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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 57 min ago

To Keep the Patent System Alive and Going Practitioners Will Have to Accept Compromises on Scope Being Narrowed

6 hours 56 sec ago

They want to keep the pie and eat it as well

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 still squashes a lot of software patents, reducing confidence in US patents; the only way to correct this is to reduce patent filings and file fewer lawsuits, judging their merit in advance based on precedents from higher courts

THE USPTO has undergone quite a few changes in recent years, triggered initially by AIA and then SCOTUS downwards (‘trickling’ down to lower courts over time).

“The patent microcosm prefers to cherry-pick cases based on their outcome.”Among the main casualties? Software patents. The patent microcosm prefers to cherry-pick cases based on their outcome. The latest such example is Zeroclick v Apple, a Federal Circuit (CAFC) case from the very start of this month [PDF]. We wrote about it a couple of days later and Watchtroll did too (a relatively long time afterwards); it’s said to be about “(G)UI code” even though there’s no such thing (in programming there’s a callback function associated with pertinent GUI elements, but the GUI itself is just a layout, which could possibly be seen as copyrighted). Anyway, this isn’t a case about software patents or even § 101/Alice. Some say it is about § 112. Those same people (or a colleague, Charles Bieneman) speak of DDR Holdings, which is utterly desperate to salvage some abstract patents from § 101; the ‘famous’ case of DDR Holdings was mentioned a lot in 2016 (even here, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]), but it was rarely cited since. The word “Saves” (not “Survives” as patent maximalists typically put it) was used to describe the following move:

The Federal Circuit’s famous (or infamous) decision that one DDR Holdings’ patent was not invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 was used to support a district court’s denial of a motion for judgment of § 101 for three other DDR Holdings’ patents. In DDR Holdings, LLC v. Priceline.com, LLC, No. 17-498 (D. Del. June 5, 2018), the court denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings, because the three present patents-in-suit share the same inventive concept” as U.S. 7,818,399, which the Federal Circuit held patent-eligible in its 2014 decision in DDR Holdings, LLC v. Priceline.com, LLC.

The previously-litigated ’399 patent is entitled “Methods of expanding commercial opportunities for internet websites through coordinated offsite marketing,” and claims, in a nutshell, one online merchant to presenting retail opportunities framed with branding of another online merchant.

If business methods or software patents are being authorised by the district court, it oughtn’t necessarily mean that CAFC will agree. In fact, it seems quite likely that an appeal would void these patents, judging by the deviation in views and interpretations (CAFC is a lot harsher or stricter than any of the district courts). Ideally, in order to improve certainty around patent eligibility, the district courts will need to become more like CAFC, which itself became more like SCOTUS. That’s just how application of law works. The precedents cascade downwards, not upwards.

“If business methods or software patents are being authorised by the district court, it oughtn’t necessarily mean that CAFC will agree.”Staying with that same law firm/site, which is actually not bad at all (pretty moderate), here they give a new example of 35 U.S.C. § 101 in action. It still puts an end to a lot of patents wrongly granted by the Office, especially software patents. Well, the ‘famous’ case of DDR Holdings was brought up to no avail:

Patent claims directed to monitoring Internet activity “to increase the objectivity of the search results returned responsive to a search for talented original content creators” were held invalid under the Alice/Mayo abstract idea test and 35 U.S.C. § 101. Accordingly, in Talent Broker Tech. LLC v. Musical.ly, Inc., CV 17-08532 SJO (MRWx) (C.D. Cal. May 22, 2018), the Court granted the defendant’s Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss, finding claims of US 8,510,154 and US 8,630,894 patent-ineligible.

This was the defendant’s second motion to dismiss, the first having been granted with the plaintiff given the significantly more than an old and fundamental idea. As before, on the present motion the court found “that the claims of the Patents-in-Suit are directed to the abstract idea of organizing, differentiating and retrieving information.” For example, claim 1 of the ’894 patent, said the court,

It was a software patent and now it’s gone. Bieneman’s colleague Daniel Hegner meanwhile covered a district court case regarding a major patent troll, Uniloc. This troll is losing yet another software/abstract patent, owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101. To quote Hegner:

N. District Court of California grants Apple’s 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings (following full briefing and oral argument) finding claims of U.S. Pat. No. 6,661,203 ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 based on broad functional claim language that does not recite how to achieve the claimed process beyond what is known in the admitted prior art. Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., Civil No. C 18-00358 WHA (N.D. Cal. May 18, 2018).

Uniloc (Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg) sued Apple for infringement of its battery charging and discharging system.

There have been other examples lately, especially at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Sooner or later Uniloc might go out of ‘business’. It operates via rather dodgy proxies (like the one in Luxembourg, Europe) and its patents are being axed one by one, sometimes owing to the bounties-offering Unified Patents.

“For law firms, as well as for courts, predictability is very important. They otherwise look like fools or cheats to their clients.”Seeing that such patents mostly perish in the face of § 101 we have to wonder how long it will be before: 1) the USTPO will quit issuing such patents. 2) patent law firms will stop advising clients to pursue such patents (or clients themselves lose interest). 3) no more lawsuits of this kind will be filed, knowing the the outcome will be favourable to the defendant or neither side (both sides just having to pay legal bills, potentially with the plaintiff footing both sides’ bills).

The sooner (1)-(3) may happen, the more rational, sane and predictable the US patent system will become. For law firms, as well as for courts, predictability is very important. They otherwise look like fools or cheats to their clients.

The Affairs of the USPTO Have Turned Into Somewhat of a Battle Against the Courts, Which Are Simply Applying the Law to Invalidate US Patents

8 hours 31 min ago

Poor assessment of patent applications can now be stopped or compensated for by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and, failing that, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC)


A “death squad” is what patent maximalists nowadays call a court (where the only casualty is a piece of paper, or a low-quality patent which US law renders invalid)

Summary: The struggle between law, public interest, and the Cult of Patents (which only ever celebrates more patents and lawsuits) as observed in the midst of recent events in the United States

THE ideology of patent maximalism is a toxic one and it is infectious only within circles that sell, trade, and exploit patents for litigation, not innovation. It’s all about financial motivations and those motivated to spread patent maximalism typically profit from mass litigation. It’s their most expensive “product” or “service” as it can last several years (appeals, discovery, so-called ‘damages’ with a ‘cut’ for respective law firms).

“They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.”Earlier this year we started habitually referring to “patent maximalism” (of the “patent microcosm”) as “Cult of Patents” because it has become almost like a religion to these people. They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.

“A reader suggested this chart as we approach U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000,” Patently-O wrote on Friday. As we said before, it’s a pretty meaningless milestone from this Cult of Patents (the patent maximalists). Half a decade or so after Alice and nearly a decade after the Bilski case the Office just granted far too many patents far too fast. Look at the rate of expansion of grants; do people invent twice as many things today as they did about a decade ago? Or a hundred times more than a century ago? Or maybe it’s just patent maximalism taking over, dubbing just about anything an “invention” and justifying/ permitting a monopoly on it?

“Earlier this year we started habitually referring to “patent maximalism” (of the “patent microcosm”) as “Cult of Patents” because it has become almost like a religion to these people. They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.”Juvan Bonni at Patently-O is now promoting Koch-funded patent lobbying from Adam Mossoff. These are patents-maximising boosters/nuts who promote billionaires’ agenda and defend patent trolls. Bonni is also promoting ISDS for patents. Look what Patently-O is being reduced to; it’s like another Watchtroll or IAM. The more their agenda gets curtailed, the more extreme they seem to become. They already call judges “death squads”, so what next? “Nazis”? They then ‘interview’ USPTO officials like Michelle Lee, later to sort of attack them (after they had met them); the following old meme comes to mind, only in reverse (reality first, then Internet):

To repair the reputation of USPTO-granted patents Mr. Iancu will need to ignore lobbyists like David Kappos and work towards granting less, based on solid eligibility criteria (such as § 101 and beyond, taking note of Federal Circuit cases/caselaw). As the CCIA’s patents person put it the other day:

Here’s another fun one from the Kappos/Sachs database: 14/118458. Rejected in the US under § 101. Except it’s rejected under § 101 because its an “e-cat” fusion claim, the modern equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. I think we can all agree that the PTO can reject those.

Timothy Au, who recently helped the EPO‘s tyrant Battistelli lie about patent "quality", now speaks about Delaware and East Texas. It’s just the latest TC Heartland spin basically. “Delaware is now the US’s number one patent litigation venue,” IAM said, “but there are several reasons why it is unlikely to become the Eastern District of Texas, mark 2.” That is what a “study claims,” according to IAM’s headline. The name of the firm/person behind this ‘study’ is blocked by a paywall unfortunately (likely intentional). To quote:

Research into the increase in patent suits in the District of Delaware following TC Heartland has found that the venue shift is likely to result in less litigation from patent assertion entities (PAEs), while also revealing that firms incorporated in Delaware have been impacted by the changes resulting from the Supreme Court’s landmark decision most positively. The TC Heartland ruling reinterpreted venue selection rules in the US and drastically reduced the choices a patent owner faces when deciding where to file an infringement lawsuit.

Not too long ago they boosted the likes of “4iP Council”, basically attempting to deny growth of patent trolls' activity in Europe. We’ve sadly entered this ugly phase where amid efforts to improve patent quality in the US, notably owing to PTAB, USPTO officials like Michelle Lee get defamed and ousted (we won’t attribute that to chauvinism, but with people like Watchtroll anything is possible). In Europe, those who speak out in favour of patent quality (or proper examination) are being painted “Nazis” by Battistelli and in the US it’s “death squads” (with Nazi Germany connotations).

“In Europe, those who speak out in favour of patent quality (or proper examination) are being painted “Nazis” by Battistelli and in the US it’s “death squads” (with Nazi Germany connotations).”Frankly, speaking for myself, I have lost count of the number of threatening letters I’ve received in recent years (either death wishes or threats to sue me), but this is the kind of climate we now have in the patent world (more like a patent Hell).

In light of SAS Inst., Inc. v Iancu, another SCOTUS case among many, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. et al v Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is being revisited right now. “Institution of Claims Based on SAS Mandate May Not Simplify Issues for Trial Such That a Stay of Litigation is Warranted,” Docket Navigator wrote before the weekend. To quote:

Following the PTAB’s supplemental institution decision in light of SAS Inst., Inc. v. Iancu, ___ U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 1348, 1352–54 (2018) instituting inter partes review of all challenged claims of the patents-in-suit, the court granted defendants’ motion to stay because the potential for simplification of issues, the stage of the litigation, and lack of prejudice to plaintiff weighed in favor of a stay.

This is PTAB’s efficiency being challenged, in addition to PTAB members/staff being smeared if not defamed almost every single day. As we noted a couple of days ago, one US politician is currently trying to deny PTAB's involvement in the pharmaceutical sector (we suspect because large pharmaceutical companies ‘contributed’ to him). Earlier today the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO), basically a front group for such corporations (like BIO, an anti-PTAB group), advertised this upcming “discussion of how the Supreme Court’s recent to grant cert in Oil States and SAS decisions could impact PTAB invalidity proceedings in the bio/pharma space.”

“They attempt to undermine — not merely shape — the law.”Oil States actually reiforced PTAB’s role, quite strongly in fact. What they hope to do is undermine PTAB’s reach (bar “scams” such as Allergan’s), especially for their sector. They attempt to undermine — not merely shape — the law.

Here we are in the middle of 2018 and it almost looks like a ‘civil war’ in the US; the courts are applying the law, hinged on the US Constitution, but then come a bunch of patent profiteers bashing their own country in an effort to create a state of panic, rationalising profound changes to the law.

Patent Marketing Disguised as Patent ‘Advice’

9 hours 33 min ago

Summary: The meta-industry which profits from patents and lawsuits claims that it’s guiding us and pursuing innovation, but in reality its sole goal is enriching itself, even if that means holding science back

WE’D LIKE to take a moment aside from the usual EPO and USPTO focus. Something ought to be said which was said here many times before but merits extra emphasis.

“The problem is, such patent consultants or practitioners or whatever they call themselves are rarely independent and impartial observers.”When it comes to patent advisors, their motivation is usually to get more business or “returning customers”. This means that advice would likely gravitate towards lawsuits, even futile ones that cannot be won. The problem is, such patent consultants or practitioners or whatever they call themselves are rarely independent and impartial observers. They’re personally involved and they’re immersed in a particular industry that relies on certain activities — a subject we shall cover separately in our next post.

Patent attorneys and lawyers are typically in the ‘business’ of advising on how to manage the mess which they themselves create (or at least perpetuate); we say so with no intention of offending anyone in particular. It’s just putting the simple truth out there. Sure, there are some attorneys and lawyers who are honest and with great integrity (some of them send us information and material); some are willing to express the occasional dissent towards patent maximalism — at great risk of being framed “traitors” to their profession. But they’re the exception rather than the norm. They won’t be the ones to become abundantly wealthy.

“The latter — prior art — is very important as it helps document the history of science and credit/attribute the correct people for their contribution to the sciences.”To give a couple of examples from several hours ago, over at Patent Docs they now market or promote some upcoming ‘webinars’ (“Patent Portfolio Management” and “Post-Sale Restrictions”), as they typically do on a Sunday. The real (underlying) purpose of these is to spur more patent activity, e.g. applications, sales, lawsuits. It’s quite a departure from the original/intended goal of patents. Nowadays it’s not even inventors who write their patents; it’s typically law firms.

Another blog which is more moderate (in our experience it is neither dishonest nor extremist at all) speaks of general tips, e.g. Charles Bieneman on drafting of patents and prior art (relevant to 35 U.S.C. § 102). The latter — prior art — is very important as it helps document the history of science and credit/attribute the correct people for their contribution to the sciences. As Florian Müller noted when the EPO blocked Techrights (with tens of thousands of articles that sometimes potentially cover prior art), denying examiners access to information which may be relevant to prior art means that the EPO quit caring about facts and is nowadays in bed with the patenting and litigation ‘industry’. We’re quite certain some EPO insiders can relate to this sentiment. Well, two weeks from today their President will be António Campinos, who does not come from a law firm (unlike Mr. Iancu in the US) but has background in banking, i.e. money-making. Once upon a time EPO Presidents were scientists.

Microsoft is Still ‘Cybermobbing’ Its Competition Using Patent Trolls Such as Finjan

14 hours 28 min ago

‘Protection’ offered only to those who pay Microsoft for “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]

Summary: In the “cybersecurity” space, a sub-domain where many software patents have been granted by the US patent office, the patent extortion by Microsoft-connected trolls (and Microsoft’s ‘protection’ racket) seems to carry on; but Microsoft continues to insist that it has changed its ways

LAST NIGHT I wrote my personal thoughts on the GitHub takeover (having been approached by British media for comments on the subject). I remain rather concerned, bearing in mind that there are some people out there who might fall for the elaborate PR campaign and actually believe Microsoft-funded voices.

I’ve decided to modify the following meme for illustrative purposes:

“Entryism is not a new strategy (see Novell and Nokia for example) and only the PR strategy has evolved.”Microsoft has not really changed. Entryism is not a new strategy (see Novell and Nokia for example) and only the PR strategy has evolved. For those who bring up the patent aspects of it, here’s a reminder from the Microsoft-funded IAM (funded by Microsoft as recently as this month, yet again).

They speak of “cybersecurity” in this blog post and corresponding tweet, but don’t fall for buzzwords; they speak mostly about software here. To quote:

New research has revealed that IBM owns the largest portfolio of cybersecurity patents, with a little over 2,500 families. Big Blue is closely followed by Microsoft and Samsung; while Canon, Intel and Google also feature prominently among the largest players in the space, the full list of which contains many of the world’s leading patent owners. But perhaps the biggest story from the new analysis is the growth of Chinese companies in the cybersecurity sector. Companies from the clountry [sic] take nine places in the top 25.

IAM refers to China as a “clountry” rather than a country. I guess some Chinese people would find that offensive. Are they “clowns” to this patent trolls’ lobby? Surely a typographical mistake, but still potentially amusing. As for the content, IBM and Microsoft pass software patents and money to patent trolls like Finjan which bully their rivals in the security space and are paying IAM for support (Finjan pays IAM, gets paid by Microsoft and Microsoft too pays IAM to promote the likes of Finjan). Are there any Microsoft competitors left (in the security space) that haven’t yet been blackmailed and/or sued by Finjan? Microsoft would likely exempt from such litigation only those who pay Microsoft ‘rents’ for “Azure IP Advantage”. That’s the ‘new’ Microsoft, selling ‘protection’ money. It did the same thing with SUSE 11.5 years ago.

“When will the patent office fully catch up with caselaw and stop facilitating these extortion rackets of companies like IBM and Microsoft, which carry on actively promoting software patents (as recently as last week)?”In other news, the following new article from the financial media speaks of a “Mystery Stock Surge”. This has nothing to do with patents however. Nevertheless, it reveals something about software patents of Dropbox, which could be an attractive litigation target for patent trolls after the IPO. Or maybe a plan to sell such patents in the future, offloading these to trolls?

A study from the intellectual property [sic] analytics firm Relecura notes that Dropbox holds a range of key intellectual properties, including patents to share files through a link and other ways that files interact with cloud applications. Its number of patent applications and acquisitions spiked in 2017, with the Relecura describing Dropbox’s portfolio as “highly focused” on two categories: data processing and transmission.

A handful of recent patents granted this week to Dropbox deal with syncing data with content management systems, an area that could be particular interest to a range of companies looking to build out capabilities in data management or data sharing.

These are clearly software patents, so why would examiners at the USPTO grant them after Alice? Why were software patents granted to Finjan? When will the patent office fully catch up with caselaw and stop facilitating these extortion rackets of companies like IBM and Microsoft, which carry on actively promoting software patents (as recently as last week)?

Links 16/6/2018: LiMux Story, Okta Openwashing and More

Saturday 16th of June 2018 11:12:04 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • The LiMux desktop and the City of Munich

      There has been a lot of back and forth around the use of Free Software in public administration. One of the latest initiatives in this area was started by the Free Software Foundation Europe, FSFE. It focuses on the slogan: Public Money – Public Code. There are various usage scenarios for Free Software in public administration. The span ranges from the use of backend technology over user-facing software, e.g. LibreOffice, up to providing a whole free desktop for the administrative staff in a public service entity such as a city council. In this article we will focus on the latter.

      When the desktops in an administration are migrated to Linux, the administration becomes a distribution provider. An example for this is the LiMux desktop, that powers the administration of the city of Munich since 2012.

      LiMux is a distribution, maintained by the central IT department of the City of Munich. Technically, it builds upon Kubuntu. It provides specific patches, a modified user experience and an automatic distribution system, so all desktops in all departments of the city can be easily administered and offer a consistent user experience.

      Distributions in the Free Software ecosystem have different roles, one of them surely being the provider of the finishing touches, especially to important software for its own users. Obviously public administration has special demands. Workflows and documents for example have a totally different importance than for the average Kubuntu user.

      In Munich for example, architects in one department complained that Okular, the LiMux and KDE pdf reader, would freeze when they tried to open large construction plans. When the city investigated this issue further, they found out that actually Okular wouldn’t freeze, but loading these large maps would simply occupy Okular for quite a while, making the user think it crashed.

    • The 10 Most Beautiful Linux Icon Themes of 2018

      You might think it will take you forever to settle on the ideal icon theme for your Linux desktop because there are a thousand and one options to choose from. And although that might be the case, it doesn’t have to be.

      Below is a list of the 10 most beautiful icon themes you can set up on your Linux machine this year. You can install some of them together with the themes they come bundled as a large project (like in the case of Paper,) or install them to use with different GTK and/or Gnome shell themes completely.

    • Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

      A fella in the United States is taking Microsoft to court to get Windows 7 put back on his PC.

      Frank Dickman, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking damages from both Microsoft and CEO Satya Nadella for what were termed “civil rights violations” that occurred when his Asus laptop was automatically updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

      He seeks either a new copy of Windows 7 or $600m.

      (Well, the lawsuit states “$6,000,000,000.00 (six hundred million dollars)” – so take your pick, $6bn or $600m.)

      According to the complaint – submitted to the US district court in Denver, Colorado – the trouble for Dickman began when his Asus 54L notebook, which had been shipped with Windows 7, updated to Windows 10 and “became non-functional immediately.”

    • Samsung Unveils Chromebook Plus V2 Convertible with New Processor, Rear Camera

      Samsung has unveiled on Thursday the second generation of its Samsung Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 convertible laptop powered by Google’s Chrome OS Linux-based operating system.

      Designed to help you be more productive on the go while remaining a thin, lightweight and stylish 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook, the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is here with a secondary, rear-facing 13MP f1.9 camera with autofocus, mounted on the keyboard deck. It comes with a new, more efficient CPU to prolong the battery life of the devices, as well as a built-in pen, which can be used for all sort of things from signing a document to writing a note or drawing a sketch and edit documents.

    • Purism’s Future Plans for PureOS, Malicious Docker Images, Samsung’s New Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop and More

      Samsung yesterday announced its new Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 convertible laptop, running the Linux-based ChromeOS. The Chromebook Plus “is equipped with a built-in pen and offers a light, thin and stylish design that delivers versatility, portability and a premium experience at a competitive price point”. It will be available starting June 24 from Best Buy for $499.99.

    • Here’s a list of Chromebooks with Linux app support

      Linux apps on Chrome OS made their debut on the Pixelbook at Google I/O this year. Since then, support has come quietly to more Chromebooks, new and old. Here’s a list of all the Chromebooks that support the functionality.

  • Server
    • How Docker Is Helping to Save The World (Literally)

      There are many different things that individuals might consider to be a life threatening event and then there are extinction level events, for example an asteroid hitting Earth.

      While the idea of an asteroid hitting Earth and ending all life is the stuff of Hollywood movie like Armageddon, it’s an actual, though remote, possibility that NASA is investigating, with the help of Docker containers.

      NASA is currently developing a mission known as DART – the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which is a spacecraft that will deploy a kinetic impact technique to deflect an asteroid. Christopher Heistand, DART Flight Software Lead, at the The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) that is helping to build the DART ship, detailed how his group is using Docker.

    • Canonical Cuts Its Own Path To Put Linux In The Cloud

      Linux has gradually grown in importance along with the Internet and now the hyperscalers that define the next generation of experience on that global network. Most of the software running at the hyperscalers – with the exception of Microsoft, of course, is built upon Linux and other open source technologies. In turn, this means that Linux and open source have started to become more important in the enterprise arena, as trends such as cloud computing and large scale data analytics drove the need for similar technologies in the corporate datacenter.

      Adapting the collection of open source packages that comprise a typical Linux build and making it suitable for enterprise consumption has led to carefully curated distributions that emphasise reliability and stability, plus paid technical support services and maintenance updates. These are typified by Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), distributions that have a long product lifecycle of ten years and thirteen years, respectively.

    • Team USA Fans Set to Celebrate Expected Supercomputer Win
    • How Docker’s CEO Is Growing the Container Pioneer for the Future

      Steve Singh has a very succinct vision for Docker. He wants to enable companies to modernize traditional applications with the Docker container platform. It’s a vision that is already transforming into market success for Docker as the company has grown from what Singh said was single-digit million-dollar revenue in 2016 to being on track for triple-digit million-dollar revenue for 2018.

      Since becoming CEO of Docker in May 2017, Singh has helped transform the container pioneer itself. In October 2017, at his first DockerCon, Singh’s company announced that it was embracing the once rival Kubernetes container orchestration system. At DockerCon 18, Docker announced new multicloud federation capabilities and developer improvements to the Docker Desktop.

    • imagine you no longer own your infrastructure

      Sounds crazy and nobody would ever do that, but just for a moment imagine you no longer own your infrastructure.

      Imagine you just run your container on something like GKE with Kubernetes.

      Imagine you build your software with something like Jenkins running in a container, using the GKE provided docker interface to build stuff in another container.

      [...]

      But this time it’s not your infrastructure and you can not modify the operating system context your docker container are running in.

      Sounds insane, right? Luckily we’re just making up a crazy story and something like that would never happen in the real world, because we all insist on owning our infrastructure.

  • Kernel Space
    • RISC-V Changes Merged For Linux 4.18, Early Perf Subsystem Work

      Initial RISC-V architecture support was added to the Linux 4.15 kernel and in succeeding kernel releases have been mostly modest updates. With Linux 4.18 the RISC-V changes are on the small side still, but with a few notable additions for this open-source, royalty-free processor ISA.

    • Intel Icelake Bringing New MIPI DSI Controller, Linux Driver Patches Posted

      While Intel Icelake hardware is quite a ways out from making its debut, the open-source Intel Linux developers working on the hardware enablement for its “Gen 11″ graphics continue working dilligently on this hardware enablement.

      Preparations for Intel Icelake support began with the Linux 4.17 kernel, have continued with the current 4.18 development cycle, and will continue for the next several cycles as all of the support gets squared away, just not for the graphics hardware.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Mesa Rolls Out Support For ARB_sample_locations

        Mesa has been plumbed in to support the ARB_sample_locations OpenGL extension and is now exposed with the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver.

        ARB_sample_locations was part of the “OpenGL 2015″ update but hasn’t made it into a released version of OpenGL, hence why it wasn’t a priority for Mesa developers. But now it’s been wired up within core Mesa and is currently flipped on for NVC0 in Mesa 18.2-devel.

      • Mesa’s VirGL For OpenGL Within VMs Now Supports Tessellation Shaders

        It was just days ago that the VirGL driver stack — which is used for supporting OpenGL hardware acceleration within guest VMs that is passed onto the host’s driver — picked up FP64 support while now its latest addition is ARB_tessellation_shader support.

        With the latest Mesa Git and the VirGL renderer library code is updated (as well as your host OpenGL driver supporting GL4), there is now support for tessellation shaders. The support has landed in Mesa 18.2 Git for this popular OpenGL 4.0 feature.

      • NVIDIA Contributes EGLStreams Improvements For GNOME’s Mutter Wayland Support

        GNOME’s Mutter Wayland compositor support is among the few Wayland implementations offering support for EGLStreams so it can play along with the approach used by the NVIDIA proprietary driver as an alternative to the GBM API used by the open-source graphics drivers. One of the NVIDIA engineers has just furthered along Mutter’s EGLStreams support.

      • Mesa 18.1.2 Released With Several RADV & Intel Driver Fixes

        New Mesa release manager Dylan Baker has issued the second point release of the Mesa 18.1 series.

        Mesa 18.1 has many exciting features and continues to see new bi-weekly point releases until after Mesa 18.2 has been released around the middle of August and then sees its subsequent Mesa 18.2.1 point release before that kills off the 18.1 release stream.

  • Applications
    • PIMP My GIMP – Season 2 Episode 10

      GIMP 2.10 is a steady, incremental update to a very solid and mature baseline. GIMP works well, and it offers the familiar tools of the trade to its users. New features come in small chunks, and you don’t need to fight the program. It works with you. I am less keen on the dark-theme modernization, but that’s something you can easily change. Performance is good, you can use hardware acceleration, and you have the rich, colorful range of filters and plugins, although this – mind – depends on the specific version of the program. Different installation methods will lead to slightly different results, but this is an implementation-specific issue and not something inherent that we can blame on GIMP.

      There are still problems, regardless. For instance, the macro functionality is virtually non-existent. And some things remain stubbornly difficult, whereas I’d expect them to be simple, trivial and accessible. Like creating paths. Very frustrating. Why not just offer pre-formatted SVG shapes, like speech balloons or traffic signs or whatever? Why do I need so many steps to make trivial objects? This is definitely an area that GIMP can improve. At the moment, it’s mostly intended for advanced users, and some options truly require a twist of mind that most people just do not possess. It would be nice to see GIMP offer more newb-friendly methods of image manipulation.

      In general, if you’re looking for a free and powerful image manipulation program, with an intermediate level of learning curve difficulty, a wealth of options and extensible features, and a reasonable workflow, GIMP 2.10 is a good choice. You won’t become a pro overnight, but you just might make your photos a little prettier. Worth testing, especially since version 2.10 only makes the good better. Take care.

    • NetworkManager Finally Supports Wake On Wireless LAN (WoWLAN)

      NetworkManager has finally landed support for dealing with Wake On Wireless LAN (WoWLAN) as the WoL-like functionality for wireless adapters.

      WoWLAN support for NetworkManager has been worked on by Canonical developers and there have been patches floating around for more than one year while just two hours ago, the triumphant milestone was reached of merging the WoWLAN support to NetworkManager. Wake On WLAN allows for systems to be woken from standby power similar to Wake On LAN with Ethernet, but instead using wireless. This support though does require WoWLAN support by the kernel drivers.

    • 13 Best Free Linux Voice Over IP (VoIP) Software – Updated 2018

      Voice over IP (VoIP) software enables telephone-like voice conversations across IP based networks. A VoIP phone service is often cheaper than a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone service and removes geographic restrictions to telephone numbers.

      SIP is the most popular VoIP protocol. This protocol enables two or more people to make phone calls to each other using the Internet to carry the call. SIP to SIP calls on a broadband internet connection are high quality, always free regardless of distance, and offer additional functionality such as free voicemail to email and phone numbers, caller ID, 3-way conference, speed dialing, call forwarding, simultaneous ring, call waiting, call return, caller ID block, and anonymous call rejection.

    • Calibre 3.26.1 EBook Manager Fix PDF files Conversions and Brings Faster loading of HTML files

      Calibre is a free and open source E-Book manager for cross platforms. The development team announced the new maintenance release Calibre 3.26.1. It brings several bugs fixes and some new features for managing book listing and book editor as well. Check the key features, the recent bug fixes and installation instructions down below.

      Calibre is one of the most advanced and well maintained e-book manager support many ebook file formats. Transferring e-books library from many of currently commercial e-Book readers with wired connection or wireless connection. It support fetching news feed and magazines from multiple major sources. Editing e-books with different file formats and many more Check Calibre features.

    • Proprietary
      • Google releases Mac, Linux app for converting VR180 into standardized editing format

        Meanwhile, “Prepare for Publishing” takes that edited footage and re-injects VR180 metadata so that it can be uploaded to YouTube and Google Photos for viewing in 2D or VR.

        The VR180 Creator tool can be downloaded directly from Google and supports macOS 10.9+ and 64-bit Linux.

      • Google releases VR180 Creator for Linux and Mac only — sucks for you, Windows users!

        When you are a Linux desktop user, it can be very frustrating when popular programs are not available for your platform. The same can be said for macOS, but to a lesser extent — at least it has access to things like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Like it or not, Windows often gets premium programs as an exclusive. It’s not hard to see why — on the desktop, Microsoft’s operating system reigns supreme from a marketshare perspective. Developers will simply follow the money, and who can blame them?

      • Google now has a Creator app for Mac & Linux that turns VR180 video into standard video

        The rollout of the VR180 format is well under way with the launch of the Mirage Camera in the US, and possibly soon in Australia, and Google is now working to make working with the video format easier for content creators by today launching Mac and Linux apps which can convert them into standard videos for distribution.

        The VR180 Creator app has been released for both Mac and Linux – sorry Windows fans – and is fairly bare bones, simply offering creators two options: ‘Convert for Publishing’ and ‘Prepare for Publishing’.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • In Defense Of Ubisoft: Crowdsourcing Game Content Creation Is Actually Fun And Non-Exploitive

        Crowdsourcing has obviously now been a thing for some time. Along internet timelines, in fact, crowdsourcing is now something close to a mature business practice and it’s used for all manner of things, from the payment for goods created, to serving as a form of market research for new products and services, all the way up to and including getting fans involved in the creation and shaping of an end product. The video game industry was naturally an early adopter of this business model, given how well-suited the industry is to technological innovation. Here too we have seen a range of crowdsourcing efforts, from funding game creation through platforms like Kickstarter to empowering supporters to shape the development of the game.

        [...]

        I’ll end this with a thought experiment. Imagine for a moment if I had written this same post, except I did a find/replace for “Ubisoft” and replaced it with “Sole game creator.” Does anyone really think the same level of outrage would exist? If not, then this isn’t a moral question at all, but a monetary one. And if that’s the case, it should go without saying that Ubisoft’s reputation shouldn’t prevent it from being able to try something good and cool with its fans.

      • You Can Now Play ‘TrackMania Nations Forever’ on Ubuntu

        A popular PC racing game has sped its way on to the Ubuntu Snap store — and I think you’re gonna dig it.

        It’s called ‘TrackMania Nations Forever’ (TMNF) and, for some of you, it will need zero introduction.

      • The Underhollow, a Battle Royale-like mode for Dota 2 is live and it’s damn fun

        Dota 2 [Official Site, Steam], the free MOBA from Valve has been updated with The Underhollow, a Battle Royale-like mode that’s exclusive for Battle Pass owners. It’s so good, it should be in the game.

        This new mode pits eight teams of three, to be the last team standing in a fight for cheese. You can bring two friends or you can queue up to be matched up with strangers. Even while playing it with people I didn’t know, it was an interesting experience.

      • Croteam are having a big sale to celebrate 25 years

        Croteam, developer of the Serious Sam series and The Talos Principle have stuck around for 25 years and so they’re celebrating with a big sale.

      • Oxygen Not Included just got a major update & a new animated short

        Oxygen Not Included, the space colony sim from Klei has a new major update out with another lovely animated short to watch. This is the same update I wrote about before while it was in beta, it’s just pushed out to everyone now.

      • Beyond Blue is an undersea exploration game from the developer of Never Alone

        While it’s sad we don’t have Subnautica, it seems we will be getting to explore the oceans with Beyond Blue [Official Site, Steam] due out next year.

        Beyond Blue, from the developer of Never Alone plans to release in “Early 2019″ with Linux support. Check out the trailer below:

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • GSoC 2018 – First month status

        Hi all, I am Chinmoy and I am working on the GSoC project Verifying signatures of pdf files. This is my very first post and in this I intend to inform about the progress I have made since May 14.

        Now due to some unforeseen problems I had to deviate from my proposed timeline. Initially my plan was to implement all non-graphical components in the first half of coding period and in the later half implement the graphical components. But while coding RevisionManager (this would have enabled to view a signed version of document before an incremental update like Adobe Reader does) I ran into some issues while designing its API. So I postponed my work on RevisionManager and started working on the graphical components. So as a result I was able to add basic GUI support needed to verify signed PDF. The patches are listed in T8704.

      • How to Enable the Blur Effect in KDE Plasma 5.13

        The new blur effect in KDE Plasma 5.13 is wowing a lot of people, us included, but a few of you have been in touch to ask how you can enable or configure the blur on your own system.

        Plasma 5.13 should (as I understand it) come with the swish new gaussian blur effect enabled by default provided you use the Breeze theme. Provided you’re on a Linux distro that has the latest Plasma release (like KDE Neon) you should see it.

        If you don’t have it, or if you want to adjust the blur strength and opacity, read on. In this post, we’ll show you what you need to do to get it working.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist

        Modicia O.S. Desktop Ultimate 18 LTS lives up to its name in terms of being an ultimate computing platform. It offers a very pleasing user experience that is ideal for office or home functions.

        It has the potential to be ranked among the best of the general-purpose Linux distros. I tend to favor Linux Mint’s homespun Cinnamon desktop as my primary computing workhorse. I keep a few winners on my various computers for variety and different productivity options.

        Modicia has been my preferred OS the last few weeks after I stumbled upon its smile-creating capabilities. Its combination of panel types and other user-enhanced tricks soon may qualify it for the default boot choice on my primary computer.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian Is Looking For Help Coming Up With The Artwork For 10.0 Buster

        If you are more the artistic type than a software developer, Debian is looking for your help. They are soliciting proposals for the artwork/theme for next year’s Debian 10 “Buster” release.

      • Third GSoC Report

        Regarding the functionality of nacho i’ve added the possibility to delete an account. SSH keys are now validated on upload and it is possible to configure the key types that are allowed. I initially just checked if the key string consists of valid base64 encoded data, but that was not really a good solution so i decided to use sshpubkeys to check the validity of the keys. Nacho now also checks the profile image before storing it in the LDAP database- it is possible to configure the image size and list allowed image types, which is verified using python-magic. I also made a big change concerning the configuration: all the relevant configuration options are now moved to a seperate configuration file in json format, which is parsed when nacho is started. This makes it also a lot easier to have default values and to let users override them in their local config. I also updated the documentation and the debian package.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Mir 0.32 Is Inching Close To Release With Many Improvements

            Canonical’s developers working on the Mir display server are putting the finishing touches on the Mir 0.32 release.

            Mir 0.32 is another big release as the developers remain focus on getting their Wayland support squared away. Additionally, Mir developers have been working on Logind support that is needed so Mir shells like the EGMDE example shell or Unity 8 can be easily accessed from the GDM3 log-in/display manager.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Why open source is good for business, and people

    Open source is all about freedom. The freedom to share, to collaborate, and ultimately, to innovate. It’s a concept that goes back way before the internet, but sometimes seems at odds with our online world and its demanding business imperatives. In open source, no one person or company owns a project; instead, it’s influenced by everyone involved – that’s what gives it strength.

    As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” — and it takes a community to create a healthy open source project. Everyone in an open source ecosystem has the opportunity to shape and improve the software and help with its development. Some will make a large contribution, some a relatively small one. But they’ll all be involved and they’ll all benefit. Away from these project contributors, the project’s end users can then identify the features they need, and pass new code upstream for consideration. Everyone can make a difference.

    An open source project has the best chance of growing successfully if everyone around it gets involved. From code committers to users, documentation writers to software vendors, platform vendors to integrators — all have a part to play.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Gandiva

    Data-as-a-Service platform provider Dremio announced a new open-source initiative for Apache Arrow this week. The Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow aims to speed up and improve the performance of in-memory analytics using Apache Arrow.

    The project will leverage the open-source compiler LLVM, and apply any changes to programming languages and libraries starting with C++ and Java, with Python, Ruby, Go, Rust and JavaScript changes to follow. With LLVM, Dremio says it will be able to optimize Arrow’s libraries, and low-level operations for specific runtime environments as well as improve resource utilization and provide lower-costs operations.

    “Apache Arrow was created to provide an industry-standard, columnar, in-memory data representation,” said Jacques Nadeau, co-founder and CTO of Dremio, and PMC Chair of Apache Arrow. “Dozens of open source and commercial technologies have since embraced Arrow as their standard for high-performance analytics. The Gandiva Initiative introduces a cross-platform data processing engine for Arrow, representing a quantum leap forward for processing data. Users will experience speed and efficiency gains of up to 100x in the coming months.”

  • Dremio Launches the Open Source Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow

    Data-as-a-Service Platform company Dremio recently announced an open source initiative for columnar in-memory analytics underpinned by Apache Arrow. The Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow utilizes open source compiler LLVM Project to substantially enhance the speed as well as efficiency of performing in-memory analytics using Apache Arrow, thus making these enhancements widely available to several languages and popular libraries.

  • Working in open source: part 1

    Three years ago on this day I joined Collabora to work on free software full-time. It still feels a bit like yesterday, despite so much time passing since then. In this post, I’m going to reconstruct the events of that year.

    Back in 2015, I worked for Alcatel-Lucent, who had a branch in Bratislava. I can’t say I didn’t like my job — quite contrary, I found it quite exciting: I worked with mobile technologies such as 3G and LTE, I had really knowledgeable and smart colleagues, and it was the first ‘real’ job (not counting the small business my father and I ran) where using Linux for development was not only not frowned upon, but was a mandatory part of the standard workflow, and running it on your workstation was common too, even though not official.

  • 5 Free Open Source Testing Tools You Can Trust

    Free open source testing tools have never been more popular, necessary or front of mind. Recent news coverage of the open source Kayenta suite of canary testing tools launched by Google and Netflix not only demonstrates that industry has an increasing appetite for automated testing, but also that the need for such tools is far more widely accepted.

    There are a few major pitfalls for the unwary when choosing open source testing tools, perhaps the most important being to be clear about is the difference between ‘free’ tools and open source tools, a distinction that often gets muddied. Indeed, there are legions of ‘free’ tools that are not truly open source, which can be an unwelcome discovery – too late – if not checked carefully first.

  • These top 8 open source monitoring tools will help you keep an eye on your containers

    Containerized applications are all the rage in the world of software delivery today. From startups to traditionally run enterprises, regardless of industry, there is an increasing dependency on Docker containers. But a broader view shows the growing complexity and challenges with containers. One of these challenges is the methods of monitoring containers. Monitoring tools are vital for the maintenance of the IT infrastructure of a business. This is where open source comes in. Open source is both technology and business friendly. This feature has proven so beneficial that even highly innovative companies like Google have chosen open source over other options. Open source ensures that innovation is an ongoing process so that the company does not miss out on technological advances of the time. With the growing importance of containers, monitoring tools, and open source software certain tools have emerged as the cream of the crop that many DevOps teams worldwide rely on. Let’s discuss the top eight open source monitoring tools that are considered effective in the market today.

  • ‘Talon For Twitter’ Paid Twitter Client Goes Open Source

    Developer Luke Klinker is taking the second iteration of his paid Twitter client – Talon for Twitter – open source, giving fellow developers inspiration and a deeper look at how it was made. Specifically, Klinker wanted to share the knowledge he’s gained over the years regarding the implementation of various features and code. Not all of the code is going to be great, Klinker says, since he started building it out as a high-schooler. However, there will undoubtedly be some eloquent pieces of code for devs to draw from as well – especially given that the app has technically been around since 2014 and undergone regular updates.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Microsoft begins rolling out a simplified ribbon for Office [iophk: "This Microsoft's gratuitous loss of productivity for those who have failed to move to LibreOffice"]

      Changes will arrive on Office.com starting immediately, with Outlook Insiders who are blessed appropriately will take part in a limited rollout in July. No plans are in place for the rest of the Office ecosystem, but we’d place a small side-wager on it happening to coincide with Office 2019. In all cases, the old ribbon won’t disappear, but it won’t be default anymore.

    • Microsoft’s Office UI update includes a simpler, cleaner ribbon

      Microsoft has given its infamous Office ribbon a much simpler, much less cluttered look as part of its interface redesign for Office.com and Office 365 applications. The tech giant has updated the element to only show the most basic options — if you need any of the commands the redesign hides, though, you can always expand it to go back to its more familiar 3-line predecessor and make sure you can quickly accomplish your tasks.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Is Okta®️ Open Source?

      What’s more, unlike Okta, most open source solutions aren’t delivered as a cloud service. Instead, open source solutions are delivered as self-manageable software that you can host and customize yourself, altogether defeating the purpose of an IDaaS (Identity-as-a-Service) solution. The outsourcing of the installation, managing, and maintenance of an SSO solution, like Okta, simply doesn’t apply well to the nature of open source.

    • Facebook releases its load balancer as open-source code
    • Database shift: Start with open source but finish with AWS
    • Microsoft’s New Operating System Based On Linux [Ed: Same GNU/Linux that Microsoft is blackmailing using software patents when it's not Microsoft's]

      Microsoft says that Linux kernel has been reworked with security innovations that were pioneers in Windows to create a highly secure environment. We are seeing something that many would never have imagined, Microsoft applying what they have learned from security working in Windows to a Linux kernel implementation.

  • BSD
    • FreeBSD Work (week #2)

      As I mentioned two weeks ago, I’ve transitioned into a new role at Intel. The team is very new and so a lot of my part right now is helping out in organizing the game plan.

      Last week I attended BSDCan 2018 as well as the FreeBSD dev summit. That trip in addition to feedback I got both here on my blog and twitter has helped me compile a decent list of things to do. Thank you all for the feedback so far. For the sake of soliciting possibly more feedback, here is the list. Do remember that I’m employed by Intel and that if you want to recommend something there should be at least some way to tie that back for being good for Intel’s product, and reputation.

    • Some Of The Early Ideas For Intel’s New FreeBSD Improvement Effort

      Two weeks back we shared the news that one of Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver veterans decided to change roles and is now focused on improving FreeBSD for Intel hardware. Ben Widawsky is working on FreeBSD improvements that can at least relate to Intel and it turns out the company has a new team of developers on the task.

      Ben Widawsky has published a second blog post about his new role at Intel. it turns out that “the team is very new”, so it’s more than just him working on refreshing the Intel FreeBSD support. He has shared a list of some of the early feedback collected for what Intel-related areas could be better improved on this BSD operating system.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • A GCC Compiler Port For TI’s PRU Processor

      Patches exist for taking the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to yet another processor.

      The Texas Instruments PRU is a programmable real-time unit made up of two 32-bit RISC cores for both general purpose computing and industrial applications. The PRU is clocked around 200MHz and has full access to the system’s internal memory. The TI PRU is found on ARM boards like the Beagle Board series most notably.

    • GNUMail + Pantime 1.3.0

      A new release for GNUmail (Mail User Agent for GNUstep and MacOS) and Pantomime (portable MIME Framework): 1.3.0!

      Panomime APIs were update to have safer types: mostly count and sizes were transitioned to more Cocoa-like NSUinteger/NSInteger or size_t/ssize_t where appropriate.
      This required a major release as 1.3.0 for both Pantomime and GNUMail. In several functions returning -1 was replaced by NSNotFound.

    • OresmeKit initial release: plotting for GNUstep and Cocoa

      Started many years ago, it has finally come the moment for a first public release, since I put together even a first draft of documentation. Stay tuned for improvements and new graph types.

      Oresme is useful for plotting and graphing data both native on Cocoa/MacOS as on GNUstep.

      OresmeKit is a framework which provides NSView subclasses that can display data. It is useful to easily embed charts and graphs in your applications, e.g. monitoring apps, dashboards and such.
      OresmeKit supports both GNUstep and Cocoa/MacOS.

    • The questions you really want FSFE to answer

      As the last man standing as a fellowship representative in FSFE, I propose to give a report at the community meeting at RMLL.

      I’m keen to get feedback from the wider community as well, including former fellows, volunteers and anybody else who has come into contact with FSFE.

      It is important for me to understand the topics you want me to cover as so many things have happened in free software and in FSFE in recent times.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Source University: an ICO to revolutionise the world of education and recruitment

      The online education market is seriously big business. Forbes valued it at $165 billion in 2016 and predicted that it’d be worth as much as $240 billion by 2023. The recruitment industry is even bigger, bringing in $150 billion in 2016 in the USA alone.

      However, both sectors are also riddled with inefficiencies and are ripe for disruption by the correct technology, properly applied. The Open Source University believes that it can transform two industries in dire need of overhaul.

  • Programming/Development
    • BLUI: An easy way to create game UI

      As part of an indie game development studio, I’ve experienced the perks of using open source plugins on proprietary game engines. One open source plugin, BLUI by Aaron Shea, has been instrumental in our team’s development process. It allows us to create user interface (UI) components using web-based programming like HTML/CSS and JavaScript. We chose to use this open source plugin, even though Unreal Engine (our engine of choice) has a built-in UI editor that achieves a similar purpose. We chose to use open source alternatives for three main reasons: their accessibility, their ease of implementation, and the active, supportive online communities that accompany open source programs.

      In Unreal Engine’s earliest versions, the only means we had of creating UI in the game was either through the engine’s native UI integration, by using Autodesk’s Scaleform application, or via a few select subscription-based Unreal integrations spread throughout the Unreal community. In all those cases, the solutions were either incapable of providing a competitive UI solution for indie developers, too expensive for small teams, or exclusively for large-scale teams and AAA developers.

      After commercial products and Unreal’s native integration failed us, we looked to the indie community for solutions. There we discovered BLUI. It not only integrates with Unreal Engine seamlessly but also maintains a robust and active community that frequently pushes updates and ensures the documentation is easily accessible for indie developers. BLUI gives developers the ability to import HTML files into the Unreal Engine and program them even further while inside the program. This allows UI created through web languages to integrate with the game’s code, assets, and other elements with the full power of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web languages. It also provides full support for the open source Chromium Embedded Framework.

    • Why (some) agile teams fail

      Teams are different because they are made up of different people with different situations. Certain practices can be easily shared across teams, but in my experience, trying to standardize processes doesn’t actually work and adds unnecessary overhead on teams. To make matters worse, the introduction of certifications in the industry has over-emphasized the idea that implementation of agile is the only thing that matters, rather than the idea that teams experiment and learn together what works for them. This is the same danger we face with capturing metrics on teams and using them without understanding their intent and purpose.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • The Broad’s CRISPR patent: The curious case of the missing declaration

      An eagle-eyed Katfriend yesterday alerted IPKat to a curious declaration published on the EP register for The Broad’s European CRISPR patent (EP2771468). Earlier this year, the opposition board revoked the patent for invalid priority (IPKat post here).

      The Declaration, which has now disappeared from the register, purports to be in the name of Thomas Kowalski, the US Patent Attorney who filed the PCT application from which the EP patent is derived (PCT/US 2013/074819). The declaration was posted to the EPO with an accompanying letter on headed note paper from a European patent attorney firm.

    • South Africa commits to substantive search and examination for pharma patents, amidst fears system could grind to a halt [Ed: evergreening means that in addition to patent monopolies they use tricks to indefinitely extend the monopoly]

      Pharmaceutical patent owners may have been concerned to read some of the key features of South Africa’s new IP policy. Recently adopted by the country’s cabinet, it seeks to clamp down on perceived “evergreening” by life sciences companies – raising the prospect of changes to patentability criteria – and suggests an increased role for compulsory licensing. However, the policy contains no concrete provisions to curtail or prohibit patents on incremental pharmaceutical innovations; and its only firm commitments – introducing substantive search and examinations as well as oppositions procedures – bring the country more closely in-line with international best practices.

    • After Two-Week Review, St. Luke’s in Houston Reopens Its Heart Transplant Program

      Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center said Friday it has reopened its storied heart transplant program, two weeks after suspending it to conduct an internal review of two recent deaths.

      In a written statement, the hospital said its review of the deaths “did not identify systemic issues related to the quality of the program” but that it had nonetheless reorganized its transplant surgery team, refined the criteria for which patients it would accept for heart transplants, and made other improvements to strengthen the program. It did not provide details.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • The Democratic National Committee lawsuit against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: A major attack on press freedom

      In late April, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a civil lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Russian government, Russian intelligence agents, Donald Trump election campaign officials and WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

      The 66-page complaint claims that Trump’s presidential campaign collaborated with Russian intelligence agents who stole information from DNC email servers in the summer of 2016 and arranged for WikiLeaks to publish the information in order to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and secure the election of a US president more amenable to the Kremlin.

      The lawsuit is largely based on circumstantial evidence and innuendos about Trump’s business ties with Russia. Salacious details about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow, Russian real estate deals and Florida mega-mansions sold to Russian oligarchs are offered to suggest that a criminal conspiracy must exist.

      However, the complaint provides no new evidence. The lawsuit merely recycles the unsubstantiated allegations of “Russian meddling” contained in a January 2017 report from the office of the US director of national intelligence.

    • Ecuador in talks to remove Julian Assange from London embassy

      Under conditions of a growing international campaign to demand freedom for Julian Assange, Ecuador’s foreign minister has indicated moves are underway to force the WikiLeaks editor out of Ecuador’s London embassy, where he was granted political asylum six years ago.

      Ecuador is negotiating an “exit” plan with authorities in Britain, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said on Wednesday. Valencia told the Associated Press the plan would be “one that encourages an exit, that we do not want to be traumatic… we do not want it to be an exit that may cause dissonance with international law.”

      Valencia’s appointment as foreign minister on June 11 was praised by right-wing media outlets in Ecuador. While saying he wants to avoid anything “traumatic” and illegal under the international law of political asylum, he has moved quickly to meet their demands to resolve the Assange “problem.”

    • Indian workers and students demand freedom for Julian Assange

      Indian supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) have won important backing from workers, youths and students for the World Socialist Web Site campaign in defence of Julian Assange.

      Indian Trotskyists will demonstrate to demand Assange’s freedom at the central bus terminal in Sriperumbudur, a global auto and electronics manufacturing hub just outside Chennai, the Tamil Nadu state capital, at 5 p.m., on June 19. On the same day, the Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality in Sri Lanka will protest outside Colombo’s Fort Railway Station at 4 p.m.

      The corporate media and pseudo-left in India have not reported on the situation facing the WikiLeaks editor in recent years, especially since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-supremacist Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) came to power in 2014 and strengthened New Delhi’s relationship with Washington. As a result, many people are unaware of the dangers facing Assange, and have learnt about it only from the Indian Trotskyists.

      In Kolkata, the state capital of West Bengal, campaigners spoke with students at Jadavpur University.

    • SEP Australia national secretary demands Australian government act to free Julian Assange

      The Socialist Equality Party has organised a political demonstration in Sydney Town Hall Square at 1pm this Sunday June 17 in defence of WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange.

      [...]

      The Australian government must immediately exercise the undeniable diplomatic power it has, and the undeniable legal discretion that it has, and intervene on behalf of Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and citizen.

    • From Pinochet To Assange: A Tale Of Two Extraditions

      The plethora of crimes committed during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile between 1973 and 1990 were exactly the type of abuse of power that Julian Assange would uniquely expose through Wikileaks. Both Assange and Pinochet have battled against extradition from the UK, with vastly different outcomes and contrasting positions taken by the UK government. Astoundingly, the UK supported Pinochet, a human-rights abuser, and persecuted Assange, a journalist who has exposed crimes of the powerful. Adding to this, the UK paid for the same barrister to defend Pinochet from extradition, and to later argue for Swedish authorities during their attempts to extradite Assange.

      The reality of the UK’s role in protecting a despot and prosecuting a journalist reveals the true face of a self-perpetuating, corrupt power structure which, based in part on the perception of freedom of the press, has falsely claimed moral authority on the world stage.

      The more attention we pay to the facts and history surrounding the UK’s part in the arbitrary detention of Assange and the protection of Pinochet from exposure, the more evident the corruption becomes.

      Julian Assange has never been publicly charged with a crime, much less convicted of one. Last year, Swedish authorities finally dropped their investigation, years after the UK successfully pressured Swedish authorities to string out the matter in 2013. Despite all of this, Julian Assange has remained arbitrarily confined by British authorities for almost six years, according to the findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD).

    • Whistleblowers defend democracy, say rights advocates

      Rhode Island Rights held a rally Wednesday outside the Federal Building near Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence to support whistleblowers facing jail time, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Terry Albury, who revealed government secrets to protect democracy from governmental overreach.

      Albury may be the least well known, so activist Randall Rose spoke about him in the video below.

      Terry Albury, a black Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent in Minneapolis, was required to carry out FBI directives that “profiled and intimidated minority communities in Minnesota and other locations.” Albury leaked FBI secret manuals to The Intercept, manuals that show how the FBI allows itself to discriminate, pressure people into becoming informants, and infiltrate groups. Albury was caught, had to plead guilty to unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and is now awaiting sentencing of up to 10 years in jail.

    • Letter: Free Julian

      It has been almost 11 weeks since Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange had his communication and internet connection access rescinded by the Ecuadorian government. The powers that be have made it clear that there is nothing they find to be more dangerous and harmful to them than being exposed to us. They feel threatened by the very idea that we might become less subordinate and more informed.

      This is partially why what Assange and Wikileaks stand for and have done for us all is so important and so dangerous. Every person who values transparency, justice, truth and accountability should be calling for and demanding freedom and justice for Julian and exoneration from prosecution for publishing leaked documents.

    • The Liberal Agenda – free Julian Assange – Tue 19 June, Wellington

      Thousands of Wikileaks supporters worldwide will hold protests at U.K and U.S Embassies on June 19th, 2018 to demand that the Governments of Australia, United States and United Kingdom pardon Assange and free the publisher from any potential indictment or charges in the U.S.

    • Clinton tries to troll Comey, gets butt kicked by WikiLeaks

      Hillary Clinton’s latest attempt at what appears to be a joke about her infamous emails fell flat on its face after WikiLeaks responded with an awkward reminder of just how significant those emails were.

      Clinton, who still hasn’t accepted the many factors which contributed to her losing the presidential election to Donald Trump, thought it would be a good idea to take to Twitter. However, she succeeded only in reminding everyone that (a) she can’t let things go, (b) she can’t really do humor and (c) she put national security in danger by using a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

    • Assange’s Ecuadorian Cave

      For over two months Julian Assange had no internet access and no contact with anyone besides his lawyer. Fifteen days is prohibited by the UN as prolonged solitary confinement under the Mandela Rules.

      His situation now appears unchanged except that he was visited on Thursday by two officials from Australia’s High Commission. It has not yet been reported what was discussed, but if consistent with that government’s action to date this would be an exercise to wash their hands of him, much as Ecuador appears to be doing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Easiest Way To Counterattack Russia — Go Electric

      I’ve actually had this draft started for weeks, and it rose to the top of the story list today by coincidence — seriously. The only thing I changed in the title was the word “hit” to the word “counterattack,” since the latter fit the day (the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia), the former seemed too personally aggressive in general, and counterattack really is what we’re talking about here anyway.

      [...]

      But that last bit gets to the crux of the matter. Russia is highly dependent on its oil & gas industry. Its economy is already quite weak and its people suffer under a low quality of life as a result, but it’ll get worse if Russia’s oil & gas business is harmed. And, more importantly for the Russian oligarchs running the show over there, it gets much worse for them if they can’t hoard another billion or 10 from oil & gas sales.

    • The Ocean Is Getting More Acidic—What That Actually Means

      Thanks to carbon emissions, the ocean is changing, and that is putting a whole host of marine organisms at risk. These scientists are on the front lines.

  • Finance
    • People Outraged After Amazon Found To Secretly Profit From “Unethical And Illegal” Chinese Sweatshops

      China Labor Watch revealed how dispatch workers made up more than 40 percent of the Hengyang Foxconn’s workforce, a significant rights violation of the legally mandated 10 percent ceiling. Chinese dispatch workers, kind of like America’s temporary workers, are given remarkably different working conditions between regular workers.

    • [Older] A Worrying Number of Amazon’s Warehouse Workers Are Reportedly Living Off Food Stamps

      The issue of Amazon workers relying on food stamps may be more widespread, as this news only represents the data that’s been furnished publicly so far. But in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Washington, Ohio, and Arizona, Amazon is among the top 20 beneficiaries of SNAP—and in Arizona things are particularly dire, with one out of every three Amazon employees needing food stamps to eat.

    • Microsoft tie-up with Walmart could emulate self-serve success of Amazon Go

      The Microsoft team, meanwhile, is said to include a former Amazon Go developer who is working on a way of using the shopping trolley as a camera mount for watching the products being picked up.

    • Exclusive: Microsoft takes aim at Amazon with push for checkout-free retail

      The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is developing systems that track what shoppers add to their carts, the people say. Microsoft has shown sample technology to retailers from around the world and has had talks with Walmart Inc (WMT.N) about a potential collaboration, three of the people said.

    • Microsoft reportedly working on rival Amazon Go tech for cashier-free stores
    • Microsoft tech may help Walmart get rid of cashiers and checkout lines
    • What if the NSA Invented Bitcoin (BTC)?
    • The NSA helped to invent Bitcoin, founder of world’s second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum claims

      The founder the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency has claimed US intelligence services may have played a role in the creation of Bitcoin.

      Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-born creator of Ethereum, suggested the National Security Agency (NSA) was involved in the development of the virtual currency.

      A person or group called Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper in 2008 which first set out the mechanics of Bitcoin.

      But although several people have been identified as the ‘real’ Satoshi, his identity has never been unequivocally proven.

    • Report: CIA Neither Confirms nor Denies Knowledge of True Identity of Satoshi Nakamoto
    • CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ They Know Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto
    • CIA Doesn’t Deny Having Files on Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

      The identity of the person or group of persons that created Bitcoin remains one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. Nakamoto’s creation has gone on to become the number one digital currency in the industry. Many have tried to unearth the Nakamoto’s identity without any success.

      Over the years, researchers have suggested some candidates such as Nick Szabo and Ross Ulbricht as being Nakamoto. In 2015 and again in 2016, Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist claimed that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He even declared that he had proof to that effect. However, many in the cryptocurrency community believe Wright’s claims to be false.

    • The CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ It Has Documents on Satoshi Nakamoto

      Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Ever since this pseudonymous person or group unleashed Bitcoin on the world in 2008, Nakamoto’s real identity has been one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. And based on a response to my recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, if the CIA knows anything, it’s not talking.

      People have claimed to have found Nakamoto on several occasions, without much success. The New York Times reported in 2013 that there was strong evidence that Nakamoto was actually Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the Silk Road dark web marketplace. Perhaps the most infamous unmasking was in 2014, when Newsweek tracked down a man in California named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto who was definitely not the guy who created Bitcoin. And who could forget the time that Craig Wright, current chief scientist of the blockchain company nChain, claimed to be Nakamoto, but didn’t produce satisfactory evidence to back up his claim.

    • Brexit crisis intensifies as “Remain” Tories reject bogus compromise on parliament having “meaningful vote”

      A supposed “ compromise ” amendment to the European Union Withdrawal Bill proposed by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Theresa May to head off a potential rebellion by around 15 pro-Remain Tory MPs unravelled yesterday.

      May is beholden to her hard-Brexit wing, led by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson , and Jacob-Rees Mogg. But even a small rebellion by Remain Tories would endanger her minority government reliant on the votes of 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs. Therefore, the first day of voting on Tuesday concerning 15 amendments to the Withdrawal Bill by the House of Lords centred on the most potentially damaging—agreeing that parliament must have a “ meaningful vote ” on any Brexit deal concluded.

    • Actually, NYT, Hurting Growth Is the Whole Point of Raising Interest Rates

      The Federal Reserve Board raised interest rates on Wednesday. According to comments from Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed board members, they believe that the unemployment rate is approaching, if not below, levels where it could trigger inflation. The hike this week, along with prior hikes and projected future hikes, was done with the intention of keeping the unemployment rate from getting so low that inflation would start to spiral upward.

      This is not the same as “express[ing] confidence that raising borrowing costs now won’t hurt growth,” which is the view attributed to Fed officials in the New York Times‘ “Thursday Briefing” section (6/14/18). The point of raising interest rates is to slow growth, so they absolutely believe that higher interest rates will hurt growth. The point is that the Fed wants to slow growth, because it is worried that more rapid growth—and the resulting further decline in unemployment—will trigger inflation.

    • West Virginia Paid for a CEO to Go on a Trade Delegation to China. Turns Out, He Was Promoting His Company’s Interests, Too.

      Last November, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping looked on in Beijing as officials from the state of West Virginia and a Chinese energy company signed what was hailed as a landmark deal for the state.

      Under the deal, China Energy Investment Corporation would invest more than $80 billion over the next 20 years in West Virginia’s natural gas industry.

      West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and other state leaders have been banking on the China deal, predicting it would create tens of thousands of additional jobs in the state. It was also described as a victory for Trump, the largest in a series of Chinese investments in the U.S. that totaled $250 billion.

      But on Friday, Justice revealed that an ethical cloud has appeared over the China deal: At least one member of the state’s trade delegation — a gas industry executive — was also working to help his private company on the trip.

      Brian Abraham, the governor’s general counsel, said the state was “using someone who probably shouldn’t have been involved in the negotiations” as part of its trade delegation.

    • Bitfi Knox Wallet: Open Source Unhackable Monero Hardware Wallet

      An international payments technology firm is developing a system that will enable businesses and consumers to take part in the cryptocurrency economy. The company, known as Bitfi, announced the introduction of the Bitfi Knox Wallet, which is not only unhackable, but also an open source hardware wallet with a dashboard which has a wireless setup.

      The wallet also supports other cryptocurrencies like Monero, being a fully decentralized private crypto which beforehand did not have a hardware wallet solution. After setting up the wallet, the devise will have access to up-to-the-minute software information. This will be instrumental in eliminating corrupt software which may be used by phishing criminals.

    • US Imposes USD 50B In Tariffs On China For Forced IP/Tech Practices, Cybertheft

      There will be a hearing in July and a comment period on the new lines facing tariffs.

      Of particular concern is China’s “Made in China 2025” program, which the US says will further accentuate the already offending policies. “This is simply a dagger aimed at the hear of the US manufacturing sector,” he said.

      The official pointed to the solar industry where it says China’s unfair practices resulted in making the market uncompetitive for US companies. When China targets an industry they have a tendency to create over-capacity and excess supply, he said, making it difficult for US companies, which work on market-based returns, to get the returns on capital they need.

    • Trump Raises Taxes on Chinese Goods, Eyes Foreign Cars Next
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Democrats choose former CIA agent for congressional nomination

      Primary elections in five US states Tuesday chose the Democratic and Republican nominees for three US Senate seats, four governorships and 25 seats in the House of Representatives.

      The results confirmed the main political trends in the two corporate-controlled parties, with both parties moving further to the right. The Republican Party is embracing candidates who echo the fascistic demagogy of the Trump White House, particularly directed against immigrants. The Democratic Party continues to select candidates drawn to an extraordinary extent from the national security apparatus—ex-CIA, military intelligence and combat commanders, as well as civilian national security officials.

    • Inspector General Not Too Happy With James Comey’s Handling Of The Clinton Email Investigation

      The damning report the President has been waiting for has arrived. The Inspector General’s report covering everything from James Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation (terribly with bonus insubordination) to a couple of FBI agents forming a two-person #Resistance (stupid and made the FBI look bad, but not illegal) runs almost 600 pages and won’t make anyone looking to pin blame solely on one side of the partisan divide very happy.

      It’s been claimed the report would finally show the FBI to be an agency filled with partisan hacks, further solidifying “Deep State” conspiracy theories that the government Trump runs is out to destroy Trump. It was somehow going to accomplish this despite many people feeling the FBI’s late October dive back into the Clinton email investigation handed the election to Trump.

      Whatever the case — and whatever side of the political divide you cheer for — the only entity that comes out of this looking terrible is the FBI. That the FBI would engage in questionable behavior shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the anti-Trump “resistance” has taken Trump’s attacks on the FBI as a reason to convert Comey, the FBI, and the DOJ into folk heroes of democracy.

      The summary of the report [PDF] runs 15 pages by itself and hands out enough damning bullet points to keep readers occupied for hours. Then there’s the rest of the report, which provides the details and may take several days to fully parse.

      Here are some of the low lights from Inspector General Michael Horowitz, possibly the only person who should be touting “Deep State” theories since he’s spent his IG career being dicked around by the DEA, DOJ, FBI, and DEA.

    • The Meaning of the Recent Lebanese Election (and How Hariri Suffered a Stinging Defeat)

      One can’t evaluate the results of last month’s Lebanese elections without understanding the real power of the legislative branch, namely that Lebanon’s bizarre sectarian system is a deformed version of a parliamentary democracy.

      The president ruled supreme prior to the 1989 Ta’if reforms, which ended the 15-year civil war and restructured the Lebanese political system. He was able to tailor the results of the Lebanese elections to his liking. This was done either through outright rigging (as Kamil Sham`un did in 1957 with U.S. help) or by gerrymandering.

      Furthermore, the Lebanese president (who has to be a Maronite Christian) had absolute power and would often push the parliament in the direction he wanted.

      But the Lebanese political system was thoroughly changed after 1989, and the powers of the president were greatly diminished, reflecting the changes in the balance of power between the various warring sects and factions in the war.

      New powers were given to the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet), although there is still an unending constitutional debate over whether the Ta’if reforms really shifted the powers of the president to the Council of Ministers or to the office of the prime minister (who has to be a Sunni Muslim). The speaker of parliament (who has to be a Shi`ite Muslim) was awarded an extension of his term from one year to four, although he remains largely without meaningful authority.

    • Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians

      One ad couldn’t have been more obviously political. Targeted to people aged 18 and older, it urged them to “vote YES” on June 5 on a ballot proposition to issue bonds for schools in a district near San Francisco. Yet it showed up in users’ news feeds without the “paid for by” disclaimer required for political ads under Facebook’s new policy designed to prevent a repeat of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Nor does it appear, as it should, in Facebook’s new archive of political ads.

      The other ad was from The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news outlet, promoting one of its articles about financial aid for college students. Yet Facebook’s screening system flagged it as political. For the ad to run, The Hechinger Report would have to undergo the multi-step authorization and authentication process of submitting Social Security numbers and identification that Facebook now requires for anyone running “electoral ads” or “issue ads.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Twitter to Face Claims by ‘White Advocate’ Over Banned Accounts

      But he said Taylor properly supported his allegations that Twitter’s policy of suspending accounts, in the judge’s words, “at any time, for any reason or for no reason” may be unconscionable and that the company calling itself a platform devoted to free speech may be misleading and therefore fraudulent.

    • Amnesty urges Pakistan to end rights violations, media censorship

      Amnesty International said on Thursday that the Pakistani authorities must end the current “crackdown” on human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other members of the civil society and ensure that human rights are fully respected and protected in the lead up to the upcoming general elections.

      The statement read, “On 25 July 2018, in general elections held across the country, Pakistanis will elect their next civilian government. Amnesty International is alarmed by the ongoing wave of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

    • What It Was Like Living With Communist Censorship of Books and Media

      One of my few prized possessions left from Romania is a tattered copy of the May 1977 best seller, “Greyhound’s America,” by Romulus Rusan, published under the brutal communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. I’ve never met the author until recently, during a reception in Washington, D.C.

      In 1977 communist Romania, the child of a blue collar family who did not belong to the Communist Party had zero chance of meeting any esteemed authors simply because we were not allowed to move in such circles. We were lucky if the labor union allowed my parents to purchase subsidized tickets to a play or an opera showcasing the “advantages” of living under communism and the tragedy of being subjugated by the “evil capitalists.”

    • Group Blasts Trump Administration “Censorship” Of Scientific Studies

      In response to reports this week that the Department of Interior is requiring USGS scientists to submit their presentation titles for political review and that the Interior Department watchdog found no basis for canceling a study into the health effects of mountaintop removal mining, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Advocacy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn…

    • Scientists at USGS face new scrutiny from interior secretary on research presentations
    • Amazon’s censorship ‘masquerading as commerce’?

      The sudden and unexplained disappearance from Kindle of a new book by Juanita Broaddrick, who claims Bill Clinton raped her in 1978, is raising anew questions about the online retail giant’s control of information.

    • Censorship Board revokes decision to ban film hours after announcing it

      Egypt’s Censorship Board went back on a prior decision to ban director Khaled Youssef’s latest film, Karma, on Tuesday.

      The Censorship Board had ruled on Monday to withdraw the film’s screening license, stating that it “violated the licensing terms granted,” without elaborating on the nature of these violations.

    • Tanzania Forces ‘Unregistered Bloggers’ To Disappear Themselves
    • Tanzania orders all unregistered bloggers to take down their sites

      Tanzania ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums on Monday to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution, as critics accuse the government of tightening control of internet content.

      Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, said on Monday they had temporarily shut down after the state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) warned it would take legal action against all unlicensed websites.

      Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license. Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.

    • Tomahawk HS valedictorian said censorship was the reason she didn’t speak at graduation

      A Tomahawk high school valedictorian decided against speaking at commencement after school administrators required she not reference discrimination, school shootings and gender inequality.

      The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the 18-year-old student said administrators at Tomahawk High School wanted to censor some topics for fear of provoking disagreement, judgment and making others feel attacked.

      Her speech was later published in the Tomahawk Leader newspaper.

    • DOJ Lets Cops Know SESTA/FOSTA Is For Shutting Down Websites, Not Busting Sex Traffickers

      SESTA/FOSTA was pushed through with the fiction it would be used to target sex traffickers. This obviously was never its intent. It faced pushback from the DOJ and law enforcement agencies because pushing traffickers off mainstream sites would make it much more difficult to track them down. The law was really written for one reason: to take down Backpage and its owners, who had survived numerous similar attempts in the past. The DOJ managed to do this without SESTA, which was still waiting for presidential approval when the feds hits the site’s principal executives with a 93-count indictment.

      The law is in force and all it’s doing is hurting efforts to track down sex traffickers and harming sex workers whose protections were already minimal. Sex traffickers, however, don’t appear to be bothered by the new law. But that’s because the law wasn’t written to target sex traffickers, as a top DOJ official made clear at a law enforcement conference on child exploitation. Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan’s comments make it clear SESTA/FOSTA won’t be used to dismantle criminal organizations and rescue victims of sex traffickers. It’s there to give the government easy wins over websites while sex traffickers continue unmolested.

    • Leonard Pitts: Petaluma High learns that censorship doesn’t work

      Here’s an axiomatic truth:

      If you want to make sure people see or hear something, ban people from seeing or hearing something. That predates the internet, as any former teenager who ever hid under the covers listening to “Louie Louie” with the volume down can surely attest.

      We are talking about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If censorship didn’t work then on something as inconsequential as a pop song, you can imagine how ineffective it would be now on something as important as sexual assault.

      Somebody at Petaluma High in Petaluma, Calif. should have figured that out. Instead, the school apparently cut the microphone on its valedictorian, 17-year-old Lulabel Seitz, at her graduation ceremony earlier this month. Lulabel says officials had warned her not to mention being the victim of an alleged sexual assault on campus and what she claims was the school’s failure to take action when she reported it.

    • ‘Free the nipple’: Naked basketball game used to protest Instagram censorship (VIDEO, POLL)

      Instagram’s censorship of female nipples is being challenged by a gender fluid model who uploaded a video of them playing basketball topless to protest the restrictive rules, which have been branded sexist.

    • Censorship is a political tool in India but I’ll keep fighting till the end, says Anurag Kashyap
    • Facebook execs to meet with GOP leaders over concerns about anti-conservative bias

      Facebook will be represented by a group of former GOP officials: Kevin Martin, who served as FCC chairman during the George W. Bush administration; Joel Kaplan, Bush’s former deputy chief of staff; Greg Maurer, who was an aide to former Speaker John Boehner; and former Republican digital strategist Katie Harbath.

    • Scoop: Facebook to meet GOP leaders to hash out censorship complaints

      Following complaints about censorship of conservatives, Facebook execs will meet today with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and Trump reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale.

    • Pentagon Papers lawyer James Goodale on DNC lawsuit: “The Democrats are establishing possibly a precedent that diminishes First Amendment freedoms”

      James Goodale: The overview is that the leaker, you’re dealing with a leaker and a leakee, and the leaker in the DNC case is, say, the Russian government, which leaks to Wikileaks. Wikileaks is the leakee—they publish the leaked material. The way the law works out as a consequence of the Pentagon Papers case is that the leaker is thought in the United States to be subject to criminal penalties under the Espionage Act. The leakee has what is known as the New York Times defense, and has no criminal liability.
      EH: That refers to the case in which you were lead counsel?
      JG: That’s right, New York Times Co. v. US, which came out in 1971. What the DNC has done in its infinite wisdom is undermine the New York Times defense by saying that WikiLeaks, the leakee, has conspired with the person who is subject to the Espionage Act, namely, the leaker. So the bottom line is that the DNC, with that theory, made the leakee subject to Espionage Act criminal liability.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Do Amazon’s Movement-Tracking Wristbands Violate Workers’ Privacy Rights?

      The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Amazon two patents directed to remote control of human hands. The Amazon patents are able to obtain and record users’ location and the detailed movements of their hands. Therefore, highly private information such as when an employee takes a bathroom break or pauses to scratch may be obtained and recorded by the patented system. That, in turn has led to concerns that the patents could violate protected privacy rights of employees under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment applies to government actions, and would be implicated in a legal challenge to the Amazon patents, since patents are issued and enforced by the government. In addition, Amazon patents can run afoul of state statutes and common law privacy protections, which have adopted similar Fourth Amendment privacy standards.

    • NY Senate Passes Bill That Would Make It A Crime To Publish Photos Of The Elderly Without Their Consent

      The New York State Senate just keeps pitching unconstitutional law-balls over the plate, apparently assuming legislators’ good intentions will overwhelm judges asked to determine just how much the new laws violate the First Amendment.

      The senate recently passed an anti-cyberbullying bill — its fifth attempt to push this across the governor’s desk. The law couldn’t be bothered to cite which definition of “cyberbullying” it was using, but once the definition was uncovered, it became apparent the bill has zero chance of surviving a Constitutional challenge should it become law.

      Eugene Volokh’s post on the bill passed along several examples of criminalized speech the bill would result in, including one with its finger directly on social media’s pulse.

    • Common Career Change: Batman Comic Writer Tom King Admits to CIA Spying Past

      “Most of my colleagues, bless them, wore suits, looked very much like James Bond. I would always cross [borders] as the super nerd comic book writer. I’d go on an airplane, spill on myself, read comic books, I’d have graphic novels with me. I’d basically be me, and they’d be like ‘That guy could not ever be CIA. Let him in, please. No, he could do no damage to anything!’” King boasted.

    • Vintage US security posters range from bizarre to terrifying

      Formed by a secret presidential memo in 1952 amid growing Cold War tensions, the fledgling National Security Agency commissioned posters to remind its employees to keep mum about their top-secret work.

      Government Attic, a website that requests historical government documents under the Freedom of Information Act and then shares them online, first made the request for the vintage posters in 2016.

    • China mandates radio-tracking beacons in all cars
    • Facebook’s chief of communications, policy to step down

      Facebook Inc said on Thursday that Elliot Schrage, who as head of communications and public policy has led the social network’s response to scandals about privacy and election meddling, would step down from the company after a decade.

    • Facebook Policy and Communications Chief to Step Down From Role

      Schrage said the job wasn’t just about promoting a positive image for the company.

    • Police face legal action over use of facial recognition cameras

      Two legal challenges have been launched against police forces in south Wales and London over their use of automated facial recognition (AFR) technology on the grounds the surveillance is unregulated and violates privacy.

      The claims are backed by the human rights organisations Liberty and Big Brother Watch following complaints about biometric checks at the Notting Hill carnival, on Remembrance Sunday, at demonstrations and in high streets.

    • If You’re A Facebook User, You’re Also a Research Subject

      Other academics got these gifts, too. One, who said she had $25,000 deposited in her research account recently without signing a single document, spoke to a reporter hoping maybe the journalist could help explain it. Another professor said one of his former students got an unsolicited monetary offer from Facebook, and he had to assure the recipient it wasn’t a scam. The professor surmised that Facebook uses the gifts as a low-cost way to build connections that could lead to closer collaboration later. He also thinks Facebook “happily lives in the ambiguity” of the unusual arrangement. If researchers truly understood that the funding has no strings, “people would feel less obligated to interact with them,” he said.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Due Process For All — Not Special Treatment For Some Who Share Your Viewpoint

      I’m also very firmly against these Title IX kangaroo courts. For all. Not just when I happen to like and/or agree with the person who’s been fed into the mill.

      I also think colleges and others are making a huge mistake — a society-warping one — going after adults for talking about sex or telling a joke. Sure, if somebody is doing it persistently, and somebody tells them to stop — they don’t want to hear it — and there’s no stopping; well, that’s harassment.

    • How a Letter Defending Avital Ronell Sparked Confusion and Condemnation

      It also listed her many accomplishments in the fields of philosophy and literature and seemed to suggest that her stature in those fields and at the university should be considered in the investigation. Though the letter’s signatories said they didn’t have access to a “confidential dossier” from a Title IX investigation, they stated their “objection to any judgment against her.”

    • AI Drone Learns to Detect Brawls

      Drones armed with computer vision software could enable new forms of automated skyborne surveillance to watch for violence below. One glimpse of that future comes from UK and Indian researchers who demonstrated a drone surveillance system that can automatically detect small groups of people fighting each other.

      [...]

      The drone surveillance system developed by Singh and his colleagues remains far from ready for primetime. But their work demonstrates one possibility of combining deep learning’s pattern-recognition capabilities with relatively inexpensive commercial drones and the growing availability of cloud computing services. More details appear in a 3 June 2018 paper that was uploaded to the preprint server arXiv and will appear in the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Workshops 2018.

    • People in Jail Deserve Effective Drug Treatment Not Forced Withdrawal

      Under the ADA, opioid addiction is not a character flaw — it is a disability that requires treatment during incarceration.

      Nearly 30 years ago, when he was 18 years old, Sy Eubanks had surgery for a knee injury he got while competing on his high school’s wrestling team. His doctor prescribed him opioid painkillers, the dangers of which are now widely known. All Sy knew was that he liked the feelings his prescription gave him, and he wanted more.

      After graduation, Sy got a job as a logger. It was then he realized he couldn’t stop taking opioids. Whenever he did, he’d get so sick from withdrawal that he couldn’t work. To support his opioid addiction, Sy resorted to increasingly desperate measures: shoplifting, stealing, and pawning items to get money or drugs. By his mid-20s, Sy was using heroin, too.

      Opioids reduce pain, produce euphoria, and are highly addictive. They include prescription painkillers and street drugs heroin and illicit fentanyl. People who are unable to stop using them may have opioid use disorder (OUD), a chronic condition often accompanied by changes to brain chemistry.

      [...]

      To someone with a life-threatening medical condition, treatment isn’t optional — it’s critical. MAT can be as life-saving to a person with OUD as insulin is to a person with diabetes. Withholding necessary medical treatment from one group of people — non-pregnant people with addictions — while giving the very same treatment to a different group of people — pregnant women — is discriminatory and dangerous.

      It’s also shortsighted.

      When people with OUD get the treatment they need, they are better able to take care of themselves and their families and to contribute to their communities. Whatcom County should be doing all it can to help people with opioid use disorder get access to MAT, instead of obstructing them.

    • Oregon Court System Shields Evaluation of Alleged Killer

      Oregon officials last year fought to keep the public away from records about a man accused of two murders following his early release from state mental treatment.

      They lost, and those public records raised troubling questions about the state’s handling of Anthony W. Montwheeler, who asserted he had been faking a mental illness for 20 years to avoid prison.

      Montwheeler, now 50, had told officials he was tired of living off the dole and in state institutions and wanted to be freed. When doctors said they could find no signs of mental illness, Montwheeler won his bid.

    • Howard Bryant on Black Athletes & Activism

      Surrounded by reporters eager to talk about the cancellation of the White House visit and new NFL policy on standing during the National Anthem, Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Super Bowl–winning Philadelphia Eagles, chose not to speak, instead holding up signs with information on racism in the criminal justice system and community work players are doing. “Before the anthem even started, players were involved in these types of social justice issues,” Jenkins said afterward. “And so for us, it’s staying on topic, doing the work, supporting those who are doing the work and pushing forward.”

    • ‘Religion Cannot Be Used to Justify Discriminatory Conduct in the Marketplace’

      We will be talking about the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission for a long time. Denver baker Jack Phillips was determined not legally liable for refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. But we’re told that doesn’t mean discrimination against LGBTQ people is now legal, because in this case, the Court’s majority said, the behavior and statements from some members of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission indicated “hostility” to Phillip’s religion—and that situation might not obtain in other cases. Is that reassuring?

    • Faulty Field Tests And Overblown Drug Raid Claims: The War On Drugs In Clay County, Florida

      Yet another Florida sheriff with a penchant for publicity is using his office (and manpower) to start some garbage viral War on Drugs. Hence, every bust made by his department — utilizing armored vehicles and deputies that look like they shop at military surplus stores — is splashed across the department’s Facebook page. Fine, if that’s what gets your blood flowing, but these scenes of busts, featuring the Sheriff front and center, contain claims that just aren’t backed up by the actual paperwork. George Joseph of The Appeal has the details.

    • Dads Are Stepping Up Their Fight to Receive Fair Parental Leave

      I launched a legal battle, filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Although I was navigating uncertain terrain, previous victories won by civil rights advocates such as the ACLU demonstrated that justice for new fathers was attainable. Support for my case came flooding in from all over the country and around the world. That’s when I came to understand why my case was such a touchpoint: As long as workplaces push women to always be caregivers and men to stay at work, women will never have equal opportunities in the workplace.

      The forces that make it tougher for women at work also make it tougher for men to have equal opportunities at home. As Sheryl Sandberg says in my book about this, “All In,” women can’t “lean in” until men and women can be all in at home. (Ultimately, my employer changed its policy, making it much better.)

      After my case, more men started launching battles of their own. The Center for WorkLife Law saw a spike in calls from dads. Male caregivers now file 28 percent of discrimination cases that involve childcare. The EEOC announced a lawsuit against Estee Lauder, noting that equal benefits for equal work “applies to men as well as women.”

      My attorney Peter Romer-Friedman has taken on these issues in collaboration with the ACLU, which has pointed out that true family leave must be inclusive of fathers. “The Supreme Court has made clear that employers can’t treat men and women differently when providing paid leave, other than giving birth mothers six to eight additional weeks of leave as disability-related recovery time,” he says. “Employers who ignore this rule can face huge liabilities. We stand ready to go to court so that fathers and mothers get the paid leave and equality they deserve.”

    • Veteran CIA Interrogator Training ICE Officers

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has contracted a private security firm run by a former top CIA interrogator to train ICE officers in “intelligence collection” and “counterterrorism elicitation,” federal documents show. The documents indicate that the training is to help ICE officers collect information from “terrorist suspects.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Charter Spectrum Claims The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Magically Provide Better, Faster Broadband

      We’ve noted how ISPs are worried about losing the looming court case over net neutrality, as well as the dozens of states that are now imposing state-level net neutrality protections. As such, the hope is that they can push forth a loophole-filled net neutrality law in name only; one with so many loopholes as to effectively be useless, but which will pre-empt any tougher state or federal rules (including the restoration of the FCC’s 2015 rules). It’s a gambit that’s not really working, in large part because these companies have obliterated any last vestiges of public trust they may have had with this latest lobbying assault.

    • Eero promises not to brick routers if you don’t pay a subscription

      Eero is responsible for introducing two major trends to Wi-Fi routers: mesh networking and subscriptions. But after Plume — another mesh router startup — said earlier this week that it’s going to start requiring a subscription just to buy a router and keep it fully functional, Eero has said it doesn’t plan to follow suit. “We’ve never had plans ever at Eero to do that,” Eero CEO Nick Weaver said on a phone call. “We’ve never had plans and certainly don’t have any future aspirations for requiring a subscription with the core product we sell.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • U.S. ITC says probing Toyota, others in patent infringement case

      Other companies to be investigated are Denso Ten America Ltd, a subsidiary of Denso Corp (6902.T); Renesas Electronics Corp (6723.T); and Japan Radio, a unit of Nisshinbo Holdings Inc (3105.T).

    • With FRAND high on India’s agenda, Anand links with competition firm in market-first JV

      As first reported on Indian legal site Bar & Bench, leading IP firm Anand & Anand has launched a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with a competition law boutique Gaggar & Associates to address hybrid cases. I recently had a chance to catch up with the former firm’s managing partner Pravin Anand, and he explained that the FRAND focus in India is only going to grow stronger. High end patent work in India, including on the litigation side, is dominated by boutique IP firms.

    • En Banc Denied: Walker Process Claims Stay out of the Federal Circuit

      When Xitronix sued KLA-Tencor, it raised only one cause of action – “a Walker Process monopolization claim under § 2 of the Sherman Act and §§ 4 and 6 of the Clayton Act based on the alleged fraudulent prosecution of a patent.” See Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corp., 382 U.S. 172 (1965). The basic allegation was that KLA fraudulently obtained its U.S. Patent No. 8,817,260 with claims identical-to or broader than claims of KLA’s previously invalidated U.S. Patent No. 7,362,441.

      [...]

      In its 2013 decision in Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that a state-law attorney malpractice case did not trigger federal court patent jurisdiction. Newman distinguishes that case on several grounds: (1) that case involved a “long dead patent” and so the outcome would not change any other patent litigation cases; (2) Gunn involved a State interest in adjudging the state cause of action – while here there are only federal interests at stake. According to Judge Newman, the underlying dispute is about “the validity and enforceability of the patent” – questions that should be heard by the Federal Circuit.

    • What BT v Cartier means for rights holders

      The UK Supreme Court has ruled that brand owners must pay the costs of ISPs blocking sites that sell counterfeit goods. But how big are these costs and will the ruling apply to copyright injunctions?

    • Copyrights
      • UN Free Speech Expert: EU’s Copyright Directive Would Be An Attack On Free Speech, Violate Human Rights

        We’ve been writing a lot about the EU’s dreadful copyright directive, but that’s because it’s so important to a variety of issues on how the internet works, and because it’s about to go up for a vote in the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee next week. David Kaye, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression has now chimed in with a very thorough report, highlighting how Article 13 of the Directive — the part about mandatory copyright filters — would be a disaster for free speech and would violate the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights…

      • Anti-Piracy Lawyers Sentenced to Years in Prison For Defrauding Copyright Holders

        Three lawyers who specialized in anti-piracy litigation on behalf of the movie and TV industries have been convicted of defrauding them out of millions. The trio, from the Johan Schlüter law firm, were required to manage registration, collection and administration rights. But after siphoning off almost $16m, a Danish court has handed down sentences totaling more than 10 years.

      • Danish Anti-Piracy Lawyers Jailed For Real, Actual Stealing From Copyright Holders

        There’s an old saying: once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend. It seems now we are officially in the coincidence part of that mantra. You will recall that we recently discussed famed author Chuck Palahniuk’s apology for blaming piracy for his stagnant finances when the real story was that a business partner at his literary agency was simply stealing money from him. We noted at the time that this business partner was the one feeding Palahniuk the false story that piracy was responsible for his dwindling money and that such a story was made believable in part because of the efforts of the copyright industry and its lawyers demonizing the internet and copyright infringement at every turn.

        Well, recent news reports detail the sentencing of three Danish lawyers to years in prison for defrauding their copyright holder clients, while supposedly working for them on anti-piracy efforts. The organization now known as Rights Alliance, previously Antipiratgruppen, had hired lawyers from the Johan Schluter law firm for representation in piracy cases. The firm worked on these efforts for Rights Alliance for years before an audit showed just how shady these beacons of justice for rightsholders actually were.

      • TVAddons: Telco Bailiffs Enter Operator’s Home Over Unpaid Attorney’s Fees

        Exactly a year after Canada’s largest telecoms companies executed a warrant against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman, unwelcome visitors have again attended his home. After a court order to pay attorney’s fees of CAD$50,000 went unsettled, bailiffs representing Bell, Rogers, and Videotron turned up at Lackman’s home Wednesday in an effort to seize property.

      • YouTube Download Sites Throw in the Towel Under Legal Pressure

        Several video downloading and MP3 conversion tools have thrown in the towel this week, disabling all functionality following legal pressure. Pickvideo.net states that it received a cease and desist order, while Video-download.co and EasyLoad.co reference the lawsuit against YouTube-MP3 as the reason for their decision.

The EPO’s Response to the Open Letter About Decline in Patent Quality as the Latest Example of Arrogance and Resistance to Facts, Truth

Friday 15th of June 2018 09:16:24 PM

Sums up the attitude of the Office under Battistelli, who uses (or wastes) the EPO‘s savings on media puff pieces and so-called ‘studies’, commissioned (i.e. funded) by the EPO to invert reality

Summary: Sidestepping the existential crisis of the EPO (running out of work and issuing many questionable patents with expectation of impending layoffs), the PR people at the Office choose a facts-denying, face-saving ‘damage control’ strategy while staff speaks out, wholeheartedly agreeing with concerned stakeholders

THE WORLD’S patent offices/systems, with the exception of China’s (SIPO), are doing reasonably OK. The USPTO is nowadays in the process of improving patent quality and we commend US courts for that, notably SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit below it.

“The EPO isn’t just above the law; it actively exploits that to break the law, so it has no credibility talking about courts.”The EPO, by contrast, is quite a monster. The EPO repeatedly disobeyed court orders. Corruption at the EPO is just outstanding, not to mention violations of the law, constitutions, and the EPC. The EPO isn’t just above the law; it actively exploits that to break the law, so it has no credibility talking about courts. It seems incapable of grasping the notion of justice. It also assaulted a judge, who is now rumoured to be hospitalised. Several hours ago the EPO wrote: “Next week we’ll explain how to use the European Case Law Identifier to access court decisions on patents across Europe.”

The EPO talking about “court decisions” is as laugh-worthy as dietary advice from Stalin, especially in Ukraine.

But anyway, the arrogance of the EPO is ever more visible in light of the now-famous open letter *, which was published towards the end of this week. We wrote about this back when (or right after) only Kluwer Patent Blog and then IPPro Patents had reported on the matter. There has since then been more, but nothing in ‘mainstream’ media. Battistelli has given enough payments (not at his personal expense) to motivate self-censorship among some of the largest publishers which cover patent matters and used to cover EPO scandals.

Kudos to IPPro Patents for covering this. It’s still rewriting and reposting pure PR/press releases (e.g. today for ANAQUA, as it does for other firms), but at least it covers EPO scandals occasionally. So does World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR), which has been rather useful and interested in SUEPO’s side of the story. This morning it published this article (the sole article about this today, at least as far as we can tell/see; there is also coverage in German with Thorsten Bausch in the mix; Mathieu Klos was reporting). Spotted via news search and via SUEPO and insiders was a seemingly complete list of coverage. Here’s WIPR, which waited for the EPO’s response and then said this:

Four German law firms have published an open letter citing concerns over developments at the European Patent Office (EPO), just two weeks before António Campinos is due to become president of the office.

In particular, patent law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner are concerned about “modifications to the incentive systems for the examination of patent applications”.

Published last week, the letter is addressed to both outgoing EPO president Benoît Battistelli and future president Campinos, along with Christoph Ernst, chairman of the Administrative Council, and principal director of user support and quality management Niclas Morey.

[...]

As for recommendations for improvement, the firms “urgently” suggested the creation of new incentive systems for examining European patents so that the “high-quality of searches and examinations for which the EPO used to be known will be guaranteed again”.

A spokesperson for the EPO said that surveys carried out by the EPO and independently, as well as an annual quality report, show that the high-quality levels for which the office is known continue to increase further.

IAM-supported lies, as expected, have come back from the propaganda department of the EPO — the PR team with the ‘usual suspects’ (whose nature we covered here in past years). SUEPO and the Central Staff Committee were right all along. And now the EPO is being shamed by its own stakeholders. Notice the EPO’s vain response. As “Benoit Escobar” put it:

But guys face it: you are all wrong with your comments here!

See what the EPO told to WIPR : this letter is nothing else but “unsubstantiated claims”

https://www.worldipreview.com/news/german-law-firms-raise-concerns-over-epo-patent-quality-16193

They dare!

And to which the response was: “That is what Mr. Ernst (Chairman of the Administrative Council of the EPOrg) told German representatives: bring statistics, otherwise nothing has changed. And the EPO delivers a (self-measured) statistic. As that is the only one readily available, it is the only one he considers to be relevant. To ensure a minimum of independence/ability to counter pressure, change from one VP1 to three VPs (imstead of COOs), the office has grown considerably, these two additional VPs are well defendable within the range of the organisations structure. Then the “Chiefs of Operartions” could actually decide themselves and not fear direct repercussions from PD4.1 and her connection to the president.”

We commented on Ernst’s stance yesterday. He’s acting more like a protector of Battistelli’s propaganda efforts and it makes one wonder what kind of ‘boss’ Ernst will be to António Campinos.

The EPO is alluding to the IAM 'survey' which it immediately cited (after its publication). We’ve commented several times already about what’s wrong with it. By “quality” they do not mean patent quality but things like speed, which can be detrimental for all sorts of reasons that we covered here before.

Looking or navigating through the comments in Kluwer Patent Blog (which is aggressive with censorship nowadays), we’ve picked some more comments that we want to copy to highlight key parts and preserve them (Kluwer Patent Blog had all sorts of technical troubles this past year, with several downtimes lasting as much as a day if not longer).

Here’s a comment on the IAM ‘survey’: “Had they sent around this letter before, maybe le monsieur would have not dared publishing this last Monday: “Delivering High Quality Services – […] User feedback has been gathered through a multitude of channels and has confirmed increasing levels of satisfaction with the EPO’s products and services, year after year”.” (this links to the EPO’s Web site)

It received the following response from “Save the EPO from destruction”: “sure but hey : who believes in Battistelli’s prose ? everybody knows that this is pure PR (euphemism for propaganda) and that the situation is catastrophic. Now at least we have reputed, credible IP professionals who know what they talk about, who clear pull the brakes. So yes, better late than never and again Mr Campinos will face a dire situation with a bloodless EPO in which folly is the new norm.”

Then “MaxDrei”, who used to comment a lot at IP Kat (not many comments there anymore), gave his long message/thoughts:

My comments on the perceived “problems” a) to f):

a) why “must” quality suffer, merely because of a “aim” (which President Brimelow also had) to get to a grant or refuse decision “as quickly as possible”? And as for “within specific allowed times” I never heard it argued that the UK 1949 Patents Act’s hard limit on time to grant has an adverse effect on “quality” in the UK. That said, quality “must” inevitably suffer, if you impose unreasonable productivity targets on hard-working and conscientious Examiners. Worse, the imposition of such targets will generate a shoulder-shrugging “so what” mentality which is the enemy of “quality”.

b) the EPO is not the only Patent Office where its shareholders milk the Applicant community. That Patent Office fees are used a covert tax revenue operation is a different problem from giving Examiners enough time and resources to do a “quality” job of search and examination.

c) What, for goodness’s sake, is an “erroneous” scope of protection? Again, consider the UK Patents Act 1949. It required rigorous examination of clarity and novelty but no examination of obviousness. Everybody knew the Rules of the Game. Nobody complained, that the Office was issuing over-wide claims. My problem at the moment is that Examining Divisions of the EPO are setting too high a standard of clarity under Art 84 EPC. To much “quality” here, rather than not enough. Why that? Because the zealous in-house EPO Quality Police have to be seen (by Chairs of Exam Divisions) to be ferocious, and that is easier accomplished under Art 84 than under Art 54 or 56.

d) What? Patent owners at risk of not succeeding with claim 1 in an infringement action? When in the history of patents was this ever not the case? Upon issue, there is a Presumption of Validity, regardless of whatever level of “quality” the EPO runs at. What more do you want, for goodness’ sake? Spare a thought for the accused infringer, usually smaller than the Big Corp patent owner. Is his protestation, that the asserted claim is invalid, to be greeted with a shoulder shrug and a retort that if the EPO issued it, well then it must be valid? Of course when the Applicant is David and the accused infringer is Goliath, we need a system that delivers “Equality of Arms” to save Little David from obliteration. But merely giving an EPO Examiner unlimited time to examine David’s patent application is nowhere near enough to deliver that necessary objective.

e) See d) above. To nurture the patent system what is needed is a high level of confidence that, if you have an issued claim that is not invalid, you can enforce it speedily and economically, regardless how Big and Ugly the accused infringer is. Complain somewhere else if, in your country, that is not the case. It isn’t the EPO’s fault.

f) I agree. This grotesque surplus suggests opacity and corruption on an industrial scale. But hey, with supra-national organisations that’s the rule, not the exception. Nobody knows yet, how to stop it.

Overall, this Open Letter strikes me as a manifestation of I) German craving for certainty ii) German deference to “authority” and iii) a yearning for the Good Old Days, when if the DPMA granted your patent you were then the proud possessor of an “examined right” which, by definition was valid. Those days are gone. Life today is too complex. There is too much prior art these days, for the Office to know it all. A public prior use somewhere in the middle of Asia is just as novelty-destroying as a patent specification of a German competitor.

One last comment. I’m puzzled by the reference to “incentive systems”. Is this alluding to the idea of “One point for an allowance but two for a refusal”? Is this what troubles you so much? Or is it the never ending “bar raising” of the output productivity targets being imposed on Examiners? If the latter, I agree with you: it’s counter-productive, Mr Campinos. It has got to stop.

Thorsten Bausch I admire your work on this blog. My remarks above are deliberately provocative, to try to whip up a vigorous discussion here. I hope you don’t see my remarks as so offensive that they must be suppressed and denied publication here.

There’s a correction to this.

On why EPO management can barely reject applications (or penalises examiners for it): “One correction – in the middle of the year, the 2 counts for a refusal has been removed. Now examiners get one product for a grant and one for a refusal, irrespective of the amount of work required. Since a refusal has to cover all arguments raised and a grant only has to find one reason to grant, you can guess which is easier to achieve per unit time.”

More on this point and why in light of rumours of layoffs this may mean lower patent quality:

By the “incentive system” the open letter may be referring to the EPO’s career system which currently ties any career progression almost exclusively to the number of “actions” delivered in a given year by an examiner (in other departments, i.e. for staff other than examiners, it is more opaque). Someone here has already pointed out that a refusal has the same weicht as a grant which already has implications for quality. In this context, it is not just an examiner’s career that is affected: Any teammanager’s, director’s or principal director’s career depends entirely on whether a team, directorate or principal directorate has reached the expected number of actions (this now also applies for the BoAs btw).

But worse than the above: Those that are considered to be low performers of underperformers are targeted and threatened with disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal.
If you bear in mind the rumours that werde going around a while ago that the administration was planning mass lay-offs than it should be easy to understand what is going on and the impact this may have on quality.

Also in response to “MaxDrei”:

MaxDrei, don’t you get it? These days, the “incentive” is just not getting thrown out. Grant, don’t ask questions, don’t be difficult, OR ELSE. You’re gonna “do” whatever figure we throw at you.

Many, if not most, who are not anchored down with a mortgage, or are otherwise able to sustain their family, have already left.

Those who stay on have to put up with micromanagement, perpetual harassment, and contempt.

The EPO has deep structural problems that long predated BB, and I think that the alleged “good” results obtained from scapegoating and brutalizing the staff are a nothing but a flash in the pan which will be followed by a painful reckoning.

Alexander wrote about SUEPO’s foresight:

It is nice to see that applicants now realize what SUEPO has been denouncing for several years.
However, what they see as happening with search, examination and opposition has extended also to the Boards of Appeal. The pressure for reducing the backlog is leading to measures which clearly have an impact on the quality of the decisions. The quality of a decision is the quality of the reasoning leading to the decision and nothing else. Hastly and badly reasoned decisions are arbitrary and deteriorate the confidence in the judicial system.
There are still many experienced board members that deliver well reasoned decisions. However, in some years they will retire and be replaced by younger board members that never experienced a working environment in which quality and not quantity is the determining parameter. Reversing this will prove to be a steep mountain.

Here’s a response to that:

Whether and to what extent excessive administrative pressure might prevent members of the Boards of Appeal from taking considered and balanced decisions is central to the issue of their statutory independence, as will probably be examined in the pending German constitutional complaints.
In this respect a very interesting decision by the Bundesverfassungsgericht has just been published, which relates to the constitutionality of the appointment of judges for a limited period of time; see

https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/DE/2018/03/rs20180322_2bvr078016.html

There are numerous considerations there in relation to the required judicial independence which if applied to the Boards – in view inter alia of Judge Corcoran´s sad fate – might result in very dramatic conclusions in the EPO and UPC cases.
The decision has been issued by the second senate which is also in charge of the latter complaints, with the participation of Prof. Dr. Huber, the rapporteur in the same ….

Someone called “epo observer” then spoke of other issues:

Some of the points in this open letter are well taken. For example, the pressure to increase examiners’ production has led to summons to oral proceedings immediately following the applicant’s response to a first communication of the EPO, which is clearly premature.
However, the EPO should also be criticised for failing to consider simple measures targeting the practices of applicants and patent professionals :
– heavily increase filing fees linked to excessive length of applications and/or number of claims
– subject the 2-month extension of the deadline to a response to a fee
– make the fee for “continuation of proceedings” much more expensive than today’s derisory amount.
The EPO should also consider dissuading auxiliary requests, a practice regrettably endorsed by the Boards of Appeal (a patent office has no reason to “baby-sit” applicants).

“Experienced Examiner” (we presume an insider at present) gave these thoughts:

As a prerequisite, please bear in mind that the EPO is a kind of its own. The most striking difference from the point of view of staff is the lack of effective legal remedies. The only independent instance in disputes is the Adminisrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation, to reach a decision takes years. This is simpy too long for a labour dispute. I believe you all recall the case of the Board of Appeal member who waited more than 2 years for a judgment, got the case against him thrown out, and was subsequently transferred to another location and job. By the same President who should not have been involved in the handling of the case in the first place. A President enjoying diplomatic immunity and therefore outside and above prosecution, even if making public derogatory comments on the Board member concerned.

The same applies for applicants, opponents and appellants. Early – premature? – summons to oral proceedings, excessive costs for the applicant, the EPO will not cover them. Cancellation of oral proceedings by the EPO, costs incurred, the EPO will not cover them. Financial shenenigans “on industrial scale” as put by Max, nobody aside from the Administrative Council can intervene. And as long as these guys get their renewal fees and some technical cooperation funds, they will not intervene.

The basic message is: the EPO and its top management may do whatever they want, they are unlikely to have to face any consequences, provided they keep the majority of the Administrative Council flooded with cash.

a) Of course it is reasonable to aim for “as quickly as possible”. The EPO puts much more emphasis on the second part “within specific allowed times”. It is not relevant whether a particular case would deserve more time. And believe me, the time we examiners get is pretty short. Some of us stopped reading the description. This will have an impact on quality.

b) I believe the point of the letter is that you pay premium and get mediocre in return. Stated differently, you pay for a Porsche and get a Fiat (no offense intended).

c, d) The EPO is supposed to grant patents with a high presumption of validity. We cannot determine the full scope of protection conferred by a claim and accordingly we cannot examine in this full scope on novelty and inventive step. And as Max correctly says, in any infringement you risk an attack on the patent based on new prior art. Still, the amount of uncertainty you face will depend on whether search and examination were thorough or sloppy. The letter mentions an “increased risk”.

But I believe the letter means more. Patents place restrictions on competitors, and if your products suddenly fall in the scope of a sloppy patent, you need to take action. You will not necessarily file an opposition or start nullity proceedings, but you will need to check whether the patent is valid in the whole claim range, collect prior art, maybe start negotiations. All that could have been avoided by thorough search and examination. Briefly, an undue scope of protection creates additional overhead costs.

e) I see a political message here, that the law firms in question may start recommending to their clients to go national with their patents. The EPO is routinely emphasizing the number of applications received and concludes that everything is fine because the numbers keep rising. Well, once the numbers drop it may be too late.

f) full agreement

Concerning the “German” aspects touched upon, I seriously disagree. In my opinion, the letter does not include anything in this regard. Looks like Max misinterpreted points c) and d). He appears to have overlooked the impact a patent with erroneous scope has on the competitors, as well as the “increased risk”. The law firms are aware that there is and will always be a risk. They question why this risk should be increased. A fair question, if you ask me, considering in particular the “high presumtion of validity” the EPO shall deliver.

Coming to the incentives. The reporting of examiners has changed, it is now “products” only, regardless of how much time you have (I never understood this “product” stuff, we deliver a service). As of now, a refusal which takes much longer than a grant wil be rewarded below the time needed. And you will have to deliver at least the same number of products as last year. Do the math: if you had 10 refusals last year, translating into 20 products, you do again 10 refusals this year and you need 10 additional products to keep up. I venture to say this is quite some increase which does not appear on the balance sheet as such. You need to take a look at the details.

Max mentioned a “shoulder shrugging so what mentality”. I can confirm such a mentality is spreading. If the management decision is to reduce the time we may spend on search, well, we will follow that decision. It is not advisable to deviate or to voice concerns. According to our management, quality is fine, so what? We follow the prescribed routines, and if there is a bit of time left once we are through with that, we do some additional steps – on a good day.

Rumour has it even EPO management has started to notice a drop in quality. Our in-house metrics, as shoddy or as good as they are, seem to indicate a decline, a quite rapid one over the last two years, from 98% compliance to 92% compliance, with a negative trend for the future. According to what I hear, the countermeasure proposed is to lower the benchmark. The quality indicator must remain above the benchmark, regardless of measured quality.

We hope to find more such “insider” thoughts; it helps refute the claims from the PR department and puts greater pressure on it to quit lying.

Curiously enough, even though Hoffmann Eitle has complained about patent quality, “Dominik Scheible of Hoffman Eitle opens the AI panel with a mock-up of a patent for C-3PO,” wrote patent maximalists today. "AI" is a buzzword (revived by the media last year) and it means software patents in Europe i.e. bunk patents that oughtn’t be granted. Examiners at the EPO ought to familiarise themselves with the 4 or so acronyms that the EPO’s management likes to use in an effort to justify granting patents on algorithms (thinly veiled as “IoT”, “4IR”, “ICT” and so on).

Those who found themselves pressured to grant because of some buzzwords (perhaps Line Managers/Directors push towards that) are encouraged to speak out anonymously. We’d love to hear such stories, similar to the leaked E-mails from the EPO's Roberto Vacca.
________
* The full letter reads:

Open Letter: Quality of Examination Proceedings at the EPO

Dear President Battistelli, Dear Dr. Ernst, Dear Mr. Morey, Dear Mr. Campinos,

Each year our law firms file more than 9500 patent applications with the EPO.

For several years now we have followed with great concern the developments at the European Patent Office, in particular the modifications to the incentive systems for the examination of patent applications. The incentive systems and internal directives appear to be increasingly directed towards rewarding or even requesting rapid “termination” of proceedings and a correspondingly higher productivity. This has resulted in penalization of detailed and thorough assessment of cases.

While we do appreciate the increased average speed of the proceedings, such an overreaching desire for high productivity has led to the following, specific problems regarding the examination of patents:

a) When the aim is to terminate proceedings as quickly as possible within specific allowed times, the quality of the search and examination of applications must suffer.

b) The fees for search and examination, which are rather high when compared internationally, can only be justified by giving the examiners sufficient time for an indepth assessment of each single application.

c) Patents that have been examined less thoroughly tend to have an erroneous scope of protection. This distorts and hinders economic competition within the EPC Member States.

d) Proprietors of inadequately examined patents are exposed to an increased risk of their patents not being able to be successfully asserted against competitors in their full scope.

e) If the users of the European system gain the impression that granted EP patents cannot be relied upon anymore due to insufficient search and examination, the users may increasingly be discouraged from filing European patents. This might unhinge the entire patent system.

f) The core task of the EPO is the examination and grant of European patents. This is an important public task, where the EPO needs to balance the interests of the public against the interests of patent applicants. The official fees are supposed to self-fund the EPO. However, in contrast to an industrial company, we cannot see why the profit of the EPO needs to be increased beyond the level of self-funding. From our perspective, the high surplus is rather an indication that the fees are too high and that a further, problematic increase of productivity is not appropriate.

We have observed that our perception of endangered quality of the examination of European patent applications is shared by a large number of patent examiners. As you know, a petition was recently published in which more than 900 examiners at the European Patent Office revealed that they are prevented by the internal directives from a thorough, complete search and examination.

In view of this background, we urgently suggest setting up new incentive systems for examining European patents so that the high-quality of searches and examinations for which the European Patent Office used to be known will be guaranteed again.

In the United States the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Which Assures Patent Quality, is Still Being Smeared by Law Firms That Profit From Patent Maximalism, Lawsuits

Friday 15th of June 2018 07:55:41 AM

They have the audacity to call patent tribunals “death squads” whilst abusing immunity to dodge these tribunals

Summary: Auditory roles which help ascertain high quality of patents (or invalidate low-quality patents, at least those pointed out by petitions) are being smeared, demonised as “death squads” and worked around using dirty tricks that are widely described as “scams”

THE quality of patents — not the quantity — matters a lot; a new letter about the EPO demonstrates just that and USPTO leadership ought to take notice. Failing to ensure high patent quality or inability to assure consistent patenting standards may be disastrous; for instance, if an office grants very low-quality patents for a number of months/years, that may be enough to muddy the water and harm the reputation of (or confidence in) all patents, collectively. People and firms pay a humongous amount of money to patent offices under the assumption that granted patents would then be honoured by courts. When that stops happening the demand for patents declines and many are considered questionable if not worthless.

“This post is about the USPTO, where attacks on PTAB have intensified also at the executive level (not judicial), adding to the loud if not aggressive protests from patent extremists.”The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is the American equivalent of Europe’s BoA and it’s constantly under attack from patent maximalists, including Battistelli’s American equivalent, Andrei Iancu. He too is a patent maximalist, having come from a law firm and as we recalled in the previous post, he and Battistelli now jointly participate (in capacity as keynote speakers) in PTAB-bashing events organised by IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby. Why do they hate patent quality so much? Can’t they just accept what judges keep saying rather than cherry-pick whatever decision suits their personal agenda? Battistelli’s Office has demolished BoA (its capacity and its independence); Iancu hopes to do the same to PTAB, but after Oil States he’s facing an uphill battle. Iancu is not a judge and he can’t just defy laws or court rulings. Leave that to Battistelli, who exploits diplomatic immunity to routinely break the law and refuse to obey court orders. Anyway, this post isn’t about the EPO, which seems so defunct that António Campinos comes into Office only to fire workers. This post is about the USPTO, where attacks on PTAB have intensified also at the executive level (not judicial), adding to the loud if not aggressive protests from patent extremists.

The 'all-knowing' Mr. Gross has just said:

PTAB abuses [Section] 101 again:”we fail to see, how … ranking step, requires something other than computer functions that are well-understood, routine, and conventional, such as receiving, processing, and displaying data” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016004545-05-25-2018-1 … FFS all computer functions process data!

“There’s no PTAB abuse,” I told him. “The abuse was granting software patent in the first place.”

PTAB is, in effect, cleaning up the mess, as per the law and the Supreme Court’s decisions.

Then he started insinuating — yet again — that invalidating bogus patents is like “killing” (remember that they call judges and courts “death squads”). A couple of new examples:

If heard by usual PTAB panel suspects this patent is 100% dead under §101: rejection of “managing access to a partition of another airline’s flight-inventory database” is reversed! https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017002396-05-30-2018-1 … Apparently these judges didnt get “kill everything as abstract idea” memo

Goldman Sachs is getting KILLED at PTAB trying to get cases on trading technology; I have to wonder who is advising them to challenge these 101 rejections – its like watching Pickett’s charge: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008456-05-29-2018-1 … guess its nice work if you can get it

“It’s called applying the law,” I told him, not “killing”.

People like him won’t listen. They contribute articles to massive patent trolls such as Dominion Harbor. To them, justice is a “death squad”. They, the trolls, are what exactly? They blackmail firms, just like the Mafia. Who’s more worthy of the label “death squad”? Judges or patent trolls?

Anyway, the good news is that these people aren’t getting their way. They have been reduced to cherry pickers of district court cases, not Federal Circuit or even the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Borehead, LLC v Ellingson Drainage, Inc. was brought up yesterday. This is clearly not a case involving software patents or even patents on life. We suppose that patent maximalists like Patent Docs (Donald Zuhn in this case) only ever wind up/prefer to point out those oddball “35 U.S.C. § 101″ challenges that aren’t relevant to § 101. To quote some portions:

Ellingson moved to dismiss Borehead’s complaint, arguing that claim 1 is drawn to an abstract idea that is not patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. To determine whether claim 1 is directed to a patent ineligible abstract idea, the District Court applied the two-part inquiry set forth by the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l. The inquiry requires that a court first determine whether the claim is directed to an abstract concept, and if so, determine whether additional elements transform the nature of the claim into a patent‐eligible application, which the Supreme Court described as “a search for an ‘inventive concept.’”

[...]

In addition, the Court noted that “[e]ven if Claim 1 could be considered to be directed at an abstract concept, it nevertheless incorporates the inventive idea of rearranging the conventional steps of moving pipe underground beneath an obstacle in a non‐conventional way in order to make the process easier and safer.” The District Court therefore denied Ellingson’s motion to dismiss Borehead’s complaint.

Well, we’ve seen this pattern before, even one day beforehand (more like a Mayo-type challenge, also in a district court). This is just a case of misapplying Alice or a weak defense strategy. But still, if appealed to the Federal Circuit, the defendant might get its way. The Federal Circuit is a lot stricter (compared to district courts).

Patent maximalist Iancu meanwhile makes his next move. “Memorandum addresses the question of how to evaluate the patent eligibility of method of treatment claims in light of the Federal Circuit decision in Vanda,” Michael Loney recalled (it’s from a day earlier).

Thus far we’ve seen plenty of rhetoric from Iancu, but never any substantial changes to law and practice. Maybe he’s just trying to appease the hounds who lobby him, telling them what they wish to hear rather than what’s about to really happen. IAM even puts words in his mouth, as does Watchtroll (like fabricating statements for dramatic headlines). This is just their modus operandi.

Writing about a PTAB inter partes review (IPR), Docket Navigator has just said that in Prisua Engineering Corp. v Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. et al the relatively fresh SAS Institute Inc. v Iancu was brought up:

Following a jury trial but prior to the entry of judgment, the court sua sponte stayed plaintiff’s patent infringement action pending inter partes review after the PTAB reinstituted review in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu, 138 S. Ct. 1348 (2018).

This does not actually change the outcome, only the process. This might slow down PTAB a little. Maybe that’s what the anti-PTAB lobby really hopes for. Watchtroll and the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) now speak of the latest anti-PTAB initiative, courtesy of Orrin Hatch [1, 2]. IAM’s ‘lobbyist’ who was ‘assigned’ to Iancu said this: “US Senator Orrin Hatch has introduced a legislative amendment which would prevent generic drug companies from challenging brand-name drug patents using both the Hatch-Waxman and an inter partes review (IPR) routes. Instead, they would be forced to choose which of the two procedures that are currently available to them to use. IPR has proved to be particularly unpopular with the brand-name drug industry. It has complained that pharma patent owners face the twin threat of a Hatch-Waxman challenge, which has been in place for more than 30 years, and, since 2012, a post issuance review from generic competitors. ”

So Mr. Hatch basically protects giant pharmaceutical firms from generics, in essence harming poor people, denying them access to affordable medicine. It might be worth looking who donates to Hatch’s campaign if he seeks to shield them from PTAB’s scrutiny. Did Allergan offer some money?

And speaking of shielding oneself from PTAB’s scrutiny, remember what Allergan attempted to do with a tribe, as we last recalled some days ago because the tribe’s lawyer doubled down on the “scam”. Watchtroll’s Steve Brachmann (anti-PTAB because he’s paid for it) is 10 days late to the news. Yesterday he wrote:

On Monday, June 4th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in St. Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, a case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) which asks the appeals court to determine whether tribal sovereign immunity can be asserted to terminate inter partes review (IPR) proceedings at the PTAB. The Federal Circuit panel consisting of Circuit Judges Kimberley Moore, Timothy Dyk and Jimmie Reyna lobbed tough questions at counsel representing appellants St. Regis and Allergan, appellees Mylan and Teva as well as the respondent for the U.S. federal government, without giving much clue as to whether the panel favored the argument offered by any particular side.

Nobody should be immune from PTAB, not even government departments or universities. If patents were granted in error by the Office, then there should be a path for revocation. It’s really as simple as that. The above case is part of an elaborate “scam” because a tribe pretends to be a patent holder… of a patent it has absolutely nothing to do with, rendering it a clear misuse of tribal immunity that earned scorn and wrath from judges and politicians, not just the media.

The ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) Hype, Propped Up by Events of the European Patent Office (EPO), is Infectious and It Threatens Patent Quality Worldwide

Friday 15th of June 2018 06:43:07 AM

Same for “4IR”: EPO-Funded Propaganda for Software Patents Reaches as Far as East Asia and the EPO Then Brags About That

Summary: Having spread surrogate terms like “4IR” (somewhat of a 'mask' for software patents, by the EPO's own admission in the Gazette), the EPO continues with several more terms like “ICT” and now we’re grappling with terms like “AI”, which the media endlessly perpetuates these days (in relation to patents it de facto means little more than “clever algorithms”)

TECHRIGHTS routinely comments, sometimes quite harshly, about the EPO and USPTO not because it opposes patents but because it opposes patent maximalism. The same can be said for copyrights and trademarks; we’re in favour of both, but in moderation. We need policy that actually reflects societal needs rather than a meta-industry saturated by lawyers. None of this is new of course; copyright maximalists typically receive most of the attention in the media (e.g. this story that’s circulating this week [1, 2]) and we feel like there’s a lack of sceptics when it comes to patent maximalism. Some sites are against patents altogether, but we’re not among them.

“Some sites are against patents altogether, but we’re not among them.”As we noted the other day, there’s this new example of patents being used to reach a deal over patents. These are not software patents and IPPro Patents makes is sound like an amicable agreement rather than a lawsuit or even a threat of lawsuit.

Global Graphics Software is licensing three patents covering inventions by Mitchell Bogart, the inventor and managing member of Rampage LLC.

The company plans to utilise the methods alongside its own software solutions for inkjet and to pass on the benefits exclusively to its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers.

The three patents are US patent numbers. 9,053,410, 9,734,440, and 9,278,566, which cover the Quantone processing methods of screening and compensation for multiple gray-level digital presses and automatic print head registration.

Sadly, the media does not have many stories like the above. We typically read and hear only about lawsuits. Sometimes we see press releases about newly-granted patents. Patent maximalists like the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) obsess over the number of patents (this one is from yesterday), not the quality. Why not just automatically generate and then grant a billion patents overnight. Would that make them happy?

“Only crazy patent fans who make a living from an overabundance of patents (irrespective of their quality) actually keep track of the number and salivate over US patent number 10 million. That’s IAM anyway.”Given the low quality of IAM’s own reporting (accuracy/fact-checking) or even the utter lack of objectiveness at this patent trolls’ megaphone, what makes us think/believe they don’t also fabricate so-called ‘benchmarks’ and surveys? It seems like what they call “quality” has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of patents; it’s about how many patents are granted and how quickly (known as “timeliness”).

The above post, titled “Celebrating US patent number 10,000,000,” is similar to many posts we saw before (this one is from Timothy Au, who several times earlier this month acted as Battistelli’s agent of Big Lies, namely the “quality” lie). The number of patents or mere quantity (lawsuits, patents) does not indicate level of innovation but of friction. Only crazy patent fans who make a living from an overabundance of patents (irrespective of their quality) actually keep track of the number and salivate over US patent number 10 million. That’s IAM anyway. Each newly-granted patent is another potential lawsuit (or several). Lawsuits are only/mostly fun for lawyers.

Having just finished an anti-§ 101 lobbying event in the United States, IAM must be very proud of itself (Microsoft was AI-washing software patents in there). It helped crooked Benoît Battistelli and Andrei Iancu. They’re both patent maximalists. A press release has just been issued by the USPTO to say:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosted the annual meeting of the heads of the world’s five largest intellectual property offices, commonly referred to as the IP5. In addition to the USPTO, the members of the IP5 include the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO). Together, the five offices handle approximately 80 percent of the world’s patent applications.

They are already calling software patents “AI” in order to make software seem patentable (if judges actually ‘buy’ that). As IP Watch has just noted (hours ago): “World’s 5 Largest IP Offices Name Artificial Intelligence A Top Strategic Priority [...] The heads of the patent offices of China, Europe, Korea, Japan and the United States met today and declared artificial intelligence one of the top strategic priorities for them as a group. Other efforts included work on harmonising patent practices, the Global Dossier program, classification of new technologies, and patents and standards, according to a release.”

“More buzzwords like “fintech” (similar to “blockchain” in the contextual sense) are nowadays appearing as a pretext for software patenting.”And from the press release (as above) “In addition to USPTO Director Iancu, meeting participants included Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO [...] The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the patent system was identified as one of the main IP5 strategic priorities to be the subject of common reflection.”

Dennis Crouch soon amplified this as well. Over the past month we wrote quite a few articles about this “AI” hype, which the EPO dedicated a whole pro-software patents event to. The EPO also uses terms like ICT, CII, and 4IR. It’s almost always about software.

More buzzwords like “fintech” (similar to “blockchain” in the contextual sense) are nowadays appearing as a pretext for software patenting. Here’s Tech Wire Asia on Singapore, having published this article only hours ago. Mind this part, which speaks more explicitly about software:

How Singapore’s fast-track patents will help fintech innovations

[...]

Unlike copyright, which in the case of software protects the code itself, patents protect the concept or functionality available on the software.

This means that a third party who replicate a similar function, even if using a totally different set of code, would be in violation of your patent. Patents tend to last for 20 years from the date of filing.

For businesses, this is crucial for distinguishing your offerings from others. If you are selling a piece of software or a service with a particularly unique feature, patents prevent other companies from copying it.

Another typical loophole for software patents? Calling things “fintech”, “blockchain” and whatever buzzword/hype du jour catches one’s eye?

“The EPO needs to watch out because large law firms are noticing the decline in patent quality (no matter what lies IAM is disseminating for Battistelli). They argue that this may result in significant decline in applications, necessitating layoffs and further fee reductions (to spur if not fake ‘demand’).”We recently wrote about Qualcomm‘s dubious patents, European Patents from the EPO included, as we noted earlier this month and last month [1, 2]. Josh Landau from the CCIA says* that the ITC might soon get involved and he notes that “Qualcomm has already dropped several patents from this case and in a companion European case admitted that some of its patents are of questionable validity.”

The EPO needs to watch out because large law firms are noticing the decline in patent quality (no matter what lies IAM is disseminating for Battistelli). They argue that this may result in significant decline in applications, necessitating layoffs and further fee reductions (to spur if not fake ‘demand’).
____
* Landau’s new post may be the subject of later reporting as it involves antitrust aspects too. To quote: “The first Apple/Qualcomm International Trade Commission (ITC) case is about to kick into high gear, with the prehearing conference scheduled for Friday and the hearing (essentially the equivalent of a trial in the ITC) opening next week. Qualcomm has already dropped several patents from this case and in a companion European case admitted that some of its patents are of questionable validity. Setting aside the merits of the patents in the ITC case, why is Qualcomm using the ITC as part of their litigation strategy?”

Links 15/6/2018: HP Chromebook X2 With GNU/Linux Software, Apple Admits and Closes a Back Door (‘Loophole’)

Friday 15th of June 2018 05:21:37 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • How to select the right enterprise Linux

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux is widely thought of as the first choice in operating systems for important servers, but it may not be the right choice for all applications.

    The decision to use any modern edition of that operating system, generally spoken as RHEL with a silent H, is usually based on a need for component stability, paid technical support, and long-term version support, said Red Hat’s Ron Pacheco, director of global product management.

    Customers have other options for data center operating systems. RHEL wouldn’t always be appropriate for edge devices, functions-as-a-service, and highly specialized applications, Pacheco noted.

  • Desktop
    • HP Chromebook X2 is the first Detachable Chromebook with Linux app support

      We first heard of Chrome OS gaining Linux app support back in February. Google officially confirmed during Google I/O 2018 that the Pixelbook would be the first Chromebook with Linux app support, but since then the Samsung Chromebook Plus has joined in on the fun. Tonight, a device that we expected to eventually gain Linux app support finally got support for it: the HP Chromebook X2.

    • HP Chromebook X2 Receives Linux App Support In Canary

      Following Google’s addition of Linux app support for Chrome OS and its own Pixelbook shortly after this year’s Google I/O conference which took place last month, the same Linux treatment has now been given to the new HP Chromebook X2. The aforementioned device was released in April as the first Chrome OS notebook to be wrapped in a 2-in-1 format, boasting stylus support and a metal unibody design. The recent implementation of Linux apps is primarily aimed at developers and presently it can only be acquired by switching to the Canary channel.

    • HP Chromebook X2 Gets Official Linux App Support

      Google recently announced that Chrome OS devices will soon get support for Linux apps starting with the company’s own Pixelbook, after which Chromebooks from other manufacturers will also get the same treatment. Samsung’s Chromebook Plus was the first device from another manufacturer to get support for Linux apps, and now, HP’s Chromebook X2 has joined the league.

    • HP Chromebook X2 Looks to Be First Detachable Chromebook to Support Linux Apps

      Support for running Linux apps is becoming a thing among Chromebook fans, and it looks like each day new Chrome OS devices are getting Linux app support.

      During the Google I/O annual developer conference last month, Google announced it is working to bring support for Linux apps in future versions of its Linux-based Chrome OS operating system for Chromebooks, and the first Chromebook to receive support for running Linux applications is, of course, Google’s Pixelbook.

    • Windows 10 alternatives: best free, open source operating systems

      Switching to an open source OS could involve a learning curve, but the community, customisation and lack of cost should be enough to make up for it.

    • Laptops with 128GB of RAM are here

      Brace yourself for laptops with 128GB of RAM because they’re coming. Today, Lenovo announced its ThinkPad P52, which, along with that massive amount of memory, also features up to 6TB of storage, up to a 4K, 15.6-inch display, an eighth-gen Intel hexacore processor, and an Nvidia Quadro P3200 graphics card.

  • Server
    • Container and Kubernetes Security: It’s Complicated

      Container technology is being increasingly used by organizations as a way to deploy applications and micro-services. The promise of containers is improved agility and portability, while potentially also reducing the attack surface. Though container technology can be helpful for security, it can also have its own set of risks.

      In a panel session at the recent Kubecon + CloudNativeCon EU event titled “Modern App Security Requires Containers” — moderated by eSecurity Planet — security experts from Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project and Google debated what’s wrong and what’s right with container security.

    • Docker Defines Itself as the Open Choice for Containers at DockerCon 18

      Docker CEO Steve Singh kicked off his company’s DockerCon 18 conference here today, offering the assembled crowd of container enthusiasts a clear vision of where Docker is going.

      For Docker Inc, the company behind the eponymous container system, a lot is at stake. This is the first DockerCon where the founder of the company, Solomon Hykes is not present. Hykes left Docker in March, as the company direction has increasingly focused on enterprise adoption and commercial market growth.

    • Going Global with Kubernetes

      Kubernetes is often touted as the Linux of the cloud world, and that comparison is fair when you consider its widespread adoption. But, with great power comes great responsibility and, as the home of Kubernetes, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) shoulders many responsibilities, including learning from the mistakes of other open source projects while not losing sight of the main goal. The rapid global growth of CNCF also means increased responsibility in terms of cultural diversity and creating a welcoming environment.

    • Docker Enterprise Edition Offers Multicloud App Management

      Docker has expanded its commercial container platform software, Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) to manage containerized applications across multiple cloud services.

      The idea with this release is to better help enterprise customers manage their applications across the entire development and deployment lifecycle, said Jenny Fong, Docker director of product marketing. “While containers help make applications more portable, the management of the containers is not the same,” Fong said.

      Docker EE provides a management layer for containers, addressing needs around security and governance, and the company is now extending this management into the cloud.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Flash storage topics

      At the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Jaegeuk Kim described some current issues for flash storage, especially with regard to Android. Kim is the F2FS developer and maintainer, and the filesystem-track session was ostensibly about that filesystem. In the end, though, the talk did not focus on F2FS and instead ranged over a number of problem areas for Android flash storage.

      He started by noting that Universal Flash Storage (UFS) devices have high read/write speeds, but can also have high latency for some operations. For example, ext4 will issue a discard command but a UFS device might take ten seconds to process it. That leads the user to think that Android is broken, he said.

    • The ZUFS zero-copy filesystem

      At the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Boaz Harrosh presented his zero-copy user-mode filesystem (ZUFS). It is both a filesystem in its own right and a framework similar to FUSE for implementing filesystems in user space. It is geared toward extremely low latency and high performance, particularly for systems using persistent memory.

      Harrosh began by saying that the idea behind his talk is to hopefully entice others into helping out with ZUFS. There are lots of “big iron machines” these days, some with extremely fast I/O paths (e.g. NVMe over fabrics with throughput higher than memory). “For some reason” there may be a need to run a filesystem in user space but the current interface is slow because “everyone is copy happy”, he said.

    • A filesystem “change journal” and other topics

      At the 2017 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Amir Goldstein presented his work on adding a superblock watch mechanism to provide a scalable way to notify applications of changes in a filesystem. At the 2018 edition of LSFMM, he was back to discuss adding NTFS-like change journals to the kernel in support of backup solutions of various sorts. As a second topic for the session, he also wanted to discuss doing more performance-regression testing for filesystems.

      Goldstein said he is working on getting the superblock watch feature merged. It works well and is used in production by his employer, CTERA Networks, but there is a need to get information about filesystem changes even after a crash. Jan Kara suggested that what was wanted was an indication of which files had changed since the last time the filesystem changes were queried; Goldstein agreed.

    • Will staging lose its Lustre?

      The kernel’s staging tree is meant to be a path by which substandard code can attract increased developer attention, be improved, and eventually find its way into the mainline kernel. Not every module graduates from staging; some are simply removed after it becomes clear that nobody cares about them. It is rare, though, for a project that is actively developed and widely used to be removed from the staging tree, but that may be about to happen with the Lustre filesystem.

      The staging tree was created almost exactly ten years ago as a response to the ongoing problem of out-of-tree drivers that had many users but which lacked the code quality to get into the kernel. By giving such code a toehold, it was hoped, the staging tree would help it to mature more quickly; in the process, it would also provide a relatively safe place for aspiring kernel developers to get their hands dirty fixing up the code. By some measures, staging has been a great success: it has seen nearly 50,000 commits contributed by a large community of developers, and a number of drivers have, indeed, shaped up and moved into the mainline. The “ccree” TrustZone CryptoCell driver graduated from staging in 4.17, for example, and the visorbus driver moved to the mainline in 4.16.

    • Statistics from the 4.17 kernel development cycle

      The 4.17 kernel appears to be on track for a June 3 release, barring an unlikely last-minute surprise. So the time has come for the usual look at some development statistics for this cycle. While 4.17 is a normal cycle for the most part, it does have one characteristic of note: it is the third kernel release ever to be smaller (in terms of lines of code) than its predecessor.

      The 4.17 kernel, as of just after 4.17-rc7, has brought in 13,453 non-merge changesets from 1,696 developers. Of those developers, 256 made their first contribution to the kernel in this cycle; that is the smallest number of first-time developers since 4.8 (which had 237). The changeset count is nearly equal to 4.16 (which had 13,630), but the developer count is down from the 1,774 seen in the previous cycle.

    • Deferring seccomp decisions to user space

      There has been a lot of work in recent years to use BPF to push policy decisions into the kernel. But sometimes, it seems, what is really wanted is a way for a BPF program to punt a decision back to user space. That is the objective behind this patch set giving the secure computing (seccomp) mechanism a way to pass complex decisions to a user-space helper program.

      Seccomp, in its most flexible mode, allows user space to load a BPF program (still “classic” BPF, not the newer “extended” BPF) that has the opportunity to review every system call made by the controlled process. This program can choose to allow a call to proceed, or it can intervene by forcing a failure return or the immediate death of the process. These seccomp filters are known to be challenging to write for a number of reasons, even when the desired policy is simple.

      Tycho Andersen, the author of the “seccomp trap to user space” patch set, sees a number of situations where the current mechanism falls short. His scenarios include allowing a container to load modules, create device nodes, or mount filesystems — with rigid controls applied. For example, creation of a /dev/null device would be allowed, but new block devices (or almost anything else) would not. Policies to allow this kind of action can be complex and site-specific; they are not something that would be easily implemented in a BPF program. But it might be possible to write something in user space that could handle decisions like these.

    • Linux 4.18 Addition Helps Dell + Thunderbolt Systems

      In addition to the secondary power management updates sent in on Wednesday for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window, a set of ACPI updates were also submitted.

      With this ACPI update that was already merged there is updates to the ACPICA code, debugger updates, and other routine work. Arguably the most user-facing change though is allowing Linux respond to the “Windows 2017.2″ _OSI string. That Windows 2017.2 operating system interface string is what’s used by Windows 10 Version 1709 in the latest buids of Windows.

    • When and Why was Linux Created?

      Why was Linux created? So that the young Linus Torvalds could use his computer hardware better and with fewer restrictions. Fast forward to 2018 and the Linux kernel (together with GNU,) is the most popular Operating System used on servers and by data administrators, among other clientele.

      You can breeze through Wikipedia’s record of Linux’s history for details on how events unfolded as well as milestones in the project’s development over the years.

      Are there any details you know that I shouldn’t have left out? Feel free to drop your two cents in the comments section below.

    • Soon It Might Be Possible To Finally Have A Nice ARM-Powered Linux Laptop

      While it’s now becoming possible to run real Linux apps on Chrome OS, for those that have been dreaming of a real and pleasant GNU/Linux desktop experience on an ARM-powered laptop without much hackery, that soon may finally be a reality.

    • Intel Posts Linux Graphics Driver Patches For Whiskey Lake, Amber Lake

      Intel open-source developers today posted the set of patches for adding support for upcoming Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake processors for the Linux kernel’s Direct Rendering Manager driver.

      The patches out today add Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake graphics support to the i915 kernel DRM driver. There isn’t yet patches for libdrm and Mesa, but given how simple these additions are, those patches should be out soon.

    • Linux Foundation
      • The Schedule for Open Source Summit North America Is Now Live

        Join us August 29-31, in Vancouver, BC, for 250+ sessions covering a wide array of topics including Linux Systems, Cloud Native Applications, Blockchain, AI, Networking, Cloud Infrastructure, Open Source Leadership, Program Office Management and more. Arrive early for new bonus content on August 28 including co-located events, tutorials, labs, workshops, and lightning talks.

    • Graphics Stack
      • H.264 Decoding Tackled For Reverse-Engineered “Cedrus” Allwinner Video Decode Driver

        The Bootlin (formerly Free Electrons) developers working on the Cedrus open-source, reverse-engineered Allwinner video decode driver have posted their patches for enabling H.264 video decoding.

        Earlier versions of their Sunxi-Cedrus driver patches had just supported MPEG-2 with other codecs to be tackled, but hitting the kernel mailing list this week were their patches for enabling H.264 decoding on Allwinner hardware.

      • More Vega M Performance Numbers Surfacing, Linux State Looking Good

        The performance of the Intel Core i7-8809G “Kabylake G” processor with onboard Radeon “Vega M” graphics are looking quite good under Linux now that the support has been squared away.

      • Mesa RadeonSI Lands Possible Vega/Raven Performance Improvement

        Earlier this month AMD’s Marek Olšák posted RadeonSI patches for a scissor workaround affecting GFX9/Vega GPUs including Raven Ridge, which were based upon a RADV driver workaround already merged that helped affected games by up to ~11%. A revised version of that patch is now in Mesa 18.2 Git.

      • libinput and its device quirks files

        This post does not describe a configuration system. If that’s all you care about, read this post here and go be angry at someone else. Anyway, with that out of the way let’s get started.

        For a long time, libinput has supported model quirks (first added in Apr 2015). These model quirks are bitflags applied to some devices so we can enable special behaviours in the code. Model flags can be very specific (“this is a Lenovo x230 Touchpad”) or generic (“This is a trackball”) and it just depends on what the specific behaviour is that we need. The x230 touchpad for example has a custom pointer acceleration but trackballs are marked so they get some config options mice don’t have/need.

    • Benchmarks
      • The NVIDIA vs. Open-Source Nouveau Linux Driver Benchmarks For Summer 2018

        It has been some months since last delivering any benchmarks of Nouveau, the open-source, community-driven for NVIDIA GPUs. The reason for not having any Nouveau benchmarks recently has largely been due to lack of major progress, at least on the GeForce desktop GPU side, while NVIDIA has continued to contribute on the Tegra side. For those wondering how the current performance is of this driver that started out more than a decade ago via reverse-engineering, here are some benchmarks of the latest open-source Nouveau and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers on Ubuntu.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Retrospective: The KDE Mission Survey

        It might sound a bit weird that I’m now talking about something that took place two years ago, but I just realized that while the call to participate in the survey for the KDE Mission was published on the Dot, the results have so far not received their own article.

        People who have participated in the survey but don’t read the Community list might have missed the results, which would be a pity. Therefore, I’d like to offer a bit of a retrospective on how the survey came to be and what came out of it.

      • Google Summer of Code, Porting Keyboard KCM to Qt Quick — Part 2

        Hi! It’s been quite a while since the first blog post. I’ve been working on the new redesign of the Keyboard KCM, and in this post I’m going to show you the progress I’ve made so far.

        Since last time, I’ve been mainly focusing on working improving the infrastructure. One of the goals of this project was to make configuring the input methods (like fcitx, ibus, …) in the System Settings easier. I decided to start with fcitx, since we know the developer of it (Xuetian Weng), and thus easier to ask when there is a question/problem.

      • Krita 4.0.4 Painting Software Has Been Released | Install On Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver)

        Krita is a free and open source advanced painting software for cross platform. The development team has just announced a new maintenance release Krita 4.0.4. It brings several bug fixes and stability improvements. Here are the major improvements of Krita 4.0.4.

      • GSoC: Krita AVX mask optimizations, setting up the environment.

        Hi! GSoC student here :]. This first weeks coding for Krita have been so busy I forgot to write about them. So I’ll start to sum everything up in short posts about each step of the project implementation process.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Is Here – And It Looks Incredible

        Back in May we said that KDE Plasma 5.13 was shaping up to be one heck of a release — now that it’s out, I think I can say we were right.

        And to demo the key changes arriving in this update of the popular, resource-efficient desktop environment is a spiffy official release video.

        At a speedy 2 minutes 22 seconds long, the official clip offers a concise overview of the what’s new in Plasma 5.13, from its new-look system settings and nifty browser integration, to the redesigned lock and login screens and improved ‘Discover’ software tool.

      • GSoC 2018: First period summary

        Hi everybody, it has been a month since I started working on WikiToLearn PWA for Google Summer of Code program and many things happened!
        WTL frontend needed some improvements in terms of usability and functionalities. Course needed a way to update their metadata: title and chapters order for example
        So I implemented a work-in-progress EDIT MODE, as you can see below. You can drag chapters, insert new ones and/or modify course title.

      • Qt 3D Studio RC2 is available

        We have released Qt 3D Studio 2.0 RC2 today. It is available as both commercial and open source versions from online and offline installers.

        Qt 3D Studio 2.0 has a whole new 3D engine built on top of Qt 3D, a new timeline built from ground up with Qt based on the new timeline code in upcoming Qt Design Studio. Also there are a lot of improvements to the designer user experience, interactions in the 3D edit view and visualisation of lights and cameras being most notable ones. And of course we have numerous bug fixes.

      • Qt 3D Studio 2.0 RC2 Released For This 2D/3D UI Designer

        The second release candidate of the revamped Qt 3D Studio 2.0 is now available for testing.

        Qt developers have had a very busy week with the Qt Contributors’ Summit where they talked of early Qt 6.0 plans, releasing the inaugural Qt for Python, and also updating Qt 5.9 and Qt Creator 4.6. The latest is now their second test release of the upcoming Qt 3D Studio 2.0.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Be a redshirt this GUADEC

        If you’re planning to volunteer at GUADEC this year and be part of the selfless redshirt team (we’ve got 100% survival rate so far!), please register before the end of this week so that we have a better idea of which t-shirt sizes to order. If you can’t register soon, you can still volunteer even if you register on site!

      • GStreamer CI support for embedded devices

        GStreamer is a popular open-source pipeline-based multimedia framework that has been in development since 2001. That’s 17 years of constant development, triaging, bug fixes, feature additions, packaging, and testing. Adopting a Jenkins-based Continuous Integration (CI) setup in August 2013, GStreamer and its dependencies are now built multiple times a day with each commit. Prior to that, the multimedia project used a build bot hosted by Collabora and Fluendo. At the time of this writing, GStreamer is built for the Linux (Fedora & Debian), macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS platforms. A very popular deployment target for GStreamer are embedded devices, but they are not targeted in the current CI setup.This meant additional manpower, effort, and testing outside of the automated tests for every release of GStreamer to validate on embedded boards. To rectify this, a goal was devised to integrate embedded devices into the CI.

  • Distributions
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • openSUSE Leap 15 Linux OS Is Now Available for Raspberry Pi, Other ARM Devices

        Released last month, openSUSE Leap 15 is based on the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system series and introduces numerous new features and improvements over the previous versions. These include a new disk partitioner in the installer, the ability to migrate OpenSuSE Leap 15 installations to SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 15, and integration with the Kopano open-source groupware application suite.

        openSUSE Leap 15 also ships with a Firewalld as the default firewall management tool, a brand-new look that’s closely aligned with SUSE Linux Enterprise, new classic “transactional server” and “server” system roles providing read-only root filesystem and transactional updates, and much more. Now, openSUSE Leap 15 was launched officially for ARM64 (AArch64) and ARMv7 devices, such as Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard, Arndale Board, CuBox-i, and OLinuXino.

      • openSUSE Releases Leap 15 Images for Raspberry Pi, Armv7 Devices

        Makers can leverage openSUSE Leap 15 images for aarch64 and Armv7 on Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded devices. Since openSUSE Leap 15 shares a common core SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 15 sources, makers who find success with a project or device can more comfortably transition to an enterprise product in the future should certifications become a requirement. Currently, the only IoT platform supported by SLE is the Raspberry Pi 3. However, there is no current supported migration from Leap 15 to SLE 15 with the Raspberry Pi. The barrier to entry in the IoT/embedded markets are lowered when a developer starts a project with Leap 15. Plus, the many supported arm boards can help developers circumnavigate future obstacles that might hinder project’s growth in a developing market.

    • Slackware Family
      • SBo DMCA Takedown

        About 14h ago, 10:32 PM GMT+7 (Western Indonesian Time), me (and several other people who forked SBo’s repository at GitHub) received a DMCA Takedown notice due to a company (Steinberg) filed a complaint to more than 200 open source repositories in GitHub that uses several of their header files (namely aeffect.h and aeffectx.h). We used that files in one of our scripts (jack-tools) which was changed over a year ago by the maintainer. At that time, it was OK to use their header files (although it has been unmaintained since 2013), but some time ago, Steinberg has made an announcement about dropping their support for VST 2 and focusing on VST 3 only. This drives the DMCA takedown action which affects SBo repositories in GitHub.

        The admins have discussed this matter last night and we came to a solution of fixing this issue permanently by removing the related commit and all the history for this script in master and 14.2 branch. This is not a trivial action as the commits involved were 11867 since 2017-02-04. Ponce did the initial testing and David did the final touch, including pushing an unexpected public update including with the mass re-base on master and 14.2 branch (Thanks David).

    • Red Hat Family
      • How to select the right enterprise Linux

        The decision to use any modern edition of that operating system, generally spoken as RHEL with a silent H, is usually based on a need for component stability, paid technical support, and long-term version support, said Red Hat’s Ron Pacheco, director of global product management.

      • CentOS 7.4 & kernel 4.x – Worth the risk?

        The reasons why we have gathered here are many. A few weeks ago, my CentOS distro went dead. With the new kernel containing Spectre patches, it refused to load the Realtek Wireless drivers into memory. Moreover, patches also prevent manual compilation. This makes the distro useless, as it has no network connection. Then, in my CentOS 7.4 upgrade article – which was flawless, including the network piece, go figure – I wondered about the use of new, modern 4.x kernels in CentOS. Sounds like we have a real incentive here.

        In this tutorial, I will attempt to install and use the latest mainline kernel (4.16 when I typed this). The benefits should be many. I’ve seen improved performance, responsiveness and battery life in newer kernels compared to the 3.x branch. The Realtek Wireless woes of the disconnect kind (like a Spielberg movie) were also fixed in kernel 4.8.7 onwards, so that’s another thing. Lastly, this would make CentOS a lean, mean and modern beast. Bravely onwards!

        [...]

        Now, I can breathe with relief, as I’ve delivered on my promise, and I gave you a full solution to the CentOS 7.4 Realtek issues post upgrade. I do not like to end articles on a cliffhanger, and definitely not carry the solution over to a follow-up article, but in this rare case, it was necessary. The mainline kernel upgrade is a topic of its own.

        The kernel installation worked fine, and thereafter, we seem to have gained on many fronts. The network issues are fully resolved, we can compile again, the performance seems improved despite worse figures in the system monitor, battery life and stability are not impaired in any way, and the CentOS box has fresh new life, wrapped in modern features and latest software. And none of this was meant to be in the first place, because CentOS is a server distro. Well, I hope you are happy. The one outstanding mission – Plasma 5. Once we have that, we can proudly claim to have created the ultimate Linux distro hybrid monster. Take care.

      • Red Hat Aims To Fuse Businesspeople Into ‘Citizen Integrators’
      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Binutils 2.31 Slated For Fedora 29

          To little surprise given that Fedora Linux always strives to ship with a bleeding-edge GNU toolchain, for the Fedora 29 release this fall they are planning to make use of the yet-to-be-released Binutils 2.31.

        • Linux 4.17 Stable Has Been Settling Well, Coming Soon To Fedora

          Since the release of Linux 4.17 almost two weeks ago, I haven’t heard of any horror stories, Linux 4.17 continues running excellent on all of my test systems, the 4.17.1 point release was quite small, and more distributions are gearing up to ship this latest kernel release.

        • [Older] Fedora vs Ubuntu
    • Debian Family
      • Microsoft loves Linux so much its R Open install script rm’d /bin/sh

        Microsoft had to emit a hasty update for its R Open analysis tool after developers found the open-source package was not playing nice with some Linux systems.

        The issue was brought to light earlier this week by developer Norbert Preining, who found that the Debian GNU/Linux version of Open R – Microsoft’s open-source implementation of the R statistics and data science tool – was causing headaches when it was installed on some systems.

      • Microsoft Fixes Faulty Debian Package That Messed With Users’ Settings
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Mesa 18.1.1 is Now Available to Install on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            The latest Mesa 18.1.1 graphics stack is now available to install on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            Mesa 18.1.1 is the first point release update in the Mesa 18.1.x series, which debuted back in May with Mesa 18.1.0.

            The Mesa 18.1.x series touts plenty of improvements, including better Vulkan and OpenGL performance, updated Tegra, Nouveau, and Intel drivers, as well as support for the OpenGL 4.5 API.

          • Active Searching [Ed: This good Ubuntu man could use a job. Consider hiring?]

            I generally am not trying to shoot for terse blog posts. That being said, my position at work is getting increasingly untenable since we’re in a position of being physically unable to accomplish our mission goals prior to funding running out at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time on September 30th. Conflicting imperatives were set and frankly we’re starting to hit the point that neither are getting accomplished regardless of how many warm bodies we’re throwing at the problem. It isn’t good either when my co-workers who have any military experience are sounding out KBR, Academi, and Perspecta.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Luke Klinker’s Talon for Twitter goes open source

    Knowing how successful the original version of Talon for Twitter was, it might not be a surprise that its revamped Material Design version is currently the top paid social app. There is clearly a demand for third-party Twitter apps that look good, a demand that developer Luke Klinker knows extends to other developers and tinkerers.

    That might be why Klinker announced that the current version of Talon will be open source from now on.

  • Google releases open source ‘GIF for CLI’ terminal tool on GitHub

    Tomorrow is the GIF’s 31st anniversary — exciting, right? Those animated images have truly changed the world. All kidding aside, it is pretty amazing that the file format came to be way back in 1987!

    To celebrate tomorrow’s milestone, Google releases a new open source tool today. Called “GIF for CLI,” it can convert a Graphics Interchange Format image into ASCII art for terminal. You can see such an example in the image above.

  • Is Open Source Software the Best Choice for IoT Development?

    For IoT development, new survey data shows enterprise IT teams are getting more comfortable with open source software.

  • The ‘problems’ with machine learning, Databricks MLflow to the rescue?

    Databricks announced a new open source project called MLflow for open source machine learning at the Spark Summit this month.

    The company exists to focus on cloud-based big data processing using the open source Apache Spark cluster computing framework.

    The company’s chief technologist Matei Zaharia says that the team built its machine learning (ML) approach to address the problems that people typically voice when it comes to ML.

  • The Open Revolution: the vital struggle of open vs closed, free vs unfree

    Rufus Pollock’s new book The Open Revolution: rewriting the rules of the information age, reimagines ownership in a digital age and its implications from the power of tech monopolies to control how we think and vote , to unaffordable medicines, to growing inequality. Get the book and find out more at openrevolution.net. – Cory

  • Dremio Announces the Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow
  • Open source “Gandiva” project wants to unblock analytics

    The key to efficient data processing is handling rows of data in batches, rather than one row at a time. Older, file-oriented databases utilized the latter method, to their detriment. When SQL relational databases came on the scene, they provided a query grammar that was set-based, declarative and much more efficient. That was an improvement that’s stuck with us.

  • Bitfi launching open source crypto wallet and 1st hardware wallet for Monero

    Bitfi, a global payments technology company working to enable businesses and consumers to participate in the digital currency economy, today announced Bitfi Knox Wallet – the first unhackable, open source hardware wallet with an accompanying dashboard that features wireless setup and support for many popular cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, including Monero, a fully decentralized private cryptocurrency that has previously never had a hardware wallet solution.

  • Sculpt OS available as live system

    Sculpt for The Curious (TC) is the second incarnation of the general-purpose operating system pursued by the developers of the Genode OS Framework. It comes in the form of a ready-to-use system image that can be booted directly from a USB thumb drive. In contrast to earlier versions, Sculpt TC features a graphical user interface for the interactive management of storage devices and networking. The main administrative interface remains text-based. It allows the user to “sculpt” the system live into shape, and introspect the system’s state at any time.

  • Events
    • Can you hack it? The importance of hackathons

      Back in the summer of 1999, 10 programmers from around the globe congregated in a room in Calgary, Alberta, to work on the obscure open source operating system known as OpenBSD. This was, in fact, the first ever recorded hackathon – a portmanteau of the words ‘hack’ and ‘marathon’ – anywhere in the world. Since…

    • Fynd Organizes Hackxagon, an Open Source Challenge for Its Engineers

      As an initiative to give back to the open source community, Fynd, the unique fashion e-commerce portal had launched gofynd.io, a few months ago. This project enabled the engineers of the fashion e-commerce portal to learn new technologies, improve the core infrastructure and enhance the Fynd platform. However, Fynd wanted to streamline the open sourcing process for which, the fashion e-commerce portal introduced Fynd Hackxagon—Open Source Challenge. The tech team open-sourced 13 projects in a day that were later made available in the Fynd GitHub public account.

    • South African Linux and Postgres conferences planned for October

      The South African open source, Linux, and Postgres community will be treated to two conferences in October – LinuxConf on 8 October and PostgresConf on 9 October.

      LinuxConf is a one-day conference in Johannesburg aimed at the Linux and open source community.

      Topics covered at LinuxConf will include Linux Kernel and OS, Linux distributions, virtualisation, system administration, open source applications, networking, and development environments.

      PostgresConf is aimed at the database administration and developer community, where they will exchange ideas and learn about the features and upcoming trends within PostgreSQL.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla To Create A Voice-Controlled Web Browser Called ‘Scout’

        Mozilla is reported to be working on a browser that works on voice commands instead of standard inputs obtained from mouse and keyboard.

        The project has been named ‘Scout’; the voice-controlled web browser would focus on accessibility and would allow users to surf the web without using a touchscreen and other conventionally used input systems.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Scientific Library 2.5 released

      Version 2.5 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.

      This release introduces some new features and fixes several bugs. The full NEWS file entry is appended below.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Astounding t-shirt art, created by marker-wielding open source hardware plotters

        Evil Mad Scientist Labs sell a bunch of cool open source hardware kits for making plotters — basically, a very precise robot arm that draws with whatever pen or marker you screw into its grip. There’s the Eggbot (for drawing on curved surfaces like eggs, balloons and balls), but there’s also the Axidraw, which works on flat surfaces.

        Axidraw owners have been decorating tees with Axidraws and colored markers, creating some really smashing designs.

  • Programming/Development
    • Unplugging old batteries

      Python is famous for being a “batteries included” language—its standard library provides a versatile set of modules with the language—but there may be times when some of those batteries have reached their end of life. At the 2018 Python Language Summit, Christian Heimes wanted to suggest a few batteries that may have outlived their usefulness and to discuss how the process of retiring standard library modules should work.

      The “batteries included” phrase for Python came from the now-withdrawn PEP 206 in 2006. That PEP argued that having a rich standard library was an advantage for the language since users did not need to download lots of other modules to get real work done. That argument still holds, but there are some modules that are showing their age and should, perhaps, be unplugged and retired from the standard library.

    • Advanced computing with IPython

      If you use Python, there’s a good chance you have heard of IPython, which provides an enhanced read-eval-print loop (REPL) for Python. But there is more to IPython than just a more convenient REPL. Today’s IPython comes with integrated libraries that turn it into an assistant for several advanced computing tasks. We will look at two of those tasks, using multiple languages and distributed computing, in this article.

      IPython offers convenient access to documentation, integration with matplotlib, persistent history, and many other features that greatly ease interactive work with Python. IPython also comes with a collection of “magic” commands that alter the effect of single lines or blocks of code; for example, you can time your code simply by typing %%time at the prompt before entering your Python statements. All of these features also work when using the Jupyter notebook with the IPython kernel, so you can freely switch between the terminal and the browser-based interface while using the same commands.

    • Looking back on “Teaching Python: The Hard Parts”

      One of my goals when writing talks is to produce content with a long shelf life. Because I’m one of those weird people that prefers to write new talks for new events, I feel like it’d be a waste of effort if my talks didn’t at least age well. So how do things measure up if I look back on one of my oldest?

    • How to Install Latest Python on Ubuntu 18.04
    • An introduction to the Tornado Python web app framework

      Now let’s look at a somewhat different option: the Tornado framework. Tornado is, for the most part, as bare-bones as Flask, but with a major difference: Tornado is built specifically to handle asynchronous processes. That special sauce isn’t terribly useful in the app we’re building in this series, but we’ll see where we can use it and how it works in a more general situation.

      Let’s continue the pattern we set in the first two articles and start by tackling the setup and config.

Leftovers
  • Don’t trust the tech giants? You likely rely on them anyway
  • Science
    • European Commission Appoints Artificial Intelligence Expert Group, Launches AI Alliance

      The European Commission appointed 52 experts today to a new High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, and also launched the AI Alliance, an online forum to facilitate broad participation in dialogue on the burgeoning technology.

      According to a Commission press release, the multi-stakeholder High-Level Expert Group on AI, composed of members from academia, industry and civil society, is tasked to support the implementation of the EU Communication on Artificial Intelligence, make recommendations to inform policy and digital strategy, and develop ethical guidelines for AI.

    • This is what we learned about our science-reading audience

      That said, you’re not naive about things. When asked about general media coverage of science, 42 percent said it was too sensationalist, and the biggest complaint in a separate question was that unproven tech gets too much coverage (36 percent of respondents). You like knowing about science so much that a third of you complained that most media coverage is too superficial; only two percent said it’s good. “Other” answers in complaints about the media were dominated by “everything option but good”-style answers (e.g, “Complete unmitigated garbage” and “It’s pretty much shit, to be honest”).

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Countries Discuss Prospect Of Plurilateral Agreement On Genetic Resources Protection

      Faced with a longstanding lack of progress at the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization on the protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, some developing countries are examining the possibility of moving outside the multilateral system toward a plurilateral agreement with like-minded countries. During an international conference last week, panellists pondered the prospects of such an option.

    • Illinois Lawmakers Demand Explanation on Children Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals

      Illinois lawmakers have asked state child welfare officials to explain why they routinely fail to find better homes for hundreds of children in psychiatric hospitals, leaving them trapped for weeks and sometimes months.

      State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, called for a public hearing after a ProPublica Illinois investigation last week revealed that children in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services are confined to psychiatric hospitals after physicians have cleared them for release.

      The investigation found that, between 2015 and 2017, children and teens collectively spent more than 27,000 days stuck in psychiatric hospitals instead of in more appropriate placements, including residential treatment centers or foster homes. And the number of psychiatric admissions that went beyond medical necessity has surged, jumping from 88 in 2014 to 301 last year, an increase the department said it cannot explain.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Why Americans (and Koreans) Can Sleep Better After the Summit

      Scads of analysts and pundits have weighed in on the Trump-Kim summit talks in Singapore, parsing the brief agreement and presidential tweets for signs of just how strongly it actually commits North Korea to total, verifiable “denuclearization.”

      Most of them are missing the point. The real threat to U.S., Korean, and Japanese security of late has come not from North Korean nukes, but from threats by President Donald Trump and his closest advisers to launch a regional war to preempt any further North Korean progress on warhead and missile technology. Some experts were giving even odds of a U.S.-initiated war as recently as a few months ago.

      So even if the spectacle in Singapore was more theater than substance, even if the president’s effusive praise for a totalitarian leader was hard to swallow, we should applaud Trump for belatedly making good on his 2016 campaign promise to sit down with Kim Jong-un over a hamburger in search of peace.

      Throughout most of 2017, the Trump administration instead issued a steady stream of pronouncements warning that it was ready to go to war to stop Pyongyang from perfecting long-range missiles capable of hitting the United States with nuclear weapons.

    • National security wrap

      Drones continue to proliferate among US police forces. Drone manufacturer DJI has partnered with Axon, maker of police body cameras, to sell drones directly to police departments.

    • Judge green-lights ‘kill list’ lawsuit
    • Judge allows US journalist in Syria to challenge inclusion on ‘kill list’

      A federal judge today allowed an American journalist based in Syria to challenge his alleged placement on a US kill list, the Washington Post reported today.

      The green light gives Bilal Abdul Kareem, a journalist operating in Syria, the ability to seek answers as to whether he is included on a US kill list.

      US government lawyers asked the US Judge Rosemary Collyer of the District Columbia to dismiss the case, claiming that Kareem is not able to evidence his case based on the secrecy involved in targeted killing decision making in the US military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      “Due process is not merely an old and dusty procedural obligation … It is a living, breathing concept that protects US persons from overreaching government action even, perhaps, on an occasion of war,” Collyer said in her ruling.

    • AP News Guide: What to know about Yemen’s yearslong war

      Yemen has seen decades of war, first with the 1960s civil war that ended North Yemen’s monarchy. Fighting between Marxist South Yemen and the north followed. Yemen unified in 1990, but resentment persisted under 22 years of kleptocratic rule by Ali Abdullah Saleh.

      Saleh served as a somewhat-trusted U.S. ally in the wake of the 2000 al-Qaida bombing of the USS Cole as it refueled off Yemen’s port city of Aden, killing 17 sailors. He allowed American forces to deploy to Yemen and conduct drone strikes on suspected al-Qaida militants, which also killed civilians. However, many Americans long suspected duplicity on the part of Saleh, who once described the challenge of navigating Yemen’s complicated tribal politics as “dancing on the heads of snakes.”

    • CIA document tags VHP and Bajrang Dal as militant religious outfits

      Sangh affiliates Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have been classified as militant religious outfits in the recently updated World Factbook, published by the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • CIA calls Bajrang Dal and VHP ‘militant religious organisations’, but who’s listening?
    • CIA classifies VHP, Bajrang Dal as millitant religious outfits
    • Pundits Worry Threat of Nuclear War Is Being Reduced

      On MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the host was aghast (6/12/18) that the US says it will halt the annual war games it conducts with South Korea on North Korea’s doorstep, because doing so is “an absolute jackpot for the North Korean dictator,” “one of the things he wants most on earth,” and now Washington “has just given them that for free, for nothing.”

      Maddow implied that Trump has taken this step out of fealty to Russia, and complained that pausing war games that threaten North Korea benefits Russia and China. She twice called the Kim/Trump summit a “wedding,” twice said that the two leaders “love” each other two times, and referred to Kim as Trump’s “best friend.” In other words, de-escalation is for wimps, and what’s needed is toughness, even if it risks nuclear war.

      Not once did Maddow demonstrate the slightest concern with avoiding war. The message of her segment is that the US should subject all 25 million people in North Korea to the threat of nuclear annihilation until its leaders do what the US says, a threat that necessarily extends to the rest of East Asia, since it would be decimated in any nuclear exchange, to say nothing of the likely devastating effects on the rest of the world.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Film director Ken Loach: “The persecution of Julian Assange must end”

      Ken Loach is one of the world’s most respected film directors. His career began at the BBC in 1963 and consists of a body of work demonstrating socialist convictions and a deeply felt sympathy for the working class.

      Notable works include Up the Junction, Cathy Come Home, Kes, Days of Hope and A Question of Leadership. He dealt with the Spanish Civil War in Land And Freedom and the struggle against Britain’s oppression of Ireland in The Wind That Shakes The Barley—for which he won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. He won a second Palme d’Or for I, Daniel Blake in 2016.

      The persecution of Julian Assange must end. To force him to remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the USA is clearly political.

      He is right to be fearful. In the current febrile atmosphere people in the US have called for his execution.

    • Free Julian Assange NZ – Global Protest – 19th June

      Thousands of Wikileaks supporters worldwide will hold protests at U.K and U.S Embassies on June 19th, 2018 to demand that the Governments of Australia, United States and United Kingdom pardon Assange and free the publisher from any potential indictment or charges in the U.S.

      The Protestors and Activists for Human Rights, and Justice, are demanding that Australia, Britain and the U.S. abide by the U.N. ruling to immediately free and compensate Julian Assange. The U.N. has ruled that Assange is being illegally detained.

    • Professor Piers Robinson demands freedom for Julian Assange

      We are living through very dark days for democracy and freedom of expression. Voices of reason and calm are being relentlessly smeared and bullied whilst courageous whistleblowers such as Julian Assange are subjected to increasingly coercive attempts to silence them.

      It is essential that all of us who value democracy and free speech stand up in defence of Assange and demand that this scandalous and shameful State-led harassment is brought to an end.

      Our freedom to speak truth to power, oppose immoral and illegitimate wars, and to campaign for truth and accountability, is being lost at frightening speed. Halting this democratic decay starts with demanding freedom for Julian Assange.

    • When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador
    • When #WikiLeaks founder Julian #Assange took refuge in the Embassy of #Ecuador https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/when-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-took-refuge-in-the-embassy-of-ecuador/2018/06/11/263e560e-578c-11e8-8836-a4a123c359ab_story.html

      Assange reasoned that the key structure that generated bad governance was conspiracy. To fight the conspiracies behind corrupt governments, he advocated a strategy to expose the conspirators and the conspiracies through a systematic use of leaks.

      His subversive proposal was to build a website for whistleblowers where they could upload their information in safety and from where it could be collectively analysed by citizen journalists. The name he gave his whistleblower-enabling website was WikiLeaks.

      With never more than a handful of volunteers, WikiLeaks became the most famous news organisation in the world, with its leaks affecting politics globally. It published confidential records of one of Iceland’s top banks, revealing its role in Iceland’s financial collapse, the Collateral Murder video, the Iraq War logs, the Afghan War Diary, the Cablegate cables — major stories followed one after the other with breathtaking rapidity. The achievements of the tiny band of WikiLeaks hactivists between 2006 and 2010 constitute the most extraordinary episode in the history of citizen journalism.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Oceans Unmanned’s FreeFLY Drone Program Is Helping Save the Lives of Entangled Whales

      Oceans Unmanned collaborated with drone companies DJI and DARTdrones to launch the freeFLY Drone Program, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. According to Oceans Unmanned’s press release, their mission here is clear: to use this affordable and sophisticated aerial support to save the lives of whales who have become dangerously entangled.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • National Die-In Protester Marcel McClinton Shares How It Felt to Storm the U.S. Capitol

      Marcel is part of a group called the Orange Generation, which considers itself a gun violence prevention — not a gun control — advocacy organization. The group favors a more moderate approach to gun reform; it doesn’t argue for any kind of bans, Marcel said, but still wants common sense gun reform. He explained that the group uses what could reasonably get passed in the state of Texas as a litmus test for measures it considers.

    • Senate confirms Trump Homeland Security cyber pick

      The Senate confirmed Christopher Krebs in a voice vote Tuesday to serve at the helm of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, or NPPD, roughly four months after Trump nominated him to the post.

      In the role, Krebs will be responsible for overseeing the security of federal civilian networks and spearheading the federal government’s efforts to protect critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats. NPPD is also newly responsible for helping states secure their digital voting systems, in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    • Dems unveil push to secure state voting systems
    • Australia cements Solomon Islands deal amid China influence debate

      Australia has formally agreed to a deal to help build a 4,000km (2,500 mile) internet cable to the Solomon Islands.

    • Donald Trump Hyped Up North Korea’s Beachfront Condo Potential

      It may not have been the most ridiculous thing he said.

    • War is too deadly for Congress to keep dodging duty on declaring it

      The obligation of our lawmakers to declare war is not merely a constitutional but a moral responsibility.

    • Comcast makes $65 billion offer to steal 21st Century Fox away from Disney
    • Following AT&T’s Lead, Comcast Makes A $65 Billion Bid For Fox

      Comcast had previously hinted that it was waiting to see the outcome of AT&T’s own merger battle with the DOJ before making its own bid for Fox. Comcast and many analysts believe that the comically broad nature of AT&T’s court victory (based on a pinhole narrow reading of the markets by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, who clearly has never heard of things like zero rating or net neutrality), means the precedent set will likely result in a DOJ that’s more hesitant to intervene in potentially problematic merger moving forward.

      That’s especially true of vertical integration mergers, where modern U.S. antitrust law tends to be ill-equipped to handle some of the more complex new media anti-competitive concerns that pop up. Combined with the death of ISP privacy rules and the neutering of net neutrality, we’re creating a brave new landscape where there’s very little to stop giants like Comcast and AT&T from using their last mile monopolies–combined with massive ownership of content needed to compete with these giants–as anti-competitive bludgeons against consumers and competitors alike.

      For example, there’s now nothing of note preventing AT&T and Comcast from exempting its own content (like HBO or a regional sports game) from arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps, while penalizing those who use a competitor’s service (Netflix, or the next Netflix). Similarly, there’s nothing stopping Comcast or Verizon from arbitrarily throttling competitors at interconnection points, driving up the cost for competitors to access their broadband subscribers. There’s an ocean of creative ways to hamstring competitors the government is now largely helpless to effectively police, and as the AT&T court win shows, the ISP claim that this isn’t a problem because antitrust will save us all clearly isn’t a valid argument.

    • Trump Told G7 Leaders That Crimea Is Russian Because Everyone Speaks Russian In Crimea
    • Once Again Congress Votes Proactively To Keep Itself Ignorant On Technology

      The Office of Technology Assessment existed in Congress from 1972 until 1995, when it was defunded by the Newt Gingrich-led “Contract with America” team. The purpose was to actually spend time to analyze technology issues and to provide Congress with objective analysis of the impact of technology and the policies that Congress was proposing. Remember how back when there was the big SOPA debate and folks in Congress kept talking about how they weren’t nerds and needed to hear from the nerds? Right: the OTA was supposed to be those nerds, but it hasn’t existed in nearly two decades — even though it still exists in law. It just isn’t funded.

      Rep. Mark Takano (in 2014 it was Rush Holt) thought that maybe we should finally give at least a little bit of money to test bringing back OTA and to help better advise Congress. While some would complain about Congress spending any money, this money was to better inform Congress so it stopped making bad regulations related to technology, which costs a hell of a lot more than the $2.5 million Takano’s amendment proposed. Also, without OTA, Congress is much more reliant on very biased lobbyists, rather than a truly independent government organization.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Swiss vote overwhelmingly in FAVOR of Internet censorship in June 10 gambling referendum

      The law requiring Swiss ISPs to censor parts of the Internet, in order to prevent Swiss people from accessing foreign gambling sites and services, has been working its way through the Swiss legislature for some time. It was challenged by Switzerland’s powerful democracy, where 50,000 citizens can challenge any new law in a country-wide referendum. This is what happened to the Internet censorship law, and where you would think it would face an Internet generation who understand that you don’t meddle with the Internet lightly.

    • How Pro-Eating Disorder Posts Evade Filters on Social Media

      New research published last month in the peer-reviewed journal New Media & Society highlights how pro-ED groups continue to evade attempts at moderation. The study also found that sites like Pinterest and Instagram sometimes suggest more pro-ED content to users via their recommendation algorithms. It isn’t an isolated problem—researchers have found that recommendation engines on platforms like YouTube also suggest problematic content, like conspiracy theories. But unlike fake news, users who share pro-eating disorder content could be suffering from a serious illness like anorexia or bulimia. Companies need to weigh not just the content itself, but also the effect that removing it might have on the vulnerable people who share it.

    • ‘Censorship on r/Bitcoin’ SubReddit Offers $250,000 Reward to Fix

      Roger Ver, one of the first to invest in bitcoin startups, has recently tweeted out saying that he would “donate $250K USD to the charity of Reddit’s choice if they simply appoint mods that allow people to actually discuss Bitcoin on /r/Bitcoin”.

    • Egyptian censors succumb to ‘Karma’

      Like most big screen romantic comedies, “Karma,” Egyptian director Khaled Youssef’s latest film, has a happy ending. After a 24-hour controversy, Egypt’s General Authority for Censorship announced on June 12 that the film could be screened in cinemas during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, backpedaling from its earlier ban issued the preceding day.

      Youssef, known for tackling controversial issues in his films, took to Twitter to announce the lifting of the ban and approval to hold screenings as scheduled, beginning June 14, without scenes being cut. The director, also a member of parliament, thanked the country’s “sovereign bodies” — the legislature and the Ministry of Culture — which pushed for the ban to be rescinded.

    • Bad ‘Karma’? Egypt’s Censorship Office Fails to Ban Popular Movie

      It only took few hours before the Egyptian director of “Karma” movie, Khaled Yousef, to announce that the censorship authorities reversed their decision to ban his movie screening from cinemas during Eid. Now the authorities have reversed their decision for a special screening.

      [...]

      While the actual reasons behind the ban are not clear yet, the General Authority for Censorship announced at first that the ban resulted of the filmmakers’ failure to obtain the necessary licenses for public screenings, however, the film team discharged the allegations saying they was obtained in April.

      Some critics attributed the ban to the controversial topics introduced in the movie, some suggested the political hidden side presented and others said the main song of the movie might be the reason behind of its ban, as it includes ideas might be interpreted as opposed to the regime.

    • Petaluma High learns censorship doesn’t work

      If you want to make sure people see or hear something, ban people from seeing or hearing something. That predates the internet, as any former teenager who ever hid under the covers listening to “Louie Louie” with the volume down can surely attest.

      We are talking about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If censorship didn’t work then on something as inconsequential as a pop song, you can imagine how ineffective it would be now on something as important as sexual assault.

    • Community takes aim at principal after student’s mic cut during speech

      The Petaluma community took aim at a principal Tuesday night after a student’s microphone was cut during her graduation speech.

      They spoke out that the problem is not just censorship, but the school turning a blind eye to sex assault.

      “My sophomore year I was sexually assaulted at Petaluma High School in the band room,” Bailey Walston said.

    • Films that pushed the censorship envelope

      “Gone With the Wind”

    • People are accusing Disney of censoring a kiss between two female video game characters
    • Petaluma High learns censorship doesn’t work
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook accused of trying to implement ‘eye-detecting’ software
    • Facebook has patents for eye-tracking technology but says it won’t be used for now

      Facebook has more data on us than we can imagine. The app can track your location, name, friends, job and one day it could also track your eye movements.

      The social media giant could build a technology that can detect your eye movement and emotions in future.

      Facebook in a 229-word documented answers to the questions asked at the US Congress hearings denied that it is currently building any such software but it holds two patents titled “Dynamic eye tracking calibration” and the other “Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery” – for the eye-tracking and emotion detection technology.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Denies Building Eye-Tracking Software For Facebook

      Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied that the company is building eye-tracking software in a written document of answers to Congress. He said that if the company ever did build out the technology, it would take privacy of user into account.

      According to reports, the company holds at least two patents for detecting eye movements and emotions, , which it said “is one way that we could potentially reduce consumer friction and add security for people when they log into Oculus or access Oculus content,” but claims they are to protect their intellectual property.

    • EU Politicians Tell European Commission To Suspend Privacy Shield Data Transfer Framework

      A couple of months ago, we wrote about an important case at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the region’s highest court. The final judgment is expected to rule on whether the Privacy Shield framework for transferring EU personal data to the US is legal under EU data protection law. Many expect the CJEU to throw out Privacy Shield, which does little to address the earlier criticisms of the preceding US-EU agreement: the Safe Harbor framework, struck down by the same court in 2015. However, that’s not the only problem that Privacy Shield is facing. One of the European Parliament’s powerful committees, which helps determine policy related to civil liberties, has just issued a call to the European Commission to suspend the Privacy Shield agreement unless the US tries harder…

    • Apple Pulls Plug On Phone-Cracking Tech Vendors, Will Prevent Data Transfer From Locked Phones

      The FBI lost control of the “going dark” narrative. Part of it unraveled thanks to outside vendors. Two vendors — Cellebrite and Grayshift — announced they could crack any iPhone made. This shot holes in the FBI’s theory that locked phones stayed locked forever and thereafter were only useful for hammering legislators over the head with until they cranked out an anti-encryption law.

      The second unraveling was the FBI’s own unforced error. Supposedly it couldn’t count phones without software and the software it had couldn’t count phones. What the FBI and others claimed was 8,000 uncrackable threats to the safety of the American public was actually a little over 1,000 phones. As for the latent threat posed by these locked devices, that’s still pure speculation until the FBI starts handing over some info on what criminal acts these phones are tied to.

      The FBI will probably be looking to restart its “going dark” campaign, thanks to Apple’s latest effort, which will render Cellebrite and Grayshift’s phone cracking boxes obsolete.

    • Judge warns Reality Winner’s attorneys over supporters’ billboard

      Supporters have placed a large billboard supporting imprisoned alleged leaker Reality Winner on Washington Road in Columbia County, GA., highlighting the fact that Winner has spent a year in jail without trial or bail, all for allegedly bringing to light information obviously in the public interest. The add brings attention to a case that has largely been ignored in the US press’s incessant coverage of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

      But the judge in Winner’s case, Chief U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall, has issued an order the day after the billboard was put up, demanding attorneys follow court rules barring public statements about the case that they know could “interfere with a fair trial or otherwise prejudice the due administration of justice.” The order threatens the attorneys with being held in contempt of court, which could mean jail or fines, or “other measures.”

      The order comes despite the fact that Reality’s attorneys had nothing to do with the billboard and have had no communications with the group that put it up.

    • The Curious Case of a Former CIA Agent Selling Intel to China

      Chinese spies first contacted Kevin Patrick Mallory on LinkedIn, hoping to lure him into providing important intelligence.

      One Chinese agent claimed to be a corporate headhunter for a firm called Darren and Associates. He then introduced Mallory to his associate, who said he was working for a Chinese think tank, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences—a common cover identity for intelligence officers in the Shanghai State Security Bureau, a sub-branch of China’s Ministry of State Security, an intelligence agency similar to the FBI and CIA combined.

    • Apple to Close iPhone Security Loophole Used by Law Enforcement

      The patch prevents an iPhone’s USB port from being used for anything but charging an hour after the device has been locked, blocking access to data, Apple said in a statement. The move is already being criticized by some in the law-enforcement community, according to the New York Times.

    • Apple Officially Closes ‘Loophole’ Cops Used To Suck Your iPhone Data

      Apple is keen on making users its priority, and therefore after banning cryptocurrency mining apps and stopping developers from selling users’ contacts to third parties, Apple has yet again taken a major step towards maintaining high privacy standards for users on their platform.

      Apple has officially banned law enforcement bodies from cracking iPhones and accessing data stored on it by closing a technical loophole which has been exploited over the years by cops.

    • The US is using police dogs to sniff out hidden flash drives

      Originally the scheme, first rolled out in Connecticut was kept quiet to add that element of surprise to any discoveries, but now with 17 so-called Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) dogs in service around the US, it is their time to shine.

      A similar experiment with two dogs is already in place in the UK.

    • These dogs sniff out cybercrime

      Halligan then introduces the animal to new distractions, such as other dogs and playtime. The ones that stay with her for the food pass the test. Out of the 100 or so dogs, only a small handful make it.

    • MEPs: Privacy Shield should be suspended in wake of Facebook data scandal

      The Committee has called on the European Commission to suspend Privacy Shield until the US complies by 1 September and to keep it suspended until it does. It added that the US authorities should act swiftly to remove certified companies that have misused personal data from the Privacy Shield list.

    • WhatsApp sharing limited data with Facebook on payment feature

      WhatsApp on its website said that when a user makes a payment, the mobile messaging app creates the necessary connection between the sender and recipient of the payment, using Facebook infrastructure.

    • No-one could have predicted …

      No-one could have predicted the threats posed by information technology to civil liberties. But my friend Robert G. Kennedy III came close. In April 1989 he wrote Technological Threats To Civil Liberties. From almost 30 years later it is an amazingly perceptive piece. Here are two samples to encourage you to read the whole thing:

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Research: Do People Really Get Promoted to Their Level of Incompetence?

      The Peter Principle problem arises when the skills that make someone successful at one job level don’t translate to success in the next level. In these cases, organizations must choose whether to reward the top performer with a promotion or to instead promote the worker that has the best skill match with a managerial position. When organizations reward success in one role with a promotion to another, the usual grumbles ensue; the best engineer doesn’t make the best engineering manager, and the best professor doesn’t make the best dean. The same problem may apply to scientists, physicians, lawyers, or in any other profession where technical aptitude doesn’t necessarily translate into managerial skill.

    • Freethinking writer and politician shot dead in Bangladesh

      These threats came in the context of several earlier attacks, sometimes fatal, on humanists and freethinkers in Bangladesh, which IHEU has reported and campaigned on extensively. As detailed in the IHEU Freedom of Thought Report chapter on Bangladesh, these attacks included in 2015 alone the murders of Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, Ananto Bijoy Das, and Shahzahan’s friend Niloy Neel days before the threats to Shahzahan were published.

    • South Carolina Drug Warriors Routinely Serving Regular Warrants Like No-Knock Warrants

      Betton was hit several times. He didn’t die, but he doesn’t have much left in working order. He lost part of his gallbladder, colon, and rectum. His liver, pancreas and small intestine all suffered damage. His left leg was broken along with one of his vertebrae.

      The cops immediately set about justifying their extreme tactics. First, they claimed Betton fired at them, but ballistics tests showed Betton’s gun hadn’t been fired. Then they claimed he pointed a gun at them, but did not fire it. This could have easily been proven if any of the task force had bothered to activate their body cameras before breaking Betton’s door down. But the footage shows no cameras were activated until after the task force stopped firing.

      The task force used a regular search warrant, meaning the officers were supposed to knock and announce their presence. Nearly all of them said they followed these stipulations. Video from Betton’s home security camera (which can be seen at the Washington Post) caught all these officers in a lie.

    • Pennsylvania State Police Adding Oversight to Troopers’ Interactions With ICE

      By the end of this month, Pennsylvania State Police officers will be required to file a report any time they call immigration authorities to the scene of a traffic stop, detailing the circumstances behind the call, the agency said Wednesday.

      This change comes two months after ProPublica and the Philadelphia Inquirer published an investigation about state and local police officers in Pennsylvania helping ICE round up immigrants for deportation, using tactics that raise questions about racial profiling and unlawful arrest.

      The story focused on Pennsylvania state Trooper Luke C. Macke as an extreme example. In 2017, Macke turned over at least 19 undocumented immigrants to ICE after interrogating them about their legal status and detaining them for up to four hours without a warrant.

      In response to the April investigation, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf released a statement calling for “a need for stronger uniform procedures addressing state police requests for assistance from outside agencies, including ICE, especially given the new pressure on state and local agencies from the federal government.”

      Across the U.S., cities and states have wrestled with their relationship with ICE. Some jurisdictions have explicit partnerships with the federal agency to train and deputize their officers to enforce immigration laws. Many others — including the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — have implemented restrictions against officers questioning people about their immigration status and cooperating with ICE, worried that their agencies may come under civil rights scrutiny and alienate immigrant communities.

    • Internal CIA Docs: ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Is Torture

      Back when the existential competition between the communist USSR and the capitalist USA was reaching its fevered pitch, the CIA published a report on Communist bloc interrogation techniques — which it denounced as “police tactics which would not be condoned in a democratic country.”

      The 1956 CIA study was commissioned amid Cold War hysteria surrounding reports of the Communists’ seeming ability to “brainwash” prisoners — coaxing them to “confess” to all manner of things that were untrue.

      “The Communists,” the report’s authors explain, “do not look upon these assaults as ‘torture.’” Instead, interrogators, “in a typical legalistic manner,” use methods that allow them to conform to Communist theory which demands that “no force or torture be used in extracting information from prisoners.”

    • Alice Marie Johnson Talks About Her Life Sentence, Getting Clemency, and Her Newfound Freedom

      Johnson was one of over 3,200 people serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for a nonviolent offense.

      I first met Alice Marie Johnson in April 2013. Seeking to tell the stories of the “living dead,” or the over 3,200 people serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent offenses, I wrote to prisoners around the country. I had originally written to Alice’s cellmate, but Alice then wrote to me, and soon we were talking on the phone and emailing. Alice had been sentenced to die in prison for her role in a nonviolent drug conspiracy, her first arrest or conviction. I profiled her story in “A Living Death,” a report we published later that year, and we featured Alice in a national campaign.

      Alice and I stayed in close touch over the years. I also got to know some of the members of her close-knit family who were fighting to bring her home. When Alice’s clemency petition was denied by President Obama without explanation in the final days of his presidency, I was shocked and devastated.

      Alice’s situation seemed hopeless until a video interview she gave with Mic.com in October 2017 went viral. Kim Kardashian saw the video and asked her lawyer, Shawn Holley, what could be done. We assembled a team of lawyers to pursue clemency for Alice: Shawn, me from the ACLU, and Brittany Barnett from the Buried Alive Project. We also brought on attorney Mike Scholl to try to get a sentence reduction through the courts in Memphis. We put in months of work on the clemency case and something amazing happened. Last week, President Trump commuted Alice’s sentence, and she was released after having served almost 22 years in prison.

    • By letting Kim off on human rights, Donald Trump is selling out democracy

      The most lasting image from Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un on June 12 came shortly after the first hand shake; the US president gave a thumbs-up to the young dictator, who smiled back

      Later, Trump praised Kim, calling him “very talented,” and adding that “you see the fervor” in North Koreans’ “love” for their leader. “It was my honor to meet him,” he said.

    • Say Her Name: Recognizing Police Brutality Against Black Women

      America must recognize that Black women are impacted by police violence, too.

      “Put a copy of your driver’s license, registration, and insurance on the dashboard.” That’s what I tell my guy friends when they make their 300-mile road trip for homecoming. “Stay on the sidewalk and keep out of the alley.” That’s what I tell the boys in the neighborhood as they consider a shortcut to the park.

      These are survival tactics that Black men and boys have incorporated into their everyday lives. These are precautions to take so that summer play and fall traditions are not compromised by incidents with the police. Black women — mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and partners — have offered and echoed this advice (and experienced the trauma that comes from giving this advice) for years.

      We haven’t been giving ourselves the same advice, however. And though the Black Lives Matter movement was started by three Black women, we’ve largely been left out of the national narrative on police violence. Police violence impacts Black women and other women of color just as it does Black men. So sadly, we too need survival tactics for our teen girls attending pool parties and our girlfriends eating at the Waffle House.

    • Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan’s Family Separation Denial

      These comments mark the administration’s latest attempt to paint this inhumane policy in a decent light. It’s not working.

      In an interview with the LA Times published early Monday morning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan set out to clarify CBP’s systematic practice of separating children from their parents at the border. Rather than provide real clarification, however, McAleenan’s comments continued the trend of Trump administration officials attempting to justify this unprecedented and horrific policy by spinning the truth and, worse, by making specious claims with little to no basis in fact.

      When asked how CBP was handling family separations, McAleenan at first forcefully denied that an official policy regarding separating children from parents even exists: “We do not have a policy of administrative separation.” But, this is misleading. While the statement is technically true — the administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy does not explicitly mention family separation — in practice, it is meaningless. Prosecuting every person who crosses the border somewhere other than a port of entry necessitates criminal detention. If a person has children with her, that necessitates taking the children away. As the AP has noted, “while separating families might not be official U.S. policy, it is a direct consequence of Sessions’ zero-tolerance approach.”

    • CBP Agrees To Hand Back Almost All Of The $58,000 It Stole From A 64-Year-Old Man At A Cleveland Airport

      A 64-year-old man, an Albanian with legal US citizenship, was stripped of more than $58,000 in cash by Customs and Border Protection at Cleveland’s Hopkins Airport last year. Rustem Kazazi was headed to Albania with the cash to fix up his family’s old home and possibly buy property there. The CBP claims… well, it really claims nothing, other than its right to Kazazi’s life savings.

      CBP agents thought it was suspicious Kazazi would have so much cash on hand, despite Kazazi also carrying with him documentation of the cash’s origin. That didn’t slow the CBP’s cash-hauling efforts at all. Asset forfeiture allowed the CBP to take Kazazi’s money, say something ominous about violating federal law by not reporting the funds, and never bother charging Kazazi for all the violations the CBP claimed it spotted.

      It is illegal to take more than $10,000 in funds out of the country without reporting it. The problem is there’s nothing in airports suggesting this is the case. Literature at airports, as well as information posted at the TSA’s own website, do little to clarify what must be done if you plan to take money out of the country. Even if you do know what needs to be done, it’s almost impossible to do before boarding a flight. The funds must be reported at the time of the departure. But they must be reported to a customs office, which is rarely conveniently located on airport property and very definitely never in the terminal.

    • Sessions cites Bible to defend immigration policies resulting in family separations

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible on Thursday in defending the Trump administration’s immigration policies — especially those that result in the separation of families — directing his remarks in particular to “church friends.”
      “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak, it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.”
      The Catholic Church and other religious leaders have voiced strong criticism of policies resulting in family separations and recent moves Sessions has made to restrict asylum.

    • Uber’s plans to identify drunk passengers could endanger women

      According to the patent, the AI could measure a user’s walking speed, watch for unusual typos or sense whether a phone is swaying or being held at an unusual angle. This, it suggests, could “predict user state using machine learning” and recognise “uncharacteristic user states”. In short, knowing whether you’re pissed or not.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Trump administration fails to block AT&T/Time Warner merger

      The ruling (PDF) by US District Judge Richard Leon went entirely in AT&T’s favor. The Department of Justice had sued AT&T to block the merger, but the judge’s ruling, pending a possible appeal, would let AT&T complete the purchase without spinning off any subsidiaries.

    • Comcast says it won’t throttle heavy internet users — for now
    • Net neutrality officially ended this week – now what?

      All may not be lost. Several US states have brought in laws enshrining the principles at a state level. The European Union introduced net neutrality laws in 2016.

    • Net neutrality is officially dead in the US (except it really isn’t)

      In reality, the changes will be difficult to fully enforce as a number of states have brought in their own federal laws which will override the FCC decision. Washington, for example, will see no difference as its law came into effect as the federal one expired. California, New York and Illinois are also set to bring in legislation, thus bringing over half the US population back under net neutrality.

      Additionally, the FCC is facing accusations that it faked a DDoS attack to strengthen its case.

    • Dems question FCC’s claim of cyberattack during net neutrality comment period

      A pair of Democratic senators are demanding answers from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on a 2017 cyberattack following a media report raising questions about the agency’s official story.

      Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent FCC Chairman Ajit Pai a list of questions about an incident last year during which the agency’s comment-filing website was taken offline after the late-night comedian John Oliver urged his audience to flood it with pro-net neutrality comments.>

    • Net neutrality rules expire in the US but will it affect Indian [I]nternet users? Not for now

      For now nothing changes. In fact, the FCC decision of rolling back net neutrality norms are likely to cause an uproar in the US and because of the federal nature of that country, chances are that many states will come out with their own rules that will enforce net neutrality. And some will sue FCC. In fact, 20 states in the US have already filed a lawsuit to stop the repeal. Several states including Washington, California, Oregon and New Jersey have even enforced norms that enforce the principles of net neutrality within their borders.

    • Your [I]nternet use could change as ‘net neutrality’ ends

      However, companies are likely to drop these self-imposed restrictions; they will just wait until people aren’t paying a lot of attention, said Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is now chairman of communications practice at the law firm Perkins Coie. Any changes now, while the spotlight is on net neutrality, could lead to a public relations backlash.

      Companies are likely to start testing the boundaries over the next six months to a year. Expect to see more offers like AT&T’s exemption of its DirecTV Now streaming TV service from customers’ mobile data limits. Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch.

  • DRM
    • Imagine a world without DRM

      For 12 years, we’ve celebrated IDAD — making, organizing, protesting, and taking action to support the demolition of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) — and 2018 is no different! This year we will continue the fight against DRM and celebrate the work of activists, artists, and technologists who create DRM-free media and technology. You can read more about past IDADs online.

    • DeUHD Beats ‘New’ AACS 2.1 UHD Blu-ray Disc Protection

      Russian company Arusoft has released a new version of its DeUHD ripping tool which bypasses AACS 2.1. The new encryption version appeared last month on the UHD Blu-ray discs of Fury and The Patriot and couldn’t be bypassed with existing tools. The new version makes it possible for pirates to rip the discs in question, which happened soon after.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Can a court decision have preclusive effect on a TTAB proceeding?

        After the Supreme Court decision in B&B Hardware, Julia Matheson and Cathy Liu of Hogan Lovells examine a case considering whether a court decision can have preclusive effect on a TTAB proceeding

        In March 2015, in a decision that prompted significant anxiety and unease among a large segment of trade mark practitioners, the US Supreme Court ruled that likelihood-of-confusion decisions from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)…

    • Copyrights
      • Eh, too: Canadians will also suffer under the EU’s proposed copyright rules

        I appeared on CBC Radio’s national flagship news programme As It Happens last night, talking about the EU’s Article 13 proposal to use AI algorithms to spy on and judge everything posted online for potential copyright infringements.

      • How Canadians could get caught up in the EU’s proposed copyright law

        Technology reporter Cory Doctorow says Canadians should be concerned about an expansive new copyright policy that could soon be adopted in Europe.

        This policy, under Article 13, would ensure that any copyrighted content — audio, video, images, text, code, etc. — couldn’t be uploaded or shared without the proper permissions. European Parliament will vote on the new law on June 20.

      • TVAddons: Telco Bailiffs Enter Operator’s Home Over Unpaid Attorney’s Fees

        Exactly a year after Canada’s largest telecoms companies executed a warrant against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman, unwelcome visitors have again attended his home. After a court order to pay attorney’s fees of CAD$50,000 went unsettled, bailiffs representing Bell, Rogers, and Videotron turned up at Lackman’s home Wednesday in an effort to seize property.

      • Pirate Bay Co-Founder Relieved of Looming €1 Million Fine Plus €350K Damages

        Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde no longer has a looming threat of a million euros hanging over his head, the District Court in Helsinki, Finland, has ruled. In addition, the record labels have abandoned their €350,000 damages claim. The Court did order Sunde to pay several thousand euros in costs, arguing that he has some liability, but this will be appealed.

      • Canadian Music Industry Pitches ‘You Must Be A Pirate’ Tax On Smartphones

        Every electronic device capable of storing data is just another tool in the pirate’s chest. If you think your phone or mp3 player or hard drive is just something for storing data and perhaps even purchased software, movies, and music, think again. The simple fact you’ve decided to purchase any of these devices pretty much ensures content creators everywhere will go bankrupt.

        The “you must be a pirate” tax is being pitched again. The senseless fee tacked on to blank plastic discs for so many years continues to migrate to electronic devices, including the tiny chips stashed away inside smartphones. Apparently, the Canadian music industry needs something to replace the revenue stream that dried up when people stopped buying blank CDs. Michael Geist, working with documents secured through a public records request, reports the Canadian music industry is looking for a hefty payout from the government.

      • European Citizens: You Stopped ACTA, But The New Copyright Directive Is Much, Much Worse: Speak Up

        It’s understandable that people are getting fatigued from all the various attacks on the internet, but as I’ve noted recently, one of the biggest threats to our open internet is the incredibly bad Copyright Directive that is on the verge of being voted on by the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee. The Directive is horrible on many fronts, and we’ve been highlighting two key ones. First, the dangerous link tax and, second, the mandatory upload censorship filters. Each of these could have major ramifications for how the internet will function.

        Incredibly, both are driven mainly by industry animus towards Google from legacy industries that feel left behind. The link tax is the brainchild of various news publishers, while the upload filters are mainly driven by the recording industry. But, of course, what should be quite obvious at this point is that both of these ideas will only make Google stronger while severely limiting smaller competitors. Google can pay the link tax. Google has already built perhaps the most sophisticated content filtering system (which still sucks). Nearly everyone else cannot. So, these moves don’t hurt Google. They hurt all of Google’s possible competitors (including many European companies).

      • Illegal memes? Weak Safe Harbor? Unpacking the proposed EU copyright overhaul

        The most contentious element is Article 13 of the proposed directive (EU-speak for law). It seeks to make Internet services that host large amounts of user-uploaded material responsible for policing their holdings to prevent copyright infringement. Until now, companies have been able to draw on the safe harbor protection in the EU’s e-commerce law, which online services enjoy when they are “mere conduits.” The new copyright directive would withdraw that protection for any service that “optimizes” content, which includes things like promoting, tagging, curating, or sequencing a site’s contents—most major online services, in other words.

The ’4iP Council’ is a Megaphone of Team UPC and Team Battistelli at the EPO

Thursday 14th of June 2018 08:50:13 PM

A patent maximalism council, serving the interests of patent trolls in Europe

Summary: The EPO keeps demonstrating lack of interest in genuine patent quality (it uses buzzwords to compensate for deviation from the EPC and replaces humans with shoddy translators); it is being aided by law firms which work for patent trolls and think tanks that propel their interests

Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner have finally found the courage to speak out against the EPO for at least some of its many scandals. Rest assured the German FCC will take note of that when dealing with several concurrent constitutional complaints regarding the EPO (like denial of travel to the World Cup which starts today and the UPC complaint).

“It’s a piece which promotes software patents using buzzwords like “AI” and “4IR” (like in the EPO’s Gazette, with a similar article there authored by Ménière).”The UPC is dead. Team UPC has barely said anything about it for over a week and Bristows’ UPC blog has just moved goalposts to SPCs [1, 2]. As for Team Battistelli, it barely even mentioned that lately, except in some delusional statements from Battistelli himself (in the threatre which he manages).

As we have mentioned in this post the other day, something called “4iP Council” (we hadn’t heard of it before!) posted some puff piece for the EPO’s fake ‘economist’ (Battistelli’s new friend) Yann Ménière. It’s a piece which promotes software patents using buzzwords like “AI” and “4IR” (like in the EPO’s Gazette, with a similar article there authored by Ménière). He’s clearly clueless on technical matters and his only quality appears to be 1) some degree; 2) being French and 3) being loyal to a corrupt president that loots the employer. The EPO is worse than a laughing stock these days. It’s a den of corruption, nepotism and worse. So we sort of had to laugh at the sight of this tweet, which was retweeted by the EPO this morning. To quote:

Did you see our interview with Yann Ménière, the @EPOorg’s Chief Economist on how #patent filing data illustrates the speed of the 4th Industrial Revolution? Includes a great update too on the Unitary Patent. https://bit.ly/2HQFRpY #AI, #IP, #IoT pic.twitter.com/LRD4PwE0P6

“4iP Council”, at least in Twitter, has just about 160 Twitter followers, with an almost identical number followed back (which means they’re likely mutual and thus ‘fakes’). For all we can tell, it’s a patent trolls’ think tank which promotes ‘unitary’ patents for a patent trolls-friendly litigation pipeline.

“Notice how, in one single tweet, at least 4 buzzwords or meaningless acronyms were included: 4IR, IoT, AI, and IP.”The EPO's previous chief economist warned about patent quality and patent trolls, but Ménière seems like merely an appendix of Battistelli. He never deviates from the official ‘party line’, which is basically a bunch of lies (e.g. about quality) and buzzwords. Notice how, in one single tweet, at least 4 buzzwords or meaningless acronyms were included: 4IR, IoT, AI, and IP.

And speaking of buzzwords, Mondaq has this new article by Taro Yaguchi (Keisen Associates). According to him, Japan’s JPO sets aside patents — mostly software patents — on buzzwords like “IoT”. Japanese courts are not entirely friendly towards these hyped up things, but here go the patent maximalists:

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) announced on June 6 that it has begun to make available its multi-category classifications for patent inventions directed toward Internet of Things (IoT) technology in various sectors. This is to enable more precise searching and analysis of IoT technology that is being developed in Japan.

This change builds on the addition the JPO made of subcategories to the IoT classification ZIT back in April 2017, which itself was a new thing in the world of patent office classification systems. Now the JPO’s searchable database J-Plat Pat treats the subcategories as acceptable input for searches

There are many Japanese patents at the EPO, almost twice as many as Chinese and Korean combined. Earlier today the EPO wrote: “Our experts on the Japanese, Chinese & Korean patent systems offer support in searching original-lang. databases…”

To which I reponded with: “While EPO offers and promotes entirely automated translation which — especially for technical disciplines — are utterly worthless, misleading…”

Only a short time later the EPO promoted automated translations again (on the same day), as it has been doing every couple of days lately. It wrote: “Patent Translate helps you to understand patent documents from all over the world…”

“They keep stressing that privacy is important to them, but in reality they conduct mass surveillance at the Office (even illegal surveillance by a firm that enlisted former Stasi staff)…”Well, let’s just use scare quotes around ‘understand’. They probably hope that people (readers/audience) never actually experimented with these so-called ‘translations’, which can be horrible depending on the target language. Patents are meant to be clear and unambiguous, not a salad of words that may or may not remotely make some sense, sometimes (if one gets lucky) even a coherent sentence.

Either way, so much for patent and service ‘quality’, eh?

Later in the day the EPO spoke of “[i]mprovement to the security of our online services,” linking to its site (warning: epo.org link) which now says: “As of 18 June 2018, you will need TLS 1.2 to connect securely to our online services (a secure connection is indicated by “https” in your browser’s address bar). Older protocols such as TLS 1.0 and 1.1 will be unavailable from this date on.”

They keep stressing that privacy is important to them, but in reality they conduct mass surveillance at the Office (even illegal surveillance by a firm that enlisted former Stasi staff) and what the EPO neglects to say is that it’s giving lumps of its very personal data ‘wholesale’ to private firms (example here and here, with more context in here).

Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner Find the Courage to Express Concerns About Battistelli’s Ugly Legacy and Low Patent Quality

Thursday 14th of June 2018 07:48:55 PM

Summary: The astounding levels of abuse at the EPO have caused some of the EPO’s biggest stakeholders to speak out and lash out, condemning the Office for mismanagement amongst other things

THE EUROPEAN Patent Office, EPO, is in a very bad state because many talented examiners are no longer there and the Office struggles to recruit talent. Money can buy some reputation, but it cannot bury a legacy of pure evil from Battistelli. Applicants (for patents and jobs) understand, more or less at least, what’s going on.

There’s only half a month for the crook to still ‘lead’ (i.e. destroy) the Office before his ‘child’ António Campinos takes over. Insiders say that Campinos intends to change pretty much nothing. Team Battistelli will remain in tact, protected by Herrnst (Ernst) and the rest of the Administrative Council.

Thankfully, some stakeholders have — dare we say! — “unionised” against the Office and have put forth a letter. António Campinos too has received the relatively strongly-worded letter, warning about the damage Battistelli caused (without specifically mentioning Battistelli). A copy of the letter was also sent to Battistelli and Herrnst (Ernst), his ‘boss’ who did pretty much nothing over the past year, at times even openly denying the decline in patent quality. Remember that EPO staff (about a thousand of them) already admitted a massive decline in patent quality — a monumental effort to speak about it without risk of retribution.

Leading German patent law firms grew tired of the abusive and corrupt administration; we appreciate that, but why did they wait until a fortnight before Battistelli leaves? Is Campinos the main target audience of this letter? He’s indebted to Battistelli who gave him the job (or cemented the candidacy), so we very much doubt it’ll have an effect on him. “Each year our law firms file more than 9500 patent applications with the EPO,” said the authors of the letter. Will they consider reducing that as deterrence against the EPO’s bad policies? They make some solid points; for example, the fifth point: “If the users of the European system gain the impression that granted EP patents cannot be relied upon anymore due to insufficient search and examination, the users may increasingly be discouraged from filing European patents. This might unhinge the entire patent system.”

They also say “in contrast to an industrial company, we cannot see why the profit of the EPO needs to be increased beyond the level of self-funding.”

Don’t worry, Battistelli pockets the spare cash.

Here’s Kluwer Patent Blog’s introduction to the letter, which it posted this morning:

Four leading patent law firms in Germany – Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner – have published an open letter expressing ‘great concern’ about the developments at the European Patent Office, particularly ‘the modifications to the incentive systems for the examination of patent applications’.

The ‘overreaching desire for high productivity’ has led to a series of problems, according to the letter, which is directed to outgoing EPO president Benoit Battistelli, the chairman of the Administrative Council Christoph Ernst, principal director user support & quality management Niclas Morey and future EPO president Antonio Campinos (who will start in office on 1 July 2018).

Among others, the firms write that when ‘the aim is to terminate proceedings as quickly as possible (…), the quality of the search and examination of applications must suffer’. The rather high fees, moreover, ‘can only be justified by giving the examiners sufficient time for an indepth assessment of each single application’. Patents with an erroneous scope of protection distort and hinder economic competition and might unhinge the patent system, they write.

More broadly, the law firms question the enormous financial reserves of the European Patent Office, amounting to 2.300.000.000 euros, 650 million euros to fund the pension scheme not included: ‘in contrast to an industrial company, we cannot see why the profit of the EPO needs to be increased beyond the level of self-funding. From our perspective, the high surplus is rather an indication that the fees are too high and that a further, problematic increase of productivity is not appropriate.’

The full text of the letter is published below.

SUEPO has already taken note of this letter and the first comment says: “I can only applaud the companies involved in writing this letter. I could not agree more with the concerns that it expresses. I can only hope that the incoming president realises that the concerns expressed cannot be easily dismissed… not least because the unprecedented nature of the letter indicates that the authors must be very concerned indeed.”

SUEPO then gets mentioned by “Save the EPO from destruction,” whose message says:

MANY THANKS for this brilliant initiative.

By the way the content of the letter could be taken up by SUEPO as-is!

Indeed SUEPO (which represents half of EPO staff) denounced since years (so far to no avail) the dangers of Battistelli’s policies (for both the quality of the patents delivered as well as on health of staff)…

and the Administrative Council remain passive.

It is 5 to 12.

In a few weeks, Mr Campinos will arrive in an exhausted office which cannot continue on this path much longer before collapsing.

Let’s hope that Mr Campinos will understand the poisonous legacy he inherits from his predecessor and in particular, that he has to be very cautious with the teams in place who are directly responsible for this debacle (in particular in HR, and DG1) since something must be done asap to restore both the social atmosphere, the reputation of the EPO AND the quality of the work performed.

Where were these law firms 4 years ago when SUEPO sounded the alarm? Or when the EPO banned (blocked) our site, in effect attempting to muzzle its own whistleblowers? This corrupt EPO management has killed the goose for a few remaining golden eggs; work is (pretty soon) running out, which means that the Office is imploding (with layoffs still expected). We have thus far found only one article about it. IPPro Patents wrote:

Four German law firms have penned an open letter to the European Patent Office (EPO), expressing “great concern” over recent developments at the EPO, specifically the ever-increasing work targets at the office.

The law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner wrote that “the incentive systems and internal directives appear to be increasingly directed towards rewarding or even requesting rapid ‘termination’ of proceedings and a correspondingly higher productivity”.

The letter said that this has resulted in penalisation of detailed and thorough assessment of cases.

It said that while the law firms do appreciate the increased speed, such “overreaching desire” for high productivity has led to a range of problems, including issues of quality, scope of protection and inadequately assessed patents.

Now is the time to carefully check which so-called ‘IP’ site covers the matter (letter) and which ones deliberately ignore it like IP Kat (controlled by Team UPC elements and patent maximalists nowadays).

IAM Concludes Its Latest Anti-§ 101 Think Tank, Featuring Crooked Benoît Battistelli

Thursday 14th of June 2018 08:48:34 AM

It’s all about money to them; even if that means demolishing the law itself

Summary: The attack on 35 U.S.C. § 101, which invalidates most if not all software patents, as seen through the lens of a Battistelli- and Iancu-led lobbying event (set up by IAM)

MIRACULOUSLY enough, the EPO‘s management has managed to become Europe’s great embarrassment, having aligned itself with radical elements such as Team UPC and patent trolls’ lobbies such as IAM and Watchtroll. Those who aren’t familiar with these might think that it’s not a big deal. But it is. It is.

“§ 101 is currently the main barrier to software patents in the US.”For a number of years the patent maximalists (some of whom are radical enough to be called extremists) have been attempting to bypass the law. They come up with all sorts of tricks and even fabricate ‘news’ in order to oust officials whom they view as a ‘threat’ (like Michelle Lee). Some of these extremists work for think tanks of billionaires with a financial agenda, whereas others are literally funded by aggressive patent trolls. Either way, it’s scary to think that they wield enough influence to change laws, leadership and so on.

§ 101 is currently the main barrier to software patents in the US. We write about this several times per week. § 101 has been very good for software developers, testers and users simply because programmers everywhere loathe software patents and never asked for software patents in the first place.

“§ 101 has been very good for software developers, testers and users simply because programmers everywhere loathe software patents and never asked for software patents in the first place.”“Can Blockchain Technology Transform the Intellectual Property (IP) Industry” says this new headline, which one can tell is a load of nonsense given the use of propaganda terms like “Intellectual Property” (they could just say patents instead). These people refer either to management of knowledge or patenting of algorithms involving “blockchains” (they typically just allude to some general-purpose databases). But this is part of an ongoing hype wave, which is also infecting the patent world (legal/law), not just the various domains of technology.

CoinAnnouncer‘s Amy Tori has just done the same thing, having stated the following in her article “Blockchain Platforms Grabbing Patents”:

When trying to measure the pace and scope of innovation in the blockchain world, look no further than the speed of patent applications in the field. Startups, established companies, researchers, and tinkerers all filed over 1200 blockchain patent applications (more than doubling 2016’s total) in 2017 in South Korea, the U.S., Japan, China, and Europe. In the U.S, patent applications have skyrocketed to over 700 as of early 2018, (though the number could be higher thanks to restrictions on public information about recent filings). China leads the world in blockchain patent applications.

Blockchain’s relationship with the patent system is a complicated, untested, and at times fraught one. At the same time, patents are driving essential innovation in the blockchain world.

[...]

European applicants have struggled to receive approval thanks to ambiguity over whether blockchain is a business model or software platform (which are not patentable) versus a new technological invention. Data on the success of patent applications in the U.S. is still emerging, but successful applications have indeed been granted over the past year to entities such as CoinBase or Goldman Sachs.

Notice that part about Europe. Some European patent lawyers/attorneys have openly complained about it. They just want lots and lots of software patents and say so explicitly (Bastian Best comes to mind). Blockchain hype waves are still being used to get software patents not just in China (which permits it) but in countries that disallow software patents. We routinely cover examples from the US. How about India, which does not allow software patents? Richa Bhatia thinks that the “AI” hype (nowadays they just use buzzwords for disguising software patents) is spreading to India. She wrote this yesterday:

Should AI Be Allowed To Get Patents? How Can Indian Companies Protect Their Inventions?

[...]

Herbert Roitblat, principal data scientist at Mimecast, an international company which specialises in cloud-based email management, had said that the older view was that algorithms were not patentable because they were “discovered” and not invented from scratch. Another viewpoint is that algorithms cannot be patented because traditionally they only list down a set of instructions to follow. The principal data scientist argues that even though current AI applications are suited for particular tasks, the ultimate goal is to advance artificial general intelligence. For example, DeepMind’s recent innovation AlphaGo Zero can be patented since it is a general-purpose system built to advance AGI and not just play the game.

[...]

India also excludes computer programmes or algorithms from getting patented as per the Computer-related Inventions (CRIs). Hence patents can only be granted if they pass the software patent eligibility test and are combined with hardware aspects to be registered under Indian patent law. According to US and India-based IP consultants, companies which want to claim IP protection should follow these guidelines…

[...]

A section of lawyers believes that copyright laws are antiquated and should be updated to reflect current technological developments.

AI researchers also argue that as AI-facilitated innovations evolve, the law should be changed to take into account inventions co-created by AI.

What we are trying to draw attention to here is the flagrant (mis)use of buzzwords. The “ICT” buzzword (or three-letter acronym) is still being used extensively by the EPO and as we noted earlier this week, the EPO now has a seemingly new Web page dedicated to it: http://epo.org/ict

Yesterday the EPO spoke of “patents & artificial intelligence at CEBIT” (here we go with “AI”!), basically promoting that nonsense yet again (Georg Weber doing it this year in CeBIT, just as he did a year ago at the same event). The full tweet said: “Need a new perspective? Talk to us about patents & artificial intelligence at CEBIT 2018! We are in Hall 27. http://epo.org/ict #CEBIT18 pic.twitter.com/Hlibu8oUFD”

Yes, there’s a photo there as well. But more interesting were the retweets from the EPO about what happened the day beforehand, courtesy of Benoît Battistelli and IAM.

“The anti-§ 101 lobby is not motivated by care for science and technology. It’s often motivated by clear and open disdain for both.”For those who missed it, IAM set up a patent trolls-funded event that deals with § 101 eligibility issues by basically attacking § 101. They’re openly promoting software patents and the audience/speakers make no pretense about it. It’s a lobbying event with a particular agenda/desired outcome.

A Koch Brothers-funded supporter of patent trolls, Adam Mossoff, was also included in this lobbying event of IAM, basically pushing software patents and attacking PTAB as usual. We only know this because the CCIA was there too, later writing this very long rebuttal that begun thusly:

I’m out at IPBC Global this week, and one of the hot topics of conversation here is patent eligibility under § 101. In fact, Director Iancu’s remarks focused heavily on § 101, and the panel I spoke on debated the relative importance of patent quality and patent eligibility. (I argued that patent quality is more important than eligibility; the audience agreed with my side of the argument.)

As part of this discussion, I’ve heard a few people mention Prof. Adam Mossoff’s “Gold Into Lead” article comparing patent eligibility between the U.S. and other patent offices. Mossoff’s article claims it identified, from a database of 17,000 applications, a set of 1,700 that were allowed in China or Europe, but rejected in the U.S. based on § 101 eligibility issues.

This might be concerning, if there weren’t reasons to have serious questions about the article’s conclusions.

Mossoff’s track record is well documented, even in Techrights. He’s what we consider to be one of the patent extremists. He blocked me in Twitter because he could not tolerate my views (and possibly because I pointed out who was funding his ‘work’). IAM used to block me as well, but eventually it realised that it wasn’t actually effective. Not at all.

“…§ 101 is a very big deal because it restricts — for a change — patent scope (for the first time in decades).”The anti-§ 101 lobby is not motivated by care for science and technology. It’s often motivated by clear and open disdain for both. One patent maximalist wrote: “Submitted to publisher manuscript for a revision: 165th since first publication 40 years ago. Some things have changed with patent law since then. Some not. Biggest issue in 1978: Section 101 patent eligible subject matter!! And for 2018.”

Yes, § 101 is a very big deal because it restricts — for a change — patent scope (for the first time in decades). “Iancu calls for 101 shake-up,” Joff Wild’s headline declares in the outline of this lobbying event. The patent microcosm, IAM included, heavily lobbies and relies on Iancu — a part of the ‘family’, having come from the litigation ‘industry’ himself (his firm had worked for Trump too).

The “new USPTO director Andrei Iancu made clear that the patent eligibility regime in the US had become dysfunctional and that further PTAB reforms are on the cards,” Wild wrote. These aren’t exact words or even quotes, but it sounds more like Wild just writes his own views, attributing these to Iancu. Watchtroll habitually does the same thing.

“Don’t be easily distracted by the late articles and puff pieces about the European Inventor Award…”Then came the part about Battistelli. The EPO retweeted IAM a couple of times, first on this tweet about Battistelli’s new buzzword (acronym) for software patenting, “4IR”. It says: “Rate of growth in 4th Industrial Revolution-related patent applications at ⁦ @EPOorg⁩ over last five years is 54%. Overall growth rate at office 7.6% – Battistelli”

They just made up some term and then claim growth, just like other firms do with vague terms like “cloud”. Another tweet said: “Europe’s patent balance. Interesting slide from ⁦ @EPOorg⁩’s Battistelli”

Yes, go on and suck up to Battistelli while he promotes software patents by IAM's own admission (this admission came several months prior to this talk). Battistelli even promotes software patents in the United States, where such patents are on the way out.

“Yesterday at 3 AM in the morning (English time) Battistelli’s propaganda rag IAM wrote about “Battistelli legacy,” saying nothing about his corruption and abuses at the EPO (he’s working for IAM now).”Don’t be easily distracted by the late articles and puff pieces about the European Inventor Award (here’s the latest example). Battistelli would rather have people read ‘articles’ composed by the several PR firms which he hired this month. Just “a few days ago in Saint-Germain-en-Laye,” writes Benoît Battistelli in his ‘blog’
(warning: epo.org link), not mentioning that this whole ‘Inventor Award’ helped him pass a lot of money to his other employer (Saint-Germain-en-Laye).

Yesterday at 3 AM in the morning (English time) Battistelli’s propaganda rag IAM wrote about “Battistelli legacy,” saying nothing about his corruption and abuses at the EPO (he’s working for IAM now). Here’s Joff Wild’s piece titled “The Battistelli legacy,” starting with the typical Big Lie about “quality”. The EPO “Pravda” (IAM) basically repeats its latest propaganda which Battistelli likes to cite. IAM does not even pretend to have any independence anymore; it’s being paid by the EPO’s PR firm. Here they go:

Quality commitment – Today’s proceedings kicked off with a keynote presentation by Benoît Battistelli, the outgoing president of the European Patent Office. The 2018 IAM annual benchmarking survey revealed that the EPO enjoys the highest approval rating among our readers, being perceived to grant the highest quality patents of any of the IP5 offices. Battistelli’s speech set-out how the EPO has achieved this: it has not only built the examiner corps up to 4,400, but also introduced a two-year training programme for new recruits; and the EPO is the only major IP office not to outsource any of its key functions. The office’s patent database is larger than any other, while it offers access to 50 million original patent documents from Asia. It is also the first major office to achieve ISO 9001 re-certification for the whole patent process, Battistelli added. These measures were among the reasons why, as Battistelli pointed out, the office had been able to increase productivity, with patent grants increasing at a faster rate than applications between 2010 and 2017 – and unit costs decreasing over the same timeframe. Further digitalisation of services and a commitment to being at the forefront of developments in artificial intelligence would help the EPO to maintain the quality and efficiency of its services, Battistelli concluded. (AH)

This is followed by Microsoft’s AI-washing of software patents (as we noted the other day):

Microsoft’s Nicolas Schifano used the example of basketball’s Dallas Mavericks, who won the 2011 NBA championship after the team partnered with a start-up which collected huge amounts of data and used AI techniques to help change tactics. That led to the Mavericks attempting and making far more three-point shots, something that meant they could overcome their underdog status to beat the favoured Miami Heat. It was one clear example of why AI’s long-term significance is an undoubted slam-dunk.

Grotesque whitewashing of Battistelli then follows. Just like a paid advertiser of Battistelli, Joff Wild writes: “As Battistelli gave his keynote presentation this morning it was hard not to think that we were watching and listening to a man very keen to cement a legacy. Seen from afar his achievements are significant: he has transformed working practices at the office, improved efficiency, put the agency on a firmer financial footing and increased Europe’s international influence, all while maintaining the EPO’s reputation as the issuer of the highest quality patents among the IP5.”

“Battistelli was an utter disaster and merely a liability to ‘unitary’ patents because his own abuses are a barrier to UPC; the constitutional complaints have a lot to do with the EPO’s violations of the law.”And here’s the UPC part: “Should it also be issuing unitary patents that a Unified Patent Court system is largely finding valid when cases come before it, then basically everything Battistelli set out to achieve when he started his job back in 2010 will have been done and all the negatives will be forgotten.”

Battistelli was an utter disaster and merely a liability to ‘unitary’ patents because his own abuses are a barrier to UPC; the constitutional complaints have a lot to do with the EPO’s violations of the law. Battistelli ensured that his own pick, the fellow Frenchman António Campinos, takes his place. This way he won’t be held accountable by a successor for corruption and other abuses at the EPO (Campinos is a former banker, so surely he can see and understand Battistelli’s rogue financial moves).

Expect IAM to remain a loyal fan of both Battistelli and Campinos. IAM knows the palm which feeds it. The remainder of that long summary/outline is filled with patent maximalism. There’s “Toward FRAND 2.0” and other patent maximalists’ nonsense (that’s what the whole event was about, organised by the patent trolls’ lobby itself).

“…there’s no indication whatsoever that US Congress or even the higher patent courts in the US will revisit/revise 35 U.S.C. § 101.”Those who attended IAM’s event probably drank enough Kool-Aid to believe that § 101 (as we know it) is going away or getting watered down. But it’s up for judges to decide, not a bunch of predatory lawyers preaching to another predatory lawyer called Iancu.

In Pernix Ireland Pain DAC v Alvogen Malta Operations Ltd. (mentioned here yesterday morning) § 101 did not apply, but it had nothing at all to do with software. It’s hard to find technical cases where § 101 challenges ultimately fail, so of course patent maximalists such as Kevin Noonan would cherry-pick this one:

It appears that Judge William C. Bryson, U.S. Appellate Court Judge on the Federal Circuit bench, is riding the circuit these days, peripatetically ruling on the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s motion to join ANDA litigation in the Eastern District of Texas last October and, last week, denying Defendant’s motion to reconsider his grant of summary judgment that the claims at issue in Pernix Ireland Pain DAC v. Alvogen Malta Operations Ltd. were not invalid for being patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Well, this case had nothing whatsoever to do with abstract patents, but this one seems good enough (at least for Noonan) to give an impression of a rebound. There’s no such rebound and there’s no indication whatsoever that US Congress or even the higher patent courts in the US will revisit/revise 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Google Gets Told Off — Even by the Typically Supportive EFF and TechDirt — Over Patenting of Software

Thursday 14th of June 2018 07:00:25 AM


Source: Jarek Duda’s homepage

Summary: The EFF’s Daniel Nazer, as well as TechDirt’s founder Mike Masnick, won’t tolerate Google’s misuse of Jarek Duda’s work; the USPTO should generally reject all applications for software patents — something which a former Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO seems to be accepting now (that such patents have no potency after Alice)

THE EPO is not allowed to grant ‘pure’ software patents; the USPTO, if it was to fully embrace Alice, would not permit this either. In practice, however, they nowadays rely on buzzwords, as we shall explain in the next post. To bring up again an example that we mentioned the other day, Uber is trying to call software patents something “AI”, basically patenting bogus, abstract ideas (courts would definitely reject these).

“The Supreme Court no doubt ‘upsets’ the status quo and pisses off the patent maximalists, but that’s just the law.”The term “AI” comes from CNN, which has just published “Uber wants to patent a way to use AI to identify drunk passengers” (AOL went with another kind of headline). Still just a patent application, CNN says that “[t]he patent application describes a system that learns how you typically use the Uber app, so that it can identify unusual behavior. The system relies on an algorithm to weigh a variety of factors, including typos, how precisely a user clicks on links and buttons, walking speed, and how long it takes to request a ride. The time of day, and where a ride is requested may also be considered.”

Of course this should be rejected. The Supreme Court no doubt ‘upsets’ the status quo and pisses off the patent maximalists, but that’s just the law. Robert Stoll, a former Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO, now admits (implicitly) that software patents are pretty much ‘dead’ in the US and trade secrets should be pursued instead. Have such patents outlived their usefulness? His summary at Watchtroll says: “Innovative algorithms and even diagnostic methods may be easier and more effectively protected by trade secret. Trade secret protection avoids the uncertainty of compliance with the vague patentability standard set forth by the Supreme Court.”

Coming from a patent maximalist like Stoll, this is pretty significant. These people have seemingly given up. Almost.

It is good to see that EFF staff is nowadays speaking explicitly about “software patents” rather than just “bad patents” (or equally vague terms). Mr. Nazer has just noted: “In an important sense, this is the story of just about every software patent. Almost all of them take the form: Use [existing hardware] and [known software methods and techniques] to get a [fairly unexceptional result]. [] When IBM is getting 9,000 freaking patents every year, and Google and Microsoft are getting 2,500 each, they are filing applications for every trivial little thing they do.”

Well, IBM acts like a patent troll and Microsoft keeps feeding patent trolls whilst also using software patents to blackmail GNU/Linux companies (an extortion racket). Google being mentioned there is noteworthy and we’ll explain why in just a moment.

Historically we have been relatively sympathetic towards Linux-powered products such as Android. We openly supported these products knowing that these had been subjected to Microsoft’s blackmail. This had an impact on both GNU and Linux (and beyond).

Some hours ago, in writing about Space Data Corporation v Alphabet, Inc. and Google LLC, the Docket Navigator revealed that Google seemingly suspects that it is being sued by proxy (maybe by Microsoft). We say Microsoft because we already have extensive evidence that Microsoft does such things, e.g. the SCO lawsuit. Might a company like Microsoft be funding these lawsuits against Google and Android? We know for sure that Microsoft has been feeding patents into the mouths of patent trolls which go after Android OEMs. “The court denied defendants’ motion to compel additional discovery regarding plaintiff’s litigation funding because defendants failed to establish relevance or proportionality,” says the Docket Report. Who does Google suspect to be the financier of Space Data Corporation’s litigation campaign? We don’t know. But does Google deserve full sympathy? Well, not anymore.

The EFF’s Daniel Nazer mentioned the situation we covered earlier this week. He wrote that “Google’s ANS patent only stands out because the real inventor of ANS took every step he could to ensure that the new compression algorithm would truly belong to the public.”

“And he also approached the media,” I told Nazer, “myself included…”

Nazer highlighted “Google’s response: “but we are applying the technique to video” might not impress a talented computer scientist like Jarek Duda. But arguments like that prevail at the USPTO all the time.”

The USTPO profits from issuing lots of bogus patents that courts would invalidate later (if the defendant/IPR filer can afford it). This really ought to stop. Google itself ought to stop as well. TechDirt has just published a complaint about this as well, including this preceding background:

For the most part, Google has actually been one of the good guys on patent issues. Unlike some other Silicon Valley companies, Google has long resisted using its patents to go after others, instead only using the patents defensively. It has also fought for patent reform and experimented with new models to keep its own patents out of the hands of patent trolls. But it’s been involved in an ongoing fight to patent something that an earlier inventor deliberately released into the public domain, and it reflects incredibly poorly on Google to keep fighting for this.

A Polish professor, Jarek Duda, came up with a new compression technique known as asymmetric numeral systems (ANS) years back, and decided to release it to the public domain, rather than lock it up. ANS has turned out to be rather important, and lots of companies have made use of it. Last summer, Duda noticed that Google appeared to be trying to patent the idea both in the US and around the globe.

Tragically, this happened just weeks after Duda had called out other attempts to patent parts of ANS, and specifically said he hoped that companies “like Google” would stand up and fight against such attempts. Three weeks later he became aware of Google’s initial patent attempt and noted “now I understand why there was no feedback” on his request to have companies like Google fight back against attempts to patent ANS. In that same thread, he details how there is nothing new in that patent, and calls it “completely ridiculous.” Despite noting that he can’t afford to hire a patent lawyer, he’s been trying to get patent offices to reject this patent, wasting a bunch of time and effort.

The bottom line is, irrespective of Google’s disgusting behaviour, the USPTO should stop tolerating software patents. These have caused misery and brought about nothing but agony. The Supreme Court made it rather clear that no such patents should be granted anymore (assuming that the patent office does not wish to grant patents courts would later reject). So one might say that the real problem here boils down to the patent office, which Google simply seeks to game/exploit. Like many other companies do…

From the Eastern District of Texas to Delaware, US Patent Litigation is (Overall) Still Declining

Thursday 14th of June 2018 06:08:31 AM

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is ‘where it’s at’ these days (with occasional appeals to the Federal Circuit)

Summary: Patent disputes/conflicts are increasingly being settled outside the courts and patents that aren’t really potent/eligible are being eliminated or never brought forth at all

THE patent microcosm is deep in denial these days, seeing the effect of SCOTUS on the USPTO and especially on courts. Alice is a lot more powerful than Bilski ever was and after TC Heartland it is very difficult to reach judges in the Eastern District of Texas, the capital of patent trolls in the US. Another new case, covered by Dennis Crouch some hours ago, went like this: “Team Worldwide (TWW) sued Wal-Mart in E.D. Texas for infringing its U.S. Pat. Nos. 9,211,018, 7,346,950, and 7,246,394 (air mattress products). Wal-Mart does not make the accused products but does sell them. The manufacturers (Intex, Coleman, and Bestway) are all contractually bound to indemnify Wal-Mart and intervened to defend their products. After intervening the manufacturers then demanded that the case be severed and transferred to their chosen districts (Intex to C.D. Cal; Coleman to N.D. Ill, and Bestway to Arizona). The district court refused — holding that the manufacturers had waived any objection to venue by intervening.”

This is quite an exceptional case as patent aggressors and trolls still explore the ‘terrain’ just over a year after TC Heartland.

Even Watchtroll generally admits the demise of patent litigation in the US, but it then focuses on Delaware (the exception, not the norm) in order to make it seem like everything is great for the lawsuits ‘industry’. Yesterday it wrote this:

Legal data analytics provider Lex Machina recently published a post featuring data points regarding the filing of patent infringement cases in the year following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands. In that decision, the Court held that the patent venue statute (28 U.S.C. § 1400(b)) meant that domestic companies could only file patent infringement suits in the judicial district where they were incorporated. Lex Machina’s one-year data update shows that TC Heartland has toppled the Eastern District of Texas as the top forum for patent infringement filings among U.S. district courts. The decision has also affected the filing behaviors of high-volume plaintiffs (HVPs), or those entities filing 10 or more patent infringement cases in U.S. district courts within one calendar year.

The months following SCOTUS’ TC Heartland decision last May saw interesting developments regarding the patent venue statute and its application in U.S. district court. In Eastern Texas, In re: Cray, Judge Rodney Gilstrap created a four-part test for determining residence which was struck down months later on appeal to the Federal Circuit. Last November, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision which held that the TC Heartland ruling changed controlling law and can be applied retroactively, allowing defendants in patent infringement cases to file new motions to transfer venue even when such motions were previously denied.

What few of these people want to openly admit is that the lawsuits (or litigation) ‘industry’ is a dying breed. Or it’s shrinking at least, making way for science and engineering at the expense of litigation/legal defense budgets.

We should openly stress that we are not against patents or against patent litigation. We just think that patent scope should be sensibly restricted and lawsuits filed only where/when the patents are solid. Frivolous lawsuits benefit (financially) nobody but the lawyers.

Here’s a new report about a seemingly amicable agreement over US patents (no need for a lawsuit either), involving not software patents:

Global Graphics Software is licensing three patents covering inventions by Mitchell J. Bogart, the inventor and managing member of Rampage LLC.

The Company plans to utilize the methods alongside its own software solutions for inkjet and to pass on the benefits exclusively to its OEM customers.

The three patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 9,053,410, 9,734,440, and 9,278,566 which cover the Quantone™ processing methods of screening and compensation for multiple gray-level digital presses and automatic print head registration.

Imagine what the world would look like if all deals were made this way, not based on abstract patents and not through courtroom battles.

Links 13/6/2018: Cockpit 170, Plasma 5.13, Krita 4.0.4

Thursday 14th of June 2018 04:15:34 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Former Munich Mayor Warns Against Negative Effects Of City’s Re-Migration To Microsoft

    The former mayor of Munich, Christian Ude (Social Democratic Party), clashed with the new head of IT of the Bavarian capital over the city’s re-migration from Linux to Microsoft at an event organised by the Green Party yesterday.

  • Linux Gets Loud

    Linux is ready for prime time when it comes to music production. New offerings from Linux audio developers are pushing creative and technical boundaries. And, with the maturity of the Linux desktop and growth of standards-based hardware setups, making music with Linux has never been easier.

    Linux always has had a place for musicians looking for inexpensive rigs to record and create music, but historically, it’s been a pain to maintain. Digging through arcane documentation and deciphering man pages is not something that interests many musicians.

    Loading up Linux is not as intimidating as it once was, and a helpful community is going strong. Beyond tinkering types looking for cheap beats, users range in experience and skill. Linux is still the underdog when it comes to its reputation for thin creative applications though.

  • Desktop
    • CodeWeavers Demo a Windows app Running on a Chromebook using Linux and Wine

      As you may know Google is bringing Linux apps to Chromebooks — but did you realise that the feature could pave the way for Windows apps, too?

      Yup, we’re talking Wine, the Windows software compatibility that is a staple part of the Linux app ecosystem.

      Be it for Adobe Photoshop or games like Fortnite and WoW, Wine is the go-to fudge when you need an app that lacks a native Linux equivalent.

    • Here are all the Chromebooks that run Android and Linux apps

      In May of 2016, Google first announced that it would be releasing updates to Chrome OS that would allow Android apps on Chromebook. While the rollout of suppport for Android apps on Chromebook devices has been slow, there are now a healthy number of first and third-party devices that can run the hundreds of millions of apps available from the Google Play Store. In May 2016, Google revealed that it would also start adding Linux app support to Chromebooks by lacing them in a Debian-based virtual machine. The company’s own Pixelbook is the first Chromebook that can run Linux apps, although just in a preview release.

    • Acer Chromebook 13 and Spin 13 may be first Chromebooks to ship with day-1 Linux app support

      Google revealed Linux app support for Chromebooks at this year’s I/O conference, but at the time the only supported device was the first-party Pixelbook. The 2nd device to get the feature was Samsung’s ARM-powered Chromebook Plus, and other recently released devices Like HP’s Chromebook x2 haven’t had Linux app support at all. But, if a recent commit is any indicator, Acer’s Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 may be the first Chromebooks to run Linux apps from day 1, no update necessary.

    • Linux apps on Chromebooks makes running Windows apps easier

      Now that Google is allowing users of (some) Chromebooks to run Linux applications alongside Chrome apps, there’s an odd side effect: it’s also easier to run some Windows applications.

      CrossOver from CodeWeavers is a utility that adds a compatibility layer to Mac and Linux that allows you to install and run some Windows applications on those platforms. A few years ago the developers of CrossOver released an Android version that could run on Chromebooks that support Android apps.

    • Chromebooks with Linux can run Windows apps but it’s not easy

      It really seems that Chrome OS is being groomed to be the one OS that runs them all. Well almost all. In addition to its native Chrome-based platform, it now supports Android through Google Play Store and, just recently, Linux. Because of those two, it is also possible to run Windows programs to some extent. CodeWeavers, which develops software for running Windows programs on Mac and Linux, has just shown what could be a better way to run those same programs on a Chromebook.

    • Upcoming Chrome OS Files ‘refresh’ highlights Android, Linux files w/ redesigned navigation

      Earlier this month, Google began testing a way to surface files created by Android apps in the Chrome OS Files application. Given upcoming Linux support, the company is now planning a broader “Navigation UI Refresh” for how users view and manage files in Chrome OS.

      This “Refresh” — currently targeted for Chrome OS 69 — is centered on the navigation drawer of the Files app. At the moment, this list of folders is cluttered and becoming increasingly so in light of Android apps and soon Linux software generating user-created files, like PDFs, images, and more.

    • Chromebook Files app getting revamped to better organize Android and Linux apps

      Chrome OS has got a ton of love from Google lately. We’re seeing the OS gain native support for Linux apps starting with the Google Pixelbook and the Samsung Chromebook Plus, and possibly the upcoming Acer Chromebook 13 and Acer Chromebook Spin 13. The interface is also receiving touch optimizations for tablets and detachables like the HP Chromebook X2 and Acer Chromebook Tab 10. Then there’s the Google Material Theme revamp that’s in testing. Now, it seems that the Chromebook Files app will be getting some major structural changes to help users keep track of all their Downloads, Google Drive files, Android apps, Linux apps, and more.

    • Chrome OS Getting Better Organization For Linux/Android Apps

      Chrome OS is getting better organization for Linux and Android apps in the near future by way of an improvement to the Files app on Chromebooks. The improvement is coming via some changes to the app that Google is currently in the process of working on and eventually implementing so that it can push the changes out to users. The rework of sorts will see a new file tree show up in the app labeled as “my files,” under which users will be able to see Linux Files and Linux Drive under their own sub-menu that is separate from the Android apps.

    • Acer Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 Will Support Linux Apps on Day One

      Acer’s recently announced Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 appear to be the first Chromebooks to ship with support for Linux apps out-of-the-box at launch.

      Google already announced that it worked on implementing support for Linux apps on Chrome OS during the Google I/O conference last month, and the first Chromebook to run Linux apps is Google’s Pixelbook, as expected, and the functionality was later discovered to be available on the Samsung Chromebook Plus as well.

    • Living the Linux Laptop Lifestyle Revisited

      One Cause at a Time revisits the advantages – and experiences – working with a Linux-powered laptop…

  • Server
    • How Red Hat Linux is helping reclaim the fastest supercomputer title for the US

      All the world’s fastest supercomputers now run Linux, so it’s no surprise that the US Department of Energy’s Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratories runs Linux. Specifically, it runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

      Of course, Summit’s 200-petaflop speed — that’s 200 quadrillion (peta-) floating point operations per second (flops) — comes largely from its hardware. How fast is that? By comparison, China’s Sunway TaihuLight, the official fastest supercomputer in the world, according to November 2017′s Top 500 list, has a speed of 93.01 petaflops.

    • Docker Advances Container Platform for the Multicloud World

      DockerCon 18 kicked off here on June 13 with Docker Inc. making a series of announcements that aim to further advance container adoption by enterprises.

      Docker announced it is enhancing its flagship Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) with a new federated application management capability that enables enterprises to manage and deploy containers across a multicloud infrastructure. The company is also improving its Docker Desktop application for developers with new template-based workflows for building container applications.

      “Federated application management shows how Docker Enterprise Edition can be used to provide a consistent, uniform secure environment across which you could manage applications on multiple clusters, whether they’re on premises or in the cloud,” Docker Chief Product Officer Scott Johnston told eWEEK.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.17.1 Kernel Released

      For those that prefer waiting until the first point release of a new kernel series before upgrading, Linux 4.17.1 is out today.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the Linux 4.17.1 kernel today barely a week and a half since 4.17.0 made its initial debut. It’s largely been quiet on the 4.17 front with 4.17.1 containing just a handful of bug fixes affecting PCI, network, and other minor driver fixes representing a bulk of the changes. Only about one hundred lines of code was shifted around for this initial point release and none of the fixes are security related.

    • Fingerprint reader support, the second coming

      Fingerprint readers are more and more common on Windows laptops, and hardware makers would really like to not have to make a separate SKU without the fingerprint reader just for Linux, if that fingerprint reader is unsupported there.

      The original makers of those fingerprint readers just need to send patches to the libfprint Bugzilla, I hear you say, and the problem’s solved!

      But it turns out it’s pretty difficult to write those new drivers, and those patches, without an insight on how the internals of libfprint work, and what all those internal, undocumented APIs mean.

      Most of the drivers already present in libfprint are the results of reverse engineering, which means that none of them is a best-of-breed example of a driver, with all the unknown values and magic numbers.

    • Video: Linus Torvalds Explains How Linux Still Surprises and Motivates Him

      Linus Torvalds took to the stage in China for the first time Monday at LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China 2017 in Beijing. In front of a crowd of nearly 2,000, Torvalds spoke with VMware Head of Open Source Dirk Hohndel in one of their famous “fireside chats” about what motivates and surprises him and how aspiring open source developers can get started. Here are some highlights of their talk.

    • Linux 4.9.108
    • Linux 4.4.137
    • Linux 3.18.113
    • MIPS Changes Pulled Into The Linux 4.18 Kernel, Not Any NanoMIPS Or Intel GRX500

      The MIPS architecture updates have been submitted for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window.

      The MIPS updates in Linux 4.18 don’t include any new Spectre or security features, but does include some new intrinsics, Year 2038 improvements, various fixes, and more.

    • DM Writecache Target Merged For Linux 4.18, Helping Databases & More

      There is at least one interesting feature with the just-merged Device Mapper (DM) changes for the Linux 4.18 kernel.

    • Intel Skylake Xeon Systems Get HWP Iowait Boosting With P-State On Linux 4.18

      Intel Skylake Xeon Scalable servers may see greater performance when upgrading to the in-development Linux 4.18 kernel.

      Last month we covered P-State Powersave Improvements May Help Boost I/O Performance. That work is about yielding better I/O performance when using the P-State CPU frequency scaling driver particularly with the powersave governor that is the common default. The work was found to significantly improve some I/O workloads like Dbench by 50%, FIO/Tiobench by about 10%, 15% for SQLite, and about 10% for x264 video encoding.

    • More XFS Fixes Readied For Linux 4.18

      Last week was the main XFS file-system pull request for Linux 4.18 while submitted on Tuesday was a secondary batch of updates targeted for this next kernel version.

    • KVM Changes For Linux 4.18 Bring Many Microsoft Hyper-V Additions, x86 Bug Fixes

      KVM maintainer for the Linux kernel, Paolo Bonzini, on Tuesday submitted the feature updates for the Kernel-based Virtual Machine in Linux 4.18.

    • Linux Foundation
      • ONAP’s Second Code Release, Beijing, Enables the Software to Use Kubernetes

        The O​pen Network Automation Platform (ONAP)​ project today issued its second software release — Beijing. It includes more support for containers and some functionality for service providers to deploy ONAP across geographically dispersed data centers.

        The ONAP project gave clues that it was working with the container orchestrator Kubernetes in March when the two projects conducted a joint demonstration at the Open Networking Summit (ONS).

      • ONAP ‘Beijing’ Paves Way for Cloud-Native Network Functions

        The Linux Foundation’s LF Networking group announced availability for the second version of ONAP, or the Open Network Automation Platform that is codenamed “Beijing,” which is being used by AT&T and several other large carriers to manage and automate network traffic and security.

        Beijing follows “Amsterdam,” which was a first release late last year that integrated the code bases from two other carrier orchestration projects, one from AT&T and the other from the largest providers in China, said LF Networking General Manager Arpit Joshipura, in an interview with eWEEK.

      • ONAP Beijing release targets deployment scenarios

        Deployability is the name of the game with the Linux Foundation’s latest Open Network Automation Platform architecture.

        Central to the ONAP Beijing release are seven identified “dimensions of deployability,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration at the Linux Foundation. These seven deployability factors comprise usability, security, manageability, stability, scalability, performance and resilience.

      • R Consortium is soliciting your feedback on R package best practices

        With over 12,000 R packages on CRAN alone, the choice of which package to use for a given task is challenging. While summary descriptions, documentation, download counts and word-of-mouth may help direct selection, a standard assessment of package quality can greatly help identify the suitability of a package for a given (non-)commercial need. Providing the R Community of package users an easily recognized “badge” indicating the level of quality achievement will make it easier for users to know the quality of a package along several dimensions. In addition, providing R package authors and maintainers a checklist of “best practices” can help guide package development and evolution, as well as help package users as to what to look for in a package.

      • Session Agenda Announced for The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit North America [Ed: Another "Linux" event has been infiltrated by Microsoft. So while Microsoft is blackmailing Linux users and bribes officials to dump GNU/Linux it's now "part of us".]

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the schedule of sessions and speakers for Open Source Summit North America, taking place August 29-31 in Vancouver, BC, including expanded pre-event lighting talks, workshops and tutorials on August 28.

      • Open Source and Standards Organizations Collaborate to Enable Digital Transformation

        TM Forum Catalyst projects showcased during the recent Digital Transformation World event in Nice France have highlighted the value of combining open source with open standards and contributed valuable improvements to The Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Beijing Release, availability of which was announced on the 12th June.

      • Linux Foundation seeking ONAP rollout boost

        The Linux Foundation unveiled the second software release of its Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project, which it said delivers improvements in terms of scalability and ease of deployment.

        ONAP Beijing also includes enhancements covering security and performance in real-world deployments, new training for Virtual Network Functions (VNF) developers and backing for operators commencing rollouts.

        Mazin Gilbert, chair of ONAP’s Technical Steering Committee and VP of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs, said in a statement the upgrades are another step toward “establishing ONAP as the de facto standard for automation”.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Wayland’s Weston 5.0 Moved Up To An August Release

        Following the recent discussions of moving Wayland’s Weston compositor to a 4-month release schedule and possibly doing away with time-based Wayland releases itself, Weston 5.0 will now be coming out in August.

        Feature development on Weston is as busy as ever while Wayland (libwayland) is quite mature and not seeing too much churn. Upstream Wayland developers now appear to be in agreement to carrying out the next Weston release at least on a four-month release cycle.

      • Librem 5 progress report #14

        On the nuts and bolts level, our phone shell (phosh) has seen several usability improvements mostly around the lockscreen. One important change is that the lockscreen unlocking has been switched to PAM to better handle the PIN to lock the device. There have also been some additions to the code to better handle multiple outputs (screens). Also, Libhandy is our “handy” UI library for developing GTK+ apps. There has been a recent addition of an arrows widget (HdyArrows) to indicate swiping direction which will be very useful to many applications, especially the lockscreen. Additionally, libhandy has seen some bug fixes and a slight rework of the keyboard handling support. Since graphics are important, we have added Etnaviv support to weston-simple-dmabuf (a Wayland client to test Linux DMA-BUF protocol implementations). We also extended it’s NV12 format support. It’s being used over here to test wlroot’s linux-dmabuf implementation which we wrote a couple of weeks ago. We’d like to especially thank the wlroots and Weston projects for their code reviews, recommendations, and support.

      • Librem 5 Continues Working On Its Wayland Software Stack, Testing Vibration Motors, Chargers

        Purism has published their latest progress report on the Librem 5 privacy-minded Linux-powered smartphone that they still hope to begin shipping next January.

      • Intel Developers Working On HDCP Content Protection Protocol For Wayland [Ed: This is basically “Linux Vista”. First Web DRM (EME). Now LF sells out as well.]

        With Intel’s DRM kernel driver now supporting HDCP for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection with work done by Intel and Google developers, there is now work underway for allowing HDCP to work in a Wayland-based environment.

        As with the work done on the Direct Rendering Manager side, these Wayland patches aren’t enforcing any restrictions on users by itself but is simply making the support available should any applications come along that wish to enforce HDCP usage on the Linux desktop.

      • VFIO Adds Sample Mediated Device Display Drivers

        The VFIO framework that allows exposing direct device access to user-space in a secure, IOMMU-protected fashion is gaining some new sample drivers in Linux 4.18.

    • Benchmarks
      • Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux

        Last month Samsung introduced the 970 Series solid-state drives with the mainstream 970 EVO models and 970 PRO models for professionals/enthusiasts. The 970 Series moves to a 64-layer flash and uses a five-core Phoenix controller. For those curious about the Samsung 970 EVO performance under Linux, I have carried out some quick benchmarks to show off its potential under Ubuntu.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Hands on: KDE Plasma 5.13.0 review

        The good people of the KDE Foundation have just released the latest version of the Plasma desktop environment. Plasma 5 has been in active development since July 2014 and is maintained as a separate software project which follows its own release schedule. It has an excellent reputation for rich graphics, an intuitive and customizable interface, as well as excellent performance.

        However, the Plasma team hasn’t relied only on its reputation in this latest version: clear effort has been made to enhance the desktop environment with more features and a smoother running experience.

      • Plasma 5.13, a new version of KDE’s desktop environment, is here

        Feature-wise, Plasma 5.13 comes with Browser Integration. This means both Chrome/Chromium and Firefox web browsers can be monitored and controlled using your desktop widgets. For example, downloads are displayed in the Plasma notification popup, so even if your browser is minimized or not visible, you can monitor the download progress. Likewise with media playing in a tab: you can use Plasma’s media controls to stop, pause and silence videos and audio playing in any tab – even the hidden ones. This a perfect solution for those annoying videos that auto-start without your permission. Another Plasma-browser feature is that links can now be opened from Plasma’s overhead launcher (Krunner), and you can also send links directly to your phone using KDE Connect.

      • Plasma 5.13 Out

        The newly released and extremely elegant Plasma 5.13 is now available in KDE neon User Edition. We’ve also gone ahead and included Qt 5.11 and KDE Frameworks 5.47 to get a billion bugs fixed and improve printing support.

      • GSoC :: Coding Period – Phase One (May 14th to June 12th): Initial implementation of typewriter annotation tool in Okular

        The phase one of the coding period is now completed and I’m done with the initial implementation of typewriter annotation tool in Okular along with writing the integration tests for the same. I have created the revision on Phabricator and it is currently under review. Some review comments by my mentor are still to come.

        As per the agreed timeline, I have implemented the fully functional typewriter tool that creates the annotation with the transparent background in all the supported document formats and the text input UI in the current implementation is the popup QInputDialog window which is in accordance with the inline note.

      • Krita 4.0.4 released!

        Today the Krita team releases Krita 4.0.4, a bug fix release of Krita 4.0.0. This is the last bugfix release for Krita 4.0.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
    • Red Hat Family
      • The Path to Cloud-Native Trading Platforms

        The Red Hat Performance Team, along with our partners Solarflare and Supermicro, have been working together to leverage the latest technologies and features in the container orchestration space to demonstrate that it is possible to containerize extreme low-latency applications without any degradation in performance. The team used the well-known STAC-N1™ benchmark from STAC® (the Securities Technology Analysis Center), to prove out the technology.

      • Red Hat Responds to New Speculative Execution Vulnerability, Patches Coming Soon

        Red Hat is the top open-source software company known for their Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system, and they’re always quick to address newly discovered security vulnerabilities that not only affect its enterprise-ready operating system but the entire Open Source and Free Software community.

        Many modern microprocessors leverage the “lazy restore” function for floating point state (FPU), which is used when needed for improving the overall performance of the system when saving and restoring the state of apps in the internal memory when switching from one application to another.

      • Maxta MxSP dons its Red Hat for container storage

        Maxta MxSP hyper-converged infrastructure is expanding integration with Red Hat. The software-only vendor has added support for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, which is built on Red Hat Container Native Storage with GlusterFS file system.

      • Red Hat Introduces Fuse 7, Buildah 1.0 to Ease App Development

        Today’s topics include Red Hat launching Fuse 7 and Buildah 1.0 for advanced application development, and a new ENCRYPT bill to create national encryption rules.

        Red Hat is boosting its application development efforts with Fuse 7 and Buildah 1.0, which will help developers build and integrate cloud-native container applications.

        With version 7, Red Hat is augmenting its Fuse cloud-native integration platform with a hosted low-code integration platform as a service called Fuse Online, allowing developers to create container-native integrated apps or APIs for OpenShift.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • FESCo Election: Interview with Till Maas (till)

          This is a part of the FESCo Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Thursday, June 7th and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018.

        • Fedora 28 on Raspberry Pi 3 B+

          The Raspberry Pi model 3 B+ (RPi 3 B+) is the latest available in the Raspberry Pi series, released in mid-March 2018. RPi 3 B+ has some nice features and improvements over the previous RPi 3 B. They include faster 1.4 GHz processor clock speed, Gigabit Ethernet speed, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz wifi support, and Bluetooth 4.2.

          Fedora 28 was released soon after the RPi 3 B+. The good news is it supports the RPi 3 B+, as well as the RPi Model B versions 2 and 3. Images are available to download for both ARMv7 (32-bit) and aarch64(64-bit). This article will show you how to get wifi running on the RPi 3 B+.

        • [Week 4] GSoC Status Report for Fedora App: Amitosh
        • Bodhi 3.8.1 released
        • Flatpak in detail

          At this point, Flatpak is a mature system for deploying and running desktop applications. It has accumulated quite some sophistication over time, which can make it appear more complicated than it is.

          In this post, I’ll try to look in depth at some of the core concepts behind Flatpak, namely runtimes and extensions.

    • Debian Family
      • Debian Policy call for participation — June 2018

        I’d like to push a substantive release of Policy but I’m waiting for DDs to review and second patches in the following bugs. I’d be grateful for your involvement!

        If a bug already has two seconds, or three seconds if the proposer of the patch is not a DD, please consider reviewing one of the others, instead, unless you have a particular interest in the topic of the bug.

      • Microsoft fixed the Open R Debian package

        Thanks Microsoft for the quick fix, it is good news that those playing with Open R will not be left with a hosed system.

      • Google Summer of Code 2018 with Debian – Week 4

        After working on designs and getting my hands dirty with KIVY for the first 3 weeks, I became comfortable with my development environment and was able to deliver features within a couple of days with UI, tests, and documentation. In this blog, I explain how I converted all my Designs into Code and what I’ve learned along the way.

      • Derivatives
        • Debian variant offers safe homeland for systemd haters

          The Devuan project has released a v2.0 ASCII version of its Devuan fork of Debian that replaces the systemd init with OpenRC, and let’s you load other inits of your choice. The release supports several major Linux hacker boards.

          The Devuan project was announced in 2014 as a Debian fork for those who prefer other init systems to Red Hat’s systemd. Since then, systemd has seen even greater adoption in Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, which last year replaced its Upstart init in favor of systemd as part of its retreat from its Unity8/Mir desktop and convergence initiative. Yet Devuan has persisted, and has now released a more mature, Devuan v2.0 ASCII version of its systemd-free Debian distro.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • 451 Research benchmarks public and private infrastructure cost

            451 Research’s latest report, ‘Busting the myth of private cloud economics ’, found that Canonical’s managed private OpenStack offering, BootStack, delivers private cloud with a TCO that matches public clouds. For multi-cloud operations, enterprise can benefit from a cost effective infrastructure by combining competitive public cloud services with Canonical’s managed private OpenStack cloud on-premise.

          • Private Cloud May Be the Best Bet: Report

            News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures.

            Private (or on-premises) cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to “Busting the Myths of Private Cloud Economics,” a report 451 Research and Canonical released Wednesday. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures.

            Half of the enterprise IT decision-makers who participated in the study identified cost as the No. 1 pain point associated with the public cloud. Forty percent mentioned cost-savings as a key driver of cloud migration.

            “We understand that people are looking for more cost-effective infrastructure. This was not necessarily news to us,” said Mark Baker, program director at Canonical.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Users Can Now Install Mesa 18.1.1 to Improve Their Linux Gaming

            Implementing OpenGL 3.1 with ARB_compatibility on RadeonSI, r600, NV50, NVC0, Softpipe, LLVMpipe, and SVGA graphics drivers, the Mesa 18.1 graphics stack series debuted on May 18, 2018, with support for new OpenGL extensions, including GL_EXT_semaphore, GL_EXT_semaphore_fd, GL_ARB_bindless_texture, and GL_ARB_transform_feedback_overflow_query.

            Additionally, it adds support for the GL_EXT_shader_framebuffer_fetch and GL_EXT_shader_framebuffer_fetch_non_coherent extension for the Intel i965 OpenGL graphics driver, support for the GL_KHR_blend_equation_advanced extension for the RadeonSI graphics driver, and enables disk shader cache support for the Intel i965 OpenGL graphics driver by default.

          • Mesa 18.0.5 Being Prepped For Ubuntu 18.04 While 18.1.1 Going Into X-Updates

            When Ubuntu 18.04 LTS shipped in April, it shipped with a near-final release candidate of Mesa 18.0. Coming down the pipe now to “Bionic Beaver” desktop users is Mesa 18.0.5.

            Canonical’s Timo Aaltonen who wrangles the X/Mesa packages has been working on getting the Mesa 18.0.5 point release out into the 18.04 Bionic archive and also an updated GLVND package to ease the transition for users that may be upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04. Those updates are in the process of landing.

          • Status of Ubuntu Mesa backports

            It’s been quite a while since the last post about Mesa backports, so here’s a quick update on where we are now.

            Ubuntu 18.04 was released with Mesa 18.0.0 which was built against libglvnd. This complicates things a bit when it comes to backporting Mesa to 16.04, because the packaging has changed a bit due to libglvnd and would break LTS->LTS upgrades without certain package updates.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Top 4 open source augmented reality SDKs

    Advancements in augmented reality (AR) technologies have unearthed possibilities that previously were restricted to our imaginations. Today, it’s possible to use sophisticated computer-produced vision to augment our physical environment in entirely new and captivating ways.

    The resulting boom has led developers to seek out the best open source AR software development kits (SDKs) to build the next big AR-powered applications and games. This includes people like Swizec, who has spent the past 10 years working in AR and developing apps like the projects shown on LiveEdu.tv.

  • Why Open Source Needs Marketing (Even Though Developers Hate It)
  • ASIFA-Hollywood Continues Commitment To Open Source Animation Technology

    “The last few years, there have been incredible advancements in the quality of open source software solutions for artists,” says Danny Young, ASIFA-Hollywood board member. “Open Source software development is more than ever serving as a counterweight to put fantastic free technology in the hands of anyone who is curious enough to explore it. By supporting ASIFA-Hollywood, you make projects like this possible. So, thank you, ASIFA membership!”

  • Events
    • Little community conferences

      This last weekend I was at FOSS Talk Live 2018. It was fun. And it led me into various thoughts of how I’d like there to be more of this sort of fun in and around the tech community, and how my feelings on success have changed a bit since the early years.

      [..].

      Philosophical thoughts, admittedly, so how are they relevant? Well, if your goal is to get 50% of people on earth using your choice of OS then everything you do needs to be big, splashy, impressive. There’s not much room left in there for doing stuff just for the joy of it. But if what you have is already good then you’re no longer constrained to change it, just to enjoy it. And that’s what I meant about smaller conferences. Nobody showed up to FOSS Talk Live to hand out business cards, or even to make contacts. None of the podcasts are seeking their break-out into television. It’s done for joy. I like joy. Beethoven wrote music about it. I’d like there to be more joy and less striving in people’s lives, if we can manage it; the actual business of your life is hard and annoying and unpleasant sometimes, or maybe all the time. Having the things we do for fun actually be fun sounds like a good plan. FOSS Talk Live and Fusion feel so welcoming, so friendly; a place where, fine, we can unabashedly talk about tech without embarrassment, but equally there’s no pressure. It’s just nice. I’d like there to be more of that. Let’s work out how.

    • FOSS Talk Live 2018

      Saturday 9th June 2018 marked FOSS Talk Live 2018, an evening of Linux UK podcasts on stage at The Harrison pub near Kings Cross, London. It’s in its third year now, and each year has improved on the last. This year there were four live shows: Late Night Linux, Ubuntu Podcast, Linux Voice, and what we affectionally call the “Drunken Mashup Show” containing Joe from Late Night Linux, Dave Megins-Nichols from Geek News Radio, Marius Quabeck from Nerdzoom.de and… me, representing Bad Voltage. It was jolly good fun.

  • Web Browsers
    • Improving extension transparency for users

      We strive to ensure choice and transparency for all Chrome users as they browse the web. Part of this choice is the ability to use the hundreds of thousands of extensions available in the Chrome Web Store to customize the browsing experience in useful and productivity-boosting ways. However, we continue to receive large volumes of complaints from users about unwanted extensions causing their Chrome experience to change unexpectedly — and the majority of these complaints are attributed to confusing or deceptive uses of inline installation on websites. As we’ve attempted to address this problem over the past few years, we’ve learned that the information displayed alongside extensions in the Chrome Web Store plays a critical role in ensuring that users can make informed decisions about whether to install an extension. When installed through the Chrome Web Store, extensions are significantly less likely to be uninstalled or cause user complaints, compared to extensions installed through inline installation.

    • Now You Can’t Install New Chrome Extensions From Websites, Only Chrome Store

      Apart from its own feature set, tons of browser extensions are what make Google Chrome stand different from other web browsers. Just like it has for Android, Google maintains a dedicated storefront for Chrome users to find and install their favorite extensions.

      The extension developers can also make users install Chrome extensions from their websites as well – a method called inline installation. This is to save users’ time and efforts of visiting the Chrome Store and installing the extension from there. But Google says inline installation could be used for abusing and deceiving users.

    • Add a Dark Mode to Every Website With This Browser Extension

      Chrome/Firefox: Your monitor is basically a lightbulb, which is why white backgrounds are hard on the eyes. Dark Reader is a browser extension that turns bright websites dark, sparing your retinas.

    • Mozilla
      • WITHIN creates distribution platform using WebVR

        Virtual Reality (VR) content has arrived on the web, with help from the WebVR API. It’s a huge inflection point for a medium that has struggled for decades to reach a wide audience. Now, anyone with access to an internet-enabled computer or smartphone can enjoy VR experiences, no headset required. A good place to start? WITHIN’s freshly launched VR website.

        From gamers to filmmakers, VR is the bleeding edge of self-expression for the next generation. It gives content creators the opportunity to tell stories in new ways, using audience participation, parallel narratives, and social interaction in ever-changing virtual spaces. With its immersive, 360-degree audio and visuals, VR has outsized power to activate our emotions and to put us in the center of the action.

        WITHIN is at the forefront of this shift toward interactive filmmaking and storytelling. The company was one of the first to launch a VR distribution platform that showcases best-in-class VR content with high production values.

      • This Week in Rust 238
      • What do you think are the most interesting/exciting projects using Rust?

        Jonathan Turner suggested I write up the responses as a blog post, and here we are.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Apache vs Nginx Performance: Optimization Techniques

      Some years ago, the Apache Foundation’s web server, known simply as “Apache”, was so ubiquitous that it became synonymous with the term “web server”. Its daemon process on Linux systems has the name httpd (meaning simply http process) — and comes preinstalled in major Linux distributions.

      It was initially released in 1995, and, to quote Wikipedia, “it played a key role in the initial growth of the World Wide Web”. It is still the most-used web server software according to W3techs. However, according to those reports which show some trends of the last decade and comparisons to other solutions, its market share is decreasing. The reports given by Netcraft and Builtwith differ a bit, but all agree on a trending decline of Apache’s market share and the growth of Nginx.

    • Openstack Foundation branches out to ‘open source infrastructure’

      Changes are underway at the Openstack Foundation, with the community branching out from the open source cloud platform to the umbrella of ‘open infrastructure’.

      Openstack is the catch-all term for a series of open source cloud infrastructure components, ranging from bare metal provisioning (Ironic) to networking (Neutron) and compute (Nova), to name just a few.

      Originally emerging from a joint project between Rackspace and NASA, Openstack has travelled through various development models – such as the ‘big tent’ [link] approach, which essentially said that anything from any vendor could ‘be’ Openstack.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Collabora Office 6.0

      Today we release Collabora Office 6.0 – the Migrator’s Choice with great features to smooth our customers’ migration to an Open Source office suite as well as a hugely improved set of features and enhancements.

  • Education
    • Locks in the classroom – 2018

      For the sixth year now, our grade nine students have been doing 3D modeling using Blender. We ran late this year, but the final locks were finished a couple of weeks ago, and they’re finally ready for publishing.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeBSD Lands Support For pNFS

      For FreeBSD 12.0-CURRENT in development there is now kernel support for pNFS while the user-space components are landing soon for this Parallel NFS support.

      Present since the NFS v4.1 protocol in 2010 has been the ability to provide scalable, parallel access to files across multiple servers via the pNFS extension. Since yesterday’s FreeBSD SVN code, the pNFS kernel-side support has been merged for their NFS v4.1 server.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Licensing/Legal
    • CPTPP jeopardises the future of open source software: OSIA

      Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA) is calling upon the federal government to scrap the CPTPP (Comprehensive & Progressive agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership) over provisions that could decimate the Australian open source community.

      As the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade conducts its inquiry into the revised international trade agreement that incorporates most of the original TPP’s provisions, OSIA has called for Australia to withdraw from the deal before it is ratified.

      The open source software peak body has identified loosely worded clauses within the chapter on electronic commerce that could have major impacts on creators and users of open source software.

      The offending section is Article 14.17 of the CPTPP, which prohibits requirements for transfer or access to the source code of computer software. OSIA argues that the exceptions within this article are far too narrow and ‘carelessly worded’, leaving them entirely susceptible to interpretation.

    • Copyleft Terms May Become Unenforceable in 11 Countries under CPTPP

      The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an enormous (roughly 6,000-page) treaty between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam that was signed in Chile on March 8, 2018. So far, only Mexico and Japan have ratified it. CPTPP is almost identical to the original TPP, which included those 11 countries plus the United States. In early 2017, the US withdrew from the treaty, which its President had previously described as a “terrible deal”.

      CPTPP has many provisions of concern to the FOSS industries and communities in those countries. Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA) has raised a number of those issues with an Australian Senate committee’s inquiry into CPTPP (see “CPTPP could still destroy the Australian FOSS industry” and “Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense & Trade regarding the ‘Comprehensive & Progressive agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership’”). The figure below shows the likely consequences of one such provision, Art. 14.17 in the Electronic Commerce Chapter, which deals with transfer of or access to source code.

    • Conservancy Welcomes Racket as its Newest Member Project

      Software Freedom Conservancy and the Racket community are pleased to announce that Racket is Conservancy’s newest member project. Racket is a general-purpose programming language as well as the world’s first ecosystem for developing and deploying new languages. Racket comes with special support for novices and for on-boarding beginners. Several popular online learning platforms include Racket courses. The Realm of Racket is also a great place for programmers who want to become familiar with the basics of the language.

      Racket was launched in 1995 as an educational environment. It is still widely used by educators, but it has also grown into a programmable programming language. As such, it is often used to quickly prototype embedded (domain-specific) languages. Its innovative features have influenced the development of Clojure and Rust, many other languages. Development is ongoing with this summer bringing big internal changes as the project prepares to move from a C-based run-time system to one based on Chez Scheme.

  • Programming/Development
    • Qt Contributors’ Summit 2018 wrap-up

      Qt Contributors’ Summit 2018 is over. Two days of presentations and a lot of discussions during presentations, talk of Qt over coffee and lunch and in restaurants in the evening.

    • Qt 6.0 Might Be Coming After Qt 5.14, Could Depend Upon C++17

      Since last year there has been more talk and early planning around the eventual Qt 6.0 milestone. It’s looking now like Qt 6.0 might happen after Qt 5.14, or likely in 2020.

      Last year there were developer discussions about starting Qt6 work after Qt 5.11, which was released at the end of May. Previous discussions of Qt6 have entailed QIODevice support, a Qt Quick scene graph, improved accessibility, and a Vulkan back-end for Qt Quick.

    • Qt For Python 5.11 Released As The First Official Build

      The past few months The Qt Company has been overhauled PySide2 as Qt For Python, a big improvement to the Python bindings to the Qt tool-kit. Out today is Qt For Python 5.11 as the first official release under the new branding.

    • Qt for Python 5.11 released

      As the version tag implies, it is based on Qt 5.11 and therefore the first release that supports the Qt 5 series. At large the project will follow the general Qt release schedule and versions. Although this is still a Technical Preview we will support the release with the usual support pattern (except the compatibility one). Unfortunately, earlier versions of Qt than 5.11 are not supported. It is available for open source and commercial Qt for Application Development users. Note that there is only one package for commercial and open source users. We hope we can receive plenty of feedback on what works and what does not. We want to patch early and often.

    • Python 3.7 Release Candidate Arrives, Final Expected At The End Of June

      Python 3.7.0 RC1 is available today as the last step prior to issuing this next feature release of Python 3 at month’s end.

      The Python 3.7.0 release candidate was issued today along with the Python 3.6.6 RC1. The current plan is to release both of these new Python versions on 27 June unless some blocker bugs come about that would delay the release.

    • Python 3.7.0rc1

      This release, 3.7.0rc1, is the final planned release preview. Assuming no critical problems are found prior to 2018-06-27, the scheduled release date for 3.7.0, no code changes are planned between this release candidate and the final release.

Leftovers
  • students, suicides, pressures and solutions.

    There are also perceived career biases that people have, believing that Computer Science is better than being a lawyer, even though IT layoffs have become a new normal. In the above specific case, it was reported that apparently the student who killed himself wanted to be a lawyer while the family wanted him to do CS (Computer Science).

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Patients Wait in Limbo as St. Luke’s Heart Transplant Program Reviews Its Problems

      Earlier this month, when Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston announced it was temporarily suspending its renowned heart transplant program, it threw the care of dozens of patients into limbo, including some who have yet to hear directly from the hospital.

      Now those patients are left waiting to learn if the troubled program will restart Friday, at the end of a two-week internal review, or if it is in store for a much longer overhaul.

      Daniel Reed is among them. He and his wife, Nelly, traveled to Houston last weekend from their home, six hours away in the Rio Grande Valley, to search for a short-term apartment where she can stay after he receives a new heart. They were surprised to learn from a reporter that the hospital had put the transplant program on hold after three of the nine patients to receive a heart transplant in 2018 died.

      “I sort of feel like we’ve been left in the dark,” Nelly Reed said.

  • Security
    • Work a command-line interface in Linux with these permissions and prompts

      The command-line interface is an integral part of the Linux management environment. With sudo permissions and remote connectivity, working with a command line is easy.

    • Android Devices With Misconfigured ADB, a Ripe Target for Cryptojacking Malware

      Poorly configured Android devices, where the Android Debug Bridge is left enabled, have become an attractive target for hackers. According to researchers, adversaries are using the common misconfiguration to install cryptojacking malware on a wide selection of Android-based IoT devices ranging from maritime computer systems, TVs, DVRs and some mobile phone models.

      Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is an Android OS developer function that, when enabled, allows remote users to access a Unix shell to conduct command line device maintenance. According to researcher Kevin Beaumont, thousands of Android type devices ship with ADB enabled, allowing hackers to remotely access them.

    • Microsoft reveals which Windows bugs it might decide not to fix

      The Register sometimes hears from security researchers who feel that Microsoft has not responded to bug reports with appropriate haste. This document and its eventual finalised successor should help to explain such incidents to researchers. It’s also of interest to end-users because by explaining bugs that Microsoft won’t rush to fix it offers some more detail about the risks that come with running Windows.

    • Intelligence agency National Cyber Security Centre is working with Dixons Carphone on huge data breach

      The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, said today it is working with Dixons Carphone on mitigation measures, after the retailer said it was investigating a data breach involving 5.9m payment cards and 1.2m personal data records.

      The company announced earlier on that there was an attempt to compromise 5.9m cards in one of the processing systems of Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores.

    • Spy agency investigates Dixons Carphone bank card data breach
    • Want to Break Into a Locked Windows 10 Device? Ask Cortana (CVE-2018-8140)
    • Cortana Flaw Lets Hackers Access Data, Reset Password On Locked Windows 10 PCs

      Security researchers have found a critical flaw in Windows 10 where Cortana can be manipulated into executing Powershell commands on locked devices.

      Attackers can misuse this vulnerability to retrieve confidential data, reset the password, log into a device, and even execute codes from above the lock screen. The only sense of satisfaction is that it requires physical access to the device.

    • Windows 10 Cumulative Update KB4284835 Might Be Failing to Install as Well

      Windows 10 April 2018 Update has received a new cumulative update as part of this month’s Patch Tuesday cycle, and although it seemed to install correctly at first, it looks like some users are now hitting issues with this new release.
      Windows 10 cumulative update KB4284835 brings several important fixes and it resolves a bug causing the April 2018 Update to fail with a black screen on a number of systems.

      Microsoft says it’s aware of just one known issue in this cumulative update, but as it turns out, KB4284835 fails to install in some cases, eventually causing an infinite loop where the update is listed as successfully installed, only to be re-offered again after every boot.

      There are several posts on reddit pointing to such an issue, and for the time being, no workaround appears to be available. Manually installing the update does not correct this behavior.

    • Intel LazyFP vulnerability: Exploiting lazy FPU state switching
    • CVE-2018-3665: Lazy State Save/Restore As The Latest CPU Speculative Execution Issue

      The latest speculative execution vulnerability affecting modern CPUs has now been made public: Lazy State Save/Restore, a.k.a. CVE-2018-3665.

      This vulnerability concerns saving/restore state when switching between applications. The newly-disclosed vulnerability exploits lazy-state restores for floating-point state when context switching, which is done as a performance optimization, to obtain information about the activity of other applications on the system.

    • Intel chip flaw: Math unit may spill crypto secrets to apps – modern Linux, Windows, BSDs immune

      A security flaw within Intel Core and Xeon processors can be potentially exploited to swipe sensitive data from the chips’ math processing units.

      Malware or malicious logged-in users can attempt to leverage this design blunder to steal the inputs and results of computations performed in private by other software.

      These numbers, held in FPU registers, could potentially be used to discern parts of cryptographic keys being used to secure data in the system. For example, Intel’s AES encryption and decryption instructions use FPU registers to hold keys.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Serious Security: How three minor bugs make one major exploit

      More insecure webcams! Inattention to IoT security! Who would have thought?

      Unfortunately, cybersecurity still seems to sit way down in Nth place for many vendors when they start programming their latest and greatest Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

      In this case, the bugs are in a family of webcams – and not just any old webcams, but security webcams.

    • Thousands of Android Devices Shipped with their Debug Port Exposed [Ed: Repeat from earlier. This is FUD. Thousands among over a billion and it's a misconfiguration issue rather than a bug.]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Democrats Put Partisanship Before Prospects for Peace

      When Richard Nixon returned to Washington after his historic 1972 trip to China, he was welcomed with strong support from Democrats.

      “From the initial Congressional reaction, it was apparent that the President, home from his China trip, would find broad bipartisan support for his move toward closer relations with Peking,” The New York Times reported on Feb. 29, 1972.

      Even Democratic Senate leaders Edward Kennedy and Mike Mansfield praised Nixon’s diplomatic gamble.

      Forty-six years later President Donald Trump took a similar political risk in agreeing to the first ever summit with a North Korean leader. Cautious optimism emerged from the summit that peace on the Korean peninsula may finally be within reach 65 years after a truce silenced the guns of the Korean War.

    • Former CIA Officer Urges Caution After Summit: North Korea Has ‘Long History of Double Dealing’

      Former CIA officer Daniel Hoffman said that the historic agreement between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un was not conducted like any other summit.

      Hoffman, a Fox News contributor, said that what summits usually consist of are “a lot of pages and a lot of details.”

      The president and the North Korean leader signed a document on Tuesday stating that Pyongyang would work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

    • Trump ‘Is Way Out of His Depth’: Former CIA Director Explains How Trump Completely Botched the North Korea Summit

      As President Donald Trump portrays his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a major success, actual experts in foreign policy and diplomacy have a very different perspective.

      “I don’t think he knows much about, quite frankly, anything when it comes to foreign affairs, national security, even a thing like the war games,” said former CIA Director John Brennan of Trump on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” on Tuesday.

      Trump said after the summit that the United States would no longer conduct its joint war games with the South Korean military, but many experts feel this would be a terrible concession.

    • Ex-CIA chief: Trump made ‘pretty significant concession’ by stopping war games with South Korea

      “But John, that is the only concession that was made in yesterday’s talks,” Hayden said. “The North Koreans did not come with anything new.”

    • ‘Very Disappointing’: Ex-CIA Deputy Chief Nails Why Prior Agreements with NK Were ‘Stronger’ And ‘More Encompassing’ than Trump’s

      Bruce Klinger, the former Central Intelligence Agency deputy division chief for Korea, on Tuesday called Donald Trump’s “historic” agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “disappointing,” arguing the six-results of the party talks that took place between 2003 and 2007 were “stronger” and “more encompassing” than this new accord.

    • Ex-CIA officer: Trump’s Korea proposal weaker than Bill Clinton’s

      Conservative scholar and former CIA officer Bruce Klingner says President Trump’s proposal for denuclearization with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday is weaker than the terms offered by former President Bill Clinton during his administration.

      “This is very disappointing. Each of the four main points was in previous documents with NK, some in a stronger, more encompassing way. The denuke bullet is weaker than the Six Party Talks language. And no mention of CVID, verification, human rights,” Klingner, who is now a Northeast Asia senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation said in a tweet.

    • The Wounds of the Drone Warrior [Ed: Once again the NY Times paints the drone assassins -- people who sit in rooms and kill people far away -- as the poor and depressed victims worthy of sympathy]
    • Why Do US Media Only Worry About One Authoritarian’s Nukes?

      The world waits with bated breath as a “mad king” descends on Singapore, his finger itching to press the launch button and totally destroy his adversaries. Few disagree that a “radical and absolutist” dictator who can “use the power of the state to suppress the opposition while shielding itself from all potential sanction or limitation” should not have access to a possibly world-ending arsenal of nuclear weapons.

      “Surrounded by a clique of sycophants who are willing to justify any course he might take,” there is little stopping this impulsive ruler from making a sudden, cataclysmic decision that could forever alter the course of human history. Indeed, “a party organized around a single extreme personality seems like a brittle proposition.” With this “cult of personality” in place, his people will be dragged unwittingly and hopelessly into the nuclear abyss along with him.

    • Intentions Matter More Than Weapons

      The fascinating, elaborately choreographed diplomatic pas de deux in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un mesmerized the world over two days. Most pundits look at the (perhaps more than) half empty glass of water on the table. Indeed, most Democrats and all Trump-haters refuse to grant the summit any worth lest it lend strength to Trump’s political power. The high priests of denuclearization (an admittedly arcane discipline) are parsing the agreement; so far they have found very little of nuclear substance.

      Yet instant gratification in the quest for immediate and complete denuclearization of North Korea is highly unrealistic given the dark layers of past conflict. Worse, evaluating the summit by the degree of denuclearization achieved is truly naive in geopolitical terms. This step taken at the summit, like it or not, is just that, a first but very significant step along a long and important road. This first step indeed may never be succeeded by a second—but the chances are good that it will. How it will all come out in the end is anybody’s guess.

      Yet the calming of the rabid language and ferocity of threats between the U.S. and North Korea over decades must be considered a major accomplishment in itself. It was not necessarily destined to happen at all. You don’t reach settlements against a backdrop of escalating rage. The emergence of a new civility and the de-demonization of the other party is an vital prerequisite for any further progress. Without it you have nothing.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Outcome of Assange Case Could Undermine the Rights of Millions

      LONDON – As the sixth anniversary of his extended stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London approaches, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange is faced with increasingly limited options. Barred from communicating with the outside world and from receiving most visitors, Assange’s only hope of avoiding extradition to the United States on trumped-up espionage charges comes down to the governments of the two countries of which he is a citizen: Australia and Ecuador.

      In an unexpected move last week, the Australian government sent officials to meet with Assange and later confirmed that Australia would finally extend consular assistance to the Australian-born journalist after years of failing to do so and even threatening to revoke his Australian passport. The Australian government, in the past, has attempted to argue that it can do little to help Assange’s situation, asserting that it was “unable to intervene in the due process of another country’s court proceedings or legal matters.”

    • UK judge orders Operation Blue Star-related files to be made public

      In 2014, UK government documents declassified under the 30-year rule to make such material public had revealed that British military advice was given to Indian forces prior to Operation Blue Star.

      A UK judge has ordered the declassification of documents that are expected to shed further light on Britain’s involvement in Operation Blue Star in 1984, dismissing the British government’s argument that the move could damage diplomatic ties with India. Judge Murray Shanks, who presided over a three-day hearing of the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) in London in March, ruled yesterday that a majority of the files relating to the period must be made public and rejected the UK government’s argument that declassifying the Downing Street papers would damage diplomatic ties with India.

      The judge, however, did accept that one file marked ‘India: Political’, from the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), could contain information that relates to British spy agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and therefore the Cabinet Office was entitled to rely on a technicality that exempts such material from the Freedom of Information (FOI) request appeal.

    • Make Operation Bluestar-related files public, orders UK judge

      A UK judge has ordered the declassification of documents that are expected to shed further light on Britain’s involvement in Operation Bluestar in 1984, dismissing the British government’s argument that the move could damage diplomatic ties with India.

      Judge Murray Shanks, who presided over a three-day hearing of the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) in London in March, ruled on Monday that a majority of the files relating to the period must be made public and rejected the UK government’s argument that declassifying the Downing Street papers would damage diplomatic ties with India.

      The judge, however, did accept that one file marked “India: Political”, from the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), could contain information that relates to British spy agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and therefore the Cabinet Office was entitled to rely on a technicality that exempts such material from the Freedom of Information (FOI) request appeal.

    • Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange

      The support for Mr Assange is just. He should be free to go about his business like any other citizen or legal visitor.

      The threat of arrest for breaking his bail conditions should be withdrawn.

      British Security, working with American Security, threatens to use his arrest in order to extradite him to America. They wish to make an example of him.

      Therefore defending Mr Assange is part of the fight for freedom, for the rights of the individual against state oppression.

    • Committee For Public Education urges participation in June 17 Assange rally

      The CFPE calls on teachers, academics and students to attend the Sydney demonstration and to participate in vigils being held around the world on June 19. Educators internationally must stand with, and for, Julian Assange and his freedom.

      The malicious, anti-democratic treatment of the courageous journalist by the Australian, US, Swedish, British and now Ecuadorian governments, is of a piece with the general assault on freedom of speech, Internet censorship, and the drive to authoritarianism and war.

      Moreover, the very US, British and Australian governments that are desperate to silence Assange, are also carrying out a relentless assault on the right of students and educators to a fully-resourced public education.

      Universities everywhere are being corporatised and militarised, while public school teachers and students are being subordinated to business requirements through high-stakes testing, the narrowing of curricula and the never-ending assault on teacher wages, conditions and jobs. The vast majority no longer has the basic social right to a fully resourced, high quality, enlightened education, which lies at the very foundation of a democratic society.

    • Julian Assange Has Been Living at the Ecuadorian Embassy—6 Years Later Unexpected Visitors Show Up

      Last Thursday, two Australian government officials visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this is the first time Australian consular officials visited Assange at the embassy.

      Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, who accompanied the officials said: “Julian Assange is in a very serious situation. He remains in the embassy because of the risk of extradition to the US.”

    • New report reveals Assange under 24/7 surveillance in Ecuadoran embassy

      On Monday, the Spanish newspaper El Diario exposed previously unknown facts about the Ecuadoran government’s illegal surveillance of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. For the last year of his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the government of both current president Lenín Moreno and predecessor Rafael Correa “spied on every movement of Julian Assange in its embassy in London,” El Diario reports.

      The El Diario report is based on new documents obtained from UC Global Security Consulting, the firm contracted by the Ecuadoran government to spy on Assange under the guise of “protecting” him.

    • Ecuador Explores ‘Non-Traumatic’ Way Out For WikiLeaks’ Assange

      Valencia said Ecuador is negotiating with authorities in the United Kingdom, where Assange has been granted political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, but with increasing restrictions.

      An agreement is being sought, he told Associated Press: “One that encourages an exit, that we do not want to be traumatic… we do not want it to be an exit that may cause dissonance with international law.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Can flying drones save whales trapped in fishing gear?

      From mapping coral to delivering medical supplies, unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are proving to be good for all sorts of tricky tasks. Now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has teamed up with a California-based nonprofit to see if drones can help save the lives of whales that have become entangled in fishing gear.

      It’s not a small problem. Each year more than 300,000 cetaceans, including whales and dolphins, sustain injuries or die after getting caught up in crab trap ropes, discarded fishing nets and other plastic debris from commercial fishing operations. Humpback whales and right whales are especially vulnerable because of their protruding pectoral fins.

  • Finance
    • AT&T Defeats DOJ In Merger Fight, Opening The Door To Some Major Competitive Headaches

      In a ruling (pdf), U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon stated that the government failed to make its case that the merger would harm AT&T’s competitors, most of which are now trying to keep pace in the streaming video space. Consumer advocates have routinely warned that AT&T will use its greater leverage to make must-have content (like Time Warner owned CNN or HBO) significantly more costly for companies hoping to compete with AT&T’s own TV services, including its newish streaming video effort, DirecTV Now.

      That a company with a thirty-year history of anti-competitive behavior will likely use this greater leverage to behave badly shouldn’t have been a particularly hard case to make, suggesting that DOJ lawyers may have flubbed key components of its case. The DOJ sued to thwart the deal last November, and while the agency claimed it was to protect consumers, the incongruity with other Trump administration consumer policies (like, well, everything) have fueled speculation that Trump’s disdain for Time Warner owned CNN, or his close relationship with Rupert Murdoch may have colored the DOJ’s decision to sue.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Spiked Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Cartoonist Speaks Out

      Cartoonist Rob Rogers’ section on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website has remained static for the past week, displaying the same “Trade War” cartoon since last Tuesday (6/5/18). Before that, six of his cartoons in a row were killed (FAIR.org, 6/6/18), all of which criticized President Donald Trump or satirized US racism.

      Since his most recent cartoon was published, Rogers has opted to take personal days off, saying he has not heard from his editors since the spate of spikings, and the conflict has yet to be resolved.

      Rogers told FAIR he believed the publishing of Tuesday’s cartoon created an illusion of resolution: “When they finally printed the trade cartoon it kind of looked like, ‘OK, everything’s back to normal,’ but it wasn’t.”

      In the past, he said, the editorial process had felt freer and more collaborative. Rogers has been a cartoonist for the Post-Gazette since 1993. For many years, he would simply submit the cartoon and it would appear in the paper, but in the past decade, he began sending emails to his editors for approval of what he planned to work on on a given day.

    • Comcast has formally announced its plan to make Rupert Murdoch even wealthier
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • High School Student’s Speech About Campus Sexual Assault Gets Widespread Attention After School Cuts Her Mic

      It’s that time of year when kids are graduating from high school, and the age old tradition of the valedictorian speech is happening all around the country. While exciting for the kids, families and other students, these kinds of speeches are generally pretty quickly forgotten and certainly tend not to make the national news. However, in nearby Petaluma, California, something different is happening, all because a bunch of spineless school administration officials freaked out that the valedictorian, Lulabel Seitz, wanted to discuss sexual assault. During her speech, the school cut her mic when she started talking about that issue (right after talking about how the whole community had worked together and fought through lots of adversity, including the local fires that ravaged the area a few months back). Seitz has since posted the video of both her mic being cut off and then with her being filmed giving the entire speech directly to a camera.

    • Egyptian Khaled Yousef’s ‘Karma’ to be shown in cinemas during ‘Eid’ after censorship controversy

      A controversial new Egyptian film had its license both withdrawn and returned on the same day after the ban sparked widespread anger.

      “Karma” tackles many subjects regarded as very controversial in Egypt, such as inter-faith marriage between Muslims and Christians, the changing of religion to get married, and corruption.

      The Central Administration for the Control of Audiovisual Works, which is the body responsible for authorizing films in cinemas, withdrew the movie’s screening certificate on Monday, before swiftly performing a U-turn and reinstating it.

    • French President Pushing ‘Fake News’ Bill That Would Demand Decisions From Judges In 48 Hours

      France’s government will likely be following Germany’s into the halls of speech regulation infamy. Germany’s new “hate speech” law backed 24-hour removal demands with hefty fines to ensure social media platform compliance. This has prompted proactive enforcement by Twitter and Facebook, resulting the removal of content that doesn’t violate the law, along with the removal of satire’s life support.

      The French government is already eyeballing a carbon copy of this hate speech law. But it’s willing to do Germany one better: it wants to regulate “fake news.” This push comes from new president Emmanuel Macron, who’s decided to make his personal beef with fake news a public concern. A false story about offshore accounts owned by Macron made its way around the internet during his presidential campaign, prompting him to declare war on “fake news” if he was elected.

      He’s been elected, and now appears to be abandoning the base that thought he would be less radical and more reasonable than many of his opponents.

    • North Korea’s state media ditches censorship in favor of celebrating a huge propaganda win

      North Korean state media broke form and has run two days of stories on Kim Jong Un’s trip to Singapore, including a huge spread on his meeting with President Donald Trump.

      Only hours after Kim made a surprise appearance visiting popular tourist attractions in Singapore on Tuesday night, and posing for what is believed to be Kim’s first public selfie, North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper splashed 14 photos of the reclusive leader’s travels across its front page.

    • Open Rights Group victory in Supreme Court web blocking challenge

      Open Rights Group acted as an intervener in this case. We argued that Internet service providers (ISPs) as innocent parties should not bear the costs of website blocking, and that this was a long-standing principle of English law.

      Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group said:

      “This case is important because if ISPs paid the costs of blocking websites, the result would be an increasing number of blocks for relatively trivial reasons and the costs would be passed to customers.

      “While rights holders may want websites blocked, it needs to be economically rational to ask for this.”

    • Victory for Open Rights Group in Supreme Court web blocking challenge

      The Supreme Court ruled today that trade mark holders must bear the cost of blocking websites which sell counterfeit versions of their goods, rather than passing those costs on to Internet service providers.

      This decision comes in the case of Cartier v BT & Others, in which the jeweller Cartier sought a court order requiring ISPs to block websites which sold goods infringing their trade marks. ORG have been intervening in the case along with help from solicitor David Allen Green.

    • UK Supreme Court rules ISPs shouldn’t pay blocking order costs

      In Cartier v BT, the court rules internet service providers are “innocent intermediaries” that do not have to bear the costs of blocking access to websites making infringing goods available for sale

      Internet service providers shouldn’t pay blocking order costs, the UK Supreme Court ruled today.

    • BREAKING: UK Supreme Court rules that ISPs do NOT have to pay implementation costs in Cartier case

      Similarly to Arnold J at first instance, Kitchin LJ in the Court of Appeal observed that it was implicit in Recital 59 of the InfoSoc Directive and Recital 23 of the Enforcement Directive that it would be “entirely appropriate for a national court to order that the costs of implementation of any such injunction should be borne by the intermediary”.

      The Court of Appeal also approved of Arnold J’s proper consideration of the economic impact of website blocking orders upon the businesses of the ISPs, and that these could either bear these costs themselves or pass them on to their subscribers in the form of higher subscription charges.

      The decision of the Court of Appeal contains however the dissent of Briggs LJ (as he then was) on the issue of cost allocation. In his view, “the cost burden attributable to the implementation of a particular blocking order should fall upon the rightholder making the application for it.” The reason why that should be that case is a domestic one.

      It is true that both the Enforcement Directive and the InfoSoc Directive provide that rightholders should have the possibility of applying for an injunction against an intermediary who either carries a third party’s infringement of a protected work in a network (in copyright cases) or whose services are being used by a third party to infringe the rightholder’s industrial property right (in relation to trade marks). In both cases, however, the conditions and modalities relating to such injunctions, or the conditions and procedures relating to such injunctions should be left to the national law of the Member States.

    • Cambodia’s New Online Media Directive Criticized as ‘Censorship’

      A group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has criticized a Cambodian government working group set up to monitor and “control” online news.

      A statement signed by 117 NGOs condemns the creation of the group. It was formed through a “prakas” — a declaration issued by a government minister.

      The working group was formed by Cambodia’s ministries of information, interior and posts and telecommunications. A government announcement last week said the working group is aimed at “controlling all dissemination of information” found to “threaten the defense and security of the nation.”

    • Vietnam Tightens Grip on Internet With Data-Storage Law

      Vietnam’s plans to vigorously police the internet took a step forward Tuesday when it adopted a cybersecurity law that requires internet companies such as Facebook and Google to store their Vietnam-based users’ data on servers in the country.

    • Vietnam Parliament Passes Cyber Law Denounced in Street Protests

      Vietnam’s National Assembly has passed a cybersecurity law requiring companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. to store all data of Vietnam-based users in the country and open local offices.

      The measure has drawn rare dissent from some lawmakers and government leaders as well as local tech groups, who sent a petition to the legislature that warned it would hurt the economy. Demonstrators on Sunday protested nationwide against the bill, saying it would limit free speech.

    • Vietnam passes cybersecurity law despite privacy concerns

      Vietnamese legislators on Tuesday passed a contentious cybersecurity law, which critics say will hurt the economy and further restrict freedom of expression.

      The law requires service providers such as Google and Facebook to store user data in Vietnam, open offices in the country and remove offending contents within 24 hours at the request of the Ministry of Information and Communications and the specialized cybersecurity task-force under the Ministry of Public Security.

    • Vietnam’s new law tightens control of the internet

      Vietnam is taking a leaf out of China’s book when it comes to regulating the internet.

      Legislators in Vietnam have approved a law requiring global tech firms with operations in the country to keep user data there, Reuters reported Tuesday. In addition, social media companies like Facebook will have to remove offending content from their platforms within one day of receiving a request from authorities.

    • Vietnam lawmakers approve cyber law clamping down on tech firms, dissent

      Vietnamese legislators approved a cybersecurity law on Tuesday that tightens control of the internet and global tech companies operating in the Communist-led country, raising fears of economic harm and a further crackdown on dissent.

    • Vietnam’s new tech laws may stifle online dissent
    • Vietnam’s new cyber security law draws concern for restricting free speech
    • Vietnam’s new cyber law ‘will curb freedom of expression’
    • Viet Nam: New Cybersecurity law a devastating blow for freedom of expression
    • Disney says it didn’t censor a gay kiss at E3
    • Censorship, the un-American freedom
    • Censorship doesn’t work
    • Petaluma High learns censorship doesn’t work
    • Exclusive — McCarthy: Conservatives Will Not Be Silent About Online Censorship [Ed: Right wingers feel repressed in social control media which makes them emboldened to go 'underground' and paint themselves -- typically the bigots -- as the victims facing "white genocide" or whatever]
    • Region-based lockouts of documents are censorship

      Geographic restrictions are the antithetical to the founding principles of the Internet and cryptocurrency. The Internet was founded on egalitarian principles, that people benefited from collaboration and sharing information, and that people could organize without having to belong to organizations.

      Cryptocurrencies were founded on slightly different principles, but they have some overlap. Rather than being founded on egalitarian optimism, Bitcoin was founded on the idea that a weakness of the monetary system is its reliance on trust between parties in transactions. The idea is that the system should instead find all parties equally untrustworthy, verify through digital signatures recorded in a shared ledger. This wasn’t created for members of any one country, it was created for everyone, as one of Satoshi’s papers said: “What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The state of encryption: How the debate has shifted

      Susan Landau, a former distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems and now a professor at Tufts. I had an opportunity to check in with her at a recent event in Washington, D.C.

      She has a new book, Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age, which is well worth reading for both long-time and new followers of computer security and encryption. As I’ve written previously, the debate has shifted (see The US government bids adieu to Clipper Chip and Encryption back doors: Is there more to this debate?).

      In this interview, Susan explains how and why that shift has occurred.

    • New AI Technology Can ‘See’ Through Walls And Track People’s Movement
    • England World Cup squad told they will be soft targets for Russian hackers
    • Exclusive: U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travelers’ devices could be hacked
    • Exclusive – U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travellers’ devices could be hacked
    • Spy bosses modify phones of England team to combat scary Russia during World Cup
    • England’s World Cup 2018 camp gets ring of CYBER steel as boffins shield players’ phones from Russian hackers
    • World Cup fans warned not to bring electronic devices to Russia over hacking fears
    • The NSA knew about cellphone surveillance around the White House 6 years ago

      As I was stealthily gathering government secrets for the 2013 book I wrote about national security, a source of unimpeachable reliability tipped me off to a big one. The source told me that, in the course of a National Security Agency “information assurance” exercise, the agency discovered cellphone site emulators and even infrastructure around the White House and in downtown Washington, D.C., that did not belong to any companies actually licensed to install them.

    • UK Security Minister Says Only A Drivers Licence For The Internet Can Bring Back Online Civility

      Whoa, if true. In the US, cops do this all the time. I’m sure UK cops do it as well, so this may have been nothing more than a couple of cops chatting to each other for all anyone knows. Even if this went down exactly the way Wallace portrays it, the institution of an internet ID card isn’t going to magically make it impossible for 45-year-olds to pretend they’re 12. It won’t even make a dent.

      What it will do is harm the internet and its users. The only services that will be able to comply will be the largest. Forums and discussion groups, hosted on free platforms and maintained by members, won’t be able to cover the cost or provide the manpower. If anyone’s concerned about the dominance of the major social media platforms, regulation like this isn’t the answer. It will only further cement their dominance.

      And there are plenty of legitimate reasons to maintain online anonymity. In the eyes of officials like Wallace, anonymity is an admission of guilt. “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear,” except for people like undercover journalists, journalists’ sources, dissidents, opponents of authoritarian governments, people who don’t like being pre-doxed by their service provider, security researchers, government employees, people who don’t like being blackmailed, critics of powerful people or corporations, kids who want to keep sexual predators from knowing they’re kids… the list goes on and on.

    • Legislators Reintroduce Pro-Encryption Bills After FBI Destroys Its Own ‘Going Dark’ Narrative

      But the biggest change in the last couple of years — a time period during which this legislation hasn’t moved forward — is the FBI’s self-own. Forced to account for its growing number of locked devices given the multiple options available to crack the phones or obtain evidence located in the cloud, the agency finally decided to take a look at all the phones it had amassed. And it found it didn’t have nearly as many as it had claimed. The 8,000 phones turned out to be somewhere between 1,000-2,000 (likely around 1,200 devices). The FBI blamed it on faulty software and has begun issuing corrections to the many, many public statements it published about the “going dark” problem.

      Given the FBI’s disastrous discovery, the time would seem to be perfect to push forward with pro-encryption legislation. A new bill is on the way — likely a carbon copy the 2016 proposal. It should pair nicely with another bill introduced in May, which would prevent federal agencies or courts from demanding companies create backdoors or otherwise weaken their encryption. The only exception would be for mandates or court orders stemming from CALEA, which would limit assistance demands to the interception of communications (with wiretap warrants), not the contents of locked devices.

    • Apple Restricts App Developers From Sharing Users’ Contacts And Other Data [Ed: Apple says that only Apple is going to send people’s personal data, e.g. to the NSA (PRISM)]
    • Facebook Says Its VPN App Tracks Users, Could Get Banned From The App Store

      With the new policies in effect, the iPhone maker will be able to limit how developers use information about Apple device owners’ friends and other contacts and prevent sharing of data extracted without explicit consent.

    • Apple’s App Store Privacy Crackdown May Hurt Facebook’s Onavo

      Apple Inc.’s new rules for app developers limit their ability to harvest user contact data, but they also could hurt a key app owned by Facebook Inc. called Onavo Protect.

      The iPhone maker’s updated App Store Review Guidelines ban applications that “collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing.” This could give Apple grounds to remove the Onavo app, although the software is still available despite the rules kicking in last week.

      Onavo Protect, when installed on an iPhone or Android device, uses a virtual private network to scan incoming and outgoing internet connectivity. It also gathers information about users’ devices, their location, apps installed on the gadgets and how people use those apps, what websites they visit, and the amount of data used, Facebook wrote in answers to Congressional questions that the social network operator posted online Monday.

    • Facebook Tells Congress It Hasn’t Used Eye Tracking Patents
    • Facebook DENIES it’s building eye-tracking software despite holding two patents for the technology
    • Facebook denies building eye-tracking software but says if it ever does, it will keep privacy in mind
    • Facebook might start tracking the movement of your eyes

      Facebook has said it may develop eye-tracking tools that will add a new layer to the way it monitors its 2.2 billion monthly users.

      Facebook said it has explored the technology in a deluge of written answers to US Congress following CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance in April over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. CNBC first spotted the disclosure in the 229-page document.

      Senators spotted two patents containing references to eye-tracking software: One titled “Dynamic eye tracking calibration” and the other “Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery.” They asked how Facebook intends to use the technology.

    • Facebook denies building eye-tracking software

      Facebook denied building eye-tracking software in its response to questions from Congress released Monday but said if it ever did build out the technology, it would take privacy into account.

      The social media company holds at least two patents for detecting eye movements and emotions, which it said “is one way that we could potentially reduce consumer friction and add security for people when they log into Oculus or access Oculus content.” Oculus is a virtual reality platform that Facebook bought in 2014.

      The company provided a written response to unanswered questions from Congress on its data use, privacy policy and its ad-based business model. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about its technologies and potential uses by lawmakers during an appearance before Congress in April.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • North Carolina Bill Would Make Prescription Records Available to Police Without a Warrant

      America’s opioid epidemic is a grave public health issue, one that experts and a growing national consensus say we need to approach with solutions based in science and treatment. Unfortunately, some lawmakers haven’t gotten the memo and want to continue with the failed and inhumane strategies of the past: harsher penalties, overcriminalization, and the erosion of people’s rights.

      The latest example comes from North Carolina. A new proposal ostensibly aimed at combatting the opioid crisis would give local law enforcement sweeping, unprecedented power to look through a person’s entire history of prescription drug use if they are under investigation for any drug crime, even possessing a tiny amount of any controlled substance.

      Like in most states, in North Carolina people’s prescription records are stored in two places: at the pharmacy itself and in the state’s Controlled Substance Reporting System, a secure database that tracks controlled substance prescriptions in order to give doctors better information about their patients’ needs. State law currently imposes restrictions on law enforcement access to both of these sources in order to safeguard patients’ private medical information against unjustified search.

    • Police pay Nicky Hager ‘substantial damages’ for unlawful search of his home in hunt for Dirty Politics hacker

      Nicky Hager has accepted a police apology and payment of “substantial damages” after the unlawful search of his home during the investigation into the hacking that led to the Dirty Politics book.

      The settlement revealed police had sought information claiming Hager was suspected of criminal behaviour, including fraud.

      “Police accept that they had no basis for such allegations,” the settlement document read.

      “Police apologise unreservedly for these breaches of his rights and have agreed to pay Mr Hager substantial damages and a contribution towards his legal costs.”

    • Chinese Regime Tightens Social Media Control With Investigation on College Students

      Recent events have revealed how China’s internet companies and higher education collude with censorship authorities to closely monitor citizens on social media.

      On June 9, China Digital Times, a U.S.-based website that closely monitors internet censorship in China, first revealed a public bulletin announcement posted by an unnamed college in China for all its students to read. Four students, listed with their full names and class, were placed under investigation by local police for “inappropriate” online behavior.

      The notice was dated June 7, and issued jointly by the school’s security office, student affairs department, and graduate students department.

    • One Woman Who Knew Her Rights Forced Border Patrol Off a Greyhound Bus

      Ms. Smalls immediately reacted. According to a description she posted on Facebook, she stood up and loudly said, “This is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. You don’t have to show them *shit*!!!” She then used Google Translate to repeat her message in Spanish, reassuring the Spanish-speaking woman sitting beside her and probably countless other fellow passengers.

      Border Patrol agents boarded the bus and started to ask the passengers for their “documentation.” Ms. Smalls stood up again and shouted, “You have NO RIGHT to ask me for anything! This is harassment and racial profiling! We are not within 100 miles of a border so [these agents] have no legal right or jurisdiction here!”

      Ms. Smalls’ simple and courageous act of resistance was enough. The Border Patrol agents, realizing that they would face an uphill battle, immediately retreated, telling the driver to continue on.

    • Minnesota City’s Ordinance Illegally Targets People of Color in Rental Housing

      The city of Faribault created a “crime-free housing program” for rental properties even though crime rates remained the same.

      Faribault, Minnesota, is a small city about an hour’s drive from Minneapolis. It has a landmarked, historic downtown and a wool mill that’s been in operation since 1865. But in the 21st century, Faribault is changing.

      In 2000, Black people made up less than 3 percent of Faribault’s population. By 2016, Faribault was more than 9 percent Black. Faribault’s growing Somali community has been the source of much of this shift. By 2016, there were 10 times more people of Somali ancestry in Faribault than there had been in 2000. But non-immigrant Black Minnesotans are discovering Faribault — with its good employment opportunities and low cost of living — too.

      [...]

      One neighbor even told Thelma to her face that Thelma should “go back where she came from.” In response, the police labelled Thelma and her family “problem tenants.” They threatened Thelma’s landlord with criminal prosecution under the ordinance unless she kicked Thelma and her family out. In a matter of months, Thelma’s family lost their home.

    • State Appeals Court Finds Government’s Actions In Craigslist Sex Sting ‘Outrageous’ And ‘Repugnant’

      Our courts will let the government get away with almost anything. Although judges have expressed immense amounts of displeasure at the ATF’s sting operations involving fictitious drug stash houses, it has seldom resulted in reversed convictions. To “shock the conscience,” the government must cross lines courts are very reluctant to draw. Running a child porn website for a few weeks doesn’t do it. Neither does taking a trucking company’s truck and employee and returning both full of bullet holes after a sting goes south.

      Very occasionally, the government will find its way across this line. Eric Goldman has uncovered one of these rare cases. It involves a child sex sting operation perpetrated by a law enforcement agency, during which the undercover officer refused to leave a “target” alone after he repeatedly made it clear he wasn’t looking to buy sex from an underage female.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • California’s Net Neutrality Bill Has Strong Zero Rating Protections for Low-Income Internet Users, Yet Sacramento May Ditch Them to Appease AT&T

      California’s net neutrality bill, S.B. 822, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of state-based net neutrality laws. The bill tackles the full array of issues the FCC had addressed right up until the end of 2016 before it began repealing net neutrality. One such issue is the discriminatory use of zero rating, where ISPs could choose to give users access to certain content for “free”—that is, without digging into their data plans. ISPs can use zero rating to drive users to their own content and services to the detriment of competitors.

      The FCC found that both AT&T’s and Verizon’s use of zero rating appeared to be in violation of the 2015 Open Internet Order, only to have those findings and investigations terminated as one of the first acts of President Trump’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The core issue is the fact that companies like AT&T were simply exempting their own affiliated services from their datacaps in a blatant effort to drive wireless Internet users to their preferred products. Undoubtedly, AT&T’s recent victory over the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit that sought to prevent the giant telecom company from becoming even bigger with Time-Warner content will result in even greater levels of self-dealing through discriminatory zero rating policies.

    • Senators Wyden and Schatz Wants To Know Why The FCC Made Up A DDOS Attack

      So we’ve been noting how (thanks to FOIA requests) the FCC has been caught completely making up a DDOS attack in a bizarre, ham-fisted attempt to downplay public opposition to their net neutrality repeal. In short, agency e-mails confirm agency staffers routinely fed false claims to gullible reporters that the FCC website outages caused by John Oliver’s coverage of the repeal were the result of a malicious attack, then used those false claims to further prop up the bogus narrative. The goal was apparently to try and downplay massive public backlash to what Americans overwhelmingly believe to be shitty, corruption-fueled policy.

      Not too surprisingly, the FCC has gone radio silent in response to press inquiries on this from numerous press outlets. For such a normally chatty agency, that suggests that FCC lawyers are well aware that this entire fracas could prove to be legally problematic, given the repeated false DDOS claims to the reporters, press, and public (pdf). Most of the e-mails provided so far via FOIA requests are heavily redacted, suggesting there’s likely much more to this story that’s going to emerge over time.

    • ‘Transparent’ FCC Doesn’t Want To Reveal Any Details About Ajit Pai’s Stupid Resse’s Mug

      One of FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s claims about how he’s changed the FCC is that he’s making it more transparent. And, to be fair, he did make one key change that his predecessors failed to do: which is releasing the details of rulemakings before they’re voted on. That was good. But in so many other ways, Pai has been significantly less than transparent. And this goes all the way down to incredibly stupid things, like his silly stupid giant Reese’s coffee mug.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Video: Indigenous Peoples Seek To Be Involved In World Trade Organization To Defend Rights

      Indigenous peoples are losing their genetic resources and traditional knowledge and need to be involved in negotiations on World Trade Organization intellectual property rules and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, representatives told a conference on the subject last week. In a podcast and video interview with Intellectual Property Watch below, the indigenous representatives explain their case.

      [...]

      At the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the regular request by many member governments to invite the CBD on an ad hoc basis to present the 2010 Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization has been firmly opposed by the United States.

      At issue is the mandatory disclosure of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in patent applications.

    • Major Emerging Economies Push To Revive Discussions On Genetic Resources Misappropriation At WTO

      Efforts by developing countries to prevent the misappropriation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge have thus far been fruitless at the World Trade Organization.

    • Copyrights
      • Top German Publisher Says: ‘You Wouldn’t Steal A Pound Of Butter… So We Need A Snippet Tax’

        Last week, Mike provided a virtuoso excoriation of the European publishers’ shameless demand to be given even more copyright control over tiny snippets of news stories as part of the awful EU copyright directive. As that post pointed out, the publishers’ “mythbuster” did nothing of the sort, but it did indicate a growing panic among the industry as more critical attention is brought to bear on the ridiculous “snippet tax” — Article 11 of the proposed new EU copyright law — which has already failed twice elsewhere. The German site Über Medien — “About Media” — offers another glimpse of publishers trying desperately to justify the unjustifiable (original in German).

        [...]

        The fact that the head of German’s biggest publisher resorts to the old “you wouldn’t steal a car/pound of butter/carton of milk” rhetoric shows just how vanishingly thin the argument in favor of a snippet tax really is. It’s time for the EU politicians to recognize this, and remove it from the proposed copyright directive, along with Article 13′s even-more pernicious upload filter. EU citizens can use the new SaveYourInternet site to contact their representatives. Ahead of the important EU vote on the proposed law early next week, now would be a really good time to do that.

      • Please Write to Your MEPs to Stop EU Copyright Directive from Seriously Harming the Internet

        Next week, a crucial vote will be held by the Legal Affairs committee of the European Parliament (JURI). It concerns the proposed copyright directive, which is moving through the EU’s legislative process. Unfortunately, there are two extremely dangerous elements in the current text that will harm the Internet in the EU if passed: basic details about them can be found in this post I wrote for Ars Technica. A third element needs a tweak.

        As the Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda explains, it currently looks as if the two bad elements will be accepted by JURI. But the vote is close, and EU citizens have an important opportunity to ask their representatives to influence the outcome of that vote. I urge you to do so, and soon.

        You can use the free services WriteToThem, or a new site called SaveYourInternet, to send an email to your MEPs in just a few seconds. The latter site offers some text you can use about one of the problematic parts of the copyright directive, Article 13. However, you may wish to urge your representative to fight against the other bad idea, Article 11. Both of these are explained in the text below, which is what I have sent my MEPs.

      • EU digital copyright rule changes receive mixed reception

        The draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market was not supported by some countries and also provoked mixed reactions from the IP industry – particularly around Article 13, known as the value gap proposal

      • EU Expected To Pass Censorship Machines, Link Tax On June 20

        The European Union and the U.S. Congress are working on reforms to their respective copyright laws, some of which have been deemed too extreme by critics. The EU, for instance, would like force websites to enable “upload filters” and to pay for linking to other websites, while the U.S. Congress would like to extend copyright to 144 years from the already quite long 70 years + life.

      • The EU’s terrible copyright proposal will “carpet bomb” the whole world’s internet with censorship and surveillance
      • Memes In Rescue: New Law Of EU Could Put Light-Hearted Entertainment To An End
      • Spanish Soccer App Was Spying on Fans To Narc on Bars

        La Liga, an app for Spanish soccer fans, was spying on fans using otherwise unnecessary GPS and microphone permissions to identify bars showing the game without a license.

      • Popular Spanish Soccer Mobile App Has Been Turning Users Into Piracy-Spotters Via Mobile Devices

        As readers here will already know, the GDPR is now in full swing in Europe, with all of its crippling and stupid regulation in the name of personal privacy. It’s a hilariously overly broad law that has had the happy coincidental effect of forcing companies that store personal data to at least be more upfront about how they are using that data. This effect has caused some to embrace the GDPR as wholly good, which is exactly the wrong conclusion to draw. Instead, the GDPR swings way too far in the direction of users controlling their personal data mostly by reaching way too far and keeping its language as vague and broad as possible, something that is already causing chaos in the digital marketplace.

        And, yet, it cannot be ignored that the revelations of just how users’ data are being abused by some bad actors keep coming. The latest of these concerns the mobile app for La Liga, Spain’s most popular soccer league. La Liga recently revealed, having its hand forced by the GDPR, that users of its mobile app were unwittingly part of La Liga’s spy network for uncovering unauthorized broadcasts of soccer matches at public venues.

      • Ending The Memes: EU Copyright Directive Is No Laughing Matter

        On Friday, I wrote about all of the many problems with the link tax part of the proposed EU copyright directive — but that’s only part of the problem. The other major concern is around mandatory upload filters. As we discussed with Julia Reda during last week’s podcast, the upload filters may be even more nefarious. Even the BBC has stepped up with an article about how it could put an end to memes. While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, it’s only just a bit exaggerated. Despite the fact that the E-Commerce Directive already makes it clear that platforms should not be liable for content placed on their platforms by users absent any notice and that there can be no “general monitoring” obligation, the proposal for Article 13 would require that all sites have a way to block copyright-covered content from being uploaded without permission of the copyright holder.

        As per usual, this appears to have been written by those who have little understanding of how the internet itself works, or how this will impact a whole wide variety of services. Indeed, there’s almost nothing that makes any sense about it at all. Even if you argue that it’s designed to target the big platforms — the Googles and Facebooks of the world — it makes no sense. Both Google and Facebook already implement expensive filtering systems because they decided it was good for their business to do so at their scale. And even if you argue that it makes sense for platforms like YouTube to put in place filters, it doesn’t take into account many factors about what copyright covers, and the sheer impossibility of making filters that work across everything.

When the USPTO Grants Patents in Defiance of 35 U.S.C. § 101 the Courts Will Eventually Squash These Anyway

Wednesday 13th of June 2018 06:35:03 AM

Squashed again and again, but many examiners refuse to learn their lessons

Summary: Software/abstract patents, as per § 101 (Section 101) which relates to Alice Corp v CLS Bank at the US Supreme Court, are not valid in the United States, albeit one typically has to pay a fortune for a court battle to show it because the patent office (USPTO) is still far too lenient and careless

THE USPTO, together with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), isn’t what it used to be. PTAB increasingly gets involved in examination itself, instructing examiners to reject applications while habitually citing 35 U.S.C. § 101 (we used to give many examples of that, but we stopped some months ago). This means that it’s already getting a lot harder for examiners to grant software patents unless they’re disguised using vague buzzwords (in the US it’s nowadays fashionable to add words like “cloud” or “blockchain”).

“…it’s hugely expensive (if not infeasible) to legally challenge entire pools like MPEG-LA’s.”Oppositions to US patents or patent applications appear to be on the rise (we have not seen all the associated figures*) and a couple of days ago we wrote about opposition to Google. Google is “trying to patent software,” according to a new article which says that the “software in question is a compression technique called asymmetric numeral systems (ANS), and was devised by a computer scientist at Jagiellonian University in Poland, Jarek Duda, who says that he invented it in 2014.”

Oddly enough, the EPO allowed compression algorithms to be patented, as Benjamin Henrion noted a few days ago in relation to this story. But would such patents survive a court’s challenge? We very much doubt it, but such patents typically get bundled together with other software patents inside patent pools; it’s hugely expensive (if not infeasible) to legally challenge entire pools like MPEG-LA‘s.

Anyway, the US courts will probably make up for the USPTO’s failures when it comes to handling of such patents. In Blackberry v Facebook, based on this new article, it seems apparent that Facebook knows software patents are worthless, so citing Alice it challenges the very validity of BlackBerry’s patents, no matter the alleged infringement thereof:

Facebook has turned to familiar counsel to defend a high-profile patent attack by BlackBerry Ltd.

Cooley partners Heidi Keefe, Mark Weinstein and Michael Rhodes say that four of the nine BlackBerry patents, asserted in March against Facebook messaging and notification technology, are eligible for patent protection under Section 101. The same triumvirate has represented Facebook in virtually all of its patent litigation.

The patents are directed at “ancient concepts—who gets a message, how it is sent and the manner of notification,” states Facebook’s motion to dismiss, filed Friday and signed by Keefe. “They take abstract concepts and apply them ‘on a computer.’ This is not enough to be patent-eligible.”

The 31-page motion includes visual aids, a staple of Keefe’s advocacy, including stock photos of an information kiosk at a shopping center and a stack of “while you were out” message pads.

[...]

Facebook’s motion to dismiss is premised on the Supreme Court’s Alice decision, which has been used to defeat numerous software technology patent suits at an early stage. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held that Alice motions can involve fact issues that must be decided by juries. BlackBerry’s complaint includes detailed allegations that its inventions are not “well-understood, routine or conventional.”

Much of the press focuses on Facebook patents right now (so far this week; see [1-4] at the bottom), albeit not because of these patents but because of privacy concerns. There’s a similar discussion about Uber trying to patent software in spite of software patents being bunk and patent-ineligible in the US. To quote:

As a matter of good practice, tech companies typically patent every idea they come up with, regardless of whether or not they plan to implement it. And with good reason, patent trolls love targeting tech firms in jurisdictions that tend to give frivolous lawsuits far more leeway than they otherwise deserve. Consequently, it’s not uncommon to come across downright bizarre patents that will never see the light of day. At the same time, sometimes you come across a quirky patent that is equal parts crazy and equal parts genius. A recent patent filing from Uber seems to encompass just that.

Uber’s patent merely describes the assessment of data gathered through means which are peripheral to the software. Section 101 would almost certainly void such a patent.

How about USAA’s lawsuit? There has been lots of attention paid to it.

As we noted two days ago, USAA is sometimes a patent bully that uses what seems to be software/abstract patents. USAA is sometimes on the receiving end of patent lawsuits and is hoarding software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This latest lawsuit has since then been covered in general news sites that say “Wall Street giant, Wells Fargo (WFC), in the spotlight once again after USAA accuses the former of patent infringement.”

We now see this also in niche sites about payments and American Banker, which is also quite mainstream.

As we argued on Sunday, nothing suggests that anything concrete was patented, but it’s up for judges to decide. Section 101 comes to mind. Judge Bryson has just dealt with 35 U.S.C. Section 101 albeit not in the context of software but of “claiming patent protection for a natural law.” (Pernix Ireland Pain Ltd. et al v Alvogen Malta Operations Ltd.)

As Docket Navigator summed it up:

The court denied defendant’s motion to reconsider an earlier order granting plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment that the asserted claims of its pain treatment patents did not encompass unpatentable subject matter.

It isn’t about software but about Section 101, which also encompasses decisions such as Mayo.

Either way, there are always those desperate and delusional patent law firms out there which ‘pull a Berkheimer‘ any time Section 101 gets brought up, insinuating — rightly or wrongly — that evidence is lacking/insufficient. Dechert LLP’s Robert D. Rhoad and Michael A. Fisher are the latest to attempt to ‘pull a Berkheimer‘ (a Federal Circuit decision from several months back). Here’s what they wrote; the background is of relevance:

In 2014, the Supreme Court established a two-prong test for determining whether a patented invention claims patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101: first, courts ask whether the claim is directed to a patent-ineligible concept—i.e., a law of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract idea; and if it is, they then search the claim for an “inventive concept” that is “sufficient to ensure that the patent in practice amounts to significantly more than a patent upon the [ineligible concept] itself.” Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347, 2355 (2014). Under the second prong, if the limitations of the claim only involve “‘well-understood, routine, conventional activit[ies]’ previously known to the industry,” it lacks the required “inventive concept.” Id. at 2359. Since Alice, district courts have been invalidating an unprecedented number of patents on § 101 grounds at the pleadings stage or on summary judgment.

At the end, in spite of Berkheimer barely being brought up and accepted by judges, they say this:

Accused infringers can still cite numerous Federal Circuit cases affirming the invalidation of patents at the pleadings or summary judgment stage, and the court has stated that it casts no doubt on the propriety of those cases. See, e.g., Berkheimer II, 2018 WL 2437140, at *3. However, the Berkheimer and Aatrix line of decisions give patentees a powerful tool to fight against invalidation of their patents before trial.

Well, how often have Berkheimer and Aatrix been used successfully by the plaintiff? Almost never. Or almost a handful of times perhaps, i.e. perhaps once a month. Those who resort to Berkheimer and Aatrix as a sort of “appeal to authority” clearly don’t know what they’re talking about or are deliberately lying. Virtually nothing has changed for the better as far as lawyers are concerned. No ‘pendulum’ has ‘swung back’, unless one asks wishful thinkers and think tanks like IAM.
______
* It should be noted that oppositions are also soaring in Europe and by year’s end it’s expected/estimated that patent filings will have declined in the US.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Facebook Tells Congress It Hasn’t Used Eye Tracking Patents
  2. Facebook DENIES it’s building eye-tracking software despite holding two patents for the technology
  3. Facebook denies building eye-tracking software but says if it ever does, it will keep privacy in mind
  4. Facebook denies building eye-tracking software

    Facebook denied building eye-tracking software in its response to questions from Congress released Monday but said if it ever did build out the technology, it would take privacy into account.

    The social media company holds at least two patents for detecting eye movements and emotions, which it said “is one way that we could potentially reduce consumer friction and add security for people when they log into Oculus or access Oculus content.” Oculus is a virtual reality platform that Facebook bought in 2014.

    The company provided a written response to unanswered questions from Congress on its data use, privacy policy and its ad-based business model. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about its technologies and potential uses by lawmakers during an appearance before Congress in April.

Buzzwords and Three-Letter Acronyms Still Abused by the EPO to Grant a Lot of Patents on Algorithms

Wednesday 13th of June 2018 05:38:48 AM

EPO examiners aren’t shy to admit this decline in patent quality and abrupt departure from the European Patent Convention (EPC) [1, 2]

Summary: Aided by Microsoft lobbying (with its very many patent trolls) as well as corrupt Battistelli, the push for software patenting under the guise of “artificial intelligence” (“AI”) carries on, boosted by Battistelli’s own “Pravda” (which he writes for), IAM Magazine

THE EPO and USPTO both use the buzzword (acronym) “AI” to go about granting software patents. Law firms and their clients are patenting software by consciously invoking this vague buzzword while EPO management sets up events to promote the practice (they also say “ICT”, “CII”, “4IR” and so forth).

This is not normal. It’s not acceptable. They are bypassing laws and misleading everyone. The latest example of software patents being disguised as “AI” to fool patent examiners is about a day old (a press release that says “FICO Awarded Seven New Patents for Analytic Innovations in Fraud Detection and AI,” then “FICO has been awarded seven new patents for fraud detection, AI and analytics”). FICO basically gets a bogus — i.e. likely invalid — monopoly on abstract ideas (courts would reject these patents), but unless PTAB receives a petition (IPR) FICO can engage in patent shakedown against rivals.

“FICO basically gets a bogus — i.e. likely invalid — monopoly on abstract ideas (courts would reject these patents), but unless PTAB received a petition (IPR) FICO can engage in patent shakedown against rivals.”This week’s Microsoft- and patent trolls-funded event of IAM also promotes software patents and here’s Microsoft doing its ‘share’ of the task, dubbing software patents “AI”.

“Microsoft’s Nicolas Schifano very clear on why much of AI is patentable,” IAM wrote (and there’s a photo there as well). There’s still not a word from them about Battistelli’s talk in support of software patents (using the latest buzzword); he was definitely there as scheduled. What’s noteworthy is that IAM is now legitimising the judge-bashing Watchtroll. They’re all in this together. A lobby of shame.

Unfortunately, words (or terms) like “AI” can be problematic even if examiners recognise these and throw away the papers (applications). Line managers, for example, can use Battistelli’s buzzwords du jour (e.g. “ICT”, “CII”, “4IR”) and then demand from patent clerks/examiners that they issue a patent/grant. The way things are going right now are profoundly depressing; the examiners are losing any pride associated with their job (work that is hard to replace because of exit conditions and the nature of contract they signed).

Yesterday we saw AA Thornton & Co’s Leonita Paulraj writing about the EPO’s patent assessment criteria, which are mostly overlooked/ignored by corrupt Battistelli (who only wants lots of grants in order to game the system). “In the recent past,” Paulraj wrote, “the EPO appears to have become more strict with the requirement of plausibility, and therefore it is advisable not to be in a hurry to file an application, especially in the fields of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, without any clear evidence which supports that the invention has some technical advantages.”

She emphasises that it’s about pharmaceuticals and biotechnology way upfront:

This article considers how the EPO views the requirement of “plausibility”, which can arise during both the assessment of “sufficient disclosure” of the invention and “inventive step” in proceedings before the EPO, particularly in relation to inventions in the Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences field.

The EPO Guidelines for Examination (EPO Part F-III, 12) state that if the claimed invention lacks reproducibility, this may become relevant under the requirements of sufficiency of disclosure or inventive step. If an invention lacks reproducibility because its desired technical effect as expressed in the claim is not achieved, this results in a lack of sufficient disclosure, which has to be objected to under Art. 83 EPC (sufficiency). Otherwise, i.e. if the technical effect is not expressed in the claim but is part of the problem to be solved, there is a problem of inventive step, which has to be objected under Art.56 EPC (inventive step).

[...]

The EPO has issued a number of decisions on plausibility, however, none of these decisions are conclusive. The question of plausibility is assessed by the EPO case by case.

From the decisions discussed above, it appears that even if a claim is non-obvious with respect to the prior art or in the absence of any prior art, the EPO could still refuse a case if it is not plausible at the date of filing that the invention does solve the problem it purports to solve.

Likewise, the requirement of sufficiency of disclosure must be met at the date of filing and if the application or patent is found later that it does not meet the requirement, it is no longer possible to correct this deficiency.

In the recent past, the EPO appears to have become more strict with the requirement of plausibility, and therefore it is advisable not to be in a hurry to file an application, especially in the fields of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, without any clear evidence which supports that the invention has some technical advantages.

From what we can gather, based on what sources tell us, the EPC is being violated routinely in the domain of software, with people like Grant Philpott on top of this colossal failure. Software patents are nowadays being granted routinely by the EPO, often in defiance of examiners’ desires and sometimes in part due to buzzwords such as “AI”, “ICT”, “CII”, “4IR”. This is going to cause tremendous agony to Europe’s already-weak (compared to the US) software industry. The US is meanwhile removing many of these artificial barriers (Alice, which we shall cover in our next post, axes many software patents), spurring a boom in investment for software businesses.

The United States is Far Better Off With the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), So Why Do Lawyers Attack It?

Wednesday 13th of June 2018 05:01:22 AM

Simple answer: because their loyalty to their bank account by far exceeds their loyalties to science, innovation, and their nation


Patent lawsuits are to patent lawyers what wars are to military/arms manufacturing

Summary: The anti-PTAB lobby (which is basically the pro-troll or pro-litigation lobby) continues to belittle and insult PTAB, having repeatedly failed to dismantle it; in the meantime PTAB is disarming several more patent trolls and removing from the system patents which were granted in error (as well as the associated lawsuits)

THE appeal boards (BoA) of the EPO and PTAB at the USPTO are like independent audit mechanisms, tasked or set out to ensure patent quality. It is widely known — as it is recently reaffirmed by scholars — that patent offices often strive to just maximise the number of patents granted in order to attract further applications (more of the same), in effect granting monopolies irrespective of their merit/impact on the economy/industry/public interest.

“So what we have here is a bunch of lawyers basically demanding that US Congress revisits AIA, cherry-picks Oil States, and makes PTAB’s life (or work or profession) a lot harder.”Techrights does not oppose patents; it opposes patent maximalism. It’s against that scourge of bad patents granted purely for the sake of granting more patents. EPO examiners 'get' it, but the EPO’s management keeps threatening them if they don’t embrace patent maximalism and that is a profound threat.

Today’s first post concerns PTAB because Watchtroll, an anti-PTAB site, has just written about ECCO v Skechers (a case mentioned here earlier this month in passing, with only some sketchy details about Skechers). Watchtroll took note of PTAB’s relevance to Skechers:

Skechers has also been an avid user of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to challenge the validity of patents held by either Nike or Adidas. To date, Skechers has filed a total of 20 petitions for inter partes review (IPR) at the PTAB. Not once has it been in front of the PTAB as a patent owner defending the validity of its own patents.

So what? Maybe that just means that Skechers has little interest in patenting or only has very (albeit solid) patents. Watchtroll is agitated by IPRs simply because the site serves the interests of the litigation ‘industry’ (which PTAB is a threat to). It should be noted that on the very same day (yesterday) Watchtroll was still protesting against PTAB itself (its very existence, even after Oil States). To quote the gist of it all:

In the AIA, Congress gave any person other than the patent owner the substantive right to petition the government to take a second look at a previously issued patent franchise in an IPR proceeding. 35 U.S.C. § 311(a); see also Oil States, slip op. at 2. Congress further expressly provided that a party dissatisfied with the Board’s decision in such a proceeding can seek judicial review by the Federal Circuit and be a party in such an appeal. 35 U.S.C. § 319; see also Oil States, slip op. at 4.

Thus, Congress created a statutory right (the right to file a petition and if instituted obtain a proper final written decision), which if deprived confers standing on the petitioner, even if the petitioner “would have suffered no judicially cognizable injury in absence of the statute.” Warth, 422 U.S. at 514; see also Linda R.S., 410 U.S. at 617 n.3. The Federal Circuit’s holdings in Consumer Watchdog, Phegnix and RPX to the contrary are wrong and should be reversed.

So what we have here is a bunch of lawyers basically demanding that US Congress revisits AIA, cherry-picks Oil States, and makes PTAB’s life (or work or profession) a lot harder. This fits the pattern of lobbying we’ve seen for well over a year at Patently-O, another site which fronts for the litigation ‘industry’.

Speaking of Patently-O, earlier this week it wrote about printed publications qualifying as evidence of prior art. US patents and invalidation thereof (based on them being not novel or simply utter rubbish) may now be subjected to a new form of supporting evidence:

In Medtronic Inc. v. Mark Barry, the PTAB confirmed the patentability of some of Barry’s patented back-straightening claims found in U.S. Patent Nos. 7,670,358 and 7,776,072. The saving-grace for Barry was a PTAB ruling that a set of Videos and Slides distributed by Medtronic did not count as prior art “printed publications” because they were not sufficiently publicly accessible prior to Barry’s application filing. On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit has vacated the lower tribunal opinion — holding that the Board did not consider all the relevant factors in its determination.

Section 102 of the patent act establishes “printed publications” as a form of prior art.

And why not? Section 102 speaks of prior art and so does Robert Jain, whose employer (Unified Patents) uses prior art to invalidate patent trolls’ patents when Section 101 isn’t enough. Red River Innovations is basically a patent troll which we wrote about a couple of months back, one month after Unified Patents had announced $2,000 bounties for prior art. Soon enough it won’t even even a patent based on yesterday’s update from Jain:

Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Rajesh Singh, who received a cash prize of $2000 for his prior art submission for U.S. Patent 7,526,477, owned by Red River Innovations, LLC, a, NPE. The ’477 patent, directed to an electronic text recommendation system, has been asserted in multiple district court cases. To help the industry fight bad patents, we have published the winning prior art below.

Good riddance. That’s justice in action.

Another very notorious patent troll, Uniloc, is about to lose a key patent because (as Jain put it):

On June 11, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 7,092,671 owned and asserted by Uniloc Luxembourg, SA, a well-known NPE. The ’671 patent, directed to an automated telephone dialing system, has been asserted in multiple district court cases against such companies as Apple and Samsung.

They pretend to be in Luxembourg. We already wrote a great deal about Luxembourg as a facilitator of patent trolls and tax evasion through patents.

Going back to Patently-O, it turns out that another bogus patent was caught up by PTAB and then invalidated/lawsuit dropped. Only lawyers won this case (legal bills) and now they bicker/argue about who’s going to pay:

Typical initial setup of a patent infringement lawsuit: the patentee (Stone’) sued Cook for infringement; Cook then requested an inter partes of the asserted patent. What happened next was odd — after Cook refused a $150k settlement, Stone conceded the IPR (all claims then cancelled) as well as the lawsuit (dismissed with prejudice).

Note here that the invention looks pretty cool – an endoscope with a basket-type device for extracting stones from a human body — such as ureteral, kidney, or gall stones. U.S. Patent No. 6,551,327. The problem apparently is the invention’s lack of novelty.

As a side note, Patently-O has also just published interesting new data (or presentation thereof). Over time, as we noted a few days ago, more 'faked' names get listed/named in patents/applications for patents. Based on some more graphs from Dennis Crouch, which he has just published, the growth is linear and consistent. He put up the graphs while noting:

The chart below is a follow-up my prior post involving teams of inventors. The chart shows the average number of inventors per utility patent. For patents issued in first five-months of 2018, about 5% have 7 or more inventors.

Suffice to say, few of these are actually involved in the so-called ‘invention’. They’re just collectively gaming the system to have their names mentioned in as many patents as possible.

Links 12/6/2018: Neovim 0.3 and Wine 3.10

Tuesday 12th of June 2018 06:55:15 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Acer Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 to support Linux apps out of the box

      Along with a host of other high-end devices from other brands, the Acer Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 will support Linux apps at launch, according to a recent Chromium commit. Google has been working with a number of device makers on a new range of high-end Chromebooks with enterprise features. Nami is the umbrella codename for these devices.

    • Acer Chromebook 13 & Chromebook Spin 13 will apparently support Linux apps at launch

      Acer is one of the bigger players in the Chrome OS market, and last month the company debuted two new exciting laptops in the Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13. Now we’re finding out that these machines will apparently support Linux apps out of the box.

    • Microsoft will stop offering forum support for Windows 7, 8.1, RT, and more

      rom next month, the company will cease to operate forum support for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows RT, Microsoft Security Essentials, Internet Explorer 10 and Office 2010 and 2013.

      Also being stopped is support for Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, Surface 2, the Microsoft Band and (at long last) Zune.

    • Microsoft to stop offering support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in forums

      On the software front, the company says that it will also no longer provide support for Microsoft Security Essentials, Internet Explorer 10, Office 2010 and 2013 as of July. It is not just software that is affected. Microsoft is also stopping support for Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, Surface 2, Microsoft Band and Zune. Some forums will be locked, preventing users from helping each other as well.

  • Server
    • Meet IBM Summit, World’s Fastest and Smartest Supercomputer Powered by Linux

      That’s right, America once again has the most powerful supercomputer in the world, for now, which is eight times more powerful than the Titan supercomputer. Capable of peak performances of 200 petaflops or 200,000 trillion calculations per second, the Summit supercomputer owned by the U.S. Department of Energy is used for scientific purposes.

      “I am truly excited by the potential of Summit, as it moves the nation one step closer to the goal of delivering an exascale supercomputing system by 2021. Summit will empower scientists to address a wide range of new challenges, accelerate discovery, spur innovation and above all, benefit the American people,” said Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy.

    • IBM Summit: The US’s Best Chance to Retake Supercomputer Crown [Ed: Rob Enderle has just taken note of/mentioned, in a new article, that the US regains the HPC crown, but of course -- being the Microsoft propagandist he is -- GNU/Linux is not mentioned at all]
    • The fastest supercomputers in the world
    • How Cisco Is Expanding Its Container and Kubernetes Efforts

      While Cisco is well-known for its networking technologies, the company has increasingly become an adopter of and strong advocate for container technologies and the Kubernetes container orchestration system, in particular.

      Helping to lead Cisco’s strategic direction for containers is the company’s CTO for cloud computing, Lew Tucker. In a video interview with eWEEK, Tucker details Cisco current product lineup for containers and provides insight into the future direction.

  • Kernel Space
    • What version of Linux am I running?

      The question “what version of Linux” can mean two different things. Strictly speaking, Linux is the kernel, so the question can refer specifically to the kernel’s version number, or “Linux” can be used more colloquially to refer to the entire distribution, as in Fedora Linux or Ubuntu Linux.

      Both are important, and you may need to know one or both answers to fix a problem with a system. For example, knowing the installed kernel version might help diagnose an issue with proprietary drivers, and identifying what distribution is running will help you quickly figure out if you should be using apt, dnf, yum, or some other command to install packages.

    • f2fs update for 4.18-rc1

      So sorry for a bit late pull request. I had to take a look at the test results run during the weekend. Could you please consider this?

    • F2FS File-System Gets Discard Improvements, Nobarrier Fsync Mode For Linux 4.18

      Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) maintainer Jaegeuk Kim has submitted the file-system updates intended for the Linux 4.18 kernel.

    • Linux Kernel 4.17 Now Ready for Mass Deployments as First Point Release Is Out

      Just a little over a week after the release of the Linux 4.17 kernel series, renowned kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced today the availability of the first point release, Linux kernel 4.17.1.

      Even if it’s a small one changing only 23 files, with 131 insertions and 68 deletions, the Linux kernel 4.17.1 point release marks the Linux 4.17 kernel series as ready for mass deployments, which means that OS vendors can now start compiling it for their supported architectures and GNU/Linux operating systems to distribute the new kernel version to their users.

      “I’m announcing the release of the 4.17.1 kernel. All users of the 4.17 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 4.17.y git tree can be found at: git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.17.y and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser: http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux stable.git;a=summary,” said Greg Kroah-Hartman in the mailing list announcement.

    • Linux 4.18 Supports The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 & DT For NES Classic Edition, Steam Link

      The ARM SoC/platform changes have been submitted and already pulled into the merge window for the Linux 4.18 kernel.

      The ARM hardware support this time is quite exciting. With the Linux 4.18 kernel there is now initial mainline support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 high-end SoC and on the board front are the initial additions for supporting the Steam Link and the Nintendo NES Classic Edition.

    • Linux 4.17.1
    • Linux 4.16.15
    • Linux 4.14.49
    • Intel Begins Queuing Graphics Driver Improvements For Linux 4.19

      While the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window isn’t even over until the end of the week followed by about eight weeks worth of testing before that kernel version will debut as stable, Intel open-source developers have already sent in their first pull request to DRM-Next of material they would like to begin staging for Linux 4.19.

      Intel’s OTC developers are usually quite punctual in queuing up their tested work in DRM-Next for the next kernel cycle while even for their standards this is quite early with there being several days left to the current merge window.

    • Linux Kernel Patches Appear For A Line Of Intel MIPS SoCs

      It appears Intel is launching a line of SoCs based on the MIPS architecture.

      Hitting the kernel mailing list overnight is a set of kernel patches for bringing up the Intel GRX500 SoCs, which are based on the MIPS interAptiv design. MIPS interAptiv processor cores are based on a 32-bit, multi-core design and have been available the past few years. Background information on interAptiv is available from MIPS.com.

    • New NOVA Filesystem

      Andiry Xu (working with Lu Zhang, Steven Swanson and others) posted patches for a new filesystem called NOVA (NOn-Volatile memory Accelerated). Normal RAM chips are wiped every time you turn off your computer. Non-volatile RAM retains its data across reboots. Their project targeted byte-addressable non-volatile memory chips, such as Intel’s 3DXpoint DIMMs. Andiry said that the current incarnation of their code was able to do a lot already, but they still had a big to-do list, and they wanted feedback from the kernel people.

      Theodore Y. Ts’o gave the patches a try, but he found that they wouldn’t even compile without some fixes, which he posted in reply. Andiry said they’d adapt those fixes into their patches.

      The last time NOVA made an appearance on the kernel mailing list was August 2017, when Steven made a similar announcement. This time around, they posted a lot more patches, including support for SysFS controls, Kconfig compilation options and a significant amount of documentation.

    • Systemd 239 Is Being Prepped For Release With Many Changes

      Systemd developers have begun wrangling the v239 release together. Among the features coming are a change where the network interface device naming may now be different (though it seems to primarily affect SR-IOV/NPAR situations), support for using the RestrictNamespaces property multiple times, the sd-boot systemd boot functionality has new configuration settings so you can turn off Windows/macOS partition discovery, sd-boot should now pick a better screen resolution when booting a HiDPI system, systemd-resolve has been renamed to resolvectl, a NoNewPrivileges property has been added to turn off acquiring of new privileges system-wide, swap files should now work for hibernation now, networkd now automatically uses the kernel’s route expiration feature, documentation improvements, and many other changes.

    • Linux Foundation
      • HERE, Airbiquity, Bose and more join Automotive Grade Linux open source project

        The Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project, an open source collaborative program bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies, has welcomed a number of new members which brings it to over 120. The latest to join are Abalta Technologies, Airbiquity, Bose, EPAM Systems, HERE, Integrated Computer Solutions and Sitech Electric Automotive.

        Dan Cauchy, executive director of AGL at the Linux Foundation, said in a statement: “Our newest members include the some of the industry leaders in embedded, software and automotive technologies from all over the world, including our first Chinese automaker. We look forward to leveraging the expertise of these members as we continue to enhance our infotainment platform and build out functionalities like vehicle-to-cloud connectivity and virtualization.”

      • More Firms Join Open Source Networking Group

        More communications firms are coming onboard with the open source networking organization launched earlier this year by The Linux Foundation.

        That organization, called LF Networking Fund (LFN), recently welcomed KDDI, KT, SK Telecom, Sprint, Swisscom and Telecom Italia into its fold.

        LFN coalesces six top networking projects to increase harmonization across platforms, communities and ecosystems, according to its site. The organization says it seeks to address major industry challenges through collaboration between end users, vendors and developers, who can work together to transform all aspects of the network and accelerate open source deployments.

      • LF Deep Learning Foundation Announces Project Contribution Process

        I am very pleased to announce that the LF Deep Learning Foundation has approved a project lifecycle and contribution process to enable the contribution, support and growth of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning open source projects. With these documents in place, the LF Deep Learning Foundation is now accepting proposals for the contribution of projects.

        The LF Deep Learning Foundation, a community umbrella project of The Linux Foundation with the mission of supporting artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning open source projects, is working to build a self-sustaining ecosystem of projects. Having a clear roadmap for how to contribute projects is a first step. Contributed projects operate under their own technical governance with collaboration resources allocated and provided by the LF Deep Learning Foundation’s Governing Board. Membership in the LF Deep Learning Foundation is not required to propose a project contribution.

    • Graphics Stack
      • DRM Leasing / Display Patches Updated For Mesa’s Vulkan Drivers

        Keith Packard’s patches for improving the Linux infrastructure around VR HMD devices have landed within the mainline Linux kernel as well as in X.Org Server 1.20, but for rounding out the work, there still are pending patches for the Mesa Vulkan drivers.

        Keith has spent more than one year working on allowing “DRM leasing”, non-desktop handling for virtual reality head-mounted displays, and other related improvements to better embrace HMDs on the Linux graphics stack for optimal performance. The patches for the Vulkan DRM leasing though have yet to be merged into Mesa.

    • Benchmarks
      • Core i7 8700K vs. Ryzen 7 2700X For Vulkan Gaming With Thrones of Britannia

        Published this weekend was a 25-way Linux graphics card comparison for the newest major Linux game release, A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia, that was released natively for Linux days ago by Feral Interactive and ported from Direct3D to Vulkan in the process. As a result of premium requests, here are some additional tests for this Linux game when comparing the performance on Intel Core i7 8700K and Ryzen 7 2700X processors.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Top 30 Best Ubuntu Themes That Will Blow Your Mind

      Over the last year, we covered different themes for Ubuntu; most of them being GTK themes inspired by material design and flat design. It has been a while since our last theme article and I figure today will be a day to present you with a somewhat mega list.

      My compilation includes a few themes already featured on FossMint together with others you probably haven’t heard about yet. If you are keen on personalization and UI beauty then I’m sure that my compilation will blow your mind.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • A Better Menu Experience in Plasma (PROPOSAL)

        Launchers in an OS have become the central point of access and interaction with system content. It is the main way that most people will interact with applications and files. In recent years, other OSs have become increasingly interested in beefing up their application menus. Plasma currently has 3 launchers integrated. Users are asked to select one or the other by right-clicking in the “start” menu button and switch a different launcher. The interaction is somewhat quirky but it is effective.

        I wanted to contrast our iteration with something that might be more interactive, more straightforward and help users find the desired content faster. Here is an idea about that.

      • Kirigaming – Kolorfill

        Last time, I was doing a recipe manager. This time I’ve been doing a game with javascript and QtQuick, and for the first time dipping my feet into the Kirigami framework.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Officially Released with Revamped Lock & Login Screens, Settings

        With a focus on stability and reliability, the KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment launches today with revamped lock and login screens, the former offering a slick fade-to-blur transition for displaying the controls, redesigned System Settings pages to make it easier for users to set up themes, fonts, screensavers, and more, as well as Plasma Browser Integration for downloads and media controls.

        “Members of the Plasma team have been working hard to continue making Plasma a lightweight and responsive desktop which loads and runs quickly, but remains full-featured with a polished look and feel. We have spent the last four months optimizing startup and minimizing memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption,” reads today’s announcement.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Ships As The Best Plasma 5 Release Yet
      • Release AnnouncementsPlasma 5.13.0
      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Now Available, OpenGear’s New NetOps Automation Platform, New Zynthian Raspberry Pi Synthesizer and More

        KDE released Plasma 5.13.0 today. The team has “spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics.” New features in Plasma 5.13 include Plasma Browser Integration, redesigned system settings, new look for lock and login screens, improved KWin graphics compositor and more. See the release announcement for links to download pages for live images, distro packages and source.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Contributing to Boxes

        I have to admit that Boxes is a bit late for the Flatpak party, but that’s not a problem. The technical difficulties of getting a virtualization hypervisor to run inside the flatpak sandbox are mostly overcomed. This way, contributing to Boxes has never been easier.

        In the following sections I will describe the step-by-step process of making your first code contribution to GNOME Boxes.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • SparkyLinux 5.4 “Nibiru” Operating System Released Based on Debian 10 “Buster”

        Based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system, which should see the light of day in mid-2019, the SparkyLinux 5.4 update is here three months after the SparkyLinux 5.3 release announced in mid-March 2018 to continue the SparkyLinux 5 “Nibiru” rolling series, and it’s available only as LXQt, MinimalGUI, and MinimalCLI editions.

        “Sparky 5.4 offers a fully featured operating system with a lightweight LXQt desktop environment; and minimal images of MinimalGUI (Openbox) and MinimalCLI (text mode) which lets you install the base system with a desktop of your choice with a minimal set of applications, via the Sparky Advanced Installer,” reads today’s announcement.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Mageia at RMLL – and a roundup

        RMLL (also known as LSM, Libre Software Meeting) is one of Mageia’s important annual events and 2018 is no different. It’s the premier world meeting for Libre Software, upon the principles of which our distro and our community is based.

        This year RMLL is to be held in in Strasbourg, and we have a booth! We’re calling for people to come and spend a little time on the stand, or a lot of time if you have a lot – we need Mageians to come talk to people about our distro, and encourage them to try us out, join the community and contribute in any way they want. It’s also a great opportunity to meet a wide variety of people in the Libre Software community, both developers and users, and catch up on what’s happening in our world.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • UCS 4.3-1: First point release for UCS 4.3 available

        Univention is pleased to announce the availability of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.3-1, the first point release of UCS 4.3. It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 4.3-0 and provides various improvements…

      • Derivatives
        • systemd-free Debian-based Devuan 2.0 ASCII has been released

          Debian based Devuan 2.0 has been released. Devuan doesn’t use systemd and the new release allows you to choose between SysVinit and OpenRC init systems.

        • Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux

          Systemd-free Linux distro Devuan has released its stable Version 2.0.

          The project’s last release candidate was released in May, and as you’d hope, not much has changed between then and full release.

          Because it’s written by purists, we should include the full name of the release: it’s Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0 ASCII Stable.

        • Devuan GNU/Linux 2.0 “ASCII” Operating System Launches for Init Freedom Lovers

          Devuan, the open-source GNU/Linux distribution designed to offers users a stable, reliable, and free operating system that doesn’t depend on the systemd init, has been updated to version 2.0.

          Continuing project’s tradition to offer users alternatives to systemd and its components, Devuan GNU/Linux 2.0 is dubbed “ASCII” and it’s based on the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series. It comes with a large variety of desktop environments, among which we can mention KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon, MATE, and LXQt.

          However, Devuan GNU/Linux 2.0 ships with Xfce as default desktop environment. Many other desktop environments are available after installation, and Devuan GNU/Linux’s expert install mode lets users choose between the SysVinit and OpenRC init systems instead of systemd.

        • Devuan 2.0 is a Debian fork for Linux users who want to avoid systemd

          The Linux world has a certain reputation for highly-opinionated people engaging in protracted debates about the merits of a particular application or approach to a problem. While some of these—such as the Mir vs. Wayland controversy—have been resolved, the faction of Linux veterans who insist on avoiding systemd have released Devuan 2.0.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 531
          • Empowering developers to embrace Linux

            There is a huge opportunity for businesses to embrace new technologies and move their company forward. Open source and snaps are simple solutions, but ones that gives the most vital innovators in a business – developers – the tools they need to be confident in launching some of the world’s most utilised software.

          • R 3.5.0 on Debian and Ubuntu: An Update

            R 3.5.0 was released a few weeks ago. As it changes some (important) internals, packages installed with a previous version of R have to be rebuilt. This was known and expected, and we took several measured steps to get R binaries to everybody without breakage.

            The question of but how do I upgrade without breaking my system was asked a few times, e.g., on the r-sig-debian list as well as in this StackOverflow question.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 7 open source tools to make literature reviews easy

    A good literature review is critical for academic research in any field, whether it is for a research article, a critical review for coursework, or a dissertation. In a recent article, I presented detailed steps for doing a literature review using open source software.

    The following is a brief summary of seven free and open source software tools described in that article that will make your next literature review much easier.

  • How Does Project Aiur, An Open Source AI-Engine Substantiate Scientific Knowledge

    As research in science progresses by leaps and bounds, there are a lot of readily available information in the online space, making knowledge sharing in areas like science easier.

    However, there is so much research information available that it is sometimes confusing as to what is right and what is wrong. Given the vast amount of resources, it is essential to carry out in-depth analysis of the resources. This has been made possible with AI and ML innovations.

  • Summer of Code: Evaluation and Key Lengths

    I spent some time testing my OpenPGP library PGPainless and during testing I noticed, that messages encrypted and signed using keys from the family of elliptic curve cryptography were substantially smaller than messages encrypted with common RSA keys. I knew already, that one benefit of elliptic curve cryptography is, that the keys can be much smaller while providing the same security as RSA keys. But what was new to me is, that this also applies to the length of the resulting message. I did some testing and came to interesting results:

  • Events
    • Open Source Summit North America Fosters Exchange of Ideas

      All the way back in 1991, when some of you were working at your first IT jobs, others were still in high school, and still others hadn’t even been born yet, a student named Linus Torvalds attending the University of Helsinki in Finland took an interest in computer operating systems and began writing his own OS kernel.

      Today, we have penguins, the backbone of the modern internet, and so many different distributions of the original Linux that we could read them off one by one and plausibly pretend to be listing famous pirates (Yellow Dog, Red Flag, Jarro Negro), Greek mythological monsters (Xandros, Sidux, Tanglu), ancient Roman senators (Canaima, Matriux, Maemo), obscure Marvel Comics characters (Liquid Lemur, Estrella Roja, Evil Entity), or even visitors form a neighboring galaxy (KaarPux, NuTyX, Kororaa, Papug).

    • Coverage of Netconf 2018

      Netconf, the Linux kernel networking development conference, has provided coverage of this year’s event, which was held in Boston, MA, May 31-June 1.

    • Netconf 2018 Day 1

      The two day Linux kernel networking development plenary session, called Netconf was held in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 31st and June 1st 2018. Covered here is day one of the sessions, attended by 15 developers.

    • Netconf 2018 Day 2
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Remote UIs with WebGL and WebAssembly

        A frequently requested feature by Qt customers is the possibility to access, view and use a Qt-made UI remotely.

        However, in contrast to web applications, Qt applications do not offer remote access by nature as communication with the backend usually happens via direct functions call and not over socket-based protocols like HTTP or WebSockets.

        But the good thing is, with right system architecture with strong decoupling of frontend and backend and using the functionality of the Qt framework, it is possible to achieve that!

      • Level Up with New Productivity Features in Firefox for iOS

        Today, we’re announcing new features in Firefox for iOS to make your life easier. Whether you’re a multi-tasker or someone who doesn’t want to waste time, we’re rolling out new features to up your productivity game.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Facebook releases Sonar debugging tool to the open source community
    • Facebook open sources Sonar

      Facebook has announced it will be open sourcing its extensible debugging tool: Sonar. Sonar was originally created to help Facebook engineers manage the complexity of working with multiple different modules.

      According to the company, Sonar provides a framework where experts and developers can convey important information to users. It also provides engineers with an intuitive way for inspecting and understanding the structure and behavior of iOS and Android applications.

      When it was started three years ago, Sonar was built upon Stetho, which is an Android debugging bridge built in Chrome’s developer tools. It added new features, provided a richer user experience, and works across both iOS and Android. Facebook recommends the use of Sonar over Stetho for most use cases going forward.

    • Linux Foundation: Microsoft buying GitHub is ‘good news’ for open source, here’s why [Ed: Maybe Zemlin will get a Microsoft job one day.]
    • Closed Source and Ethics: Good, Bad, Or Ugly? [iophk: "Jono is sure milking his earlier accidental appointment as Canonical's spinmeister to promote Microsoft."]

      A little while ago I had a discussion with someone who was grumbling about Microsoft. After poking around his opinion, what shook out was that his real issue was not with Microsoft’s open source work (he was supportive of this), but it was with the fact that they still produce proprietary software and use software patents in departments such as Windows and Office.

      Put bluntly, he believed Microsoft are ethically unfit as a company because of these reasons, and these reasons were significant enough to diminish their open source work almost entirely.

    • Why You Should Use Windows Subsystem for Linux [Ed: Microsoft-connected site says, as in this case, something along the lines of use GNU/Linux only as an 'app' for Vista 10]
    • What Microsoft’s GitHub Deal Promises to Programmers [Ed: "Business Over Religion" says a section as if software freedom is superstition and we should submit to the business objectives of Microsoft]
    • Proposed Microsoft-GitHub buy confirms open source role in cloud [Ed: "Microsoft has not always been about the developer," it says. It still isn't. This it why it bribes officials, blackmails executives, lies and cheats (to this date). Don't believe the PR campaign.]
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Major speedup for big DWG’s

      Thanks to David Bender and James Michael DuPont for convincing me that we need a hash table for really big DWGs. I got a DWG example with 42MB, which needed 2m to process and then 3m to free the dwg struct. I also had to fix a couple of internal problems.

      We couldn’t use David Bender’s hashmap which he took from Android (Apache 2 licensed), and I didn’t like it too much neither. So today I sat down and wrote a good int hashmap from scratch, with several performance adjustments, because we never get a key 0 and we won’t need to delete keys.
      So it’s extremely small and simple, using cache-friendly open addressing, and I got it right at the second attempt.

      Performance with this hash table now got down to 7 seconds.
      Then I also removed the unneeded dwg_free calls from some cmdline apps, because the kernel does it much better then libc malloc/free. 3 minutes for free() is longer than the slowest garbage collector I’ve ever seen.
      So now processing this 42MB dwg needs 7s.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Standards/Consortia
    • Better API testing with the OpenAPI Specification

      If you search the internet for “unexpected API behavior,” you’ll soon discover that no one likes when an API doesn’t work as anticipated. When you consider the increasing number of APIs, continuous development, and delivery of the services built on top of them, it’s no surprise that APIs can diverge from their expected behavior. This is why API test coverage is critical for success. For years, we have created unit and functional tests for our APIs, but where do we go from there?

Leftovers
  • This Indian Judge Is Making Google and Amazon Nervous

    Currently, foreign companies and hundreds of home-grown startups collect, aggregate, store and process Indian user data unhindered. The Google-backed delivery app Dunzo, for instance, requires access to a customer’s contact list, location, messages, media files and call information at the time of installation. Such information is gathered “only to improve the user’s experience of initiating/running a task on the Dunzo App,” the startup said in an email.

    Srikrishna’s framework would rein in such practices. It will detail what is fair use, whether technology giants can transfer data across the border, and how to enforce accountability and penalties for violations. It will also establish whether users can access and control their own data, like with the EU’s GDPR.

  • Yahoo Messenger joins the instant messenger boneyard next month

    Yahoo Messenger was one of the first, and retrospectively, worst of the instant messaging apps and now, after 20 years, it has less just a month to live, with Oath announcing that the service will shut down on 17 July.

  • Hardware
    • Apple and Qualcomm’s Multibillion-Dollar Legal Dispute Gets Serious

      Apple may be on the hook for $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion in unpaid fees, based on estimates for the amount per phone the company may be charged, a total that could be equivalent to about one-fifth of Qualcomm’s annual revenue. The iPhone maker has argued that Qualcomm uses its ownership of patents that cover the basics of how modern smartphones communicate to extract unfairly high payments and coerce it into buying chips. The chipmaker has countered that Apple is stealing its property by refusing to hand over fees for technology that the rest of the industry values and pays for.

  • Security
    • Open Source Security hit with bill for defamation claim

      Open Source Security, maker of the grsecurity Linux kernel patches, has been directed to pay Bruce Perens and his legal team almost $260,000 following a failed defamation claim.

      The security biz, and its president Brad Spengler, sued Perens last year over a blog post, alleging defamation.

      Perens, one of the early leaders in the open source movement, said it was his opinion that Grsecurity’s policy limiting the redistribution of its software would expose customers to claims of contributory infringement and breach of contract under the terms of the GPLv2.

      Open Source Security and Spengler challenged that claim, saying it was libelous and harmed the company’s business.

      Last December, San Francisco magistrate judge Laurel Beeler disagreed, ruling that Perens’s statement was an opinion and not libelous.

    • Untangle Updates NG Firewall to Improve SD-WAN Security

      Untangle will announce version 14.0 of its NG Firewall platform on June 12, providing new features that enhance the security capabilities of the Linux-based platform.

      Untangle NG Firewall 14.0 benefits from enhanced support for securing software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology for small and medium-sized organizations. The new release also includes the latest network security and malware definition updates for the firewall platform.

      “Our version releases deal with core features and functionality of the firewall,” Untangle founder and Chief Product Officer Dirk Morris told eWEEK. “We constantly release updates to malware signatures, app and website classification, etc.”

    • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

      Canonical released new kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases to address several security vulnerabilities discovered by various security researchers in the upstream Linux kernel.

      The new kernel updates are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series and address a total of nine security vulnerabilities affecting the kernels for 64-bit, 32-bit, Raspberry Pi 2, AWS, and GCP systems, as well as cloud environments.

    • DragonFlyBSD Gets Better Hardened Against CPU Speculative Execution Bugs

      While the DragonFlyBSD kernel has already landed its mitigation for Spectre V1/V2 and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities, a fresh round of CPU bug hardening work was just merged into their kernel.

      This latest CPU bug hardening primarily revolves around a rumor that the contents of floating poiunt registers owned by another process could be speculatively detected when they are present for the running process. Intel hasn’t communicated clarly over this FP register speculation, so OpenBSD already decided to rework some of their code as a safeguard and now DragonFlyBSD has too.

    • Apple Officially Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Apps For MacOS And iOS
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #163
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Can You Control Specific Permissions on Android?

      As a basic privacy concern, what permissions your phone’s apps have is a pretty important one. More recent versions of Android (6.x and up) let you control what your apps can access.

    • Why you need centralized logging and event log management
  • Defence/Aggression
    • US Public Being Misled on Trump-Kim Summit

      For weeks, the corporate media have been saying that the Trump-Kim summit could have only two possible results: Either Trump will walk away angrily or Kim Jong Un will trick him into a deal in which he extracts concessions from Trump but never commits to complete denuclearization.

      The idea that North Korea could not possibly agree to give up its nuclear weapons or its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) has become an article of faith among the journalists covering the issue for big media. Two themes that have appeared again and again in their coverage are that the wily North Koreans are “playing” Trump and that previous administrations had also been taken by North Korea after signing agreements in good faith.

      But the media have gotten it all wrong. They have assumed that North Korea cannot live without nuclear weapons—without making any effort to understand North Korea’s strategy in regard to nuclear weapons.They have invariably quoted “experts” who haven’t followed North Korean thinking closely but who express the requisite hostility toward the summit and negotiating an agreement with the Kim regime.

    • Britain’s Brave New World Just Got Braver

      British Home Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled a new counter-terrorism initiative last week that he says targets an ever-metastasizing threat, yet it raises a raft of new questions about people’s rights.

      The government is acting on the imperative that something needs to be done. But MI5 – officially known as Britain’s domestic Security Service and the lead organization combating terrorism within the UK – has already, since the start of the “war on terror,” doubled in size and has been promised yet more staff over the next two years.

      Yet despite these boosted resources for MI5, as well as increased funding and surveillance powers for the entire UK intelligence community, virtually every terror attack carried out in the UK over the last few years has been committed by someone already known to the authorities. Indeed, the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, had been aggressively investigated but MI5 ignored vital intelligence and closed down the active investigation shortly before he carried out the attack.

    • Ex-CIA official: Seeing the U.S. flag used as backdrop for Kim is ‘disgusting’

      Former CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash slammed the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday, saying it was disgusting to see the U.S. flag alongside that from the “despotic regime” of Pyongyang.

      “A summit is not an accomplishment for the American president,” Bash told MSNBC’s Brian Williams.

    • Trump-Kim Summit Raises Cautious Hopes for Peace

      In time it will become evident whether the joint statement signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung-un on Tuesday will lead to a formal end to the Korean War, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and an end what the North sees as U.S. provocations against Pyongyang.

      On the morning after, we are only left with the atmospherics and images from the historic meeting between Kim and Trump in Singapore. The two leaders—who just months ago were hurling insults at each other, with Kim calling Trump “dotard,” and Trump calling Kim “Little Rocket Man,”— left Singapore and the details of the negotiation to their administrations.

    • Murky U.S. drone-strike policy threatens to backfire as other nations acquire technology

      On the surface, it may sound inconceivable: a foreign nation dispatching an armed drone to assassinate a fugitive or a political dissident on American soil.

      But such a scenario may not be as far-fetched as it seems, analysts and legal scholars say.

      The rapid proliferation of military drone technology is reaching the point that other nations — and even non-state actors such as Mexican drug cartels — could engage in the kinds of deadly strikes that the U.S. pioneered more than a decade ago and has increased under presidents of both political parties.

      “It’s not outside the realm of possibility that someone flies a drone across the border from Mexico and takes someone out,” said Rachel Stohl, managing director at the Stimson Center, a leading Washington think tank.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Isn’t it time Australia brought Julian Assange home?

      The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is described as ‘a body of independent human rights experts that investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention.’ It was established by resolution 1991/42 of the former Commission on Human Rights.

      What does all this mean? Over two years have passed without any further comment about the WGAD’s findings by the Turnbull Government. Now, the Government is paying lip service to the existence and role of the WGAD – as it must as a conscientious member of the United Nations – but refusing publicly to accept or even acknowledge its findings in relation to Mr Assange’s detention, let alone in any way trying to address them.

      Given our Government’s demonstrated capacity, when it puts its mind to it, to effect the early release of Australian citizens from curial processes and prisons in other countries – and given that the foundational proceedings against Assange by Sweden have now evaporated – it surely has an obligation to act on the findings of the WGAD and negotiate the safe repatriation of Mr Assange from England back to Australia.

    • We need to bring Julian Assange home. Not for him, but for us.

      Well, I’ll be damned, it’s about time.

      According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, officials from Australia’s High Commission have just been spotted leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, accompanied by Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Robinson confirmed that a meeting had taken place, but declined to say what it was about “given the delicate diplomatic situation.”

      So, forgive me if I squee a bit. I am aware how subservient Australia has historically been to US interests, I am aware that those US interests entail the arrest of Assange and the destruction of WikiLeaks, and I am aware that things don’t often work out against the interests of the US. But there is a glimmer of hope now, coming from a direction we’ve never seen before. A certain southerly direction.

      If the Australian government stepped in to protect one of its own journalists from being persecuted by the powerful empire that has dragged us into war after war, well, as an Australian it makes me tear up just thinking about it. It has been absolutely humiliating watching my beloved country being degraded and exploited by the sociopathic agendas of America’s ruling elites, up to and including the imprisonment and isolation of one of our own, all because he helped share authentic, truthful documents exposing the depraved behaviours of those same ruling elites. I have had very few reasons to feel anything remotely resembling patriotism lately.

    • Tanzania’s repressive online laws have forced the “Swahili Wikileaks” to close

      One of Tanzania’s top homegrown online platforms has temporarily shut down days before the implementation of sweeping regulations that would give officials unfettered powers to police the web.

      Jamii Forums announced it was forced to comply with a government notice that it apply for an online license or cease operation ahead of the June 15 deadline. As part of the new restrictions, the government must certify all bloggers and charge an annual license fee of over $900. Those defying the new orders face fines starting at five million Tanzanian shillings ($2,200) or a year in prison.

      Users could not create posts, comment on threads, or check inbox messages and alerts on Jamii as of this afternoon (June 11). “We are saddened that we are forced to take this sudden action, but we hope that as our users you will be patient during this period,” the management said in a statement (in Swahili).

    • Why June 11 is a huge day for the Q Anon conspiracy

      The biggest event that was scheduled to take place on June 11 was the release of the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on how the FBI conducted the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, and in particular, director James Comey’s conduct during the final days before the election.

    • Australian government has obligation to protect Julian Assange

      Demonstrations and vigils are about to take place throughout the world in support of Julian Assange, demanding his freedom and safe return to Australia.

      Assange is being persecuted and his human rights abridged by four governments: the US, Australian, British and Ecuadorian.

      Both international and Australian law provide a firm foundation necessitating that the Australian government act to protect Assange as an Australian citizen. Instead, his human rights are being denied and he faces unacceptable conditions and hardship, in circumstances where he has committed no crime.

    • Demands grow that Australian government act to free Julian Assange

      Last Sunday, Australia’s Channel 7 network broadcast an interview with Jennifer Robinson, an Australian-born, London-based lawyer who represents WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. She issued a clear demand for the Australian government to carry out its responsibility to secure his freedom, as an Australian citizen.

      The interview and 10-minute segment on the nationally-televised “Sunrise” morning program was a significant break in the general silence within the Australian corporate media on the more than seven-year detention of Assange. It came amid a renewed international campaign to fight for the unconditional freedom of the courageous journalist, who has continued to expose the war crimes, regime-change operations and mass surveillance conducted by the US and its allies around the world.

      One of the central demands of this campaign, initiated by the World Socialist Web Site, is that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government act immediately to secure Assange’s freedom and his right to return to Australia, with guaranteed protection from any US request for his extradition on conspiracy and espionage charges. These charges can carry the death penalty.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
  • Finance
    • SEC commissioner calls for updating stock buyback rules

      Jackson said that corporate executives often receive stock-based pay as an incentive to create value for the companies they run, but that this only works if executives are required hold the stock for a long period of time. Frequently, executives aren’t holding their shares for the long run.

    • Amazon Echo factory workers were being paid ‘less than half’ living wage

      Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos has an estimated net worth of £83bn and is spending millions on building a 10,000-year clock into a cliff face. Affected workers were paid £233 per month, less than half the Chinese Living Wage.

    • Workers not paid legally by Amazon contractor in China

      The investigation produced payslip evidence to show that workers can work up to 80 hours of overtime in a month, rather than the 36 hours normally permitted by law. However, companies can and do secure exemptions. Workers at the factory also have to ask for permission from supervisors to go to the toilet.

    • Millionaire Brexiteer Arron Banks briefed CIA agents on his contacts with Russian ambassador

      Millionaire Brexiteer Arron Banks is set to claim that he briefed CIA agents in London on his contacts with a Russian ambassador, according to a new report.

      The 52-year-old had three meetings with Alexander Yakovenko, despite previously claiming to have had only a ‘boozy lunch’ with him.

      The insurance tycoon – who bankrolled Leave.EUs campaign – made a trip to Russia in February 2016 – shortly before the Brexit referendum.

      Former Ukip donor Mr Banks is also said to have given Russian officials telephone numbers for members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team, just days after he and Mr Farage visited Trump Tower in the wake of the shock US election result.

    • U.S. Venture Funding on Pace for Another Record-Breaking Year

      With respect to the first quarter, the report indicates that venture capitalists invested $28.2 billion in 1,683 deals, which marked the fourth consecutive quarter of more than $20 billion deployed to venture-backed companies (charts from Pitchbook NVCA Venture Monitor report for 1Q 2018; click to enlarge charts).

    • Xiaomi to Consider Seeking $5 Billion From Sale of CDRs, Sources Say

      The company may seek about $5 billion from the sale of Chinese depositary receipts and a similar amount from selling shares in Hong Kong, the people said, asking to not be identified as the details are private. The split will depend on demand in the two markets and may still change before the IPO, they said. The company is also targeting a valuation of about $75 billion although that number could also change, the people said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • How Chinese students exercise free speech abroad

      While all of this has been happening, I have been in the midst of a multi-year study of Chinese university students’ social experience while studying in Australia. My participants have been perplexed and angered by the accusations levelled against them. Most find the claims strange, unfair, and implausible. Most confusing is the charge that by voicing their political opinions in the classroom, Chinese students are undermining the free speech of others. “Isn’t expressing our own opinions an instance of free speech, rather than an attack on it?” asked one student.

    • More Bad Facts Making More Bad Law, This Time In Wisconsin

      A few weeks ago we, and others, filed an amicus brief in support of Airbnb and Homeaway at the Ninth Circuit. The basic point we made there is that Section 230 applies to all sorts of platforms hosting all sorts of user expression, including transactional content offering to rent or sell something, and local jurisdictions don’t get to try to impose liability on them anyway just because they don’t like the effects of those transactions. It’s a point that is often forgotten in Section 230 litigation, and so last week the Copia Institute, joined by EFF, filed an amicus brief at the Wisconsin Supreme Court reminding them of the statute’s broad application and why that breadth so important for the preservation of online free speech.

      The problem is that in Daniels v. Armslist, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals had ignored twenty-plus years of prior precedent affirming this principle in deciding otherwise. We therefore filed this brief to support Armslist in urging the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals decision.

    • Paper review: YouTube ‘censorship,’ church row over gay members

      We know it’s coming into the summer months in Northern Ireland when the front pages are dominated with bonfires and bands.

      There’s a row over the removal of YouTube videos of loyalist bands parades, the News Letter reports.

      The paper claims that thousands of videos were taken down by the site in what’s been described as “unwarranted censorship on British culture”.

      It reports that about 10 accounts were affected.

    • John Oliver has a fiendish plan to get around Britain’s censorship of his satirical use of Parliament footage

      the speaker of Britain’s House of Commons delivering put-downs, but nobody in Britain saw it, John Oliver said on Sunday’s show. “And not for the normal reasons of disinterest, ignorance about this show’s existence, or longstanding aversion to my name and face.” At the designated spot in the U.K., he said, the show “just cut to black — like I’d just been murdered on The Sopranos. And the reason for that is, in the U.K., it is, unbelievably, against the law to use footage from the House of Commons for the purpose of comedy. It’s true!”

    • How a Turkish political party used Google AdWords to defy censorship

      A Turkish political party used Google ads to outwit a media blackout put in place by the country’s ruling party. The small ad campaign went viral on social media and got the newly founded Good Party coverage from Euronews, Sputnik and AFP, besides various Turkish outlets.

      Led by country’s former interior minister Meral Akşener, the party was largely ignored by the Turkey’s mainstream media because, some commentators argue, it poses a challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule.

      The party used AdWords, Google’s advertising spots above search results, with playful social commentary on human rights issues just a few weeks before the Turkish general elections.

    • “The Message” passes censorship in Saudi Arabia ahead of region-wide theatrical release for Eid al-Fitr

      The Oscar-nominated film from Producer/Director Moustapha Akkad chronicles the life and times of Prophet Muhammad and serves as an introduction to early Islamic history.

      After a successful DIFF premiere in December 2017, Malek Akkad of Trancas International and Front Row Filmed Entertainment’s Managing Director, Gianluca Chakra spearheaded a reportedly difficult campaign to secure a wide theatrical release across the entire region. Chakra and Akkad pressed the issue to censor boards in the GCC, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Lebanon and Ethiopia with only Kuwait banning the film. However, in light of the approval from Saudi Arabia the film has been resubmitted in Kuwait in the hope the initial decision will be revoked.

    • Censorship authority withdraws screening permit for upcoming Egyptian film Karma

      Egypt’s censorship authority has withdrawn the screening permit of upcoming Egyptian film Karma, a day before its preview screening and days before its release during Eid Al-Fitr.

      The announcement was shared in a post by MP Haitham El-Hariri on his official Facebook page.

      The film was directed by Khaled Youssef, and stars Amr Saad, Khaled El-Sawy, Ghada Abdelrazek, and Maged El-Masry.

      According to a synopsis on elcinema.com, the film tells the story of a young Muslim who falls in love with a Christian, who wed despite their families’ disapproval. Concurrently the film explores the narrative of a businessman entangled in corruption, with two stories intersecting to explore social relationships between members of different religions.

    • Dozens of layoffs at university given ‘Lifetime Censorship Award’ as enrollment plunges

      Earlier this year DePaul University was given the first-ever “Lifetime Censorship Award” by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for its long, inglorious history of punishing and suppressing mostly conservative speech.

      [...]

      The 62 full- and part-time staff members are mostly in administrative support roles, and they represent 3.5 percent of non-faculty workers. The statement didn’t specify exact positions. The school avoided the ire of its faculty by sparing them any layoffs.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The Administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel Keeps Monitoring Protesters

      Even before thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Chicago to speak out against President Donald Trump’s inauguration last year, city police were watching.

      Recently released police and city records show that officers combed through social media posts and opened a formal information-gathering investigation into the protesters.

      Then, throughout that day — Jan. 20, 2017 — police and top aides to Mayor Rahm Emanuel closely tracked the movements of protesters, from when they boarded trains and buses in their neighborhoods and continuing through hours of rallies and marches in the Loop.

      It was another example of how the Emanuel administration routinely tracks protesters and activist groups, according to records I’ve acquired over the last several years through the Freedom of Information Act.

    • EU Explores Making GDPR Apply To EU Government Bodies… But With Much Lower Fines

      We recently wrote how various parts of the EU governing bodies were in violation of the GDPR, to which they noted that the GDPR doesn’t actually apply to them for “legal reasons.” In most of the articles about this, however, EU officials were quick to explain that there would be new similar regulations that did apply to EU governing bodies. Jason Smith at the site Indivigital, who kicked off much of this discussion by discovering loads of personal info on people hosted on EU servers, has a new post up looking at the proposals to apply GDPR-like regulations on the EU governing bodies itself.

      There are two interesting points here. First, when this was initially proposed last year, the plan was to have it come into effect on the very same day as the GDPR went into effect: May 25, 2018, and that it was “essential” that the public understand that the EU itself was complying with the same rules as everyone else.

    • Security Fever: NSA Releases Cold-War Era Internal Educational Posters
    • The ENCRYPT Act Protects Encryption from U.S. State Prying

      It’s not just the Department of Justice and the FBI that want to undermine your right to private communications and secure devices—some state lawmakers want to weaken encryption, too. In recent years, a couple of state legislatures introduced bills to restrict or outright ban encryption on smartphones and other devices. Fortunately, several Congress members recently introduced their own bill to stop this dangerous trend before it goes any further.

      The bill is called the ENCRYPT Act. EFF gladly supports it and thanks Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Mike Bishop (R-MI), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) for sponsoring and co-sponsoring the bill.

      Encryption—the technology used to secure data on phones and computers and keep digital messages safe from eavesdroppers—is under threat around the world. In the U.S., some of those threats have come from the Department of Justice and FBI, which want technology companies to purposefully and irresponsibly weaken encryption so that law enforcement can more easily get their hands on the contents of encrypted data and messages.

      But the threats have come from individual U.S. states, too.

    • Facebook Has A Consent Problem—And The Solution Starts With Transparency

      Last week, the New York Times and others reported that Facebook allowed hardware companies, including some in China, access to a broad range of Facebook users’ information, possibly without the users’ knowledge or consent. This included not only a given user’s personal information, but also that of their Facebook friends and friends-of-friends.

      Right now, it’s unclear precisely how much Facebook user data was shared through partnerships with third-party hardware manufacturers—but it is clear that Facebook has a consent problem. And the first step toward solving that problem is greater transparency about the full extent of Facebook’s data-sharing practices.

      It might be tempting to think that the solution is for Facebook to cut off third-party hardware manufacturers and app developers entirely, but that would be a mistake. The solution to this latest issue is not to lock away user information. If we choose that as our aim, we risk enshrining Facebook as the sole guardian of its users’ data and leaving users with even less power to use third-party tools that they do trust to explore the data held by Facebook and hold the company accountable.

      The solution to this latest issue is not to lock away user information from third parties entirely.

      Instead, the problem is Facebook’s opacity about its data sharing practices. Facebook should have made available a list of all the third parties that might have had access to users’ data even after those users made clear they did not want their data shared. Facebook said that its agreements with device partners “strictly limited use of [user] data, including any stored on partners’ servers,” but more transparency is necessary if Facebook is to gain users’ informed consent and fulfill their right to know who has their personal data.

    • Facebook only pretended to shut down access to friends’ data in 2015, quietly continued access for its favored partners

      Even as it was publicly announcing that it had killed the friends’ data feature, it was creating “whitelists” with favored companies that granted them continued access, giving them a competitive advantage over the developers that Facebook had just bait-and-switched.

    • Facebook gave some developers access to users’ friends after policy changed

      Facebook granted a select group of companies special access to its users’ records even after the point in 2015 that the company has claimed it stopped sharing such data with app developers.

    • Facebook releases 500 pages of damage control in response to Senators’ questions

      When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress in April, the CEO faced a public grilling from lawmakers — and left them with several lingering questions. Now, Facebook has followed up with 500 of pages of answers to written questions from two Senate committees, although some of the responses may be cause for even more digging.

    • Facebook gives 500 pages of answers to lawmakers’ data privacy questions
    • Facebook faces new data firestorm

      The latest controversy touched off when The New York Times reported earlier this month that Facebook had been sharing more data with phone companies than it had previously disclosed. The uproar intensified when Facebook revealed that Huawei was among the companies that had partnerships for access to user information.

    • UK security minister proposes “Digital IDs” to enforce online civility

      Real-name policies have proved to be a boon to authoritarian rulers; in Cambodia, dictator Hun Sen has embraced Facebook, creating a direct pipeline to Facebook’s real-name compliance team that his government uses to force critics to reveal their real identities (exposing them to arrest and torture), or leave the platform.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Police Chief Sends Officers Out To Arrest Man For Calling The Chief A ‘Dirty’ Cop

      If any state still has a criminal defamation law on the books (and there are more than you would think), it needs to get rid of it posthaste. Besides the obvious Constitutional implications, the laws act as lèse-majesté analogs wielded by powerful government officials to silence their critics.

      Criminal defamation laws have been abused multiple times by law enforcement officers and their public official friends. Louisiana public officials (and the law enforcement that willingly serves them) seem especially fond of deploying a law already declared unconstitutional to harass citizens who just won’t stop complaining about the actions of their public officials.

    • Australian Cops Say Their Unreliable Drug Dogs Will Decide Who Gets To Attend Music Festivals

      So, there’s an 80% chance festival goers who get booted by a dog won’t have any drugs on them, or near them, or only in residue form. And the determination can’t be challenged by showing officers you’re not carrying any drugs. If a dog says you’re not allowed to enjoy the music festival, despite having shelled out at least $128, the dog’s call is final.

      This is a very police state-ish thing to do. It allows police to arbitrarily boot people from venues, depriving them of both their freedom and their money. And it’s a coward’s way out. Rather than put their own reputations on the line, NSW police are simply going to shrug people express their anger at being kicked out of a concert for drugs they don’t have and say a dog told them to do it.

    • Women at Microsoft Confront Its Worker-Friendly Image

      A federal judge in Seattle will hear arguments Monday on whether the women can band together as a group of more than 8,630 high-level technical specialists to pursue their bias suit. Class-action status is considered crucial to the success of the lawsuit, allowing the women to pool resources and giving them leverage to force a settlement.

    • CIA whistleblower: ”No regrets. I would do it all again”

      Three years after he was released from prison, former CIA officer John Kiriakou again denounces the torture programme as illegal and unethical which he had exposed back in 2007. Kiriakou explains why he feels no regrets about his decision to blow the whistle, although it came at a high price for him as for NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake: he would do it all over again.

      Kiriakou recollects the CIA’s new director, Gina Haspel, overseeing torture sessions in a secret prison overseas. ‘‘When the programme was finally exposed, Haspel personally ordered to destroy videotapes of CIA torture’’, Kiriakou says.

      On Donald Trump, Kiriakou believes his personal instability to be dangerous. ‘‘There is an anti-Russian hysteria in Washington, it’s unlike anything I have seen before in my life. That’s why I fear for the country’’, Kiriakou states.

      John Kiriakou describes three major techniques that the CIA used: waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and ”cold cell”, which led to the death of two prisoners. He believes that ‘‘those techniques were crimes against humanity’’.

    • Why Trump’s Next Pardon Should Be CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou

      President Donald Trump should pardon John Kirakou as soon as possible. He should do so to reverse former president Barack Obama’s worst injustice: putting a man in prison for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation techniques, now widely considered to be torture and banned by Obama himself.

    • CIA’s Haspel tied to torture

      A retired air force officer recently argued that new CIA chief Gina Haspel acted “legally” with her prisoner interrogation techniques and that no one should question their morality.

      The United States is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which requires us to abstain from torture and prosecute those who do it.

      Yes, waterboarding has been defined as torture for centuries. But the Bush administration did far more than waterboarding, with hundreds of prisoners dying in our custody. In his book “Our Endangered Values,” former President Jimmy Carter told about an Iraqi general voluntarily turning himself in to the United States in an attempt to locate his sons. He was tortured, stuffed in a bag and died from trauma and suffocation.

    • What the CIA Could Learn From the U.K. Government Apology Over a Libyan Rendition Case

      Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar were my clients. Belhaj led a Libyan Islamist group that sought to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi; Boudchar, a Moroccan citizen, is his wife. The CIA abducted them in 2004 with the help of Libya and the United Kingdom. CIA officers roughed them up at a “black site” in Thailand—a year and a half after Gina Haspel, recently confirmed as director of the CIA, had reportedly shut down the Thai site code-named “Cat’s Eye”—and shipped the couple to Gadhafi’s Libya. At the time, Boudchar was heavily pregnant.

      Not every CIA officer will have heard of this case, brought in U.K. courts as Belhaj v. Straw. But every officer in MI6, one of the CIA’s closest partners, certainly has. MI6’s second in command at the time came within a whisker of being prosecuted for his role in the operation. The case caused a rift between Britain’s foreign intelligence service and its domestic intelligence agency. Internal documents that were later published show that MI5 frankly assessed that the operation was self-defeating: It turned a national revolutionary movement against the West. And after years of litigation Prime Minister Theresa May apologized to the couple last month.

    • Janine Brookner: The CIA spy turned lawyer exposing the sexual harassment taking place behind government walls

      Janine Brookner was utterly unlike anyone Carl Nett had ever worked with before. As a Secret Service officer and a contractor for the CIA and the Pentagon, he had travelled across the United States and around the world protecting presidents, first ladies and political candidates, and had seen war and its aftermath in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Now, standing before him was a polite older woman, just over 5 feet tall, greeting him in the doorway of her townhouse in Washington, surrounded by her tiny yapping dogs.

      “I remember thinking, ‘She was in the CIA?’” he says. “Not as an insult – it takes all types – but I was coming off a war zone surrounded by bearded guys with tattoos and rifles. It took me a while to digest it: she’s going to help me take on the agency?”

      [...]

      Back in Washington, Nett pursued a complaint against the CIA that dragged on for four years. Then he hired Brookner. Suddenly, he says, “there was a recognition that I was someone who wasn’t going away, who wouldn’t be intimidated”. Brookner settled the case in 2015, after numerous standoffs with agency lawyers. “When they came back with their final offer, Janine just smirked and said, ‘I doubt that,’” Nett recalls. “We countered their ‘final offer’ and settled for more.” He attributes his victory to having had Brookner at his side, protecting his reputation and his future career.

    • ICE’s Military-Style Raid Leaves Immigrant Communities Terrorized

      At 7 a.m. on June 5, a man walked into Corso’s Garden Center in Sandusky, Ohio. He carried with him a stack of donut boxes and announced a spur of the moment company meeting. Employees of the garden center were gathering when, suddenly, the man began shouting orders. Heavily armed agents in military fatigues stormed in with canine units. Outside, 100 armed agents formed a perimeter, and overhead, helicopters circled to ensure that no one could escape.

      The horrible truth had become apparent. This man, who had just offered them free donuts, was not a company representative. He was an ICE agent, and the workers were trapped. People were crying and panicking. One woman fainted.

      ICE agents moved through the crowd, zip-tying the farm workers’ hands behind their backs without bothering to distinguish between U.S. citizens and those without documentation. Ultimately, 114 employees were loaded onto buses and taken to a Border Patrol station in Port Clinton. From there, the men and women were separated, with most sent to detention centers in Youngstown, Ohio, and Battle Creek, Michigan, respectively.

      I was told the details of this horrible day by people who had witnessed it themselves. I am the executive director of HOLA Ohio, a grassroots Latino organization that has been advocating for immigrants’ rights for over two decades. As soon as news broke of the raid, my colleagues and I got in the car and drove several hours to the trailer park in Norwalk, Ohio, where many of Corso’s employees live. By the time we arrived, it was essentially a ghost town. Rumors had spread that the trailer park was ICE’s next stop and most residents had fled, many leaving behind their cars and all of their possessions.

    • Killer robots will only exist if we are stupid enough to let them

      “The danger is clearly not that robots will decide to put us away and have a robot revolution,” he said. “If there [are] killer robots, it will be because we’ve been stupid enough to give it the instructions or software for it to do that without having a human in the loop deciding.”

    • Haunted by a mugshot: how predatory websites exploit the shame of arrest

      Mugshots are often the first thing to appear when someone is Googled, even if innocent, and have serious consequences on work, housing and relationships.

      [...]

      At a federal level, mugshots are not considered public records; they are deemed to be an unwarranted invasion of privacy. But since the early 2000s, local law enforcement agencies in every state – with the exception of Georgia –have shared digital booking photos on their websites as a public notification service.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Oddly The Trump FCC Doesn’t Much Want To Talk About Why It Made Up A DDOS Attack

      We’ve discussed for a while how the FCC appears to have completely made up a DDOS attack in a bizarre effort to downplay the “John Oliver effect.” You’ll recall that both times the HBO Comedian did a bit on net neutrality (here’s the first and the second), the resulting consumer outrage crashed the FCC website. And while the FCC tried to repeatedly conflate genuine consumer outrage with a malicious attack, they just as routinely failed to provide any hard evidence supporting their allegations, resulting in growing skepticism over whether the FCC was telling the truth.

      Last week, e-mails obtained via FOIA request revealed that yes, FCC staffers routinely misled journalists in order to prop up this flimsy narrative, apparently in the belief they could conflate consumer outrage with criminal activity. The motive? It was likely for the same reason the FCC refused to do anything about the identity theft and bogus comments we witnessed during the repeal’s open comment period: they wanted to try and downplay the massive, bipartisan public opposition to what the lion’s share of Americans thought was an idiotic, corruption-fueled repeal of popular consumer protections.

      Understandably with so much going on, the story floated semi-quietly under the cacophony of other national outrages. But the FCC’s response to the story has proven to be somewhat comical all the same.

    • Symone D. Sanders Thinks the End of Net Neutrality Is a Threat to Activists and Candidates

      For me, net neutrality is all about the ability to organize. It’s about freedom. There are so many movements that we would not have without the Internet. Ending net neutrality means ending the ability for people to freely organize and create and build intersectional coalitions where they’ve never met the people that they’re organizing with.

    • Net neutrality rules officially repealed in US
    • What the net neutrality repeal means

      The rollback can affect consumers, but start-ups fear that this could affect them too. Massive companies like Facebook, Google and Netflix can afford to pay for deals with internet service providers to ensure fast access to their data. Newer startups might not have the cash to do this, which their lobbying groups like Engine and the National Venture Capitalist Association have warned about.

    • It’s official! No more neutral internet

      “It can hurt your small businesses. It can hurt your grassroots organizations,” Miller said. She warns of internet providers restricting access to websites containing content the company doesn’t agree with.

    • The end of net neutrality: The US ruling elite escalates campaign of internet censorship

      Net neutrality, the doctrine that internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all communications as equal, officially ended on Monday. The move is a major milestone in the attack on a free and open internet and on freedom of expression in the United States.

      Since the birth of the public internet, ISPs operated as so-called “common carriers” and were effectively regulated as public utilities, similar to bus companies or package delivery services. They were, by law, prohibited from discriminating against their users or websites by blocking, tampering with, or slowing down internet traffic.

    • What’s Going On With Net Neutrality? Its End Date Is Finally Here

      Monday marked the official repeal of net neutrality rules, which were initially passed by the Obama administration in 2015 to ensure everyone had equal access to any and all content on the internet. But now, internet service providers are no longer required to provide their users with that equal access, a move that has angered advocates of an open internet.

      The original legislation treated internet access as if it were a utility, like phone service or electricity, and required that internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T treat all internet content and data equally. This meant, previously, your internet provider couldn’t charge you more for using some sites than others, couldn’t slow down your internet speed on certain sites, and couldn’t block sites they don’t like.

    • US Has Finally Repealed Net Neutrality – What Could Happen Next?

      The net neutrality protection laws established under the Obama administration have now come to an end in the US. This move could bring significant changes although it will largely depend on where you live and what your internet service provider chooses to do with the given carte blanche.

    • Monday marks ends of net neutrality rules

      States have also started to create their own net neutrality rules. However, the FCC included a measure in its repeal order that blocks states from creating their own rules, laying the groundwork for legal battles over the open [I]nternet laws.

    • What to Watch for in an Internet Without Net Neutrality (And How To Stop It)

      On Monday, June 11, the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality rules goes into effect, but don’t expect the Internet to change overnight.

      We still have promising avenues to restore net neutrality rules, meaning that Internet Service Providers need to be careful how much ammunition they give us in that political fight. If they’re overt about discrimination or gouging customers they increase the chance that we’ll succeed and restore binding net neutrality rules.

      Much like the ten years before the Open Internet Order in 2015, ISPs are still disciplined by the threat of regulation if they generate too many examples of abuse.

      What will happen, though, and what we have already seen under the Trump FCC, is that ISPs play games at the margins. Both landline and mobile ISPs with data caps have already been pushing customers to particular services and media with zero-rating and throttling. And they’ve been pushing hard to stick us all in slow lanes unless the sites we visit pay protection money — Verizon even told federal judges it would do this if there were no net neutrality rules.

    • Net Neutrality Rules Die Today, But The Backlash Is Just Getting Started

      If you’ve spent any time reading Techdirt, we probably don’t need to repeat why none of this is actually true. The entire piece is a “greatest hits” of Pai’s misleading claims to date, including his insistence that the FTC will be better able to police ISP abuses (false), small ISPs were unfairly burdened by the rules (the FCC’s own data disputes this), gutting net neutrality somehow will force ISPs to be more transparent (false), and that the repeal will result in faster and cheaper broadband service (complete nonsense).

      Moving forward, the ISP lobbyist narrative du jour is going to shift to claims that because the internet didn’t immediately grind to a halt after June 11, that the repeal must have been a wonderful idea. That was already something Pai and friends were claiming weeks ago despite the fact the rules hadn’t even been repealed yet. And it’s a claim you’re going to see repeated ad nauseum over the weeks and months to come by the telecom industry’s vast army of hired academics, think tankers, consultants, and other policy mouthpieces.

      But despite the cocksure behavior by Pai and pals, the repeal remains on pretty shaky footing. ISPs know that, which is why they will likely try to be on their best behavior for the foreseeable future to avoid adding any fuel to the fire. After all, the repeal was based almost entirely on bogus data, was plagued with an endless array of scandals (from the FCC making up DDOS attacks to dead people’s names being hijacked to support the repeal), and the overwhelming public opposition to it makes the SOPA/PIPA backlash look like a toddler tantrum.

      As such, the looming lawsuits against the FCC have a fairly decent chance of success. Those suits will likely focus on the fact that under the Administrative Procedures Act, the FCC can’t just arbitrarily reverse policy without highlighting that the market changed dramatically enough to warrant it (which is why you’ll often see the FCC falsely claiming that net neutrality devastated sector investment). With any luck, this could result in a judge overturning the repeal for being “arbitrary and capricious” (never were those words more true than here).

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • China’s Supreme People’s Court consults on evidence admissibility in patent validity proceedings

      We spoke to lawyers in China to ask what the guidelines mean for patent litigation, especially in chemical/pharmaceutical cases

      The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) is consulting on a draft judicial interpretation on evidence admissibility in patent validity proceedings.

    • From Trade War to Class War: Screw Pfizer’s Drug Patents

      Wars always have unpredictable outcomes. It is unlikely that George W. Bush anticipated that the Iraq war would destabilize the Middle East for two decades, and possibly quite a bit longer. World War I resulted in the collapse of four European empires and emergence of the Soviet Union as a world power.

      In this vein, we can hope that something positive may emerge from Donald Trump’s ill-conceived trade war. Specifically, it may lead the United States and the world to re-examine the system of patent and copyright monopolies that we have been expanding and extending for the last four decades.

    • Measuring Patent Thickets

      Those interested in the patent system have long complained of patent thickets as a barrier to efficient production of new products and services. The more patents in an area, the argument goes, the harder it is to enter. There are several studies that attempt to measure the effect of patent thickets, with some studies arguing that thickets can ease private ordering. I’d like to briefly point out another (new) one. Charles deGrazia (U. London, Royal Holloway College), Jesse Frumkin, Nicholas Pairolero (both of USPTO) have posted a new draft on SSRN, called Embracing Technological Similarity for the Measurement of Complexity and Patent Thickets.

      [...]

      This is an interesting study. The use of citations (versus technological class) will always be a limitation because not every patent in a thicket winds up being cited by others. However, the method used here (using forward and backward citations) is better than the alternative, which is using only blocking prior art.

    • Embracing Technological Similarity for the Measurement of Complexity and Patent Thickets

      However, when a product draws from intellectual property held across multiple firms (including fragmented intellectual property or patent thickets), contracting failures may lead to suboptimal economic outcomes (Shapiro 2000). Researchers have developed several measures to gauge the extent and impact of patent thickets. This paper contributes to that literature by proposing a new measure of patent thickets that incorporates patent claim similarity to more precisely identify technological similarity, which is shown to increase the information contained in the measurement of patent thickets. Further, the measure is universally computable for all patent systems. These advantages will enable more accurate measurement and allow for novel economic research on technological complexity, fragmentation in intellectual property, and patent thickets within and across all patent jurisdictions.

    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
      • 70+ Internet Luminaries Ring the Alarm on EU Copyright Filtering Proposal

        The prospects for the elimination of Article 13 have continued to worsen. Until late last month, there was the hope that that Member States (represented by the Council of the European Union) would find a compromise. Instead, their final negotiating mandate doubled down on it.

        The last hope for defeating the proposal now lies with the European Parliament. On June 20-21 the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee will vote on the proposal. If it votes against upload filtering, the fight can continue in the Parliament’s subsequent negotiations with the Council and the European Commission. If not, then automatic filtering of all uploaded content may become a mandatory requirement for all user content platforms that serve European users. Although this will pose little impediment to the largest platforms such as YouTube, which already uses its Content ID system to filter content, the law will create an expensive barrier to entry for smaller platforms and startups, which may choose to establish or move their operations overseas in order to avoid the European law.

        For those platforms that do establish upload filtering, users will find that their contributions—including video, audio, text, and even source code—will be monitored and potentially blocked if the automated system detects what it believes to be a copyright infringement. Inevitably, mistakes will happen. There is no way for an automated system to reliably determine when the use of a copyright work falls within a copyright limitation or exception under European law, such as quotation or parody.

      • Lithuanian translation of 4.0 available for use

        The Lithuanian translation of the 4.0 CC licenses and CC0 is now completed. Both the licenses and CC0 translation can be viewed on the Creative Commons website.

        The 4.0 translations are much anticipated by local heritage institutions as an online tool for evaluation of validity of rights and labelling content in the process of creation. The possibility to link the users directly to CC licenses and tools in Lithuanian is particularly welcome.

      • Set TV Suddenly Goes Offline But is the ACE Lawsuit to Blame?

        Set TV, an IPTV service being sued by several Hollywood studios, Amazon, and Netflix, went offline before the weekend with no explanation. Some linked the lawsuit to the service’s apparent disappearance but a message sent to TorrentFreak by Set TV suggests that the service is coming back. However, as time runs on and other news comes to the fore, further questions are being raised.

      • Rampant Kodi Malware? It’s Time to Either Put Up or Shut Up

        Over the past couple of years, copyright holders have continuously claimed that people using Kodi to access copyright-infringing content are being exposed to malware. This week, a security expert working with a Hollywood-affiliated group claimed that “embedded in the media itself are some malware variants.” With no evidence of that in public, is it now time to either put up or shut up?

      • Amazon Sues Pirate Streaming Boxes, but Sells ‘Piracy’ Tutorials?

        Amazon and other members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment have declared ‘war’ on pirate streaming devices and addons. While legal threats are issued left and right, the Amazon store is ironically still stocked up with books that explain to newcomers how to install some of the same addons Amazon is fighting.

Corrupt Benoît Battistelli Promotes Software Patents in IAM’s Patent Trolls-Funded Event in the United States

Tuesday 12th of June 2018 04:24:20 PM

Image created by EPO insiders (circulating in the Office this week)

Summary: With less than 3 weeks remaining for Battistelli’s term he engages in gross revisionism, lobbying, and even looting of the patent office

TOMORROW, as we have just noted, the EPO‘s “expert” (that’s what the EPO calls him) will promote software patents in Europe. But today is Battistelli’s turn. Battistelli already writes articles for IAM about software patents (he’s an author there) and gives keynotes speeches for IAM. This is extraordinary as in the USPTO software patents are on the way out and here comes Battistelli from Europe to promote them there (in the US), in an event funded by patent trolls. IAM will probably write about it shortly, rubbing Battistelli’s back like he rubs theirs.

“Battistelli already writes articles for IAM about software patents (he’s an author there) and gives keynotes speeches for IAM.”But here’s a bit of an unexpected thing: Johanne Bélisle (French-sounding name) has just been named in another country, Canada. The EPO is already retweeting it and it says: “Our CEO, Johanne Bélisle, and the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, signed two memorandums of understanding to help strengthen global collaboration.”

Just over an hour ago the EPO boosted this article (warning: epo.org link) with the following nugget of information:

The meeting was held on the side-lines of the 11th IPBC Global congress hosted by IAM Magazine, where the EPO President will deliver a keynote address on the topic “The patent system in the age of Artificial Intelligence”.

We’ve asked CIPO: “Why does EIPO brag about being seen with a hugely corrupt official who uses diplomatic immunity to avoid being held accountable for his countless abuses?”

“IAM will probably write about it shortly, rubbing Battistelli’s back like he rubs theirs.”It’s just like in his trip to Paris where last week he collected an award that is cynical to the extreme.

Earlier today the EPO wrote: “The European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) sitemap makes it easier to access and reference decisions of the EPO’s boards of appeal.”

So I asked them: “The EPO’s boards of appeal which Battistelli is illegally attacking to make them afraid of him?”

Well, they still complain about it and the scapegoat (judge) is losing everything.

“It’s not just an insult to workers’ intelligence but to Europe as a whole. Are we rewarding corrupt people for their corruption?”It’s almost as though Battistelli just tries to drive everyone crazy with ludicrous awards for his many abuses if not crimes. There’s another one of those coming soon. Battistelli will have his name stamped on an EPO building where his staff jumped out the building (same country).

It’s not just an insult to workers’ intelligence but to Europe as a whole. Are we rewarding corrupt people for their corruption?

EPO insiders aren’t happy. These people are trying to just keep cool and maintain their sanity for a few more weeks, assuming António Campinos will be a major change (which we doubt). “The Future,” one of them told us, is what they all have in mind as “there aren’t may opportunities to have a good laugh when thinking of the EPO.”

It gets even worse as the thug prepares for departure. It’s outrageous if not laughable, depending on one’s mood.

“For sites like IAM to actively participate in all this says a lot about Joff Wild and his crew.”“However,” told us this person, “the daily life at the EPO gives many occasions to mediate. I recently rediscovered the song The future by Leonard Cohen. The lyrics fit Battistelli as from July 1st like a glove. I meditate.”

Better try to relax for a few more weeks as Battistelli reaps rewards that he arranged for himself, writes whitepapers about himself, and pretends that he’s the literal king of the Netherlands (at least for a day).

This is by far worse than anything that Sepp Blatter has ever done. For sites like IAM to actively participate in all this says a lot about Joff Wild and his crew.