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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 5 sec ago

With Unified Patent Court (UPC) on Its Death Throes, Team UPC Now Resorts to Promoting Pertinent Parts of the Agreement (UPCA)

6 hours 24 min ago

Patent extremists — like manufacturers of arms — rely on endless wars (litigation/feuds/threats)


Reference: Supplementary protection certificate

Summary: The latest writings about the Unitary Patent and agenda related to it, courtesy of the same people, firms and Web sites that spent several years lobbying for the UPC (i.e. for their own wallets)

TEAM UPC has been very quite over the past month. This was expected because the whole process had ground to a halt. There’s almost nothing to report and even EPO management barely mentions the UPC nowadays.

Something called “corporate disputes magazine” (never heard of it before, sounds like some pro-ISDS rag) wrote this misleading new piece which it then promoted by saying: “Despite the lingering uncertainty caused by #Brexit, the UK is inching closer to ratifying the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement…”

“Team UPC has been very quite over the past month.”“Clearly nonsensical wishful thinking,” I’ve responded to them, “because there has been no progress on this in Britain. UPC or Unitary Patent is a failed, begone coup attempt.”

This is their “FEATURE Article” and it’s not even long or insightful.

Another new tweet, citing this page in Bulgarian, says that “Bulgaria’s government files proposal with parliament to ratify the protocol to the #unifiedpatentcourt agreement.”

“There’s almost nothing to report and even EPO management barely mentions the UPC nowadays.”“Irrelevant,” I’ve told them, “as Germany and the UK are two thirds of those who must ratify and won’t [and thus] UPC is dead.” (the other third is France, Battistelli’s home country and also Barnier’s, the other UPC booster).

Team UPC still refuses to let go; a couple of days ago some vocal promoters of the UPC, Managing IP, were at it again. UPC agenda was again being pushed, this time at the “European Life Sciences Forum”. From their summary (the rest is behind paywall): “The UPC, second medical use patents, the doctrine of equivalents, SPCs, AI and much more were discussed at the European Life Sciences Forum…”

“Team UPC still refuses to let go; a couple of days ago some vocal promoters of the UPC, Managing IP, were at it again.”They even mention SPCs. One can imagine whose crowd was there: the embargo maximalists.

It’s worth noting that these articles about Europe are written not even by Europeans (e.g. Michael Loney in New York). They’re promoting SEP/FRAND in Europe. Managing IP also promotes embargoes by legal bullying, using its lobbying events that are stacked by bullies (as intended). See what they said a couple of days ago about “Managing IP’s International Patent Forum in London”:

European in-house counsel gave insights into the licensing of standard-essential patents at Managing IP’s International Patent Forum in London last month.

This is the kind of thing Team UPC constantly lobbies for.

“This is the kind of thing Team UPC constantly lobbies for.”About a day ago Team UPC/Bristows via Christopher Weber (Kather Augenstein) wrote about “injunctive relief” (euphemisms for embargoes) and later came Bristows’ SPC agenda and Patrick Wingrove’s article about Tilman Breitenstein. It’s all about litigation, embargoes, raids etc. That’s basically the vision Team UPC has for Europe. Will it ever happen? Well, we certainly won’t let it. It’s good for almost nobody except the litigation and protectionism ‘industry’.

Reporting Benoît Battistelli Before He Too ‘Pulls a Željko Topić’

6 hours 51 min ago

His next destruction target might be the French Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI)

Summary: The media is full of EPO-sponsored puff pieces about the EPO (very soon Joff Wild and Battistelli will promote software patents again), so we encourage readers to contact authorities in France and tell them what Battistelli has been doing in (or to) the European Patent Office (EPO)

THE EPO cannot simply put the past behind. EPO friends and colleagues of sacked and dead EPO employees refuse to let that happen. It’s not over. It’s not improving. The future of the EPO depends on its ability to hold saboteurs accountable. The saboteur in chief, Mr. Battistelli, is being mentioned to us quite a lot. He’s leaving in two months, but not before another act of abuse/corruption. With the relevant people from TAD named and with colleagues named we hope that some readers will initiate contact. These people need to know what Battistelli has done at the EPO. Among those named already:

arnaud.pericard@saintgermainenlaye.fr ecretariat.elus@saintgermainenlaye.fr anne.gommier@saintgermainenlaye.fr monique.dumont@saintgermainenlaye.fr patrick.lazard@saintgermainenlaye.fr pierre.degeorge@saintgermainenlaye.fr angeline.silly@saintgermainenlaye.fr pierre.camasses@saintgermainenlaye.fr pascal.leveque@saintgermainenlaye.fr didier.rouxel@saintgermainenlaye.fr agnes.cerighelli@saintgermainenlaye.fr armelle.rouly@saintgermainenlaye.fr

There’s also Johanna Julien. She’s the one in charge of TAD, where Battistelli diverts a lot of EPO budget, not to mention all the budget he granted to media in exchange for puff pieces. “Indeed,” one reader told us, “this is what I have been looking for. There is at least one specific mail address for the TAD: contact@tad-saintgermainenlaye.fr

“I guess employees have all similar addresses such as e.g. name.surname@saintgermainenlaye.fr. [we've already named TAD staff]

“Note there is no “tad-” before saintgermainenlaye.fr making it obvious that the TAD is part of the administration of the town. I guess all other emails have the same format. On the top of that there is the address of a managing director of the TAD: Sophie Bauer – Directrice du TAD sophie.bauer@saintgermainenlaye.fr

We do sincerely believe that some of these people don’t quite understand what is going on or what has been happening at the EPO. People ought to explain to them. We cannot sum this up in a sentence or a paragraph, having already published over 2,000 posts about it. We also have no French-speaking people/skills.

“We do sincerely believe that some of these people don’t quite understand what is going on or what has been happening at the EPO. People ought to explain to them.”“Feel free to tell [them] what do you think of the ignominious inventor of the year event and of the mess there getting in by collaborating with the “cancer” Battistelli,” our reader concluded.

For a short form/sort of summary, see this week’s "Battistelli Misuses EPO Budget to Saturate the European Media With Puff Pieces About His Event" (one among half a dozen or so articles on this subject). EPO budget is still being poured onto PR agencies, which yields new puff pieces like “Sugru inventor becomes first Irish EPO award nominee” or “UK Inventors Short-Listed for European Inventor Award 2018″ (again today). There’s yet another Microsoft puff piece. “The awards event will be held on June 7 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Paris,” says the last sentence. They probably do not even know that this last sentence might be the most important one.

Battistelli now pretends — over in his blog (warning: epo.org link) — that stakeholders play a role at the EPO (which he is robbing). Liar in Chief? Or worse? What he does in Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a lot worse than lying. His blog post, which was promoted almost immediately, as usual, by the PR team, is about AIPPI (see "Today’s European Patent Office Works for Patent Extremists and for Team UPC Rather Than for Europe or for Innovation"). Also today, ahead of Battistelli's and IAM's promotion of software patents in Europe, Joff Wild is bragging about giving a platform to Benoît Battistelli (after Benoît Battistelli’s PR agency paid IAM). See how money travels? Whose money? EPO budget. “This not only features keynote speakers Anderi Iancu, Sue Siegel and Benoît Battistelli, but also an array of senior corporate IP business leaders,” Wild wrote. IAM always gravitates towards money and towards patent trolls, which it is grooming every day.

Links 26/4/2018: KStars 2.9.5, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, NetBSD 8.0 RC1

10 hours 30 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Native Linux apps in Chrome OS will have a slick, electric Material Design theme

      The Chrome OS developers have been working out the stylistic elements of what you’ll see once you open your first native Linux apps in Chrome OS, and they’ve opted for Adapta, a popular Material Design-inspired Gtk theme that can be used on many of your favorite GNU/Linux distributions.

      For those of you not keeping track, the Chrome OS developers have been busy baking native container functionality into Chrome OS that allows the user-friendly startup of regular Linux applications in containers-within-VMs. This project, codename “Crostini,” is the largest change to Chrome OS since Android apps were introduced. Containers allow for applications to run in their own dedicated environment in isolation of the host OS – like a virtual machine, except unlike a VM, it doesn’t virtualize the whole OS to make the application work, it just bundles up the application and necessary baggage into an executable package.

  • Server
    • 3 questions about Kata Containers answered

      Kata Containers is a new open source project licensed under Apache 2.0 and governed by the OpenStack Foundation that combines the speed of containers with the security of virtual machines. Kata Containers will be featured in a number of upcoming sessions at OpenStack Summit and KubeCon EU. Can’t make it to either of those events? We’ve brought you answers to three of the top questions we hear from users.

    • What Stratis learned from ZFS, Btrfs, and Linux Volume Manager

      The reasons vary. First, let’s consider ZFS. Originally developed by Sun Microsystems for Solaris (now owned by Oracle), ZFS has been ported to Linux. However, its CDDL-licensed code cannot be merged into the GPL-licensed Linux source tree. Whether CDDL and GPLv2 are truly incompatible is a subject for debate, but the uncertainty is enough to make enterprise Linux vendors unwilling to adopt and support it.

      Btrfs is also well-established and has no licensing issues. For years it was the “Chosen One” for many users, but it just hasn’t yet gotten to where it needs to be in terms of stability and features.

      So, fuelled by a desire to improve the status quo and frustration with existing options, Stratis was conceived.

    • Heptio Debuts Gimbal Kubernetes Load Balancer Project

      Kubernetes startup Heptio has added another project to its roster of open-source efforts that provide expanded capabilities for container orchestration users.

    • Heptio Launches Kubernetes Load Balancing Application
    • The Role of Site Reliability Engineering in Microservices

      You can always spot the hot jobs in technology: they’re the ones that didn’t exist 10 years ago. While Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) did definitely exist a decade ago, they were mostly inside Google and a handful of other Valley innovators. Today, however, the SRE role exists everywhere, from Uber to Goldman Sachs, everyone is now in the business of keeping their sites online and stable.

      While SREs are hotshots in the industry, their role in a microservices environment is not just a natural fit that goes hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly. Instead, while SREs and microservices evolved in parallel inside the world’s software companies, the former actually makes life far more difficult for the latter.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Lying with statistics, distributions, and popularity contests on Cooking With Linux (without a net)

      It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for Cooking With Linux (without a net), sponsored and supported by Linux Journal. Today, I’m courting controversy by discussing numbers, OS popularity, and how to pick the right Linux distribution if you want to be where are the beautiful people hang out. And yes, I’ll do it all live, without a net, and with a high probability of falling flat on my face.

  • Kernel Space
    • The rhashtable documentation I wanted to read

      The rhashtable data structure is a generic resizable hash-table implementation in the Linux kernel, which LWN first introduced as “relativistic hash tables” back in 2014. I thought at the time that it might be fun to make use of rhashtables, but didn’t, until an opportunity arose through my work on the Lustre filesystem. Lustre is a cluster filesystem that is currently in drivers/staging while the code is revised to meet upstream requirements. One of those requirements is to avoid duplicating similar functionality where possible. As Lustre contains a resizable hash table, it really needs to be converted to use rhashtables instead — at last I have my opportunity.

      It didn’t take me long to discover that the rhashtable implementation in Linux 4.15 is quite different from the one that originally landed in Linux 3.17, so the original LWN introduction is now barely relevant. I also quickly discovered that the in-kernel documentation was partially wrong, far from complete, and didn’t provide any sort of “getting started” guide. Nevertheless I persisted and eventually developed a fairly complete understanding of the code, which seems worth sharing. This article gives an introduction to the use of the rhashtable interfaces without getting into too many internal implementation details. A followup will explain how rhashtables work internally and show how some of the mechanism details leak though the interfaces.

    • The second half of the 4.17 merge window

      By the time the 4.17 merge window was closed and 4.17-rc1 was released, 11,769 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository. 4.17 thus looks to be a typically busy development cycle, with a merge window only slightly more busy than 4.16 had. Some 6,000 of those changes were pulled after last week’s summary was written.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Developers: Prepare Your Drivers for Real-Time Linux

        Although Real-Time Linux (RT Linux) has been a staple at Embedded Linux Conferences for years — here’s a story on the RT presentations in 2007 — many developers have viewed the technology to be peripheral to their own embedded projects. Yet as RT, enabled via the PREEMPT_RT patch, prepares to be fully integrated into the mainline kernel, a wider circle of developers should pay attention. In particular, Linux device driver authors will need to ensure that their drivers play nice with RT-enabled kernels.

        At the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, National Instruments software engineer Julia Cartwright, an acting maintainer on a stable release of the RT patch, gave a well-attended presentation called “What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT.” Cartwright started with an overview of RT, which helps provide guarantees for user task execution for embedded applications that require a high level of determinism. She then described the classes of driver-related problems that can have a detrimental impact to RT, as well as potential resolutions.

        One of the challenges of any real-time operating system is that most target applications have two types of tasks: those with real-time requirements and latency sensitivity, and those for non-time critical tasks such as disk monitoring, throughput, or I/O. “The two classes of tasks need to run together and maybe communicate with one another with mixed criticality,” explained Cartwright. “You must resolve two different degrees of time sensitivity.”

        One solution is to split the tasks by using two different hardware platforms. “You could have an Arm Cortex-R, FPGA, or PLD based board for super time-critical stuff, and then a Cortex-A series board with Linux,” said Cartwright. “This offers the best isolation, but it raises the per unit costs, and it’s hard to communicate between the domains.”

      • Clarifying the Linux Real Time Issue

        I recently posted an article about the increasing development and availability of Linux-powered automation devices. This is a clear industry trend that’s unavoidable for anyone following the automation technology industry.

        Shortly after posting the article, I heard from a reader who wrote: “I read your article and I am surprised that you would promote the idea that anyone would use Linux for anything critical. It isn’t even a real-time control system. It can be used for non-critical applications, but the article implies that industry is adopting it for everything.”

        This reader brings up a valid point. Linux is not a real-time OS in and of itself. As Vibhoosh Gupta of GE Automation & Controls noted in the original article, GE uses “Type 1 hypervisor technology to run a real-time OS, such as VxWorks, running traditional control loops alongside our PAC Edge technology operating on Linux.”

        [...]

        The Linux Foundation launched the RTL (Real Time Linux) Collaborative Project in October 2015. According to the Foundation, the project was “founded by industry experts to advance technologies for the robotics, telecom, manufacturing and medical industries. The aim of the RTL collaborative project is mainlining the PREEMPT_RT patch.”

        While there are plenty of mission critical applications running Linux OS with real-time extensions—as highlighted by GE, Opto and Wago—the Linux Foundation notes on its site that there remains “much work to be done.”

      • Linux Launches Deep Learning Foundation For Open Source Growth In AI

        The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organisation which will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. The organisation will strive to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere, said a statement published by LF.

        Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE, among others. LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonise their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.

      • OpenTracing: Distributed Tracing’s Emerging Industry Standard

        What was traditionally known as just Monitoring has clearly been going through a renaissance over the last few years. The industry as a whole is finally moving away from having Monitoring and Logging silos – something we’ve been doing and “preaching” for years – and the term Observability emerged as the new moniker for everything that encompasses any form of infrastructure and application monitoring. Microservices have been around for a over a decade under one name or another. Now often deployed in separate containers it became obvious we need a way to trace transactions through various microservice layers, from the client all the way down to queues, storage, calls to external services, etc. This created a new interest in Transaction Tracing that, although not new, has now re-emerged as the third pillar of observability.

      • There’s a Server in Every Serverless Platform [Ed: "Serverless" is a lie. It's a server. One that you do not control; one/s that control/s you. Even Swapnil finally or belatedly gets it. The LF really likes buzzwords.]

        Serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS) is a new buzzword created by an industry that loves to coin new terms as market dynamics change and technologies evolve. But what exactly does it mean? What is serverless computing?

      • Take the Open Source Job Survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation

        Interest in hiring open source professionals is on the rise, with more companies than ever looking for full-time hires with open source skills and experience. To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Jim Keller Reportedly Joins Intel After AMD, Tesla Stint

        Legendary CPU designer Jim Keller has reportedly joined Intel following his brief stint at Tesla after leading the Zen team at AMD.

      • AMDGPU Linux Kernel Driver Gets Patches For Vega M Support – Intel Kabylake G

        Earlier this month Vega M support came to RadeonSI OpenGL, with Vega M being the Radeon graphics found within Intel’s Kabylake G processors. There was then Vega M support for the RADV Vulkan driver but these user-space drivers won’t work without the kernel bits and now there is that support with 32 AMDGPU DRM patches.

        Alex Deucher of AMD last night mailed out the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver patches for supporting accelerated graphics on Vega M / Kabylake G. These patches are fairly straight-forward and mostly involve support for loading new firmware files for “VegaM” and then mostly taking the driver’s existing Polaris code-paths. Yes, the GPU for Intel is advertised as being part of the “Vega” family, but from the RadeonSI/RADV/AMDGPU driver patches, the indications are that it’s really more in common with Polaris at least from the driver perspective.

      • NVIDIA 396.18.05 Linux Vulkan Driver Released With Fixes

        Just a week after the NVIDIA 396.18.02 Linux driver beta is an updated Linux driver build (and for Windows too).

      • X.Org Server 1.20 Git Corrects DRI3 Fallout For Non-Modesetting DDX Drivers

        With the recent release candidates to the long overdue X.Org Server 1.20, OpenGL rendering has been broken when using DDX drivers like Intel and Nouveau rather than the generic xf86-video-modesetting. That was fixed today.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • 3 Students Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2018

        Since 2006, we have had the opportunity for Google to sponsor students to help out with Krita. For 2018 we have 3 talented students working over the summer. Over the next few months they will be getting more familiar with the Krita code base and working on their projects. They will be blogging about their experience and what they are learning along the way. We will be sure to share any progress or information along the way.

        Here is a summary of their projects and what they hope to achieve.

      • Plasma widgets – Beltway Bandit Unlimited

        The concept of addons is an interesting one. At some point over the past decade or two, companies developing (successful) software realized that bundling an ever-growing code base into their products in order to meet the spiraling tower of requests from their users would result in unsustainable bloat and complexity that would not warrant the new functionality. And so, the idea of addons was born.

        Addons come in many flavors – extensions, plugins, applets, scripts, and of course, widgets. A large number of popular programs have incorporated them, and when done with style, the extra functionality becomes as important as the core application itself. Examples that come to mind: Firefox, Notepad++, VLC, Blender. And then, there’s the Plasma desktop environment. Since inception, KDE has prided itself on offering complete solutions, and the last incarnation of its UI framework is no different. Which begs the question, what, how and why would anyone need Plasma widgets? We explore.

        [...]

        Conclusion

        A good mean needs no seasoning, indeed. And Plasma is a proof of that, with the widgets the best example. Remarkably, this desktop environment manages to juggle the million different usage needs and create a balanced compromise that offers pretty much everything without over-simplifying the usage in any particular category. It’s a really amazing achievement, because normally, the sum of all requests is a boring, useless muddle.

        Plasma’s default showing is rich, layered, complex yet accessible, and consistent. And that means it does not really need any widgets. This shows. The extras are largely redundant, with some brilliant occasional usage models here and there, but nothing drastic or critical that you don’t get out of the box. This makes Plasma different from most other addons-blessed frameworks, as they do significantly benefit from the extras, and in some cases, the extensions and plugins are critical in supplementing the missing basics.

        And so, if you wonder, whether you’ll embark on a wonderful journey of discovery and fun with Plasma widgets, the answer is no. Plasma offers 99% of everything you may need right there, and the extras are more to keep people busy rather than give you anything cardinal. After all, if it’s missing, it should be an integral part of the desktop environment, and the KDE folks know this. So if you’re disappointed with this article, don’t be. It means the baseline is solid, and that’s where you journey of wonders and adventure should and will be focused.

      • My KDE PIM Update

        This blog post is long overdue, but now that I’m back home from the KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse, which took place last weekend, there’s some more news to report.

      • KDAB at QtDay 2018

        QtDay is the yearly Italian conference about Qt and Qt-related technologies. Its 2018 edition (the seventh so far!) will be once more in the beautiful city of Florence, on May 23 and 24. And, once more, KDAB will be there.

      • Google Summer of Code 2018 with KDE

        It’s been 2 days since the GSoC accepted student list was announced and I’m still getting goosebumps thinking about the moment I saw my name on the website.

        I started contributing to open source after attending a GSoC session in our college by one of our senior and a previous GSoC student with KDE: Aroonav Mishra. I was very inspired by the program and that defined the turning point of my life.

        [...]

        Then I came across GCompris and it caught my eye. I started contributing to it and the mentors are really very helpful and supportive. They always guided me whenever I needed any help or was stuck at anything. Under their guidance, I learnt many things during the period of my contributions. I had never thought I would get this far.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Dependencies with code generators got a lot smoother with Meson 0.46.0

        Most dependencies are libraries. Almost all build systems can find dependency libraries from the system using e.g. pkg-config. Some can build dependencies from source. Some, like Meson, can do both and toggle between them transparently. Library dependencies might not be a fully solved problem but we as a community have a fairly good grasp on how to make them work.

        However there are some dependencies where this is not enough. A fairly common case is to have a dependency that has some sort of a source code generator. Examples of this include Protocol Buffers, Qt’s moc and glib-mkenums and other tools that come with Glib. The common solution is to look up these binaries from PATH. This works for dependencies that are already installed on the system but fails quite badly when the dependencies are built as subprojects. Bootstrapping is also a bit trickier because you may need to write custom code in the project that provides the executables.

      • Expanding Amtk to support GUIs with headerbar

        I initially created the Amtk library to still be able to conveniently create a traditional UI without using deprecated GTK+ APIs, for GNOME LaTeX. But when working on Devhelp (which has a modern UI with a GtkHeaderBar) I noticed that some pieces of information were duplicated in order to create the menus and the GtkShortcutsWindow.

      • GLib/GIO async operations and Rust futures + async/await

        Unfortunately I was not able to attend the Rust+GNOME hackfest in Madrid last week, but I could at least spend some of my work time at Centricular on implementing one of the things I wanted to work on during the hackfest. The other one, more closely related to the gnome-class work, will be the topic of a future blog post once I actually have something to show.

      • Introducing Chafa
      • Infra Hackfest
      • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 3 (conclusion)

        I’m back home now, jetlagged but very happy that gnome-class is in a much more advanced a state than it was before the hackfest. I’m very thankful that practically everyone worked on it!

      • GNOME loves Rust Hackfest in Madrid

        The last week was the GNOME loves Rust hackfest in Madrid. I was there, only for the first two days, but was a great experience to meet the people working with Rust in GNOME a great community with a lot of talented people.

      • GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 Now Works With Elogind, Allows For Wayland On Non-Systemd Distros

        GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 has been released as the first development snapshot of this window manager / compositor in the trek towards GNOME 3.30.

        Mutter 3.29.1 overshot the GNOME 3.29.1 release by one week, but for being a first development release of a new cycle has some pretty interesting changes. Among the work found in Mutter 3.29.1 includes:

        - Mutter can now be built with elogind. That is the systemd-logind as its own standalone package. This in turn allows using Mutter with its native Wayland back-end on Linux distributions using init systems besides systemd.

  • Distributions
    • Screenshots/Screencasts
      • What’s New in Calculate Linux 17.22.2

        Calculate Linux 17.12.2 KDE Edition is the latest release of Linux distribution based on Gentoo, Calculate Linux 17.12 series. This release uses KDE plasma 5.11 as default desktop environment, along with KDE Frameworks 5.43 and KDE Applications 17.08.3. Powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.14 series, which means that it offers support for the latest hardware components available on the market. Also include graphical tool for network acces to the Calculate utilities 3 server, Calculate Console 3.5 series.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • What’s New in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            Have a look at the new features coming to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

          • Welcome To The (Ubuntu) Bionic Age: Behind communitheme: interviewing Aaron

            I’m Aaron Papin and I’m from Trinidad and Tobago. I work at an IT consultancy that specializes in open-source solutions for SMBs. I’m a technician, but I also work in designing and deploying websites and even on ads from time to time. It’s pretty freeform and fun.

            I knew of Linux for years, but I only dove in after a hard drive failure a couple years ago. Because why not at that point? It didn’t take me long to start using it mostly full time (games). Even though I’ve worked on my own themes in the past, I’m still pretty new to the Linux community. Hobby-wise, I really like TV, cooking, video games and keeping fit when I’m not on an “extended break”.

          • Purism and UBports officially collaborate to offer Ubuntu Touch on Librem 5

            Purism and UBports are partnering to offer Ubuntu Touch as a supported operating system on Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone.

            Being able to work with Purism and focus on the Librem 5 hardware platform ensures that the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system developed by UBports will be well supported, tightly integrated, and that future compatibility will remain. When the Librem 5 is delivered to pre-order customers, it will become one of just a few smartphones that support the free and open source operating system.

          • Open Source Smartphone Librem 5 Will Officially Support Ubuntu Touch

            When Canonical decided to halt the development of Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system, it came as a surprise to many. However, due to the lack of interest of smartphone manufacturers and community, this tough decision was taken. Later, UBPorts decided to take up the Ubuntu Touch development work.

          • Purism Partners with UBports to Offer Ubuntu Touch on the Librem 5, Red Hat Storage One Launches and More

            Purism has partnered with UBports to offer Ubuntu Touch on its Librem 5 smartphone. By default, the smartphone runs Purism’s PureOS, which supports GNOME and KDE Plasma mobile interfaces. UBports is ensuring Ubuntu Touch will run on the phones as well, so the Librem 5 can “now offer users three fully free and open mobile operating system options”.

          • Checking Out Ubuntu 18.04′s Hardware/Software Software Survey

            Back in February was the controversial announcement that Canonical would begin offering a hardware/software survey for Ubuntu installations to premiere with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. This week while running some benchmarks of the effectively final release of Bionic Beaver, I noticed they finally got the feature exposed to users. Here’s what it looks like and some of the hardware and software information detailed in these opt-out reports to Canonical.

            Back in February the plan was to add a checkbox (checked by default) where the user could opt-out of the hardware/software survey, but otherwise various system details would be submitted to Canonical’s servers, but they would not be recording the user’s IP address. In the form it’s now in for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release, it’s not part of the installer but has been punted off to be part of the first-run process when initially logging into your new Ubuntu system – thereby offering the survey to those that may have received Ubuntu through an OEM install, etc.

          • How to Move Ubuntu’s Launcher Bar to the Bottom or Right
          • How to Install and Configure OpenSSH on Ubuntu 16.04
          • How to Manage Docker Containers using Portainer on Ubuntu
          • How to Use Sensu and RabbitMQ on Ubuntu to Monitor Your WordPress Website
          • How to Install PyroCMS on Ubuntu Linux
          • How to Find Packages Owns Specific File on Ubuntu
          • Install Dropbox In Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server
          • Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04

            This list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 18.04 helps you get started with Bionic Beaver for a smoother desktop experience.

          • How to Upgrade from Ubuntu 17.10 or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Before we go through the upgrade process in more detail, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, make sure you have a recent backup of your most important files on an external drive, do it now! Second of all, if you’re upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, you’ll have to deal with some major desktop changes if you use Unity.

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) uses the Unity desktop environment by default, but Ubuntu 18.04 LTS uses the GNOME desktop environment with a highly customized interface to make it look like Unity, which Canonical said it won’t be removed during the upgrade process and will remain available as an alternative if you still want to use it.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is out

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has been released. The new version of Ubuntu is available in Desktop, Server, Cloud and core variants, and it is a long-term support release which means that the Desktop, Server, Core and Kylin releases will be supported for five years until April 2023.

            You can download the release version by following links in the release notes. The main Ubuntu website and download pages have yet to be updated.

            Ubuntu systems running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or Ubuntu 17.10 can be upgraded in the following way

          • 14 Biggest Features Of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            Ubuntu 18.04 is scheduled to arrive today. When Canonical will offically release the OS, we’ll be updating this article with download links (they’ll be available here). Till then, get to know about all the biggest Ubuntu 18.04 features.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • What Do High School Students Know or Understand about Open Source Software?

    Only 20 years after the label “Open Source” was coined, the entire tech ecosystem has embraced its values of sharing, collaboration and freedom. Although Open Source Software is pervasive to our everyday life, does everyone and especially the younger generation realize how to leverage it?

    Last summer, over the course of 3 weeks, High School students with no prior experience in Computer Science (CS) joined Holberton School’s first Immersion Coding Camp to learn how to code and build their own website.

  • TIBCO Messaging now supports Apache Kafka

    Apache Kafka is a distributed open source publish-subscribe messaging system designed to replace traditional message brokers – as such, it can be classed as a stream-processing software platform. The project aims to provide a unified, high-throughput, low-latency platform for handling real-time data feeds. It is written in the Scala and Java programming languages.

  • Former Nimble CEO Becomes New Leader Of Open-Source Container Vendor Sysdig
  • Propy Announces An Open Source Developer Program and gets listed on Bittrex

    On April 17, 2018, global real estate store with a decentralized title registry Propy announced their open source Developer Program. The news were followed by an announcement from Bittrex, the most popular U.S.-based blockchain trading platform, on listing the PRO token. Propy users need tokens to execute the purchase process for real estate, located in California, as of today.

    The idea behind Propy: it allows anyone to buy or sell real estate, anywhere, online. Propy provides an efficient crypto and fiat payment and an immutable record on the blockchain, ensuring that title deeds and property rights will be there forever.

  • Robo-Taxi Startup Voyage to Make its Autonomous Safety Systems Open Source

    Silicon Valley startup Voyage, which recently launched a pilot autonomous ride-hailing service in two retirement communities in California and Florida, is taken a proactive, safety first approach. Starting today, the company announced today it is opening its safety requirements, test scenarios, metrics, tools, and source code that it has developed for its own autonomous taxis.

  • Voyage open sources its approach to autonomous vehicle safety

    In an effort to improve autonomous vehicle safety, Voyage is open sourcing its Open Autonomous Safety (OAS) library that contains the company’s internal safety procedures, materials, and test code that is intended to supplement the existing safety programs at autonomous vehicle startups. Voyage is the self-driving business from the educational organization Udacity.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox release speed wins

        Sylvestre wrote about how we were able to ship new releases for Nightly, Beta, Release and ESR versions of Firefox for Desktop and Android in less than a day in response to the pwn2own contest.

        People commented on how much faster the Beta and Release releases were compared to the ESR release, so I wanted to dive into the releases on the different branches to understand if this really was the case, and if so, why?

        [..]

        We can see that Firefox 59 and 60.0b4 were significantly faster to run than ESR 52 was! What’s behind this speedup?

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.1 Alpha 1 Is Ready To Roll For Advancing The Open-Source Office

      LibreOffice 6.1 Alpha 1 was tagged overnight as the first development release towards this next updated open-source office suite release succeeding the big LibreOffice 6.0.

      LibreOffice 6.1.0 is set to be released by the middle of August and for that to happen the alpha release has now been hit followed by the beta release this time next month, and the release candidates to come through the month of July. The feature freeze and branching occurs at next month’s beta stage while the hard code freeze is expected for the middle of July.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
    • Should we open source election software?

      Late last year, R. James Woolsey and Brian Fox wrote an op-ed piece about the security benefits of open sourcing election software. Woolsey is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Fox is the creator of several open source components, including the GNU Bash shell, and a board member of the National Association of Voting Officials.

      Woolsey and Fox assert as a main piece of their argument that open source software exposes the code to the larger developer community, allowing many eyes to comb through that code for security vulnerabilities, transparency that makes it more secure than software developed by commercial organizations.

      If the open source model for voting systems gains traction, as the editorial advocates, effective management of open source security will become extremely important. At the 2017 DEF CON 25 convention it took only a few hours for white hat hackers to break into five different voting machines, one via a vulnerability in an open-source component.

      The reality is that all software, whether developed in a transparent manner or otherwise, contains defects. Regardless of available resources and expertise, uncovering a defect can be challenging.

  • Programming/Development
    • Node.js announces the first release in its latest 10.x release line

      Node.js has announced 10.0.0, the first release in its 10.x line. Starting in October 2018, the Node.js 10.x releases will be the new release line with Long Term Support. Releases in the Long Term Support line focus on stability, extended support, and providing a reliable platform for applications of any scale.

    • Enhance your Python with an interactive shell

      The Python programming language has become one of the most popular languages used in IT. One reason for this success is it can be used to solve a variety of problems. From web development to data science, machine learning to task automation, the Python ecosystem is rich in popular frameworks and libraries. This article presents some useful Python shells available in the Fedora packages collection to make development easier.

    • Best Free Python Web Frameworks – Rapid Development

      Python is an increasingly popular programming language. It ranks very highly on sites listing the popularity of programming languages, such as the TIOBE Index, IEEE Spectrum ranking, and the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language.

      The prominence of Python is, in part, due to its flexibility, with the language frequently used by web and desktop developers, system administrators, data scientists, and machine learning engineers. It’s easy to learn and powerful to develop any kind of system with the language. Python’s large user base offers a virtuous circle. There’s more support available from the open source community for budding programmers seeking assistance.

    • Intel OpenCL NEO Compute Stack Moves To “Production” Quality OpenCL 2.1

      This year Intel open-sourced their “NEO” OpenCL compute stack included a new compute runtime, a new LLVM/Clang-based compiler, makes use of the Intel Graphics Memory Management Library (GMMLIB), etc. While we don’t hear too much from the NEO effort on an ongoing basis, their OpenCL 2.1 support for recent hardware generations is now to production quality.

      From early March was my last reporting and testing on the Intel OpenCL NEO effort in Trying Out The New Intel Open-Source OpenCL NEO Compute Driver.

    • GitLab 10.7 Released with Open Source Web IDE and Extended SAST Support
    • GCC 8.1 RC1 Released, The Big Compiler Update Could Officially Debut Next Week

      This morning I wrote about GCC 8 being branched and development on the master branch now being open for GCC 9.0. The GCC 8.1 release candidate has now been issued with the official release perhaps coming next week.

      Jakub Jelinek of Red Hat announced on the mailing list that they reached zero P1 regressions (the most critical) and less than 100 P2/P3 regressions, so the GCC 8 code was branched. As part of this status report he mentioned that if no show-stopper bugs appear, the developers would like to officially release GCC 8.1.0 by the end of next week or soon thereafter. But if any important fixes come about, a second release candidate may be warranted.

    • GCC 8 Has Been Branched, GCC 9.0 Development On Main

      The GNU Compiler Collection 8 stable release (GCC 8.1) is almost ready to make its debut.

      As of this morning, the GCC 8 code has been branched from master. The branched GCC 8 code is now marked as a pre-release.

Leftovers
  • L.A. Lawmakers Looking To Take Legal Action Against Google For Not Solving Long-Running City Traffic Problems

    The city’s government believes the traffic/mapping app has made Los Angeles’ congestion worse. That the very body tasked with finding solutions to this omnipresent L.A. problem is looking to hold a private third party company responsible for its own shortcomings isn’t surprising. If a third-party app can’t create better traffic flow, what chance do city planners have? But beyond the buck-passing on congestion, the city may have a point about Waze making driving around Los Angeles a bit more hazardous.

    For several months, it’s been noted that Waze has been sending drivers careening down the steepest grade in the city — Baxter Street. Drivers seeking routes around Glendale Ave. traffic choke points have been routed to a street with a 32% grade, increasing the number of accidents located there and generally resulting in barely-controlled mayhem. When any sort of precipitation falls from the sky, the city goes insane. Drivers bypassing Glendale are now hurtling down a steep, water-covered hill, compounding the problem.

  • Even Microsoft’s lost interest in Windows Phone: Skype and Yammer apps killed

    Microsoft’s given users of its collaboration apps on Windows Phone under a month’s warning of their demise.

    A support note from late last week advises that “Windows phone apps for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer are retiring on May 20, 2018.”

    “Retiring” means all three will vanish from the Microsoft store on May 20, with differing results.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Interpol Highlights Takedown Of Deadly Global Fake Food And Drink Operations [Ed: Interpol won’t arrest very rich individuals accused of serious crimes, or even a US President who abused women (then called it ‘fake news’), but it goes after ‘fake food’. If Interpol was serious about food health rather than protecting billionaires' food/beverage corporations from imitation/competition, it would also crack down on drinks with toxic chemicals like Coke ('diet' or otherwise).]

      Weevil-infested flour, deadly methanol added to alcohol, borax to make products seem fresher, pesticide-laced shrimp, fake medicines. Global police organisation Interpol today detailed a multi-agency operation that dismantled nearly 50 criminal networks worldwide that provided fake and substandard food and drink that put people in danger and killed dozens. Operation Opson, as the widespread was called, recovered some 3,620 tonnes and nearly 10 million litres of hazardous fake food and drink, with a value of EUR 55 million, it said in a release.

    • The Flint Water Crisis Isn’t Over

      Four years to the day that the Flint water crisis began, there has been notable progress. Multiple tests, both independent and government-run, have shown average lead levels dropping back below the federal action level as a result of switching the city from the highly corrosive Flint River back to the safe and clean Detroit water system. In response to the testing, Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced that the state would no longer provide free bottled water to the city’s residents, but it would continue to provide water filters free of charge.

      But many of the city’s residents don’t much believe the water’s safe. Who can blame them? Because of decisions made by state-appointed emergency managers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, they were forced to use water laced with dangerously high levels of lead, a potent neurotoxin, and contaminated by bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease, which claimed at least 12 lives during the 18 months the city used the Flint River as its municipal water source. Despite the concerns voiced by residents and mounting scientific evidence that a massive problem existed, those same officials repeatedly offered assurances that the water was safe and attacked the credibility of those attempting to reveal the truth.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Hackers Leaked The Code Of iPhone Cracking Device “GrayKey”, Attempted Extortion

      The mysterious piece of hardware GrayKey might give a sense of happiness to cops because they can get inside most of the iPhone models currently active, including the iPhone X.

      The $30,000 device is known to crack a 4-digit iPhone passcode in a matter of a few hours, and a six-digit passcode in 3 days, or possibly 11 hours in ideal scenarios. That’s why security experts suggest that iOS users should keep an alphanumeric passcode instead of an all-number passcode.

    • Someone Is Trying to Extort iPhone Crackers GrayShift With Leaked Code

      Law enforcement agencies across the country are buying or have expressed interest in buying GrayKey, a device that can unlock up-to-date iPhones. But Grayshift, the company that makes the device, has attracted some other attention as well.

      Last week, an unknown party quietly leaked portions of GrayKey code onto the internet, and demanded over $15,000 from Grayshift—ironically, the price of an entry-level GrayKey—in order to stop publishing the material. The code itself does not appear to be particularly sensitive, but Grayshift confirmed to Motherboard the brief data leak that led to the extortion attempt.

    • It’s not you, it’s Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files

      Google has confirmed spammers can not only send out spoofed emails that appear to have been sent by Gmail users, but said messages also appear in those users’ sent mail folders.

      The Chocolate Factory on Monday told The Register that someone has indeed created and sent spam with forged email headers. These not only override the send address, so that it appears a legit Gmail user sent the message, but it also mysteriously shows up in that person’s sent box as if they had typed it and emitted themselves. In turn, the messages would also appear in their inboxes as sent mail.

    • Cilium 1.0 Advances Container Networking With Improved Security

      For last two decades, the IPtables technology has been the cornerstone of Linux networking implementations, including new container models. On April 24, the open-source Cilium 1.0 release was launched, providing a new alternative to IPtables by using BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter), which improves both networking and security.

      The Cilium project’s GitHub code repository defines the effort as Linux Native, HTTP Aware Network Security for Containers. Cilium development has been driven to date by stealth startup Covalent, which is led by CEO Dan Wendlandt, who well-known in the networking community for his work at VMware on software-defined networking, and CTO Thomas Graf, who is a core Linux kernel networking developer.

    • Hijack of Amazon’s internet domain service used to reroute web traffic for two hours unnoticed

      Between 11am until 1pm UTC today, DNS traffic — the phone book of the [I]nternet, routing you to your favourite websites — was hijacked by an unknown actor.

    • Amazon Wants to Put Some Junk In Your Trunk

      Amazon wants inside your home. It wants to let other people inside your home. Now, it wants to deliver packages inside your car. Don’t worry, though. This one probably isn’t for you.

    • Suspicious event hijacks Amazon traffic for 2 hours, steals cryptocurrency

      Amazon lost control of a small number of its cloud services IP addresses for two hours on Tuesday morning when hackers exploited a known Internet-protocol weakness that let them to redirect traffic to rogue destinations. By subverting Amazon’s domain-resolution service, the attackers masqueraded as cryptocurrency website MyEtherWallet.com and stole about $150,000 in digital coins from unwitting end users. They may have targeted other Amazon customers as well.

    • PyRoMine malware disables security & mines Monero using NSA exploits [Ed: Microsoft Windows works for the NSA. Now it works for any cracker out there.]
    • Email security in 2018
    • Should You Build Your Own DIY Security System?
  • Defence/Aggression
    • How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen

      In the first two parts of this report, I have estimated that about 2.4 million people have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while about 1.2 million have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. In the third and final part of this report, I will estimate how many people have been killed as a result of U.S. military and CIA interventions in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

      Of the countries that the U.S. has attacked and destabilized since 2001, only Iraq has been the subject of comprehensive “active” mortality studies that can reveal otherwise unreported deaths. An “active” mortality study is one that “actively” surveys households to find deaths that have not previously been reported by news reports or other published sources.

    • Talk Nation Radio: Ray McGovern: Russia and U.S. Senators Want Disarmament, U.S. Media Does Not

      Ray McGovern explains how the media, the “blood-drenched arms merchants,” and the neocon “crazies” (like national security adviser John Bolton) have thwarted President Trump’s fledgling efforts, backed by three Senators, to respond positively to Putin’s offer to talk arms control.

      Ray also reveals information he’s learned from the ground in Syria about how many of those U.S., UK, and French missiles were shot down on April 14 before they reached their Syrian targets; he discusses the buffoonish l’Affaire Skripal with chemicals “of a type developed by Russia;” dismisses drivel from two Johns, McCain and Bolton, about alleged “Russian cyber-attacks” being an “act of war;” and Ray also give us a dose of nostalgia as he sings a bar from “Once in love with Amy.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Cameroon: Govt Cracks Down on Social Media Leaks

      “It is not only about those who are leaking official information, but there has been [a] systematic crackdown against all those who try to dissent in Cameroon,” he said. “So it’s a very alarming situation, and civic space in Cameroon has been closing very considerably in the last few years.”

    • The WikiLeaks Shop is Accepting Litecoin (LTC)

      The official merchandising outlet for WikiLeaks has announced that it now is accepting Litecoin (LTC) for purchases.

      Charlie Lee, Litecoin founder, has been on a recruitment drive of late, putting out the call for merchants and businesses to begin accepting the LTC digital token for payments and purchases. It appears the WikiLeaks Foundation has jumped at the chance, having previously adopted Litecoin for the acceptance of donations alongside Bitcoin (BTC), ZCash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR)

      Consumers may now purchase WikiLeaks-related merchandise through six cryptocurrencies, Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCC), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC).

    • Court Summons Trump Campaign, Assange in Lawsuit by US Democrats – Documents

      The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has issued summons’ to 14 groups and individuals notifying them of the lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over alleged Russian interference and collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election, court documents said on Wednesday.

  • Finance
    • Power-sucking Bitcoin ‘mines’ spark backlash

      But as the once-high-flying bitcoin market has waned, so too has the enthusiasm for bitcoin miners. Mining operations with stacks of servers suck up so much electricity that they are in some cases causing power rates to spike for ordinary customers. And some officials question whether it’s all worth it for the relatively few jobs created.

    • Mulvaney, Watchdog Agency’s Leader, Advises Bankers on Ways to Curtail It

      Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the bureau, also described the two types of people he was most responsive to as a lawmaker: constituents and the lobbyists who contributed to his campaign.

    • China, Russia Are Most Restricted Countries For Digital Trade, Index Says [Ed: Another "shame list" that seems a tad political, putting pressure on Russia and China based on how subservient they are to NATO/Western billionaires]

      A new European index measuring the extent to which 64 countries restrict digital trade found China at the top of the list, while New Zealand was the most open.

      The Digital Trade Restrictiveness Index was developed by the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE). ECIPE espoused the view in the report that restricted trade drives up costs for businesses and consumers, while free digital trade gives more access to consumers and helps business become more efficient and reach more customers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Hidden Hand of a Casino Company in Trump’s Contact with Vietnam — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      Trump’s first call with the Vietnamese prime minister was arranged by Marc Kasowitz, a Trump personal lawyer who has another client with business interests in Vietnam.

    • Comcast-Owned MSNBC Blasted For 8 Minute ‘News’ Love Letter to Comcast

      Cohen played the starring role in selling regulators on Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal in 2011, crafting conditions it would later be discovered Comcast ignored at its leisure. Cohen’s secret weapon during that transaction was Internet Essentials, a program that promised low-income households $10, 5 Mbps broadband for a limited time should they jump through a laundry list of conditions. The program was frequently criticized for being intentionally hard to qualify for, though it provided Cohen an endless sea of photo opportunities to help portray Comcast as a bottomless well of pure altruism.

      Cohen’s minority and low-income advocacy schtick was so effective, he ultimately nabbed the title of “Chief Diversity Officer” to help further advertise his selfless altruism. Of course that title also conveniently lets Cohen tap dance around flimsy federal lobbying rules, which require an employee register as a lobbyist if they spend more than 20% of their time lobbying for a single client during any three-month span. And again, when you point this out, I’ve found that Comcast tends to get really upset with you.

      The reality is that Comcast would need to do a hell of a lot more volunteering and donating to counter the obvious harm most of the company’s terrible policies have on the country. It’s indisputable that the company’s attacks on net neutrality and privacy protections will drive up costs and harm diverse media outlets and smaller businesses. Comcast’s support of protectionist state laws also routinely undermine efforts to bring competition to under-served broadband markets, driving up costs for everybody in the internet ecosystem (but especially the downtrodden parts of the country Comcast professes to adore).

    • Throwing the Target of Trolls Under the Zamboni

      Ten young players from the Broncos Bantam A hockey team of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, along with six coaches and other team staffers, died on April 6 when their bus collided with a tractor-trailer in Western Canada. Because young, prairie hockey players died, the awful tragedy unquestionably stirred Canadian national myths—enough to trigger the second-biggest GoFundMe campaign ever for the survivors and victims’ family, eventually topping CDN$15 million.

      Any guess how this horrible accident could lead a troll army to attack a female journalist with rape and death threats—in the name of “respect” and “compassion”—as a national newsweekly that had published that journalist threw her under the Zamboni without hesitation? If your answer includes the words “Neo-Nazi” and “Trump,” you’re obviously no stranger to Reality 2018.

      On April 8, only two days into the GoFundMe campaign, when the total raised had reached CDN$4 million, freelance journalist Nora Loreto tweeted: “This is a lot of money.” A lot, she seemed to be suggesting, in comparison to funds raised for the victims of other tragedies; for example, it took 14 months for GoFundMe to collect $402,173 for the 19 wounded and the families of the six people murdered by the Trump-loving Quebecois terrorist Alexandre Bissonette at a Quebec City mosque in January 2017.

    • ‘The US Is Not at All Interested in the Welfare of the Syrian People’

      Talking about Syria, it seems, is not so much having a conversation as occupying a narrative. Either Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, is the sole source of Syria’s pain, those who oppose him represent the true will of the Syrian people and critical outsiders are benighted; or Assad, though flawed, represents the people’s will, the rebels are if anything more cruel, and backed by foreigners to boot. Because the US lies, Russia cannot be lying—or else vice versa.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Uber Might Stop Drivers From Looking Up Your Address History

      Your Uber driver literally knows where you live, and they can look it up if they forget. Uber is considering changing the second point.

      Uber drivers can currently scroll through their driver history and see the exact places they picked up and dropped off people. Drivers can access this information even if you delete your Uber account. This has enabled stalking and other violations of privacy by drivers.

    • Uber Plans to Stop Giving Drivers a Log of Your Exact Pickup and Drop-Off Locations

      In a pilot program launching soon, Uber will begin obscuring riders’ exact pickup and drop-off locations in the trip history displayed to drivers. Instead, it will display a broader location area.

      The change is intended to enhance rider privacy and safety, the first of several upcoming changes Uber is making to limit the exposure of users’ location data.

      Currently, Uber drivers are given a record of the precise drop-off and pickup addresses in their trip history. The addresses are stored indefinitely in a driver’s trip history, which enables them go back at any time and look at a rider’s address. That data is maintained even if a rider deletes their account and data from Uber.

    • ISO blocks NSA’s latest IoT encryption systems amid murky tales of backdoors and bullying

      Two new encryption algorithms developed by the NSA have been rejected by an international standards body amid accusations of threatening behavior.

      The “Simon” and “Speck” cryptographic tools were designed for secure data to and from the next generation of internet-of-things gizmos and sensors, and were intended to become a global standard.

      But the pair of techniques were formally rejected earlier this week by the International Organization of Standards (ISO) amid concerns that they contained a backdoor that would allow US spies to break the encryption. The process was also marred by complaints from encryption experts of threatening behavior from American snoops.

    • Encryption for the ‘internet of things’ and a setback for the NSA

      Expert delegates at an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) meeting in Wuhan, China, voted against plans to adopt ‘Simon’ and ‘Speck’ as standard block cipher algorithms.

      The encryption methods, intended to improve security in technology that make up the “internet of things,” had been championed by the U.S. delegation, including the NSA.

    • ISO rejects the NSA’s IoT crypto standard, believing it to be backdoored

      The NSA has a history of sabotaging cryptographic standards; most famously, documents provided by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA had sabotaged NIST security standards, but the story goes farther back than that: I have been told by numerous wireless networking exercises that the weaknesses in the now-obsolete Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) were deliberately introduced by NSA meddling. And of course, the NSA once classified working cryptography as a munition and denied civilians access to it, until EFF got a court to declare code to be a form of protected speech under the First Amendment.

      Now, the NSA has been defeated at ISO, with its chosen ciphers firmly rejected by the committee members, who were pretty frank about their reason for rejecting Simon and Speck: they don’t trust the NSA.

    • Apple’s Consumer Data Collection Patents Prove that Data Privacy Risks Are Not Just a Facebook Problem

      In the current zeitgeist regarding the collection of user data by tech giants, a moment which has been fueled by concerns over Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cupertino, CA-based consumer electronics giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been doing its best to appear to be a model citizen among the world’s tech titans. In the days following news of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he “wouldn’t be in this situation” when asked what he’d do if he were Facebook’s CEO at a town hall interview.

    • The Australian Bureau of Statistics Tracked People By Their Mobile Device Data.

      Remember the outrage about the ABS 2016 Census retaining real names and addresses? Maybe you thought the ABS got the message that the public seems to give more of a damn about privacy than public servants assume, and perhaps yanked themselves back into line?

    • Australian Gov’t Scooped Up Tons Of Cell Site Location Data To Track Citizens’ Movements

      Third-party records are almost always easily-accessible. They are subject to very limited protections. But generally when the government wants access to records, it’s because they’re targeting someone in a criminal or national security investigation. What few people expect is for the government to obtain this data en masse, then proudly proclaim its usefulness a couple of years after it’s already made use of it.

      Cellphone users weren’t informed of the government’s plans. And the telco made no effort to inform affected customers or give them an opportunity to opt out. While it may look like an innocuous effort to gauge temporary population increases linked to special events and holiday weekends, the information obtained could easily be mined to gain insight on traffic to places of worship, government buildings, airports, workplaces, and protests.

      Supposedly, the information has been anonymized. It obviously hasn’t been completely stripped of personal information. The slide deck [PDF] detailing the effort notes the data can be broken down by age and sex. The anonymization claim is made without any support from the ABS, which still has yet to provide any further info — much less a privacy impact assessment — via its website.

    • Why I’m Quitting Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple for a Month

      Despite my total dependence on these products, however, I also have a deep-seated distrust of the companies behind them.

    • The problem isn’t that Facebook is creepy, it’s that it’s creepy AND HUGE

      I’ve been giving some thought to how to break up Big Tech lately — what a competitive landscape would look like. I’ve been toying with the idea that we should test outcomes, rather than mandating measures: for example, there are a lot of people who can’t leave Facebook because it’s the only way they can access key services and communities. Maybe the answer is that any company whose users can’t leave it should be given a certain period to remedy that situation by whatever means it believes would work (e.g., creating an API that lets non-Facebook users interact with communities on Facebook), and when the time is up, evaluate whether the solution has worked, and if it hasn’t, hit the company with massive fines and give them another period to remedy the situation. Repeat until the company’s shareholders get tired and fire the CEO, or until no one has the “I can’t afford to leave Facebook” problem anymore.

    • I am not a number; I am a free man, OR, why you should never rely on social media

      In my post about switching to decentralized social media, I mentioned that I would later talk about G+.

      Yes, I know, most people don’t pay a lot of attention to G+ anyway, but that’s what really brought home something that I’d actually been saying since 2015: If you don’t personally own your website and data, you don’t have a website or data. Quite simply, you cannot rely on someone else for you to have a website, platform, or social media presence.

    • Oakbrook Center security scans license plates in its parking lots, raising privacy concerns

      Maass said potential privacy concerns over the type of system being used at Oakbrook Center include whether the system is being checked for cyber security, possible use of a third-party server for collected data, whether any stored photos taken may include more than a license plate, how long data is retained, whether notice of system use is posted and who is authorized to access data, including police.

    • Your Next Job Interview Could Be with a Racist Bot

      Maltby pointed out that employers have been misusing exciting new technology during the hiring process for decades. “Employers have a long history of falling in love with technology that promises easy answers to difficult decisions,” he said.

    • Gmail Is Getting a Long-Overdue Upgrade

      Google also plans to use artificial intelligence to identify the most urgent incoming emails, and allow you to limit mobile notifications to these. It will also try to identify mailing lists you can unsubscribe from by keeping tabs on how often you actually read messages from lists, and how long it takes you to open those messages.

    • Twitter announces updated privacy policy ahead of new EU laws

      The social media giant announced their new plans on Tuesday, but the policy update will go into effect on May 25 — the same day the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is set to go into effect.

    • The two-pizza rule and the secret of Amazon’s success

      AWS is large enough that it is dealt with on the same tier as the entire rest of the world. AWS is large enough that Netflix, a company that accounts for around a third of all internet traffic in North America, is just another customer.

    • Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car

      Amazon announced today a new service that gives its couriers access to a person’s vehicle for the purpose of leaving package deliveries inside. But rather than use smart locks and a cloud-connected camera to gain entry, Amazon wants to use the connected technologies embedded in many modern vehicles today. The company is launching this new service in partnership with two major automakers — General Motors and Volvo — and will be rolling out in 37 cities in the US starting today.

    • Amazon Will Start Delivering Packages Straight to Your Parked Car

      The two carmakers are logical partners for Amazon. GM has millions of cars that are wirelessly connected. With Volvo, the collaboration with Amazon is an expansion of a service that has been available in Sweden and Switzerland since 2015 through the Swedish carmaker’s Volvo On Call app.

    • Turns Out Lots Of People Want To Play The CIA’s Card Game

      Well, it appears we can both confirm and acknowledge that lots and lots of people want to play the CIA’s in-house training card game. As we announced on Monday, we’ve taken the available details of the internal CIA game Collection Deck, and are in the process of turning it a version you can actually play, which we’re renaming CIA: Collect It All. To see if anyone else actually wanted it, we put it on Kickstarter and set what we thought was a fairly high bar: $30,000. And yet, we hit that in about 40 hours and we still more than three and a half weeks to go. We’re a bit blown away by how many people are interested, and we’re committed to making the game as awesome as we can possibly make it. We recently posted an update to the campaign concerning questions around international shipping, since that’s been a big topic of conversation, so if you’re interested in that, go check it out.

      CIA: Collect It All on Kickstarter

    • CIA: Collect It All

      Ever wondered what it’s like to be a CIA operative? The CIA designed a classified card game which they use to train their analysts. They recently declassified it and we’re adapting the game so you can play it too.

      [...]

      This game is a collaboration between Techdirt and Diegetic Games. Techdirt has spent over 20 years reporting on a variety of topics including the CIA and its intelligence gathering, as well as the whole FOIA process — not to mention the importance of the public domain to encourage creative reuse of content. Diegetic Games makes storytelling and card games; it is Randy Lubin’s design studio. We’re excited to work together and bring this game to a wider audience.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Epic Responds to Cheating Fortnite Kid’s Mom in Court
    • The Noisy Frenchman

      In the summer of 1975 I was sixteen years old and sitting on the edge of the fountain in the Aviemore Centre, waiting to fix a kiddie kart when it broke down or the coin mechanism jammed, and reading a Penguin edition of The Quiet American by Graham Greene. It detailed the origin of the US entry into the Vietnam conflict as the French colonial hold weakened, and of course the plot revolved around a false flag bombing incident designed to facilitate American intervention. The introduction to that edition made very clear that the novel was closely based on true events by Greene – who was there in Vietnam at the time – and in my memory across 43 years it actually named and discussed the real life false flag bomb incident on which the book was based. I do not think the existence of the real false flag bombing at the heart of the story has ever been seriously disputed. The novel was quite startling to a sixteen year old boy.

      It was impossible not to recall The Quiet American while watching Trump and Macron give their presser at the White House yesterday. Reinstating the role of France, the former colonial power, in Syria though a continuing US/French military presence was the main theme, under the guise of “preventing hegemony” – clearly aimed at Iran. The haunting parallels to Indo-China are striking. So too is the fact that Graham Greene was a deservedly admired figure in British culture and society. The BBC and the Times never attacked him as a “conspiracy theorist” or a lunatic for writing passionately of a false flag attack. This was partly because everybody understood these things actually do happen, and partly because in the early part of my life political dissent was permitted without social ostracism. The latter is no longer the case and an orchestrated media is trying to eradicate the former knowledge.

    • How an Oregon Weekly Forced Release of Key Records in Murder Cases

      Oregon sued a tiny newspaper to keep records secret relating to the state’s release of defendants found “guilty except for insanity.” The paper prevailed and is using the records to explore a series of troubling cases.

    • Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him.

      Charles Longjaw was being held at the Oregon State Hospital after being found insane. Oregon changed its interpretation of the law and he was released, raising questions about how states manage violent offenders with mental illness.

    • Oregon Board Explains Why It Repeatedly Released Killer From Psychiatric Hospital

      In response to our questions, the Psychiatric Security Review Board explains why danger alone is not enough to keep violent people with mental illness under state jurisdiction.

    • Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

      Armstrong, 28, happened to be at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater the day two detectives showed up with Phillip’s phone, she said. They were taken to Phillip’s corpse. Then, they tried to unlock the phone by holding the body’s hands up to the phone’s fingerprint sensor.

    • EU Commission Outlines Approach On Artificial Intelligence [Ed: EU Commission is wasting time on buzzwords. It's just "computers" or "algorithms". But when you put nontechnical politicians in charge you get this...]

      The European Commission today issued an outline of a European approach on artificial intelligence to “boost investment and set ethical guidelines.” The aim is to have a coordinated plan with member states by year’s end.

    • State Appeals Court Upholds Criminal Conviction For Twitter Harassment Targeting An Autistic Student

      Another fine example of man’s inhumanity to man: high school edition. Trash rando A.J.B. ended up with two misdemeanor charges and one felony stalking charge — the latter predicated on the victim’s disabilities. There are a few concerns with the resulting ruling, not to mention the events leading up to the criminal charges.

      To begin with, the victim was not even aware of the tweets until a school administrator brought them to his attention. The administrator had presumably been tipped off by other students. This led to the victim expressing suicidal thoughts and an extreme reluctance to return to school.

      This dovetails into the court’s weird interpretation of Twitter mechanics. This confusion over how Twitter operates may have played a part in upholding the charges and finding A.J.B.’s speech unprotected by the Constitution. Eric Goldman points out this misapprehension allows the court to bypass the student’s free speech defenses, one of which compared tweeting unpleasant messages was no different than “posting flyers on walls.”

      [...]

      The law is bad and the court is reading the law as the legislators wrote it. This could also be the way the legislators intended it to be read, rationalizing that no prosecutor would move forward with questionable charges predicated on a broadly-written law with an absurdly low bar for engagement (two tweets). Legislators either don’t know or don’t care that prosecutorial discretion means pursuing ridiculous prosecutions and overcharging defendants. It almost never means refusing to move forward with questionable cases. If the ruling is bad, it’s because the law invites bad rulings. The fact that the court doesn’t understand how Twitter works only makes it worse.

    • State Trooper Facing Murder Charges After Tasing A Teen Riding An ATV

      More than two dozen hours of recordings and 600 pages of documents obtained by the Detroit Free Press have uncovered disturbing details of the senseless killing of 15-year-old Damon Grimes by Michigan State Trooper Mark Bessner last fall.

      Lots of killings are senseless, including many of those committed by officers authorized to use deadly force. But this one was especially senseless. Trooper Bessner decided against all policy and reason to fire his Taser at Grimes while both he and Grimes — riding an ATV — were traveling at 35 mph down a residential street. To add to the insanity of his act, Bessner was the passenger in the cruiser. Having initiated the pursuit, Bessner decided to end it by tasing Grimes. The result was the complete, gruesome destruction of a human being.

    • California Can Build Trust Between Police and Communities By Requiring Agencies to Publish Their Policies Online

      If we as citizens are more informed of police policies and procedures, and we can easily access those materials online and study them, it’ll lead to greater accountability and better relations between our communities and the police departments that serve us. EFF supports a bill in the California legislature which aims to do exactly that.

      [...]

      Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a previous version of this bill, which had broad support from both civil liberties groups and law enforcement associations. The new bill is meant to address his concerns of the bill’s scope, and removes a few of the state law enforcement agencies from the law’s purview, like the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and California Highway Patrol, among others.

      We hope that the legislature will once again pass this important bill, and that Gov. Brown will support transparency and accountability between law enforcement and Californians.

    • The Legal Battle Over a $75 Boating Fine Where Liberty Itself Is at Stake

      The outcome of this case will impact one of our fundamental constitutional rights.

      On a pleasant May evening in 2016, Fred Karash and four friends were enjoying a boat trip on Lake Erie when, without warning, they were stopped by law enforcement officers and detained for more than an hour while the officers searched Fred’s 23-foot cabin cruiser.

      The officers, who admitted they had no reason to suspect the boaters had violated any law or regulation, claimed authority under state law to search any boat at any time on any Pennsylvania waterway to conduct a “safety inspection.”

      But that sort of unfettered discretion violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unwarranted and even vindictive government incursions upon our privacy by requiring that authorities have probable cause to search someone’s home or property. That safeguard, as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recognized, “is second to none in its importance in delineating the dignity of the individual living in a free society.”

    • 18 Years Removed From Prison, and I’m Still a ‘Returning Citizen’

      While I am sure that this was not the last thing said to me before I walked past the gun tower and through the barbed wire fence at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill on January 12, 2000, it is certainly the last thing I clearly remember hearing upon my departure from prison.

      A friend of mine was waiting for me in the prison’s parking lot. I got in the car, and we drove silently for several hours towards Philadelphia where I was mandated to report to a halfway house, Community Corrections Center, for a minimum of 90 days.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • No, Net Neutrality Isn’t Officially Dead (Yet), And The FCC Is Stalling For A Reason

      My informed guess (supported by at least two industry lawyers I’ve spoken to) is that Pai is trying to buy time. Why? ISPs know that the FCC’s repeal is on shaky legal ground thanks in large part to bizarre FCC behavior and numerous ethical gaffes. ISPs like Comcast are also nervous about the fact that more than half the states in the country are now pursuing their own net neutrality rules. As such, ISP lobbyists and hired wonks are pushing for a fake, loophole-filled net neutrality law with one real purpose: pre-empting tougher state laws and preventing the 2015 rules from being re-established should the FCC lose in court.

      It’s likely the FCC bogged things down in bureaucracy intentionally to buy time for ISP lobbyists to try and drum up support for this bogus law. Unfortunately, as they have throughout this entire affair, ISPs appear to have misjudged the political environment here, and have faced a steep uphill climb in getting support for the crap law they wrote (incarnations of which are being pushed by Marsha Blackburn in the House and John Kennedy in the Senate).

      As ISPs grow more nervous about losing in court and state net neutrality efforts, calls for an ISP crafted “Congressional solution” have only grown. But by and large most net neutrality supporters on the streets and in Congress appear to not be falling for this little ruse, knowing full well that the chance of this cash-compromised Congress actually passing tough rules are virtually nonexistent.

      If you’re a fan of net neutrality, the best chance in saving the rules rests with a reversal by the courts during the looming court battle. Failing that, your best bet is voting in politicians that prioritize healthy competition, truly open markets, and consumer and small business welfare over monopoly protectionism and cronyism.

    • The FCC’s Bullshit Order Killing Net Neutrality Hasn’t Actually Gone Into Effect—Yet

      Among other things, the new rules would reclassify internet provision as a Title I instead of Title II information service, which would allow ISPs to implement paid prioritization programs, as well as block or throttle content from competitors or just about anyone they wager is using too much bandwidth. Broadband providers will mostly cease to be regulated by the FCC, and thereby be bound only by their own promises (the FCC cleverly passed most of its authority to penalize ISPs that lie to customers to the Federal Trade Commission, a separate agency ill-equipped to handle telecom issues).

    • Net neutrality is all but officially dead. Now what?

      The order is supposed to take effect Monday, following the commission’s publication of the final notice of the repeal in the Federal Register (which started a 60-day clock until the rules were removed). But only parts of the order are effective today. Significant parts still need OMB approval as part of the modified information collection requirement. The FCC will issue another order making it official when the OMB gives the green light.

      The most significant change resulting from the removal of the rules is the stripping away of the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband and the shifting of that responsibility to the Federal Trade Commission. Under the 2015 rules, the FCC reclassified broadband as a utility, which gave it the authority to regulate broadband infrastructure much as it did the old telephone network.

    • DOJ Investigating AT&T, Verizon for Making It Harder To Switch Wireless Carriers

      AT&T and Verizon have enjoyed a stranglehold over fixed and mobile residential broadband for years. They also enjoy a relative monopoly over broadband business data services, a market that services everything from cellular tower backhaul to ATMs. Given that both companies have a rich, deep history of engaging in all manner of dubious behavior to keep these markets as uncompetitive as possible, there would be absolutely no shortage of ammunition for regulators seeking to punish them on antitrust grounds.

      Given that both companies are politically powerful campaign contributors, that generally doesn’t happen, regardless of the party in power.

    • U.S. Investigating AT&T and Verizon Over Wireless Collusion Claim

      The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into potential coordination by AT&T, Verizon and a telecommunications standards organization to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers, according to six people with knowledge of the inquiry.

      In February, the Justice Department issued demands to AT&T, Verizon and the G.S.M.A., a mobile industry standards-setting group, for information on potential collusion to thwart a technology known as eSIM, said two of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are confidential.

      The technology lets people remotely switch wireless providers without having to insert a new SIM card into a device. AT&T and Verizon face accusations that they colluded with the G.S.M.A. to try to establish standards that would allow them to lock a device to their network even if it had eSIM technology.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • When fashion sought to protect itself through private collective action: recalling the Fashion Originators Guild

      The Guild was established in 1932 in the teeth of the Great Depression. After the laissez-faire administrations of Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, through his New Deal, signaled that solutions for economic ills could be found in collective action. The Guild can be viewed against this backdrop. Its members designed and manufactured medium to high-priced dresses, for sale to retailers, who selected the merchandise from dresses that were shown in various showrooms in New York City. The members claimed that their dresses were all based on “original designs.” Under U.S. law, there was no copyright or patent protection. As such, according to the Guild, other dress manufacturers, which were called “style pirates”, designed and sold so-called “unauthorized” copies.

    • Copyrights
      • Standard Ebooks Offers Public Domain Downloads That Aren’t Ugly

        This site gets the details right. Every book also has a beautiful cover made using public domain artwork. Books are proofread by an actual human, meaning there aren’t weird typos caused by the scanning process. Everything has complete metadata. And there are platform-specific downloads for Kindle and Kobo, meaning all features of those platforms are properly supported.

      • AG Campos Sánchez-Bordona denies communication to the public in ‘Cordoba’ case

        A few months ago, this GuestKat reportedabout yet another CJEU case that tries to capture the scope of the right of communication to the public within Article 3 (1) of the InfoSoc Directive.

        In ‘Cordoba’, the plaintiff’s photograph was freely accessible to all internet users with his consent on a travel-related website. A student of a German school used this picture (without asking for permission) in a written report for her Spanish class. The report was subsequently copied to the school’s servers and from there added to the (public) website of the school.

      • Music publishers score major victory in closely watched copyright case [Ed: Music publishers" is a very nonsensical way to refer to people who exploit musicians without actually making any]
      • Ninth Circuit appeals court denies monkey’s copyright claims

        Barring an en banc review or Supreme Court intervention, the three-year monkey selfie saga has come to a close, with the animal’s copyright claims denied

        The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the district court’s ruling that a monkey lacked statutory standing to claim copyright infringement of photographs known as the “Monkey Selfies”.

      • Academics Against Press Publishers’ Right: 169 European Academics Warn Against It – IVIR

        Academics from all over Europe give a final warning against the ill-conceived plans for the introduction of a new intellectual property right in news.

      • It’s Thanks To The Pirate Community That Amazon’s Attempt To Degrade Its Streaming Service Is Now Public

        It’s said that there is no honor among thieves, but it should be obvious that such a blanket axiom is bound to be at least partially bullshit. Still, this mantra gets applied to the pirating community by its enemies, with those that rip and/or view pirated content labeled as ungrateful kid-slobs, simply looking for any content they can gobble up without any payment whatsoever. Any value or benefit derived from this community is denied or ignored, with the spotlight being only on the inflated injury this same community inflicts on unimaginably wealthy companies and studios.

        Again, it should be obvious that this is all bound to be bullshit.

        In fact, we’ve discussed the potential benefits to be found within these communities often in the past. Pirate communities can be viewed as a sort of market study companies get for free, serve as a spotlight on under-served potential customers, and not to mention that this community often buys more content then does their non-pirating cousins. None of this is to excuse copyright infringement, of course, but rather serves to remind us that the world is not black and white, and is instead muddled, complicated, and mushy.

      • German Supreme Court: Adblocking does not violate copyright

        German newspapers had sued AdBlock Plus for everything including the kitchen sink, such as “unfair competition” and copyright violation, for letting users opt out of the newspapers’ annoying and insecure advertising. This week, those newspaper publishers lost decisively in the German Supreme Court.

      • German Supreme Court rules ad blockers legal, in defeat for Springer

        In its ruling the court in Karlsruhe struck down the case brought by Springer. It found online ad blockers to be legal, and overturned a lower court decision that operating a white list was tantamount to unfair competition.

      • German Supreme Court rules ad-blocking not unfair competition

        The German Federal Supreme Court has ruled that popular ad-blocking software AdBlock Plus does not break the country’s unfair competition rules

        The German Federal Supreme Court ruled on April 19 that popular ad-blocking software AdBlock Plus, which blocks banners, pop-ups and other advertisements, does not break the country’s unfair competition rules.

      • Thanks to streaming, recording industry revenues are back up to pre-internet levels, but musicians are poorer than ever

        Last year, the record industry gained an extra $1.4 billion in new revenues, mostly from streaming, restoring its overall revenues to pre-internet levels, when the labels had grown accustomed to reselling the same music every couple of years in new formats (vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD). Overall, streaming services remit $7.4 billion to rightsholders.

      • Global Recorded Music Revenues Grew By $1.4 Billion in 2017
      • MPAA Chief Says Fighting Piracy Remains “Top Priority”

        With a record international box office of over $40 billion behind him, MPAA chief Charles Rivkin has told movie exhibitors at CinemaCon that keeping a lid on unauthorized sites is one of his group’s main goals. Describing the tackling of piracy as a “top priority”, Rivkin framed the ACE anti-piracy coalition as a powerful group ensuring that movie makers maintain control and reap the rewards for their hard work.

      • Japan ISP Says it Will Voluntarily Block Pirate Sites as Major Portal Disappears

        A major ISP in Japan says it will begin blocking pirate sites voluntarily. There is no legal basis for site-blocking and the country’s constitution forbids censorship. However, NTT says that it has adopted “emergency measures” until the necessary legislation can be put in place. Meanwhile, one of the sites targeted has mysteriously disappeared, abandoning 100m monthly visitors.

Battistelli Misuses EPO Budget to Saturate the European Media With Puff Pieces About His Event

Wednesday 25th of April 2018 11:57:41 PM

Summary: The latest examples of ‘synthetic’ coverage or fluff about Battistelli’s expensive event that he cryptically and mysteriously chose to have at his other workplace in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

THE EPO is in effect bribing the media, more so nowadays than ever before. It’s nothing entirely new however. Years ago we showed that the EPO had been paying IAM though PR firms.

EPO management deserves an “inventor of the year” award. It would be awarded for inventing ways to distract from scandals/abuses/corruption and silencing the media. It works! Well done, Mr. Battistelli! But at whose expense? And at what cost to society? It corrupts the fourth estate.

“EPO management deserves an “inventor of the year” award. It would be awarded for inventing ways to distract from scandals/abuses/corruption and silencing the media.”Last year we wrote about Microsoft-EPO connections in relation to software patents; years prior to that we showed other EPO scandals that were associated with Microsoft. Some EPO applicants find themselves having to become Microsoft customers just to be able to interact with the EPO. How abusive is this compared to more blatant examples of abuse?

Earlier this week we saw this Microsoft person named as European Inventor Award 2018 finalist. We were rather disgusted today just seeing the EPO puff pieces and press releases with the usual Battistelli quotes (it’s all about him, as usual). Yes, the usual Battistelli quotes (it’s all about him) are embedded in virtually all these pieces, e.g. this one: (maybe ghostwritten/PR-driven)

“Sans Takeuchi’s innovative work on energy storage and power sources is enabling life-saving technologies that benefit millions of heart-failure patients,” EPO President Benoît Battistelli said in a statement announcing the finalists.

Then there’s the Irish media [1, 2, 3], which might be working with the EPO’s PR agency in the UK. They’ve just hired one (again).

“Campinos’ EU organisation also helps promote the event of Battistelli — the near-literal heist that happens 3 weeks before Campinos takes Battistelli’s job (that he set up for him).”The EPO’s management — using money it habitually misuses — has co-opted the British Science Museum and other institutions in order to help promote Battistelli’s agenda. See these tweets from Roger Highfield [1, 2] and the posts these link to. Here’s an example from other institutions (indirect, but there are also direct examples).

This is not normal. It’s not like these institutions just search for some press releases and then decide to write about them. They work in coordination with (hand in glove) the EPO’s PR staff and external PR agencies. It’s all manufactured, it’s faked, it’s paid for.

“This often explains why particular publishers are so unwilling to cover serious cases of law-breaking, corruption, and so on.”Campinos’ EU organisation also helps promote the event of Battistelli — the near-literal heist that happens 3 weeks before Campinos takes Battistelli's job (that he set up for him). Some more retweets [1, 2] and originals from today follow that same pattern.

One of the key issues we’ve highlighted for over 3 years is that the EPO exploits cash repositories to buy positive publicity and create a financial dependence for publishers. This often explains why particular publishers are so unwilling to cover serious cases of law-breaking, corruption, and so on.

Battistelli’s EPO Continues to Promote Software Patents and Even Pays the Media to Play Along, Impacting Other Continents

Wednesday 25th of April 2018 11:26:04 PM

Waste of stakeholders’ money and a source of shame for the EPO, which goes in the opposite direction of the USPTO and the EPC itself


Referring to abstract patents as a “revolution” (as in “4IR”)

Summary: With silly new terms such as “4IR” (the EPO used to say “ICT”, “CII”, “Industry 4.0″ etc.) Team Battistelli is hoping to make software patents look/sound acceptable, honourable and inherently innovative or “revolutionary”

THE US moves further and further away from software patents — a subject we’ll revisit yet again in the weekend. The USPTO, even under newer leadership, does not intend to change that. It cannot. The highest court calls the shots.

But watch what the EPO has been doing today. It’s actively promoting software patenting at an event in the US. Totally inappropriate. It did it this morning and once again later in the day.

“This is a showing of how grotesque EPO corruption of media has gotten; it poisons everything worldwide.”The EPO’s buzzword of choice for software patents is nowadays “4IR” (we’ll show some time very soon how the EPO presents that in its Gazette). It’s an EPO-sourced of EPO-boosted buzzword (which it literally paid the media to promote) and it stands for ‘Fourth’ ‘Industrial’ ‘Revolution’, which means pretty much nothing. All these words are misnombers. It’s pure marketing.

This buzzword has just spread to Korea. This is a showing of how grotesque EPO corruption of media has gotten; it poisons everything worldwide. The Korea Bizwire has just published this nonsense and it ought to know that accelerating the granting of monopolies is not a desirable thing, especially not in technology (they mean software) where one has to be highly careful distributing monopoles. The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) does not allow software patenting, but what if it labeled these “4IR” like the EPO does?

From the article:

South Korea has cut short the patent application process for a number of technologies that are part of the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) launched a fast track today for patent applications for a select few technologies including 3D printing, self-driving, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things, allowing companies to obtain a patent in fewer than six months.

The fast track program is available for ongoing technology development projects and those by startups, as well as ones for which the KIPO has reached agreement with international intellectual property offices.

[...]

Other countries have taken similar steps. Japan launched an assessment team dedicated to technology patents last year, and set out new standards for software development this year, while China also ramped up efforts to protect software patents last year.

To explain the term “4IR” they just use some more buzzwords (one buzzword expanded to mean several others) and we remain concerned that this may eventually become ‘normal’.

“To explain the term “4IR” they just use some more buzzwords (one buzzword expanded to mean several others) and we remain concerned that this may eventually become ‘normal’.”The Knowledge Group (mentioned here several days ago) has just promoted this upcoming ‘webcast’ in which it will explain “How to implement it [2017 Actavis Decisions] in oral proceedings and submissions before the EPO…”

In the case of software, the EPO’s leadership already suggests using all sorts of buzzwords and then brainwashes patent examiners (we’ll show the contents of the Gazette some time soon) to urge them to accept software patent applications. In Seattle it’s about to explicitly give tips on how to achieve this.

Links 25/4/2018: Ubuntu 18.04 Coming Shortly, Fedora 28 Next Month

Wednesday 25th of April 2018 11:53:52 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Configuring local storage in Linux with Stratis

    Configuring local storage is something desktop Linux users do very infrequently—maybe only once, during installation. Linux storage tech moves slowly, and many storage tools used 20 years ago are still used regularly today. But some things have improved since then. Why aren’t people taking advantage of these new capabilities?

    This article is about Stratis, a new project that aims to bring storage advances to all Linux users, from the simple laptop single SSD to a hundred-disk array. Linux has the capabilities, but its lack of an easy-to-use solution has hindered widespread adoption. Stratis’s goal is to make Linux’s advanced storage features accessible.

  • Desktop
    • Google looks set to offer Linux on Chromebooks in the next few months

      If that wasn’t enough, a new commit in the parent Chromium OS offers “new device policy to allow Linux VMs on Chrome OS.” Which about seals it.

      Read the accompanying Gerrit documentation and you get further confirmation: “At this time, in order for Linux VMs to run, the Finch experiment also needs to be enabled. After this feature is fully launched, the Finch control logic will be removed.”

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.16.4
    • Linux 4.14.36
    • Linux 4.9.96
    • Linux 4.4.129
    • Linux 3.18.106
    • Graphics Stack
      • VC4 display, VC5 kernel submitted

        For VC5, I renamed the kernel driver to “v3d” and submitted it to the kernel. Daniel Vetter came back right away with a bunch of useful feedback, and next week I’m resolving that feedback and continuing to work on the GMP support.

        On the vc4 front, I did the investigation of the HDL to determine that the OLED matrix applies before the gamma tables, so we can expose it in the DRM for Android’s color correction. Stefan was also interested in reworking his fencing patches to use syncobjs, so hopefully we can merge those and get DRM HWC support in mainline soon. I also pushed Gustavo’s patch for using the new core DRM infrastructure for async cursor updates. This doesn’t simplify our code much yet, but Boris has a series he’s working on that gets rid of a lot of custom vc4 display code by switching more code over to the new async support.

      • V3D DRM Driver Revised As It Works To Get Into The Mainline Kernel

        Eric Anholt of Broadcom has sent out his revised patches for the “V3D” DRM driver, which up until last week was known as the VC5 DRM driver.

        As explained last week, the VC5 driver components are being renamed to V3D since it ends up supporting more than just VC5 with Broadcom VC6 hardware already being supported too. Eric is making preparations to get this VideoCore driver into the mainline Linux kernel and he will then also rename the VC5 Gallium3D driver to V3D Gallium3D.

      • AMDVLK Driver Gets Fixed For Rise of the Tomb Raider Using Application Profiles

        With last week’s release of Rise of the Tomb Raider on Linux ported by Feral Interactive, when it came to Radeon GPU support for this Vulkan-only Linux game port the Mesa RADV driver was supported while the official AMDVLK driver would lead to GPU hangs. That’s now been fixed.

        With the latest AMDVLK/XGL source code as of today, the GPU hang issue for Rise of the Tomb Raider should now be resolved.

      • xorg-server 1.19.99.905

        More bugfixes, and streams support for Xwayland. This will almost certainly be the last RC.

      • X.Org Server 1.20 RC5 Released, Adds EGLStreams To Let NVIDIA Work With XWayland

        Adam Jackson of Red Hat today announced the X.Org Server 1.20 Release Candidate 5, which he believes will be the last test release before going gold. Most excitingly about this new release candidate is the merged support for allowing the NVIDIA proprietary driver to work with XWayland.

    • Benchmarks
      • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Performance Boosted By Updated BIOS/AGESA

        With last week’s initial launch-day Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X some found the Linux performance to be lower than Windows. While the root cause is undetermined, a BIOS/AGESA update does appear to help the Linux performance significantly at least with the motherboard where I’ve been doing most of my tests with the Ryzen 7 2700X. Here are the latest benchmark numbers.

      • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Performance Boosted By Updated BIOS/AGESA

        With last week’s initial launch-day Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X some found the Linux performance to be lower than Windows. While the root cause is undetermined, a BIOS/AGESA update does appear to help the Linux performance significantly at least with the motherboard where I’ve been doing most of my tests with the Ryzen 7 2700X. Here are the latest benchmark numbers.

  • Applications
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • AV Linux Multimedia-Focused OS Gets New Stable Release with Meltdown Patches

        AV Linux, the open-source GNU/Linux distribution designed for multimedia content creation, has been updated recently to version 2018.4.2, a release that adds Meltdown mitigations, updated components, and various other enhancements.

        Probably the most important change in the AV Linux 2018.4.2 release is the implementation of the KPTI (Kernel page-table isolation) patch to protect users against the Meltdown security vulnerability, but only for 64-bit installations. The distribution is now powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.9.76 kernel, and users can disable the KPTI patch at boot.

      • Q4OS Centaurus 3.2 – new testing release

        A new updated image of the Q4OS Centaurus testing live media has been just released, its core is based on the latest Debian Buster testing and Trinity Desktop 14.0.5 testing versions.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Request Travel Support for openSUSE Conference 2018

        The Travel Support Program (TSP) provides travel sponsorships to openSUSE community who want to attend the openSUSE conference and need financial assistance. The openSUSE conference 2018 will be in Prague, Czech Republic from May 25 to May 27.

        The goal of the TSP is to help everybody in and around openSUSE to be able to attend the openSUSE Conference!

    • Red Hat Family
      • Announcing new product updates of CDK 3.4, DevStudio 11.3, DevSuite 2.3

        We’re extremely pleased to announce additions and updates to our suite of Red Hat Developers desktop tooling products, including Container Development Kit 3.4, JBoss Developer Studio 11.3, and our DevSuite 2.3 installer. These updates are a continuation of our efforts to increase developer usability, while adding new features that matter most for users of Red Hat platforms and technologies.

      • Announcing Developer Studio 11.3.0.GA, JBoss Tools 4.5.3 for Eclipse Oxygen.3a
      • Red Hat introduces JDK 10

        Java™ 10 is now supported with Red Hat JBoss Developer Studio 11.3.

        Please note that Red Hat JBoss Developer Studio does not run on a Java™ 9/10 virtual machine, but allows for managing and building of Java™ 9/10 projects and artifacts. So, you must first define in your workspace a Java™ 9/10 JDK if you want to manage and build Java™ 9/10 projects.

      • Give the gift of revealing your insecurities

        A few weeks ago, I was having a discussion with a fellow manager on my team. This person reports to someone who reports to me, generally has a different set of concerns than I do, and therefore holds a unique perspective on the challenges we face. I’d been digressing on a hypothetical course of action when the manager interrupted me to say, “Excuse me, I just want to say that I’m not comfortable with the direction this is going in.” I immediately stopped talking and thought about what I’d been saying. I tried to explain what I meant, to give more context, and to go at it from a different angle. The manager also shared some context and perspective, which helped me understand the discomfort.

      • A (Belated) Happy 25th to Red Hat: So, What Does the Future Hold?

        Better late than never: last month Red Hat celebrated 25 years. (The cake and candles may seem like ancient history to Jim Whitehurst, CEO of the open source pioneer, but we believe in prolonging anything involving icing.) Jim spoke with Computer Business Review; looking both back on 25 years of Red Hat and to the future.

      • Fedora
        • Top Badgers of 2017: Carl George
        • Warming up for Fedora Workstation 28

          Been some time now since my last update on what is happening in Fedora Workstation and with current plans to release Fedora Workstation 28 in early May I thought this could be a good time to write something. As usual this is just a small subset of what the team has been doing and I always end up feeling a bit bad for not talking about the avalanche of general fixes and improvements the team adds to each release.

        • Fedora Workstation 28 Is Shaping Up To Be Another Terrific Update

          Fedora Workstation 28 is shaping up to be another compelling update for those that are fans of this bleeding-edge Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution. I’ve been running Fedora Workstation 28 snapshots on a few laptops and test machines here and am quite happy with how it’s shaped up as another Fedora release that delivers not only the latest features, but doing so in a seemingly sane and stable manner: I haven’t encountered any problems unlike some of the past notorious Fedora releases from years ago. Overall, I am quite excited for next month’s Fedora 28 release and will be upgrading my main production system to it.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Things You Should Know About Ubuntu 18.04

            This article answers frequently asked questions about Ubuntu 18.04 and thus informing you of the important things you should know about Ubuntu 18.04.

          • Ora as a snap: ensuring users are benefiting from the latest version

            Ora is a user-friendly task management service with integrated time-tracking, reports, list view, git integrations and many other features. Often referred to by users as ‘the sweet spot between Trello and Jira’, Ora provides almost a complete match of Jira’s feature set but in a new and more accessible way.

            Last month, Ora launched their application as a snap and thereby broadening out their reach across the Linux user base. We spoke to Nikolay Mihaylov, co-founder at Ora, who told us more about their reasons to publish a snap and how it will help Ora move forward.

          • Welcome To The (Ubuntu) Bionic Age: Behind communitheme: interviewing Merlijn

            As discussed last week when unveiling the communitheme snap for ubuntu 18.04 LTS, here is a suite of interview this week on some members of the core contributor team shaping this entirely community-driven theme.

            Today is the turn of Merlijn, merlijn-sebrechts on the community hub.

          • LXD weekly status #44

            Another week of bugfixes for us as more and more people update to the 3.0 releases!

            Quite a bit of work went into improving the handling of the two database in LXD 3.0, making it easier for us to debug issues and provide fixes to our users when something goes wrong. Work is also continuing on the new backup/restore API for LXD with it hopefully landing later this week.

            We’re also excited to see LXD debuts on the Chromebooks through the new Crostini feature. This also led to a minor change to LXD to allow restricting users to unprivileged containers as was needed for those users.

          • Canonical Releases Kernel Security Updates for Ubuntu 17.10 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

            For Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) users, today’s security update addresses a bug (CVE-2018-8043) in Linux kernel’s Broadcom UniMAC MDIO bus controller driver, which improperly validated device resources, allowing a local attacker to crash the vulnerable system by causing a denial of service (DoS attack).

            For Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) users, the security patch fixes a buffer overread vulnerability (CVE-2017-13305) in Linux kernel’s keyring subsystem and an information disclosure vulnerability (CVE-2018-5750) in the SMBus driver for ACPI Embedded Controllers. Both issues could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information.

          • Ubuntu Touch lives on in Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone

            Not quite five years ago, Canonical tried to challenge Apple iOS and Google Android with Ubuntu Touch, an alternative smartphone Linux. Users, phone carriers, and the open-source community failed to support it, so Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth closed the door on Ubuntu Touch development. But, in open source, programs don’t die until its last developer gives up on it. Purism and UBports have partnered to offer Ubuntu Touch on Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone.

          • Saying Something in April 2018

            Being able to bang on (that is to say, percussively test) Bionic Beaver has been a blast. I haven’t done ISO testing this round. Instead, I’ve been using my Xubuntu desktop daily watching things break and have been watching apport file bugs. Doing so makes me realize that, frankly, I am not normal in terms of installed packages or workflow. I have quite a bit of LaTeX installed due to church work. I have many ham radio-related things installed. Audio production and video production packages are installed too. Yes, sometimes I break down and even use LibreOffice. I don’t have the whole package archive installed but I have a visible chunk of it in place as I use many things in many ways.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Ubuntu-Based ExTiX Distro, the Ultimate Linux System, Updates Its Deepin Edition

              Based on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system, the ExTiX 18.4 Deepin Edition is now available and it ships updated components, including the latest Deepin 15.5 Desktop, the Calamares 3.1.12 universal installer framework, and a custom Linux 4.16.2 kernel with extra hardware support.

              “I’ve made a new extra version of ExTiX with Deepin 15.5 Desktop (made in China!),” said Arne Exton in the release announcement. “Only a minimum of packages is installed in ExTiX Deepin. You can, of course, install all the packages you want, even while running ExTiX Deepin live, i.e. from a DVD or USB stick.”

            • Cinnamon 3.8 Desktop Environment Released with Python 3 Support, Improvements

              Scheduled to ship with the upcoming Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system series this summer, the Cinnamon 3.8 desktop environment is now available for download and it’s a major release that brings numerous improvements, new features, and lots of Python 3 ports for a bunch of components.

              Among the components that got ported to Python 3 in the Cinnamon 3.8 release, we can mention cinnamon-settings, cinnamon-menu-editor, cinnamon-desktop-editor, cinnamon-settings-users, melange, background slideshow, the switch editor and screensaver lock dialogs, desktop file generation scripts, as well as all the utilities.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Voyage open-sources autonomous driving safety practices

    Dubbed Open Autonomous Safety, the initiative aims to help autonomous driving startups implement better safety-testing practices. Companies looking to access the documents, safety procedures and test code can do so via a GitHub repository.

  • Open-Sourcing Our Approach to Autonomous Safety

    Without a driver to help identify and mitigate failures, autonomous vehicle systems need incredibly robust safety requirements and an equally comprehensive and well-defined process for analyzing risks and assessing capabilities. Voyage models its safety approach after the ISO 26262 standard for automotive safety, taking the best practices from the automotive industry and applying them to autonomous technology. The automotive industry continues to reach for new levels of safety in manufacturing vehicles, and we are inspired by that approach.

  • Startup Voyage Wants to Open Source Self-Driving Car Safety

    Under what the company calls its Open Autonomous Safety initiative, Voyage is publishing information on its safety procedures, materials, and test code in a series of releases. The goal is to create an open-source library of safety procedures that multiple companies can use as a standard, a Voyage blog post said.

  • This startup’s CEO wants to open-source self-driving car safety testing

    The initial release, which Voyage calls Open Autonomous Safety (OAS), will take the form of a GitHub repository containing documents and code. The functional safety requirements are Voyage’s interpretation of the ISO 26262 standard for automotive safety, updated for autonomous vehicles. “This is our internal driving test for any particular software build,” says Cameron. “It lets us evaluate our designs and look for the different ways they can fail in the real world.”

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Rust pattern: Precise closure capture clauses

        This is the second in a series of posts about Rust compiler errors. Each one will talk about a particular error that I got recently and try to explain (a) why I am getting it and (b) how I fixed it. The purpose of this series of posts is partly to explain Rust, but partly just to gain data for myself. I may also write posts about errors I’m not getting – basically places where I anticipated an error, and used a pattern to avoid it. I hope that after writing enough of these posts, I or others will be able to synthesize some of these facts to make intermediate Rust material, or perhaps to improve the language itself.

      • This Week in Rust
      • Mozilla publishes recommendations on government vulnerability disclosure in Europe

        As we’ve argued on many occasions, effective government vulnerability disclosure (GVD) review processes can greatly enhance cybersecurity for governments, citizens, and companies, and help mitigate risk in an ever-broadening cyber threat landscape. In Europe, the EU is currently discussing a new legislative proposal to enhance cybersecurity across the bloc, the so-called ‘EU Cybersecurity Act’. In that context, we’ve just published our policy recommendations for lawmakers, in which we call on the EU to seize the opportunity to set a global policy norm for government vulnerability disclosure.

      • Testing Strategies for React and Redux
      • K Lars Lohn: Things Gateway – a Virtual Weather Station
      • Firefox DevEdition 60 Beta 14 Testday Results

        As you may already know, last Friday – April 20th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox DevEdition 60 Beta 14.

        Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: gaby2300, micde, Jarrod Michell, Thomas Brooks.

      • Supporting Same-Site Cookies in Firefox 60

        Firefox 60 will introduce support for the same-site cookie attribute, which allows developers to gain more control over cookies. Since browsers will include cookies with every request to a website, most sites rely on this mechanism to determine whether users are logged in.

        Attackers can abuse the fact that cookies are automatically sent with every request to force a user to perform unwanted actions on the site where they are currently logged in. Such attacks, known as cross-site request forgeries (CSRF), allow attackers who control third-party code to perform fraudulent actions on the user’s behalf. Unfortunately current web architecture does not allow web applications to reliably distinguish between actions initiated by the user and those that are initiated by any of the third-party gadgets or scripts that they rely on.

      • Enterprise Policy Support in Firefox

        Last year, Mozilla ran a survey to find out top enterprise requirements for Firefox. Policy management (especially Windows Group Policy) was at the top of that list.

        For the past few months we’ve been working to build that support into Firefox in the form of a policy engine. The policy engine adds desktop configuration and customization features for enterprise users to Firefox. It works with any tool that wants to set policies including Windows Group Policy.

      • any.js

        Thanks to Ms2ger web-platform-tests is now even more awesome (not in the American sense). To avoid writing HTML boilerplate, web-platform-tests supports .window.js, .worker.js, and .any.js resources, for writing JavaScript that needs to run in a window, dedicated worker, or both at once. I very much recommend using these resource formats as they ease writing and reviewing tests and ensure APIs get tested across globals.

      • Alex Gibson: My fifth year working at Mozilla

        Today marks my fifth year working for Mozilla! This past year has been both fun and frantic, and overall was a really good year for both Mozilla and Firefox. Here’s a run down a few of the things I got to work on.

  • Databases
  • CMS
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Glibc 2.28 Upstream Will Build/Run Cleanly On GNU Hurd

      While Linux distributions are still migrating to Glibc 2.27, in the two months since the release changes have continued building up for what will eventually become the GNU C Library 2.28.

      The Glibc 2.28 work queued thus far isn’t nearly as exciting as all the performance optimizations and more introduced with Glibc 2.27, but it’s a start. Most notable at this point for Glibc 2.28 is that it will now build and run cleanly on GNU/Hurd without requiring any out-of-tree patches. There has been a ton of Hurd-related commits to Glibc over the past month.

    • Guix on Android!

      Last year I thought to myself: since my phone is just a computer running an operating system called Android (or Replicant!), and that Android is based on a Linux kernel, it’s just another foreign distribution I could install GNU Guix on, right? It turned out it was absolutely the case. Today I was reminded on IRC of my attempt last year at installing GNU Guix on my phone. Hence this blog post. I’ll try to give you all the knowledge and commands required to install it on your own Android device.

    • GNU Guix Wrangled To Run On Android

      The GNU Guix transactional package manager can be made to run on Android smartphones/tablets, but not without lots of hoops to jump through first.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: April 27th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC
  • Programming/Development
Leftovers
  • What’s next for Flickr after Yahoo’s sale?

    Future of photo-sharing site remains unclear but its founders say the innovation at Flickr died as soon as it was acquired in 2005

  • Marissa Mayer hits out at ‘gender bias’ as Yahoo is sold for $5bn

    Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo’s core internet business for $4.83bn (£3.62bn) in cash on Monday, marking the final chapter in the struggling fortunes of the fading web pioneer.

  • Science
    • Augmented Reality Is Transforming Museums

      Who owns virtual space, and what recourse does a museum have if an outside party “trespasses” on its virtual space? Moreover, is it even in a museum’s best interest to retaliate against unauthorized virtual augmentations—or should they be embraced as a new, if uninvited, tool for visitor engagement?

  • Hardware
    • Intel Launches Patent for an Innovative Cryptocurrency Mining Accelerator

      Intel, one of the biggest semi conductor firms has requested a patent for an innovative mining chip accelerator for Bitcoin. Known as “Bitcoin Mining Hardware Accelerator,” this patent was submitted in 2016 however is now being publicized for the first time.

      Cryptocurrency and bitcoin mining has long been under inspection for the extreme energy it supposedly uses. For instance, countries such as Iceland admit that more energy is utilized to mine Bitcoin than to power its habitations, while cities like Plattsburgh, NY – a once famous sanctuary for commercial Bitcoin mining have forced strict moratoriums to reduce the growing needs of the miners and the surging prices of electricity.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • A separate NHS tax would only further its fragmentation

      When MPs from different parties put aside their differences to work together, it’s worth listening to what they have to say – especially when it comes to protecting our crisis-ridden NHS. So when Liz Kendall, Norman Lamb and Nick Boles took to the airwaves this morning proposing a cross-party solution to our healthcare crisis, I understand why many people will have listened with interest.

      I agree with a number of the proposals, including a commitment to keeping the NHS free at the point of use, integration of social care and increasing funding above inflation. But sadly – and I don’t doubt these MPs care about the NHS – I believe that the sum total of their “ten principles of long-term funding for NHS and social care” ​risk undermining healthcare in this country.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #156
    • A Match.com glitch reactivated a bunch of old profiles, raising concerns about user data

      A Match Group spokesperson confirmed that a “limited number” of old accounts had been accidentally reactivated recently and that any account affected received a password reset. Match.com’s current privacy statement, which was last updated in 2016, says that the company can “retain certain information associated with your account” even after you close it. But that Match Group spokesperson also told The Verge that the company plans to roll out a new privacy policy “in the next month or so,” in order to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); under the new policy, all those years-old accounts will be deleted. The Verge has requested clarification on which accounts will qualify for deletion, and what “deletion” will specifically entail, but has not received a response as of press time.

    • New hacks siphon private cryptocurrency keys from airgapped wallets

      Like most of the other attacks developed by Ben-Gurion University professor Mordechai Guri and his colleagues, the currency wallet exploits start with the already significant assumption that a device has already been thoroughly compromised by malware. Still, the research is significant because it shows that even when devices are airgapped—meaning they aren’t connected to any other devices to prevent the leaking of highly sensitive data—attackers may still successfully exfiltrate the information. Past papers have defeated airgaps using a wide array of techniques, including electromagnetic emissions from USB devices, radio signals from a computer’s video card, infrared capabilities in surveillance cameras, and sounds produced by hard drives.

    • New hacker group targets US health-care industry, researchers say

      The group, which Symantec has named “Orangeworm,” has been installing backdoors in large international corporations based in the U.S., Europe and Asia that operate in the health-care sector.

      Among its victims are health-care providers and pharmaceutical companies, as well as IT companies and equipment manufacturers that work for health organizations.

    • PyRoMine uses NSA exploits to mine Monero and disable security features [Ed: NSA back doors in Microsoft Windows is a gift that keeps giving... to crackers]

      In an age where cryptomining software is beating out ransomware as the go-to for most hackers, a Python-based Monero miner is using stolen NSA exploits to gain an edge.

      In 2016 the Shadow Brokers leaked several hacking tools and zero-day exploits including ETERNALBLUE and ETERNALROMANCE that targeted versions of Windows XP/Vista/8.1/7/10 and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016 and took advantage of CVE-2017-0144 and CVE-2017-0145.

      Fortinet researchers spotted a malware dubbed “PyRoMine” which uses the ETERNALROMANCE exploit to spread to vulnerable Windows machines, according to an April 24 blog post. The malware isn’t the first to mine cryptocurrency that uses previously leaked NSA exploits the malware is still a threat as it leaves machines vulnerable to future attacks because it starts RDP services and disables security services.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Scarier than Bolton? Think Nikki for President

      The musical chairs playing out among the senior officials that make up the President Donald Trump White House team would be amusing to watch but for the genuine damage that it is doing to the United States. The lack of any coherence in policy means that the State Department now has diplomats that do not believe in diplomacy and environment agency heads that do not believe in protecting the environment. It also means that well-funded and disciplined lobbies and pressure groups are having a field day, befuddling ignorant administrators with their “fact sheets” and successfully promoting policies that benefit no one but themselves.

      In the Trumpean world of all-the-time-stupid, there is, however, one individual who stands out for her complete inability to perceive anything beyond threats of unrelenting violence combined with adherence to policies that have already proven to be catastrophic. That person is our own Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who surfaced in the news lately after she unilaterally and evidently prematurely announced sanctions on Russia. When the White House suggested that she might have been “confused” she responded that “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” This ignited a firestorm among the Trump haters, lauding Haley as a strong and self-confident woman for standing up to the White House male bullies while also suggesting that the hapless Administration had not bothered to inform one of its senior diplomats of a policy change. It also produced a flurry of Haley for higher office tweets based on what was described as her “brilliant riposte” to the president.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Licence to blog: Will ‘Swahili WikiLeaks’ have to close?

      Bloggers in Tanzania will have to pay $920 (£660) for the privilege of posting content online, according to new regulations.

      The government says it wants to protect the East African nation from “lies” being spread online though critics see it as a way of muzzling freedom of expression.

    • What Is Congress Talking About?

      When something happens in Congress, legislators love to brag about it — or condemn it — for their audience of journalists and professionals in Washington and for their constituents back home. The text of their public statements can provide a window into what members are thinking and what matters most to them in any given week.

      A new page on ProPublica’s Represent database — and a new Twitterbot — track what Congress members have said in the past week. It picks out the phrases that are most distinctive to that week’s batch of kudos and complaints contained in Congressional press releases.

    • Why the DNC Is Fighting WikiLeaks and Not Wall Street

      Exactly 200 days before the crucial midterm election that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of Congress, the Democratic National Committee filed a 66-page lawsuit that surely cost lots of money and energy to assemble.

      Does the lawsuit target purveyors of racist barriers to voting that block and deflect so many people of color from casting their ballots?

    • The D.N.C.’s Lawsuit Against Russia and the Trump Campaign Isn’t a Bad Idea

      Last week, the Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar suit against more than a dozen people, entities, and countries (well, one country), charging that “Russia mounted a brazen attack on American democracy” with the goal of “destabilizing the U.S. political environment, denigrating the Democratic presidential nominee, and supporting the campaign of Donald J. Trump, whose policies would benefit the Kremlin.” The defendants in the case include the Russian Federation, Russian military intelligence, the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, and Donald J. Trump, Jr. The candidate who was the beneficiary of this alleged conspiracy,

      [...]

      And that, of course, is easier said than done. Thanks to a legal doctrine known as foreign-sovereign immunity, it’s nearly impossible, except in cases of terrorism, to sue another nation (to say nothing of its military) in a United States court. Likewise, WikiLeaks and its leader, Julian Assange (who is currently still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London), maintain only shadowy presences in the United States; it will be difficult for the plaintiffs in the case to serve these defendants and force them to appear in the Manhattan federal court where the case was brought. But several other defendants will undoubtedly be forced to answer the charges. These include, most notably, representatives of the Trump campaign and Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr. These defendants will certainly ask that the charges be thrown out, arguing that they have no connection to the hacking that is at the core of the case. But candidate Trump’s own comments —“I love WikiLeaks!” or “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand e-mails that are missing”—may suggest enough of a connection for the judge to let the case to proceed to discovery. (The D.N.C. suit is a civil action, so it will not result in any criminal liability.) And that may be the point of the whole enterprise.who is now the President of the United States, is not a defendant—yet.

    • The Democrats’ lawsuit isn’t as nutty as it sounds
    • DNC Sues Russia, The Trump Campaign, Wikileaks

      It’s probably not going to change anything, but the Democratic National Committee has sued Russia (and members of the Russian establishment), members of the Trump campaign, and Wikileaks regard the 2016 election security breaches. The DNC’s complaint includes almost every claim imaginable in response to a hacking incident. If nothing else, it’s a good model for lawyers to crib from.

    • Free Julian Assange!

      In late March, Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno disconnected Julian Assange’s internet access. The reasoning behind this decision involved tensions with Spain and the United Kingdom regarding Assange’s social media messages.

  • Finance
    • Coinbase Picks An Unnecessary Fight With WikiLeaks

      Coinbase is grabbing the wrong headlines again. This time they’ve decided it makes sense to pick a fight with WikiLeaks. Because, that’s always been a good idea. An organization that makes it their mission to publish secrets and uncensored data now has a reason to dig into Coinbase’s dirty laundry. Ummmm…probably the wrong account to ban from your ‘bank’.

      According to WikiLeaks on Twitter, the move was sudden and Coinbase offered no explanation. WikiLeaks has directed its Twitter followers to donate bitcoin on the website, where other digital currencies including Litecoin, Zcash, Monero and Ethereum are listed with the message that “additional cryptocurrency options will be announced.”

      Coinbase, which is registered with the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, only said that the WikiLeaks account “had engaged in prohibited use in violation of our terms and service and we regret to inform you that we can no longer provide you with access to our service.” The WikiLeaks shop was then advised to redirect its remaining balance to an external digital wallet.

    • Up or out: tech company leveling and mandatory promotions

      If you’re thinking about taking a job at a large tech company for the first time, you should remember to ask them how their “leveling” works. This is something that seems to be poorly conveyed to a lot of people, and many folks from outside the valley (myself included, back in the day) have no idea what’s going on or how it should work.

      First, there is the notion of job ladders. A software engineer is not a production engineer/SRE, project manager, or a people manager. Those are all separate ladders, tracks, whatever you want to call them. If you are hired onto a certain ladder, odds are good that you will have to interview to change to another, no matter how long you’ve been doing the gig. I wrote about this in 2011 describing Google, but the same applies to Facebook. It’s probably being practiced in plenty of other places, too.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • No Remorse For Hillary

      I am hopeful that the commendable discovery process involved in US litigation will bring to light further details of the genesis of Christopher Steele’s ludicrous dossier on Trump/Russia, and may even give some clues as to whether Sergei Skripal and/or his handler Pablo Miller were involved in its contents.

      The decision by the Democratic National Committee to sue the Russian Government, Wikileaks, Julian Assange personally and the Trump campaign is an act of colossal hubris. It is certain to reveal still more details of the deliberate fixing of the primary race against Bernie Sanders, over which five DNC members, including the Chair, were forced to resign. It will also lead to the defendants being able to forensically examine the DNC servers to prove they were not hacked – something which astonishingly the FBI refused to do, being instead content to take the word of the DNC’s own private cyber security firm, Crowdstrike. Unless those servers have been wiped completely (as Hillary did to her private email server) I know that is not going to go well for the DNC.

    • On ‘Openness’ and Deceit

      In disclosing the deaths of two Western hostages in a U.S. drone strike on an Al-Qaeda compound, President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he had ordered the declassification of the secret operation because “the United States is a democracy committed to openness in good times and in bad.”

      But the reality of the past six years has been that his administration has enforced wildly excessive secrecy, selectively declassified material to mislead the American people, and failed to correct erroneous information on sensitive international issues.

      This failure to trust the people with accurate information has arguably done great harm to U.S. democracy by promoting false narratives on a range of foreign conflicts. With all its talk about “public diplomacy” and “information warfare,” the Obama administration seems intent on using half-truths and falsehoods to herd the people into a misguided consensus rather than treating them like the true sovereigns of the Republic, as the Framers of the Constitution intended with the explicit phrase “We the People of the United States.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Twitter Bio Won’t Start With ‘Wife’ Anymore

      Hillary Clinton is changing her Twitter bio. After Clinton’s Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture at the PEN America World Voices Sunday night, Clinton sat down for a conversation with author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie asked Clinton about her Twitter bio, which reads, “Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate.” “The first word that describes you is wife. And then I think it’s mom, and then grandmother. When I saw that, I have to confess I felt just a little bit upset. Then I looked at your husband’s Twitter account, and the first word was not husband,” Adichie said. Was this Hillary’s choice, she asked. Clinton smiled: “When you put it like that, I’m going to change it.”

    • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Wants to Know Why Hillary Clinton’s Twitter Bio Leads With ‘Wife’

      Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie interviewed Hillary Clinton at a PEN World Voices Festival lecture at the Cooper Union in Manhattan on Sunday night, and she took the opportunity to confront the former Democratic presidential candidate with something that was bothering her. Why, with all of Clinton’s career accomplishments, did her Twitter bio primarily identify her as a “Wife”?

    • Hillary Clinton and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talk censorship, feminism, and Pizzagate

      On Sunday night, Hillary Clinton delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the PEN America World Voices Festival. It was about what you’d expect from the former candidate in her first speech since the publication of James Comey’s memos on Donald Trump. “Today, we have a president who seems to reject the role of a free press in our democracy,” she said. “Although obsessed with his own press coverage, he evaluates it based not on whether it provides knowledge or understanding, but solely on whether the daily coverage helps him and hurts his opponents.” More interesting, however, was Clinton sitting down with novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie after her speech.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • #MeToo activists in China are turning to the blockchain to dodge censorship
    • In Suppressing #MeToo Letter, China’s Censors Spark an Uproar
    • Ethereum Used By Chinese #Metoo Activists To Defy Censorship
    • Translation: Open Letter on PKU #MeToo Case
    • Chinese #MeToo Student Activists Use Blockchain to Fight Censors

      Student activists trying to ignite the #MeToo movement in China have turned to the technology behind bitcoin to battle government censorship.

      The rare display of dissent emerged after student Yue Xin accused prestigious Peking University of trying to silence her demands for a public airing of a sexual harassment episode more than 20 years ago. While she wasn’t involved in that long-ago incident, college officials have allegedly tried to intimidate and muzzle her, Yue wrote in an open letter Monday. The school forced her to delete information about the case and asked her parents to confine her to home, the undergraduate wrote.

      [...]

      An anonymous user attached Yue’s letter to an ether transaction and posted it to the blockchain: the decentralized ledger that records all activity for the cryptocurrency. That transaction cost the poster all of 52 cents, according to the record. While that means anyone with access to an ethereum node can now see the memo, it won’t be easy for the general public to access — unless someone copies the message from the ledger and reposts it on the web. Even then, Chinese authorities could easily block the site.

      “It’s symbolic but won’t be easily adopted by the public masses,” said Isaac Mao, a San Francisco-based entrepreneur who’s building a media platform that uses blockchain technology to fight censorship. “Decentralised media still has miles to go. But it gives people new hope.”

    • Global crackdown on fake news raises censorship concerns

      In a world where false and misleading information reaches billions instantly and online manipulation is becoming ever more sophisticated, governments are increasingly turning to legislation to combat fake news.

      [...]

      Infinitely easier and cheaper to produce and spread than ever before, fake news is also “low-hanging fruit” for politicians, Alemanno said: “They can talk to voters about it, whereas tackling the underlying, structural reasons why it’s so pervasive in our society and media environment is far, far harder.”

      From Europe to Asia, leaders are rushing to adopt anti-fake news laws. France – where “fake news”, necessarily narrowly defined so as to protect free speech, has been illegal since 1881 – aims to allow judges to order the deletion of false online content in election periods.

      The legislation will also oblige social media platforms to name advertisers who are financing content, and say how much they are paying, and permit France’s independent broadcasting authority to suspend media seen as trying to destabilise a vote, notably if “influenced by foreigners”.

      Germany earlier this year also introduced an online hate speech law, giving platforms with more than 2 million users 24 hours to remove “obviously illegal” terror content, racist material and fake news or face fines of up to €50m (£44m). Other offensive material must be blocked with seven days.

    • Selective army censorship of press may impact Pak polls

      An article published by a leading British newspaper has said that press freedom in Pakistan is under threat, being selectively censored by that country’s powerful military establishment, which doesn’t take kindly to criticism of its actions, or support for the civilian political class.

      It is now a well known fact that in the month gone by, popular and privately-run Geo TV was taken off the air recently and could only start operations again after it reportedly reached a back door agreement with the military establishment to stop covering former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif favourably and cease to criticize the military.

    • Lemoore H.S. tackles censorship in ‘Fahrenheit 451′

      Originally aligned with McCarthy, President Eisenhower eventually came to his senses, saying, “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.”

    • Bustos’ opponent claims Facebook censorship

      Bill Fawell, the Republican candidate for the Illinois 17th Congressional District, says Facebook is censoring his Elect Fawell page and that posts shared from a blog called theburningplatform.com were removed.

      Fawell, an author and real estate broker from Galena, will face U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, in the Nov. 6 election.

      In a news release Monday, Fawell said Facebook deleted three articles on a discussion of the 1998 book “The Fourth Turning” by William Strauss and Neil Howe. The book theorizes on history and generational changes in society, asserting that every 80 to 100 years a “gray champion” emerges as a leader during a time of crisis.

    • House Judiciary to Hold Online Censorship Hearing

      More social media execs could be coming to Capitol Hill this week, but it’s not yet a done deal.

      The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on online censorship and whether social media platforms disfavor or favor certain speech.

      Invited are representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter, though not word on whether any will show.

    • Congressional candidate alleges Facebook censorship

      Bill Fawell, the Republican candidate for the 17th Congressional District, says Facebook is censoring his Elect Fawell page and that posts shared from a blog called theburningplatform.com were removed.

      Mr. Fawell, an author and real estate broker from Galena, will face U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, in the Nov. 6 election.

      In a news release Monday, Mr. Fawell said Facebook deleted three articles on a discussion of the 1998 book “The Fourth Turning” by William Strauss and Neil Howe. The book theorizes on history and generational changes in society, asserting that every 80 to 100 years a “gray champion” emerges as a leader during a time of crisis.

    • Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence [Ed: Facebook censorship is itself the problem, not "transparency" about it]
    • Facebook Reveals Its Censorship Rules
    • Facebook reveals its censorship guidelines for the first time — 27 pages of them
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook Believes “You’re Not The Product” — Tells What Advertisers Know About You

      Facebook, the company that’s getting roasted every next day has published another ‘hard questions’ blog post. This time, Facebook wants to tell us about the information known to the advertisers who want to throw ads in front of the 2 billion people on the social network.

      Just like they have repeatedly stated in the past, Facebook stressed that they don’t sell user data. They take inputs from the advertisers and throw ads accordingly. The company calls it selling “space” on Facebook, similar to what it’s like on TV, radio, or newspaper.

    • Stop Egypt’s Sweeping Ridesharing Surveillance Bill

      The Egyptian government is currently debating a bill which would compel all ride-sharing companies to store any Egyptian user data within Egypt. It would also create a system that would let the authorities have real-time access to their passenger and trip information. If passed, companies such as Uber and its Dubai-based competitor Careem would be forced to grant unfettered direct access to their databases to unspecified security authorities. Such a sweeping surveillance measure is particularly ripe for abuse in a country known for its human rights violations, including an attempts to use surveillance against civil society. The bill is expected to pass a final vote before Egypt’s House on May 14th or 15th.

      Article 10 of the bill requires companies to relocate their servers containing all Egyptian users’ information to within the borders of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Compelled data localization has frequently served as an excuse for enhancing a state’s ability to spy on its citizens.

      Even more troubling, article 9 of the bill forces these same ride-sharing companies to electronically link their local servers directly to unspecified authorities, from police to intelligence agencies. Direct access to a server would provide the Egyptian government unrestricted, real-time access to data on all riders, drivers, and trips. Under this provision, the companies themselves would have no ability to monitor the government’s use of their network data.

    • Facebook Derangement Syndrome: Don’t Blame Facebook For Company Scraping Public Info

      Earlier this month I talked a little bit about “Facebook Derangement Syndrome” in which the company, which has real and serious issues, is getting blamed for other stuff. It’s fun to take potshots at Facebook, and we can talk all we want about the actual problems Facebook has (specifically its half-hearted attempts at transparency and user control), but accusing the company of all sorts of things that are not actually a problem doesn’t help. It actually makes it that much harder to fix things.

      The latest case in point. Zack Whittaker, who is one of the absolute best cybersecurity reporters out there, had a story up recently on ZDNet about a data mining firm called Localblox, that was pulling all sorts of info to create profiles on people… leaking 48 million profiles by failing to secure an Amazon S3 instance (like so many such Amazon AWS leaks, this one was spotted by Chris Vickery at Upgard, who seems to spot leaks from open S3 instances on weekly basis).

    • Amazon Has a Top-Secret Plan to Build Home Robots

      Ten years ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle and established the appeal of reading on a digital device. Four years ago, Jeff Bezos and company rolled out the Echo, prompting millions of people to start talking to a computer.

    • CIA Has Plans To Switch Human Spies With Artificial Intelligence

      The American security agency CIA knows that the future can’t go without artificial intelligence. The agency was all over the news last year because of Wikileaks which published their collection of hacking tools.

      CIA wants to deal with foreign spies, not human but AI-powered spies tracking CIA agents deployed overseas. An effective countermeasure would be using technology instead of humans to get the required intel.

    • CIA plans to replace spies with AI

      Human spies will soon be relics of the past, and the CIA knows it. Dawn Meyerriecks, the Agency’s deputy director for technology development, recently told an audience at an intelligence conference in Florida the CIA was adapting to a new landscape where its primary adversary is a machine, not a foreign agent.

    • The FBI’s War On Encryption Is Personal, According To Comey’s New Book

      A recently-released Inspector General’s report shows the FBI didn’t try as hard as it could to find a way into the San Bernardino shooter’s locked iPhone. It appears FBI officials were more interested in obtaining a favorable court ruling than seeking technical assistance from anyone other than Apple, despite the DOJ’s courtroom claims about time being of the essence.

      This had a lot to do with the current FBI leadership. James Comey made fighting encryption his personal crusade — one that has been carried forward by both the DOJ and the FBI’s new director, Christopher Wray. Comey’s new book about his government career — one that came to an unceremonious end when President Trump fired him — provides a few more details about his crusade against math and personal security.

    • CIA, FBI, NSA say you shouldn’t buy the Huawei P20 Pro. Would you?

      Early this year, Huawei was so, so close to an actual deal with a US carrier. The Mate 10 was supposed to be compatible with and sold through AT&T. But, alas, politics got in the way. The NSA, FBI, and CIA all say US citizens should tread carefully when using the China-made smartphones and managed to pressure AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile enough for the carriers to back away.

    • What’s Not Included in Facebook’s ‘Download Your Data’

      But “Download Your Data” hardly tells you everything Facebook knows about you. Among the information not included:

      • information Facebook collects about your browsing history
      • information Facebook collects about the apps you visit and your activity within those apps
      • the advertisers who uploaded your contact information to Facebook more than two months earlier
      • ads that you interacted with more than two months prior

      Download Your Data is particularly spotty when it comes to the information Facebook taps to display ads. Typically, Facebook uses information it collects or buys to place users into categories that advertisers can target. This can include data a user provides explicitly (your age), implicitly (which browser you use) or unknowingly (information on purchases from loyalty cards).

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Alibaba, Baidu, and other Chinese tech companies post men-only job listings, report finds

      Under Chinese law, gender discrimination in hiring practices and advertising are illegal, but the law isn’t clear on what exactly constitutes gender discrimination and enforcement of the rules is spotty. Offending companies are usually not punished.

      The Human Rights Watch report reveals gender discrimination amongst major tech companies, as in the rest of Chinese society, is common and widespread. Search engine Baidu listed a job for content reviewers in March 2017 stating that applicants had to be men with the “strong ability to work under pressure, able to work on weekends, holidays and night shifts.”

    • Trump’s Actions Undermine His Rhetoric About Second Chances

      Trump talks the talk on reentry, but neither he nor his administration walks the walk.

      A couple of weeks ago, Trump designated April as Second Chance Month. He declared that our nation must “provide opportunities for people with criminal records to earn an honest second chance.” Just before that declaration, on March 7, Trump established a Federal Interagency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry. In doing so, Trump said that we need “to provide those who have engaged in criminal activity with greater opportunities to lead productive lives.”

      All this talk sounds great, but unfortunately, that’s all it is.

    • California Bill Would Guarantee Free Credit Freezes in 15 Minutes

      After the shocking news of the massive Equifax data breach, which has now ballooned to jeopardize the privacy of nearly 148 million people, many Americans are rightfully scared and struggling to figure out how to protect themselves from the misuse of their personal information.

      To protect against credit fraud, many consumer rights and privacy organizations recommend placing a ‘credit freeze’ with the credit bureaus. When criminals seek to use breached data to borrow money in the name of a breach victim, the potential lender normally runs a credit check with a credit bureau. If there’s a credit freeze in place, then it’s harder to obtain the loan.

      But placing a credit freeze can be cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly. The process can also vary across states. It can be an expensive time-suck if a consumer wants to place a freeze across all credit bureaus and for all family members.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • The Washington Post Thinks Overpaying For Broadband Bundles Is A Hoot

      Apparently, you don’t actually hate overpaying for cable, broadband and phone service. At least that’s the takeaway from this bizarre editorial over at the Washington Post by columnist Megan McArdle. In it, McArdle ineffectively argues that while the rise in streaming video competition is great and all, over-paying your regional telecom monopoly is something we all secretly love.

    • Saving net neutrality, one house at a time

      If the Facebook privacy debacle has shown one thing, it’s that technology companies have become immensely powerful and seemingly accountable to no one. Recent federal rollbacks of net neutrality and online privacy protections have put Americans in an even weaker position when dealing with Internet service providers.

      But there is a way for the public to push back: through Internet service provided by local governments, which are directly accountable to citizens.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Administrative Suspension

      You have to pay bar dues for your state, meet CLE requirements, and so on, or you can be administratively suspended by your state. If you are, you can’t practice trademark law before the USPTO. There was another recent OED decision recognizing that basic point, here.

      The USPTO once considered making practitioners take CLE, but that failed. But, you can be administratively suspended by the USPTO for various reasons, including failing to keep your contact, and other, information current under 37 CFR 11.11. The USPTO periodically sends surveys to practitioners and those who don’t respond get their names published, and if they fail to correct the problem, they get administratively suspended from patent practice, as shown here.

    • USPTO Seeking IP Attaché In New Delhi

      The United States Patent and Trademark Office has attachés around the world specialised in intellectual property issues, including but not limited to enforcement. The office today announced an opening for a new attaché to be located in New Delhi, India, a key post.

    • Copyrights
      • Court Denies TVAddons’ Request to Dismiss U.S. Piracy Lawsuit

        The people behind TVAddons and the ZemTV Kodi addon have failed to have their case dismissed. The defendants asked the Texas court to drop the case because they are foreign nationals with no connection to the state. However, the court disagrees which means that the legal battle continues.

      • French Minister of Culture Calls For Pirate Streaming Blacklist

        French Minister of Culture, Françoise Nyssen, is considering implementing a national blacklist to target the streaming piracy epidemic. The proposed list should be regularly updated so that ISPs, search engines, and advertising companies can block the sites. The idea comes shortly after industry groups criticized the country for not doing enough to stop piracy.

      • Registrars Suspend 11 Pirate Site Domains, 89 More in the Crosshairs

        Authorities in India are reporting success in their fight against online piracy. After measuring websites against standards established by the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, complaints were filed with the registrars of 11 ‘pirate’ websites. All of the domains were suspended and a further 89 domains are now being targeted.

      • Monkey-selfie lawsuit finally ends: Court affirms adorable macaque can’t sue
      • Naruto, the Article III monkey

        The Ninth Circuit released its opinion in the “monkey selfie” case, reasonably ruling that Naruto the monkey doesn’t have standing under the Copyright laws. The opinion dodges the hard questions about who can be an author (thus leaving for another day questions about artificial intelligence, for example) by instead focusing on mundane things like the ability to have heirs. As a result, it’s not the strongest opinion, but one that’s hard to take issue with.

        But I’d like to focus on an issue that’s received much less attention in the press and among my colleagues. The court ruled that Naruto has Article III standing because there is a case or controversy. I’ll admit that I hadn’t thought about this angle, having instead gone right to the copyright authorship question (when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail). But I guess when you’re an appellate court, that whole “jurisdiction and standing section” means something even though we often skim that in our non-civ pro/con law/fed courts classes in law school.

        I’ll first note that the court is doubtful that PETA has standing as “next friend.” Footnote 3 is a scathing indictment of its actions in this case, essentially arguing that PETA leveraged the case for its own political ends rather than for any benefit of Naruto. Youch! More on this aspect here. The court also finds that the copyright statute does not allow for next friend standing, a completely non-shocking result given precedent.

      • Tencent Music Plans IPO; Valuation Could Exceed $25 Billion

        The digital-music business of Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY -1.71% plans to interview potential underwriting banks over roughly the next month, according to people familiar with the matter.

Koch Brothers and Big Oil Could Not Buy the Decisions in Oil States, SAS

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 11:38:30 PM

Related: The Anti-PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeal Board) Lobby is Partly Funded by the Koch Brothers and the Right Wing


Reference: Inside How the Federalist Society & Koch Brothers Are Pushing for Trump to Reshape Federal Judiciary

Summary: In Oil States Energy Services v Greene’s Energy Group, a case which Koch-funded think tanks meddled in (including those whose panel guests send me threatening legal letters), ends up with dissent from a Koch-connected Justice citing or quoting those very same Koch-funded think tanks

THE DECISION that can rattle low-quality patents at the USPTO (but not PTAB, which actually deals with such low-quality patents) was covered here a couple of hours after it had come out (i.e. as soon as I returned home from Town). It turns out, in retrospect, that many people just “tweeted” about it rather than decided to write something detailed, long, and sensible. Media as it used to be is no more; people are getting too lazy to write long articles.

“Media as it used to be is no more; people are getting too lazy to write long articles.”Among the very early reactions we have Professor Risch, who wrote: “Oil States is out: Inter Partes Review is valid, but patents are still property. Gorsuch and Roberts dissent. [] More surprising than Oil States, SAS is out and Gorsuch writes a straightforward (to the 5 who signed on) statutory interpretation: partial institution is not in the statute. The PTO must grant the full petition (or deny it) and decide all claims raised.”

Gorsuch was reusing talking points from Koch-funded ‘scholars’. They got mentioned by Koch-backed Justices. Surprise? They even gloated about it! “Sad and Happy Day,” one of them said, “Supreme Court holds that #patent rights are regulatory-style “public rights” in Oil States v. Greene’s Energy, but at least my scholarship on patents as private #property rights quoted & cited repeatedly in dissenting opinion.”

He means Gorsuch. This reaffirms the Koch (Big Oil) connection. Are Justices up for sale? Can decisions be bought? Well, not entirely, but perhaps some votes can be ‘arranged’ with the power of money and ‘politicians’ like Donald Trump (it was him who nominated Gorsuch).

Another pundit said: “It will be interesting to see what happens after today’s SCOTUS SAS decision on IPR. Will PTAB grant review in pretty much the same number of cases and just need more time (or more judges), or will they deny more petitions for review because of higher per-case workload?”

The goal of slowing down PTAB isn’t a novel one. The patent extremists will do anything they can to make that happen.

Thomas F. Cotter (scholar, albeit not a Koch-funded one) had this to say:

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Inter Partes Review
In what must be one of its most important patent opinions in recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning upheld the constitutionality of inter partes reviews (IPRs)–the opposition-like procedures that Congress established in 2011 as part of the America Invents Act–in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC. Opinion here. I’m not surprised by the ruling, but I am relieved; some of the questions posed during oral argument last November left me just a tad worried about the ultimate outcome (see post here). The breakdown of opinions does not fall along the typical ideological lines: Justice Thomas writes the majority opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Another scholar, Jason Rantanen, wrote about this decision in Oil States Energy Services v Greene’s Energy Group along with SAS. On the former he wrote:

Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group: Inter partes review does not violate Article III or the 7th Amendment. Patents are public rights for purposes of this question. This holding is a self-proclaimed narrow one that “should not be misconstrued as suggesting that patents are not property for the purposes of the Due Process Clause or Takings Clause.” Thomas for the majority; Breyer with a concurring opinion (joined by Ginsburg and Sotomayor), Gorsuch dissenting (joined by Roberts).

The CCIA wrote about it much later. Under “Even If The PTAB Thinks A Claim Is Valid, It Has To Conduct An IPR Anyway” (and in conclusion) the CCIA said:

The second case, SAS v. Matal, focused on the statutory language authorizing IPR. The challenger argued that this required the PTAB to conduct an inter partes review and issue a final decision on every challenged claim if at least one claim appeared to be invalid; in contrast, the PTAB only conducted a review and issued a decision on the claims that they had determined met the invalidity threshold in the institution decision. Patent Progress covered this case when it was filed, and—unfortunately—correctly predicted the outcome.

[...]

The alternative, where the PTAB effectively eliminates substantive analysis in the institution decision (other than stating that a single claim had been shown likely invalid), is even worse. In this case there isn’t even the guidance as to which claims the PTAB believed invalid. Instead, every claim has to be argued over. The parties won’t know the scope of the dispute, meaning that they’re less likely to settle with one another. And district courts, unable to determine if the PTAB feels all claims are invalid or only one, will become less likely to stay cases.

Given the importance of this procedural change, the PTO must provide petitioners and patent owners with information as to what they should expect regarding the conduct of proceedings at the first opportunity. Subsidiary concerns like the standard of review can wait.

Last but not least, Dugie Standeford from IP Watch wrote behind a paywall. The introduction says:

United States Patent and Trademark Office inter partes reviews are legal and do not violate Article III of the Constitution or the 7th Amendment, the US Supreme Court said today. While the decision was expected, practitioners before the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board can now rest easy, as one patent lawyer put it.

We expect more spin and lots of worship/love for Gorsuch from patent maximalists in the coming days/weeks. The problem is, not many people will dare speak of the influence of money (like the front groups and think tanks involved). Best dissent oil money can buy?

The European Patent Office (EPO) Wastes a Lot of Money on External PR Agencies for Battistelli’s ‘Heist’

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 11:00:46 PM

Summary: The EPO’s management is once again scattering/throwing EPO budget at PR agencies and media companies (publishers/broadcasters) to disseminate a bunch of puff pieces and virtually ignore the very obvious conflict of interest, which should be a scandal on par with that of FIFA (resulting in the arrest of its boss, Mr. Blatter)

THE staff of the EPO is really upset. We can see that. We hear about that. It’s like no matter how abusive the boss is, nothing ever happens to him. He’s above the law.

“The staff of the EPO is really upset.”“I was surprised to see that the administrator of the Theatre Alexandre Dumas (TAD) in St Germain en Laye is not anyone else than the mayor, Arnaud Péricard, himself,” told us one reader, “seconded by, you guess it, Benoît Battistelli . As such the TAD is a part of the administration in St Germain en Laye. Here a link with the TAD team (L’équipe du TAD | Théâtre Alexandre-Dumas de Saint-Germain-en-Laye) who are themselves getting involved in a scandal without being aware of it. With the inventor of the year show taking place in the town where Benoit Battistelli is deputy mayor, there is a MAJOR conflict of interest, and a MAJOR scandal in perspective for which M. Battistelli and the accomplices will be held accountable.”

Here is the list of the people involved/implicated:

TAD team

Arnaud Péricard
Maire-adjoint chargé de la Culture (deputy mayor in charge of culture)

Benoît Battistelli
Conseiller municipal délégué au Théâtre (town counsellor in charge of the Thatre)

Guillaume Estienne
Directeur général adjoint des Services (deputy general director for services)

Francine Chassepot
Directrice de la Vie culturelle (director in charge of cultural life)

Theatre team

Directrice déléguée (deputy director)
Sophie Bauer

Directeur artistique (artistic director)
Benoît Dissaux

Directeur technique (technical director)
Joël Haton

Gestionnaire administrative, accueil des équipes artistiques
(administrative management, reception of artistic teams)
Cathy Alexandre-Skrzypczak

Chargé de la billetterie et de l’accueil
(in charge of ticketing and welcome)
Jérémie Dufour

Régisseur des recettes
(proceeds management)
Mercedes Figuereo

Chargée de la communication et des relations publiques
(public relations and communication)
Johanna Julien

Régisseur général
(stage manager)
Emmanuel Monnet

Régisseur lumière
(lighting designer)
Franck Mérel

Régisseurs plateau
(stage technicians)
Christian Laurent
David Costerg

Régisseur son et vidéo
(sound and image technician)
Thomas Weyant

Agent de sécurité – Affichage
(security officer – display)
Rudy Vasseur

We are hoping to have contact details soon. A day ago we (re)published contact details for various key people in the administration (not just of the threatre). We urge readers to write to these people, preferably but not necessarily in French (most of them are fluent in English, too). It’s not a campaign of harassment but merely an act of accountability — a concept that Battistelli seems incapable of grasping.

“It’s like no matter how abusive the boss is, nothing ever happens to him. He’s above the law.”“The time has come! These are the European Inventor Award 2018 finalists,” the EPO wrote some hours ago. They neglect to mention the likely corruption which everyone at the EPO seems to have whispered about for months. How can he get away with it? As we put it a few weeks ago, what we have here is “One Last Battistelli Heist: Millions of Euros for Saint-Germain-en-Laye” (his town where he works).

Here’s today’s fluff from the EPO: (warning: epo.org link)

The Award winners will be announced on 7 June in Paris, Saint-Germain-en-Laye…

[...]

“The 2018 Award finalists demonstrate that Europe continues to be a world leader in innovation,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.

He makes it a world leader in corruption.

“It’s not a campaign of harassment but merely an act of accountability — a concept that Battistelli seems incapable of grasping.”“EPO corruption continues,” Benjamin Henrion wrote about it today, as “Saint-Germain-en-Laye is Batistelli’s commune.”

People are noticing this, but the media refuses to cover or even mention this in passing. The truth of the matter is, the EPO has been bribing the media for a long time (we are covering many examples) and EPO management has once again hired Echolot Public Relations (Barbara Geier) to spam British media about this event. Guess at whose expense…

“People are noticing this, but the media refuses to cover or even mention this in passing.”We can see it based on this press release from today. How many PR agencies is the EPO hiring? We’ve lost count. In the UK alone it has got contracts with at least 3 PR agencies. Some contracts are ‘weighed’ at over a million euros! Talk about money down the drain. EPO management misuses stakeholders’ money for puff pieces such as these in the Irish media [1, 2, 3]. Did they literally pay for these? Indirectly perhaps? Earlier today (and it’s only the start of this week!) the EPO played the media, then linked to (retweeted) the outcome, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

How many PR agencies in how many countries is the EPO hiring this time around? Maybe someone can leak to us documents that may shed light…

Our jaw was on the floor seeing how the EPO even retweeted extremists like Watchtroll and its "bucket of deplorables" several hours ago. Bad optics? No tact? Maybe they don’t understand what they just did…

“Are there any major publishers/broadcasters that Battistelli has not yet corrupted using EPO budget? Or threatened for ‘daring’ to speak of EPO abuses?”Looking at the underlying ‘article’ with all the Battistelli quotes embedded throughout, it looks like a puff piece for the EPO; maybe it was partially ghostwritten by a PR agency. Gene Quinn certainly lacks ethics, so writing this rubbish could/might as well be an EPO partnership. Remember that the EPO already passed money to IAM through one of its PR agencies.

Roger Highfield, judging for Battistelli’s very ‘special’ event (money passage), was retweeted by the EPO after he had posted this puff piece in the site of the Science Museum. It says this:

Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group and judge of the European Inventor Award introduces this year’s finalists and explains how to vote for your favourite.

This isn’t the first time we see Roger Highfield pushing the EPO’s agenda and being retweeted by the EPO; as we showed last year, it’s no longer a secret that the EPO pays travel expenses (flights) for so-called ‘journalists’ who cover these events. This, in our view, is a sort of bribery. But such is the moral level of the EPO these days. We still wait to see which large publisher — if any — will mention the huge scandal in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Are there any major publishers/broadcasters that Battistelli has not yet corrupted using EPO budget? Or threatened for ‘daring’ to speak of EPO abuses?

Today’s EPO is Not Compatible With the Law and It’s Grossly Incompatible With Truth and Justice

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 10:15:55 PM

Summary: Today, once again, the EPO openly advocates software patents while media promotes loopholes (notably hype waves)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has lost touch with the law, just like Team UPC and various factors that push towards a ‘unitary’ patent. The law does not seem to matter to these people, constitutions are ripped to shreds, lies are habitual, and votes are rigged.

“The term “computer-implemented inventions” or CII is just a euphemism for software patents. They try to disguise these as “AI”, “cloud”, “4IR”, “devices” and nowadays even “blockchain”.”Earlier today Gregory Bacon from Bristows wrote (first time they say anything in weeks) about “provisions [which] will [sic] prohibit ‘double-patenting’ i.e. protection of the same invention by an Italian national patent and a unitary patent; the possibility of such ‘double protection’ had been discussed but decided against (in contrast to the position in Germany, see Double protection and forum shopping under Germany’s draft UPC legislation).”

Well, it’s not like “Germany’s draft UPC legislation” will ever turn into anything. In fact, the UPC as a whole is gathering rust and there’s no progress, no news, nothing to report about it. The latest UPC spin is more of the same. There’s no news from Germany or from the UK. Hence it’s dead.

“It does not even obey its own rules, the national laws, international law, and the EPC.”Meanwhile, the EPO continues trampling all over the law. Software patents are in principle not allowed in Europe, but here comes the EPO again (only hours ago), writing: “How to obtain patents for computer-implemented inventions in biotechnology and healthcare at the EPO?”

The term “computer-implemented inventions” or CII is just a euphemism for software patents. They try to disguise these as “AI”, “cloud”, “4IR”, “devices” and nowadays even “blockchain”. In fact, earlier today a news site published this article titled “The patenteability of blockchain technology in Europe” (nowadays or now that companies/people disguise software patents as “blockchain” to bypass the rules). To quote:

Blockchain is a software-based technology. Computer programs appear in paragraph d) of art. 52, no. 2, of the European Patent Convention, 1973, as a subject which can not constitute an invention. However, in 2005 the European Patent Office (EPO) had already granted more than thirty thousand patents related to computer programs and currently computer-implemented inventions are the subject of approximately 35% of European patent applications.

The reason for this lies in the rule laid down in paragraph 3 of that Article, which provides that computer programs, as well as all matters referred to in paragraph 2, shall not be excluded from patentability unless ‘European patent application or European patent relates to such subject-matter or activities as such’.

The determination of the limits of the patentability of computer-implemented inventions in Europe is essentially the result of the decisions of the Technical Boards of Appeal (TBA) of the EPO and the interpretation thereof, of the relevant rules.

The EPO isn’t out of touch with the law only in the fraud and corruption sense (more on that later). It does not even obey its own rules, the national laws, international law, and the EPC. What kind of message is that supposed to send out?

Quick Mention: As Expected, the US Supreme Court Cements PTAB’s Role With Trump-Appointed Gorsuch Dissenting

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 05:08:05 PM


Live blog of opinions (the reference page for this case has not been updated yet)

Summary: Oil States has been decided and it’s very good news for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); even Conservatives-leaning Justices support PTAB

THE good news is here. It’s not surprising, but it’s still very good.

Dan Ravicher‏, a former lawyer of Free/libre software causes (who happens to be quite Conservatives-leading), wrote that “Oil States has been decided by Supreme Court, 7-2 IPRs are Constitutional. Dissent by Gorsuch and Roberts.”

The ruling is here. We have not checked it yet. There will be hundreds if not thousands of articles about it in the coming days. It will probably be mentioned for many years to come.

IAM retweeted Dan Ravicher and added: “Over to you, Director Iancu! Most were expecting 9-0, so 7-2 is a slight surprise. But it’s an overwhelming endordement [sic] of a status quo that only the USPTO director or Congress can now change.”

So hopes IAM. But it will be difficult to change in defiance of a 7-2 decision from the highest legal authority.

IAM’s patent extremist (Richard Lloyd), who tried to ‘appoint’/install at the top of the USPTO someone who calls PTAB “death squads”, wrote about an hour ago that the “Supreme Court issued its decision in the widely anticipated Oil States case earlier today ruling that inter partes review (IPR) is constitutional and does not violate the US Constitution’s Seventh Amendment. The nine justices split 7-2, with Justices Gorsuch writing a dissent in which he was joined by Chief Justice Roberts. In another IPR-focused case the Supreme Court also found that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) must consider the patentability of all claims challenged in a post-grant review following institution. In that case, SAS Institutes v Iancu, the justices were much more closely divided with the five more conservative…”

It’s almost a bipartisan view then. Gorsuch is the wolf many thought he would turn out to be. At least he made the Koch Brothers happy.

No word yet from Watchtroll and other messengers of patent trolls, just another ‘obligatory’ rant about PTAB today. Mr. Gross, who is writing for patent trolls, has unleashed another storm of rants about PTAB, e.g.:

Oracle patent inventors should have predicted that “determining if locations of devices is correct according to prior transactions” is just abstract idea according to PTAB because apparently we all didn’t know that it is a “fundamental economic practice” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008640-04-16-2018-1 …

PTAB’s expansive reading of “organizing human activity” exception to 101 swallows/destroys “distance based advertising in a virtual world” filing by IBM bc human COULD replicate process in real world with 2 different pieces of paper of different sized font https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008387-04-16-2018-1 …

PTAB indiscriminate 101 strategy: if invention listed as abstract idea under PTO guidelines, then game over: guidelines become end-all be-all of patentability! And even if its not on list, they say list is not binding on them, they can put it there anyway! https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008387-04-16-2018-1 …

They can moan all they want, but PTAB is here to stay.

Links 24/4/2018: Preview of Crostini, Introducing Heptio Gimbal, OPNsense 18.1.6

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 10:01:49 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open source movement to disrupt NFV and SDN marketplace

    According to Technology Business Research’s 1Q18 NFV/SDN Telecom Market Landscape report, open-source groups will spur NFV and SDN adoption by establishing industry standards that foster interoperability among a broader range of solution providers.

  • Events
    • How to video conference without people hating you

      What about an integrated headset and microphone? This totally depends on the type. I tend to prefer the full sound of a real microphone but the boom mics on some of these headsets are quite good. If you have awesome heaphones already you can add a modmic to turn them into headsets. I find that even the most budget dedicated headsets sound better than earbud microphones.

    • Learn about the open source efforts of Code.gov at this event

      The U.S. government has a department looking to spread open source projects, and members will be in Baltimore this week.

      Code.gov is looking to promote reuse of open source code within the government to cut down on duplicating development work, and spread use of the code throughout the country. On April 26 event at Spark Baltimore, team members from Code.gov, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Presidential Innovation Fellowship are among those invited to be at a meetup to share more. Held from 12-3 p.m., the event will feature talks from the invited guests about what they’re working on and Federal Source Code Policy, as well as how it can apply locally, said organizing team member Melanie Shimano.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • First look at Google Chrome’s UI design refresh

        Users of Google Chrome Canary, the cutting edge version of Google’s web browser, have a chance to get a sneak peek of a user interface design refresh that Google may plan to launch in all versions of Chrome eventually.

        The feature is hidden behind a flag currently but that is a common practice by Google; the company uses flags to hide future features from the general population. While there is no guarantee that features will land in Chrome one day, it is often the case that Google uses experimental flags to prepare the wider release.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Thunderbird: Thunderbird April News Update: GSoC, 60 Beta 4, New Thunderbird Council

        Due to lots of news coming out of the Thunderbird project, I’ve decided to combine three different blog posts I was working on into one news update that gives people an idea of what has been happening in the Thunderbird community this month.

      • New Mozilla Poll: Support for Net Neutrality Grows, Trust in ISPs Dips

        “Today marks the ostensible effective date for the FCC’s net neutrality repeal order, but it does not mark the end of net neutrality,” says Denelle Dixon, Mozilla COO. “And not just because some procedural steps remain before the official overturning of the rules — but because Mozilla and other supporters of net neutrality are fighting to protect it in the courts and in Congress.”

        Also today: Mozilla is publishing results from a nationwide poll that reveals where Americans stand on the issue. Our survey reinforces what grassroots action has already demonstrated: The repeal contradicts most Americans’ wishes. The nation wants strong net neutrality rules.

  • Heptio
    • Introducing Heptio Gimbal: Bridging cloud native and traditional infrastructure

      Today we are excited to announce Heptio Gimbal, an open source initiative to unify and manage internet traffic into hybrid cloud environments consisting of multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure technologies including OpenStack. Gimbal builds on established open source projects like Kubernetes, Heptio Contour, and Envoy to provide a robust multi-team load balancing solution that enables businesses to manage traffic across traditional and container-based infrastructure.

    • Heptio launches new open-source load-balancing project with Kubernetes in mind

      Heptio added a new load balancer to its stable of open-source projects Monday, targeting Kubernetes users who are managing multiple clusters of the container-orchestration tool alongside older infrastructure.

      Gimbal, developed in conjunction with Heptio customer Actapio, was designed to route network traffic within Kubernetes environments set up alongside OpenStack, said Craig McLuckie, co-founder and CEO of Heptio. It can replace expensive hardware load-balancers — which manage the flow of incoming internet traffic across multiple servers — and allow companies with outdated but stable infrastructure to take advantage of the scale that Kubernetes can allow.

    • Yahoo Japan US Subsidiary Actapio Takes Cloud Native Approach to Upgrade On-Premise Infrastructure to Manage High Scale Web Workloads through Heptio partnership
    • Heptio launches Gimbal to help enterprises load balance Kubernetes and OpenStack
    • Heptio Announces Gimbal, Netflix Open-Sources Titus, Linux 4.15 Reaches End of Life and More

      Heptio this morning announces Gimbal, “an open source initiative to unify and scale the flow of network traffic into hybrid environments consisting of multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure technologies including OpenStack”. The initiative is in collaboration with Actapio, a subsidiary of Yahoo Japan Corporation, and according to Craig McLuckie, founder and CEO of Heptio, “This collaboration demonstrates the full potential of cloud native technologies and open source as a way to not only manage applications, but address broader infrastructure considerations.”

    • Heptio Builds Bridge to Kubernetes

      Heptio, the startup launched in 2016 by the creators of the Kubernetes container orchestrator, is launching an open source initiative along with partner Actapio aimed at bridging cloud native and existing infrastructure by scaling network traffic into hybrid frameworks.

      The Seattle-based startup announced this week it is working with the U.S. subsidiary of Yahoo Japan Corp. to help unify network traffic consisting of multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure such as OpenStack private and public clouds.

    • Heptio launches an open-source load balancer for Kubernetes and OpenStack

      Heptio is one of the more interesting companies in the container ecosystem. In part, that’s due to the simple fact that it was founded by Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, two of the three engineers behind the original Kubernetes project, but also because of the technology it’s developing and the large amount of funding it has raised to date.

    • With new open-source Gimbal project, Heptio aims to ease Kubernetes adoption

      Accel-backed infrastructure automation startup Heptio Inc. today released Gimbal, an open-source load balancer designed to remove a major obstacle standing in the way of enterprises looking to adopt Kubernetes.

      Kubernetes, which was developed by Heptio’s two co-founders during their time at Google Inc., which turned it into open-source software, is the go-tool system for managing software container deployments. Software containers can streamline application projects by enabling developers to easily move code across different infrastructure.

      More and more enterprises are looking to adopt the technology in a bid to speed up their development operations. However, setting up a large Kubernetes-powered environment alongside a company’s existing infrastructure can prove difficult in many cases.

    • Kubernetes Injected Into Yahoo Japan’s OpenStack Infrastructure

      Heptio launched an open source initiative to help manage the flow of traffic into hybrid cloud environments that include multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure technologies like OpenStack.

      Heptio worked with Yahoo Japan subsidiary Actapio on the Gimbal project. That initial work focused on infusing Kubernetes into Yahoo Japan’s infrastructure that already included an OpenStack architecture. This is becoming a common request by enterprises looking to merge legacy systems with container platforms.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice Conference 2018 Takes Place in Tirana, Albania, for LibreOffice 6.1

      While working on the next major LibreOffice release, The Document Foundation is also prepping for this year’s LibreOffice Conference, which will take place this fall in Albania.

      The LibreOffice Conference is the perfect opportunity for new and existing LibreOffice developers, users, supporters, and translators, as well as members of the Open Source community to meet up, share their knowledge, and plan the new features of the next major LibreOffice release, in this case LibreOffice 6.1, due in mid August 2018.

      A call for papers was announced over the weekend as The Document Foundation wants you to submit proposals for topics and tracks, along with a short description of yourself for the upcoming LibreOffice Conference 2018 event, which should be filed no later than June 30, 2018. More details can be found here.

    • LibreOffice Conference Call for Paper

      The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year’s conference in Tirana (Albania). The event is scheduled for late September, from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice or the Document Liberation Project, we want to hear from you!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • The Several Faces of Intel Compilers [Ed: It says that this so-called 'article' is "sponsored", so IDG is now running ads as 'articles'. Not even pretense about whether it's journalism or not.]
    • FoundationDB Goes Open Source [Ed: "FoundationDB gave Apple a foothold in the crowded NoSQL database sector," it says and this is what this openwashing is all about. It's helping Apple in spreading its proprietary frameworks and surveillance 'clouds'.]
    • Linux Everywhere (Premium) [Ed: “Linux Everywhere,” says longtime Microsoft propagandist, in service (IMHO) of the latest EEE strategy. Don’t forget who’s still in charge.]
  • Funding
    • Another Summer of Code with Smack

      I’m very happy to announce that once again I will participate in the Summer of Code. Last year I worked on OMEMO encrypted Jingle Filetransfer for the XMPP client library Smack. This year, I will once again contribute to the Smack project. A big thanks goes out to Daniel Gultsch and Conversations.im, who act as an umbrella organization.

  • BSD
    • OPNsense 18.1.6

      For more than 3 years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising and hardening the code base, quick and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.

    • Ryzen Stability Issues Are Still Affecting Some FreeBSD Users

      While in recent months there have been some improvements to FreeBSD that have helped yield greater reliability in running AMD Ryzen processors on this BSD operating system, some users are still reporting hard to diagnose stability problems on FreeBSD.

      For some, FreeBSD on Ryzen is still leading to lock-ups, even while the system may be idle. Also making it hard to debug, for some they can trigger a lock-up within an hour of booting their system while for others they may be able to make it a week or two before hitting any stability problem.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • An introduction to the GNU Core Utilities

      These two collections of Linux utilities, the GNU Core Utilities and util-linux, together provide the basic utilities required to administer a Linux system. As I researched this article, I found several interesting utilities I never knew about. Many of these commands are seldom needed, but when you need them, they are indispensable.

      Between these two collections, there are over 200 Linux utilities. While Linux has many more commands, these are the ones needed to manage the basic functions of a typical Linux host.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • NOAA’s Mission Toward Open Data Sharing

        The goal of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to put all of its data — data about weather, climate, ocean coasts, fisheries, and ecosystems – into the hands of the people who need it most. The trick is translating the hard data and making it useful to people who aren’t necessarily subject matter experts, said Edward Kearns, the NOAA’s first ever data officer, speaking at the recent Open Source Leadership Summit (OSLS).

        NOAA’s mission is similar to NASA’s in that it is science based, but “our mission is operations; to get the quality information to the American people that they need to run their businesses, to protect their lives and property, to manage their water resources, to manage their ocean resources,” said Kearns, during his talk titled “Realizing the Full Potential of NOAA’s Open Data.”

        He said that NOAA was doing Big Data long before the term was coined and that the agency has way too much of it – to the tune of 30 petabytes in its archives with another 200 petabytes of data in a working data store. Not surprisingly, NOAA officials have a hard time moving it around and managing it, Kearns said.

    • Open Access/Content
      • Is English Wikipedia’s ‘rise and decline’ typical?

        The figure comes from “The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System,” a well-known 2013 paper that argued that Wikipedia’s transition from rapid growth to slow decline in 2007 was driven by an increase in quality control systems. Although many people have treated the paper’s finding as representative of broader patterns in online communities, Wikipedia is a very unusual community in many respects. Do other online communities follow Wikipedia’s pattern of rise and decline? Does increased use of quality control systems coincide with community decline elsewhere?

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Brains behind seL4 secure microkernel begin RISC-V chip port

        Last week, the first RISC-V port of its seL4 microkernel was released by the Data61 division of the Australian government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

        seL4 is an open-source and highly secure version of the L4 microkernel that aims to be mathematically proven to be bug free, in that it works as expected as per its specifications. Meanwhile, RISC-V is an open-source instruction-set architecture, and is used as the blueprint for various open-source processor core designs – some of which are now shipping as real usable silicon, such as chips from SiFive and Greenwaves.

      • Dongwoon Anatech Licenses Codasip’s Bk3 RISC-V Processor for Motor Control ICs for Mobile Camera

        Codasip, the leading supplier of RISC-V® embedded processor IP, announced today that Dongwoon Anatech, a technology leader in analog and power ICs for mobile phones, has selected Codasip’s Bk3 processor and Studio design tool for its next generation family of motor control IC products.

        Dongwoon Anatech, fabless analog semiconductor specialist, offers a wide range of analog products, including auto-focus driver IC for smartphones, AMOLED DC-DC converter, display power driver IC, and haptic driver IC.

  • Programming/Development
    • ThreadStack: Yet Another C++ Project Trying To Make Multi-Threading Easier

      ThreadStack is yet another C++ project trying to make it easier dealing with multiple CPU threads.

      This latest open-source C++ threading project comes out of academia research. ThreadStack is self-described by its developer, Erkam Murat Bozkurt, as “an innovative software which produces a class library for C++ multi-thread programming and the outcome of the ThreadStack acts as an autonomous management system for the thread synchronization tasks. ThreadStack has a nice and useful graphical user interface and includes a short tutorial and code examples. ThreadStack offers a new way for multi-thread computing and it uses a meta program in order to produce an application specific thread synchronization library.” Erkam has been working the rounds trying to raise awareness for this research on the GCC and LLVM mailing lists.

    • Beta for Qt for WebAssembly Technology Preview

      WebAssembly is a bytecode format intended to be executed in a web browser. This allows an application to be deployed to a device with a compliant web browser without going through any explicit installation steps. The application will be running inside a secure sandbox in the web browser, making it appropriate for applications that do not need full access to the device capabilities, but benefits from a swift and uncomplicated installation process.

    • Qt for WebAssembly Tech Preview Reaches Beta

      As part of next month’s Qt 5.11 tool-kit update, a new technology preview module will be WebAssembly support for running Qt5 user-interfaces within your web-browser.

    • GitLab Web IDE Goes GA and Open-Source in GitLab 10.7

      GitLab Web IDE, aimed to simplify the workflow of accepting merge requests, is generally available in GitLab 10.7, along with other features aimed to improve C++ and Go code security and improve Kubernets integration.

      The GitLab Web IDE was initially released as a beta in GitLab 10.4 Ultimate with the goal of streamlining the workflow to contribute small fixes and to resolve merge requests without requiring the developer to stash their changes and switch to a new branch locally, then back. This could be of particular interest to developers who have a significant number of PRs to review, as well as to developers starting their journey with Git.

    • GitLab open sources its Web IDE

      GitLab has announced its Web IDE is now generally available and open sourced as part of the GitLab 10.7 release. The Web IDE was first introduced in GitLab Ultimate 10.4. It is designed to enable developers to change multiple files, preview Markdown, review changes and commit directly within a browser.

      “At GitLab, we want everyone to be able to contribute, whether you are working on your first commit and getting familiar with git, or an experienced developer reviewing a stack of changes. Setting up a local development environment, or needing to stash changes and switch branches locally, can add friction to the development process,” Joshua Lambert, senior product manager of monitoring and distribution at GitLab, wrote in a post.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Document Freedom Day Singapore 2018

      On the 28 March 2018, Fedora Ambassadors organized Document Freedom Day in Singapore. Document Freedom Day is a day which like-minded folks who care about libre document formats gather to discuss and raise awareness of libre document formats. Libre document formats help reduce restrictions and vendor lock-ins. They are also an important tool that enables our right to read freely.

Leftovers
  • 6 DevOps trends to watch in 2018

    Here at Loggly, we live and breathe logs and uncovering underlying data. It probably comes as no surprise that we’re passionate about the future of log analysis and metric monitoring. Communicating with key subject matter experts in the DevOps space plays an important role in helping us understand where the industry is headed.

  • Trouble in techno hippie paradise

    Another interesting point: while the number of people addicted to nicotine has been going down globally lately, the number of network addicts has outnumbered those by far now. And yet the long term effects of being online almost 24/365 have not yet been researched at all. The cigarette companies claimed that most doctors smoke. The IT industry claims it’s normal to be online. What’s your wakeup2smartphone time? Do you check email every day?

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Redesigning Maternal Care: OB-GYNs Are Urged to See New Mothers Sooner and More Often

      While an ACOG task force began rethinking its approach several years ago, the guidelines arrive at a moment of mounting concern about rising rates of pregnancy-related deaths and near-deaths in the U.S. As ProPublica and NPR have reported, more than 700 women die every year in this country from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and more than 50,000 suffer life-threatening complications, among the worst records for maternal health in the industrialized world. The death rate for black mothers is three to four times that of white women.

      The days and weeks after childbirth can be a time of particular vulnerability for new moms, with physical and emotional risks that include pain and infection, hypertension and stroke, heart problems, blood clots, anxiety and depression. More than half of maternal deaths occur after the baby is born, according to a new CDC Foundation report.

      Yet for many women in the U.S., the ACOG committee opinion notes, the postpartum period is “devoid of formal or infor­mal maternal support.” This reflects a troubling tendency in the medical system — and throughout American society — to focus on the health and safety of the fetus or baby more than that of the mother. “The baby is the candy, the mom is the wrapper,” said Alison Stuebe, who teaches in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and heads the task force that drafted the guidelines. “And once the candy is out of the wrapper, the wrapper is cast aside.”

    • The Dilemma with Clinical Trials and the Patent Law [Ed: Getting patents on things that do not even work might lead to cheating in clinical trials just to justify the investment in these patents, putting lives at risk.]

      Suppose you are a (patent) attorney in a pharmaceutical company and want to advise your company how to best protect the results of a clinical trial designed to find out the best possible treatment regimen of a certain known and approved drug X. The researchers of your company have devised and been allowed to conduct a clinical study in humans, involving a number of pretty different treatment regimens. The trial will be lengthy and quite costly; its result is not really predictable. In the end, your company’s trial will (hopefully) provide mankind with valuable new information how to best administer drug X. Your company’s management tells you that they want and need and, in their opinion, deserve patent protection for the new treatment regimen.

      Now it’s your turn. You know that a compound for a new use can be patented in principle (Art. 54(4) and (5) EPC) and that a new use may consist, inter alia, of a new treatment regimen (established case law since T 1020/03, a decision back from the good old times when important decisions were still published in the OJ EPO). So far, so good. But now comes the BIG question: Should you file the patent application that your company expects you to file before your company starts the trial, possibly including all treatment regimens included in the trial, or only after your company has received and evaluated the results?

    • An autopsy of London’s huge fatberg finds it contains potentially deadly bacteria

      After a record-breaking specimen, measuring 250 meters (820 ft) long and weighing 130 tonnes (143 tons), was discovered near the South Bank in London, the utilities company Thames Water and Channel 4 teamed up to analyze what was in it and if it was a threat to the capital. After all, that disgusting mass—made up of everything from cooking oil to wipes, condoms, and diapers—is longer than Tower Bridge and weighs the same as two Airbus A318 aircrafts.
      Scientists on the TV program Fatberg Autopsy: Secrets of the Sewers, which airs today (April 24), analyzed 5 tonnes of the monstrous lump to see what was clogging the water system.

      They found that it was made up of the usual suspects of any fatberg—cooking oil comprised 90% of the mass. Their analysis also showed that street drugs, such as cocaine and MDMA, were present but were at much lower concentrations than prohibited gym supplements. But, most worryingly, the autopsy found that the supersized fatberg contains bacteria, including listeria and E. coli, some of which can be potentially deadly and resistant to antibiotics.

  • Security
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Assange Twitter account back tweeting as #ReconnectJulian campaign takes over

      Julian Assange’s Twitter account is active again, four weeks after Ecuador cut off his internet access. The account is being managed by a campaign calling for him to be reconnected.

      “Julian Assange has been gagged and isolated from visitors and communications after heightened pressure,” his account tweeted Monday. “This is on top of his six years without access to sunlight and arbitrary detention in violation of two UN rulings. Account now run by his campaign.”

    • From WikiLeaks to Whistleblowers: “Assault on Truth Telling”

      Defending Rights & Dissent recently published the statement “End Espionage Act Prosecutions of Whistleblowers” signed by a number of journalists, whistleblowers and activists: “We the undersigned organizations and individuals call for an end to the use of the constitutionally dubious Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who give information to the media on matters of public concern.

      “It is entirely inappropriate to use a law supposedly aimed at actual spies and saboteurs, against individuals who act in good faith to bring government misconduct to the attention of the public. Yet, we have seen this statute used with greater frequency against whistleblowers.

    • Tom Perez Defends Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks and Trump Campaign

      Ben Dreyfuss, senior editor at Mother Jones, discusses DNC chair Tom Perez’s defense of a civil suit against the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, noting that it could be a tactic for the DNC to get funding. We also dig into what some lawyers are speculating could be a conflict of interest for Rudy Giuliani in the Mueller probe as he joins the president’s legal team.

  • Finance
    • People think Amazon has the most positive impact on society out of any major tech company

      After Facebook’s data scandal in March, many Americans are taking a more critical eye toward their technology overlords. But not all tech companies perceived equal. Amazon, for example, consistently enjoys the public’s good graces.

      Some 20 percent of Americans believe Amazon is having the most positive impact on society out of any other major tech company, according to a joint SurveyMonkey/Recode poll. Survey takers could choose between a number of other tech companies. 20 percent selected none of the above.

    • How China trapped Sri Lanka under a mountain of debt

      Sri Lanka’s economy is struggling under the weight of massive debts owed to China, with the rupee hitting an all-time low on Monday.

      The big picture: As the small South Asian country’s economy spirals downward, it’s freeing itself from debts by selling Chinese-funded infrastructure projects back to China, giving Beijing influence over strategic ports close to its rival India’s shores.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Lawsuit Against Russia, WikiLeaks, Trump ‘Chance for Dems to Raise Money’ – Prof

      The Democratic Party has initiated new legal proceedings, accusing the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russia and Wikileaks to undermine the US presidential elections in 2016. Sputnik discussed this with Anthony Moretti, Associate Professor in the Department of Communications at Robert Morris University.

    • DNC Sues Russia, Trump Campaign and Wikileaks
    • Trump, Roger Stone and Wikileaks adopt the same line: DNC lawsuit is more of an opportunity than a threat
    • MSNBC’S Creepy Comcast Commercial Is Sinclair Lite

      After the justified uproar over pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcast Group forcing its scores of affiliates to humiliate themselves by reading an on-air script condemning “misleading” news, one would think other media outlets would be a little more careful not to mimic such behavior. Nonetheless, MSNBC—which rightfully tore into Sinclair Broadcast (4/2/18) for having its news reporters read off a corporate script—did a toned-down version of the same thing last Friday on Morning Joe (4/20/18).

      [...]

      The section was presented as news, though branded with Comcast’s logo and intro music. Anchor Nicolle Wallace began by reading from a Comcast press release that described “Comcast Cares Day” as “the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort”: “It is believed to be the largest single-day corporate volunteer event,” she insisted. “Believed” by whom? Well, Comcast’s marketing department, which is evidently enough to assert it as fact.

      Virtually the same language was used by other Comcast properties, including NBC’s Today show (4/21/18, “the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort”) and Boston NBC 10 (4/21/18, “the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort”).

    • Oh Those Embarrassing Moments: Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo Outs ‘Russian Bot’ That Turns Out To Simply Be A UK Citizen Tired Of UK Government Warmongering

      For the past few months, Ben Nimmo, the head of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Labs has had his eye on one Twitter account in particular and he has relentlessly framed that account as being that of an influential “Russian bot” that is linked to the Kremlin. This post will reveal that the Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo has displayed utter incompetency and a shameful display of research (or lack thereof), considering his position as head of DFR Lab, and considering the large amount of money that the Atlantic Council receives and spends on supposedly ‘countering’ disinfo (to be read as acting as “Thought Police”) for the global elitist establishment.

      [...]

      Due to Ben Nimmo and The Atlantic Council’s allegations, on Friday April 20th, 2018 the owner of the account Ian56 decided to reveal himself to Sky News UK and revealed that not only is he NOT a Russian bot, but instead he is actually a concerned UK citizen who is upset with the war crimes of his own government and the murderous global elitists within it.

      [...]

      Tweets below reveal how anytime British politicians are criticized during elections or at other times, the old ‘Russian trolls’ trope is rolled out by Ben Nimmo and his Atlantic Council disinfo associates. The meme of labeling everyone who disagrees with UK, EU and US (western) government policies as a Russian troll grew old, tired and stale back in 2016, but apparently no one told Ben Nimmo or The Atlantic Council. The irony of calling everyone who disagrees with government actions a Russian troll is that doing such leads to the labeled person waking up to the fact that its all lies, an excuse to cover up for western governments nefarious doings, particularly when it comes to support for terrorist groups operating in Syria, which is now being more and more fully revealed. It must be considered that the use of this pathetic technique now and in the future constantly removes and/or negates the ability of western citizens to openly criticize their own governments for criminal acts. Thus, we can clearly see the modus operandi for such labeling of concerned citizens by certain parties affiliated with said corrupted governments. In a sense, it is a perpetual false flag being conducted against concerned western citizens who are against wars that enrich a select few global elitists and their proxies. Ironically, these citizens are actually being forced (through government taxation) to pay to be censored, propagandized and intentionally misled. The people that are conducting this perpetual false labeling and obfuscation of truth are not actually patriots. They are deceivers working against the best interests of the 99% of the general public held hostage to this insanity. Those that are being falsely labeled and silenced are the real patriots. Hence the actual reason for the You Tube/Google/Deep State censorship now. People are waking up to the lies and the Deep State is trying to keep that massive public wake up from happening. They are trying to put a lid on it and keep it beneath the surface of overall public perception.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Telegram Founder Calls for Repeat of Paper Plane Flashmob

      Pavel Durov, the founder and CEO of the messaging service Telegram, has called on supporters to fly paper planes from their windows next Sunday in opposition to Russia’s ban on the company.

      This past Sunday, Telegram users throughout the country responded to Durov’s initial call on social media for a coordinated paper plane action “in support of Internet freedom.” Russian regulators began blocking Telegram, which uses a white paper plane as its logo, after it refused to comply with a court order to grant security services access to its users’ encrypted messages.

    • Russia blocks Google services as Telegram row intensifies

      Some of Google’s services have stopped working in Russia, as the row over encrypted messaging app Telegram intensifies.

      Russian regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) blocked the app from operating in Russia last week, claiming it had failed to heed a demand to hand over encryption keys to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to access messages as part of a terrorist investigation.

    • Google gets caught up in Russian internet censorship battle

      US search giant accused of helping Telegram chat service evade Russian ban

      Gmail and Google Search have been partially blocked in Russia after the state’s communication watchdog accused the US search engine of helping people continuing to use the banned chat service Telegram in the country.

      Russia blocked certain Google IP addresses in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk and other cities yesterday after they were added to Roskomnadozor’s list of banned sites.

    • Bitcoin Censorship Resistance Explained

      One of the greatest features of a decentralized blockchain is censorship resistance. With the money in your bank account, a third party has control over where and when you can send it. With Bitcoin, you can send money to whatever address you like without fear of government interference. However, freedom is not the natural order of the world. The fight against oppression and censorship is a constant battle. While Bitcoin has an important history of circumventing censorship, we’ll look at the omnipresent threats against the cryptocurrency and its level of resistance.

    • Amazon limits reviews of James Comey’s book, raising censorship accusations
    • Censorship? Amazon limiting reviews of James Comey’s book

      But on Amazon, Comey’s book has just a little more than 700 reviews despite being No. 1 on the company’s nonfiction bestseller list last week. And it has an average 5-star rating, the highest rating possible.

      What gives?

      Amazon is letting only verified buyers of Comey’s book post online reviews, the company has confirmed.

      “When numerous reviews post in a short amount of time that are unrelated to the product, we suppress all non-Amazon Verified Purchase (AVP) reviews,” an Amazon spokeswoman told SiliconBeat Monday. “Reviews are meant to help customers by providing real feedback on a product from other customers who have tried it.”

    • Judge Agrees: Perfectly Fine For Google To Deny Ad Placement For ‘Honey Cures Cancer’ Claims

      Eric Goldman brings us the dismissal of a lawsuit against Google that’s… well, a bit on the unintentionally hilarious side. The lawsuit argues there’s a First Amendment right for Google Ad placement — one that circumvents Google’s policies against allowing questionable claims like “Honey Cures Cancer!” — and contains a request for $10 billion in damages.

      El Reg first reported on the lawsuit, filed by a former IBM senior engineer. Apparently tired of the rigorous science involved in his day job, Shajar Abid decided to branch out into speculative fiction.

    • YouTube under fire for censoring video exposing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

      YouTube’s algorithm has long promoted videos attacking gun violence victims, allowing the rightwing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to build a massive audience. But when a not-for-profit recently exposed Jones’ most offensive viral content in a compilation on YouTube, the site was much less supportive – instead deleting the footage from the platform, accusing it of “harassment and bullying”.

      Media Matters, a leftwing watchdog, last week posted a series of clips of Jones spreading falsehoods about the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, a newsworthy video of evidence after the victims’ families filed a defamation lawsuit against the Infowars host. But YouTube, for reasons it has yet to explain, removed the video three days after it was published, a move that once again benefitted Jones, who is now arguing that the defamation suit has defamed him.

    • NTT to block pirated manga sites, sparks censorship fears

      Telecommunications giant NTT group will block access to three “pirated manga websites” for customers of its companies, making it the first in the industry to comply with a government request to take the step.

      But NTT group’s announcement on April 23 has raised concerns among experts who fear the move could be tantamount to widening censorship by authorities.

      Until now, such requests by the government have been limited to websites containing child pornography, even though there is no legal basis for blocking access to them. The government has maintained that it has to resort to an “emergency measure” under the Criminal Law, given the extent of damage those websites cause and a lack of alternative ways to address the issue.

    • Facebook responds to censorship critics with transparency pledge

      Human moderators have just a few seconds to make a decision about whether a piece of reported content belongs on Facebook — and they don’t always get it right.

      Now, Facebook wants to make sure its moderators and the public are on the same page.

      On Tuesday, Facebook updated its community guidelines, publishing for the first time the rules on what moderators should be looking for when deciding to remove content from Facebook. The social network, which has 2.13 billion users and counting, also said it would launch an appeals option for people who feel their page or posts were unfairly removed.

    • Here’s What Facebook Won’t Let You Post

      If you eat someone, do not share it on Facebook. Cannibalism videos are banned.

      Same with still images of cannibalism victims, alive or dead. Unless the image is presented in a medical context with a warning that only those 18 and over can see it. But fetish content regarding cannibalism? Verboten for all ages. And not just on News Feed; it’s also a no-no on other Facebook properties like Instagram—and even Messenger.

      Today, Facebook is making public virtually the entire Community Standards playbook that moderators use to determine whether comments, messages, or images posted by its 2.2 billion users violate its policy. These moves are part of Facebook’s ongoing Trust-A-Palooza effort to be more open in the face of unprecedented criticism. In doing so, the company is laying bare just how much ugliness its global content moderators deal with every day, and just how hard it is to always get it right.

    • ‘You can’t paint over a movement’: Repeal mural removed from Temple Bar (again)

      A REPEAL THE Eighth mural in Dublin’s Temple Bar has been partially painted over after the centre who hosted it was told it may lose its charitable status because of it.

      Supporters of the artwork believe it will spark a conversation around the use of political art, as well as potentially encouraging those calling for a Yes vote to campaign more actively.

      The Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar had previously painted the artwork on the side of its building in 2016, but it was found to be in violation of planning laws and was removed.

    • Censorship claim over Eighth Amendment repeal mural

      The charity watchdog has been accused of stifling free speech after it threatened to cut a Dublin theatre’s funding unless it removed a pro-choice mural.

      The Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar yesterday painted over the words “Repeal the eighth” in an artwork by Maser, the street artist, after the Charities Regulator said it would be denied charitable status if it remained up.

    • The politics of cultural censorship in Lebanon

      A WOMAN sits at a table, a pen and a sheet of paper in front of her. Out of shot, a man’s voice begins to dictate instructions, which she notes down somewhat sulkily. “Replace ‘my tits’ with ‘my breasts’” he begins. “Remove ‘they could fondle and play with them.’” The injunctions become increasingly bizarre and hilarious. Demands to tone down or remove sexual language are soon joined by embargos on religions, political parties and historical events.

      [...]

      Officially, the bureau is entrusted with banning any work deemed to disrespect religion, disturb the public order, incite sectarianism, offend public sensitivities or insult the dignity of the head of state. They add their own bugbears to that list. Sexually graphic scenes, deemed “immoral”, often end up on the cutting-room floor, as do references to local political parties, explorations of the Lebanese civil war, or anything with a connection to Israel (a more logical boycott given that the two countries have officially been at war since 1948, with periodic outbreaks of fighting since then). As with most censorship, enforcement is inconsistent and unpredictable.

    • New York Times Reporter Defends Hillary Clinton Email Reporting: ‘WikiLeaks Was a Source’
    • New York Times Reporter Defends Hillary Clinton Email Reporting: ‘WikiLeaks Was a Source’

      New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore is hitting back against his colleague Amy Chozick — now engaging in a very public reckoning with her role in reporting the Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks.

      Confessore, who co-bylined many of those stories with Chozick, said that he stood by the reporting and that, on margin, it was overwhelmingly newsworthy and beneficial to the American public.

    • Cryptocurrency firm Coinbase suspends WikiLeaks’ bitcoin account
    • Coinbase: WikiLeaks calls for boycott of world’s biggest bitcoin brokerage
    • Coinbase Crypto Exchange Shuts Out Wikileaks
    • WikiLeaks Claims Cryptocurrency Exchange Shut Down Its Bitcoin Account
    • Censorship row as Irish charity regulator orders removal of ‘political’ artwork
    • LGBT activists ask strangers for hugs in China protest at Weibo censorship
    • Madmind Studios will censor horror game Agony to appease ESRB
    • Professor Max Bohnenkamp Remarks on Censorship and Traumatic History in ‘To Live’

      Audience members meditated on the resonance between Trumpian social media trickery and the politics of representation in China’s history of cinematic censorship while munching on steaming scallion pancakes and other Chinese fare. The first screening of the Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association’s film festival was centered around “Censorship in Chinese Media,” which took place from April 10-12. The first film in the lineup, Zhang Yimou’s “To Live,” hasn’t been officially approved for public exhibition China since its release in 1994, but has earned international acclaim. Professor Max Bohnenkamp, a lecturer on East Asian Languages and Civilizations, provided introductory remarks on Zhang Yimou’s cinematic profile, the political and artistic climate in which “To Live” was produced, and the salience of censorship as a topic of discussion in an increasingly interconnected world.

      Bohnenkamp reflected upon Yimou’s narrative—one that is culturally immersive and overarchingly historical, as well as intensely personal, providing a lived experience of each of China’s tumultuous decades. The film is based on Yu Hua’s novel of the same name.

      “In ‘To Live,’ what stands out and what presumably made the film questionable from the point of view of the censors, is the way that Zhang’s film brings the deeply ironic and emotionally traumatic narrative of the human experience of history in China from the early 1940s to the 1990s that is found in Yu Hua’s fiction, to vivid realistic life on the screen,” Bohnenkamp said.

    • Google or CTIRU: who is fibbing about terror takedowns?

      Today, Google release their latest transparency report. It contains information about the number of government requests for terrorist or extremist content to be removed. For a number of years, the government has promoted the idea that terrorist content is in rampant circulation, and that the amount of material is so abundant that the UK police alone are taking down up to 100,000 pieces of content a year.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Breaking: NSA encryption plan for ‘internet of things’ rejected by international body

      An attempt by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to set two types of encryption as global standards suffered a major setback on Tuesday, after online security experts from countries including U.S. allies voted against the plan, for use on the “internet of things.”

      [...]

      The ISO sets agreed standards for a wide range of products, services, and measurements in almost every industry including technology, manufacturing, food, agriculture, and health. The body has been looking into adopting recommended encryption technology to improve security in devices that make up the “internet of things.” These include household items such as smart speakers, fridges, lighting and heating systems, and wearable technology.

    • Will Immigration Authorities Use Our Taxes to Go After Immigrants?

      The law requires tax information be kept confidential, but we can’t just assume this administration is following that law.

      People across the country filed their tax returns last week, glitches and all. If historical patterns hold up, this year’s taxpayers will include millions of undocumented immigrants.

      Federal law protects the confidentiality of tax information, but recently concerns have been expressed that the tax-related information immigrants and their employers provide the government could be used by the Trump administration as yet another immigration enforcement tool, and some evidence indicates a significant dip in the number of individuals filing their taxes.

      This is why the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request last week demanding information about whether the Social Security Administration is complying with federal law and not sharing confidential tax information with immigration enforcement authorities.

    • The CIA Made A Card Game… And We’re Releasing It

      We write a lot about the CIA here on Techdirt — often covering just how secretive the organization is around responding to FOIA requests. After all, this is the same organization that invented the famous “Glomar Response” to a FOIA request: the now ubiquitous “we can neither confirm, nor deny.” And that one “invention” is used all the time. Indeed, if you have a few extra hours to spend, feel free to go through just our archives demonstrating CIA obstructionism over FOIA.

      But… the organization actually did recently respond to a set of interesting FOIA requests. Back in 2017, at SXSW, the CIA revealed its gaming efforts, and even let some attendees play them. That resulted in a few FOIA requests for the details of the game, including one by MuckRock’s Mitchell Kotler and another by entrepreneur Douglas Palmer. In response to the FOIA requests, the CIA released the details of some of the games (though, somewhat redacted, and in typical FOIA response gritty photo-copy style), including a card game called “Collection Deck.” My first reaction was… “Hey, that would be fun to play…” And then I had a second thought.

      There’s another super popular topic here on Techdirt: the public domain and how important it is to build on works in the public domain. Remember, under Section 105 of the US Copyright Act, works of the federal government of the United States are not subject to copyright and are in the public domain.

    • Lawmakers Ask FBI Why It Isn’t Getting Busy Cracking Its Stockpile Of Seized Smartphones

      Ever since the FBI began its “going dark” crusade, crucial questions have gone unanswered. Considering the budget and technical expertise the FBI has access to, why was it so necessary to get Apple to crack an iPhone’s encryption for the Bureau? Turns out it wasn’t. The FBI did have a solution, but the head of the division charged with cracking open the San Bernardino shooter’s phone didn’t want a technical solution. He wanted a courtroom solution.

      The report that outed the FBI’s general disinterest in using outside contractors to crack encrypted devices is now being used against the FBI. Ten (bipartisan) legislators have signed a letter demanding answers from the agency about its anti-encryption efforts. The “going dark” narrative continues to be pushed by director Christopher Wray, despite recent reports showing at least two vendors have tools that can crack any encrypted iPhones. The tools are also much cheaper than the ~$1 million the FBI spent to open the shooter’s phone, which raises questions about the agency’s fiscal responsibilities to taxpayers.

    • Privacy group sues FTC for records on Facebook’s privacy program

      The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) on Friday filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to push for the unredacted release of biennial privacy assessments that Facebook agreed to submit under a 2011 consent agreement with the FTC.

    • Aadhaar in welfare is pain without gain

      There are no benefits from Aadhaar that cannot be achieved through other technologies. Beneficiaries of welfare should be ‘freed’ from its clutches first as they have suffered its tyranny the worst and longest

    • Google Tracks So Much Data It Fills 23,000 Pages In 15 Days — Enough For A 7’9″ Pile

      According to the math done by Daily Mail on Sunday, if the amount of data Google collects per user is printed on A4-sized pages and piled up, it would cross your height within a few days.

    • Worried Facebook has far too much data about you? Google has enough to make a 7ft 9in pile of paper every TWO WEEKS (which they then sell to the highest bidder!)
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • A Hostile Environment for Yulia Skripal

      An interesting facet of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” policy, aka institutionalised racism, is that Yulia Skripal will have to pay for her NHS emergency treatment because she was admitted to hospital. When the government announced its clampdown on use of the NHS by foreigners, including migrants and overseas students, it ended the provision of free emergency treatment for non-citizens in the UK, at the point of hospital admission – which in a real emergency is often required.

      I could see the argument for charging “aliens” for attending A & E with a broken thumb, but not charging them for a massive heart attack. But the Tories do it the other way round. It is worth noting that in Scotland the Scottish government, which controls the Scottish NHS, has not implemented this Tory policy.

      [...]

      Meanwhile in Salisbury we are going to have a great propaganda theatre of destruction, as places which people were allowed to frequent for weeks after the attack are demolished, to eradicate a strange liquid that is ten times more deadly than VX but at the same time ineffective, and is liquid but cannot be diluted, except its dilution was why it did not kill anybody, and which cannot be washed away, except if you got it on your clothes you are perfectly safe if you wash them, and which made hundreds of people sick except there were only three of them.

      All of those contradictory statements are from the official government narrative on Salisbury as delivered over the last couple of months through the state and corporate media. It is beyond me how they expect anyone to believe their utterly incoherent nonsense.

    • The Game

      The U.S. is supposed to be a safe haven for people fleeing persecution. But asylum-seekers face years of uncertainty when they arrive.

      [...]

      Yearslong wait lists, bewildering legal arguments, an extended stay in detention — you can experience it all in The Waiting Game, a newsgame that simulates the experience of trying to seek asylum in the United States. The game was created by ProPublica, Playmatics and WNYC. Based on the true stories of real asylum-seekers, this interactive portal allows users to follow in the footsteps of five people fleeing persecution and trying to take refuge in America.

      The process can be exhausting and feel arbitrary — and as you’ll find in the game, it involves a lot of waiting. Once asylum-seekers reach America, they must condense complex and often traumatic stories into short, digestible narratives they will tell again and again. Their lives often depend on their ability to convince a judge that they are in danger. Judicial decisions are so inconsistent across the country, success in complicated cases can come down to geography and luck — in New York City only 17 percent of asylum cases are denied in immigration court; in Atlanta, 94 percent are. Increasingly, many asylum-seekers are held in detention for months or even years while going through the system. The immigration detention system costs more than $2 billion per year to maintain.

      The Trump administration has tried to reframe the asylum system as a national security threat and a magnet for illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions characterizes the American asylum process as “subject to rampant abuse” and “overloaded with fake claims.” He has aimed recent reforms at expediting asylum adjudications to speed up deportations and at making it more difficult for certain groups to qualify for protection, such as Central Americans who claim to fear gender-based violence or gang persecution.

    • Israelis Continue to Open Fire on Gaza Protestors: An Eyewitness Account

      According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the Palestinian death toll since March 30, 2018 “has risen to 33, including 4 children and 1 photojournalist, and the number of those wounded has risen to 2,436, including 410 children, 66 women, 22 journalists and 9 paramedics.”

      There have been no Israeli casualties.

    • Condemned By Their Own Words

      This transcript of an Israeli General on an Israeli radio station (begins 6.52 in) defending the latest killing by Israeli army snipers of a 14 year old boy who posed no threat of any kind, is much more powerful if you just read it than any analysis I can give.

    • The Supreme Court’s First Great Trump Test: the Muslim Ban

      Ever since a “so-called judge” in Washington State issued a nationwide injunction against President Donald Trump’s ban on entry by foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the courts have played a critical part in checking the president’s constitutional excesses. The Supreme Court, however, has yet to assess the travel ban. That will change this week, when the court hears arguments in a challenge to the third and latest version of the ban. (The ACLU, where I serve as National Legal Director, has been counsel in successful challenges to all three versions of the ban, including one now pending before the Supreme Court.) The case most directly implicates the rights of Muslims, here and abroad, singled out for disfavored treatment by a president who promised to do just that as a candidate. But because the administration has argued that the court must blindly defer to the president, the dispute equally concerns the very role of the court in the separation of powers.

    • Why Mississippi Officials Needed to Answer for Inhumane and Dangerous Prison Conditions

      This spring, we took the Mississippi Department of Corrections to court for the grave abuses and inhumane conditions they allowed at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, a private prison in Meridian. No court decision will undo the harm done to the prisoners. But the court can require an end to the barbarity at the facility that we detailed in our fight for the constitutional rights of prisoners there.

      Over the course of a five-week trial, lawyers from the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Covington & Burling LLP, and the Law Offices of Elizabeth Alexander presented evidence against the Mississippi Department of Corrections in support of seven separate constitutional violations: for failure to protect prisoners from harm; for excessive use of force by staff on prisoners; for unsafe and unsanitary environmental conditions ; for substandard nutrition; for use of solitary confinement; for inadequate medical care; and for substandard mental health care.

    • Western Media Shorthand on Venezuela Conveys and Conceals So Much

      A Reuters article (4/18/18) reports that the European Union “could impose further sanctions on Venezuela if it believes democracy is being undermined there.”

      The line nicely illustrates the kind of journalistic shorthand Western media have developed, over years of repetition, for conveying distortions and whitewashing gross imperial hypocrisy about Venezuela. A passing remark can convey and conceal so much.

    • ICE Separates 18-Month-Old From Mother for Months

      The Trump administration continues to deny a policy of family-separation.The pattern speaks for itself.

      At this very instant, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is depriving an 18-month-old child of his mother, separating the two in immigration detention. Mirian, a 29-year-old mother from Honduras, is currently detained in T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, while her toddler is kept in a facility in San Antonio, some 120 miles away.

      Their ordeal has already lasted two months.

      They are just one of hundreds of families who are subjected to ICE’s brutal tactic of forcibly separating immigrant parents and children and on whose behalf the ACLU has brought a national class-action lawsuit. On Friday, The New York Times reported new data, estimating that more than 700 children have been taken from their parents since October, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.

    • Is democracy in its death throes?

      One of the central themes of ANZAC commemorations is that Australians have long fought and died for freedom and democracy.

      Today, those appear to be lost causes. A few years ago the US academic Larry Diamond declared that a “democratic recession” had set in after about 2006. The long global expansion of democracy that began with the fall of the Soviet Union faltered. Worse, it then started to reverse.

    • The Curious Case of the Twice-Fired FBI Analyst

      On Feb. 22, 2018, when Said Barodi received the letter from the deputy director of the FBI, he expected bad news.

      A year earlier, Barodi had been fired as an analyst for the bureau, a job he’d treasured for nearly a decade. Barodi, a Muslim born in Morocco, had been accused of “unprofessional conduct” during an encounter with a federal agent at an airport overseas and of “lack of candor” with a customs agent at Dulles International Airport. Barodi had resisted the agent’s questions because he felt he’d been singled out for his race and religion.

      Barodi, however, had won a rare victory when he appealed his firing. The FBI’s Disciplinary Review Board had dismissed two of the three charges and reduced his punishment to a 20-day suspension. He’d been cleared to rejoin the bureau.

      But then Barodi waited months for the FBI to complete the basic security check he needed to go back to work. Amid the delays and the silence, fatalism took hold.

    • Rudd tries to quarantine Windrush scandal

      Amber Rudd’s statement to the Commons today was another tortured attempt to draw a line under the Windrush debacle. But the real Home Office tactic is now clear: they are trying to quarantine the damage, so that the misbehavior is viewed not as a matter of policy, but an aberration.

      The home secretary promised to waive the citizenship fees for Windrush generation applicants, along with the ‘life in the UK’ knowledge tests (a completely arbitrary and tragic-comic initiative for any migrant to go through, let alone someone who has been here for half a century), and any naturalisation fees. She’d also set up a Home Office ‘customer contact’ centre to give the department a “human face” and provide a channel for getting information about this type of failure more speedily.

      Her problem is that an early warning mechanism will not highlight problems if they are viewed as advantages. That is the issue with the Windrush cases. They were not accidents. They were aims. Ministers wanted this, and only pretended not to when they saw the extent of public opposition.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Net Neutrality Did Not Die Today

      When the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” which repealed net neutrality protections the FCC had previously issued, was published on February 22nd, it was interpreted by many to mean it would go into effect on April 23. That’s not true, and we still don’t know when the previous net neutrality protections will end.

      On the Federal Register’s website—which is the official daily journal of the United States Federal Government and publishes all proposed and adopted rules, the so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” has an “effective date” of April 23. But that only applies to a few cosmetic changes. The majority of the rules governing the Internet remain the same—the prohibitions on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—remain.

      Before the FCC’s end to those protections can take effect, the Office of Management and Budget has to approve the new order, which it hasn’t done. Once that happens, we’ll get another notice in the Federal Register. And that’s when we’ll know for sure when the ISPs will be able to legally start changing their actions.

    • It’s Spreading: Lindsey Graham Now Insisting ‘Fairness Doctrine’ Applies To The Internet

      Remember when Republicans were against the “Fairness Doctrine”? Apparently, that’s now out the window, so long as they can attack Facebook. As we noted recently, Senator Ted Cruz appears to be pushing for the strangest interpretation of Section 230 around (in direct conflict with (a) what the law says and (b) how the courts have interpreted it) saying that in order to make use of CDA 230′s immunity “good samaritan” clause, internet service providers need to be “neutral.” Again, that’s not what the law says. It’s also an impossible standard, and one that would lead to results that would piss off lots of people. The similarities to the FCC’s concept of the “Fairness Doctrine” are pretty clear, though such a rule on the internet would be an even bigger deal, since the Fairness Doctrine only applied to broadcast TV.

      [...]

      Separately, this is the same Lindsey Graham who just recently was demanding that social media sites do more to takedown content he didn’t like. Now, apparently, he’s up in arms over the fact that the sites took down content he did like. If Graham truly wants websites to “do everything possible to combat” terrorist groups using the internet, then attacking CDA 230 is the worst possible way to do that. CDA 230 gives websites the power to moderate and filter out such content without fear of facing legal liability. In other words, it’s an excellent tool for getting websites to takedown extremist content. To then turn around and insist that sites should lose CDA 230 protections because they also took down some content you like… raises all sorts of First Amendment issues. You’re basically saying websites should only remove the content I dislike, and if they remove content I like I’m going to put their existence at risk. Guess what happens then? Sites will stop moderating entirely, leaving up more of the “bad” content you dislike.

  • DRM
    • Apple Sued An Independent Norwegian Repair Shop In Bid To Monopolize Repair — And Lost

      A few years ago, annoyance at John Deere’s obnoxious tractor DRM birthed a grassroots tech movement. John Deere’s decision to implement a lockdown on “unauthorized repairs” turned countless ordinary citizens into technology policy activists, after DRM and the company’s EULA prohibited the lion-share of repair or modification of tractors customers thought they owned. These restrictions only worked to drive up costs for owners, who faced either paying significantly more money for “authorized” repair, or toying around with pirated firmware just to ensure the products they owned actually worked.

      The John Deere fiasco resulted in the push for a new “right to repair” law in Nebraska. This push then quickly spread to multiple other states, driven in part by consumer repair monopolization efforts by other companies including Apple, Sony and Microsoft. Lobbyists for these companies quickly got to work trying to claim that by allowing consumers to repair products they own (or take them to third-party repair shops), they were endangering public safety. Apple went so far as to argue that if Nebraska passed such a law, it would become a dangerous “mecca for hackers” and other rabble rousers.

      Apple’s efforts in particular to monopolize repair run deep. The company has worked alongside the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to seize counterfeit parts in the United States and raid shops of independent iPhone repair professionals. FOIA efforts to obtain details on just how deeply rooted Apple is in ICE’s “Operation Chain Reaction” have been rejected. The efforts to “combat counterfeit goods” often obscures what this is really about for Apple: protecting a lucrative repair monopoly and thwarting anybody that might dare repair Apple devices for less money.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Taiwanese start-up widens assertion drive in the wake of 2017 Apple settlement

      At last week’s IPBC Taiwan conference, managing IP costs emerged as a key theme of conversation – with some suggesting that financial pressure could lead to more monetisation activity. One firm that has recently opted to go down the monetisation path is a small company called CyWee, which began life within the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). CyWee is evidently an operating company with business across wireless streaming, motion processing and facial tracking. According to a District of Delaware patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Google last Monday, CyWee was formed by two ITRI researchers in 2007…

    • Qualcomm’s No Good, Very Bad Streak

      Qualcomm Inc. stepped into the escalating spat between the U.S. and China. It is now grappling with the fallout.

    • Harsh US government sanctions put huge pressure on ZTE’s IP function to contain damage

      One week after the US Department of Commerce announced tough penalties against ZTE in a long-running sanctions violation case, not much clarity has emerged about how exactly the seven year denial of US technology exports will impact the company. The unfolding crisis was certainly a live discussion topic at last Friday’s IPBC conference in the telecommunications firm’s home city of Shenzhen. One thing that’s certain is that the company is in damage-control mode. It is all hands on deck and that includes the IP function.

    • Trademarks
      • In ‘N Out Uses A Bullshit Pop-Up Every Five Years Strategy Just To Lock Up Its Australian Trademark

        When we recently discussed the rather odd story of the famous burger chain In ‘N Out suing an Australian burger joint over trademark concerns despite having no storefront presence in the country, there was one aspect of it glossed over in the source link and omitted by me that really deserves some fleshing out. You see, like here in America, Australian trademark law has a provision that you actually must be using the mark in question in order to retain it. More specifically, use must be established every five years in order to keep the trademark valid. Given that In ‘N Out operates no storefronts in Australia, readers rightly wondered how it was possible that the company even had a valid trademark to wield in its trademark battle.

    • Copyrights
      • We Interrupt The News Again With Hopefully The Last Update From The Monkey Selfie Case

        And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: a decision from the Ninth Circuit in the Monkey Selfie case.

        Upshot: the case remains dismissed, and the defendants get to recover attorney fees for the appeal. There’s also relatively little to say on the copyright front. This case has turned almost entirely into litigation about standing and proven to be a significant wrench in the works for any future litigation anyone, but PETA in particular, might want to bring on behalf of animals.

      • BREAKING: 9th Circuit rules that Naruto has no standing under US Copyright Act

        If you thought that the infamous Monkey Selfie case was over, well, you were … wrong!

        A few weeks ago IP enthusiasts were in fact ‘thrilled’ to learn that – despite the out-of-court settlement agreement concluded in 2017 – the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit would rule anyway on the case brought by PETA (as next friend) against now economically struggling wildlife photographer David Slater over copyright ownership of a series of selfies taken by Celebs crested macaque Naruto.

Patent Maximalists Step Things Up With Director Andrei Iancu and It’s Time for Scientists to Fight Back

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 05:54:30 AM

Summary: Science and technology don’t seem to matter as much as the whims of the patent (litigation) ‘industry’, at least judging by recent actions taken by Andrei Iancu (following a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee)

THE patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, will soon have the USPTO Director (Iancu) as a keynote speaker. This is a bad sign. He’ll be speaking alongside corrupt Battistelli from the EPO. Are officials from major patent offices just ‘tools’ of the patent ‘industry’ rather than the real industry? It was a lot better when the USPTO was run by Michelle Lee and the EPO by Professor Alain Pompidou. People with background in science are essential in order for patent offices to serve science and technology, not law firms.

“Are officials from major patent offices just ‘tools’ of the patent ‘industry’ rather than the real industry?”

It’s no secret that patents can be a massive waste of money. Case of point: Snapchat. Even IAM has just admitted it in “Snapchat’s failed gamble on AR” and to quote key parts:

Snapchat has millions in R&D spend and maintenance costs tied up in a US patent focussed on augmented reality and another AR patent in Korea (both in the same family). But, as reported in The Motley Fool, the company has a troubled history with optics-focussed innovation. In 2017, “It wrote down $40 million in inventory-related charges… laid off hardware workers and shook up management,” after the initial glitter of its spectacles began to fade.

[...]

And of the companies on this list, only Microsoft, Samsung and LG have drastically accelerated patent filings in recent years—indicating a growing commercial commitment to AR technologies and IP. This makes them more interesting candidates.

Notice Microsoft’s role in there; Microsoft is a major feeder of patent trolls and it is blackmailing — both directly and indirectly — many of its competitors. As it turns out, based on this news from yesterday, Microsoft’s super-close partner (Citrix) now uses software patents to squash/destroy a smaller rival. From the first article we saw about it (this mentions Microsoft also):

Software giant Citrix has filed a lawsuit against small-time collaborative cloud platform Workspot over claims of patent infringement and false advertising.

The reason behind the lawsuit is down to what Citrix is calling “Workspot’s intentional inclusion in their VDI platform of proprietary features”, which are protected by at least four of its patents.

Citrix believes that these patented features are core to its XenApp and XenDesktop products and are therefore important differentiators for the company, which is why it’s so keen to protect them.

[...]

“Our foundational innovations in application virtualisation and remoting protocols date back to the early ‘90s, are still at the core of our XenApp and XenDesktop products and cloud services today, and were even licensed to Microsoft in the second-half of the ‘90s to form the basis of their remote desktop protocol.”

These two cloud products are said to be protected by more than 3,500 issued and pending patents, so it’s no wonder Citrix has some patents ready and waiting to be infringed.

Citrix took the time and effort to explain in its post that the lawsuit isn’t just about the money, asserting that it has always welcomed competition.

Qudus Olaniran‏, an attorney from Microsoft, has just said that the US “PTO chief’s opinion on patentability of algorithm bodes well for AI” (he cites Watchtroll, the patent trolls’ favourite). I told him that “AI” is just a buzzword for algorithms that do something more clever than, say, rendering a UI. So it’s about software patents, to which SCOTUS has said “no” already.

Looking a little deeper, Monday was actually full of such nonsense. One patents-centric news sites propped up the inane “AI” hype (again in relation to patents on algorithms). To quote:

The US must embrace the AI revolution, or its global lead in intellectual property will be lost in time, like tears in rain

Artificial intelligence (AI) sounds cool. When you look at the breadth of fiction attached to the technology, you might consider it the impossible—the fantasies of authors and writers around the globe. It is this air that gives it its identity and its mystique. But AI is very much here, and with that, comes a particularly unique set of problems.

This is all fluff, marketing, and spin. “Artificial intelligence (AI)” is nothing new, so to say things like “US must embrace the AI revolution” is to suggest the writer follows marketing rather than underlying knowledge. The EPO too appears to have embraced this term; in fact, later this week we’ll show how “AI” gets used as “sheep clothing” for software patent “wolves”.

“The hearing was full of nonsense from politicians who don’t know what “AI” is, either.”Much of this “AI” nonsense can be traced back to last week’s hearing with Iancu, the USPTO’s chief who comes from a law firm and isn’t quite so technical. The hearing was full of nonsense from politicians who don’t know what “AI” is, either. They probably just heard that term quite a lot in the mainstream media.

The High Tech Inventors Alliance (HTIA), which represents technology firms, issued a statement about it. John Thorne (HTIA’s chief) had this to say:

“HTIA supports Director Iancu’s efforts to enhance innovation through a strong, reliable, and predictable patent ecosystem. Certainly a system that supports innovation through ensuring patent quality is one that everyone can support, and the Inter Partes Review (IPR) process accomplishes just that.

“IPR has achieved Congress’s goal for the AIA of improving patent quality and restoring public confidence in the patent system, which had eroded due to bad quality patents that were harming innovation.

“Supreme Court decisions striking down abstract patents have benefited innovation. HTIA looks forward to working with Director Iancu and providing guidance in this critical area regarding the best way to increase the predictability of the patent granting process. However, legislation stripping the vitality of Section 101 is unnecessary and would be harmful to innovation by creating higher levels of uncertainty.”

The High Tech Inventors Alliance is comprised of eight technology companies: Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Google, Intel, Oracle and Salesforce. These companies have over 447,000 employees in the United States, have invested $62.9 billion in research and development in the past year, and hold a total of over 115,000 U.S. patents.

“Supreme Court decisions striking down abstract patents have benefited innovation,” Thorne noted. He was right to say that.

“Will Iancu fall in line with these extremists? He might. This is why we worried about his nomination and appointment all along.”HTIA, Engine, CCIA, EFF and so on are sadly outnumbered. The patent law firms have a larger lobbying brigade. A few people like Thorne (maybe half a dozen people in total) are no match for AIPLA, which has just said: “The USPTO issued a request for comment concerning its subject matter eligibility guidance…”

We wrote about that last week.

Not only front groups like AIPLA are intervening; Foley & Lardner LLP (large law firm) has just published “USPTO Issues Patent Eligibility Examination Guidance Under Berkheimer” and it’s another example of 'pulling a Berkheimer' (they even came up with the buzz/sound bite "Berkheimer Effect"). To quote:

As announced in a Federal Register Notice dated April 20, 2018, the USPTO has issued a new memorandum to the Examining Corps providing supplemental patent eligibility examination guidance under Berkheimer, a Federal Circuit decision that addressed the evidentiary requirements for establishing that something is “well-understood, routine, or conventional.”

Watch what vocal patent extremists are saying. One of them has just said: “Gossip from the USPTO: One Examiner Speculated in a Phone Call today, “[Section] 101 is gone in about a month;” Another Examiner Commneted [sic], “I think the pendulum will swing 2/3 back.””

Sounds incredibly unlikely, but that’s just what patent extremists are claiming. They claim what they want. Another extremist responded with: “[Section] 101 will only go away once it becomes more work than [Sections] 102/103, and we are still a long ways off from that…. the new Berkheimer memo is just going to add another form paragraph to the rejection…”

All that really happens isn’t much; the USPTO just seeks comments about Section 101, that is all.

One can count on patent extremists to make it sound Earth-shattering and Dennis Crouch has in fact resumed his cheerleaders for patent maximalism. He wants Iancu to make software patents easier to pursue, so less than a day ago he published yet another post to say:

Director Iancu has made clear that the current state of patent eligibility jurisprudence is untenable. Examiners need clear guidance — something he and I both see as lacking in the Supreme Court jurisprudence. In addition to being ambiguous, we also share the perspective that the Alice/Mayo test unduly restricts the scope of eligible subject matter. The PTO’s action here involves several fronts: (1) issuing guidance that is as-clear-as-possible for examiners and applicants; (2) working with Congress to legislatively broaden eligibility scope; (3) using the PTO’s to push public sentiment toward supporting strong and broad patent rights (when an underlying invention truly exists).

On the first front, the USPTO has: (1) issued a new “Berkheimer memorandum” focusing on the Federal Circuit’s holding in Berkheimer that”[w]hether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional to a skilled artisan at the time of the patent is a factual determination;” and (2) issued a Request for Public Comment on USPTO “subject matter eligibility guidance, and particularly … guidance in the Berkheimer memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps.”

This “Berkheimer memorandum” isn’t much; moreover, it’s (Berkheimer) not from the Supreme Court. Here comes another patent extremist, this one from IAM (Richard Lloyd is their most extreme writer/lobbyist). He calls patent trolling “monetisation market” and joins the patent bullies in pressuring Iancu, urging him to become a patent zealot like they are. To quote:

Since Andrei Iancu took over as USPTO Director in February it has been hard to fault his engagement with the user community. As well as sitting down with IAM just a few weeks into his tenure (he is the cover star of our latest issue), he has been a regular on the conference circuit, outlining his vision for the agency and the US patent system in general, reassuring patent owners that he wants to strengthen the predictability of their rights and championing the power of patented inventions as a driver of the US economy.

Lloyd (IAM) already lobbied Iancu in person a month ago, inciting him against PTAB. IAM already tried to put in charge of the USPTO a widely-disgraced person who calls PTAB "death squads" (very offensive term).

Will Iancu fall in line with these extremists? He might. This is why we worried about his nomination and appointment all along.

Mythology About Patents in the East

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 04:36:56 AM

Related and recent: In Just a Few Years China Became the Eastern District of Texas

Summary: Misconceptions (or deliberate propaganda) about patent policy in the east poison the debate and derail a serious, facts-based discussion about it

TECHRIGHTS is generally focused on the EPO and USPTO, not only because they account for the lion’s share of capital but also because English is their official language and it’s close to us (we’re based in the UK, the servers are in the US, and many volunteers/community members are in the US).

“India generally recognises — as many patent examiners do as well — that patent quality is what matters and economic justification is needed for any patent.”We sometimes look at smaller patent offices and also look eastwards. Over the weekend we wrote about IP Australia in relation to Grant Shoebridge's article; he and the firm he works for must be paying to repost it in more sites, basically lobbying for expansion of patent scope because IP Australia sought to improve productivity by narrowing the scope of patents.

Further north there are three major patent offices, all part of IP5: Japan’s JPO, Korea’s KIPO and China’s SIPO (the “Five IP Offices” (IP5) are JPO/EPO/KIPO/SIPO/USPTO).

Benjamin Henrion has just (late on Monday) pointed out this paper titled “The Japanese Software Industry: What Went Wrong and What Can We Learn from It?”.

“Software patents as metric fails to take in account the majority of software companies that do not have patents,” Henrion correctly noted. I responded with:

Simplest way to rebut this BS ‘paper’…
Hypothesis: software patents good for software industry
Falsified by:
1) India banned software patents
2) China allows them (one of the few countries)
Which one is a software powerhouse?

We actually brought up this point less than one week ago. It needs to be repeated as much as possible because we continue to see lies repeated about China’s patent policy against India’s. They get it all backwards. Maybe it’s intentional and therefore disingenuous. Less than a day ago (Watchtroll’s Steve Brachmann on Monday and then IP Kat as well) patent maximalists carried on with their glorification of China [1, 2] in the context of so-called ‘IP’. They try to make China some kind of ‘role model’, never mind if it’s India that’s thriving in the software sector, owing in part to the ban on software patents in India. An Indian patent maximalism blog has just published this “Weekly Patent News” post. Under “Indian Patent Statistics” it says:

A total of 1003 patent applications have been published in the 16th issue of the patent journal marking a modest increase of about 13.07% in the total number of patent applications published. Out of the 1003 applications, 55 applications account for early publications while 948 applications account for ordinary publications or publications occurring after the 18 month period. A total of 231 applications have been granted this week as opposed 176 grants in the previous.

Notice the absolute numbers. Also remember that India is not in IP5. India generally recognises — as many patent examiners do as well — that patent quality is what matters and economic justification is needed for any patent. Just throwing millions of low-quality patents into a repository (like China does with SIPO) isn’t indicative of “success”; it’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy that’s hinged on lies like “patents are innovation” and “innovation depends on patents” (coming around full circle).

Patent Trolls Watch: Red River Innovations, Bradium Technologies/General Patent, and Wordlogic

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 04:05:14 AM

Summary: A quick look at some patent trolls that made the news this Monday; we are still seeing a powerful response to such trolls, whose momentum is slipping owing to the good work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)

IT is no secret that the USPTO bred a generation of patent trolls and the causes are no mystery. Decades of shoddy patents on algorithms lead to that.

“Between 1990 and 2000,” the patent trolls’ lobby* (IAM) wrote on Monday, “a sophisticated IP strategy boosted annual patent licensing royalties at IBM by 3,300%. Learn the importance of IP strategy at our webinar with @PatSnap this Monday, April 25.”

I responded with: “IBM — the company that lays off all the ‘expensive’ staff and is lobbying for software patents like no other company — becoming like a patent troll over time…”

“Unified Patents is already fighting back against this troll by targeting its patents. That’s all one can do about trolls, which cannot really be sued (no products to sue over).”Remember that IBM is nowadays feeding its patents to patent trolls like Finjan. IBM literally makes money by arming patent trolls (Microsoft does the same thing and it financially supports Finjan), whereas several groups like OIN or Unified Patents try hard to disarm trolls.

Remember the patent troll called “Red River Innovations” [sic]? Unified Patents put a bounty on its patent/s last month and Joe Mullin, who covered patent trolls for at least a decade (first in his blog, then in news sites like Ars Technica before joining the EFF), has just labeled its patent the “Stupid Patent of the Month”. Hours ago he wrote:

Online businesses—like businesses everywhere—are full of suggestions. If you order a burger, you might want fries with that. If you read Popular Science, you might like reading Popular Mechanics. Those kinds of suggestions are a very old part of commerce, and no one would seriously think it’s a patentable technology.

Except, apparently, for Red River Innovations LLC, a patent troll that believes its patents cover the idea of suggesting what people should read next. Red River filed a half-dozen lawsuits in East Texas throughout 2015 and 2016. Some of those lawsuits were against retailers like home improvement chain Menards, clothier Zumiez, and cookie retailer Ms. Fields. Those stores all got sued because they have search bars on their websites.

In some lawsuits, Red River claimed the use of a search bar infringed US Patent No. 7,958,138. For example, in a lawsuit against Zumiez, Red River claimed [PDF] that “after a request for electronic text through the search box located at www.zumiez.com, the Zumiez system automatically identifies and graphically presents additional reading material that is related to a concept within the requested electronic text, as described and claimed in the ’138 Patent.” In that case, the “reading material” is text like product listings for jackets or skateboard decks.

Unified Patents is already fighting back against this troll by targeting its patents. That’s all one can do about trolls, which cannot really be sued (no products to sue over).

Unified Patents uses PTAB to disarm another patent troll, one called “Bradium Technologies” [sic] — an obscure proxy or tentacle of General Patent. Patent Troll Tracker wrote about it a decade ago [1, 2] and so did we, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. Robert Jain wrote about what they did yesterday:

On April 23, 2018, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 9,253,239 owned and asserted by Bradium Technologies, LLC, a General Patent subsidiary and well-known NPE. The ’239 patent claims the concept of dividing large data sets of images (such as geographic imagery) into “image parcels” at varying levels of detail, allowing users to browse quickly online, and has been asserted in district court against Microsoft (Case No. 1:15-cv-00031).

Jain then added that “[o]n April 23, 2018, Wordlogic Corporation and Unified Patents Inc. filed a joint request to terminate the recently instituted IPR2017-01856 pursuant to settlement.”

We’ve mentioned Wordlogic several times before, e.g. earlier this year, eight years ago, and even a decade ago.
____
* On Monday it also propped up another patent parasite, this one from Taiwan (excerpt from the paywalled article below).

  • Taiwanese start-up widens assertion drive in the wake of 2017 Apple settlement

    At last week’s IPBC Taiwan conference, managing IP costs emerged as a key theme of conversation – with some suggesting that financial pressure could lead to more monetisation activity. One firm that has recently opted to go down the monetisation path is a small company called CyWee, which began life within the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). CyWee is evidently an operating company with business across wireless streaming, motion processing and facial tracking. According to a District of Delaware patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Google last Monday, CyWee was formed by two ITRI researchers in 2007…

Holding Benoît Battistelli Accountable After the EPO

Tuesday 24th of April 2018 03:11:11 AM

Benoît Battistelli is also working as a politician

Summary: The many abuses and offenses committed by Mr. Battistelli whilst he enjoyed diplomatic immunity can and should be brought up as that immunity expires in two months; a good start would be contacting his colleagues, who might not be aware of the full spectrum of his abuses

THE insiders at the EPO all know that their President is involved in French politics. This is not allowed, but then again, Battistelli enjoys diplomatic immunity. He feels and acts like he’s untouchable. He may soon bring millions of euros (EPO budget) to his home down in clear violation of many rules — a serious issue which we encourage French-speaking readers to report to the following people (Battistelli’s colleagues at Saint-Germain-en-Laye):

arnaud.pericard@saintgermainenlaye.fr ecretariat.elus@saintgermainenlaye.fr anne.gommier@saintgermainenlaye.fr monique.dumont@saintgermainenlaye.fr patrick.lazard@saintgermainenlaye.fr pierre.degeorge@saintgermainenlaye.fr angeline.silly@saintgermainenlaye.fr pierre.camasses@saintgermainenlaye.fr pascal.leveque@saintgermainenlaye.fr didier.rouxel@saintgermainenlaye.fr agnes.cerighelli@saintgermainenlaye.fr armelle.rouly@saintgermainenlaye.fr

Battistelli will be gone in 2 months, but he should definitely be held accountable for his many abuses. They are well documented and once he loses diplomatic immunity he can perhaps be held accountable. Many people can probably sue him, too. Maybe even victims like staff representatives and Judge Corcoran from the EPO’s Boards of Appeal.

“Battistelli will be gone in 2 months, but he should definitely be held accountable for his many abuses.”Speaking of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal, they have repeatedly complained about Battistelli, who keeps breaking the EPO’s rules. With two months left to sack him — something which is unlikely to happen — action is now imperative. Don’t let such a destructive person get away with sending millions of euros to his existing and next employer. His colleagues at Saint-Germain-en-Laye need to at least become aware of what he’s doing. If his “padrone” Nicolas Sarkozy can be punished almost a decade late, why not him as well?

The EPO spent the day yesterday writing some more fluff about Battistelli’s victims, whom he sent to Haar as (collective) punishment. It said: “Read about the five-year objective of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal as well as their performance in the past year. [] Here’s how you can share your opinion on proposed changes to the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal.”

“The EPO spent the day yesterday writing some more fluff about Battistelli’s victims, whom he sent to Haar as (collective) punishment.”They just try to give the false impression that things are rosy and the public is in control. This is nonsense.

Less than a day ago a patent maximalists’ site wrote about “Guidance on the Therapeutic Methods Exclusion,” courtesy of the Technical Board of Appeal (TBA) of the European Patent Office (EPO), which Battistelli — and by extension the EPO — had been attacking mercilessly. To quote:

The therapeutic methods exclusion is often problematic to navigate. In T 0699/12, the Technical Board of Appeal (TBA) of the European Patent Office (EPO) has provided some useful guidance on its application. In an opposition before the Opposition Division, the division held that the patent in suit (which was for a method for performing in vivo dosimetry) was invalid pursuant to Art 53(c) of the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Hours ago the EPO also promoted a Seattle (US) event of the EPO, promoting software patents abroad (in another continent!), not to mention patents on life. As the EPO put it some hours ago: “We have prepared a series of plenary sessions, panel discussions and break-out workshops on the patentability of life sciences inventions at the EPO.”

“It’s never too late for justice to be served.”The EPO has become a threat not only to Europeans but also to people living outside Europe. Battistelli’s regime is like a think tank of patent maximalism — the UPC notwithstanding — and the Boards of Appeal are unable to stop that because Battistelli keeps intimidating and punishing them. Judge Corcoran is alleged to have communicated with people in Saint-Germain-en-Laye; this is perhaps why Battistelli attacked him so viciously. We strongly encourage readers who can write in French to E-mail the above people with information about the European Inventor Award, informing them not only about improper venue selection but also many of Battistelli’s other abuses (we’ve lost count of them). It’s never too late for justice to be served.

Links 23/4/2018: Second RC of Linux 4.17 and First RC of Mesa 18.1

Monday 23rd of April 2018 08:41:27 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • ​What’s the most popular Linux of them all?

      Let’s cut to the chase. Android is the most popular of all Linux distributions. Period. End of statement. But that’s not the entire story.

      Still it must be said, according to StatCounter, Android is the most popular of all operating systems. By a score of 39.49 percent to 36.63 percent, Android beats out Windows for global personal device supremacy. Sorry Windows, you had a nice run, but between your smartphone failures and the PC decline, your day is done.

      But, setting Android aside, what’s the most popular Linux? It’s impossible to work that out. The website-based analysis tools, such as those used by StatCounter, NetMarketShare, and the Federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP), can’t tell the difference between Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.

      DAP does give one insightful measurement the others sites don’t give us. While not nearly as popular as Android, Chrome OS is more popular than all the other Linux-based desktops combined by a score, in April 2018, of 1.3 percent to 0.6 percent of end users.

    • Terminal app appears in Chrome OS Dev, hints at future Linux application support

      Back in February, some commits to the Chromium codebase revealed that Chrome OS would soon run Linux applications using a container. While it has been possible for years to run Linux applications on top of Chrome OS using crouton, it’s a hacky solution that only works in Developer Mode. Google’s solution would presumably work better, and perhaps not require Dev Mode to be enabled.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.17-rc2

      So rc2 is out, and things look fairly normal.

      The diff looks a bit unusual, with the tools subdirectory dominating,
      with 30%+ of the whole diff. Mostly perf and test scripts.

      But if you ignore that, the rest looks fairly usual. Arch updates
      (s390 and x86 dominate) and drivers (networking, gpu, HID, mmc, misc)
      are the bulk of it, with misc other changes all over (filesystems,
      core kernel, networking, docs).

      We’ve still got some known fallout from the merge window, but it
      shouldn’t affect most normal configurations, so go out and test.

      Linus

    • Upstream Linux support for new NXP i.MX8

      The i.MX6 platform has for the past few years enjoyed a large effort to add upstream support to Linux and surrounding projects. Now it is at the point where nothing is really missing any more. Improvements are still being made, to the graphics driver for i.MX 6, but functionally it is complete.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Stack Gets Updated With More Extensions, Optimizations & Fixes

        AMD developers maintaining their official Vulkan cross-platform driver code have pushed their end-of-week updates to their external source repositories for those wanting to build the AMDVLK driver on Linux from source.

        This latest AMDVLK push updates not only their PAL (Platform Abstraction Layer) and XGL (Vulkan API Layer) components but it also updates their fork of the LLVM code-base used for their shader compilation.

      • EGLStreams XWayland Code Revised Ahead Of X.Org Server 1.20

        It’s still not clear if the EGLStreams XWayland support will be merged for xorg-server 1.20 but at least the patches were revised this week, making it possible to merge them into this next X.Org Server release for allowing the NVIDIA proprietary driver to work with XWayland.

      • Vulkan 1.1.74 Released With Minor Fixes & Clarifications

        Vulkan continues sticking to the “release early, release often” mantra with the availability today of Vulkan 1.1.74.

      • Intel 2018Q1 Graphics Stack Recipe

        Last week Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center released their latest quarterly “graphics stack recipe” for the Linux desktop.

        The Intel Graphics Stack Recipe is the company’s recommended configuration for an optimal and supported open-source graphics driver experience for their Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics found on Intel processors.

      • Mesa 18.1-RC1 Released With The Latest Open-Source 3D Driver Features

        Seemingly flying under our radar is that Mesa 18.1 has already been branched and the first release candidate issued.

        While the Mesa website hasn’t yet been updated for the 18.1 details, Dylan Baker appears to be the release manager for the 18.1 series — the second quarter of 2018 release stream.

    • Benchmarks
      • Ryzen 7 2700X CPUFreq Scaling Governor Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux

        With this week’s Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X benchmarks some thought the CPUFreq scaling driver or rather its governors may have been limiting the performance of these Zen+ CPUs, so I ran some additional benchmarks this weekend.

        Those launch-day Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X Ubuntu Linux benchmarks were using the “performance” governor, but some have alleged that the performance governor may now actually hurt AMD systems… Ondemand, of course, is the default CPUFreq governor on Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions. Some also have said the “schedutil” governor that makes use of the kernel’s scheduler utilization data may do better on AMD. So I ran some extra benchmarks while changing between CPUFreq’s ondemand (default), performance (normally the best for performance, and what was used in our CPU tests), schedutil (the newest option), and powersave (if you really just care about conserving power).

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Xfce Settings 4.12.3 / 4.13.2 Released

      Fixes galore! Xfce Settings 4.12.3 and 4.13.2 were released on March 18th with several improvements, feature parity, and translations.

    • Xfce PulseAudio Plugin 0.4.0 (and 0.4.1) Released

      Stable as a rock. Xfce PulseAudio Plugin hit a new stable milestone with the 0.4.0 release. This release wraps up the awesome development cycle we’ve had on this over the last few months and is recommended for all users.

    • Xfce Settings Update Brings Better Multi-Monitor Support

      While still waiting on the long-awaited Xfce 4.14, out this weekend is an Xfce Settings 4.14.2 preview release as well as an Xfce Settings 4.12.3 stable series update.

      Both of these Xfce Settings updates bring better multi-monitor support, including visualization of all display configuration states, visually noting if two displays are mirrored, always drawing the active display last so it’s on top, and a number of fixes pertaining to the multi-monitor display handling from this Xfce desktop settings agent.

    • Mugshot 0.4.0 Released

      Mugshot, the simple user configuration utility, has hit a new stable milestone! Release 0.4.0 wraps up the 0.3 development cycle with full camera support for the past several years of GTK+ releases (and a number of other fixes).

    • MenuLibre 2.2.0 Released

      After 2.5 years of on-again/off-again development, a new stable release of MenuLibre is now available! This release includes a vast array of changes since 2.0.7 and is recommended for all users.

    • Xfce Picks Up Better PulseAudio Integration

      In addition to the Xfce Settings update this weekend there is also a new release of the Xfce PluseAudio Plugin providing better support for this sound server on the Xfce desktop.

    • MenuLibre 2.2 Linux Desktop Menu Editor Released With Many Improvements

      MenuLibre is the advanced menu editor that supports most Linux desktop environments including GNOME, KDE Plasma, Budgie, Cinnamon, EDE, LXQt, MATE, and Pantheon. MenuLibre 2.2 is the first major release for the project in over two years.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • [Slackware] Plasma5 – April 18 edition for Slackware

        The KDE-5_18.04 release of ‘ktown‘ for Slackware-current offers the latest KDE Frameworks (5.45.0), Plasma (5.12.4) and Applications (18.04.0). The Qt5 was upgraded to 5.9.5. Read the README file for more details and for installation/upgrade instructions. Enjoy the latest Plasma 5 desktop environment.

      • Perfect Debugging Experience with QtCreator on Android

        While I was working on a yet-to-be-announced super secret and cool Qt on Android project, I had to do a lot of debugging. This way I found that debugging Qt apps on Android using QtCreator was ok, but it had some issues, which was kinda frustrating.

      • Discover – Easily Install Software on KDE Neon Desktop

        KDE Discover is an Open Source GUI app installer that comes packaged with KDE Neon. It was particularly built from the ground up to be compatible with other modern Linux distros with emphasis on beauty and convenience.

        KDE Discover was also designed to allow for an intuitive User Experience as it features a clean and clear layout with a high readability value which makes it easy to browse, search for, install, and uninstall applications.

      • Almost 10 years of Plasma-Desktop

        Last week I was at work and start to listen my boss said: “We need to show this to our director”. So I went to my coworker table to see what was happening. So they were using Gource to make a video about the git history of the project. Gource is a software version control visualization tool. So that triggered in my mind some memories about a friend talking about Python and showing how the project as grow in this past years, but I never discovered about the tool that made that amazing video.

        So well, I started to make some Gource videos, and because my love about KDE Community, why not make one about it?

      • Progress on Plasma Wayland for 5.13

        In February after Plasma 5.12 was released we held a meeting on how we want to improve Wayland support in Plasma 5.13. Since its beta is now less than one month away it is time for a status report on what has been achieved and what we still plan to work on.

        Also today started a week-long Plasma Sprint in Berlin, what will hopefully accelerate the Wayland work for 5.13. So in order to kick-start the sprint this is a good opportunity to sum up where we stand now.

      • 0.1.1 Release of Elisa

        The Elisa team is happy to announce the first bug fix release for the 0.1 version.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Is Making Great Improvements On Its Wayland Support

        KDE Plasma 5.13 that is due for release in June will have a great number of improvements to its Wayland support for allowing the KDE Plasma desktop to work much better on this alternative to the X.Org Server.

        KDE developer Roman Gilg has provided a nice summary of some of the Wayland improvements in the queue for the Plasma 5.13.0 release due out towards the middle of June.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 15

        I’ve initiated a big project: overhauling KDE Open & Save dialogs for greater usability and productivity.

      • Latte bug fix release v0.7.5

        Latte Dock v0.7.5 has been released containing important fixes and improvements! Hopefullly this is going to be the last stable version for v0.7.x family. During the next months the next stable branch (v0.8.x) is going to appear.

      • Exploring Contributors Centrality Over Time

        At the end of my previous post we concluded with yet another question. Indeed, on the 2017 KDEPIM contributor network we found out that Christian Mollekopf while being a very consistent committer didn’t appear as centrality as we would expect. Yet from the topology he seemed to act as a bridge between the core contributors and contributors with a very low centrality. This time we’ll try to look into this and figure out what might be going on.

        My first attempt at this was to try to look into the contributor network on a different time period and see how it goes. If we take two snapshots of the network for the two semesters of 2017, how would it look? Well, easy to do with my current scripts so let’s see!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Getting Real GNOME Back in Ubuntu 18.04 [Quick Tip]

        Ubuntu 18.04 uses a customized version of GNOME and GNOME users might not like those changes. This tutorial shows you how to install vanilla GNOME on Ubuntu 18.04.

        One of the main new features of Ubuntu 18.04 is the customized GNOME desktop. Ubuntu has done some tweaking on GNOME desktop to make it look similar to its Unity desktop.

        So you get minimize options in the windows control, a Unity like launcher on the left of the screen, app indicator support among some other changes.

      • The Infamous GNOME Shell Memory Leak

        at this point, I think it’s safe to assume that many of you already heard of a memory leak that was plaguing GNOME Shell. Well, as of yesterday, the two GitLab’s MRs that help fixing that issue were merged, and will be available in the next GNOME version. The fixes are being considered for backporting to GNOME 3.28 – after making sure they work as expected and don’t break your computer.

      • The Big GNOME Shell Memory Leak Has Been Plugged, Might Be Backported To 3.28

        The widely talked about “GNOME Shell memory leak” causing excessive memory usage after a while with recent versions of GNOME has now been fully corrected. The changes are currently staged in Git for what will become GNOME 3.30 but might also be backported to 3.28.

        Well known GNOME developer Georges Stavracas has provided an update on the matter and confirmed that the issue stems from GJS – the GNOME JavaScript component – with the garbage collection process not being fired off as it should.

      • 10 Great Linux GTK Themes For 2018

        Customization is a big part of the Linux experience, and your desktop theme is no exception. The world of Linux desktop themes is an ever-evolving one, with new ones replacing old favorites all the time. Of course, the desktop environments and GTK itself are always changing, so that adds another dynamic element to consider. That said, some of the best desktop customization happens on the simplest desktop environments, like XFCE.

        As of now, in early 2018, there are some really excellent GTK themes available. These themes aren’t ranked in any particular order. That comes down to a matter or preference. Any one of them can add a whole new look to your GTK-based desktop.

      • Devhelp news

        For more context, I started to contribute to Devhelp in 2015 to fix some annoying bugs (it’s an application that I use almost every day). Then I got hooked, I contributed more, became a co-maintainer last year, etc. Devhelp is a nice little project, I would like it to be better known and used more outside of GNOME development, for example for the Linux kernel now that they have a good API documentation infrastructure (it’s just a matter of generating *.devhelp2 index files alongside the HTML pages).

  • Distributions
    • Beginner Friendly Gentoo Based Sabayon Linux Has a New Release

      The team behind Sabayon Linux had issued a new release. Let’s take a quick look at what’s involved in this new release.

    • Reviews
      • Review: Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10

        Chakra is an unusual distribution for a few reasons. It is a rare semi-rolling project, which tries to maintain a fairly stable base system while providing up to date applications. This is an interesting compromise between full rolling and static operating systems. The semi-rolling concept is an idea I like and I was curious to see how well the approach would work dealing with around six months of updates. I was pleased to find Chakra handled the massive upgrade well.

        Chakra was once also considered unusual for being very KDE-focused. There are more KDE distribution these days (KaOS, Kubuntu and KDE neon come readily to mind) and I think Chakra may have lost some of its appeal as more competition has established itself in the KDE-centric arena.

        I found the distribution to be easy to set up and pretty straight forward to use, but there were a few characteristics which bothered me during my trial with Chakra. One was that while updates installed cleanly, once Plasma 5.12 was installed, I experienced slow login times and reduced performance on the desktop. It could be argued that this is a Plasma problem, not a Chakra problem, but the distribution’s rolling release nature means any regressions in new versions of software end up in the user’s lap.

        Something that tends to bother me about distributions which focus on one desktop toolkit or another is that this approach to selecting software means we are sometimes using less capable tools in the name of toolkit purity. This is not a trade-off I like as I’d rather be using more polished applications over ones which a particular affiliation.

        Finally, Chakra includes a number of command line aliases which got in my way. This seems to be a problem I have been running into more often recently. Developers are trying to be helpful by aliasing common commands, but it means that for some tasks I need to change my habits or undefine the provided aliases and the feature ends up being a nuisance instead of a convenience.

        Chakra seems to be a capable and useful distribution and I am sure there are people who will appreciate the rolling release nature. Many people will likely also like having lots of KDE applications, and I can see the appeal of this combination. However, one thing which makes me hesitate to recommend Chakra is that the distribution does not appear to bring any special features to the ecosystem. It’s a useful operating system and, to be completely fair, users can install non-KDE alternatives if they want to use LibreOffice instead of Calligra or GIMP instead of KolourPaint. But I’m not sure Chakra brings anything unique which makes it stand apart from openSUSE’s Tumbleweed or KaOS’s polished Plasma offering. Chakra used to be special in its semi-rolling, KDE-focused niche, but these days the distribution has a more competition and I’m not sure the project has any special sauce to set it apart from the crowd.

    • New Releases
    • Screenshots/Screencasts
    • Slackware Family
    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • moving Qt 4 from Debian testing (aka Buster): some statistics, update II

        We started filing bugs around September 9. That means roughly 32 weeks which gives us around 5.65 packages fixed per week, aka 0.85 packages per day. Obviously not as good as we started (remaining bugs tend to be more complicated), but still quite good.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu To Discontinue Opt-In Development Milestones In Favor Of Test Weeks

            The proposal for replacing early Ubuntu derivatives’ early alpha/beta releases with “testing weeks” in its place is moving forward with no objections having been raised but flavors like Kubuntu and Xubuntu being in favor of the change.

          • Ubuntu Linux Replaces Alpha/Beta Release Model With “Testing Weeks”
          • Re-evaluating Ubuntu’s Milestones

            Happy Release Week!

            I do not believe there have been any -1s to this proposal from any
            flavor, nor from the Release Team, so I think it’s time to move forward
            with it.

            In summary, what will now happen from here on out is that opt-in
            milestones will be discontinued in favor of testing “weeks” (Tuesday
            through Thursday). I can organize the testing weeks for the 18.10 cycle
            (so we can get a process going), but from the 19.04 cycle and on,
            representatives (probably Release Managers) from any active flavor can
            (and should!) organize these testing weeks.

            Additionally, I will look into the automated testing Steve brought up
            shortly after the 18.04 release, with the goal being to adopt that
            sooner rather than later. I’ll write a follow-up email to ubuntu-release
            once I have something to show for that.

            Thanks everyone!

          • First set of Bionic (sort-of) RC images for 18.04.

            Adam Conrad of the Ubuntu Release Team is pleased to announce the first
            set of Bionic RC images for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            Over the next couple of hours, builds for Bionic Final should be added
            to the tracker[1] for all flavours. The builds have some intentional
            omissions, but please do test them anyway.

            Known issues that will be addressed Sunday/Monday:
            – Volume label still set to Beta
            – base-files still not the final version
            – kernel will have (at least) one more revision

            Despite the above, please, please, please test your images. Do not
            wait for a “final” build to test, as that guarantees your final build
            will be broken. We need you testing now, iterating uploads to get
            your bugs fixed, filing bugs and escalating where you need help.

            Again: DO NOT DELAY, TEST NOW, FIX BUGS, FILE BUGS, ESCALATE FOR HELP.

            Happy testing everyone, and here’s hoping we push out another smooth
            and stress-free release on Thursday.

            … Adam Conrad

          • Bionic (18.04) Release Candidate images ready for testing!

            Initial RC (Release Candidate) images for the Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04) are now available for testing.

            The Kubuntu team will be releasing 18.04 on 26 April. The final Release Candidate milestone is available today, 21 April.

            This is the first spin of a release candiate in preparation for the RC milestone. If major bugs are encountered and fixed, the RC images may be respun.

          • Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Release Candidate

            The Release Candidate for Ubuntu Studio 18.04 is ready for testing.

          • gksu Removed From Ubuntu, Here’s What You Can Use Instead

            gksu is deprecated. It is removed from Debian, Ubuntu 18.04 and other newer Linux distribution version. You can achieve the gksu functionality with gvfs admin backend. Here’s how to do that.

            I am exploring Ubuntu 18.04 these days. And when I was trying to suppress the Ubuntu crash report, I tried to use a command with gksu.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 Beta Brings More AVX2 SIMD, Improved CMake Build System

    A Phoronix reader recently pointed out that LibJPEG 2.0 Beta quietly shipped last month as working towards the next big update for this speed-focused JPEG library.

    Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 beta is available for testing and it brings AVX2 SIMD support for colorspace conversion, chroma downsampling/upsampling, integer quantization and sample conversion, and integer DCT/IDCT algorithms. These AVX2 SIMD accelerated paths are generally bringing gains anywhere from 9% to 36% faster depending upon the operation. This version is also bringing SIMD acceleration for Huffman encoding on SSE2 CPUs and Loongson MMI SIMD implementations for more functions.

  • University students create award-winning open source projects

    In my short time working for Clarkson University, I’ve realized what a huge impact this small university is making on the open source world. Our 4,300 student-strong science and technology-focused institution, located just south of the Canadian border in Potsdam, New York, hosts the Clarkson Open Source Institute (COSI), dedicated to promoting open source software and providing equipment and support for student projects.

    While many universities offer opportunities for students to get involved in open source projects, it’s rare to have an entire institute dedicated to promoting open source development. COSI is part of Clarkson’s Applied Computer Science Labs within the computer science department. It, along with the Internet Teaching Lab and the Virtual Reality Lab, is run by students (supported by faculty advisers), allowing them to gain experience in managing both facilities and projects while still undergraduates.

  • When should you open source your software?

    It’s 20 years this this since the term ‘Open Source’ was coined. In that time the movement for free and open software has gone from a niche to a common method of distribution and a normal way of operating for businesses.

    Major technology shifts are now driven by open source technologies: Big Data (Hadoop, Spark), AI (TensorFlow, Caffe), and Containers (Docker, Kubernetes) are all open projects. Massive companies including Google, Facebook, and even Lyft regularly release Open Source tools for the world to use. Microsoft – whose former CEO once described Linux as a cancer – now embraces the concept.

  • Events
    • Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018 concludes [Ed: Not about software]

      A large number of attendees from industry, academia, government, and students participated in the summit. Portuguese Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa was the chief guest at the opening ceremony while former Naval Chief Admiral (r) Asif Sandila graced the occasion as the chief guest at the closing ceremony.

    • ‘Open Summit key to create industry-academy linkages’

      Ambassador of Portugal to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa has said that events such as the Open Source Summit are excellent for spreading awareness and for creating industry-academia linkages and enhancement of the information technology.

      He stated this while addressing a concluding ceremony of the two-day informative ‘Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018’ attended by large number of people from industry, academia, government and students. Former naval chief Admiral (R) Asif Sandila co-chaired the concluding session.

      Dr Joao Sabido Costa said that the organisations should utilise open source platforms to build their IT infrastructures in future. To build open source culture in Pakistan, he recommended roadmap with future activities and timelines for spreading open source.

    • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 2

      Yesterday we went to the Madrid Rust Meetup, a regular meeting of rustaceans here. Martin talked about WebRender; I talked about refactoring C to port it to Rust, and then Alex talked about Rust’s plans for 2018. Fun times.

    • DataworksSummit Berlin – Wednesday morning

      Data strategy – cloud strategy – business strategy: Aligning the three was one of the main themes (initially put forward in his opening keynote by CTO of Hortonworks Scott Gnau) thoughout this weeks Dataworks Summit Berlin kindly organised and hosted by Hortonworks. The event was attended by over 1000 attendees joining from 51 countries.

      The inspiration hat was put forward in the first keynote by Scott was to take a closer look at the data lifecycle – including the fact that a lot of data is being created (and made available) outside the control of those using it: Smart farming users are using a combination of weather data, information on soil conditions gathered through sensors out in the field in order to inform daily decisions. Manufacturing is moving towards closer monitoring of production lines to spot inefficiencies. Cities are starting to deploy systems that allow for better integration of public services. UX is being optimized through extensive automation.

    • A look at Rancher 2.0

      Last December, we announced a Kubernetes Cloud Native Platform in partnership with Rancher Labs. Built on Canonical’s Distribution of Kubernetes and Rancher 2.0, the Cloud Native Platform will simplify enterprise usage of Kubernetes with seamless user management, access control, and cluster administration. Join our webinar to get a tour of the platform!

  • Web Browsers
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD 5.2, TrueOS 18.03, FreeBSD 11.1, Ubuntu 16.04/18.04 & Clear Linux Tests

      This week I posted some benchmarks looking at the Meltdown mitigation impact on BSD vs. Linux as well as some tests of DragonFly’s stabilized HAMMER2 while for your viewing pleasure this weekend are a variety of general BSD vs. Linux benchmarks while using the newly-released DragonFlyBSD 5.2, TrueOS 18.03, FreeBSD 11.1, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Ubuntu 18.04, and Intel’s Clear Linux.

      All of these BSD/Linux operating system benchmarks were done using a system with an Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5 Skylake CPU, MSI MS-7998 motherboard, 2 x 8GB DDR4-2133 memory, and a 256GB Toshiba RD-400 NVMe SSD. All of the hardware components were maintained the same throughout the entire testing process.

      For making the systems comparable and testing the operating systems in the manner set by the vendor, each platform was tested “out of the box” using the default settings.

    • DragonFlyBSD Kernel Gets Some SMP Improvements

      It looks like the DragonFlyBSD 5.4 release will be delivering at least a few kernel-level performance improvements.

      It turns out just hours after wrapping up the latest BSD vs. Linux benchmarks, Matthew Dillon pushed a few performance tweaks to the Git tree for DragonFly.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Best Open Source 3D Printers

        In simplest terms, an open source 3D printer refers to a 3D printer whose hardware and software information are available to the public, typically under a license. The information can be used by anyone to build, modify, or improve the 3D printer.

        If you’re looking for real open source 3D printers, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we introduce you to completely open source 3D printers. The hardware and software information of all the products listed here can be easily found on the internet.

  • Programming/Development
    • What is Open Source Programming? How to Get Involved?

      Open Source Programming simply means writing codes that other people can freely use as well as modify. It is essential for authors to license their code, it enables them to have a copyright for those codes. Therefore, for a code to be declared safe and free for all to use, whether it’s available in the Github or in a public-repo; the author is required to license their own code. This is to avoid cases of individuals being sued by the author for using, modifying or even embedding the code without being granted a license to do that.

Leftovers
  • This week in tech, 20 years ago
  • How I accidentally wrote a Wikipedia page on a layover in Dublin

    A most unusual but wonderful experience happened to me recently on a return trip from Europe to the United States.

    A series of heavy Nor’easters hit the U.S. East Coast over the last couple weeks, one of which coincided with my trip back to Rochester, NY. While we didn’t have flooding, we had a lot of snow. A lot of snow means canceled flights.

    As I made my way through border control in Dublin, Ireland on March 7, I discovered my connection to New York City would likely be canceled. A meander from baggage claim to the check-in desk confirmed this. Fortunately, Aer Lingus had no issue putting me up in a hotel overnight, with dinner and breakfast, so that I could catch the next flight to New York the following day.

  • 17 Ways Your Friends Are Lying To You On Social Media

    Be cynical. Be very, very cynical.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Teen who hacked [sic] top US officials gets two years in prison

      CWA’s MO is called “social engineering” — they’d impersonate their victims and call [I]nternet and phone providers’ customer support hotlines in order to get confidential info and to reset their targets’ passwords.

    • Wanted: The ‘Butcher of Damascus’ to Return Normalcy to Syria

      Butcher of Damascus. Gasser of children. Baby Killer of Syria. Tool of Moscow. Cruel despot. Monster.

      These are all names the western media and politicians routinely heap on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. He has now become the top Mideast villain, the man we love to hate.

      As a veteran Mideast watcher, I find all this hard to swallow. Compared to other brutal Mideast leaders, Assad is pretty weak tea. The U.S./British propaganda effort to paint Assad in blackest colors is having a difficult time.

      Mideast leaders who toe the U.S. line and make nice to Israel are invariably called ‘statesmen’ or ‘president’ by the American government and its increasingly tame media. Their repression is conveniently downplayed.

      Saudi rulers are reverently treated by despite leading the world in executions. Last year, 44 people were publicly beheaded. In some years, around 150 people have lost their heads in Saudi Arabia, often a quarter of them Pakistani guest workers. Having been arrested by the Saudi religious police, I can tell you that the kingdom is a police state with sand dunes and camels. Saudi vassal states Bahrain and the Emirates are better, but not much.

    • Another Dodgy British Dossier: the Skripal Case

      The British government shared what was supposedly a dossier containing sensitive intelligence to convince allies and EU member states to support its accusation of Russian culpability in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England on March 4.

      But like the infamous 2003 “dodgy dossier” prepared at the direction of Prime Minister Tony Blair to justify British involvement in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the intelligence dossier on the Salisbury poisoning turns out to have been based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence

      British officials used the hastily assembled “intelligence” briefing to brief the North Atlantic Council on March 15, the European Foreign Affairs Council on March 19 and the European summit meeting in Brussels on March 23.

    • Beware of White Helmets Bearing News

      At the center of the controversy over an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Duma on April 7 are the White Helmets, a self-described rescue operation about whom an Oscar-winning documentary was made.

      Reporter and author Max Blumenthal has tracked the role of the White Helmets in the Syrian conflict. He reported that the White Helmets were created in Turkey by James Le Mesurier, a former British MI5 agent. The group has received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as millions from the Kingdom of Qatar, which has backed a variety of extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.

      Blumenthal writes, “When Defense Secretary James Mattis cited ‘social media’ in place of scientific evidence of a chemical attack in Duma, he was referring to video shot by members of the White Helmets. Similarly, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert sought to explain why the US bombed Syria before inspectors from the OPCW could produce a report from the ground, she claimed, ‘We have our own intelligence.’ With little else to offer, she was likely referring to social media material published by members of the White Helmets.”

      The reference to social media as evidence in the most serious decision a leader can make—to engage in an act of war—is part of a disturbing trend. Then Secretary of State John Kerry pointed to “social media” as evidence of the Syrian government’s guilt in a 2013 chemical attack in the same Damascus suburb. But as Robert Parry, the late founder and editor of this site, pointed out in numerous reports, Syrian government guilt was far from a sure thing.

    • Legendary scientist at lab that developed atomic bomb dies at 97

      Scientist Nerses Krik Krikorian, who was born a refugee and later became a legend in the once-secret New Mexico city where the atomic bomb was developed, has died. He was 97.

    • Nude gunman kills four at Tennessee waffle house

      A man who was naked but for a green jacket shot and killed at least four people and wounded at least three others at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee early Sunday, authorities said.

      The gunman, armed with what was described as an AR-15 style assault rifle, walked into the restaurant in Antioch, in suburban Nashville, shortly before 3:30 a.m. (0830 GMT).

    • America’s #1 Weapons Salesman: Trump Promotes U.S. Arms Manufacturers & Weakens Export Rules

      A new exposé by Reuters reveals how the Trump administration plans to make the U.S. an even larger weapons exporter by loosening restrictions on the sale of equipment ranging from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery. Reuters reveals that the new initiative will provide guidelines that could allow more countries to be granted faster deal approvals, and will call on Cabinet officials to help close deals between foreign governments and U.S. defense contractors. In one example, Reuters reveals President Trump himself urged the emir of Kuwait, in a telephone call, to finalize a $10 billion fighter jet deal with Boeing, the country’s second-largest defense contractor. The exposé details the role U.S. Cabinet officials may be asked to play in pushing arms exports abroad as part of the new initiative, which will call for a “whole of government” approach—from the president and his Cabinet to military attachés and diplomats—to help draw in billions of dollars more in arms business overseas. The Trump administration is expected to announce the new rules as early as Thursday. We speak to Mike Stone of Reuters and William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.

    • Playing War in Syria

      Donald Trump got “presidential” again and fired about $150 million worth of cruise missiles at Syria, accomplishing God knows what.

    • Trump’s Blank Check for War

      On Monday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to review a bill that would virtually give President Donald J. Trump a blank check to wage –war anywhere in the world any time he pleases.

      The Constitution places the power to declare war exclusively in the hands of the Congress. However, for the past 75 years, Congress has allowed that power to drift toward the executive branch.

      The new bill, should it pass, would effectively make the transfer of the war power from Congress to the president complete. It is hard to imagine a worse time in American history for this to happen.

    • Missiles Over Damascus

      On 13 April 2018 President Donald Trump ordered the bombing of selective targets in the Syrian capital, Damascus. He did so because he was emotionally upset by Syrian President Bashar al- Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Douma – the last rebel (ISIS-style) stronghold adjacent to the capital.

      Just prior to Trump’s actualizing his emotions by throwing missiles into Damascus, he had expressed his opinion (and keep in mind that there is no difference between fact and opinion for Mr.Trump) that President Assad is a “monster” as well as an “animal.” At least in part because the Syrian President stooped to “killing his own people.” The problem with all this is (1) Trump has no hard evidence that Assad was behind the alleged gas attack and (2) killing your own people is, unfortunately, what civil wars are all about.

      Alas, the world has always been, and still is, full of “monsters” and “animals.” And, since we are throwing around such epithets, we might as well give a couple of close-to-home examples of those qualifying behaviors.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Australian workers and youth denounce persecution of Julian Assange

      Over the weekend, Socialist Equality Party (SEP) campaigners spoke to a broad range of workers, students and young people about upcoming SEP meetings opposing the stepped-up persecution of Julian Assange, and the censorship of the Internet by governments around the world in league with the “tech” monopolies.

      Workers and youth denounced the decision of the Ecuadorian government last month to cut off Assange’s Internet access and right to receive visitors at its London embassy, where he sought asylum more than five years ago. The move, taken under pressure from the US, Britain and the other major powers, was aimed at silencing WikiLeaks’ exposures of the drive to war, and intimidating other opponents of escalating militarism.

      The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the actions of the Australian political establishment. All of the parliamentary parties, along with the corporate press, liberal pundits, and the pseudo-left, have maintained a deafening silence over the latest attacks on Assange. This is in line with the support extended in 2010 by the Greens-backed Labor government of Julia Gillard, and every government since, for the US-led persecution of Assange.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Earth Day, April 22
    • On Earth Day: Environmental Activism is Spreading

      Tree-sits are growing in West Virginia where people are putting their bodies on the line to stop the destruction of the natural habitat that would result from building the Mountain Valley pipeline for fracked gas. In Virginia, Red Terry started a tree-sit on Easter weekend to protect her land from destruction. She remains, despite the company with law enforcement support denying her food and water — something illegal against prisoners or during war. As trees are felled she remains, as do protesters in Pennsylvania.

      In Louisiana, a water protector locked herself into a cement-filled barrel placed in the trench of a horizontal directional drill to block construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Eleanor Goldfield reports this is part of the Battle of the Bayou, a coalition of groups and individuals standing against the destruction of a fragile environment, facing arrest and creating a future together.

      Last November, Washington State activists defeated the largest oil-train terminal in the nation.

  • Finance
    • 5 Things You Learn Pretending To Be A Businessman In China

      Chinese companies will hire random white people to attend meetings, banquets, etc. to create the (false) impression that they have connections in the U.S.

    • No appetite for a deregulatory post-Brexit Britain: new findings on public attitudes

      Five years later, Prime Minister Theresa May gave a rather different speech in London as the UK prepared for EU withdrawal. Rather than expounding the single market’s advantages, she argued that the UK would have to leave it, because to do otherwise would mean continued free movement. Rather than calling for deeper links in services, she acknowledged that trade post-Brexit would be less free. And rather than embracing deregulation, she said that UK and EU regulatory standards would remain “substantially similar” in future.

      This lays bare the bizarre reversal of the political economy of Brexit. A movement that began in essence as a means of casting off EU regulations while retaining economic links has morphed into a government agenda resolved to cutting trade ties while keeping – even strengthening – those very regulations that Eurosceptics once so derided.

      The reasons for this about-turn are complex. On one level, the Eurosceptics’ original plan for delivering Brexit was never a plausible one: it is not possible to retain the advantages of the “common market” while at the same time jettisoning the rules and regulations that bind it together.

      For the other member states, the EU’s employment, environmental and consumer legislation are not superfluous appendages to the single market but core pillars that allow member states to compete on a level playing field. This perspective could therefore never have survived collision with the reality of the Brexit negotiations.

    • Brexit’s offshore secrets

      In 2015, Arron Banks’s insurance business was bailed out. Where the rescue money came from is unclear—but as the Electoral Commission probes the sources of the Leave donor’s campaign contributions, a group of accountants who specialise in offshore “wealth preservation” may hold the key.

    • Theresa May ‘could quit’ next month if government loses key Brexit vote

      Theresa May is reportedly set to quit if she loses a key Brexit vote next month, it was reported this morning.

      Number 10 is considering a vote on the customs union a ‘matter of confidence’ in Mrs May’s government, the BBC report.

      While it wouldn’t be legally binding, it would be a signal to her own MPs that she’s ready to stake her job on Britain leaving any kind of customs union.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Remembering Barbara Bush

      Barbara Bush, mother of war criminal George W. Bush, died on April 17, 2018. Geraldine Comley, my mother, died April 17, 2011.

      [...]

      Yesterday, April 17, I was preoccupied with Gigi images. My younger son H and his wife V had been here on Sunday, working on a project for me. They were exhausted. He wanted to go home and return the next evening to finish the task. She wanted to stay the extra two hours required to complete it. I began a question I knew would make them laugh but got only partially through it before bursting into laughter. Just like my mother. Exactly what Gigi did. This was an exquisite little reverie to have amid thoughts of those days in April of 2011 when the Sisterhood, Laura, Erma, and I, were at her bedside during the days of her dying.

      George W. Bush visited his mother in the hospital during her last days. According to this Peter Baker tribute, Mrs. Bush said to her doctor: “You want to know why George W. is the way he is? Because I drank and smoked when I was pregnant with him.” When I read this, I recalled my mother’s statement that George W. Bush was stupid. Yet Barbara Bush’s drinking and smoking don’t support that “way he is”, that way he really is—an imperialist/capitalist former president. More sinister influences than alcohol and tobacco shaped the mass murderer.

    • Trump Times Two

      Mr. Trump, likes to brag about the high numbers of admirers that he appears to see during various events he puts on. He almost certainly attributed the large number of viewers Ms. Daniels attracted to her 60 Minutes interview, to the fact that he was the subject she was addressing. His unseen presence, he almost certainly believes, is what made it interesting. He would have been doubly pleased with the fact that her interview about HIM attracted more viewers than any other program put on by CBS’s 60 Minutes since an interview in 2008 where the subjects were the much disliked, by him, Barrack Obama, who had just been elected president, and his wife, Michelle.

    • Coinbase Rejects WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks Calls for Boycott of Coinbase
    • Wikileaks Claims Coinbase Has Shut Down Its Online Store’s Bitcoin Account
    • The Wikileaks Shop says that Coinbase has suspended its account
    • Largest Bitcoin Brokerage Coinbase Blocks WikiLeaks Purchases
    • Coinbase Suspends WikiLeaks Shop for Terms of Service Violation
    • Coinbase Reportedly Shuts Down Wikileaks Store, Assange Calls for Boycott in Response
    • Coinbase blocks WikiLeaks shop without notice – starts a riot on social media
    • Wikileaks Shop Banned from Coinbase, Non-Profit Says
    • Coinbase Shutters the Account of WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks Bites Back
    • WikiLeaks loses access to a key cryptocurrency account
    • Wikileaks Calls for Global Blockade of Coinbase After Its Shop Was Blocked
    • DNC’s Lawsuit Against Russia, Trump And WikiLeaks
    • The DNC’s lawsuit against the Russian government, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks
    • The DNC’s lawsuit against Trump, Russia and Wikileaks is making the parallels with Watergate hard to ignore

      The Democratic Party’s abrupt dropping of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit into the simmering cauldron that is the Trump-Russia affair took some folk by surprise.

      Why risk complicating the life of special counsel Robert Mueller just when he may be getting to the endgame of his own investigation into all these allegations? Where did such a crazy idea come from anyway?

    • The ‘deep state’ is real. But are its leaks against Trump justified?

      America doesn’t have coups or tanks in the street. But a deep state of sorts exists here and it includes national security bureaucrats who use secretly collected information to shape or curb the actions of elected officials.

      Some see these American bureaucrats as a vital check on the law-breaking or authoritarian or otherwise illegitimate tendencies of democratically elected officials.

      Others decry them as a self-serving authoritarian cabal that illegally and illegitimately undermines democratically elected officials and the policies they were elected to implement.

    • The vetting files: How the BBC kept out ‘subversives’

      For decades the BBC denied that job applicants were subject to political vetting by MI5. But in fact vetting began in the early days of the BBC and continued until the 1990s. Paul Reynolds, the first journalist to see all the BBC’s vetting files, tells the story of the long relationship between the corporation and the Security Service.

      “Policy: keep head down and stonewall all questions.” So wrote a senior BBC official in early 1985, not long before the Observer exposed so many details of the work done in Room 105 Broadcasting House that there was no point continuing to hide it.

      By that stage, a policy of flatly denying the existence of political vetting – not just stonewalling, but if necessary lying – had been in place for five decades.

    • DNC chairman defends lawsuit against Russia, Trump campaign, WikiLeaks

      The chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday defended a new multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, with talk show hosts asking whether it was distracting from efforts to rebuild the Democratic Party.

    • Tom Perez defends DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia, Assange

      Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez on Sunday defended a new lawsuit alleging a wide-reaching conspiracy by the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and others to interfere in the 2016 election to the detriment of the Democratic Party.
      Asked why the Democrats didn’t wait for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Justice Department probe into election interference to end, Perez said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the DNC needed to file “in a timely manner under the statute of limitations.”

      [...]

      The suit has garnered criticism from Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, and former Obama White House adviser and CNN commentator David Axelrod.

      The lawsuit and other “sideshows,” such as the publication of former FBI Director James Comey’s explosive new book that portrays President Donald Trump in a negative light, “seem spectacularly ill-timed and abet@POTUS strategy of portraying a sober and essential probe as a partisan vendetta. Everyone should chill out and let Mueller do his job,” Axelrod tweeted Friday.

      On Friday and Saturday, Trump mocked Democrats for their lawsuit, suggesting Republicans could use it to their advantage and dredging up allegations against the committee’s former chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • A season of self-censorship — confessions of an Editor-at-large

      Once again, Pakistan’s media is under fire. Unlike the past, there are no formal advisories or strictures but a combination of subliminal messages and self-censorship. That this happens on the verge of a third transition of power is deeply worrying and ominous.

      Hundreds of journalists and editors have issued a collective statement protesting the ongoing curbs on freedom of expression in the country. The missive reads: “Beginning with a crackdown against select media groups and banning the broadcast of various channels, there now is enhanced pressure on all media houses to refrain from covering certain rights based movements. Media house managements under pressure are dropping regular op-ed columns and removing online editions of published articles. One media house even asked its anchors to stop live shows.”

    • Lecturer talks on the end of censorship

      Assistant professor of computer science Max Schuchard gave a lecture about defeating internet censorship Friday afternoon during the UT Science Forum.

      Schuchard opened his lecture discussing the trivial uses for the internet such as watching humorous videos yet also the critical role it plays in sharing important information about other countries and providing people with the access to knowledge.

      Schuchard compared the internet to a tool that sparks changes and revolutions in different ways to more violent measures such as a weapon that incites change

      Schuchard focused on the censorship of the internet in other countries, territories and regions to control the influx of information to populations. To emphasize his point, Schuchard presented a map of the world displaying regions that have limited access to the internet because of either control by a governing people or destruction of resources to access internet such as the natural disaster in Puerto Rico.

    • Natalie Portman addresses snub of ‘Jewish Nobel,’ backlash

      Israel faces some international criticism over its use of lethal force in response to mass protests along the Gaza border led by the Islamic militant group that rules the territory.

      One Israeli lawmaker warned that Portman’s decision is a sign of eroding support for Israel among young American Jews.

      The Jerusalem-born Portman is a dual Israeli-American citizen. The Oscar-winning actress moved to the United States as a young girl, evolving from a child actress into a widely acclaimed A-list star. Portman received the 2011 best actress Academy Award for “Black Swan,” and, in 2015, she directed and starred in “Tale of Love and Darkness,” a Hebrew-language film set in Israel based on an Amos Oz novel. Her success is a great source of pride for many Israelis.

      The Genesis Prize Foundation said Thursday that it had been informed by Portman’s representative that “recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing” to Portman, though it did not refer to specific events.

      [...]

      Oren Hazan, a legislator in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, called on the government to revoke Portman’s Israeli citizenship.

    • Russia raises the stakes with wide-reaching and blunt internet clampdown

      Russia has long sought to emulate the way its neighbour China regulates its citizens’ online activities. The Kremlin isn’t ready to do it just yet – but that doesn’t mean they won’t break the internet trying

    • Pakistani journalists denounce blatant censorship

      Yesterday, after this exceptionally bad week for free speech in Pakistan, more than 50 journalists launched a petition condemning the latest cases of censorship. In particular, they criticized several media outlets for refusing to cover subjects that the military does not want addressed.

      The latest subject to be placed off limits is the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), which has been organizing protests in defence of Pakistan’s Pashtun minority and denouncing human rights violations by the military targeting Pashtuns.

      For the first time in ten years, the management of The News, Pakistan’s biggest English-language daily, has censored three of its contributors for editorial pages. It refused to publish an editorial by Mosharraf Zaidi, who wanted to start a debate about the PTM. Then it refused to published an article on the same subject by the columnist Babar Sattar.

    • Aurora library display prompts both hate and censorship claims

      A poem that was part of a display at the Aurora Public Library prompted such a flurry of comments throughout town Saturday that it was removed before the library opened on Sunday.

      Residents, patrons, organizations and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin weighed in through discussion with library staff and social media, calling the poem an example of hate speech against Muslims and particularly Muslim women, and demanding that it be taken down.

      Other comments called the move censorship of what was promoted by library officials as a satirical statement on racial hatred.

    • Thumbs down: Facebook’s hate speech and censorship policies no easy fix

      Under more scrutiny than ever, Facebook finds itself caught in a no-man’s land between activists who say it needs to adopt much stricter definitions governing hate speech and critics on the right who feel the social media giant is censoring conservative voices.

      The company’s policy now largely depends on humans reviewing content flagged by others as offensive — a system Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress he hopes to change within 10 years by integrating artificial intelligence that can identify questionable content immediately.

      [...]

      Issues arise, of course, because what some consider to be offensive, racially tinged attacks are seen by others as political statements. Rhetoric surrounding illegal immigration, for example, often falls into that category.

    • Fearing political censorship, groups urge Hong Kong gov’t to clarify textbook review mechanism

      The phrases found to be problematic included: “Hong Kong is located south of China,” “the Chinese Communist Party’s one-party rule” and “China insisted on taking back Hong Kong’s sovereignty.”

      Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said in response last week that China has always had sovereignty over Hong Kong, thus school textbooks should not describe the handover as a taking back of sovereignty. He also said that the phrase “Hong Kong is located south of China” does not clarify whether the city is within or outside of China’s borders.

      Demosisto said on Saturday that a Hong Kong general studies textbook was found to have been changed so that the 2017 edition no longer states that the media monitors the government or exposes problems in society, as it did in the 2013 textbook.

      The pro-democracy party said the incident shows that political censorship was not limited to one instance, and that it could involve more than one publisher as well as other textbooks across primary and secondary levels.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • A more privacy-friendy blog

      When I started this blog, I embraced some free services, like Disqus or Google Analytics. These services are quite invasive for users’ privacy. Over the years, I have tried to correct this to reach a point where I do not rely on any “privacy-hostile” services.

    • Aleksandr Kogan: The link between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

      Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are in a whale of trouble and not just because the company has lost tens of billions of dollars in market value in recent weeks.

      We now know that during years of essentially policing itself, Facebook allowed Russian trolls to buy U.S. election ads, advertisers to discriminate by race, hate groups to spread fake news and, because facebook shirked privacy concerns, a company called Cambridge Analytica was able to surreptitiously gain access to personal data mined from as many as 87 million Facebook users.

    • Cambridge Analytica Researcher Denies Stealing Data; Says Facebook’s Policies Were Flawed

      Aleksandr Kogan, who is responsible for creating data harvesting apps, has finally broken his silence over the Facebook CA scandal saying that he did not steal the data, rather Facebook opened its doors for developers to access that data.

      In an interview with CBS News, Kogan said, “The idea that we stole the data, I think, is technically incorrect.” But he admitted of being aware that the data was going to be for elections and as a political consulting firm, he allowed Cambridge Analytica to create campaigns by analyzing voters and targeted them with ads.

    • Fighting for migrants’ data protection rights in the UK

      Since 2014, the United Kingdom (UK) government has steadily rolled out policies to make the country a “hostile environment” for migrants, in the words of Prime Minister Theresa May.

    • The world is no longer willing to tolerate the plague of bullshit “agreements”

      The self-replicating plague of bullshit “agreements” is finally getting a reckoning, as users wake up to the fact that companies were actually serious when they said that they expected hold us to these absurd legal documents. What’s more, the looming spectre of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, with its mandate for plain language agreements that users have to understand, is calling into question whether it’s possible to even have a business that can only exist if users agree to terms that put the US tax-code to shame.

    • Facebook Set Lobbying Record Amid Cambridge Analytica Furor

      The company spent $3.3 million, according to disclosures filed with the government Friday, up from the $3.21 million it spent in the same period a year earlier, which represented the company’s prior high.

    • Facebook privacy audit by auditors finds everything is awesome!

      The US Federal Trade Commission has released an audit of Facebook’s privacy practices and it turns out there’s nothing to worry about, at least as far as accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is concerned.

      Clearly, there’s nothing to worry about. Go back to your homes, people.

      PwC, retained to check on how Facebook has been complying with its 2011 FTC consent decree for deceiving consumers, believes the social ad network – the same one recently pilloried by US lawmakers for allowing profile data to be spirited away to data firm Cambridge Analytica – has been doing a bang-up job.

    • NOTHING Wrong With Facebook’s Privacy Practices — Facebook Audit Concluded

      The “Big Four” accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been assigned the job of auditing Facebook’s privacy practices every two years by the US Federal Trade Commission. This was done to make sure that Facebook didn’t break the 2011 FTC consent decree and deceive customers.

      According to a heavily redacted copy of the latest audit published on FTC’s website, there seemed to be nothing wrong with Facebook’s privacy measures when the audit was conducted.

    • Palantir Knows Everything

      Civil rights advocates say the compilation of a digital dossier of someone’s life, absent a court warrant, is an unlawful intrusion under the U.S. Constitution. Law enforcement officials say that’s not the case. For now, the question is unsettled, and that may be no accident. Civil liberties lawyers are seeking a case to challenge the constitutionality of Palantir’s use, but prosecutors and immigration agents have been careful not to cite the software in evidentiary documents, says Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project. “Palantir lives on that secrecy,” she says.

    • Palantir has figured out how to make money by using algorithms to ascribe guilt to people, now they’re looking for new customers
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Florida detectives attempted to use a dead suspect’s fingerprint to unlock his phone

      Victoria Armstrong, Phillip’s fiancé told the Times that she “felt so disrespected and violated,” but Largo police spokesman Lt. Randall Chaney says that the detectives didn’t need a search warrant, an assessment backed up by several legal experts, who said that it was “ghoulish,” but that constitutional protections against searches don’t apply to the deceased.

    • How the C.I.A. Is Waging an Influence Campaign to Get Its Next Director Confirmed
    • Brexit and the Windrush Britons

      The inhuman treatment of the “Windrush” immigrants contrasts starkly with the position of EU nationals under the Brexit transition agreement – and shines a light on how so-called “free movement” has operated to discriminate against British people (whether of Commonwealth origin or not).

      Ever since Britain accepted the EU concept of free movement, EU nationals have been able to bring in children, spouses, and the children of spouses, from anywhere in the world without having to jump through the hoops required of UK citizens.

      Now, with the transition agreement, EU nationals have further rights. In particular (Article 10), EU nationals resident in Britain before the end of the transition period will retain the right of permanent residence even if they have been absent from Britain for a period of more than five years.

      Yet the Windrush Britons have been told that any absence from the UK since 1988 lasting more than two years will disqualify them from residence. One, Junior Green, was told in 2009 by the Home Office that to update his passport he had to prove he had lived here for each of the previous 10 years.

      EU nationals seeking permanent residence in Britain are guaranteed a form that is “short, simple, user friendly”. The NTL (No Time Limit) form required of Windrush Britons is 21 pages long, with an additional 7 pages of guidance.

      For EU nationals, the transition agreement says that the UK “shall ensure that administrative procedures for applications are smooth, transparent and simple and that any unnecessary administrative burdens are avoided”. Contrast that with the obstacle course placed in the path of the Windrush Britons.

      And then there’s the cost. The NTL application costs £229 for a single person and £229 for each dependent. Plus a Biometric Resident Permit fee of £19.20 per person. An EU national applying for settled status will pay “no more than the cost charged to British citizens for a UK passport” – £85.

      What’s wrong about all this? Just about everything. The casual disregard for basic humanity shown by successive governments – Labour, Coalition and Conservative – is a disgrace.

    • World Bank recommends fewer regulations protecting workers

      The World Bank is proposing lower minimum wages and greater hiring and firing powers for employers as part of a wide-ranging deregulation of labour markets deemed necessary to prepare countries for the changing nature of work.

    • CIA Operative Gina Haspel Who Tortured, Ordered CIA Torture Tapes Destroyed, and Now Wants To Lead CIA Did Nothing Wrong, Says CIA
    • Southern Poverty Law Center Quietly Deleted List of ‘Anti-Muslim’ Extremists After Legal Threat

      The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed the “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” from their website after attorneys for Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim and prominent Islamic reformer, threatened legal action over his inclusion on the list.

      The report, which had been active on the SPLC’s website since it was published in December 2016, was intended to serve as a resource for journalists to identify promoters of hateful propaganda; but it included a number of liberal reformers such as Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist who has since dedicated his life to combating the hateful ideology.

    • Texas Charter School Asked Students to List ‘Positive Aspects’ of Slavery

      An enraged father was in disbelief when he saw his eighth grader’s homework assignment. The student was given a paper with two columns to fill out by listing the “positive aspects” and the “negative aspects” of life as a slave.

      The worksheet was titled: “The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View.”

    • Index on Disgrace

      The second half of my life has been a continual process of disillusionment with the institutions I used to respect. I suppose it started with the FCO, where I went from being Britain’s youngest ambassador to being sacked for opposing the use of intelligence from torture, at the same time having an insider view of the knowing lies about Iraqi WMD being used as a pretext for invasion and resource grab.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Net neutrality repeal prompts Calif., other states to pursue their own laws

      The long-time hot-button issue — essentially about whether your Internet service provider should be able to block or slow legal traffic, or charge for faster delivery of some content — won’t likely recede any time soon, even though a milestone nears in the national tussle about the topic.

    • Mapping the whole [I]nternet with Hilbert curves [iophk: "ipv4"]

      The problem with displaying IP addresses, is that they are a single dimensional, they only move up and down, however humans are not good at looking at a large amount of single dimensional points. So there has to be a way to fill a 2 dimensional space that can also help the structure of the graph stay in shape.

    • AT&T, Verizon Face U.S. Probe Over Mobile Technology

      Apple Inc., a pioneer in the eSIM technology that makes switching easier, was joined by other equipment makers in complaining to the government about the carriers’ practices, two other people with knowledge of the matter said. The department issued demands to the companies and the GSMA, a mobile industry standards group, for information on possible collusion, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Fearless Girl to be moved due to … viability concerns

        A little over a year ago The IPKat reported that Italian-born sculptor Arturo Di Modica, ie the author of the well-known Charging Bull in Manhattan’s Financial District, intended to file a formal complaint with the Office of the New York City Mayor over the decision of the latter to allow the positioning (and stay for a few months) of Kristen Visbal’s Fearless Girl right just opposite the famous bull.

        Initially an advertisement for an index fund which comprises gender diverse companies that have a higher percentage of women among their senior leadership, Fearless Girl has become a popular sight in Manhattan.

        The reason why Di Modica was unhappy about the positioning of Fearless Girl is explained in his complaint to the Mayor.

        His sculpture was meant to symbolize, initially, the ‘strength and power of the American people and, then (after it was moved to its current location), the ‘hope of the American people for the future’.

        The meaning has arguably changed since the arrival of Fearless Girl. According to Di Modica, contrasted with the soft, altruistic characteristics of the bronze girl, Charging Bull now appears menacing and aggressive.

      • Steam Censors MEGA.nz Links in Chats and Forum Posts

        Steam is actively preventing users from sharing links to the cloud-hosting service MEGA. The URLs are automatically stripped from forum posts and even private chats are censored. According to Valve, Mega links are potentially malicious, something the New Zealand company actively disputes.

      • Russia Blacklists 250 Pirate Sites For Displaying Gambling Ads

        Russia has found a creative way of taking down pirates by using old legislation. Online gambling is forbidden in the country so sites carrying such advertising are breaking the law. Around 250 pirate sites were spotted carrying gambling ads by tax authorities who ordered telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor to have them all blocked at the ISP level.

The Good Work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Latest Attempts to Undermine It

Monday 23rd of April 2018 07:04:04 AM

Justice does not really serve those who profit from injustice and extrajudicial actions such as patent extortion

Summary: A week’s roundup of news about PTAB, which is eliminating many bad (wrongly-granted) patents and is therefore becoming “enemy number one” to those who got accustomed to blackmailing real (productive) firms with their questionable patents

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is great. We love it. Not only does it help the USPTO‘s patent examiners improve their examination; it also deals with erroneous grants (post-grant, i.e. after mistakes were made). It’s not hard to imagine who would hate such judges with a great passion. Who possibly benefits from wrongly-granted patents? Patent law firms, patent trolls and their messengers. Any mistaken grant may mean more legal action — spurious/frivolous litigation basically.

“Who possibly benefits from wrongly-granted patents? Patent law firms, patent trolls and their messengers.”Daniel Nazer (EFF) wrote about a patent of GEMSA, which had engaged in SLAPP against the EFF in addition to its bullying of companies. It had attempted to silence critics of its patent (or of itself) and now we see the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) smashing that “stupid” patent to pieces. In Nazer’s own words:

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has issued a ruling [PDF] invalidating claims from US Patent No. 6,690,400, which had been the subject of the June 2016 entry in our Stupid Patent of the Month blog series. The patent owner, Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd. (GEMSA), responded to that post by suing EFF in Australia. Eventually, a U.S. court ruled that EFF’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. Now the Patent Office has found key claims from the ’400 patent invalid.

The ’400 patent described its “invention” as “a Graphic User Interface (GUI) that enables a user to virtualize the system and to define secondary storage physical devices through the graphical depiction of cabinets.” In other words, virtual storage cabinets on a computer. E-Bay, Alibaba, and Booking.com, filed a petition for inter partes review arguing that claims from the ’400 patent were obvious in light of the Partition Magic 3.0 User Guide (1997) from PowerQuest Corporation. Three administrative patent judges from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) agreed.

The PTAB opinion notes that Partition Magic’s user guide teaches each part of the patent’s Claim 1, including the portrayal of a “cabinet selection button bar,” a “secondary storage partitions window,” and a “cabinet visible partition window.” This may be better understood through diagrams from the opinion. The first diagram below reproduces a figure from the patent labeled with claim elements. The second is a figure from Partition Magic, labeled with the same claim elements.

Good riddance to stupid patents. It’s worth noting that this is clearly a software patent, too.

There are other new “success stories” from PTAB. To name some of the new ones, MONKEYmedia’s patent has been determined to be likely invalid. It’s a patent troll which is based in the Eastern District of Texas and Unified Patents wrote this:

On April 16, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all independent claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 9,247,226 owned and asserted by MONKEYMedia, Inc., a known NPE. The ’226 patent, generally directed towards computer readable media and methods for playing stored content, has been asserted against Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas (Case No. 2:17-cv-00460).

Unified Patents is also disarming the patent troll Sound View Innovations [sic]. To quote Unified Patents’ writeup from 4 days ago:

On April 18, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 6,125,371 owned and asserted by Sound View Innovations, LLC, a well known NPE. The ’371 patent, which generally describes systems and
methods for managing versions of data records in a database to increase data capacity, has been asserted in multiple litigations against such companies as Fidelity Investments, Facebook, and Hulu.

Another new example from Unified Patents deals with a very notorious patent troll called Uniloc:

On April 17, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 6,564,229 owned by NPE Fortress Credit Co. LLC and asserted by Uniloc Luxembourg, S.A., another notorious NPE and exclusive licensee of the ’229 patent. The ’229 patent, generally directed to pausing move or copy operations within a data processing system, has been asserted in 10 separate district court proceedings in 2017 against such companies as Square Enix, Nexon America, Big Fish Games, Ubisoft, Kaspersky Lab, and Akamai Technologies.

Last but not least (for now), the patent troll Vilox is likely being disarmed:

On April 19, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims and grounds in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 7,302,423 owned and asserted by Vilox Technologies, LLC, a well known NPE. The ’423 patent, which generally relates to a method for formatting search results returned by a database query, has been asserted in multiple litigations against a number of retail companies such as Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, Neiman Marcus, Buy.com, Costco and Walmart, among others.

This is the kind of thing we appreciate PTAB for; it’s all about justice (even for relatively cash-strapped entities) and trolls are impacted the most. It makes predation a lot harder. Access to justice achieves that.

“This is the kind of thing we appreciate PTAB for; it’s all about justice (even for relatively cash-strapped entities) and trolls are impacted the most.”Going back to the aforementioned/above-mentioned riddle, why would anyone who actually respects justice attack PTAB? Who would compare judges to ‘death squads’? Well, follow the money trails…

Alluding to Chris Walker and Melissa Wasserman with their academic research into PTAB (quite a few recent papers/work, e.g. [1, 2]), a few hours ago Lisa Ouellette (Assistant Professor at Stanford Law School) wrote:

Christopher Walker is a leading administrative law scholar, and Melissa Wasserman’s excellent work on the PTO has often been featured on this blog, so when the two of them teamed up to study how the PTAB fits within broader principles of administrative law, the result—The New World of Agency Adjudication (forthcoming Calif. L. Rev.)—is self-recommending. With a few notable exceptions (such as a 2007 article by Stuart Benjamin and Arti Rai), patent law scholars have paid relatively little attention to administrative law. But the creation of the PTAB has sparked a surge of interest, including multiple Supreme Court cases and a superb symposium at Berkeley earlier this month (including Wasserman, Rai, and many others). Walker and Wasserman’s new article is essential reading for anyone following these recent debates, whether you are interested in specific policy issues like PTAB panel stacking or more general trends in administrative review.

Related to this, we expect the US Supreme Court to deliver a ruling on Oil States any day (or week) now. The ruling may deal with some of the above questions. It’s about Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) that PTAB undertakes upon being petitioned.

“Related to this, we expect the US Supreme Court to deliver a ruling on Oil States any day (or week) now.”Judging by what we’ve seen from Christopher Walker and from Melissa Wasserman in recent years, we have no reason to question their motivation. Even Ouellette is quite alright. She’s a friend and colleague of Professor Lemley, so we know whose side she’s on.

But we cannot say the same about Dennis Crouch, whose blog generally panders to patent maximalists (just look at the comments any day). Less than a day ago he returned to his usual modus operandi, showing that he is still trying to slow down PTAB (he has attempted that for at least a year). The latest involves an IPR and appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC):

In Security People, the underlying Inter Partes Review involves a challenge to Claim 4 of Petitioner’s U.S. Patent No. 6,655,180 covering a “locker lock with adjustable bolt.” The Board found the claim invalid as obvious based upon the combination of two prior art references.

We already wrote many rebuttals to these assertions from Crouch, who either fails to understand that CAFC cannot deal with thousands of cases/appeals at the same level of granularity/pertinence or simply pretends not to understand that (we guess it’s the latter because he’s not so thick). If a patent can be granted by a single examiner working for at most a few dozens of hours, why should an applicant/assignee be expected to take up time of the high court without even legal action being filed? It seems disproportionate. The court’s priority shouldn’t be so asymmetric, but PTAB bashers see that differently because they just want to disrupt PTAB’s good work.

“The court’s priority shouldn’t be so asymmetric, but PTAB bashers see that differently because they just want to disrupt PTAB’s good work.”Looking at blogs of other patent maximalists and PTAB bashers (typically the same or at least overlapping groups), some hours ago Rob Sterne published another anti-PTAB piece at Watchtroll, which is generally unable to keep up with its old pace of anti-PTAB pieces (they now try to hire another ‘volunteer’ writer, probably for purposes such as these).

Patent Docs, which habitually promotes a “scam” to bypass PTAB, published exactly a day ago promotion of an event that includes “Hon. David Ruschke, Chief Administrative Patent Judge, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office” (Ruschke is OK, he’s coping well with the attacks on him).

Patent Docs also mentioned this upcoming ‘webinar’ on “scams” by which to bypass PTAB. From the outline:

• Recent decisions handed down by the Patent Trial Appeal Board, including decisions that:
— held a university entity waived its sovereign immunity by filing a patent infringement case in district court
— denied trial sovereign immunity for lack of establishment that trial sovereign immunity should be applied in PTAB proceedings

How about using tribes? That infamous new “scam” which nobody seems to talk about anymore…. the “scam” whose firm (the one that came up with it) sends me threatening legal letters.

Going back to Crouch and CAFC, a few days ago he wrote about Droplets, Inc. v E*Trade Bank — a new case in which the PTAB and then CAFC got rid of a bogus patent.

To quote:

Droplets Patent No. 8,402,115 (interactive link delivery) is invalid as obvious unless it properly claimed priority back to its 1999 provisional application. The Board found that priority had not been properly claimed — a judgment affirmed on appeal by the Federal Circuit.

This is what typically happens. CAFC agrees with PTAB’s decisions almost all the time. Patent maximalists like to pretend there’s discord/rift, but there’s none. They try to brew scandals where none exist. Watchtroll does this by far the most.

“They try to brew scandals where none exist. Watchtroll does this by far the most.”Facebook, which publicly supports PTAB (e.g. though HTIA), was mentioned by Watchtroll’s protégé Steve Brachmann last week. The site focuses on creepy Facebook patents; maybe it’s part of that familiar pattern at Watchtroll, which likes to demonise large technology companies, especially Google, not for unethical spying but for their patent policy. Watchtroll habitually calls such companies “efficient infringers”; failing to hide the bias? Last but not least, see what James Yang wrote for Watchtroll on April 15th. The site is a megaphone for patent extremists and people who profit from ‘patentism’ (like it’s a religion).

“The patent extremists are failing to see how aloof/disconnected they are from the “real world” — a world where patents are rare and strong, not pertaining to a mere thought.”How about Mr. Gross, who is writing anti-EFF pieces for literal patent trolls and is attacking academics who merely highlight a study about patent trolls? Mr. Gross is so upset at PTAB that he bemoans another § 101-based invalidation and then mumbles about “lazy/crazy [Section] 101 rejections,” saying that he is “going to file reconsideration for no other reason than to force them to admit shoddy process…”

Maybe he should file reconsideration calling them “death squads” in the filing. Sure, that ought to sway them. Maybe he’ll mock their court, calling it a “kangaroo court” or something even worse. The patent extremists are failing to see how aloof/disconnected they are from the “real world” — a world where patents are rare and strong, not pertaining to a mere thoughts. § 101 in its current form is well overdue.

District Courts’ Patent Cases, Including the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED), in a Nutshell

Monday 23rd of April 2018 05:15:37 AM

It pays off to be a lawyer — not a practicing (technical) professional — in Texas

Summary: A roundup of patent cases in ‘low courts’ of the United States, where patents are being reasoned about or objected to while patent law firms make a lot of money

THE Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED) has made the US patent system almost synonymous with patent trolls. It’s the fault of the courts there, not the USPTO, which merely granted poor- or low-quality patents that judges in Texas are happy to affirm/uphold. “Ribbon (as Sonus Networks) filed two more lawsuits against Metaswitch on March 8, 2018, in the Eastern District of Texas,” according to this article from a few days ago. To quote:

Ribbon’s patent campaign against Metaswitch has a somewhat complicated history, starting with an infringement lawsuit filed in January 2014 under the case name Genband US v. Metaswitch Networks. Genband (Ribbon’s predecessor) asserted its patents against Metaswitch’s Perimeta Session Border Controller, a cloud native carrier-class virtualized SBC, as well as several other Metaswitch products. By today’s patent litigation success standards, Genband fared extremely well in that lawsuit. However, not satisfied with an $8.8 million royalty award after trial in January 2016, which was upheld on appeal and remand, Ribbon (as Sonus Networks) filed two more lawsuits against Metaswitch on March 8, 2018, in the Eastern District of Texas. Collectively Ribbon has asserted infringement of ten more patents against Metaswitch, on top of the seven patents that Metaswitch was found to infringe in 2016.

Notice how far back it goes: 2014. How much has it cost so far? Will there be justice? Not if patent lawyers make millions in the process, in which case the remaining question will be “who pay their bills?” rather than “should they be paid?”

“We generally believe that most if not all design patents are bunk; designs are already well covered by copyright law and to a certain degree by registered trademarks, e.g. on shapes.”Looking at another Eastern District, this time in Michigan up north, the courts too are getting involved. Ellie Mertens wrote that they “recently applied the brakes to the Automotive Body Parts Association’s efforts to invalidate Ford’s design patents…”

We wrote about this before. We generally believe that most if not all design patents are bunk [1, 2]; designs are already well covered by copyright law and to a certain degree by registered trademarks, e.g. on shapes.

Anyway, on we proceed to another case. The H2O, Inc v Meras Engineering, Inc. patent case’s “verdict was excessive,” according to this report about ‘damages’ being cut by almost three quarters (down from $12.5 million to $3.5 million). To quote the Docket Navigator:

Following a $12.5 million jury verdict for infringement of plaintiff’s water system disinfectant patent, the court granted defendants’ alternative motion for remittitur, subject to plaintiff’s acceptance of a $3.5 million award, because the verdict was excessive.

There are some other cases of interest being covered by Docket Navigator this month. In Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v Seirus Innovative Accessories, for example, a design patent is being scrutinised:

The court granted plaintiff’s motion for pre-judgment interest and rejected defendant’s argument that plaintiff was not entitled to any interest because the jury awarded design patent profits under 35 U.S.C. § 289.

Here’s a new motion to dismiss a case. citing the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC):

The court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff’s signal processing patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter under In re Nuijten, 500 F.3d 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

In another new case (Nox Medical ehf v Natus Neurology Inc.) it seems clear that the patent aggressors are so very afraid of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). They would do anything to avoid their patents being properly checked/scrutinised. To quote this Docket Report:

The court denied in part plaintiff’s motion in limine to exclude certain obviousness theories due to IPR estoppel.

One last Docket Report (regarding Integra LifeSciences Corporation et al v HyperBranch Medical Technology, Inc.) deals with a motion to exclude a testimony:

The court denied defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of plaintiffs’ damages expert regarding a reasonable royalty for failing to apportion damages on a claim-by-claim basis.

When they talk about “damages expert” they usually speak about grossly overrated people who make up a bunch of numbers. So basically, any effort to discard their testimony would be fine with us. Sometimes these people attempt to justify billions in so-called ‘damages’ using pseudoscience and urban myths.

Who always wins these cases at the end? Lawyers. They have nothing to lose, only to gain (more so by perpetuating such feuds).

The Federal Circuit’s (CAFC) Decisions Are Being Twisted by Patent Propaganda Sites Which Merely Cherry-Pick Cases With Outcomes That Suit Them

Monday 23rd of April 2018 04:16:39 AM

Summary: The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to reject the vast majority of software patents, citing Section 101 in many such cases, but the likes of Managing IP, Patently-O, IAM and Watchtroll only selectively cover such cases (instead they’re ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ or some similar name-dropping)

THE USPTO‘s examiner/examination guidelines may soon change. Ignore all the acronyms associated with that; also ignore the propaganda about it, courtesy of the patent trolls’ lobby*. We wrote a couple of rebuttals last week. Will the USPTO change the rules in lieu with a decision or two from CAFC? That partly depends on what CAFC does in the 90-day comment period/window. We’re therefore watching these things pretty closely.

Managing IP, which is a patent maximalists’ Web site, has managed to cherry-pick some patent which “survived” [sic] a Section 101 challenge at CAFC. Is it a software patent? Hell no! To quote:

In its important Vanda Pharmaceuticals v West-Ward Pharmaceuticals opinion, the Federal Circuit found the claims eligible at step two of the Mayo/Alice test whereas the district court found them eligible at step one

The headline from Managing IP says that a “patent survives Section 101 test at Federal Circuit” and as we explained many times before the word “survives” implies that the aggressor is the victim. As in, a company files a lawsuit and then pretends that its patents are being “attacked” and that it merely “survives” (not the defendant). This is gross spin or reversal of narratives; it’s so terrible a tactic which sometimes culminates in calling judges who assess legitimacy of patents “death squads” (as though they work for Stalin or Hitler).

“The headline from Managing IP says that a “patent survives Section 101 test at Federal Circuit” and as we explained many times before the word “survives” implies that the aggressor is the victim.”We certainly hope that patent administration and examination staff can see these propaganda sites for what they truly are; they attempt to come across as “professional” “journalism”, but they’re merely jingoism for a hostile agenda (involves threats, ruinous lawsuits, and forced/imposed bankruptcies).

Speaking of propaganda sites, Patently-O dresses up the propaganda as “scholarly” (clever ploy) and as we’ll show later today it’s back to PTAB bashing (the so-called ‘death squads’). Noting CAFC’s take on SCOTUS/Mayo (like the above which is more about Mayo than about Alice), Patently-O advocates patenting by “trick” (the word “trick” is actually in the headline) to bypass the law:

The claims at issue in Vanda were roughly parallel to those found unpatentable in Mayo v. Prometheus. In Mayo, representative claim 1 of the challenged Patent No. 6,355,623 was directed to treatment method that involved (a) administering a drug (6-thioguanine); and then (b) determining blood level of the drug. A low blood level (less than about 230 pmol per 8×108 red blood cells) indicates a lack of effectiveness and a need for a higher subsequent dose while a high blood level (greater than about 400 pmol per 8×108 red blood cells) indicates potential for toxicity and that the next dose should be reduced.

In finding the claim invalid, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the correlation between blood level, efficacy and toxicity was an unpatentable law of nature and that the administration and determination steps were already well known in the art and thus insufficient to transform the claim to a patent eligible invention.

In Vanda, representative claim 1 is directed to a method of treating a patient suffering from schitzophrenia by (a) determining whether the patient is genetically a poor metabolizer of the drug (CYP2D6 genotype) then (b) administering iloperidone to the patient (12-24 mg per day if good metabolizer; <12 mg per day if poor metabolizer) in order to reduce the risk of “QTc prolongation” for poor metabolizers.

First the dissent — Chief Judge Prost identified the similarity here and explained her position that “the asserted patent claims [are] directed to a law of nature.” At its crux, the invention began with the discovery of the health problems created by treating folks with lower CYP2D6 activity and recognition that a lower dose would be appropriate.

[...]

I believe that the invention should be patent eligible, the majority’s approach appears to latch onto simple patent drafting tricks as the basis for distinguishing Mayo — an approach directly rejected by the Supreme Court in Mayo.

Of course Patently-O “believe[s] that the invention should be patent eligible”; is there anything which Patently-O believes should not be patentable? Just look at the types the site hangs out with. Look at the constant glorification there of patent quantity (as if constant expansion in monopolies is blindfoldedly desirable).

“They tend to focus only on outcomes that suit them.”Michael Risch, another “scholarly” proponent of patent maximalism (he says he’s agnostic on software patents, but his past writings suggest otherwise) linked to Patently-O (an article from March) a few days ago. It’s about the Federal Circuit statistics, gathered by Jason Rantanen, himself a “scholarly” proponent of patent maximalism. To quote Professor Risch:

Jason Rantanen (Iowa) has already blogged about his new article, but I thought I would mention it briefly has well. He has created a database of data about Federal Circuit opinions.

How many of these cases ever get covered by the likes of Managing IP, Patently-O, IAM and Watchtroll? Not many. They tend to focus only on outcomes that suit them. By “them” we mean financial agenda (of theirs or of their target audience). It’s not about truth, justice, etc. Such selection bias is part of their propaganda pattern, which we’ll revisit later today in relation to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
____
* Watchtroll and IAM, two sites that promote the interests of patent trolls and other patent extremists, are nowadays doing collaborations and puff pieces with each other. Here’s an example which is only hours old.

Patents Roundup: Metaswitch, GENBAND, Susman, Cisco, Konami, High 5 Games, HTC, and Nintendo

Monday 23rd of April 2018 03:17:51 AM

We already know who’s always winning: patent lawyers

Summary: A look at existing legal actions, the application of 35 U.S.C. § 101, and questionable patents that are being pursued on software (algorithms or “software infrastructure”)

In Maxon v Funai, as we've just noted, software patents show weakness at the highest level bar the Supreme Court. This impacts USPTO guidelines.

In relation to the Metaswitch-GENBAND patent dispute, which is a longterm issue, a little more than two years ago we said that "Patent Lawyers and Judges Don't Understand Software Development". It’s pretty clear that only lawyers would gain from this dispute. Here is a new article on this subject:

As the communication and collaboration environment grows increasingly competitive, it seems that everyone is trying to innovate. In a quest to be more disruptive, intuitive, and compelling, some companies may even accidentally step on the toes of their competitors. Unfortunately, even the slightest issue can lead to a huge storm of legal problems – particularly when patents are involved.

In January 2016, a jury in the District Court for the United States discovered that Metaswitch was infringing on approximately 7 different GENBAND patents. GENBAND – now Ribbon Communications, obviously responded to this issue quickly, working to ensure that they maintained their position as a 2015 CNBC disruptor, and leader in real-time communications.

[...]

During the trial, GENBAND showed evidence that Metaswitch products were dipping their toes into a selection of patents, including 7,990,984, 7,184,427, 7,047,561, 7,995,589, 6934,279, 6,885,658, and 6,791,971. The products that were found to infringe on GENBAND technology included those in the Integrated Soft switches collection, Session Border Controllers, Call Feature Servers and a range of Universal Media Gateways.

How many millions of dollars have already been spent (wasted) on lawyers? Also consider the longterm Arista-Cisco patent dispute, which severely damaged Arista’s business (whereas Cisco is large enough to cope; it even has its own dedicated legal/patent department). Here’s a new article about Cisco’s latest peril (Susman):

A small inventor-owned software company backed by a powerful law firm are taking on Cisco Systems Inc. over alleged patent infringement. Los Gatos, California-based NetFuel Inc. sued Cisco on Friday,

It’s a “software company,” so one can imagine that “backed by a powerful law firm” it’s just going to try to win the jackpot by asserting software patents against Cisco. Will it win or just go bankrupt trying to win (without success)? Whatever happens, the law firm will gain financially. As we stressed in our previous post, having a software patent is just the first step; defending such a patent inside a courtroom is another matter altogether, especially when fighting against large companies (like Cisco) that can appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) if not the Supreme Court, too.

Case of point?

Konami Gaming, Inc. v High 5 Games, LLC. Covered by Joseph Herndon the other day, he summarised the case as follows: “Slot Machine Patent Invalidated As Being Directed to Ineligible Subject Matter”

In more details:

The ’869 patent describes that there is provided a gaming machine arranged to display a matrix of symbols containing elements: each column of the matrix comprising a portion of a simulated rotatable reel of the symbol containing elements, and each of the symbol containing elements of at least one consecutive run of the symbol containing elements of at least one reel is caused to display an identical symbol. Preferably, the identical symbol is selected by a game controller from a subset of available symbols. Figure 1 of the ’869 patent, reproduced below, shows a gaming machine with a display having a matrix of elements and symbols comprising portions of simulated rotatable reels.

[...]

Moreover, the Court did not agree that the mere configuration of a consecutive run of symbols in one simulated reel represents something more than changing the rules of the game. A generic slot game, as noted by experts in this case, has ever changing symbols selected at random. Realigning and altering the display of symbols on simulated spinning reels is the very essence of the generic slot game. Changing how often a symbol appears and where it appears in a slot game without more is simply altering the manner of display of random symbols — i.e., changing the rules of the game. Changes to game rules of a generic slot machine using conventional technology are not patentable.

The Court noted that the ’869 patent was allowed inter alia because it disclosed an alleged unique method of random selection — virtual spinning of a notional non-visible inner reel. However, a review of the specification and asserted claims indicates that the inventor never actually provided the structure or programming for this process. Consequently, Konami cannot establish that this selection process represents an inventive concept or new technology (or selection process) directed to a generic slot game.

This is arguably a software patent (we say arguably because it’s a game on a machine) and it’s one of so many that perish, sometimes even in district courts (Nevada’s in this case), not CAFC.

Here’s a new example involving HTC (from Taiwan). In Local Intelligence, LLC v HTC America, Inc. the court (a low court, district court in California) said that “refreshing a phone’s display” is not abstract, but let’s see what CAFC says if it does. From the article:

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that claims related to refreshing a phone’s display are patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

§ 101 is being attempted here, but whether it’s suitable or not remains (potentially) to be decided by a higher court.

And while on the subject of patents on games, watch what Nintendo is doing. As reported several days ago, “the patent is for the software infrastructure, not for new hardware,” so it certainly sounds like software. From the article:

While some have been speculating that this hints at a new console in the vein of the 3DS, there’s nothing in the language to indicate as such — the patent is for the software infrastructure, not for new hardware, so it could just as easily be for a mobile game or some kind of fancy Switch title (or even some sort of interconnectivity between the two, à la Jackbox Party Packs).

Historically, Nintendo found itself on the receiving end of many patent lawsuits in the US. To name some recent examples that we covered:

Let’s hope Nintendo only intends to use such patents ‘defensively’ (in response to patent aggression).