a Norwegian comment section turned chaos into order—with a simple quiz

      Commenters offered a variety of ideas, which included everything from comment voting to more active moderation. The staff mulled over what they could implement that would be low cost and low impact to its community, and Grut had his own eureka moment while showering before biking to the office: why not a quiz? A WordPress plugin could force users to correctly answer a few multiple-choice questions before the page’s comment field would appear. Once he got to the office, he and fellow staffers spent three hours building the plugin, which Grut reminded the crowd is wholly open source.

    • European Commission’s expert group tackling fake news misses the point

      Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and appointed expert to the Commission’s fake news group, has voted against the final report which was presented in Brussels today. Monique Goyens deplores that the report does not tackle the root causes of fake news.

    • Deleted, suspended, demoted: Censorship, Silicon Valley-style

      When Google launched almost 20 years ago, its corporate motto was “Don’t be Evil”. And until last year, Facebook’s official mission was to “make the world more open and connected”.

      Things have changed since the two tech giants first came online. Both companies have been accused of working behind the scenes to silence or de-emphasise certain kinds of voices.

      “Censorship has changed completely and dramatically because of the internet and because of particularly these big tech companies which are basically monopolies. They can end your existence online,” says Robert Epstein, research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioural Research & Technology.

    • College Warns Saying “God Bless You” is Islamophobic

      That bit of information is tucked inside the college’s Anti-Oppression Library Guide – an exhaustive collection of words and phrases that could trigger perpetually offended collegiate snowflakes.

      Islamomisia is a fairly new malady that until recently was known as Islamphobia.

    • Is it now a thoughtcrime to hate Islam?

      Few will shed tears over Fransen and Golding. Britain First is an odious group. Its loathing of Muslims is bizarre and obsessive and highly prejudiced. But here’s the question, the question that cuts to the heart of whether or not we want to live in a free society: shouldn’t people have the right to loathe Islam?


      There is a dark irony to what happened yesterday. Fransen and Golding are referred to by many as far right and extremist, and there is little doubt that is true. But I would say that having laws that in some situations allow for the punishment of thought is more extreme, and more worrying.

    • RIP Matt Damon, who Terry Gilliam says has been ‘beaten to death’ by internet mobs

      Decent human being Matt Damon, 47, has supposedly perished in an untimely death brought about by mobs of angry #MeToo supporters, according to director Terry Gilliam. In an interview with AFP, Gilliam boldly shines a spotlight on the horrifying plight of the powerful and popular actor. “I feel sorry for someone like Matt Damon, who is a decent human being,” Gilliam says of those original statements. “He came out and said all men are not rapists, and he got beaten to death. Come on, this is crazy!”

      Despite his wife’s sensible advice to “keep [his] head a bit low” when it comes to saying the least useful thing at the worst possible time, Gilliam continues to spew complaints about the survivors of assault and abuse who have stepped forward as part of the #MeToo movement. After insisting that “people have got to take responsibility for their own selves,” and that “I know enough girls who were in Harvey’s suites who were not victims and walked out,” he simultaneously compares the increasing sense of accountability and intolerance for the endemic problem of sexual abuse and assault to a crazed, pitchfork-wielding mob attacking innocent monsters.

    • Don’t Censor Lil Yachty

      This debate is not only about the censorship of the word “Columbine.” It brings up a larger question of whether or not censorship of any offensive words is acceptable. If we were to allow censorship in this case, it could justify the censorship of other words or phrases that offend, disrespect or make people feel uncomfortable. Censorship of this nature could result in countless works being altered and a society with mechanisms reminiscent of the “thought-police” depicted in George Orwell’s “1984.”

    • China ramps up social media censorship

      The stranglehold on freedom of expression, particularly online, in mainland China is “a potent tool of repression” as digital rights continue to plummet under the government’s control, according to a rights group.

      PEN America released a report on March 13, “Forbidden Feeds,” documenting the rising censorship of social media, which the organization said is ruthlessly enforced and leaves little space for dissent.

      The report found through both extensive interviews and research that under President Xi Jinping the scope and severity of censorship has significantly expanded.

      “We were concerned by how the government’s regulatory power, technological capacity for censorship and willingness to censor increasingly large areas of speech are all expanding in tandem,” James Tager, senior program manager for PEN, told

    • By banning Russian propaganda, the UK will help Putin in his campaign against press freedom

      The poisoning of Sergey Skripal has led to a sharp deterioration in UK-Russia relations. For now, London’s official moves, such as deporting 23 Russian diplomats and searching planes inbound from Russia, look moderate. But Boris Johnson’s statement on 16 March was likely unexpected for Moscow. The British foreign minister came to the conclusion that Vladimir Putin sanctioned the attack on Skripal too quickly, though the Kremlin has, for now, merely commented that Johnson’s tone was “unacceptable”.

    • “Censorship is the worst it has ever been”

      There are no standards. Thatʹs the biggest problem of the Egyptian censor board. When it comes to censorship, there simply are no rules. Itʹs often left up to one particular censor dealing with a specific movie. And then there are some films, where you just know beforehand, that they wonʹt ever make it to a cinema. Mostly because thereʹs a direct message of dissent against the government. In that respect, itʹs the worse it has ever been. A lot of films are being censored at the moment. I donʹt just mean that certain scenes are cut out. I mean that they arenʹt even shown at all.

    • Orange is the New Black’s Turkish adaptation faces censorship over terror propaganda

      The US TV series Orange is the New Black’s Turkish version, Avlu [the Yard] faces censorship over some of its scenes considered making propaganda on behalf of terror organizations.

      Starring Turkish actress Demet Evgar as the lead character, the new TV series is set to make its debut on March 29.

      Cumhuriyet newspaper reported Monday that Justice Ministry officials has asked the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) to “take necessary measures” against some scenes that allegedly make prison officials look like torturers and prisons like torture centers.

    • Can SESTA Be Fixed?

      It appears that sometime this week (or even possibly today), the Senate is unfortunately likely to vote (perhaps by an overwhelming margin) for SESTA, despite the fact that it’s a terribly drafted bill which no one can explain how it will actually stop sex trafficking. Indeed, it’s a bill that many victims advocates are warning will not just make problems worse, but will put lives in danger. And that’s leaving aside all of the damage it will do to free speech and tons of websites on the internet.

      Much of this could have been avoided if anyone in Congress were actually interested in understanding how the internet worked, and how to write a bill that actually addressed problems around sex trafficking — rather than buying into a false narrative (pushed mainly by Hollywood) that the liability protections of CDA 230 were magically responsible for sex traffickers using the internet. Two academics who are probably the most knowledgeable experts on intermediary liability, Daphne Keller at Stanford and Eric Goldman at Santa Clara University, have each posted thoughts on how to “salvage” SESTA. If Congress were serious, it would listen to them. But that’s a big “if.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • U.K. Alleges Facebook-Linked Data Firm CEO Made False Statements

      Damian Collins, chair of the U.K. Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said he will ask Nix to explain his comments and answer further questions about the company’s connections to the Facebook data. He also plans to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to have a senior executive of the social networking giant answer the panel’s questions.

    • Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data was a ‘grossly unethical experiment’

      On Friday, Facebook announced that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and its political data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its Terms of Service, by collecting and sharing the personal information of up to 50 million users without their consent. The incident is demonstrative of ways that Facebook’s core business model — delivering individualized ads to users — can be exploited, while raising uncomfortable questions about how such data might have been used to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

      Cambridge Analytica is owned in part by hedge fund billionaire Richard Mercer, and first aided Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in 2015, before helping the Trump campaign in 2016. [...]

    • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Under Pressure Over Data Breach

      “It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,’’ Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Saturday on Twitter. “They say ‘trust us.’ Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary.’’ Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also separately launched an investigation.

    • New York professor sues Cambridge Analytica to find out what it knows about him

      Last year, David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, used a British data protection law to ask Cambridge Analytica’s branch in the United Kingdom to provide the data it had gathered on him.

    • NY professor sues Cambridge Analytica

      David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, filed a request on Friday with a British court asking them to order Cambridge Analytica, a data firm used by the Trump campaign, to turn over all the data they’ve collected on the professor, and the source of that data.

    • Self-described whistleblower suspended by Facebook after Cambridge Analytica reports

      On Sunday, Wylie shared a screenshot of an “account disabled” message that he said came from Facebook. He said the company suspended him for revealing something that they had already known for two years.


      Roughly 30 million of the profiles Kogan gave the firm had enough information to create psychographic profiles but only 270,000 people had given permission for their data to be collected.

    • Cambridge Analytica working to stop undercover report on its practices from airing: report

      Reporters for Channel 4 posed as prospective clients and secretly filmed a number of meetings with the firm.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Told to ‘Stop Hiding Behind his Facebook Page’ After Reports of Data Breach

      A British lawmaker accused Facebook on Sunday of misleading officials by downplaying the risk of users’ data being shared without their consent.

    • Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’ – video

      Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix

    • Thanks to the CIA, Issues of the Agency’s Most-Hated Magazine Are Now Online

      Long before Wikileaks was promoting “radical transparency” in the digital age, CounterSpy was publishing a magazine that named CIA station chiefs and exposed covert operations. Now, 23 issues from its 32-issue run have been pulled from the CIA’s own archives and digitized for your perusal. We can neither confirm nor deny that the agency is happy about this.

      CounterSpy started publishing from its headquarters in Washington, DC in 1973. Its staff and contributors were made up of journalists and former intelligence agents who wanted to expose the CIA and other intelligence apparatuses as corrupt organizations. It ran stories about subjects like the CIA’s efforts to undermine labor movements around the world and psychological warfare conducted under COINTELPRO. The spooks at Langley weren’t fans but were certainly readers.

    • Mossad starts funding sociopathic startups aiming to deprive people of liberty

      Mossad has started funding the worst of the worst of IT startups. Normally, a headline such as this would only be seen on very questionable websites, but the source for this story is the Israeli Jerusalem Post itself – and further: the Israeli Mossad are far from the only ones.

    • Raleigh cops are investigating crime by getting Google to reveal the identity of every mobile user within acres of the scene

      Public records requests have revealed that on at least four occasions, the Raleigh-Durham police obtained warrants forcing Google to reveal the identities of every mobile user within acres of a crime scene, sweeping up the personal information of thousands of people in a quest to locate a single perp.

      The warrants came with gag orders that banned Google from disclosing their existence; in their requests for the warrants, local prosecutors say that they don’t even believe that warrants are needed to get this information, but since Google insists, they’re willing to get them.

      The cops insist that this approach balances the public’s Fourth Amendment rights with their need to fight crimes. Only one of the crimes in which police used this dragnet technique has had an arrest; it’s not clear if this arrest was the result of data from Google.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Why Is No One Demanding an Explanation for the Torture of Doyle Hamm?

      While the execution of Eggers itself raises serious constitutional questions, an equally critical question remains, which has neither been asked nor addressed: How can Alabama, without having answered at all for its botched and torturous execution of Doyle Hamm a mere three weeks ago, be permitted to simply move on to execute the next man on its death row? Why is no one demanding an explanation? And why is Alabama not at least publicly explaining that what happened three weeks ago was not a systematic breakdown of its death-penalty system?

    • My story of detention in Yarl’s Wood
    • Tina Fontaine Is Further Proof That Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Need Justice
    • It’s Time to Abolish ICE

      Canon has also defended clients swept up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, and fought a Kafkaesque deportation system that, at one point, wouldn’t even disclose the location of his client. Now Canon believes ICE should be abolished entirely.

    • Abolishing ICE is the radical idea America needs to be talking about | Will Bunch

      After all the stories and viral videos — the screaming mom dragged away from her horrified young children, the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who got busted in her ambulance after emergency surgery, the pillars of their local communities who showed for a routine check-up and ended up in detention, the stepped-up raids, and all the arrests in courtrooms, outside schoolhouse doors, and behind churches — Americans are right to wonder if our out-of-control immigration cops have any limits at all.

      Amazingly, they do. When it came out a couple of weeks ago that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was on the brink of deporting the wife of an Army Special Forces veteran — planning to send her back to Honduras, where drug dealers might seek violent revenge for her husband’s past drug-interdiction work there with the U.S. military — the public outcry was so great that even this tone-deaf federal agency backed down, for once.

    • Iran jails woman for removing headscarf in public
    • Saudi Crown Prince Plans Meetings With Apple, Google

      Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman plans to meet top global executives, including the heads of Apple Inc. and Google, during his first trip to the U.S. since becoming heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter, according to a person briefed on the trip’s details.

    • No Dancing, No Swaying: Saudi Pop Concert Comes With Warning

      Many Saudi conservatives are deeply uncomfortable with Prince Mohammed’s reforms, although they have mostly kept quiet, fearing arrest. Many of the online posts about Mr. Hosny’s concert condemned the concert, not the rules governing it.

    • Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions

      Businessmen once considered giants of the Saudi economy now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command. Families who flew on private jets cannot gain access to their bank accounts. Even wives and children have been forbidden to travel.

    • Now we know why defense attorneys quit the USS Cole case. They found a microphone.

      Lawyers for the alleged USS Cole bombing mastermind quit the capital case after discovering a microphone in their special client meeting room and were denied the opportunity to either talk about or investigate it, the Miami Herald has learned.


      The court filing is an attempt by prosecutors in the USS Cole case to get the review panel to order a military judge to resume the case. Nashiri, a Saudi, is charged with engineering al-Qaida’s suicide bombing of the warship off the Yemen post of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000. Seventeen U.S. sailors died in the blast, and the prosecutor is seeking a death sentence. Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the judge, abruptly abated the case Feb. 16, saying he wanted a higher court to clarify his authority as a judge in the Guantánamo war court.

    • Telangana: Angry at teen watching porn on mobile, father chops off his hand with butcher’s knife

      According to police, 43-year-old Mohammed Qayyum Qureshi, who is an electrician by profession, was angry at his son Khaled as the latter was addicted to his smartphone.

    • 5 Ways We’re Fighting Crime (And Making Everything Worse)
    • Christian asylum seekers in Sweden face violent attacks, warns Swedish Evangelical Alliance

      They point out: ‘There are many studies focusing on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in Sweden but few on hate crimes against Christians, even though statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that police reports of the latter have risen in recent years.’

    • Illegal Minaret Calls Divide Inhabitants in Sweden’s ‘Most Tolerant Town’

      An Islamic center in the town of Växjö has been reported to the police after it was disclosed that it has been broadcasting prayer calls without permission for several years. The notification is based on a breach of the public order act, and the police are serious about the incident, Swedish Radio reported.

    • A Women’s Rights March in Turkey Has Ended With Tear Gas and Arrests

      Women’s rights marchers in Ankara met with tear gas and arrests Sunday as they gathered for a protest ahead of International Women’s Day later this week.

    • Bangladesh police say writer was attacked as ‘enemy of Islam’

      Saturday’s attack on Zafar Iqbal in the northern city of Sylhet was just the latest in a series of stabbings of secular or atheist authors and bloggers in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

      Iqbal, a longstanding champion of free speech and secularism, remains in stable condition in hospital where he is being treated for stab wounds to his head.

    • Syrian man in Germany appears on air with blood on his face after killing wife

      In an attempt to justify the crime, Abu Marwan said that his actions were a message to all women who irritate their husbands saying “this is how you’ll end.” The man and his son urged viewers to share the video.

    • Ten men deny sex abuse of care home runaway girls

      Ms Melly told the court: “Frustrated at the lack of coverage… her partner contacted Look North, telling them the abuse was ‘much wider than Rotherham’.”

    • Husband divorces wife on honeymoon for not enough sex

      The couple appealed to a sharia court in Dubai, where the man said his new wife did not allow him to touch her or have sex with her during the honeymoon.

    • In Sweden, Christians Fleeing Persecution Face Violence All Over Again

      More than half of all participants in the survey, 53 percent, reported that they had been attacked violently at least once because of their Christian faith. Almost half, 45 percent, reported that they had received at least one death threat, and 6 percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.

    • University of Auckland worker fired after trying to force female Muslim student to shake hands

      A University of Auckland academic has been fired after trying to shake a female Muslim student’s hand and then accusing her of sexual discrimination when she refused.

    • #MeToo Behind Bars: When the Sexual Assaulter Holds the Keys to Your Cell

      In January, Strawberry Hampton, a trans woman incarcerated in Illinois, settled a lawsuit about repeated sexual and physical abuse she’d experienced by prison staff in the state’s men’s prisons. What she endured isn’t limited to Illinois prisons, or to men’s prisons. Across the country, thousands of incarcerated people face sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff. In the face of these attacks — and the reality of retaliation — incarcerated people have come forward to file complaints and lawsuits, fighting back against system-wide abuse.

    • Women barred from Sidi Saiyed mosque

      They got a red-carpet welcome last September. Situation changed later with four notice boards put up at the mosque banning women entry. They read, “Lady visitors are not allowed to enter the masjid premises under any circumstances. They should see the site from the water hoj (tank for ablutions) or garden side only.”

    • Egypt struggles to end female genital mutilation

      A 2016 survey by the U.N. Children’s Fund showed that 87 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 in Egypt have undergone the procedure.

    • Delhi: Father slits throat of girl over ‘friendship’ with boy in suspected honour killing
    • Students Aren’t Waiting for March or April. They’re Protesting Now

      Every day since February 21, high-school and middle-school students across the country have protested for stronger gun laws, often by walking out of class.

    • YouTube stopped hiring white men in attempt to boost diversity, lawsuit claims

      YouTube stopped hiring white and Asian men in a blunt attempt to make the company more diverse, a lawsuit claims.

      Arne Wilberg, a former recruiter at the Google-owned video website, said he was fired for speaking out against the company’s practices last year when it cancelled interviews with candidates who were not female, black or Hispanic for technical jobs.

    • United Airlines kills another pet

      Last year the carrier killed nine times as many animals as American and Delta

    • Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel

      With the not-entirely-unexpected departure of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the brightest light in the Trump administration is now extinguished. Not that the illumination caused by that light was particularly bright, but when one is operating in total darkness, even a small candle is something for which to be grateful.

      The former ExxonMobile executive supported the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action); sought a diplomatic solution with North Korea, and not only tried to delay the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but also skipped visiting Apartheid Israel during a year-end tour of the Middle East. In each of these significant ways, Tillerson differed from his erratic, trigger-happy boss, who brooks no disagreement with his ever-changing thoughts. Add to that the fact that Tillerson was quoted in October as calling Trump a moron, and he basically issued his own pink slip.

    • ‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem

      Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Lose Copyright Infringement Appeal

        The founder of a site that provided fan-created subtitles has lost his appeal against a conviction for copyright infringement. In 2017 a Swedish court found that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime, sentencing the then 32-year-old to probation and a fine. The Court of Appeal has now largely upheld that earlier verdict.

      • Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Plan Triggers Thousands of Responses

        A group of prominent Canadian ISPs and movie industry companies have asked the local telecom regulator CRTC to establish a local pirate site blocking program. Before making any decisions, CRTC launched a public consultation which has already received thousands of responses. It appears that most people argue against the plan, fearing widespread censorship, but there is support as well.

From PTAB Bashing to Federal Circuit (CAFC) Bashing: How the Patent ‘Industry’ Sells Software Patents

Monday 19th of March 2018 08:02:50 AM

No, the patent microcosm needs no facts, only innuendo!

Summary: The latest tactics of the patent microcosm are just about as distasteful as last month’s (or last year’s), with focus shifting to the courts and few broadly-misinterpreted patent cases (mainly Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix)

IN OUR previous post we explained how buzzwords were being used by both the EPO and USPTO to allow some software patents. This isn’t good, but one must remember that a patent being granted by a patent office isn’t the final stop; courts too must examine and rule on the matter, but only if it reaches the courts (i.e. not a settlement out of court or ‘protection’ money).

US courts have become very hostile (albeit understandably and suitably — as per the law — hostile) towards software patents. This really, really upsets patent zealots such as IAM and Watchtroll. They seem to have shifted attention away from PTAB and mostly to CAFC, whose judges they are bashing and credibility/legitimacy they question. It’s disgusting because we recently saw even racial smears against Judge Reyna.

Watchtroll used to bash PTAB almost every day — sometimes several times per day — but gone are those days. Several days ago they wrote about the Zeidman lawsuit over “optimizing software code to run on a modern space processor [...] Zeidman was informed that the funding topic was seeking a software tool or tool suite capable of converting high level software languages like C++ or Matlab into a hardware description language (HDL).”

Watchtroll has always been a loud proponent of software patents; so isn’t it a shame that nobody there (with very rare exceptions) even understands how programming works? The founder got so upset when questioned about it that he blocked me in Twitter. He had made a fool of himself, making contradictory statements and showing that he hasn’t the faintest of clue what computer programs are (he thinks a Web page is a computer program, for instance, not hypertext).

About a week or two late Watchtroll wrote about the ‘car parts’ case and yesterday it mentioned Judge Reyna in the context of a case from last week (not about patent scope). The gist:

SimpleAir, Inc. v. Google LLC, No. 2016-2738, 2018 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 12, 2018) (Before Lourie, Reyna, and Chen, J.) (Opinion for the court, Lourie, J.)

The Federal Circuit vacated a district court order dismissing SimpleAir’s complaint as barred by claim preclusion and the Kessler doctrine, and remanded for further proceedings.

Days earlier a patent maximalism site, Patent Docs, cherry-picked a rarity: reversal on § 101 grounds (Mayo and Alice) at CAFC.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision on § 101, reversed denial of JMOL on infringement of the ’685 patent, vacated judgment for damages as a result of its decision on ’685 patent infringement, and remanded for the District Court to recalculate damages, in a decision by Judge Moore joined by Judge Bryson; Judge Hughes dissented.

The majority set forth the now canonical two-prong test for subject matter eligibility under Mayo and Alice: the claims need to be “directed to” a law of nature, natural phenomenon or abstract idea, and there must be “something more” amounting to an “inventive concept” that is not merely “routine, conventional, and well-understood” in the prior art. Here, the majority spends little time on the first prong, accepting without comment that the claimed invention is dependent on the “natural law” that body temperature can be measured from skin temperature at the forehead. The District Court had relied on Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U.S. 175 (1981), for the principle that claims can recite “additional steps” that “transformed the underlying natural laws into inventive methods and useful devices that noninvasively and accurately detect human body temperature.” These steps, which included “(1) moving while laterally scanning (’685 patent claims 7, 14, and 17; ’938 patent claims 17, 24, 33, 60, and 66); (2) obtaining a peak temperature reading (’685 patent claim 7; ’938 patent claims 60 and 66); and (3) obtaining at least three readings per second (’938 patent claims 17, 24, 39, 40, 46, and 49)” were known in the prior art but that was not enough. According to the District Court “simply being known in the art did not suffice to establish that the subject matter was not eligible for patenting” because “a new combination of steps in a process may be patentable even though all the constituents of the combination were well known and in common use before the combination was made,” citing Diehr. The distinction (and in some ways the distinction missing from much of § 101 jurisprudence post-Mayo) is that these methods were used for a different purpose in the prior art, in this case detecting “hot spots” indicative of tumors, fractures, or other injuries (and in at least some testimony, used in horses not humans). In addition, the invention here newly provided a “calculated coefficient for translating measurements taken at the forehead into core body temperature readings” which was not routine, well understood or conventional in the prior art.

Notice how none of these cases can really change anything. So patent lawyers reject reality, manipulate law, and latch onto imaginary things. Here we have boosters from Fenwick & West writing about the ‘vibrations’ case (covered here before). They continue to nitpick decisions and try to warp reality against Alice et al (decisions similar to it), borrowing from very old CAFC rulings, e.g.:

I have not spent too much time trying to determine whether the court here accurately applied the tests mandated by Alice, Mayo and their progeny. My discomfort comes from the specific result (that the claims are not, as a whole directed to patent eligible subject matter) more than the general result (patent invalidity) or the path to it. At bottom, all inventions work because of the physics, math, etc. governing their structure and operation. The claims here seem directed, as a whole, to the manufacture of automotive drive shafts. It seems certain to me that even a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to challenge such a claim on Section 101 grounds. Was the patent bar really that disconnected from the statute for the past century? Is the sea change brought on by Bilski, Alice and Mayo based not on difficult questions brought on by the nature of information age inventions but instead on a longstanding, fundamental misunderstanding of the statutory statement of what our patent system is intended to protect?

Not to our shock, other patent maximalists still hope to make of Berkheimer something that it isn’t (explanation in [1, 2] among other posts of ours). Patently-O mentioned it again the other day:

The case has good shot at being heard by the whole court. I expect that the court would agree with Judge Moore that underlying factual issues are possible in the eligibility analysis, the exercise is not “a predominately factual one that ‘opens the door in both steps of the Alice inquiry for the introduction of an inexhaustible array of extrinsic evidence, such as prior art, publications, other patents, and expert opinion.’” (HP Petition, quoting Judge Reyna’s dissent in Aatrix).

No cartoon of Judge Reyna this time around, for ‘daring’ to express dissent (in Aatrix). Watchtroll is still bringing up Aatrix. Yes, yet again as an excuse to assert (again!) that there’s another route for avoiding rejection of a software patent. This is nonsensical.

Then that’s that old Finjan case from January — a case in which all patents except one were discarded, causing a great deal of commotion among patent maximalists.

Sara O’Connell (Pillsbury’s Internet & Social Media Law Blog/Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP) recalled this old case, which she pushed out as a “press release” and an ‘article’ (another example of infomercials, like those we referred to earlier today). To quote:

Finjan Inc. owns patents on technology involving computer and network security. Its patents are directed toward behavior-based internet security, addressing a method of “identifying, isolating, and neutralizing” potentially malicious code based on the behavior of that code rather than by scanning and maintaining a list of known viruses and malicious code signatures like so many other providers of internet security software.

Finjan was also mentioned in this other infomercial from a few days ago. To quote:

Patent claims serve to provide notice as to the scope of an invention described in a patent. The claims can be directed to various statutory types, such as an apparatus, article, composition, method, system, or any other patentable subject matter.


CRM claims combine the functionality of method claims with the tangibility of apparatus claims: they recite operations typically provided in a method while being directed to a physical memory having instructions that are executable to cause such operations. Accordingly, whereas it is uncertain whether a method can be “sold,” “offered for sale,” or “imported” for purposes of infringement under § 271, the Federal Circuit has held that CRMs can be. For example, in Finjan v. Secure Computing Corp., the Federal Circuit affirmed that the defendant infringed the plaintiff’s CRM claims because the defendant had “sold” an infringing software product.[14] And while each step of a method must actually be performed in the United States to be infringed, the court in Finjan did not require that the instructions stored in the infringing CRM actually be executed. The court reasoned that, “to infringe a claim that recites capability and not actual operation, an accused device ‘need only be capable of operating’ in the described mode.”[15] Thus, CRM claims can operate like apparatus claims for purposes of an infringement analysis.

It’s worth noting that all they ever mention is Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix (nothing from 2017). But as we pointed out many times before (in more than a dozen articles), none of this triplet can be considered a real challenge to Section 101 and nothing at all last year even came close to that. Nothing has really changed, except the frequency of infomercials that try to ‘poach’ customers; they used to bash PTAB a lot and now they just basically cherry-pick CAFC cases and argue that they can miraculously enforce software patents. They cannot.

Patent Maximalists Keep Coming Up With New Terms and Buzzwords to Bypass the Practical Ban on Software Patents

Monday 19th of March 2018 06:39:54 AM

Reference: Buzzword

Summary: The fightback against Section 101 and the US Supreme Court (notably Alice) seems to concentrate on old and new buzzwords, such as “Software as a Medical Device” (“SaMD”) or “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (“4IR”), which the EPO recently paid European media to spread and promote

THE demise of software patents is very much real in the United States (the USPTO grants these only if semantic tricks are being used and courts don’t easily fall for such semantics). The EPO is another matter, which we deal with separately as it’s rather frustrating.

Several days ago Microsoft’s old ‘shill’ Rob Enderle was back to implicitly promoting software patents, piggybacking BlackBerry v Facebook (we covered it earlier this month). “Facebook can afford to license,” he wrote, “but is part of a wave of companies that didn’t believe in software patents and licensing and seemingly gives its products away for free.”

“Several days ago Microsoft’s old ‘shill’ Rob Enderle was back to implicitly promoting software patents, piggybacking BlackBerry v Facebook…”Facebook does believe in software patents and has already pursued many of its own, but don’t expect to get facts from Enderle. The only positive thing that Facebook does in the domain of patents is its support of PTAB (through front groups that it’s funding).

Either way, as we said above, the main route to software patenting in the US (more so nowadays) is semantic tricks, notably buzzwords like “IoT” and “cloud”. The same is true in Europe ("4IR" is the buzzword of choice this year). Days ago, Canadian Lawyer suggested patenting software under the guise of another resurgent hype wave, “artificial intelligence”. None of this is new, it’s more like a fashion and it’s led primarily by marketing-type brainstorms.

How about this upcoming ‘webinar’ on patenting software under the guise of “medical” and “device”? Judge Corcoran from the EPO had dealt with something like this (he rejected a patent of an EPO partner) before Battistelli put him on "house ban". Even if not a retaliatory move, it does make one wonder…

Watch them coming up with another new buzzword: SaMD.

“…the main route to software patenting in the US (more so nowadays) is semantic tricks, notably buzzwords like “IoT” and “cloud”.”To quote: “counsel for companies in the medical device industry on protecting software as a medical device (SaMD), and also discuss the new FDA rules regulating SaMD and how to leverage IP law to protect SaMD.”

These sorts of think tanks (‘webinars’) are sickening, yet Patent Docs, a site of patent maximalists, promoted half a dozens of these yesterday. Here’s one from the Boston Patent Law Association and the Federal Circuit Bar Association with “The Impact of Recent Section 101 Patent Eligibility Cases on U.S. Innovation” (sounds like Alice lobbying right there!).

The Federal Circuit Bar Association also gives ‘access’ to Federal Circuit Judge Kara Stoll (if you’re rich enough to be able to afford these massive fees) and there’s this “Course on Federal Circuit Practice & Procedure”. “The course will provide a comprehensive study of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC),” says the outline. We intend to deal separately with CAFC in our next post, especially in relation to Alice.

“Watch them coming up with another new buzzword: SaMD.”Last but not least, Patent Docs promoted another lobbying event (‘webinar’) of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), which is lobbying hard to thwart Alice and water down Section 101.

All in all, we remain rather concerned to see this well-funded lobby for software patents. Especially in a country where it’s notoriously easy to simply buy policy. This lobby is already extremely harmful. It often suggests merely disguising such software patents, so courts will deem them invalid as “abstract” rather than invalid as “algorithm” or invalid as “software”.

“With the success we have achieved in early implementations along with the patents we’ve secured for our innovation,” said this press release from 6 days ago, “now is the time to build our sales channels and lead the way in 3D vision guidance software.”

“All in all, we remain rather concerned to see this well-funded lobby for software patents.”So they’re patenting software. In my research area in fact. We often complain about how computer vision patents get granted in the US, sometimes because they’re laden/decorated with buzzwords like “artificial intelligence”, “machine learning” and so on (these are all mathematics/algorithms).

How about this other new press release which says “Aquiire features patented, real-time B2B e-commerce shopping” (again, that’s software!).

Are examiners paying close enough attention to what they’re granting and thus making/rendering a de facto monopoly? It takes a lot of money to challenge wrongly-granted patents and Section 101 is all over these. PTAB would be all of these (if it was petitioned to recheck). Here we have PTAB hater Gross bragging about exceptional cases where IBM ‘survives’ Section 101 and citing the IAM interview with Iancu he goes again into his ALL CAPS rant mode: “SO WE CAN EXPECT MORE ONGOING 101 NONSENSE FROM PT” (Iancu does not intend to change this any time soon).

“Are examiners paying close enough attention to what they’re granting and thus making/rendering a de facto monopoly?”The funniest from him (this past week) is this claim that “PTAB continues indiscriminate use of “abstract idea” to destroy US based innovations…”

He must have meant “destroy software patents,” which were themselves destroying US based innovations in many domains other than software. Watchtroll has meanwhile published “Dueling Visions of the Patent System, Dueling Visions for America”, which again conflates patent maximalism with the “American Dream” and all that malarkey. We frankly try not to give them much attention anymore, except for entertainment purposes (they’re a very angry bunch that bullies judges and officials, including the outgoing USPTO Director). We’ll say more about judges and courts in our next post.

News About Patents is Often Just Advertisements Composed Directly or Indirectly by Companies That Sell Patents and Patent Services

Monday 19th of March 2018 05:36:58 AM

Reference: Infomercial

Summary: Infomercials are still dominant among news about patents, in effect drowning out the signal (real journalism) and instead pushing agenda that is detached from reality, pertinent facts, objective assessment, public interest and so on

HAVING just complained about IAM, which is like a front group of patent trolls that lie as habitually as the EPO‘s management does (and gets syndicated as ‘news’, e.g. by Google News), we’d like to draw readers’ attention to this advertisement from Douglas Kim Law Firm LLC (masquerading as a news ‘article’). Like we said many times over the years, a lot of so-called ‘news’ about patents is composed directly or indirectly by firms trying to just sell something. It does, in our assessment, make sites like ours more essential. The title of this advertisement (published in the form of a report but actually an infomercial) is “South Carolina [USPTO] patent grants higher than the national trends” (this may simply mean that more large companies are based in SC compared to the national average, i.e. it’s meaningless).

“This is actually IAM’s business model. The infomercials there are often euphemised as “international reports” or “industry reports” and a lot of the rest is pure lobbying.”Notice the author’s final words: “Doug Kim is an intellectual property attorney with Douglas Kim Law Firm LLC. He develops IP strategies, manages IP portfolios, and creates IP protection plans to complement companies’ business goals and to build intellectual capital. He can be reached at 864-616-9095 or”

They even give a phone number and E-mail. In the ‘report’! How shallow is that?

It’s pretty sad that news sites are stooping so low; they actively publish commercials with misleading headlines as though these were works of journalism. This is actually IAM’s business model. The infomercials there are often euphemised as “international reports” or “industry reports” and a lot of the rest is pure lobbying. Battistelli gets his money's (actually EPO stakeholders' money) worth there.

Blocks and Paywalls Won’t Protect the Patent Trolls’ Lobby From Scrutiny/Fact-Checking

Monday 19th of March 2018 05:01:58 AM

Summary: Joff Wild and Benoît Battistelli have much in common, including patent maximalism and chronic resistance to facts (or fact-checking)

THE EPO is well known for its censorship (of its union, of its staff representatives, of this site and many other things). They’re aggressive authoritarians (the management) and they lie routinely; they just don’t want to stand corrected.

“They’re aggressive authoritarians (the management) and they lie routinely; they just don’t want to stand corrected.”A few days ago we noticed that IAM had introduced a new kind of paywall, one which was ‘built’ around its blog, too (traditionally the paywall was reserved for other sections). This is new and I am guessing they don’t want critics to see what they are writing (mostly nonsense and patent propaganda). That says a lot about IAM, whose piece about the EPO (from half a day ago) we mentioned a couple of hours ago. They know they’re deflecting/lying, so they want not to be held accountable. IAM previously blocked me (before realising how futile a measure it was as it does not prevent me from seeing and rebutting their stuff). From now on it’s going to get a lot harder to know what they say to their subscribers (the patent microcosm, trolls etc.), but we’ll try our best. A few days ago they wrote about Microsoft's former General Manager of Outbound Licensing (patent extortion basically), who joined Sonos less than a year ago and is now leaving:

Senior licensing executive Tanya Moore is leaving Sonos after little over a year at the audio business. Her departure comes as something of a surprise given that the company has continued to enjoy considerable success in its litigation against rival speaker manufacturer Denon and looked set to capitalise on its strong IP position in the rapidly…

We rely on IAM to track some of these moves. These people whom they worship and whitewash are typically the worst patent bullies, so we try to keep abreast of such moves. Around the same time IAM also wrote a euphemisms-filled piece about patent shakedown in Southeast Asia, with sentences such as these:

There is a lot more IP creation going on in this region than patent filing and enforcement statistics might suggest. And that leaves plenty of scope for technology-based deals. As more patent-oriented companies like Japan’s IP Bridge continue to explore partnerships with local firms, creative and patient deal-making will be crucial.

Translated into crude English (bar the euphemisms:

There is a lot more patenting going on in this region than patent shakedowns and lawsuits might suggest. And that leaves plenty of scope for extortion and ‘protection’ money. As more patent trolls like Japan’s IP Bridge continue to explore patent settlements with local firms, aggressive and prolonged threat-making will be crucial.

IAM is quite a funny site in all sorts of ways. But we find it valuable for keeping track of trolls (which IAM obviously glorifies). We’ll try our best to get past the paywalls and still challenge the nonsense, such as their recent attacks on a study demonstrating insurgence of patent trolls in Europe.

China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

Monday 19th of March 2018 04:27:38 AM

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has a protectionist plan and a shared agenda (not just tactics) with Battistelli, who significantly lowered patent quality for the sake of raw quantity

Summary: China now targets other Asian countries/firms — more so than Western firms — with patent lawsuits; we expect this to get worse in years to come

KOREAN giant Samsung, which employs an extraordinary number of people, has traditionally been one of the top patenters (if not the top patenter, e.g. in 2012) at the EPO and USPTO, not just KIPO. Sure, it fell behind LG (the ‘other’ South Korean giant) this past year at the EPO, for whatever reason (we don’t want to speculate).

“China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live).”Samsung, at least traditionally, is not patent-aggressive. In other words, it rarely sues anyone except if sued first. The same is said about Korean culture in general. Some time ago China began assaulting LG with patents — to the point where LG withdrew/pulled a lot of its business out of China. Samsung too came under many attacks in China and then it retaliated, even in the US. The latest in this retaliation? Florian Müller reports on the injunction against Huawei (highly CPC-connected firm):

A few days ago, reported that United States District Judge William H. Orrick (Northern District of California) expressed an inclination at a Wednesday hearing to grant Samsung’s motion seeking to bar Huawei from enforcing a couple of Chinese patent injunctions before the U.S. court has determined whether it is, in light of its FRAND obligations, entitled to injunctive relief.

You won’t be surprised if you’ve been following the case here. Two weeks ago I published a post here with a headline that contained the following prognosis: “antisuit injunction looms large”

Even though I’m just a little blogger, it’s a bit daring to offer such a prediction based on the briefing record, especially since antisuit (here, actually just anti-enforcement) injunctions don’t come down every day. But for the reasons explained in my previous posts, above all Ninth Circuit case law, Huawei won’t be able to complain.

China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live). A few days ago Managing IP wrote:

Big changes to the intellectual property office, including combining the enforcement functions of trade marks and patents, are expected to strengthen IP enforcement in China

Managing IP speaks of “administrative overlap” at SIPO. The main issue with SIPO, however, is not “administrative overlap” but really low patent quality which already causes patent trolls to soar there and few large Chinese firms (which can afford to fight trolls in court) to merely consolidate power.

“…expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents.”China isn’t what patent maximalists claim it to be (we wrote many rebuttals to that effect recently) and the number of granted patents says little about innovation. Chinese patents at European and American patent offices are basically the ‘best of Mandarin’ (SIPO patents translated, sometimes with help from foreign workers). Those are the patents that are probably actually worth something.

Either way, expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents. They know that trade sanctions are imminent (if not already in tact, e.g. tariffs), so it’s a form of deterrent or counterattack.