Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Techrights

Syndicate content
Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 28 min ago

IAM is Pushing SEPs/FRAND Agenda for Patent Trolls and Monopolists That Fund IAM

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 11:39:15 PM

Sponsored by Microsoft-connected patent trolls such as Finjan, who also just ‘happen’ to be speakers at this upcoming event

Summary: The front group of patent trolls, IAM, sets up an echo chamber-type event, preceded by all the usual pro-FRAND propaganda

PATENTS are OK as long as they don’t obstruct access to a market. It should be possible to work around them one way or another, otherwise the USPTO becomes merely a monopoly protector or protectionism agency. If patents are about innovation, one must keep this in mind.

“Rokt’s software patent to take centre stage in high-stakes hearing,” said this new headline. “Motorola Solutions Wins Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Hytera Mobilfunk GmbH Resulting in Injunction and Recall,” said another. In one case we see software patents and in the latter an embargo. Is the public well served by these? Probably not. How about this (almost) week-old report stating that a “federal appeals court on Thursday declined to reconsider a recent decision reinstating a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc.”

The patent in question is very… questionable. So are many of IBM’s patents, which are simply software patents asserted in bulk (to make legal challenges a lot more expensive). We wrote about that yesterday and earlier today Richard Lloyd from the patent trolls’ lobby fired the headline “IBM’s infringement suit against Groupon shows it’s still a licensing heavyweight” (celebrating extortion). This malicious lobby, only about a month after corrupt Battistelli had given a keynote speech at its US think tank-type event, today announced that a lobbyist, Makan Delrahim, will keynote its extortion event (“patent licensing event”). To quote:

Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice, has been comfirmed as the keynote speaker at Patent Licensing 2018, IAM’s annual event focusing on the key issues affecting licensees and licensors, and their dealmaking strategies, in the US and beyond.

Suffice to say, the event will be an(other) echo chamber for SEPs/FRAND proponents, who also fund IAM and this event. Delrahim, being a lobbyist, probably won’t feel too uncomfortable in such a setting.

Going back to Richard Lloyd, who is fronting for patent trolls and patent lawyers, he has this update on standard-essential patents (SEPs). It’s about Ericsson, which not only acts like a patent troll but also created several dedicated patent trolls to serve as proxies. Lloyd wrote:

Ericsson has put together the CAFC brief for its appeal against the Central District of California federal court’s decision in its litigation with Chinese handset manufacturer TCL. This sets the scene for the next round of one of the most consequential disputes over standard essential patents (SEPs) that the mobile sector has seen in the US for many years. The document was filed more than six months after Judge James Selna largely sided with TCL over its claims that the Swedish telecoms giant’s licensing offers for its 2G, 3G and 4G patents were not FRAND.

“After almost a decade of litigation, Philips wins India’s first-ever SEP infringement decision,” Jacob Schindler (Lloyd’s colleague) wrote, having already repeatedly bashed India in an effort to make software patents legal there. This time it’s about Philips and its standard-essential patents:

After a number of very significant interim judgments in telecom licensing cases, the Delhi High Court has for the first time issued a SEP infringement verdict following a full trial. Philips was the beneficiary of the decision, in a case centered on the DVD Video and DVD ROM standards. But practitioners say the ruling leaves unaddressed questions on what constitutes FRAND conduct and abuse of dominant position in India. The lawsuit arose all the way back in 2009, when Philips sued two local companies – Manglam Technology and Bhagirathi Electronics – for making infringing DVD players.

Expect IAM to keep pushing this sort of toxic agenda, which merely acts as a “patent thicket” that obstructs competition and taxes the public.

IAM is not a news site. It is a front group disguised as a news site/publisher.

“Trade Secrets” Litigation Rising in the Wake of TC Heartland, Alice, Oil States and Other Patent-Minimising Decisions

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 11:02:44 PM

The Justices have collectively made patent litigation less attractive a tactic


Back to the drawing board

Summary: Litigation strategies are evolving in the wake of top-level decisions that rule out software patents, restrict venue shifting, and facilitate invalidation of patents even outside the courtroom

THE USPTO deals with two laws: patents and trademarks. Copyrights are managed by a separate office, suitably named the U.S. Copyright Office, and “Trade Secrets” (we put that in quotes and capitalised intentionally) are being dealt with by courts (this law was revised some years ago in Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)). Those things aren’t the same; they’re inherently very different and calling them all “IP” is part of the propaganda peddled by law firms.

“Trade Secret/s” litigation is up whereas patent litigation is down very sharply because the latter is simply too risky to the plaintiff. "Trade Secret" 'damages' can, moreover, be much higher, vastly exceeding patent calculations. Here are some numbers from a new blog post:

The basics: Federal Trade Secret litigation is up about 30% following enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) in 2016. (1134 cases filed in 2017). The DTSA created a federal cause of action for trade secret litigation and resulting original jurisdiction in federal court for the federal claims. Prior to the DTSA, state-law trade secret claims found their way into federal court either via supplemental jurisdiction (typically linked to an a federal IP claim) or via diversity jurisdiction (parties from different states).

“The trade secrets dilemma” is IP Kat‘s latest title of a blog post — a post “drafted by Andrew McWhirter (Brodies Solicitors) concerning a recent Scottish trade secrets decision: Bilfinger v Edinburgh Tram Inquiry.”

“Trade Secret” is not just a US thing; different countries, however, implement or enforce that differently, using their own sets of laws, which can (and do) change over time.

Will we be seeing a departure from overzealous patent trolling in the coming years or decades? “Trade Secrets” aren’t the type of thing which can be passed to trolls.

Patent trolls are, as a matter of fact, dying in the US. Their patent litigation, more so after TC Heartland (at SCOTUS), is being shifted out of their comfort zone, typically Eastern Texas. Take note of this new example, wherein “Storage Units Do Not Satisfy Second Prong of Cray Test for Establishing “Regular and Established Place of Business”,” as per the summary. This is happening in New York:

Earlier this year, in CDX Diagnostic, Inc. v. United States Endoscopy Group, Inc., District Judge Nelson S. Roman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) filed by Defendants United States Endoscopy Group, Inc. (“Defendant”) and John Does 1-30. In its Motion, Defendant argued that the patent infringement action filed by Plaintiffs CDx Diagnostic, Inc.; Shared Medical Resources, LLC; and CDx Medical IP, Inc. against Defendants should be dismissed for improper venue. In particular, while Defendant conceded sales of allegedly infringing product into the Southern District of New York, it argued that Plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that Defendant has a regular and established place of business within the Southern District of New York.

They keep coming up with ‘artistic’ (laughable is probably a more suitable term) ways to justify dragging the defendant to other states. It has gotten a lot harder after TC Heartland. If anything, TC Heartland has caused districts which are favourable/beneficial to patent trolls to lose actual, real business. Different rules apply to foreign companies.

The US should, in general, celebrate the demise of patent maximalism. It has done no good for the country, only for a bunch of parasites and bullies, notably trolls and their law firms. And what about public interest? Letting perfectly fine products, as per this new development in Tinnus Enterprises, LLC et al v Telebrands Corporation et al, go to waste because of patents? To quote Docket Navigator’s latest docket report:

The court granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and denied a retailer defendant’s request to sell its remaining inventory of the accused product.

All this because of patents? Before the decision even had an appeal opportunity (e.g. to the Federal Circuit)? That’s very much like ITC imposing embargoes in defiance of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) rulings, voiding the patents in question after an inter partes review (IPR). How does the public ever benefit from embargo, lack of choices and so on?

The EPO — Like the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent System — is an Untenable Mess

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 10:21:24 PM

When a President associates with people like Željko Topić, whom many Croats want to see in prison (but EPO gives him immunity like some World Cop) just like his former boss, Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader

Summary: The António Campinos-led EPO, nearly three weeks under his leadership, still fails to commit to justice (court rulings not obeyed), undo union-busting efforts and assure independence of judges; this, among other factors, is why the Office/Organisation and the UPC it wants to manage appear more or less doomed

“Be one of the thousands of learners who access our learning centre on a regular basis to learn about patents and much more,” the EPO wrote some hours ago, shortly after someone had said: “The EPO is not able to find the answers for their own Examinations? Good news.”

“The UPC isn’t getting off the ground any time soon; it probably won’t ever take off, even after they try to modify, rename and reframe it.”The Office is a mess. Nothing is really changing, just as many people expected (with only cautious optimism). António Campinos now approaches the end of his third week in Office and nothing has really improved. Never did we see the USPTO dealing with a mess remotely like this.

There’s an apt parallel here; recall the latest spin from Team UPC, bypassing/disguising the reality as explained just days earlier by the British government. Hogan Lovells, earlier today remarking rather belatedly on news from July 12th, said this:

On, 12 July 2018, the UK government published a White Paper addressing its plan for exiting the EU

[...]

The White Paper includes a short section on Intellectual Property and the UPC (Section 1.7.8). These paragraphs confirm that the UK intends to explore staying in the Unitary [sic] Patent Court and Unitary Patent system after the it leaves the EU.

If it leaves the EU. But an even greater issue for the UPC itself (not British participation) is the constitutional incompatibility and this relates to EPO corruption. Don’t let British elements of Team UPC perpetuate the two lies. The UPC isn’t getting off the ground any time soon; it probably won’t ever take off, even after they try to modify, rename and reframe it. No doubt they will carry on trying, even under/with Campinos, whose first action as President was UPC lobbying, as expected.

Links 18/7/2018: System76′s Manufacturing Facility, Microsoft-Led Lobby for Antitrust Against Android

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 11:08:09 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Source at 20

    Open source software has been around for a long time. But calling it open source only began in 1998. Here’s some history:

    Christine Peterson came up with the term “open source software” in 1997 and (as she reports at that link) a collection of like-minded geeks decided on February 3, 1998 to get behind it in a big way. Eric S. Raymond became the lead evangelist when he published Goodbye, “free software”; hello, “open source” on February 8th. Bruce Perens led creating the Open Source Initiative later that month. Here at Linux Journal, we were all over it from the start as well. (Here’s one example.)

  • Should we celebrate the anniversary of open source?

    Open source did not emerge from a void. It was consciously a marketing programme for the already-15-year-old idea of free software and arose in the context of both the GNU Project and the BSD community and their history (stretching back to the late 70s). We chose to reflect this in the agenda for our celebration track at OSCON.

    But that doesn’t mean its inception is irrelevant. The consensus to define open source at the VA Linux meeting and the subsequent formation of OSI and acceptance of the Open Source Definition changed the phrase from descriptive to a term of art accepted globally. It created a movement and a market and consequently spread software freedom far beyond anyone’s expectations. That has to be worth celebrating.

  • Events
    • Medellín WordPress User Group Celebrates Open Source CMS Platform’s 15th Anniversary

      Medellín is well known for its innovative technology scene, with many active software and information technology user groups. One of those is the user group centered around open source content management software WordPress. A year ago the user group hosted Colombia’s first Wordcamp function, supported by the global WordPress community, and the user group recently gathered to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first WordPress open source software release that took place May 27, 2003.

      WordPress is an free, open source software platform that allows amateur and professional users to create websites without writing programming code. Over the years it has grown into a powerful platform robust enough to run enterprise websites in many cases. For example, Finance Colombia runs on WordPress software.

    • Training: Embedded Linux and Security training day – Reading

      Providing detailed hands-on training, it is targeted at embedded engineers looking for an introduction to key embedded Linux and Security topics.

  • Web Browsers
    • BATify extension brings Brave Payments to Firefox and Chrome

      A new browser extension lets users support their favorite websites, and YouTube and Twitch creators through donations of BAT cyrpto-tokens via Brave Payments.

      91 weeks ago, I argued that Brave Payments would be a better product as a browser extension than a whole web browser. Brave Software has since made no indications that they’re interested in making a browser extension, and have instead scrapped their current Muon based web browser product and begun making yet another web browser built on Chromium.

      Browser extension developer Michael Volz, however, have detangled the attention tracking and contribution system from the Brave browser in a new unofficial Brave Payments client called BATify.

    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • The New Thunderbird Add-ons Site is Now Live

        As we announced last week, SeaMonkey and Thunderbird add-ons will now reside on https://addons.thunderbird.net. Add-ons for Firefox and Firefox for Android will remain on https://addons.mozilla.org (AMO). We wanted to let you know that the split is now done and the new site is live.

      • 360° Images on the Web, the Easy Way

        One of the most popular uses for VR today is 360° images and video. 360° images are easy to discover and share online, and you don’t need to learn any new interactions to explore the 360° experience.

        Building 360° views is not as easy as exploring them, especially if you want to make an experience where the viewer can navigate from scene to scene. Here is the solution I came up with using A-Frame, a web framework for building virtual reality experiences and Glitch, a creative community platform for building, remixing and hosting web apps and sites.

        I often teach students at my local public library. I have found the combination of A-Frame and Glitch to be ideal, especially for the younger learners. A-Frame lets you write markup that feels like HTML to produce 3D content. You don’t have to write any JS code if you don’t want to. And Glitch is wonderful because I can give my students a sample project that they then ‘remix’ to create their own version. Thinking about it, ‘remix’ is probably a better word for non-programmers than ‘fork’.

      • MOSS is Mozilla’s helping hand to the open-source ecosystem in India

        In a bid to support the fledging open-source ecosystem in India, Mozilla has started its Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) programme under which it will promote free software and open-source projects in India. Mozilla has set aside a total of around Rs 1.4 crore to fund India-based projects or programmes supporting open source in the current year. Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager of Mozilla Corporation, told ET that Mozilla was born out of the free software and open source movement. As a result, the programme started with the effort to give back to those communities, along with supporting other free software and open-source projects and helping advance those projects around the world. “India has always been a really important country for development, and also for Mozilla. As part of the opensource ecosystem, we have a lot of volunteer contributors around 30,000 of them out of which close to 10,000-20,000 are in India. So India is by far our largest community,” said Ben-Avie. He added that the firm wants to give back to the ecosystem and to the open-source movement in India through this programme.

      • How to help test the 2018 edition

        An edition brings together the features that have landed into a clear package, with fully updated documentation and tooling. By the end of the year we are planning to release the 2018 edition, our first since the Rust 1.0 release. You can currently opt-in to a preview of the 2018 edition to try it out and help test it.

        In fact, we really need help testing it out! Once you’ve turned it on and seen its wonderful new features, what then? Here we’ve got some specific things we’d like you to test.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 34 Brings GCC 7.3, Other Package Updates

      While Solaris 11.4 is still in the oven being baked at Oracle, the thirty-fourth stable release update of Solaris 11.3 is now available.

    • Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 34 released

      Full details of this SRU can be found in My Oracle Support Doc 2421850.1. For the list of Service Alerts affecting each Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU, see Important Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU Issues (Doc ID 2076753.1).

    • Oracle Solaris 11.4 Open Beta Refresh 2

      As we continue to work toward release of Oracle Solaris 11.4, we present to you our third release of Oracle Solaris 11.4 open beta.

    • Oracle Solaris 11.4 Public Beta Updated With KPTI For Addressing Meltdown

      In addition to sending down a new SRU for Solaris 11.3, the Oracle developers left maintaining Solaris have issued their second beta of the upcoming Solaris 11.4.

      Oracle Solaris 11.4 Open Beta Refresh 2 is an updated version of their public beta of Solaris 11.4 originally introduced in January. They say this is the last planned public beta with the general availability release now nearing availability.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Intel CET With Indirect Branch Tracking & Shadow Stack Land In Glibc

      Landing yesterday in Glibc for Intel’s Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) were the instructions for Indirect Branch Tracking (IBT) and Shadow Stack (SHSTK).

      These Intel CET bits for the GNU C Library amount to a fair amount of code being added. The commit message explains some of the CET steps taken. The Control-flow Enforcement Technology behavior can be changed for SHSTK/IBT at run-time through the “GLIBC_TUNABLES” environment variable.

    • No Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup on Friday July 20th

      No meeting will be taking place this week due to travel, but meetings will return to our regular schedule starting on Friday, July 27th.

    • Graphos GNUstep and Tablet interface

      I have acquired a Thinkpad X41 Tablet and worked quite a bit on it making it usable and then installing Linux and of course GNUstep on it. The original battery was dead and the compatible replacement I got is bigger, it works very well, but makes the device unbalanced.

      Anyway, my interest about it how usable GNUstep applications would be and especially Graphos, its (and my) drawing application.

      Using the interface in Tablet mode is different: the stylus is very precise and allows clicking by pointing the tip and a second button is also possible. However, contrary to the mouse use, the keyboard is folded so no keyboard modifiers are possible. Furthermore GNUstep has no on-screen keyboard so typing is not possible.

    • A Proposal To Allow Python Scripting Within The GCC Compiler, Replacing AWK

      A SUSE developer is seeking feedback and interest on the possibility of allowing a scripting language — most likely Python — to be used within the GCC compiler code-base. This would primarily be used for replacing existing AWK scripts.

      GCC developer Martin Liška at SUSE is seeking comments on the possibility of adding Python as an accepted language within the GCC code-base. This isn’t anything along the likes of replacing existing GCC C compiler code into a scripting language or anything to that effect, but is targeting at replacing current AWK scripts that are hard to maintain.

  • Licensing/Legal
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Amazing solar panel device that could change the world goes open source

      An innovative and simple solar panel efficiency device has just gone open source in order to get renewable energy to those who need it most.

      When you picture solar power, you might think of the enormous Ivanpah solar power plant in California (the largest in the world) or huge tracts of land in other sun-drenched parts of the globe.

      But not everyone has access to such enormous grids and particularly in remote villages in developing nations, there is only a need for a single or small group of solar panels that could maintain maximum efficiency to sustain a family or the village itself.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Meet the man in charge of Arduino

        I went to visit the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea – a school that was started just six months before I went to visit them – and they asked me if I knew someone who could teach electronics to designers and to ask this question to my colleagues at the Politecnico.

        I went back and they said “No! Teaching electronics to designers? For us?” Those were guys working on highly sophisticated FGPAs, so they didn’t care about designers. I thought about Massimo – he had a real passion for electronics and he worked as a CTO for an internet provider at that point in time. I said, “Massimo, you could be the right person for this type of engagement – they’re designers, you love design, and you know electronics.” I introduced Massimo to the school and they hired him. That’s how the story started. When he was teaching at the Design Institute of Ivrea, they started the Arduino project as a way to standardise the electronics projects the students were doing. I introduced Massimo to the school and they invented Arduino, so I’m sort of the great-grandfather to some extent.

  • Programming/Development
    • Ballerina reinvents cloud-native programming

      Ballerina has been inspired by Java, Go, C, C++, Rust, Haskell, Kotlin, Dart, TypeScript, JavaScript, Swift, and other languages. It is an open source project, distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, and you can find its source code in the project’s GitHub repository.

    • pinp 0.0.6: Two new options

      A small feature release of our pinp package for snazzier one or two column vignettes get onto CRAN a little earlier.

      It offers two new options. Saghir Bashir addressed a longer-standing help needed! issue and contributed code to select papersize options via the YAML header. And I added support for the collapse option of knitr, also via YAML header selection.

      A screenshot of the package vignette can be seen below. Additional screenshots of are at the pinp page.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • OpenMP 5.0 Public Draft Released

      The public draft of the OpenMP 5.0 SMP programming standard is now available for review ahead of the specification’s expected stable release before the end of 2018.

      OpenMP 5.0 is expected to succeed the OpenMP 4.5 parallel programming standard in Q4’2018, but for ironing out any last minute issues and allowing more compiler developers to begin implementing the standard, the public draft is now available.

Leftovers
  • Tickets Make Operations Unnecessarily Miserable

    IT Operations has always been difficult. There is always too much work to do, not enough time to do it, and frequent interrupts. Moreover, there is the relentless pressure from executives who hold the view that everything takes too long, breaks too often, and costs too much.

    In search of improvement, we have repeatedly bet on new tools to improve our work. We’ve cycled through new platforms (e.g., Virtualization, Cloud, Docker, Kubernetes) and new automation (e.g., Puppet, Chef, Ansible). While each comes with its own merits, has the stress and overload on operations fundamentally changed?

    Enterprises have also spent the past two decades liberally applying Management frameworks like ITIL and COBIT. Would an average operations engineer say things have gotten better or worse?

    [...]

    Tickets on their own are relatively innocuous as they are just records. The issue is where you put those tickets. Tickets go into ticket queues, and then the problems start.

    In a previous post on silos, I discussed the cost of queues. Queues add delay, increase risks, add variability, add overhead, lower quality, and decrease motivation.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Ex-cyber officials demand to know security measures for 2020 Census

      In a letter Monday, coordinated by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, the former officials asked Ron Jarmin, acting director of the Census Bureau, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to publicly explain the technical protocols and systems the bureau will use to ensure the security of data obtained electronically in the 2020 Census.

    • Developer faces prison after admitting admin software was really a RAT

      On Monday, Grubbs signed a plea agreement that admitted that from 2015 to 2017 he designed LuminosityLink and sold it for $40 apiece to more than 6,000 individuals, knowing that some of them were using it maliciously. While previously claiming the software was a legitimate tool for system administrators, Monday’s plea agreement admitted he knew some customers were using it to control computers without owners’ knowledge or permission.

    • 60% of Indian computers vulnerable [Ed: Fails to mention Microsoft Windows with its back doors]
    • Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States

      The nation’s top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.

      In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April and obtained recently by Motherboard, Election Systems and Software acknowledged that it had “provided pcAnywhere remote connection software … to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006,” which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them.

      The statement contradicts what the company told me and fact checkers for a story I wrote for the New York Times in February. At that time, a spokesperson said ES&S had never installed pcAnywhere on any election system it sold. “None of the employees, … including long-tenured employees, has any knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software,” the spokesperson said.

    • PSA: Make Sure You Have a Backup for Two-Factor Authentication
    • An Introduction to Cybersecurity: The First Five Steps

      You read all these headlines about the latest data breaches, and you worry your organization could be next.

      After all, if TalkTalk, Target, and Equifax can’t keep their data safe, what chance do you have?

      Well, thankfully, most organizations aren’t quite as high profile as those household names, and probably don’t receive quite so much attention from cybercriminals. At the same time, though, no organization is so small or insignificant that it can afford to neglect to take sensible security measures.

      If you’re just starting to take cybersecurity seriously, here are five steps you can take to secure your organization more effectively than 99 percent of your competitors.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #168
    • 5 ways to find and fix open source vulnerabilities

      A recent discovery of surreptitious execution of cryptomining code by a sandboxed app, riding piggyback on the open source software (OSS) ecosystem, raises pertinent questions about the security of open source code and its dependencies. Programmers often use OSS as a jump-off for creating their software—and that includes malware authors.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Murderous mob — 9 states, 27 killings, one year: And a pattern to the lynchings

      The latest black spot in the spate of killings — the lynching of five in Maharashtra’s Dhule on July 1 — prompted the central government to write to WhatsApp, which responded that it has introduced a series of measures, including labels on forwarded messages.

      [...]

      In some cases, however, none of this worked. In Jharkhand, the victims were dragged out of a police jeep. And in Tripura, they sought refuge inside a police camp, which was stormed.

    • WhatsApp offers ‘easy tips’ to tackle fake news in India

      WhatsApp has said that the government and community groups need to work together to deal with fake news technology companies.

      The Facebook-owned application in the advertisement said this week it would roll out a new feature that would let users see which messages have been forwarded. “Double check the facts when you are not sure who wrote the original message,” it said.

    • Supreme Court gives govt 4 weeks to stop lynchings
    • Detente Bad, Cold War Good

      The entire “liberal” media and political establishment of the Western world reveals its militarist, authoritarian soul today with the screaming and hysterical attacks on the very prospect of detente with Russia. Peace apparently is a terrible thing; a renewed arms race, with quite literally trillions of dollars pumped into the military industrial complex and hundreds of thousands dying in proxy wars, is apparently the “liberal” stance.

      Political memories are short, but just 15 years after Iraq was destroyed and the chain reaction sent most of the Arab world back to the dark ages, it is now “treason” to question the word of the Western intelligence agencies, which deliberately and knowingly produced a fabric of lies on Iraqi WMD to justify that destruction.

      It would be more rational for it to be treason for leaders to blindly accept the word of the intelligence services.

    • UK personnel ‘could face murder trials’ over drone strikes, MPs warn

      The UK’s drone programme is putting civilian lives in danger and exposing personnel to the risk of being prosecuted for murder because the government has not established a “clear policy and sound legal basis” for use of unmanned weapons, a group of parliamentarians warned on Tuesday.

      The report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones (APPG) said that the UK’s involvement in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq since 2014, had “raised some serious questions about the legality, efficacy and strategic coherence” of the UK drone programme.

      The UK had previously been regarded internationally as “a model of responsible and ethical use” of drones, but that record was at risk of being compromised, it said.

      “Since 2015, the UK appears to have been taking serious risks in its use of drones. Specific concerns have been raised about the government’s shift towards a policy of ‘targeted killing’ as well as the legality of UK assistance to partner operations – and particularly that with its closest ally, the US,” it said.

      “The APPG argues that there is a political and ethical imperative for the government to review and clarify its procedures for using drones and all the multi-national systems that back them up, lest ambiguities in the current position leave the UK dangerously exposed to legal challenges arising either from its own direct use of drones, or effective complicity in their use by others.”

    • UK drone personnel could be liable for war crimes

      A two-year probe by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on drones claims that British military personnel could be prosecuted for murder and complicit in alleged war crimes, a report launched today reveals.

      The inquiry – ‘The UK’s use of Armed Drones: Working with Partners’ – received 17 written evidence submissions and conducted six oral evidence sessions by experts in the field. Some 19 recommendations were put forward to “guarantee a solid foundation for UK drone policy and operations moving forward”.

      The inquiry called upon the British government to immediately publish its “targeted killing” policy, just as the United States and Israel have done previously, but more importantly to establish “an independent scrutiny mechanism responsible to Parliament in the event that any UK drone (armed or unarmed) is used in an operation where lethal force is employed,” the report said.

    • UK Possibly ‘Complicit’ in US War Crimes, Could Face Prosecution – Report

      This isn’t the first time the British government has been warned over its role in the US drone program, and there’s no indication the UK is looking to end its involvement.

      A damning report released to British media after two years of research by a parliamentary committee warns that the British military, including individual personnel, could be prosecuted for civilian deaths and alleged war crimes as a result of its involvement in the US’ drone program, The Independent reported on Tuesday.

    • UK military drone operators could be ‘liable for murder prosecution,’ report suggests

      UK military personnel engaging in US-led drone operations in Syria and Iraq are at risk of being “liable to prosecution for murder” due to the government not setting a “clear policy and sound legal basis,” a report warns.

      There is a growing concern that the UK was complicit in civilian deaths by supporting a US-led drone program that was committing unlawful acts – making British personnel open to prosecution, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report said.

      “In its current form, assistance to partners is putting the UK and its personnel at risk of criminal liability. UK use of force or assistance to partners in drone strikes outside situations of armed conflict are not protected by combatant immunity, therefore making personnel liable to prosecution for murder.”

    • Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda

      Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page stayed the same: “Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” The Sunday headline was in harmony with the tone of U.S. news coverage overall. As for media commentary, the Washington Post was in the dominant groove as it editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.”

      Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. Mainline U.S. journalists and top Democrats often bait President Trump in zero-sum terms. No doubt Hillary Clinton thought she was sending out an applause line in her tweet Sunday night: “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”

      A bellicose stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a second thought — and that makes it all the more hazardous. After President George W. Bush declared “You’re either with us or against us,” many Americans gradually realized what was wrong with a Manichean view of the world. Such an outlook is even more dangerous today.

      Since early 2017, the U.S. mass media have laid it on thick with the rough political equivalent of a painting technique known as chiaroscuro — “the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition,” in the words of Wikipedia. The Russiagate frenzy is largely about punching up contrasts between the United States (angelic and victimized) and Russia (sinister and victimizer).

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • The War Is On To Stop The Extradition Of Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon face eviction from the London embassy that has sheltered him for the last six years “any day now” according to reports there are ongoing discussions about the matter.

      Ecuador and Britain are in high-level discussions over Assange’s fate, the Sunday Times of London reported.

      Ministers and senior Foreign Office officials are in discussions over the fate of Assange’s asylum.

      The new Ecuadorean president Lenín Moreno – who has called Assange a “stone in the shoe” – has dismissed him as a problem he inherited from his predecessor.

      Assange has been arbitrarily detained according to the UN for nearly 6 years in the Ecuadorian embassy. Now Ecuador has expanded that arbitrary detainment to solitary confinement by forbidding Assange from any human contact including visitations, phone calls and barring his Internet usage — all without Assange ever being convicted of a crime besides publishing documents exposing corruption and shedding light on the truth.

    • Secret plot to ‘EVICT Julian Assange from Ecuadorian embassy’ after 6 YEARS inside

      The Wikileaks founder has been living in the South American country’s embassy building since 2012 after seeking asylum there over fears he would be extradited to the US on espionage charges.

      He originally went into hiding after an arrest warrant was issued so he could be sent to Sweden over sexual assault and rape allegations.

      But he has reportedly overstayed his welcome since former Ecuadorian president, Rafael Corra, granted him political asylum.

    • European analyst: “eviction” of Assange from the Embassy of Ecuador will strike a blow to the reputation of London and Quito

      The refusal of the authorities of Ecuador from further granting political asylum to the founder of the Internet portal WikiLeaks Julian Assange in the Embassy of the Latin American country in the British capital will strike a significant blow to the international reputation of London and Quito.

      The correspondent of ГолосUA said European political columnist Marie Pudemo.

      “As soon as Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy he will be arrested, noted, in particular, it. – If it will give Sweden or the United States, that person faces a long prison sentence or the death penalty. Thus, officials from Britain and Ecuador may be involved in the actual death of the head of WikiLeaks.”

    • Judge Shrugs At 1st Amendment, Orders News Site To Take Down Info It Got From A Publicly-Available Court Filing [UPDATED]

      A federal judge has decided unconstitutional prior restraint is the best way to handle a clerical screwup. An injunction request, filed under seal, has been granted, resulting in the LA Times deleting information it obtained legally from a US federal court’s website.

      A plea agreement the government reached with Glendale police detective John S. Balian was accidentally made public on PACER, where it was scooped up by the LA Times. Information from that plea agreement appeared in its July 14th article on Balian.

    • British and Ecuadorian authorities in talks to evict Julian Assange from London embassy

      The London-based Times newspaper reported yesterday that the British and Ecuadorian governments have been holding secret discussions on plans to evict WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy, where he sought political asylum six years ago.

      The article said the talks are “an attempt to remove Assange” from the embassy and are being conducted at the highest levels of government, with British Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan personally involved.

      The report is the latest public indication of a conspiracy, involving the British, US and Ecuadorian governments, to terminate Assange’s political asylum, in violation of international law, and force him into UK custody. The major powers are determined to prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for his organisation’s role in exposing US-led war crimes and diplomatic intrigues around the world.

    • DHS Tells Records Requester It Can’t Find Documents It Posted To Its Own Website
    • Win for Public Right to Know: Court Vacates Injunction Against Publishing the Law

      Industry Groups Want to Control Access to Legal Rules and Regulations

      San Francisco – A federal appeals court today ruled that industry groups cannot control publication of binding laws and standards. This decision protects the work of Public.Resource.org (PRO), a nonprofit organization that works to improve access to government documents. PRO is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the law firm of Fenwick & West, and attorney David Halperin.

      Six large industry groups that work on building and product safety, energy efficiency, and educational testing filed suit against PRO in 2013. These groups publish thousands of standards that are developed by industry and government employees. Some of those standards are incorporated into federal and state regulations, becoming binding law. As part of helping the public access the law, PRO posts those binding standards on its website. The industry groups, known as standards development organizations, accused PRO of copyright and trademark infringement for posting those standards online. In effect, they claimed the right to decide who can copy, share, and speak the law. The federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the standards organizations in 2017, and ordered PRO not to post the standards.

  • Finance
    • Uber faces new probe over alleged gender discrimination in hiring practices

      The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has opened a formal investigation into the hiring and employment practices of Uber.

    • It’s Official: The Brexit Campaign Cheated Its Way to Victory

      The official campaign that campaigned for people in Britain to vote to leave the European Union broke the law, according to the country’s election watchdog, which has now referred the matter to police.

      With Theresa May’s government teetering on the brink of collapse as the pro- and anti-EU factions within her party go to war, the announcement from the Electoral Commission that the campaign group fronted by Boris Johnson cheated is bringing Brexit tensions to boiling point, with some lawmakers urging a re-run of the vote.

      The group—known as Vote Leave—was chosen as the official campaign group for the June 2016 referendum. The Electoral Commission says it funneled money into a sister campaign to get around spending limits, meaning that it exceeded the £7 million ($9.2 million) maximum by £500,000 ($660,000)

    • Presidential pay cut: Mexican leader to slash salaries

      Mexico’s president-elect has honoured an election promise, by cutting his own salary and those of other politicians.

      Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cruised to a landslide victory two weeks ago, vowing to take on corruption and the political elite.

      Mexico’s president-elect has honoured an election promise, by cutting his own salary and those of other politicians.

      Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cruised to a landslide victory two weeks ago, vowing to take on corruption and the political elite.

      He has taken a pay cut of 60 percent.

    • Liberapay is in trouble

      Our payment processor (Mangopay) is throwing us out. Liberapay won’t shut down, but the service will be disrupted until we can fully migrate away from Mangopay.

      The first two sections of this blog post are about what you should do as a Liberapay user. Mangopay may cut us off as soon as July 26th, so don’t wait too long. The last section is about how Liberapay is going to change and improve in response to this crisis.

    • India raises trade deficit issue with China at WTO

      ndia has flagged concerns of its large trade deficit with China, visa restrictions for Indian professionals and the challenges faced in exporting IT services, meat, rice and medicines to Beijing at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

      Trade is skewed in favour of China at a trade surplus of $63 billion. Bilateral trade was $89.6 billion in 2017-18.

      “This large and growing deficit is difficult for India to sustain, and serious efforts need to be made to remedy the situation,” India said in its submission to WTO, commenting on China’s trade policy, which EThas seen.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook is overly optimistic with respect to Cambridge Analytica data scope

      Facebook is too optimistic when it comes to Cambridge Analytica extends.

      Sorry for this post on a fairly old topic. I just did not get around to write this up.

      Several media outlets (e.g., Bloomberg) ran the story that Facebook privacy policy director Stephen Satterfield claimed that “European’s data” may not have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica in an EU hearing.

      This claim is nonsense. It is almost a lie – except that he used the weasel word “may”.

      For fairly trivial reasons, you can be sure that the data of at least some European’s data has been accessed. Largely because it’s pretty much impossible to perfectly separate U.S. and EU users. People move. People use Proxies. People use wrong locations. People forget to update their location. Location does not imply residency nor citizenship. People may have multiple nationalities. On Facebook, people may make up all of this, too.

      [...]

      So yes, I bet that at least one EU citizen was affected.

      Just because the data is too big (and too unreliable) to be able to rule this out.

      Apparently, neither the U.S. nor Germany (or the EU) even have reliable numbers on how many people have multiple nationalities. So do not trust Facebook (or Kogan’s) data to be better here…

    • Undermining Mobile Phone Users’ Privacy Won’t Make Us Safer

      Tragedies often bring political proposals that would do more harm than help—undermining our right to secure communications, for example, or our right to gather online. It is in these moments we face legislative gambits that are too often willing to trade our privacy for assumed security. It is in these moments that we should be careful about what could be taken from us.

      The Kelsey Smith Act (H.R. 5983) tries to correct a tragedy that occurred a decade ago by expanding government surveillance authorities. It is a mis-correction.

      The bill would force cell phone companies to disclose the location of a person’s device at the request of police who believe that person is in distress. On its face, that’s not unreasonable. But if the police make a mistake—or abuse their power—the bill offers almost no legal recourse for someone whose location privacy was wrongfully invaded.

      As the Supreme Court recently recognized in Carpenter, cell phone location information is incredibly sensitive data. It provides “an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his ‘familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.’ These location records “hold for many Americans the ‘privacies of life.’”

      With this in mind, any legislative attempt to intrude on this private data must be done extremely carefully. The Kelsey Smith Act fails to do that.

    • Schools Can Now Get Facial Recognition Tech for Free. Should They?

      Glaser approached the administrators at his children’s school in Seattle, University Child Development School, which had just installed a gate and camera system, and asked if they might try using SAFR to monitor parents, teachers, and other visitors who come into the school. The school would ask adults, not kids, to register their faces with the SAFR system. After they registered, they’d be able to enter the school by smiling at a camera at the front gate. (Smiling tells the software that it’s looking at a live person and not, for instance, a photograph). If the system recognizes the person, the gates automatically unlock. If not, they can can enter the old-fashioned way by ringing the receptionist.

    • First day deluge for My Health Record opt-out

      The first day problems began as the opt-out window for the e-health record system began on Monday, with many individuals wasting no time attempting to withdraw their consent.

    • Wickr, Linux Australia, Twilio sign open letter against govt’s encryption crackdown ‘mistake’

      Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s favourite secure messaging app Wickr is among the 76 organisations and individuals that have signed an open letter today calling on his government to reject its plans to ‘undermine strong encryption’.

      Wickr, Twilio, ThoughtWorks, Linux Australia, Startpage.com and a slew of digital rights, civil liberties and privacy organisations signed the open letter to the Attorney-General Christian Porter and Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor. They are calling on government “not to pursue legislation that would undermine tools, policies, and technologies critical to protecting individual rights, safeguarding the economy, and providing security both in Australia and around the world”.

      The government is adding the finishing touches to proposed legislation that it says will boost the ability of law enforcement agencies to access communications sent via encrypted services.

    • What Walmart’s Patent for Audio Surveillance Could Mean for its Workers
    • Walmart patents audio surveillance technology to record customers and employees

      Walmart wants to listen to its workers and shoppers more. A lot more.

      America’s largest retailer has patented surveillance technology that could essentially spy on cashiers and customers by collecting audio data in stores. The proposal raises questions about how recordings of conversations would be used and whether the practice would even be legal in some Walmart stores.

      “This is a very bad idea,” Sam Lester, consumer privacy counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., told CBS News. “If they do decide to implement this technology, the first thing we would want and expect is to know which privacy expectations are in place.”

      Walmart’s patent filing says the “sound sensors” would focus on minute details of the shopping and checkout experience, such as the beeps of item scanners and the rustling of bags, and they could also pick up conversations of workers and customers. It’s unclear so far how that chatter could be used.

    • Skype ‘Classic’ is being retired in favour of something inevitably worse

      Horrendously unreliable Microsoft messaging service Skype is getting an upgrade, and though there’s a lot to love, there’s more to hate.

      The previously useful app is letting go of the version known as ‘Skype Classic’ to almost no one but which worked okay on the whole, in place of a new ‘version 8.0′.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The CIA Had a Rule Against Meeting the KGB Alone. Trump Was Reckless to Ignore It With Putin.

      In 1983, the KGB contacted Carl Gebhardt, the CIA’s Moscow station chief, with a proposal. In order to avoid needless problems between the two spy services, the KGB wanted to open a secret communications channel with the CIA.

      The CIA readily agreed, and the pact led to a series of secret meetings between top CIA and KGB officials in Europe. Eventually nicknamed the “Gavrilov channel,” after a 19th century Russian poet, this carefully choreographed exchange of secret communications continued throughout the remainder of the Cold War.

      Some of the Gavrilov meetings took place in Helsinki, where Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin on Monday. But one of the key differences between the Gavrilov channel and the Trump-Putin meeting was that the CIA always insisted on having at least two American officers present – no one from the CIA could meet the KGB alone. That guaranteed that no American could hand over secrets to the KGB without at least one other American knowing about it; it also insured that no American would come under unfair suspicion of being a KGB spy simply by meeting with the Russians alone.

      Trump, on the other hand, insisted on meeting Putin without any of his aides present. At a time when there is a federal investigation underway into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election, Trump’s decision to meet Putin alone was at best reckless. His many critics will take it as further evidence that he really is a KGB agent.

    • Ex-CIA chief John Brennan calls Trump ‘nothing short of treasonous’ after Putin press conference
    • Child Separation Coverage Focused on Beltway Debate, Not Immigrant Voices

      The Trump administration in April began enforcing a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in thousands of immigrant children being separated from their families. On June 18, ProPublica released an audio recording from inside a Border Patrol detention facility; children separated from parents and family members could be heard crying in the background, while a six-year-old girl from El Salvador begged for someone to let her call her aunt. The recording reminded the public of the undeniable reality that immigration policy has deep and lasting effects on actual people.

      However, as corporate media dove into this story, the voices of those impacted most by immigration policy were drowned out by soundbites from congressmembers and Trump administration officials. Concentrated coverage of the policy from six major broadcast and cable news networks began on June 14; the story reached a climax of sorts on June 20, when Trump signed an executive order ending the policy. FAIR looked at the sources used on these networks during this seven-day period, examining the immigration-related segments on a representative evening news show from each network,* to see who got to speak about this contentious issue.

    • Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

      To an outsider, the fancy booths at last month’s health insurance industry gathering in San Diego aren’t very compelling. A handful of companies pitching “lifestyle” data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like “social determinants of health.”

      But dig deeper and the implications of what they’re selling might give many patients pause: A future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance.

      With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans, including, odds are, many readers of this story. The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth. They’re collecting what you post on social media, whether you’re behind on your bills, what you order online. Then they feed this information into complicated computer algorithms that spit out predictions about how much your health care could cost them.

      Are you a woman who recently changed your name? You could be newly married and have a pricey pregnancy pending. Or maybe you’re stressed and anxious from a recent divorce. That, too, the computer models predict, may run up your medical bills.

    • Brett Kavanaugh Repeatedly Ruled in Favor of the Security State, Most Recently for the CIA — and Against Me

      On a Monday afternoon, on July 9, the D.C. Court of Appeals handed down a 2-1 decision against me and in favor of the CIA in a long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. At 4:20 p.m., Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Gregory Katsas, a Trump appointee, filed a 14-page opinion with the clerk of the court in Washington. They ruled that the CIA had acted “reasonably” in responding to my request for certain ancient files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Appended to their decision was a 17-page dissent from their colleague Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson who strongly objected to their decision.

      That evening, President Donald Trump announced to the world that Kavanaugh was his choice to fill the Supreme Court seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In his remarks at the White House event, Kavanaugh touted his “Female Relationship Resume” and declared, “My judicial philosophy is straightforward: A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law.”

    • Lawyer who filed complaints to UN against Lithuania over CIA black sites wants leaders indicted

      A human rights lawyer, who sent complaints to the UN against Lithuania for allowing the CIA to host secret prisons on its soil, is sure he will see the country’s leadership indicted. He talks exclusively to RT.

      In May of this year, Lithuania and Romania were found responsible for knowingly allowing the torture of prisoners at secret CIA facilities on their territories, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled.

      The ECHR decision referred to the cases of Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, both of whom are currently held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

      [...]

      Tomas assumes that the greatest obstacle to the development of human rights in Lithuania is that it denies “the binding nature” of the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

      The lawyer claims that there are secret tapes on which Lithuanian judges are heard talking to each other and complaining that the president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė sent her advisor to talk to judges in order to convince them to take one or another decision. “That’s a public tape, it was made secretly. This is clear pressure,” he stressed.

    • The Implications of Guns for Our Liberty

      Gun rights advocates need to contend with the unintended consequences of expansive gun rights: a more intrusive government.

      In recent months, the nation has been debating gun control issues with renewed intensity. One of the principal arguments that firearms advocates advance against restrictions on guns is freedom: Americans ought to be free to own guns, and free to defend ourselves, and that broad ownership of guns by citizens is a check against the possibility of oppression by our own government.

      My colleague Louise Melling has laid out the ACLU’s views on guns here — that while gun regulations must be unbiased and subject to due process protections, the Constitution does permit limits on firearms sale and ownership. Overall, the ACLU does not generally engage in either side of the gun control issue. But we do care about freedom, and I have noticed a growing trend: the wide availability of guns and their misuse leading to restrictions on Americans’ freedom. Advocates for expansive gun rights who are serious in their concern over expanded government powers might consider how this is the case.

    • 4 Years After Eric Garner’s Death, We’re Still Waiting for Justice

      As the federal investigation into Garner’s killing drags on, New York City finally says it will take action.

      Four years ago today, Eric Garner was killed on Staten Island by police. The 43-year-old father died after he was put in a chokehold by New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo. His last words, “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times while half a dozen officers did nothing to intervene — helped fuel a movement for police accountability that continues today.

      Yesterday, the city announced that, after waiting more than three years for a federal investigation into Garner’s killing to conclude, it will move forward with its own inquiry into Garner’s death. In a letter to the Department of Justice, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Lawrence Byrne wrote that if the Justice Department does not publicly announce whether it will bring charges against Pantaleo by August 31, the city will serve Pantaleo with departmental charges and try him in an administrative trial in early 2019.

      The announcement on the eve of the anniversary of Garner’s death was almost certainly designed to help Mayor Bill de Blasio avoid criticism from Garner’s family and other advocates, who have been pushing the city to take action. This decision by the city, while welcome, does not excuse the administration for taking so long to do anything and also proves that the excuses for not taking action were flimsy at best.

      To fully understand why this delay has been so frustrating, we should look back at how we got here.

      A month after Garner’s death on Staten Island, then Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan failed to secure an indictment against Pantaleo. Since then, Garner’s supporters’ hopes for accountability have hinged on an ongoing federal investigation launched in 2014 by the Justice Department. The investigation began under Attorney General Eric Holder, continued under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and is now proceeding under the current head of the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions.

    • If You Value The Reputation Of Your Restaurant, Maybe You Should Stop Serving Cops

      Cops lie. This is a fact. As a business owner, it is in your best interest to oust known liars from your premises, if only for liability reasons. Sure, this will result in backlash from cop supporters, but so will the alternative.

      Cops have placed themselves on a plateau of humanity far above their fellow citizens. Any perceived slight becomes a reason to drape themselves in an appropriated American flag and decry the masses for failing to show them the respect they feel they have no duty to earn.

      There have been several reports of low-wage fast food employees saying and/or doing mean things to cops in their restaurants. Sometimes, these things have actually happened. What officers fail to understand is that most employees of restaurants have zero respect for a majority of their customers. Add a blue uniform and an air of sanctimoniousness, and cops can easily fly up the ranks of the disrespected.

      But cops don’t help their own case by lying about things that happened. And even if they’re not outright lies, they’re severe miscontruals of the actual events. In April of 2016, an officer claimed he was drugged by a Subway employee who supposedly spiked his soda as he went through the drive-thru. Drug tests of the drink and the cop cleared Subway and its employee of any wrongdoing. It also netted the accused teen — who was arrested and charged — a $50,000 payout from the city of Layton, Utah.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • The FCC Mysteriously Retreats From Sinclair Cronyism, Potentially Dooming Controversial Merger

      If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media has been widely derided as terrible. The company, already under routine fire for content that’s more lobotomized pablum than news, hopes to seal a deal that would give it ownership of more than 230 local broadcast stations reaching more than 72% of the nation. Given Sinclair’s inflammatory and facts-optional reporting, that’s generally seen as a problem for a country where daily discourse is already a raging dumpster fire, and local reporters are already struggling to survive.

      For much of the last year the FCC has been going to comical lengths to pave the way for Sinclair’s deal. From attacking the law that prohibits any one broadcaster from dominating more than 39% of local broadcast audiences, to restoring obscure bits of discarded regulation (like the UHF discount) simply to let Sinclair bullshit its way under said limit, the FCC has been making it very clear it hoped to rubber stamp the deal. It was so clear, Ajit Pai found himself the subject of a nonpartisan corruption investigation by his own agency into whether he coordinated the effort with Sinclair.

    • Ajit Pai deals major setback to Sinclair/Tribune merger

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he won’t approve the Sinclair/Tribune acquisition as it’s currently structured, saying Sinclair’s plans for divested stations would violate the law. Pai is recommending that the merger be reviewed by an administrative law judge, a move that could ultimately kill the deal.

    • A bipartisan step for net neutrality

      Today, Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) took two important steps towards protecting net neutrality. First, he’s signing the discharge petition that could force a vote on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that negates Chairman Pai’s disastrous rollback of net neutrality protections. But he’s going a step further, too: he announced a bill that would codify net neutrality in law. The bill is straightforward: it bans blocking, throttling, and prioritization with clear authorization for FCC rulemaking and enforcement. Both of these actions are important, all the more so because Rep. Coffman has recognized that protecting net neutrality isn’t a partisan issue. This is an issue that the vast majority of Americans agree on, which makes it all the more confusing that it has become a partisan issue in Washington.

    • First House Republican Backs Effort To Restore Net Neutrality

      While the best chance of reversing the FCC’s attack on net neutrality still likely rests with the courts, an uphill effort to restore the FCC’s 2015 rules via Congress appears to have taken a small step forward this week.

      The Congressional Review Act lets Congress reverse a regulatory action with a simply majority vote in the Senate and the House (which is how the GOP successfully killed FCC consumer broadband privacy protections last year). And while the Senate voted 52 to 47 back in May to reverse the FCC’s attack on net neutrality, companion efforts to set up a similar vote in the House have, as expected, had a hard time gaining traction thanks to ISP lobbying influence.

      But things progressed slightly this week on the news that Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado agreed to be the first House Republican to sign off on the effort to restore the rules.

    • Trading more than horses: Threats to privacy, net neutrality in international trade negotiations

      When we’re discussing the [I]nternet, it’s not surprising that legislation and policy can have an impact that extends far beyond one country’s borders. While many of us are aware of domestic threats to fair dealing, privacy, and net neutrality, including regulator proposals and proposed legislation, it’s also important to consider the role that international trade can play in influencing policy on a global scale.

  • DRM
    • Bosch’s War on Self Repair

      If you are looking for an ebike, while I don’t have any systems to recommend that are good in the freedom department, Shimano’s steps system at least provides you with some level of access.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Would Kavanaugh Change The Outcome Of SCOTUS Intellectual Property Cases?

      Now that we know the nominee to replace Justice Kennedy’s seat, it’s time to play the “How Will Kavanaugh Vote On Issues I Care About?” game. Most attention is (rightly) going to the big hot button issues like abortion, immigration, or whether a sitting president can be indicted. But since I write on intellectual property issues, let’s take a look at whether Kavanaugh will shift the Court in patent or copyright cases.

      Bloomberg has a summary of cases where Judge Kavanaugh has a record on intellectual property issues, mostly related to royalty rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board. Of course, Kavanaugh does not have a judicial record on patents, since those cases are heard by the Federal Circuit. As a result, there isn’t a lot substantively (though a concurring opinion he wrote on one case regarding the Copyright Royalty Board suggests that he may have some thoughts on Patent Trial and Appeal Board, as well) on pure patent and copyright issues to go on.

      While, of course, figuring out Kavanaugh’s record on particular issues is predictive of how he will vote on the same issues in the future, it’s not the only factor in the outcome of a SCOTUS case — there are eight other justices on the Court and on some issues, Kavanaugh’s vote might not make a difference, at least in the near term. Let’s take a look at the outcomes of some of the recent patent and copyright cases before SCOTUS.

    • Trademarks
      • Shipyard Brewing loses lawsuit over Shiphead beer

        A Missouri federal judge on Monday granted a request for summary judgment by Logboat Brewing Co., the maker of Shiphead, dismissing Shipyard’s claims that Shiphead violated the Portland brewer’s trademark with its name, the color scheme on the can and a “schooner logo” on the Shiphead can. A summary judgment is issued before a trial in cases where the judge determines the facts and law are clearly on the side of one of the parties in the suit.

        The judge, Nanette K. Laughrey, said there was no evidence to support Shipyard’s claims that consumers could be confused by the names and the image of the schooner. The vessel on the Shipyard logo is depicted in port, while in the Shiphead logo, it is in the hair of a painting of a woman serving beer.

      • Shipyard Brewing Loses Its Lawsuit Over Ships and The Word ‘Head’

        Roughly a year ago, Shipyard Brewing Co. launched its bid for title holder of the single dumbest trademark lawsuit in the beer industry. The lawsuit against Logboat Brewing came as a result of two concerns. First, both breweries have the word “ship” on some packaging and include images of ships on that packaging as well. Lost on Shipyard appeared to be Logboat’s use on its Shiphead brand was that of a woman with hair that somehow was a ship, whereas Shipyard merely had ships in water. That made the trade dress and trademarks fairly distinct. That may be the reason Shipyard coupled that concern with a second, namely that both breweries used the word “head” in their respective brands, with Shipyard having trademarks on brews such as “pumpkinhead” and “applehead.” The theory, I guess, was that these two factors that on their own were not valid trademark complaints combined to form one that was.

        This is where the narrator would jump in and say: “That theory was wrong.” The judge presiding over the dispute didn’t buy into Shipyard’s claims and completely rejected Shipyard’s claims in a very thorough ruling. Let’s start with the trade dress issue. Do you think these cans look similar?

      • Albania Introduces New Trademark Regulation

        A new trademark regulation entered into force in Albania on June 7, 2018, clarifying a range of issues raised by the changes to the Albanian Industrial Property Law in force as of March 24, 2017. Some of the most significant changes and clarifications concern the following:

    • Copyrights
      • 10 Best Sites To Watch Free TV Shows Online And Legally In 2018
      • Copyright As Censorship: FIFA’s Overaggressive Copyright Takedowns Target Fans Celebrating And Pussy Riot Protesting

        We talked about how silly this was in response (and pointed to dozens of articles we’ve written in the past about how copyright is used for censorship), but let’s add another one to the pile. As you know, the World Cup just ended this past weekend, and FIFA, which certainly has some history being over aggressive on the “intellectual property” side of things, apparently was working overtime getting videos taken down from various platforms.

        This resulted in lots of outraged fans especially over insane situations like when Kathryn Conn posted a 5 second video of her 7-year-old son celebrating a goal. She posted it to Twitter, where it was promptly taken down thanks to a highly questionable DMCA notice from FIFA. It is positively bizarre that anyone could possibly think that this video infringed on anyone’s copyright, or that it somehow should require “licensing” from FIFA to show your 7-year-old celebrating a goal.

      • Why Art Does Not Need Copyright

        This Article explores the escalating battles between visual art and copyright law in order to upend the most basic assumptions on which copyright protection for visual art is grounded. It is a foundational premise of intellectual property law that copyright is necessary for the “progress” of the arts. This Article demonstrates that this premise is flatly wrong when it comes to visual art. United States courts and scholars have come to understand copyright law almost universally in utilitarian terms; by this account, the reason we grant copyright to authors is to give them economic incentives to create culturally valuable works. But legal scholars have failed to recognize that their paradigm makes no sense when applied to visual art, one of the highest profile and most hotly contested fields in intellectual property law. This is because scholars have failed to take into account the single most important value for participants in the art market: the norm of authenticity, which renders copyright law superfluous. The fundamental assumption of copyright law—that the copy poses a threat to creativity—is simply not true for visual art. By juxtaposing copyright theory with the reality of the art market, this Article shows why copyright law does not—and cannot—incentivize the creation of visual art. In fact, copyright law, rather than being necessary for art’s flourishing, actually impedes it.

      • Progress Isn’t Linear: YouTube TV’s World Cup Flub Threatens Public’s Trust For Sports Streaming

        As we’ve pointed out any number of times over the past few years, cord-cutting is a very real thing and represents a threat to the cable television industry as it exists today. One of the last threads from which that industry largely hangs is professional sports broadcasts, with cable network providers having traditionally locked up pro and college sports broadcast rights in long-term exclusive deals. That has slowly begun to change, as the leagues of the world have finally gotten on board with streaming providers big and small, connected to the cable industry or not. If this is adopted en masse, it puts disruptive change for cable on the horizon.

        But progress isn’t linear and one of the threats to keeping this train on its tracks is the quality of the experience for users that dive into these sports streaming options. Especially early on in this kind of change, providers getting things right is extremely important, as reputations and public perception of the viability of sports streaming are more than somewhat on the line. And YouTube recently botched its broadcast of the World Cup match between England and Croatia.

      • Court Sanctions TVAddons Owner For Failing to Disclose Evidence

        A Texas District Court has sanctioned TVAddons operator Adam Lackman for failing to disclose evidence requested by Dish. Within five days, he must share how much money was earned through TVAddons.ag and Offshoregit.com. At the same time, the court reprimanded Lackman’s lawyer for an “egregious disruption” of the court proceedings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well done. More generics!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even after Alice and Mayo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law 360 wrote about that also:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Server
    • How The Update Framework Improves Software Distribution Security

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

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

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

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

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

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #42 – Kubernetes 1.11 Released

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

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

    • Red Hat Looks Beyond Docker for Container Technology

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

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

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

  • Kernel Space
    • PDS 0.98s release

      PDS 0.98s is released with the following changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Nouveau Gallium3D Moves Closer Towards OpenGL 4.5 Compliance

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

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

      • NVIDIA 390.77 Linux Driver Brings Updated Kernel Support, Fixes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Catfish Search Utility Joins The Xfce Project

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

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

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

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

        We’re already past the dependency freeze.

        [...]

        August 16: KDE Applications 18.08 Release

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Petr Kovar: GUADEC 2018

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

      • GUADEC18 Developer Center BoF Part 1: The Developer Experience

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

      • GSoC 2018: Safe Shared Access to Cairo Image Surfaces

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

      • Have you ever commented while angry?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Linux 4.18-rc5

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

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

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

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

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

      • New client languages for Qt WebChannel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Description view

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

      • GUADEC 2018 Almeria – reflections

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

      • Ruxandra Simion: GUADEC 2018

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

        [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • GUADEC 2018 Almería

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Yes! My project proposal was selected.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              But no more.

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

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

            • This Week in Lubuntu Development #7

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Luxoft joins Daimler in software for next-gen cars

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

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

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

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

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

    • Linux Audio Conference 2018 Videos Available For Your Enjoyment

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • RcppClassic 0.9.11

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

    • Mike Hommey: Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.0 beta 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • ‘These Kids Are Watching Their Parents Die’

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

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

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

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

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

    • How Flawed Drug Testing Can Ruin Your Life

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

    • How Nestle Makes Billions Bottling Free Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Nevada to become first state to execute inmate with fentanyl

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

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

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

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

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

    • UK security researcher Hutchins makes renewed bid for freedom

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

    • Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security

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

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

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

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

    • A New Method of Containment: IBM Nabla Containers

      In the previous post about Containers and Cloud Security, I noted that most of the tenants of a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) could safely not worry about the Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP) and leave the CSP to manage the risk. However, there is a small category of jobs (mostly in the financial and allied industries) where the damage done by a Horizontal Breach of the container cannot be adequately compensated by contractual remedies. For these cases, a team at IBM research has been looking at ways of reducing the HAP with a view to making containers more secure than hypervisors. For the impatient, the full open source release of the Nabla Containers technology is here and here, but for the more patient, let me explain what we did and why. We’ll have a follow on post about the measurement methodology for the HAP and how we proved better containment than even hypervisor solutions.

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • CAL THOMAS: Is Europe awakening to the threat?

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

    • Turkey Attempted to Stop Broadcast of Assyrian Genocide Documentary

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

    • Anti-terrorism: Hate Speech

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

    • Six killed, Baptist church burnt in fresh Plateau attack

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

    • Indonesian forces to blame for Papua killings: Amnesty

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

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

    • Indonesia: Falling to Radicals

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Finland has second thoughts about its women soldiers

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

    • Taliban’s best fighters being trained by Iran

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

    • South Koreans resist arrival of Yemeni asylum seekers

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • New bid to kick Assange out of embassy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Julian Assange WikiLeaks founder could be EVICTED from Ecuador embassy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Assange could soon be evicted from London embassy

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Assange on line over DNC email origins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • 5 Things to Know About Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Viral Test: Does Congress support female genital mutilation?

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

    • Network of survivors demands ban on female genital mutilation

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

    • Supreme Court questions practice of female genital mutilation

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

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

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

  • Finance
    • How Tipping Shortchanges Workers

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

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

    • Why the world should adopt a basic income

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

    • Trump driver sues over unpaid overtime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

    • WhatsApp group admin held in Bidar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Finns rally against Trump, Putin ahead of Helsinki summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Memo to the President Ahead of Monday’s Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Real danger not fake news – it’s censorship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The powers that be love censorship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • ECP comes under fire in Senate

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

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

    • On the right to publish and self-censorship

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Censorship killed the video star

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

    • 100 years of film censorship in India

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

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

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

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

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

    • Sacred Games row: Rahul Gandhi disapproves of censorship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Aadhaar in Ayushman Bharat desirable but not mandatory clarifies Govt

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hyderabad man stabbed 16 times for adopting muslim girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • On Toxic Femininity

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

    • Can the Saudis Break Up With Wahhabism?

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

    • UP: Woman accuses husband of ‘love jihad’

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

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

    • Sex after #MeToo

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

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

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

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

    • Sharia Courts: To be or not to be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Iran: Women Arrested for Dancing

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

    • Uncle, cousins ‘kill girl for honour’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

    • Denmark confronts Islamism and integration

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

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

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

    • Kano: Muslim Boy Must Not Die For Blasphemy

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

    • Skewed focus in study of German anti-Semitism

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

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

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

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

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

    • Man cleared of murder refuses community service because of Ramadan

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

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

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

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

      • Suffocating Financial Power Means Mismatches in Copyright Cases

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

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

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

      • Rightscorp Prompted The RIAA to Sue Internet Provider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that’s simply false.

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

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

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

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

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

Why have there been so many lies?

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

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

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

[...]

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

[...]

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the EPO falling for buzzwords:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To quote Crouch:

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

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

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

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

This was mentioned some hours ago by Watchtroll.

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

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

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

Now producing a puff piece every week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Inscripta Granted Patents for CRISPR Gene-Editing Systems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They have their media cheerleaders, too

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More in Tux Machines