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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

Andrei Iancu in Charge of the United States Patent Office (USPTO) Would be a Patent Microcosm Coup

2 hours 29 min ago

Summary: The progression of Andrei Iancu’s nomination/appointment is a reason for concern; it is, for a fact, a reason for optimism among patent extremists

THE patent question isn’t exactly partisan or even political. Not in the sense that patents are a “left” wing ‘thing’ or a “right” wing ‘thing’ anyway; it’s a vertical thing (top-down, class, economic).

“Trump too goes along with a man who was born in the Soviet Union. Will he be in charge of the USPTO?”The USPTO isn’t political either. But its leadership might be, especially because nominations are made by political figures. As we noted here before [1, 2, 3], a Putin-connected official (as per Panama Papers) put forth a potential Director for the USPTO. Trump too goes along with a man who was born in the Soviet Union. Will he be in charge of the USPTO? The trouble isn’t his ethnic background (we won’t entertain the McCarthyist angle) but his professional background. He’s from the patent microcosm. He won’t even deny it. A few days ago we learned that “[t]he [US] Senate Judiciary Committee has approved President Trump’s nomination of Andrei Iancu as USPTO Director and Under Secretary of Commerce (unanimous consent). The nomination now moves to the Senate Floor where no roadblocks are expected other than the difficulty in having the Senate focus on any particular item.”

“The very fact that sites of the patent microcosm — including front groups of patent trolls — are satisfied with Iancu is a warning sign.”Well, shouldn’t the United States Patent Office (USPTO) put in charge men and women of science, preferably US-born too? What do they expect him to do if not prop up his former employer/s? Iancu is certainly not neutral. Many conflicts of interest come to mind.

We worry that a lot of patent progress can be undone. Some groups are too ‘diplomatic’ to openly express scepticism, but they too know that Iancu presents a threat. The very fact that sites of the patent microcosm — including front groups of patent trolls — are satisfied with Iancu is a warning sign. Even patent radicals have already backed him.

The Latest IAM Puff Pieces That Launder the ‘Reputation’ of Patent Trolls

3 hours 12 min ago

Funded by patent trolls, promoting trolls’ agenda

Summary: The creeping threat of patent extortion (litigation from companies that are empty shells with nothing but patents) does not worry IAM; instead, this is the vision IAM wants to actualise, having been paid by stakeholders in such a nefarious outcome

THE previous post dealt with the EPO‘s promotion of software patents in Europe under the guise of or by misusing new buzzwords. There’s a growing threat — and already a reality in Germany — that patent trolls will thrive in Europe. Sites like IAM work hard towards that and a couple of days ago IAM’s latest recruit wrote that the Dutch “Health Minister has hit out at “absurd” drug prices, suggesting that the use of compulsory patent licensing might be one solution. This comes shortly after Germany’s highest court upheld a landmark decision forcing a life sciences innovator to license a key patent to a competitor.”

“There’s also a profound controversy over universities (which receive public funds) spending time and money pursuing patents that are then give to notorious trolls such as Intellectual Ventures.”In the area of life sciences there are many ethical/moral issues associated with patents; it’s not just about advancement and prosperity but life and death. There’s also a profound controversy over universities (which receive public funds) spending time and money pursuing patents that are then give to notorious trolls such as Intellectual Ventures. IAM has just published this sponsored piece that whitewashes the practice.

Here in Europe we already have some patent trolls like Avanci, which is a patent troll that preys on carmakers. Having recently groomed this troll, IAM has just done another puff piece for it. “Avanci,” it wrote, “the platform headed by former Ericsson CIPO Kasim Alfalahi focused on licensing wireless technology into different verticals in the Internet of Things (IoT), has published its royalty rates for car companies.”

“Ericsson has already birthed some patent trolls other than Avanci and they ‘operate’ (i.e. sue) in Europe, even in London.”Here’s that buzzword again, “IoT”. We wrote about it a moment ago. It just alludes to any device with a TCP/IP stack on it, i.e. nothing new. And guess what the troll is after. It’s ‘protection’ money. Ericsson has already birthed some patent trolls other than Avanci and they ‘operate’ (i.e. sue) in Europe, even in London.

Last but not least/latest from IAM is this puff piece regarding AST, which is feeding patent trolls. It’s not the first such puff piece. In IAM’s own words: “In October we ran a story following a comment from AST’s CEO Russell Binns that the patent market was due to see 30,000 assets for sale in 2017. “It seems like everyone is trying to clear house at the same time,” he commented at that time.”

And pass patents to trolls, just like Ericsson has been doing.

The EPO Has Found ‘Creative’ New Ways to Bribe the Media and Promote Software Patents

Sunday 17th of December 2017 07:04:12 AM

When they speak of “IoT” and “fourth industrial revolution” they allude to a patent thicket comprising many software patents

Summary: From Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII) and “Industry 4.0″ the EPO is moving to creative new misnomers for carriers of software patents, SEP (patents-encumbered ‘standards’), so-called ‘FRAND’ etc.

THE EPO ended the year with another big scandal — one that most of the media conveniently ignored; instead, the media covered EPO PR, which involved the EPO’s management actually paying the media (not from its own pocket but stakeholders’). Some of it was pushed during the weekend (e.g. [1, 2]) by the EPO’s Twitter account. Working on a Saturday?

We remind readers that our criticism of the EPO over the years was purely about software patents. We are not against the EPO and certainly not against patents in general. In fact, our intention over the past few years was to save the EPO from the litany of patents and the tyranny/dictatorship of Battistelli. Patent quality matters. Examination matters, not so-called ‘production’. If only the EPO stayed true to its sloganeering…

The patenting of software in Europe remains a problem. We recently wrote about Microsoft and the EPO doing all this under the framing/guise of "IoT" — a trend that can be seen perpetuated in the latest EPO ‘study’ (with other buzzwords/terms like “fourth industrial revolution”). Some sites of lawyers carried EPO agenda as recently as Friday and there was also this press release about a company that “specializes in the creation of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence” (the title is “Gopher Protocol, Inc. Files Patent Application in the European Patent Office”).

What we basically have here are some new tricks or loopholes for software patents in Europe. They just refer to these in different terms, big words other than “CII”.

Also on Friday, Thorsten Bausch said that “[t]he Federal Court of Justice held that a patent application is to be rejected if its subject-matter extends beyond the content of the application as originally filed and if this deficiency has not been rectified by the applicant upon request by the examiner (following FCJ X ZB 17/73 Regelventil).”

This isn’t about software in particular, but noteworthy here is the insistence of the court (which isn’t motivated by ‘production’ but law/accuracy). Too many times or oftentimes we see public advocacy by law firms for loopholes that enable patenting the patent-ineligible. This is particularly true in the domain of software.

Will software developers ever be able to coexist with software patents? It’s unlikely. Programmers neither want nor need such patents. A couple of days ago (also on Friday) Simon Phipps from the Open Source Initiative published this article and asked: “What if software patents were used in a way that made using software patents unthinkable? A kind of “Patentleft”?”

That, in part, has been tackled by GPLv3 (copyleft), but here is what Phipps proposes:

The word “copyleft” arises from a clever hack by Richard Stallman who used the laws relating to copyright — a statutory device to incent creativity by granting limited monopolies to creators — to create a world where creators are incented to share instead of monopolise their work.

Since the Berne Convention makes all creative works the automatic sole property of their creator, the only way others can use it in any way until the monopoly expires is with the express permission of the creator of the work, who is said to hold the copyright. Copyleft grants everyone receiving the work an unlimited license to use, improve and share it, but only on the condition they grant the same conditional rights to every recipient. Copyleft thus makes more and more works freely usable as more and more people improve them.

Could we do the same thing to subvert patent law? It seems that’s at least part of the motivation behind the use of a controversial combination of the BSD open source copyright license and a broad patent grant by Facebook. A few years ago they silently standardised on releasing all their open source projects — including popular codebases like RocksDB storage engine and the React.JS user interface framework — under the venerable 3-clause BSD license supplemented by a unilateral grant to any of Facebook’s patents necessary to use the software.

As we shall show later today, the US is moving further and further away from software patents, drifting away from patent trolls in the process. Will such a ‘post-software patents’ world (or post-Alice world) materialise in Europe as well? How about China, possibly the last safe haven for such patents? The sure thing, activism in this domain remains necessary, and activism depends on vigilance.

EPO Busy Distracting From Miscarriage/Abuse of Justice at the EPO (Both Office and Organisation)

Saturday 16th of December 2017 05:25:49 PM

Summary: The European Patent Organisation continues to be a vassal of the Office (Christoph Ernst is defending Battistelli) and justice is not being honoured; it’s being discarded in the darkness (in secret meetings)

A LOT happened while I was away. The EPO was trying pretty hard to distract from an eventful scandal, having issued 3-4 ‘news’ items in just a couple of days (it typically posts only 1 or 2 per week, sometimes 0 for a whole month).

On Thursday and Friday it kept ‘banging’ on with lots about the latest nonsensical ‘study’ (passing money to the German media), as well as #IPforSMEs. Nothing was said about the meeting in Munich (Wednesday until Thursday), except the obvious distractions/face-saving tweets we’ll come to in a moment. On Thursday Battistelli’s latest photo op was released (warning: epo.org link). It can be found via this tweet too. ISO is corrupt enough that it can afford a handshake with Battistelli (one can bribe for or ‘buy’ standards at ISO, as we showed a decade ago).

Battistelli also shared a new photo op of him (warning: epo.org link) signing papers with a country that facilitates his abuses, more specifically INPI which looks as though it engaged in entryism against the EPO (just look at members of staff at the top-level management).

To quote: “The EPO and the French National Industrial Property Office (INPI) have signed a three-year bilateral co-operation plan. The agreement, which provides a framework for collaboration in areas such as IT projects and training, was signed by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and INPI Director General Romain Soubeyran in Munich yesterday.”

Does that say where Battistelli came from and brought much of his management team from? That in itself is a scandal and they put this photo op in INPI’s Twitter account too, only to then (very soon) get retweeted by the EPO. It’s like an “evidence of the crime” photo op, but Battistelli got too accustomed to being above the law. He just doesn’t care.

Then came another “news” item, this one with Christoph Ernst, who is complicit by inaction. This latest one (warning: epo.org link) is quite revealing. (promoted with the photo op in Twitter). He’s taking photo ops with Lutz just to metaphorically spit on the graves of victims at the Boards of Appeal. Perhaps he fails to realise just how bad that makes him look. The EPO had said nothing about the Boards of Appeal other than this tweet which states: “The application deadline for the 2018 judicial internships at the Boards of Appeal session is 9 January” (internships are not jobs and the Boards are massively understaffed).

Obviously nothing about ILO, the protest, the scandal associated with the judge etc. Just anything to shift attention away from that…

SUEPO, in the meantime, is accusing Ernst of embracing Battistelli’s lies and it politely slams the Council Ernst chairs for backing violations of the law. Here is the page from SUEPO Munich and an HTML version of the PDF:

DEMONSTRATION
Wednesday 13 December

On 13 and 14 December the Administrative Council of the EPO meets in Munich. The agenda can be found in micado as CA/105/17. SUEPO Munich called for a demonstration in front of the Isar building on the first day of the meeting of the Administrative Council. The aim of the demonstration was to signal to the Council that their governance is needed.

While Mr Battistelli still pretends that “all is well” and tells the Council that he is making good progress with the social dialog, some 700 colleagues provided living proof of the contrary – see below.

Mr Ernst, the new chairman of the Administrative Council had been invited to meet the staff in front of the building to see (and hear) for himself what the real situation is. Mr Ernst did not accept the invitation. He apparently preferred to rely on Mr Battistelli’s “alternative facts”.

The same seems to apply to the majority of the delegations in the Council. The disciplinary procedure against the Member of the Boards of Appeal who was kept suspended for 3 years is on the agenda of the meeting as point 1.7. It is “C” point meaning that it will again be discussed behind closed doors. At the time of writing the Board Member has still not been invited. He has also not been informed of what is in the confidential documents that are on the agenda. This means that whatever decision will be taken is again based solely on information provided by Mr Battistelli. This is in gross violation of the principles of due process, as pointed out by the ILO Tribunal in its recent Judgments No. 3958 and 3960

In those Judgments the Tribunal the EPO was ordered to reinstate the Member of the Boards of Appeal, lift the house ban imposed upon him, return any EPO property seized before and unblock his UserID with immediate effect. Mr Josefsson, President of the Boards, has given him access to the Haar building, but he is still denied access to the other Office buildings. Moreover: contrary to the Tribunal’s orders he has not been provided with a computer or a telephone. Under the circumstances he is still de facto suspended.

With this Mr Battistelli and the Administrative Council once again show a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights (“due process”) but also for the Tribunal and the Rule of Law.

SUEPO will continue to denounce such behaviour and organise actions as long as necessary to bring respect for the Rule of Law back to the Office.

SUEPO Munich

As we expected all along, Ernst is akin to his predecessor, “his master’s voice.” The Council has a serious stain; there are many career climbers like Ernst, speaking nonsense (e.g. about patent quality) and knowingly spreading lies about the situation. They probably even lie to themselves about it.

JUVE’s Mathieu Klos‏ wrote that the “AC finished its Meeting. As JUVE understands AC made a decision on the disciplinary case of EPO judge Corcoran. According to sources he has been reinstated but not reappointed. Neither the AC nor @EPOorg have confirmed this so far. More details soon on http://www.juve.de”

Another person (a UPC booster) remarked: “I would say I’m surprised, but… So, they’ve adhered to the letter but not the spirit of the ILO rulings? And soon he’ll be back in DG1. How long until some sort of spurious disciplinary investigation starts, do you think?”

That’s what everybody says.

Regarding the underlying process in that meeting, it was highly cryptic, but the most detailed accounts were made available in this report from Thursday:

One answer of sorts has come with the leak of the Administrative Council’s agenda for its meeting this Wednesday and Thursday. Discussion of Corcoran’s tribunals have been given a confidential status, meaning that only government and EPO management representatives can be present, with no staff or observers allowed.

In addition, a last-minute revised version of the agenda demonstrates that three documents produced for discussion and decision on the Corcoran case have been changed or replaced just hours before the meeting was due to start.

Initially, the issue was due to be discussed with references to three documents numbered 16, 17 and 19. On Tuesday, those documents had vanished and were replaced in a revised agenda with documents 21, 22 and 24. We do not know what is contained in either set of documents, nor have they been provided to Corcoran: their subject.

EPO insiders say that such a last-minute change is almost certainly the result of revisions from EPO management, and that if that’s the case, the changes would have been approved personally by Battistelli.

Or, in other words, having been publicly criticized for personally involving himself in a dispute in which he had a clear conflict of interests, the EPO president’s response was to personally direct the proposal put in front of the Administrative Council for approval, despite the EPO officially claiming to have left the issue entirely up to the council.

Such behind-the-scenes manipulation of the EPO’s processes and procedures is commonplace at the organization, staff complains, and stems from a culture of secrecy and lack of accountability that goes unchallenged (and is sometimes fed) by the representatives of European government on the Administrative Council.

Indeed, it was the council’s willingness to accept EPO management’s proposals without question that led to it being criticized by the ILO for failing to consider the obvious conflict of interest in Battistelli involving himself in the Corcoran case.

[...]

Corcoran’s case is not the only one. Battistelli and his management team have targeted a number of EPO staff, particularly union leaders, to the extent that they have repeatedly broken German and Dutch law (and then claimed immunity), distorted the organizational appeals process (and had two years’ of appeals thrown out), and even undermined the EPO’s Boards of Appeal to the extent that it forms a key part of an argument in front of the German constitutional court for stopping the introduction of a European Unitary Patent Court.

This article has attracted plenty of comments about Battistelli. For example:

Someone comes along and just does exactly what they want and no-one stops them.

Blair, Campbell, Putin, Blatter, etc, etc.

Its strange how this chap seems to have immunity from real criticism and heads up a fairly important organisation.

Are these the sorts of people the EPO wishes to be associated with?

Here’s the latest in Kluwer Patent Blog:

Just heard that Mr Corcoran is back in DG1 from 01.01.2018.

So much for independence of DG3

And then:

In DG1, i.e. under the direct authority of Battistelli.

The bets are open: how long before Battistelli will find an excuse – any excuse, to fire him?

I don’t give him more than 6 months.

Poor guy.

Yes, we don’t expect that to last long. This, perhaps, was part of the plan (even if contingency).

The following comment said, “let us not forget what Mr. Corcoran wrote about Mr. BB: that he is abusing his power at the EPO.”

Battistelli does a fine job demonstrating that Corcoran was correct. Here is the full comment:

that may wll be, but then the internal decision if the accusations are right have not been finalised yet, therefore this was not a decision he could appeal at ATILO yet. Therefore ATILO could not decide on substance.
Furthermore, ATILO only very rarely checks these kind of matters. They are an administrative tribunal, and therefore preferably only check whether the rules have been followed. This time they even avoided deciding whether the rules are legal or have benn legally correctly createf…. They found this decision sufficient to get the case off their table, without looking at the remaining elements of the appeal.

And let us not forget what Mr. Corcoran wrote about Mr. BB: that he is abusing his power at the EPO.
This decision by ATILO actually confirms this.
(source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/06/euro_patent_office_commanded_to_reinstate_nazi_judge_it_attacked/ fourth paragraph from the end of the article)

Someone wrote the following reply:

He hasn’t been found innocent by the ILO because they weren’t asked to do that. They are only an administrative tribunal anyway.

I note that his lawyer has claimed that the facts have been presented to German courts without success for the plaintiffs.

I agree there may be a breakdown in any working relationship but that is almost always the case of a whistle-blower which may be what was effectively the case is here. I haven’t seen the evidence but understand that court documents were presented which had relevance in some way. Perhaps the procedure you suggest may also involve assessing their value? Would a CEO or other c-level position be able to avoid that? Perhaps the innocent man was right??

There are disagreements in there regarding guilt. Among them (not all):

Yes, of course Mr Corcoran is innocent.

I thought that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” was a universal one – it appears not. If Mr Corcoran had not been proven guilty after due process of law, then we MUST presume he is innocent. Some comments seem to assume that he is guilty until proven innocent.

The ILO-AT found that due process was lacking in this case. Therefore we must presume he is innocent.

In my opinion, the many violations of due process in this case (and the President’s partiality is just one of them) are indicative of attempts to secure a conviction by dubious means. Why not do things by the book if your case is sound?

Whilst many comments may focus upon specifics, a common thread can be found, namely disbelief about the EPO’s apparent disregard for the rule of law.

Unless you think that it is OK for a patent office to disregard the laws that are supposed to bind it, I suggest that in future you keep your snide comments to yourself.

Therein lies the problem. It’s particularly bad for the EPO to become a lawless place because it’s all about patent law and if it cannot obey simple law (or even court orders), what does that say about this institution’s potential or capacity for justice?

On why EPO problems could/should signal the end of the Unitary Patent:

Juducial independence, or lack of it, is quite a meaty topic, I would have thought. And perhaps the Bundesverfassungsgericht (German Constitutional court) thinks so too as it has blocked German ratification of the UPC in order to consider objections on this and other grounds.

Someone then said this:

So, just to inform everyone here,

Judge C is now AGAIN. suspended , this time by the AC without battistelli !,,,!!

We’re not sure if this is true; did he really get suspended again? No source is mentioned and the punctuation looks bad enough to damage the poster’s credibility/intent.

Going back to the underlying case, one person then said:

I thought that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” was a universal one.

At the EPO the presumption of innocence only applies to officials appointed under Article 11(1) and (2) of the EPC.

For all others the presumption of guilt applies.

There’s also the reference number, just in case someone wishes the chase the text:

The file number for the case at the Landgericht München was 24 Qs 18/17.

Anybody who is interested can apply for a redacted copy of the decision of 6 November 2017 at the court.

Landgericht München I
80316 München

https://www.justiz.bayern.de/gerichte-und-behoerden/landgericht/muenchen-1/kontakt.php

The document will of course be in German.
There may be some administrative charge for photocopying etc.

SUEPO has just published this translation of the recent report in German. According to Mathieu Klos, who wrote it before the secretive meeting, Senya Okyay is Corcoran’s lawyer and he insists that “[t]he Administrative Council now no longer has no reason to draw the proceedings out any further” (translated from English to German and back to English, so there might be discrepancies).

Here is the full article:

Slap in the face for Battistelli: Suspended EPO judge wins court victory right down the line

The judge of the Board of Appeals at the European Patent Office (EPO) suspended three years ago is to be reinstated, under a decision yesterday by the Administrative Tribunal at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva (ILOAT) (File Refs. 3958 and 3960). The supreme labour court for employees of international organisations also awarded the EPO judge, in two separate rulings, a total of some 40,000 Euro in compensatory payment for moral damages and compensation for loss of earnings.

The decisions are likely to increase the pressure enormously on the Administrative Council of the Patent Office to bring the disciplinary proceedings to a close and to reinstate the judge. The judge had made recourse to the ILOAT due to his suspension and its extension imposed by the Council.

“The ILOAT has ruled”, said the judge’s lawyer, Senya Okyay, “that Mr. Battistelli was biased in these proceedings, and has a conflict of interests. The tribunal accordingly decided in my client’s favour.” The ILOAT criticised the fact that EPO President Benoît Battistelli had featured in the internal Office disciplinary proceedings both as a party as well as an advisor to the disciplinary structure relating to EPO judges. There were accordingly doubts as to the impartiality of the President. The judgment also indirectly implied the accusation that the President and Administrative Council had not respected an adequate distribution of power with regard to the disciplinary proceedings.

This accusation has been lurking in the background ever since the case first began in December 2014. At that time, Office supremo Battistelli imposed a ban on the judge entering the EPO, and pushed through his suspension by way of the Administrative Council. According to the EPO statutes, the Administrative Council is exclusively responsible for disciplinary matters relating to members of the Boards of Appeal.

The reason for the suspension was the accusation of dissemination of unpublished information and critical expressions of opinion about the activity of the Boards of Appeal, as well as the beleaguered EPO Director Željko Topić. The judge was also accused of having uttered accusations and threats against the EPO and its staff. By way of evidence a USB stick belonging to the judge was confiscated. According to information provided to JUVE, this was found to contained, among other things, critical articles about Topić. These did not derive from the judge himself, however. Whether this is a contravention of EPO regulations has been a matter of dispute right to the bitter end.

Explosive material

The case became incendiary because of the issue of the independence of the Boards of Appeal from the Office itself. Last year the Administrative Council undertook a further separation from the EPO Court. As well as that, the disputes surrounding the manner in which disciplinary matters are dealt with at the Office became more heated. Specifically, in formal terms an EPO judge can only be suspended by the Administrative Council if the Enlarged Board of Appeal recommends such a measure. Last year, however, the Court rejected this, after Battistelli intervened in writing in the ongoing proceedings. The Enlarged Board of Appeal regarded this as a massive exertion of influence, and ended the proceedings without a recommendation.

Experts then regarded the Administrative Council as being under an obligation to reinstate the judge. This did not happen. Added to that, Topić and EPO President Battistelli took out private prosecutions against him before courts in Munich and Croatia. According to the EPO Statutes, these prevented a decision in the disciplinary matter if it had not yet been resolved. According to information provided to JUVE, however, these actions have in the interim been terminated, either because they were withdrawn or because the courts rejected them as unfounded.

“The Administrative Council now no longer has no reason to draw the proceedings out any further”, said Senay Okyay. “They must now reinstate my client as a member of the Boards of Appeal. By way of the two ILOAT judgments and various decisions by the Munich Regional Court and the Munich State Attorney’s Office, it has now been confirmed by a third party beyond any doubt that the accusations made by Mr. Battistelli against my client are unfounded.”

Showdown coming up

The Administrative Council will in all probability make a decision in the matter next week, when the representatives of the 38 EPO Member States will gather for their last meeting in Munich. The issue is already on the agenda. Some observers are of the view, however, that this may not necessarily be a decision based on facts of law, because the Administrative Council is, above all, a political body. During the weeks leading up to the ILOAT decision, there were rumours circulating at the EPO that the Administrative Council could reject a reinstatement, and instead put the judge back to work in his former position as a patent examiner. This would once again make Office boss Battistelli his direct superior.

That would add fuel to the fire. The situation at the EPO is already very tense. Parts of the EPO staff, among them the main staff union SUEPO and a number of EPO judges are locked in a bitter dispute with Battistelli. This is why the new leader of the Administrative Council, Dr. Christoph Ernst, made it clear in a JUVE interview in November that the restoration of social peace in the Office is one of the primary goals of the supervisory body for the future. The Administrative Council is setting a great deal of hope in this situation on the EPO chief executive designate, Antónios Campinos, who will be taking over from Battistelli in July 2018.

“The Administrative Council will be examining the decision thoroughly, and drawing the necessary conclusions such as the situation calls for”, was how Ernst responded to an enquiry from JUVE. (Mathieu Klos)

We eagerly await more input as it typically comes a week after such end-of-year meetings. The EPO will no doubt continue to distract from it until Christmas, hoping that by the time people get back to work it will have escaped people’s memory/attention span. Also, by next year (or end of this year), Corcoran’s contract will have ended. They want him to just disappear as though he never existed.

Bristows LLP/IP Kat Carrying on With Dead UPC Jingoism

Saturday 16th of December 2017 04:27:43 PM

Summary: The same old tune from Bristows not only gets played in Bristows’ ‘alternate reality’ blog but also in other blogs where Bristows staff is ‘contributing’ (to confusion and misconceptions)

EARLIER this year we pointed out — quite a few times in fact — that Bristows had sort of taken over IP Kat is the sense that many posts regarding patents were posted by Bristows staff to promote Bristows’ agenda. That coincided with cessation of criticism of the EPO.

“Don’t fall for or get sucked into the illusion that the UPC still has any feet in the UK or elsewhere.”Earlier this month we wrote about the misleading posts of Bristows staff in their blog, in Kluwer Patent Blog and in IP Kat. They just can’t help themselves and it happened again just before the weekend. The ‘Kat’ seems to be stuck in ‘Bristows’ mode, not informing readers about the many barriers to UPC but instead pushing Bristows talking points. Thankfully, the sole comment there states the obvious already:

Even if the UK ratifies before Brexit, where is the legal certainty that it can stay in the UPC after?

All those saying yes have vested interests in the matter, so any news helping to foster this hope is good enough to be trodden out.

It is high time to come down to Earth and not live in Dreamland.

This new is not worth a lot!

Don’t fall for or get sucked into into the illusion that the UPC still has any feet in the UK or elsewhere. Team UPC has been using these tactics for many years. It’s how they manipulate politicians and bamboozle clients for revenue. Only a deeply misled company or person in the UK would currently pursue ‘unitary’ anything.

Links 16/12/2017: Mesa 17.2.7, Wine 3.0 RC2, Kdenlive 17.12.0, Mir 0.29

Saturday 16th of December 2017 02:51:45 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • CoreOS’s Open Cloud Services Could Bring Cloud Portability to Container-Native Apps

    With the release of Tectonic 1.8, CoreOS provides a way to easily deploy container-native applications as services, even across multiple service providers and in-house resources.

    “We take open source APIs, make them super easy to consume, and create a catalog of these things to run on top of Kubernetes so they are portable no matter where you go,” said Brandon Philips, CoreOS chief technology officer.

  • Kubernetes 1.9 release brings greater stability and storage features

    The Kubernetes developer community is capping off a successful year with the release of Kubernetes 1.9, adding important new features that should help to further encourage enterprise adoption.

    Kubernetes is the most popular container orchestrator management software. It’s used to simplify the deployment and management of software containers, which are a popular tool among developers that allows them to run their applications across multiple computing environments without making any changes to the underlying code.

  • What’s new in Kubernetes containers

    Promoted to beta in Kubernetes 1.8 and now in production release in Kubernetes 1.9, the Apps Workloads API provides ways to define workloads based on their behaviors, such as long-running apps that need persistent state.

  • Linux Vs. Unix

    ​In computer time, a substantial part of the population has a misconception that the Unix and Linux operating systems are one and the same. However, the opposite is true. Let’s look at it from a closer look.

  • Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

    One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (x86-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years.

  • Desktop
    • Chromebooks and Office 365 together will challenge Windows laptops

      It’s no secret that I’m not a Windows fan. I’m beginning to wonder if Microsoft isn’t either.

      Hear me out. On Nov. 27, Chromebook users discovered that Office 365 would run on some of their laptops. To be exact, we now know you can download and run Office 365 on Samsung Chromebook Pro, Pixelbook, Acer Chromebook 15, and the Acer C771.

    • Looking Glass Released For KVM Frame Relay, High Performance Windows VM Gaming

      Geoffrey McRae has published the code to the “Looking Glass” project he’s been working on as a “extremely low-latency” KVM frame relay implementation for guests with VGA PCI pass-through.

      Long story short this allows for a graphics card PCI pass-through setup with a KVM guest whereby no separate monitor is needed but rather Looking Glass is like a virtual display for that GPU dedicated to the VM and displays the VM’s rendered contents on your main monitor/GPU. Up to now those wanting to use a secondary graphics card pass-through setup with a virtual machine had to use a separate monitor, but with Looking Glass you can get by with a single monitor for the system.

  • Server
    • 5 Kubernetes must-reads: Tips and trends

      Kubernetes is having a moment – but don’t look for its popularity to wane anytime soon. As enterprises move beyond experimenting and start working in earnest with containers, the number of containers multiply: So do the manual chores. Orchestration tools like Kubernetes add automated help.

      “Running a few standalone containers for development purposes won’t rob your IT team of time or patience: A standards-based container runtime by itself will do the job,” Red Hat technology evangelist Gordon Haff recently noted. “But once you scale to a production environment and multiple applications spanning many containers, it’s clear that you need a way to coordinate those containers to deliver the individual services. As containers accumulate, complexity grows. Eventually, you need to take a step back and group containers along with the coordinated services they need, such as networking, security, and telemetry.” (See Haff’s full article, How enterprise IT uses Kubernetes to tame container complexity.)

    • Amazon Linux 2

      Amazon Linux 2 is the next generation Amazon Linux operating system. It provides a high performance, stable, and secure execution environment for cloud and enterprise applications. Amazon Linux 2 will offer extended availability of software updates for the core operating system through 5 years of long-term support and provides access to the latest software packages through the Amazon Linux Extras repository.

    • Amazon Linux 2 Rolls Out For EC2, On-Site Virtual Machine Images

      Amazon AWS has announced their “next generation” version of their Amazon Linux operating system intended for running on their EC2 compute cloud as well as on-site via VMware/VirtualBox/Hyper-V images that are free to all.

    • Amazon Linux 2 Benchmarks, 6-Way Linux OS EC2 Compute Cloud Comparison

      With Amazon AWS this week having released Amazon Linux 2 LTS I was excited to put this updated cloud-focused operating system through some performance tests to see how it stacks up with the more well known Linux distributions.

    • AWS Releases Prelim Amazon Linux 2 Server

      Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) this week announced the release of its next Linux server OS, Amazon Linux 2.

      Dubbed build 2017.12, the preliminary version of Amazon Linux 2 is now generally available to all public AWS regions. Described as a “candidate” release in the AWS announcement, the final build is yet to come.

    • Modernizing application delivery with container platforms

      Demands for faster production times, higher quality and more predictable cost management are posing significant challenges for development teams. In-house software development is essential in achieving these and other agency objectives. Exacerbating the demands on development teams is often the need to successfully release new applications, while also updating existing ones.

      From a technical aspect, at the center of the challenges for developers, is the need to reliably get software to run as it moves between computing environments. Containerization represents the best way for developers to accomplish this task, with containers driving operational efficiency and competitive advantages.

    • Building Open Source IoT Ecosystems
    • Invaluable tips and tricks for troubleshooting Linux
  • Kernel Space
    • Stable kernels 4.14.6 and 4.9.69

      Two new stable kernels have been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.14.6 and 4.9.69. As usual, they contain fixes all over the kernel tree; users of those series should upgrade.

    • Linux 4.14.6
    • Linux 4.9.69
    • Systemd 236 Brings Support For LUKS2 Encrypted Partitions, New Options

      Lennart Poettering has announced the release of systemd 236 as the init system’s final release of 2017.

      Systemd 236 is another significant feature release and includes support for the LUKS2 on-disk format for encrypted partitions, bootctl list can now list all available boot menu options, improved cgroup option, various systemd-networkd networking improvements, support for setting the initial keyboard mapping systemd-firstboot, several new systemd-resolve command line arguments, and other minor improvements throughout the systemd landscape.

    • VirtIO DRM Window Server Support: Letting Guest VMs Interface With Host’s Compositor

      -
      Collabora’s Tomeu Vizoso is working on a interesting VirtIO DRM patch that lets clients running within a virtual machine communicate with a display compositor of the host system.

      Based off work done by Google on their ChromeOS kernel with a “virtio_wl” driver, Tomeu is adding support to the VirtIO DRM driver so that clients running within a virtual machine can communicate with the host system’s compositor. Communication is done over the protocol supported by the compositor, e.g. Wayland. Similarly, the ChromeOS VirtIO Wayland work is about offering a virtual device used by a guest VM use a Wayland server on the host system transparently and just focused on Wayland support given the ChromeOS focus.

    • Linux Should Now Work For Some Knockoff PlayStation 3 Controllers

      While the Linux kernel has supported the official Sony PlayStation 3 controller as an input device, some of the off-brand/knockoff models haven’t quite behaved correctly on Linux but that’s now being rectified.

      Red Hat’s Bastien Nocera has made a necessary change to the Sony HID code in the Linux 4.15 kernel to address these knockoff PlayStation 3 controllers as well as a change in BlueZ Git, for the upcoming BlueZ 5.48 release.

    • ZFS On Linux 0.7.4 Brings Linux 4.14 Support, Fixes

      ZFS On Linux 0.7.4 was released this week as the newest stable release for this ZFS file-system implementation for the Linux kernel.

    • 6WIND Announces TCP Boost to Resolve Linux Bottlenecks in TCP-Based Applications

      6WIND, a high-performance networking software company, today announced TCP Boost, a high performance Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) stack for proxy and server deployments. TCP is a client/server protocol used to communicate between applications over an IP network. However, the performance of TCP-based applications is limited by common bottlenecks in the Linux kernel. To overcome these limitations, 6WIND offers TCP Boost as a solution, based on its 6WINDGate™ packet processing software, which is widely deployed as the industry’s highest performance TCP userland stack since 2010.

    • Linux Kernel Developer: Thomas Gleixner

      The report states that, since the 2.6.11 release, the top 10 developers together have contributed 45,338 changes — almost 7.1 percent of the total. The top 30 developers contributed just under 16 percent of the total, as seen in the table below.

      One of these top 30 developers is Thomas Gleixner, CTO at Linutronix GmbH, who serves in various kernel maintainer roles. In this article, Gleixner answers a few questions about his contributions to the Linux kernel.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Juniper Flips OpenContrail To The Linux Foundation

        It’s a familiar story arc for open source efforts started by vendors or vendor-led industry consortiums. The initiatives are launched and expanded, but eventually they find their way into independent open source organizations such as the Linux Foundation, where vendor control is lessened, communities are able to grow, and similar projects can cross-pollinate in hopes of driving greater standardization in the industry and adoption within enterprises.

      • Juniper Hands OpenContrail SDN to Linux Found. Before It’s Too Late

        After failing to develop a community around the project and receiving pushback from a major backer, Juniper may be saving Contrail from becoming irrelevant

      • CableLabs Announces Two Open Source Projects for NFV

        SNAPS is an overarching program at CableLabs to facilitate the adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) within the CableLabs’ community. The organization says it spearheaded SNAPS to fill in gaps within open source to ease the adoption of SDN and NFV for its cable members.

      • Bell becomes first operator to launch ONAP in production

        Canadian telecommunications company Bell announced it has become the first company to launch an open source version of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) in production.

        The announcement was noted by Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration at the Linux Foundation, in a company blog post. According to Joshipura, the news marks a first step toward using ONAP as a common platform across Bell’s network as the company re-aligns itself to follow a multi-partner DevOps model.

    • Graphics Stack
      • DXVK Is Making Some Steadfast Progress In Running Direct3D 11 Over Vulkan

        Last month on Phoronix I featured the DXVK project that’s working to implement Direct3D 11 over Vulkan (not to be confused with VK9 as the separate effort to get D3D9 over Vulkan). This project is making a surprising amount of progress in its early stages.

      • Latest Steam Client Update Rolls Out Shader Pre-Caching For OpenGL/Vulkan

        The latest Steam client release on Wednesday rolls out OpenGL and Vulkan shader pre-caching by default.

      • VKD3D Is Beginning Flight As Wine’s Direct3D 12 To Vulkan Library

        Back at WineConf 2017 VKD3D was announced for bringing Direct3D 12 to Wine by implementing Microsoft’s latest graphics API atop the Vulkan graphics API. The initial code for this new library is beginning to take shape.

        VKD3D is a long-term play for getting viable Direct3D 12 support working within Wine. As noted back at WineConf, this library is being developed independently of the Wine Git repository. This will potentially allow in the future others to make use of this D3D12-to-Vulkan code without pulling in Wine entirely, should porters look to this project for easing their process of getting Windows games running on Linux, etc.

      • Wayland’s Weston Sees Patches For FreeBSD, Fractional HiDPI, Rust Bindings

        A new contributor to the Wayland/Weston camp has been working on several improvements to the Weston reference compositor.

        Improvements made to Weston via unmerged patches include adding FreeBSD support to Weston, static linking for backends and gl-renderer, Rust bindings for libweston, and fractional HiDPI scaling support.

      • LunarG Adds New Size Option To Further Reduce Size Of SPIR-V
      • Disjoint Timer Query Added To Mesa For Reporting Accurate OpenGL Timing Data

        The latest OpenGL extension added to Mesa by Intel developers is the rather new EXT_disjoint_timer_query.

      • mesa 17.2.7

        The current queue consists of a variety of fixes, with a sizeable hunk in the shared GLSL codebase.

        Whereas for individual drivers – i965 has a crash fix for when playing various Valve games, r600 and nouveau have tweaks in their compiler backends. Fast clears on radeonsi and RADV are better now, while the VAAPI encoding is playing nicely with GStreamer.

      • Mesa 17.2.7 Released For Those Not Yet On Mesa 17.3

        Emil Velikov of Collabora has announced the release today of Mesa 17.2.7 as the latest point release for this older stable branch of Mesa.

        If you are a devoted Linux gamer or at all care about the best features and performance, it’s best you migrate to Mesa 17.3 if you are not habitually riding Mesa Git. But for those still using the Mesa 17.2 series from last quarter, the seventh point release is available.

      • AMD to open-source Vulkan Linux driver ahead of Xmas
      • AMD open sources its Vulkan

        AMD’s Vulkan Linux driver which was initially going to be closed-source and open-sourced when it was finished, is now totally open sourced.

        AMD has released the source code to its official Vulkan Linux driver, just in time to make the Christmas best sellers’ list.

      • AMD To Deliver On Its Promise Of An Open Sourced Vulkan Linux Driver Very Soon

        If I had to guess, I’d say AMD really didn’t want to begin yet another year with its open source Vulkan driver still in hiding, so here we are: it’s finally happening. As Phoronix notes, AMD promised the world over two years ago that it would open source its Vulkan driver for Linux, but few probably realized it’d actually take quite this long to see the day. We can be thankful that this driver didn’t just wind up like some Half-Life episode.

    • Benchmarks
      • 13-Way Radeon AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 vs. NVIDIA Linux OpenCL Compute Comparison

        Given this week’s release of the big AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 Linux driver update, here are some fresh OpenCL GPU benchmarks comparing the performance of AMD’s latest Radeon graphics cards on this newest Linux driver to that of the latest NVIDIA GeForce GPUs on their respective newest driver.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Applications 17.12 Lands with Dolphin Enhancements, HiDPI Support for Okular

        KDE Applications 17.12 has been in development for the past several months and it’s now available as a drop-in replacement for the previous series of the software suite, KDE Applications 17.08, which reached end of life in early November. As expected, several of the included apps received various enhancements and new features in this release.

        Among these, we can mention that the Dolphin file manager is now capable of saving searches, can limit the search only to folders, makes renaming of files easier by allowing the user to simply double-click on the file name, displays extra information about files like origin URL of downloaded file or modification date, and introduces new Bitrate, Genre, and Release Year columns.

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Brings HiDPI Improvements, Rest Of KDE Games Ported To KF5
      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 17.12.0
      • Kdenlive 17.12.0 released

        We are happy to announce the latest Kdenlive version, part of the KDE Applications 17.12 release, making it the last major release using the current code base. This is a maintenance release focused on stability, while feature development is going in next year’s 18.04 version. Proxy clips were given some attention and should give you better seeking experience as well as reduced memory usage for images. Other fixes include fixes in timeline preview, a crash when using a Library clip and smoother seeking on rewind playback.

      • KDE Partition Manager 3.3 and future work

        KDE Partition Manager 3.3 is now ready. It includes some improvements for Btrfs, F2FS, NTFS file systems. I even landed the first bits of new LUKS2 on-disk format support, now KDE Partition Manager can display LUKS2 labels. More LUKS2 work will follow in KPM 3.4. There were changes in how LVM devices are detected. So now Calamares installer should be able to see LVM logical volumes. Once my pull request lands, Calamares should also support partitioning operations on LVM logical volumes (although Calamares would need more work before installation and booting from root file system on LVM works). KPMcore library now only depends on Tier 1 Frameworks instead of Tier 3 (although, we will later require Tier 2).

        Most of the work is now done in sfdisk branch. Currently, the only functional KDE Partition Manager backend uses libparted but sfdisk backend is now fully working (I would say RC quality). I would have merged in already but it requires util-linux 2.32 which is not yet released.

      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 17.12.0
      • KDE Applications 17.12 Brings HiDPI Improvements, Rest Of KDE Games Ported To KF5

        KDE Applications 17.12 is now available as the newest six-month update to this collection of KDE programs making use of KDE Frameworks 5.

        KDE Applications 17.12 was the cut-off point by which only KF5-programs are permitted while those still making use of KDE4 libraries were forced to be dropped. That cleansing took place and Juk, KImageMapEditor, KMix, KGet, Kolf, Sweeper, and others were among those that saw KF5 ports while some older programs were dropped from the collection — at least until seeing any KF5 port in the future.

      • Kdenlive Video Editor Issues Final Major Update on Old Codebase

        A new version of open-source video editor Kdenlive is available to download.

        Kdenlive 17.12.0 is something of a bittersweet release as it’s likely to be the final major release using the current Kdenlive codebase.

        Again, like the last few releases, this update is primarily focused on bug fixes and stability. In particular this update solves some niggling issues with proxy clips, with the team highlight ‘smoother seeking‘ and ‘reduced memory usage‘ as a result.

        Those of us you impatient for new features and major improvements will be pleased to hear that work on the next-generation Kdenlive is continuing apace. Kdenlive 18.04 is (as you might guess) tentatively scheduled for formal release in April of 2018.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Librsvg moves to Gitlab

        Librsvg now lives in GNOME’s Gitlab instance. You can access it here.

        Gitlab allows workflows similar to Github: you can create an account there, fork the librsvg repository, file bug reports, create merge requests… Hopefully this will make it nicer for contributors.

  • Distributions
    • The Best Linux Apps & Distros of 2017

      So join us (ideally with from a warm glass of something non-offensive and sweet) as we take a tart look backwards through some key releases from the past 12 months.

      This list is not presented in any sort of order, and all of the entries were sourced from YOUR feedback to the survey we shared earlier in the week. If your favourite release didn’t make the list, it’s because not enough people voted for it!

    • New Releases
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Etisalat Digital to add SUSE open source solutions

        Etisalat Digital is to add Linux and open source solutions to its managed services mix after signing a partnership to on-board SUSE solutions.

      • OrionVM Broadens Cloud Offering with Open Source Enterprise Support Partner SUSE

        OrionVM, an award-winning next-gen Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, today announced continued growth of the OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Platform with the addition of technology partner SUSE, the world’s first provider of an Enterprise Linux Distribution. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server represents the first open source enterprise supported Linux operating system on the OrionVM platform.

      • SUSE Rolls Out New Version Of Their In-Kernel Boot Splash Screen

        Back in October I wrote about SUSE working on a new, in-kernel bootsplash project. That work has yet to be mainlined but it looks like it’s still on track for going upstream in the future with the latest version now being released that addresses issues uncovered during review.

        SUSE is developing this in-kernel bootsplash program as an alternative to the user-space Plymouth and other programs. SUSE’s implementation runs off the FBCON frame-buffer console rather than DRM/KMS and they hope with it being in the kernel will prove to be more reliable. This in-kernel bootsplash can also allow hiding all kernel output and other differences compared to user-space implementations.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian 9 Complete Screenshot Tour

        The world’s most stable upstream Linux distro has just announced a point upgrade on its latest Debian 9 Stretch release. The latest version is 9.3, it comes with many corrections and improvements on the security front as well as some adjustments to cater for some other serious issues. The point release is not a new version of Debian 9 but only updates are added, so users do not need to throw away the old installation media as users can easily upgrade to an up-to-date system using an updated mirror.

      • Debsources now in sources.debian.org

        Debsources is a web application for publishing, browsing and searching an unpacked Debian source mirror on the Web. With Debsources, all the source code of every Debian release is available in https://sources.debian.org, both via an HTML user interface and a JSON API.

        This service was first offered in 2013 with the sources.debian.net instance, which was kindly hosted by IRILL, and is now becoming official under sources.debian.org, hosted on the Debian infrastructure.

      • Derivatives
        • Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distro to Get a New Look with Debonaire Desktop Theme

          Q4OS is a small GNU/Linux distribution based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE). It’s explicitly designed to make the Microsoft Windows to Linux transition accessible and more straightforward as possible for anyone.

          Dubbed Debonaire, the new desktop theme uses dark-ish elements for the window titlebar and panel. Somehow it resembles the look and feels of the acclaimed Arc GTK+ theme, and it makes the Q4OS operating system more modern than the standard look offered by the Trinity Desktop Environment.

        • Slax 9.3.0 beta ready for download

          I am almost ready to release the next Slax version. But before I do so, I would like to get some feedback on the current progress.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Mir 0.29.0 release

            We are pleased to announce that Mir 0.29.0 has been released and is available in Mir release PPA. There are builds for the supported Ubuntu releases (16.04 LTS “Xenial”, 17.04 “Zesty” and 17.10 “Artful”) .

            Mir 0.29.0 is in the process of uploading into Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic” (it should move out of “proposed” and into the main archive in about a week). If you need it sooner then a “Bionic” build is also available in the Mir release PPA.

          • Mir 0.29 Released To Improve Their Wayland Implementation

            The past few days Canonical’s Mir developers have been preparing their next milestone with pushing this display server along with Wayland protocol support and now that new “v0.29″ release is available.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” KDE released!

              Linux Mint 18.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Xfce released!

              Linux Mint 18.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Review: Best ‘Linux’ Distro for Beginners!

              Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon boots fast (even on a slow rotational disk), very stable (I haven’t seen any application crash in the past 3 days that I’ve been using it) and the level of responsiveness it has shown is top-notch, probably matched only by another Linux Mint! As far as the end user-experience is concerned, I’d say it’s the best ‘Linux’ distro for beginners, it certainly knows how to please the end-user… welcome to the HecticGeek‘s review of Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon edition.

              Few years ago Linux Mint changed their release strategy. They now rely on the core of Ubuntu LTS releases as the foundation for their operating system. As far as I can see, this is working great for them. Because Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) provides security & maintenance updates up to 5 years & it is already based on a solid foundation set by Ubuntu. This in tern gives Linux Mint developers enough space to ‘breath’ a little and fully concentrate on what they do best: development of their awesome desktop shell & other native Linux Mint user-applications.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ Boasts Updated Software Manager, Backup Tools
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 6 open source home automation tools

    The Internet of Things isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a reality that’s expanded rapidly since we last published a review article on home automation tools in 2016. In 2017, 26.5% of U.S. households already had some type of smart home technology in use; within five years that percentage is expected to double.

    With an ever-expanding number of devices available to help you automate, protect, and monitor your home, it has never been easier nor more tempting to try your hand at home automation. Whether you’re looking to control your HVAC system remotely, integrate a home theater, protect your home from theft, fire, or other threats, reduce your energy usage, or just control a few lights, there are countless devices available at your disposal.

  • New Open Source Tools Test for VPN Leaks

    ExpressVPN on Tuesday launched a suite of open source tools that let users test for vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy and security in virtual private networks.

    Released under an open source MIT License, they are the first-ever public tools to allow automated testing for leaks on VPNs, the company said. The tools are written primarily in Python, and available for download on Github.

  • Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

    One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (IA-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years.

    If you have the opportunity to switch to 64 bits, do it. But, to quote a mail I received recently from Peter Tribble, author of Tribblix: “[… ] in the developed world we assume that we can replace things; in some parts of the developing world older IA-32 systems are still the norm, with 64-bit being rare.”

  • An introduction to Joplin, an open source Evernote alternative

    Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices. The notes can be edited in Markdown, either from within the app or with your own text editor, and each application has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more. Any number of files, such as images and PDFs, can be attached to a note, and notes can also be tagged.

    I started developing Joplin when Evernote changed its pricing model and because I wanted my 4,000+ notes to be stored in a more open format, free of any proprietary solution. To that end, I have developed three Joplin applications, all under the MIT License: for desktop (Windows, MacOS, and Linux), for mobile (Android and iOS), and for the terminal (Windows, MacOS, and Linux). All the applications have similar user interfaces and can synchronize with each other. They are based on open standards and technologies including SQLite and JavaScript for the backend, and Terminal Kit (Node.js), Electron, and React Native for the three front ends.

  • Startup Aims to Build Open-Source Telecom Ecosystem on Blockchain

    There are 2,000+ mobile network operations in charge of providing communication services at global scale. However, the traditional infrastructure is centralized, inflexible and inaccurate. Common services like 3G/4G, Wi-Fi, BOSS mobile communications solutions and companies that use cloud-based communications solutions are often unable to render accurate content billing and distribution.

    Conventional mobile packages overcharge customers, not to mention that they pose concerns around data transmissions. An alternative solution to average mobile network providers could be Blockchain technology.

  • Merry Xmas, fellow code nerds: Avast open-sources decompiler

    Malware hunting biz and nautical jargon Avast has released its machine-code decompiler RetDec as open source, in the hope of arming like-minded haters of bad bytes and other technically inclined sorts with better analytical tools.

    As discussed as the recent Botconf 2017 in France earlier this month, RetDec provides a way to turn machine code – binary executables – back into an approximation of the original source code.

  • 10 open source predictions for 2018

    With 2017 just about done and dusted, dozens of open source experts have polished their crystal balls and made predictions about what can be expected in the open source space in 2018.

    Now it’s our turn. (With fingers firmly crossed) here are 10 open source trends that you may – or may not – see coming to the fore next year. Some are obvious, some are frivolous, and some could just change your life.

  • Stop Calling Everything “Open Source”: What “Open Source” Really Means

    “Open source” is an exciting concept in the world of software and beyond. But it shouldn’t be applied to contexts where it makes no sense.

  • GreenKey to join Symphony; open source voice software

    GreenKey, creator of patented voice software with integrated speech recognition designed for the financial markets, today announced the firm has joined the Symphony Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization fostering innovation in financial services through open source software (OSS).

  • GreenKey Joins the Symphony Software Foundation; Will Open Source Voice Software

    GreenKey, creator of patented voice software with integrated speech recognition designed for the financial markets, today announced the firm has joined the Symphony Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization fostering innovation in financial services through open source software (OSS). GreenKey will release a Community Edition of its voice software development kit (SDK) that will enable banks and other financial market firms to “voice enable” any web application.

  • Events
    • Ubucon Europe 2018 Ubuntu Conference Announced for 27-29 April in Xixón, Spain

      The organizers of the Ubucon Europe conference for Ubuntu Linux users, contributors and developers announced the official dates next year’s Ubucon Europe 2018 event.

      Don’t pack your bags just yet for the next Ubuntu conference, but at least you should mark your calendars for April 27, 28, and 29 of 2018, when the Ubucon Europe 2018 conference will take place. Where? The event will be held in Spain this time, in the city of Xixón, at the municipal facilities of Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto.

      “Ubucon Europe 2018 will be held this year in Xixón, Spain on 27, 28 and 29 April 2018 in the Spanish city of Xixón at the municipal facilities of the Antiguo Instituto. For further information please write to ubuconeurope2018 AT gmail.com,” wrote the organizers in a tweet earlier this morning.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox Focus Adds Quick Access Without Sacrificing Users’ Privacy

        It’s been a little over a year since we launched Firefox Focus. We’ve had tremendous success since then, we launched in 27+ languages, launched on Android, and hit over 1 million downloads on Android within the first month of launch.

        Today, we’re introducing a new feature: quicker access to your most visited sites, as well as the ability to add any search engine to your Focus app. They were the most requested items from our users and are aligned with our goals on what makes Focus so great.

        We know our users want choice and miss the convenience of having their favorite websites and search engines at their fingertips, but they don’t want to sacrifice their privacy. Since the moment we’ve built Focus, our goal has been to get our users quickly to the information and sites all while keeping their data safe from unwanted targeting.

  • SaaS/Back End
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Elementary LibreOffice

      Two months ago I start to finalize the existing Elementary icon theme for LibreOffice. It’s about 2.000 icons and now they are available in LibreOffice 6.0 beta. In addition all icons are available as svg file so it can be used and edit in an easy way.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeNAS 11.1 Provides Greater Performance and Cloud Integration

      The FreeNAS Development Team is excited and proud to present FreeNAS 11.1! FreeNAS 11.1 adds cloud integration, OpenZFS performance improvements, including the ability to prioritize resilvering operations, and preliminary Docker support to the world’s most popular software-defined storage operating system. This release includes an updated preview of the beta version of the new administrator graphical user interface, including the ability to select display themes. This post provides a brief overview of the new features.

      The base operating system has been updated to the STABLE version of FreeBSD 11.1, which adds new features, updated drivers, and the latest security fixes. Support for Intel® Xeon® Scalable Family processors, AMD Ryzen processors, and HBA 9400-91 has been added.

    • FreeNAS 11.1 Rolls Out With Better OpenZFS Performance, Docker Support
    • FreeBSD-Based TrueOS 17.12 Released

      The FreeBSD-based operating system TrueOS that’s formerly known as PC-BSD has put out their last stable update of 2017.

      TrueOS 17.12 is now available as the latest six-month stable update for this desktop-focused FreeBSD distribution that also offers a server flavor. TrueOS continues using OpenRC as its init system and this cycle they have continued improving their Qt5-based Lumina desktop environment, the Bhyve hypervisor is now supported in the TrueOS server install, improved removable device support, and more.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open source science: Scientists researching rice plant genetics agree to not file for patents

      The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support, awarded a $1 million Seeding Solutions grant to University of California, Davis (UC Davis) to study the genetics of rice plants. Together with researchers at the University of North Carolina and collaborators, the team will develop and implement a chemistry-driven gene discovery approach to identify genes that modulate root traits.

    • Lytro could open source their light-field photo sharing platform
    • Lytro considering open source light field photo sharing platform

      Lytro is reportedly considering an open source solution after announcing it would no longer support its sharing platform for Lytro cameras’ ‘living images.’

    • Open Data
      • When Waze Won’t Help, Palestinians Make Their Own Maps

        If you want to drive the 15 or so miles from Jerusalem to the city of Jericho, in the Palestinian Territories, Google Maps will tell you: “Can’t find a way there.” Waze will issue a warning: “Caution: This destination is in a high risk area or is prohibited to Israelis by law.” If you press “Confirm Drive” nonetheless, the app will direct you, just not all the way.

        When you pass from Israel into the West Bank, part of the occupied Palestinian Territories, Waze’s directions simply end. To keep going, you need to change your setting to allow access to “high risk” areas. Even then, GPS coverage tends to be limited.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Using Gmail with OAUTH2 in Linux and on an ESP8266

        One of the tasks I dread is configuring a web server to send email correctly via Gmail. The simplest way of sending emails is SMTP, and there are a number of scripts out there that provide a simple method to send mail that way with a minimum of configuration. There’s even PHP mail(), although it’s less than reliable.

  • Programming/Development
    • Diagnose and understand your app’s GPU behavior with GAPID
    • GAPID 1.0 Released As Google’s Cross-Platform Vulkan Debugger

      Back in March we wrote about GAPID as a new Google-developed Vulkan debugger in its early stages. Fast forward to today, GAPID 1.0 has been released for debugging Vulkan apps/games on Linux/Windows/Android as well as OpenGL ES on Android.

      GAPID is short for the Graphics API Debugger and allows for analyzing rendering and performance issues with ease using its GUI interface. GAPID also allows for easily experimenting with code changes to see their rendering impact and allows for offline debugging. GAPID has its own format and capturetrace utility for capturing traces of Vulkan (or GLES on Android too) programs for replaying later on with GAPID.

    • Hackable Text Editor Atom 1.23 Adds Better Compatibility for External Git Tools

      GitHub released Atom 1.23, the monthly update of the open-source and cross-platform hackable text editor application loved by numerous developers all over the world.

      Including a month’s worth of enhancements, Atom 1.23 comes with the ability for packages to register URI handler functions, which can be invoked whenever the user visits a URI that starts with “atom://package-name/,” and a new option to hide certain commands in the command palette when registering them via “atom.commands.add.”

      Atom 1.23 also improves the compatibility with external Git tools, as well as the performance of the editor by modifying the behavior of several APIs to no longer make callbacks more than once in a text buffer transaction. Along with Atom 1.23, GitHub also released Teletype 0.4.0, a tool that allows developers to collaborate simultaneously on multiple files.

    • #13: (Much) Faster Package (Re-)Installation via Binaries
    • RVowpalWabbit 0.0.10
    • Simplicity Before Generality, Use Before Reuse

      A common problem in component frameworks, class libraries, foundation services, and other infrastructure code is that many are designed to be general purpose without reference to concrete applications. This leads to a dizzying array of options and possibilities that are often unused or misused — or just not useful.

      Generally, developers work on specific systems; specifically, the quest for unbounded generality rarely serves them well (if at all). The best route to generality is through understanding known, specific examples, focusing on their essence to find an essential common solution. Simplicity through experience rather than generality through guesswork.

    • What Ruby Needs

      Of all of the questions we receive at RedMonk, one of the most common concerns programming languages. Whether from members of a given community or a commercial entity, the desire is to better understand a given language’s trajectory and the context around it. Is it going up or down, and what are the reasons for that direction? And, of course: can that direction be meaningfully changed?

      Recently, we’ve received several such inquiries around Ruby. For those with an interest in the language, then, the following is a quick public summary of the answers we’ve been providing privately.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • HTML 5.2 is done, HTML 5.3 is coming

      Today W3C releases HTML 5.2. This is the second revision of HTML5, following last year’s HTML 5.1 Recommendation. In 2014 we expressed a goal to produce a revision roughly every year; HTML 5.2 is a continuation of that commitment.

      This Recommendation like its predecessor provides an updated stable guide to what is HTML. In the past year there has been a significant cleanup of the specification. We have introduced some new features, and removed things that are no longer part of the modern Web Platform, or that never achieved broad interoperability. As always we have also fixed bugs in the specification, making sure it adapts to the changing reality of the Web.

      Many of the features added integrate other work done in W3C. The Payment Request API promises to make commerce on the Web far easier, reducing the risks of making a mistake or being caught by an unscrupulous operator. New security features such as Content Security Policy protect users more effectively, while new work incorporated from ARIA helps developers offer people with disabilities a good user experience of their applications.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • European Commission Kicks Off Open-Source Bug Bounty

      The European Commission has announced its first-ever bug bounty program, and is calling on hackers to find vulnerabilities in VLC, a popular open-source multimedia player loaded on every workstation at the Commission.

      The program has kicked off with a three-week, invitation-only session, after which it will be open to the public. Rewards include a minimum of $2,000 for critical severity bugs, especially remote code execution.

      High severity bugs such as code execution without user intervention, will start at $750. Medium severity bugs will start at a minimum of $300; these include code execution with user intervention, high-impact crashes and infinite loops. Low-severity bugs, like information leaks, crashes and the like, will pay out starting at $100.

    • Avast launches open-source decompiler for machine code

      Keeping up with the latest malware and virus threats is a daunting task, even for industry professionals. Any device connected to the Internet is a target for being infected and abused. In order to stop attacks from happening, there needs to be an understanding of how they work so that a prevention method can be developed.

      To help with the reverse engineering of malware, Avast has released an open-source version of its machine-code decompiler, RetDec, that has been under development for over seven years. RetDec supports a variety of architectures aside from those used on traditional desktops including ARM, PIC32, PowerPC and MIPS.

    • Avast makes ‘RetDec’ machine-code decompiler open source on GitHub

      Today, popular anti-virus and security company, Avast, announces that it too is contributing to the open source community. You see, it is releasing the code for its machine-code decompiler on GitHub. Called “RetDec,” the decompiler had been under development since 2011, originally by AVG — a company Avast bought in 2016.

    • The Intel ME vulnerabilities are a big deal for some people, harmless for most

      (Note: all discussion here is based on publicly disclosed information, and I am not speaking on behalf of my employers)

      I wrote about the potential impact of the most recent Intel ME vulnerabilities a couple of weeks ago. The details of the vulnerability were released last week, and it’s not absolutely the worst case scenario but it’s still pretty bad. The short version is that one of the (signed) pieces of early bringup code for the ME reads an unsigned file from flash and parses it. Providing a malformed file could result in a buffer overflow, and a moderately complicated exploit chain could be built that allowed the ME’s exploit mitigation features to be bypassed, resulting in arbitrary code execution on the ME.

      Getting this file into flash in the first place is the difficult bit. The ME region shouldn’t be writable at OS runtime, so the most practical way for an attacker to achieve this is to physically disassemble the machine and directly reprogram it. The AMT management interface may provide a vector for a remote attacker to achieve this – for this to be possible, AMT must be enabled and provisioned and the attacker must have valid credentials[1]. Most systems don’t have provisioned AMT, so most users don’t have to worry about this.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • NIST Releases New Cybersecurity Framework Draft
    • Researchers Create Chips That Are Unhackable and Virtually Indestructible

      Keeping critical information like your online banking login or credit card number out of the wrong hands is a crucial but difficult part of living in the age of the Internet. Installing antivirus software or using password lockboxes are probably security precautions that you’ve taken to keep yourself from becoming a cybercrime statistic. But organizations like the military have access to such sensitive information that these standard precautions just aren’t enough.

    • Starbucks Free WiFi ‘Caught Sucking Cryptocoins’ Off The Laptops Of Coffee Addicts

      Dunkin noticed a strange 10-second delay his laptop took while connecting to the WiFi. He later found a cryptocurrency mining code on his laptop.

      He was quick to bring the issue to the coffee brand’s attention via Twitter where Dunking also included a screenshot of the code he found.

    • Introducing bolt: Thunderbolt 3 security levels for GNU/Linux

      Today I released the first version 0.1 (aka “Accidentally Working”) of bolt, a system daemon that manages Thunderbolt 3 devices. It provides a D-Bus API to list devices, enroll them (authorize and store them in the local database) and forget them again (remove previously enrolled devices). It also emits signals if new devices are connected (or removed). During enrollment devices can be set to be automatically authorized as soon as they are connected. A command line tool, called boltctl, can be used to control the daemon and perform all the above mentioned tasks (see the man page of boltctl(1) for details).

    • Red Hat’s Latest Project: “Bolt” To Deal With Linux Thunderbolt Security

      “Bolt” is a new project by Red Hat / GNOME developers in dealing with Thunderbolt 3 security levels on Linux.

      With Thunderbolt allowing unfettered access to PCI Express, it’s super fast but opens up the plug-and-play port to DMA attacks and more. Thus with Thunderbolt 3 they introduced the concept of security levels, which Bolt is part of the equation for supporting this security feature on Linux.

    • Bolt Will Tackle Thunderbolt 3 Security on Linux

      Ah, you gotta love Red Hat — they’re never not busy working on something that might make our lives a little easier.

      Latest case in point: Thunderbolt 3.

      This alternative to USB and other peripheral port technologies (including the older Thunderbolt 2) is fast gaining traction in the tech industry (especially since Intel made it royalty free).

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Lavishing Money on the Pentagon

      It seems like it’s always Christmastime at the Pentagon where the stockings are full and budget-cutting is for those domestic social-program guys, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

      [...]

      President Trump this week signed into law a $700 billion blueprint for military spending in the current fiscal year. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act includes funding for more troops, more weapons, more interventions abroad, and more active wars, with Trump’s enthusiastic blessing. “We need our military,” he declared at a White House signing ceremony.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks recognised as a ‘media organisation’ by UK tribunal

      A British tribunal has recognised Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks as a “media organisation”, a point of contention with the United States, which is seeking to prosecute him and disputes his journalistic credentials.

      The issue of whether Assange is a journalist and publisher would almost certainly be one of the main battlegrounds in the event of the US seeking his extradition from the UK.

      The definition of WikiLeaks by the information tribunal, which is roughly equivalent to a court, could help Assange’s defence against extradition on press freedom grounds.

  • Finance
    • Theresa May suffers fresh humiliation as she loses key Brexit vote in Commons

      Theresa May was dealt her humiliating first Commons defeat over Brexit tonight.

      MPs whooped and applauded as she lost a crunch vote by 309 to 305, a majority of just four, to give MPs a “meaningful vote” on her final deal with Brussels.

      It is a blow to the Prime Minister as she jets to Brussels tomorrow to meet 27 EU leaders.

      They are set to sign off the first-round deal she struck with the EU Commission on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the divorce bill on Friday.

    • Russia or Corporate Tax Cuts: Which Would Comcast Rather MSNBC Cover?

      At the beginning of December, liberal TV hosts Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow—the anchors of MSNBC‘s primetime schedule—were confronted with ever-escalating breaking news. In the span of a week, from December 1 through December 7, President Donald Trump shrank two national monuments, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saw his travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court and possibly began to create his own spy network. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a tax “reform” bill that would radically restructure the US economy at the expense of poor and middle-class Americans, and climate change-fueled wildfires devastated Southern California.

      Yet on the days their shows aired during those seven days—the weekdays, December 1 and 4–7—both Hayes and Maddow bypassed all these stories to lead with minutiae from the ongoing Russia investigation that has consumed MSNBC‘s coverage like no other news event since the beginning of the Trump presidency. Topical news of the day, whether on legislation or natural disasters, took a backseat. The Comcast-owned network’s two most popular personalities used their position to focus endlessly on speculative coverage of Russia’s role in the 2016 election—devoting the bulk of each show’s 15-minutes opening segment to the story, at a minimum.

    • As Brexit dominates, its causes are being forgotten

      The Prime Minister seemed to recognise the need for urgent action last year when she announced from the steps of Downing Street her intention to tackle “burning injustice”. But look a bit closer at her language on that day, and you may spot the seeds of failure. “We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you,” she said. The emphasis was on “your talents” – implying that those who do not have whatever the passing whims of the modern economy deems ‘talent’ can “go whistle”, to adopt a phrase.

      [...]

      In a country which still has significant wealth, where people’s living standards are declining, and where our record on tackling poverty is at risk of unravelling, not making the most of the resources we already have looks increasingly perverse.

    • A Border Wall’s Uncompensated Victims

      One day several years ago, a crew of federal contractors turned up behind Melissa Solis’ family home, a modest house with white siding surrounded by fruit trees and farmland a few hundred yards from the Rio Grande. The workers cleared brush. They dug a deep trench. A pile driver sank steel deep into the ground.

      The work was disruptive, the noise a constant distraction for Solis and her parents. Snakes and cockroaches streamed inside to flee the construction. The foundation shifted, knocking doors askew. When it was over, the Department of Homeland Security had erected an 18-foot-high metal fence behind the house — a border barrier to stop people from illegally crossing the river from Mexico into the United States.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • NYT Prints Government-Funded Propaganda About Government-Funded Propaganda
    • What’s at Stake in Honduran Election

      For seven months in 1969, I hitch-hiked around the U.S., Mexico and Central America with my best friend from high school. Some class-mates from our school in Vancouver Canada saved their money then travelled to Europe or Australia but Ollie and I headed south. It was an eye-opening experience for two middle-class Canadians.

    • Alabama’s Effort to Suppress Black Vote Couldn’t Prevent Huge Turnout

      Some 1.3 million Alabamians – more than twice as many who voted in the primary – turned out to vote in Tuesday’s special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The turnout was extraordinary because it took place in a state that has a well-documented history of trying to suppress the vote of the very group that helped propel Doug Jones to victory.

      Alabama has a long record of suppressing the African-American vote. In the Jim Crow era, state authorities made it impossible for many Blacks to vote by requiring a literacy test. Courts long ago deemed literacy tests discriminatory and illegal, but today we still see barriers in Alabama that make it harder for people of color to cast a ballot.

    • Lobbying Registration Database Reporting Recipe

      It can seem like lobbyists run Washington from behind the scenes. But their work isn’t completely opaque: They’re required to register with the House and the Senate when they lobby for a new client.

      Our new lobbying database will help you cover Congress and the organizations that may try to influence lawmakers. We hope this new database will be helpful to a wide variety of people, from informed citizens and civic activists to journalists.

    • Lobbying Registration Database
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • LETTER: This definitely was not censorship

      Several news articles, letters, and an editorial in this paper have mischaracterized recent events as “…infringing on freedom of speech….” The focus of the sample letter by Cathy Cloutier was not suppression, as alleged, but a show of strong disapproval of the book’s promotion. This is not a subtle distinction.

      Indigo/Coles is the only game in town for new publications and their promotion of anything implies integrity. A well-researched book would have been a boon not only to the immediate debate about the effluent plant but to the future of all industry in Nova Scotia. I wish there was one.

    • Conviviality vs Censorship: On Media Freedom in Sri Lanka

      Under the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa between 2005 and 2015, government brutality and censorship towards the media in Sri Lanka reached new levels. This was to the extent that in the Reporters Without Borders’ Index of Press Freedom it was ranked 165 out of 170 countries in 2015 (up from 115 in 2005) of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist. Furthermore, in 2014 the island was declared the fourth most dangerous country in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ global index of journalists murdered with impunity.

      However, it would be wrong to see this as an exclusive period of censorship; to a certain extent this breakdown in conviviality began in the 1980s when the government suppressed the JVP insurgency through media censorship, threats of criminal defamation, coupled with disappearances and deaths. It continued with the beginning of the civil war in 1983 and was also brutal under Rajapaksa’s predecessor, President Kumaratunge. Although this authoritarian mode of governance was established earlier, it became increasingly violent during the decade of Rajapaksa’s presidency.

    • Censorship Still Alive and Well in Uzbekistan

      Since Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed the presidency of Uzbekistan 15 months ago, some important, if modest, signs of hope have emerged following decades of human rights abuses. But it’s a mixed picture.

      Look at freedom of expression and media. On one hand, registered media outlets in Uzbekistan have begun to cover politically sensitive topics: the popular Uzbek-language daily Kun.uz, for example, has written about officials forcing public sector workers and students to pick cotton, despite an official ban on such mobilization. Reporting on this would have been unthinkable under the late president, Islam Karimov.

    • Open Rights Group respond to news BBFC proposed as Age Verification regulator

      Responding to the news that the BBFC are in line to be appointed Age Verification regulator, Jim Killock Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

      “The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous. They are powerless to ensure people’s privacy.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Senator Calls on Courts to Increase Transparency of Surveillance Orders

      Federal courts must end the excessive secrecy surrounding law enforcement surveillance orders, a U.S. Senator urged in a letter on Friday. This secrecy block’s the public’s ability to fully understand how police conduct this surveillance, the lawmaker wrote.

      The letter, sent by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or), asks federal courts to enact several important reforms, including establishing uniform procedures for publicizing basic information about when and how often law enforcement seeks information about our communications and other data held by services such as cell phone companies, Internet service providers, and online platforms.

    • Don’t Reauthorize NSA Spying in a Must-Pass Funding Bill

      The next two weeks will be a flurry of activity in Congress. Before they can leave for the holidays, our government must—at minimum—pass at least one bill to keep the government running and also decide what to do about a controversial NSA spying authority called Section 702. Some legislators want to reauthorize Section 702, without meaningful reform, by attaching it to must-pass spending legislation. This is a terrible idea. The legislative process surrounding Section 702 already lacks necessary transparency and deliberation.

      The new legislative stratagem gets complicated very quickly. Here’s what you need to know.

    • NSA Agent Used His Government Computer–And Public Funds–On Adult Dating Sites

      Documents from the National Security Agency (“NSA”) show an unnamed NSA employee using his government provided computer–and therefore public funds–for a series of personal issues while on the job.

      Those issues include a love affair apparently carried out over the messaging system of an adult dating website.

    • Facebook admits that spending time on social media can make you feel worse

      They detailed research from University of Michigan, which found that students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than those who talked to friends or posted on the website.

      They also revealed how a study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average.

    • Facebook admits it poses mental health risk – but says using site more can help

      On Thursday, Chamath Palihapitiya, the former executive who criticized the company, walked back his comments, saying: “I genuinely believe that Facebook is a force for good in the world.”

    • Facebook says ‘passively consuming’ the News Feed will make you feel worse about yourself
    • Apple’s Face ID tech can’t tell two Chinese women apart

      However, a woman in China, known only is Yan, told the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp this week that her co-worker was able to unlock her iPhone X using the face-scanning tech despite having reconfigured the facial recognition settings multiple times

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Why does the U.S. government have to confiscate prisoner artwork from Guantanamo Bay?

      During the 14 years I spent cut off from the world in the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, I often found myself wondering whether people cared about the conditions under which I was being held. Since my release a little more than one year ago, I’ve been impressed by how many people do care — something that has been driven home to me again by the public reaction to reports of a change in policy toward artwork created by inmates in the prison. For several years, the U.S. government had a screening process that permitted artwork created by prisoners to be shared with family members and others outside the prison, but in November it announced it is no longer allowing prisoner art to be publicly released. As a result, these works can no longer be seen by anyone outside of Guantanamo. What’s more, the government has been saying that it owns the works of art and can destroy them if it wishes. I have been heartened by the individuals and organizations that have protested this cruel policy, as well as by the critical coverage in the U.S. and international press.

      But I can’t say that I was surprised by the news itself.

    • New Mexico Sheriff’s Office Pulls Over the Same Black Federal Agent — Three Times in a Month

      The ACLU of New Mexico sues the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for the racial profiling of an ICE agent.

      By the third time Sherese Crawford got pulled over, she knew it was no matter of coincidence.

      Crawford is a 38-year-old African-American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent recently on temporary assignment in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As part of her work, she was regularly required to rent a car and drive a lonely stretch of I-40 to travel between the ICE field office in Albuquerque and Milan, New Mexico. Over the course of less than a month, she was pulled over three times by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office — twice by the same deputy.

      In none of these stops was she given a warning or citation. Her only crime: driving while black.

    • The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse, mistakes and unfairness.

      The land agents started working the border between Texas and Mexico in the spring of 2007. Sometimes they were representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers. Other times they were officers from the U.S. Border Patrol, uniformed in green, guns tucked into side holsters. They visited tumbledown mobile homes and suburban houses with golf course views. They surveyed farms fecund with sugar cane, cotton and sorghum growing by the mud-brown Rio Grande. They delivered their blunt news to ranchers and farmers, sheet metal workers and university professors, auto mechanics and wealthy developers.

    • In Florida, the Racist War on Drugs Rages on

      A new report from The Sarasota-Herald Tribune has found that drug enforcement in Florida treats Black people much more severely than white people. This follows a Tribune report in 2015 exposing prejudice in Florida’s sentencing practices, showing that Blacks are punished with significantly longer prison sentences than whites convicted of the same crimes with similar facts.

      Disturbing? Absolutely. Unjust? Completely. Surprising? Not at all.

      The results of the Tribune’s investigation are sadly expected in America because the drug war has been a war against people of color since its inception decades ago. Data, studies, reports, and court decisions on stops, arrests, charges, pleas, and sentencing reach the same shameful conclusion: Blacks are treated far more harshly than whites.

      The report found that in drug cases, Black people spend two-thirds more time behind bars than white people. Blacks were almost three times more likely to be charged with committing crimes in “drug free” zones than whites , which enhances the severity of a sentence. Again unsurprisingly, Black people account for two-thirds of such enhanced convictions statewide. This is partly because in many urban areas, schools, churches, and public housing are closely spaced, such that entire Black communities – and not by coincidence – are deemed “drug free” zones in which drug offenses are subject to more draconian punishments.

    • A Backroom Deal Threatens to Weaken Real Police Reform in New York City

      On Tuesday, the New York City Council will vote on two police accountability bills. One represents real reform that will protect New Yorkers’ privacy rights when police ask to search them without probable cause. The other is faux reform that is the result of a backroom deal between powerful politicians and the New York Police Department.

      For more than five years, the two bills were collectively known as the Right to Know Act. Intro 541-C and Intro 182-D deal with improving communication and transparency during police stops and searches. 541-C, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, will require the NYPD to develop a policy that instructs officers to let people know when they have the right to refuse to be searched. And when they conduct a “consensual” search, officers will also have to get video or written proof that an individual consented.

    • Watchdog Agency Issues Report on ICE Abuse as Agency Seeks to Acquire New Detention Centers

      These findings are hardly a surprise. Many of the findings have been documented for years by advocates and those who are forced to endure the abusive conditions inside of ICE’s sprawling detention system. In the last month alone, there have been reports of sexual abuse at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas, the death of an Iranian man at the detention facility in Aurora, Colorado, and reports of atrocious conditions, including forcing female detainees to urinate or defecate in plastic bags inside their cells, at an immigration jail in Richmond, California. Sadly, these cases are only a few examples of the dangerous, sometimes deadly conditions that persist in ICE detention facilities.

    • Chicago Police Win Big When Appealing Discipline

      A secretive appeals system has been knocking down the punishments of Chicago police officers no matter how serious their misconduct, undercutting the results of lengthy investigations and layers of review long after the public believes the cases were concluded.

      In the first examination of its kind, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois found that 85 percent of disciplinary cases handled through the Chicago Police Department’s grievance process since 2010 led to officers receiving shorter suspensions or, in many cases, having their punishments overturned entirely.

      A suspension for punching a handcuffed arrestee, all caught on camera? Negotiable.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Farewell, AIM: AOL Instant Messenger has signed off permanently
    • Net neutrality is now officially on life support. Here’s what happens next.

      The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality, despite overwhelming public support for the regulation, which requires internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast to distribute internet access fairly and equally to everyone, regardless of how much they pay or where they’re located.

    • Net neutrality result: How did the FCC vote on the freedom of the internet?
    • What the Net Neutrality Repeal Means for Us

      The decision is likely to have major ramifications for consumers, online businesses and Internet service providers (ISPs). The existing regulations, put into place by Pai’s predecessor Tom Wheeler in 2015, codified longstanding Internet practice by explicitly requiring ISPs to treat all Internet traffic equally. In contrast to a cable provider, which can decide exactly what networks or services customers get for their monthly fee, ISPs are forbidden from discriminating among their customers. When you pay your fee to get online, you get everything. But under the new regime, a handful of the most powerful telecommunication companies in the U.S. – Comcast, Verizon, AT&T – will have unlimited freedom to slice and dice the Internet ecology as they please.

    • FCC’s Republican majority kills net neutrality

      Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King, both of Maine, joined Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., in calling on the federal agency to “hold hearings on the net neutrality issue” that has “significant implications for our entire economy, and therefore merits the most thorough, deliberate, and thoughtful process that can be provided.”

    • Net neutrality rules are dead. Will my Internet bills go up?
    • The end of net neutrality: What it all means

      As part of this shift, oversight of internet protections will shift from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission.

    • The FCC has created an ‘internet for the elite’

      While some on the FCC argue that the decision will boost economic growth, the only thing we know for certain is that eliminating net neutrality will make internet service look a lot more like cable TV. That’s good for a handful of corporations, but bad for just about everyone else.

    • Private Internet Access Statement On End of Net Neutrality
    • Motherboard & VICE Are Building a Community Internet Network

      To protect net neutrality, we need internet infrastructure that isn’t owned by big telecom.

    • US brings an end to net neutrality regulations

      And, as iTWire reported last month the repeal of the regulations could see ISPs given the power to charge websites large sums in order to be granted fast Internet access, whilst websites that do not pay the fees will have access to users slowed considerably.

    • The FCC Just Killed Net Neutrality. Now What?

      Most immediately, the activity will move to the courts, where the advocacy group Free Press, and probably others, will challenge the FCC’s decision. The most likely argument: that the commission’s decision violates federal laws barring agencies from crafting “arbitrary and capricious” regulations. After all, the FCC’s net neutrality rules were just passed in 2015. Activists and many members of Congress, including at least six Republicans, pushed for a delay in the vote, but apart from a brief delay due to a security issue, the vote occurred as planned.

    • The FCC’s Two Dissenting Voices Defend Net Neutrality To the End

      The agencies’s two Democratic commissioners, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, lashed out against the order during the FCC’s open meeting today.

    • FCC votes to kill net neutrality in an unsurprising move. What happens now?

      The impact on you at home: This is big. Net neutrality has prevented ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon from nickel-and-diming customers based on their Internet usage, or gouging Google to make sure YouTube isn’t throttled. But even more important than Netflix and Hulu HD streams is the access to information. Millions of people depend on the internet for basic services, and the repeal of net neutrality protection may threaten their access to it.

    • Ajit Pai is so cocky over net neutrality he’s dressing as Santa to take the p*ss
    • Net neutrality: How will US overhaul of internet laws affect the web?

      Net neutrality is the premise that customers are guaranteed an equal version of the internet. The repeal permits several tiers – allowing ISPs to charge more for quicker speeds and block websites belonging to customers who have not paid a premium.

    • FCC Repeals U.S. Net Neutrality Rules

      The FCC has repealed U.S. net neutrality rules. As a result of today’s vote, Internet providers have the freedom to restrict, or charge for, access to certain sites and services if they please. This also means that BitTorrent throttling and blocking could become commonplace once again, as it was a decade ago.

    • Net neutrality rules weakened by US regulator

      Restrictions on US broadband providers’ ability to prioritise one service’s data over another are to be reduced after a vote by a regulator.

    • FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules Amid Protests, Lawsuit Threats

      At the FCC meeting, Clyburn said that “the public can plainly see, that a soon-to-be-toothless FCC, is handing the keys to the Internet. The Internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime, over to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.

    • Gutting Net Neutrality Is the Trump Administration’s Most Brutal Blow to Democracy Yet

      This cannot be the end of a free and open Internet. Activists must fight on in the courts, in Congress, and in the streets.

    • The FCC Voted to Repeal Net Neutrality

      “They’d be given the legal authority and power to be able to block your websites. The’d be able to shuffle your traffic and manipulate it so it could goes toward services with whom they have a commercial relationship and close you off from services from those with whom you do not. It would allow them to set up tolls online for you, the consumer, to reach the content you want,” she told Teen Vogue. They will have the power to do this. Our laws will no longer prevent them from doing this because our laws will no longer require internet openness. They would have the power to carve the internet into fast and slow lanes and charge you to access sites who haven’t engaged in a pay-for-play relationship. [Internet bills] could very well go up.”

    • FCC Scraps Net Neutrality Rules in US

      Individual states will also be barred from enacting their own rules governing the internet.

    • What could happen to net neutrality

      In the immediate future, consumers will start to see more deals on their internet plans, including “zero-rating”

    • Trump’s FCC Nukes Network Neutrality: What Happens Now?

      Network neutrality is the principle that the companies that sell access to the internet (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) don’t get the power to influence how people use the internet — for example, by discriminating in favor or against certain data based on who is sending or receiving it, its purpose, or its content. Essentially, that means treating the internet like the utility it is: We don’t allow the phone company to decide whether to connect us to a relative based on their view of that relative’s politics. And our free access to all internet sites should be just the same.

    • Net Neutrality Repeal Is Only Part of Trump’s Surrender to Corporate Media

      The FCC is under attack—and so too is the First Amendment. As the primary regulator of how media and information gets to our nation’s citizens, the Federal Communications Commission has a critical role to play in protecting the open Internet, free speech, and free press in our democracy. Though the agency has always enjoyed a cozy relationship with the industries it regulates, ever since the Trump administration arrived in Washington, the FCC’s mission to preserve the public commons has been threatened, assaulted and torn asunder. And like a bad horror movie cliché, these calls to eviscerate the FCC have been coming from inside the agency.

      Repealing net neutrality has drawn a huge amount of public visibility—and rightly so—but that decision is just the latest in a string of ominous, industry-friendly giveaways by the Trump administration’s FCC. It has also rolled back local TV station ownership limits on media giants like Sinclair Broadcasting Group and rescinded the longtime “main studio” rule that required local stations to maintain community newsrooms and fostered more local journalism. And the agency’s leadership has begun a campaign to actively abdicate its enforcement mission and pass it over to the smaller, less well-funded Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which lacks the FCC’s deep industry knowledge and proactive regulatory power.

    • Comcast has been planning to ditch Net Neutrality principles for months
    • Documenting the laughable lies the FCC told at the hearing where it killed Net Neutrality

      The FCC is only allowed to change existing policies if they can show evidence of some change in facts, so at yesterday’s bomb-threat haunted hearing to destroy Net Neutrality, Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his Republican colleagues made a pro-forma recitation of the reasons justifying his extreme actions.

      These reasons were lies.

    • Donald Trump Jr. botches a basic net neutrality fact, and the internet lets him have it

      By getting a basic fact wrong while trying to blame Obama, Trump opened up the internet to ridicule him mercilessly — and that’s exactly what happened.

    • FCC faces legal battle after widely-condemned vote to repeal net neutrality
    • Net neutrality is dead — what happens next?

      Pro-neutrality groups are already preparing a legal challenge, arguing the order itself should be invalidated as illegal. With the draft text of Pai’s order already public, pro-neutrality lawyers like Public Knowledge’s Harold Feld have had plenty of time to plan. “The advantage of having seen a draft of the order first,” Feld says, “is that, as someone planning a judicial challenge, I’m pretty confident we will be successful.”

    • FCC chair: Net neutrality supporters ‘proven wrong’ day after repeal

      Pai went on to say that Kimmel and others were “proven wrong” by the fact that internet service providers (ISP) had not rolled out immediate changes Friday morning.

    • On eve of internet censorship vote, powerful AG uncovers explosive corruption scandal

      Raising grave new concerns about the process by which Donald Trump’s FCC is moving ahead to overturn net neutrality rules that protect consumer choice on the internet, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that millions of fake comments had been filed with the FCC in an effort to mimic grassroots support for internet censorship.

      The FCC’s vote on net neutrality is scheduled for Thursday, but Schneiderman is calling on the commission to delay it’s final decision until it can be determined who’s responsible for the massive scheme.

    • What is net neutrality? It protects us from corporate power

      This Thursday, Ajit Pai, Donald Trump’s choice to chair the Federal Communications Commission, will force a vote to repeal net neutrality protections for broadband providers. This is an important step backwards for our democracy. It will affect what consumers pay for broadband and what we can buy. More importantly, it will affect what we as citizens can say and to whom we can say it.

      In the age of Trump, a move to concentrate the power of speech in the hands of telecommunications giants whose financial fate depends on Republican political control is terrifying.

    • Majority of Tea Partiers Back Net Neutrality Principles, Polling Shows

      The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission on Thursday is widely expected to vote for a repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules. But the long-running drama surrounding the issue has revealed surprising pockets of support for the existing regulations — including majority support from tea party supporters and conservative voters.

    • Net Neutrality Repeal Would Hurt #MeToo Movement And Minority Women

      A federal government plan to roll-back an Obama-era internet rule designed to level the online playing field would result in censorship on the web that would disproportionately affect women and minorities, experts said.

      The Federal Communications Commission will vote Thursday to end so-called net neutrality, which ensures internet service providers give consumers equal access to all content and do not favor or discriminate against certain sources or users.

    • Team Internet Is Far From Done: What’s Next For Net Neutrality and How You Can Help

      Defying the facts, the law, and the will of millions of Americans, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality protections. It’s difficult to understate how radical the FCC’s decision was.

      The Internet has operated under formal and informal net neutrality principles for years. For the first time, the FCC has not only abdicated its role in enforcing those principles, it has rejected them altogether.

      Here’s the good news: the fight is far from over, and Team Internet has plenty of paths forward.

    • Today’s net neutrality vote – an unsurprising, unfortunate disappointment

      We are incredibly disappointed that the FCC voted this morning – along partisan lines – to remove protections for the open internet. This is the result of broken processes, broken politics, and broken policies. As we have said over and over, we’ll keep fighting for the open internet, and hope that politicians decide to protect their constituents rather than increase the power of ISPs.

    • ‘Don’t break the 21st century nervous system’

      In the USA, millions of people have risen up against the FCC, making an obscure realm of telecoms regulation into a central question of public debate. We are well past peak indifference, and now people are turning up on our doorsteps of their own accord, convinced that the net is worth fighting for and asking what they can do to help.

      This isn’t a fight you win. The internet is too great a prize to any entity that can seize control over it for it to ever be free from danger. This is a fight you commit yourself to, with eternal vigilance.

    • Can A VPN Bypass Net Neutrality Rollback And Throttling? — Here Are 3 Top Services To Help You
    • RIP Open Web: FCC Officially Votes To Kill Net Neutrality

      The past one year’s effort made by American citizens has been rejected by the Federal Communications Committee, headed by Ajit Pai, which has just voted to repeal the net neutrality rules established under the Obama administration. It looks like Christmas came pretty early for ISP giants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Korea FTC defends global scope of its Qualcomm penalties as US judge warns of an antitrust “race to the bottom”

      Of the recent competition rulings against Qualcomm, Korea’s seem to have gone the furthest in imposing global remedies on the chipmaker’s licensing practices. At a recent forum on antitrust extraterritoriality, Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia criticised this approach, saying it sets a precedent that the most restrictive antitrust regime should apply globally. But in a written statement, the Korean Free Trade Commission (KFTC) has defended its Qualcomm decision at length, signaling it will not back down from imposing global correctives.

      The exchange, if it can be called that, took place at a roundtable hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The event was off-the-record and closed to the public, but the slides presented by Ginsburg and the written submission prepared by the Korean government can both be accessed online.

    • New ABA Opinion of Particular Interest

      A lawyer may be adverse to a former client, but not in the same matter in which she represented the client, or in one which is “substantially related” to the representation of the former client. Generally, this requires determining whether it is reasonably likely that in the representation, the lawyer likely learned confidential information that likely can be used against the former client now.

    • Intellectual Property Rights In Trade – To Be Rethought?

      After two decades of intellectual property regimes in trade agreements, one could have some second thoughts, according to a number of panellists at the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium, organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and held alongside the 11th World Trade Organization Ministerial in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week.

    • Trademarks
      • We are all FUCT

        The Federal Circuit has ruled that trademark law’s bar against registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. Thus, on appeal the court has reversed the TTAB’s holding that Bruneti’s mark FUCT is unregistrable.

      • Federal Circuit’s Brunetti ruling: barring immoral or scandalous marks unconstitutional

        The Federal Circuit has overturned the TTAB’s rejection of a trademark application for the “FUCT”, ruling that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s bar on registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

    • Copyrights
      • Cable Reveals Extent Of Lapdoggery From Swedish Govt On Copyright Monopoly

        Among the treasure troves of recently released WikiLeaks cables, we find one whose significance has bypassed Swedish media. In short: every law proposal, every ordinance, and every governmental report hostile to the net, youth, and civil liberties here in Sweden in recent years have been commissioned by the US government and industry interests.

        I can understand that the significance has been missed, because it takes a whole lot of knowledge in this domain to recognize the topics discussed. When you do, however, you realize that the cable lists orders for the Swedish Government to implement a series of measures that significantly weakens Sweden’s competitive advantage in the IT field against the US. We had concluded this was the case, but had believed things had come from a large number of different sources. That was wrong. It was all coordinated, and the Swedish Government had received a checklist to tick off. The Government is described in the cables as “fully on board”.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Battle Suffers High Court Setback

        As Kim Dotcom continues his fight to avoid extradition to the United States, the entrepreneur suffered a setback this morning. Siding with the US government in a ruling published this morning, Justice Brewer at the New Zealand High Court rejected seven out of eight arguments put forward by the entrepreneur for judicial review.

Patrick Corcoran is Innocent, Yet Battistelli Will/May Have the Power to Sack Him Next Month (in DG1)

Thursday 14th of December 2017 08:22:53 AM

It’s Benoît Battistelli who ought to be sacked

Summary: The EPO’s Administrative Council does not want to even mention Patrick Corcoran, as merely bringing that up might lead to the suggestion that Benoît Battistelli should be fired (yes, they can fire him), but to set the record straight, at the EPO truth-tellers are punished and those whom they expose are shielded by the Administrative Council

THIS will be the last article about the EPO (until the weekend when we return home). We wish to clarify something quite important now that false claims are surfacing and we’ve heard predictions regarding DG1 from several independent sources.

Based on German law, nothing that Judge Corcoran did (or is alleged to have done) is illegal. It’s also true that Battistelli did not have the powers to do to Corcoran what he did 3 years ago. The only guilty party here is therefore Battistelli.

“Based on German law, nothing that Judge Corcoran did (or is alleged to have done) is illegal.”The EPO continues to say absolutely nothing about it, as we noted last night when we wrote about the false claim and the silencing campaign (supported even by Dr. Ernst now, much to our regret but in lieu with our low expectations from him).

EPO-friendly media has just mentioned “EPO report on trends in European patents on smart connected objects,” but not a word (at all!) has been said about the latest scandals. So much for media and journalism, eh?

Anyway, here is an important new comment that responds to a common misconception:

“The I[L]O has singularly failed to say that Mr Corcoran is innocent of the accusations made against him.”

There is, however, another independent instance which had the opportunity to review the accusations against Mr. Corcoran. As reported in a post by Kluwer Patent Blog:

“Mr. Corcoran has not only won his cases before the ILO, but also before the Regional Court of Munich and the Office of the State Prosecutor in Munich. This is at least what Mr. Corcoran’s attorney told JuVe: [...] “The two ILOAT judgments and several decisions of the Regional Court of Munich and the State Prosecutor of Munich have confirmed without any doubt that Mr. Battistelli’s accusations against my client are unfounded.”)”

So, for the German law he is innocent.

If everything Corcoran said was true (or he believed to be true/factual), then he did not violate German law. Battistelli and his Croatian ‘bulldog’ simply engage in classic legal bullying against him. It’s strategic. It’s SLAPP. They tried it on me as well, several times in fact. My excellent lawyer, David Allen Green, explained to them repeatedly that they could not do what they were doing. In fact, I could probably sue them for these threats, but they enjoy immunity. In other words, they misuse their immunity to also bully the media, knowing that they can get away with such suppression of reporting (regarding their abuses).

“Battistelli has not only ruined the EPO; he’s also ruining his beloved UPC and if he ever makes it into the dictionary, “Battistelli” will become synonymous with not-so-flattering things.”The latest comment asks: “Can an employee of DG1 who was previously appointed by the AC to a position in DG3 be disciplined by the President for “offences” committed whilst a member of DG3? We can perhaps speculate whether the current President has precisely this scenario in mind as an effective way of wiping away all of the problems stemming from the manner in which Mr Corcoran was “disciplined” whilst in DG3.”

We certainly hope (and we happen to know) that ILO and Germany are watching all this. Battistelli has not only ruined the EPO; he’s also ruining his beloved UPC and if he ever makes it into the dictionary, “Battistelli” will become synonymous with not-so-flattering things.

Patent Trolls Are Going Bust in the United States (Along With the ‘Protection’ Racket Conglomerates)

Thursday 14th of December 2017 07:39:18 AM

Summary: RPX continues its gradual collapse and patent trolls fail to find leverage now that software patents are kaput and patent opportunists struggle to access Texan courts

THE demise of patent trolling in the United States is measurable, e.g. based on number of filings/lawsuits. Nobody disputes that patent trolls were on the decline even before TC Heartland, which will further accelerate this demise. Quite a few trolls went bust. We wrote about that.

The collapse of several major trolls means lack of demand for so-called ‘protection’ (for the rich) from trolls. In fact, by its very nature, RPX requires a climate of fear and litigation in order for it to gain money, so it’s no surprise that RPX has been dying for a while. Executives were leaving. There was turmoil. Now, based on IAM, RPX is up for sale. It’s not good news for RPX; rather it’s indicative of a failure, shortly after RPX pondered China as a contingency plan. To quote:

Amster was replaced by former General Counsel Marty Roberts amid a spate of senior changes at the company including former executive vice president Mallun Yen’s elevation to the board.

[...]

In 2016 the company’s leadership was thrust into the spotlight when activist investor Mangrove Capital Partners wrote an excoriating letter to RPX’s board criticising management and calling for significant cost-cutting measures. Mangrove’s letter also referred to RPX’s 2015 acquisition of discovery management business Inventus Solutions for $232 million as a “costly mistake”. At the time of RPX’s offer, Inventus was the subject of private equity interest and some critics privately contend that the patent business paid too much. That might mean that any successful bidder would look to quickly dispose of the Inventus business to free up some cash to pay down acquisition debt.

The demise of software patents means the end of various patent trolls, many of which rely purely on such patents. RPost is the latest example (a patent troll that had products many moons ago) and here’s a new report about its loss in court:

Scottsdale-based GoDaddy Inc. received a final win today in a lengthy patent infringement case that sets a precedent for similar “patent troll” claims against other technology companies.

The win came after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a patent litigation case this morning between GoDaddy and RPost Communications Ltd., the Los Angeles-based creator of the RMail secure and certified electronic communications company that also is a patent-holding company.

RPost claimed GoDaddy’s email marketing product infringed on a broad patent regarding how email works, including how email bounces back when sent to an address that is no longer active.

We expect — as already noted at the top — TC Heartland to have a profound impact and to deal a final blow to practices such as these. Relying purely on patents (when there’s no product to offer) makes one a troll and offers no benefit to society or even to industry.

IBM’s Manny Schecter is Wrong Again and He is Attempting to Justify Patent Trolling

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 11:42:57 PM

Published last week: Famed Journalist Dan Gillmor Calls IBM the Inventor of Patent Trolling

Summary: In yet another dodgy effort to undermine the US Supreme Court and bring back software patents, IBM’s “chief patent counsel” (his current job title) expresses views that are bunk or “alternative facts”

TECHRIGHTS used to be very supportive of IBM. In fact, IBM used to be helpful to Free software, open standards, and GNU/Linux (especially at the back end and high-performance computing). But that was IBM a decade ago, managed by other people and adhering to different principles/strategies.

Do not be misled by what IBM used to be.

“In several areas/domains of technology IBM does nothing but patent predation.”IBM is attempting to attack/discredit Alice. It’s doing it like no other company does. IBM’s Manny Schecter, who is in charge of patents, says Alice is bad “because if the company fails, the investor must leverage its patent assets to return the investment.”

“Because if the company fails, it has to be turned into a troll” is how the FFII’s President translated/interpreted that. Yes, a troll. Like IBM right now… even some veteran technology journalists now call IBM a “troll”. In several areas/domains of technology IBM does nothing but patent predation.

Manny Schecter is an exceptionally harmful public face. It’s no good for IBM. Even if his tweets and talks he is attempting to distance from his employer, his expression of his own views is a projection of IBM policies. He’s not a low-level engineer; he’s management. Top-level management.

“How low is IBM willing to sink in an effort to shore up software patents?”IBM rapidly became a liar of a company. It’s so eager to blackmail new/small companies and its Patent Chief (or whatever they call him these days, putting aside fancy job titles) just makes them look vile. We used to support IBM, but now we just hope that IBM goes bust soon. The sooner, the better. Its activities on the patent front are ruinous and they concern a growing number of developers.

Regarding IBM’s (or Schecter’s) position, well… first of all, for a massive company to pretend to care for and speak for small companies is laughable or at least dubious. IBM attacks several such companies. Secondly, Alice made many such companies safer from trolls, hence a safer investment. Thankfully, WIPR decided to assess Schecter’s claims. Unfortunately, the article is quoting/citing extremists.

Here are portions from that article:

The number of venture capital (VC) investment rounds in technology companies has nearly halved, according to merchant bank Magister Advisors, sparking debate about the causes behind the decline.

Some commentators have discussed whether Alice v CLS Bank has played any role in this.

Citing data and research firm PitchBook, Magister Advisors noted that since 2014, the number of VC rounds in technology companies worldwide has fallen from 19,000 to 10,000.

For Manny Schecter, chief patent counsel at IBM, this decrease may correlate with the US Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Alice. The decision led to an increase the number of patents being invalidated under section 101.

In early December this year, WIPR noticed a tweet from Schecter, who linked to a TechCrunch article written by Magister Advisors’ Victor Basta, and decided to investigate.

[...]

Chris Behrenbruch, CEO of radiopharmaceutical company Telix Pharmaceuticals, who replied to Schecter’s tweet, offered a different view.

“I don’t think it’s nefarious—it’s just fund-raising cycles. A lot of VC was raised back in 2006-2008 and then the impact of the financial crisis significantly reduced capital raised during 2009-13,” he said.

It’s rather sad that a company which prides itself on science cannot get something so fundamental right. In fact, even on the surface alone these claims that it’s Alice which harmed investment smell funny.

How low is IBM willing to sink in an effort to shore up software patents?

EPO Administrative Council Disallows Discussion About Violations of the Law by Benoît Battistelli

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 10:39:35 PM

Summary: The EPO crisis is not ending for the Administrative Council does not want to tackle any of the obvious problems; Patrick Corcoran is a taboo subject and Ernst is coming across as another protector of Benoît Battistelli, based on today’s meeting (the second meeting he chairs)

TEAM Battistelli continues to reinforce negative perceptions about itself. It’s not only abusive but also oppressive when it comes to free speech. So far this week the EPO has said absolutely nothing about the meeting of the Administrative Council (perhaps preferring for nobody to pay attention). It obviously said nothing at all about the protest. The latter is at least understandable.

“So far this week the EPO has said absolutely nothing about the meeting of the Administrative Council (perhaps preferring for nobody to pay attention).”We’ve been tracking quite closely how the EPO‘s media strategy developed/(d)evolved so far this week and how it worked throughout the day. What it did today is noteworthy as the EPO does, in our assessment, at least subconsciously hide the discrimination against SMEs, the declining patent quality, the likely death of the UPC and so on. Earlier today the EPO was pushing its UPC ‘study’ (that it corrupted academia for) and #IPforSMEs. This is consistent with what has been happening for about a month.

The EPO’s day, however, began with the latest distraction from the latest scandal. It’s their PR strategy. They’re on fire and they try to get people to look away from the flames. The EPO retweeted people first thing in the morning [1, 2, 3] to distract from the major scandals. It’s just their PR stunt (intended to shift attention). The EPO’s PR team added its own to the mix later in the day [1, 2]. Nothing at all about the meeting. So much for “news” from the EPO…

“The EPO’s day, however, began with the latest distraction from the latest scandal.”Thankfully we heard from some insiders that Ernst, chairing the Council’s meeting, did what we expected him to do all along. The EPO “staff representation tried to speak about Patrick Corcoran,” a source told us. “Chairman would not allow him to speak…”

Moreover, based on what a source told us, Corcoran “is not reappointed and is in DG1 from January. Unlikely he lasts long. German constitutional court will be watching. ILO too.”

So this post of ours (making a “claim”) turns out to have been correct all along. We could not confirm it at the time, but the same information is mentioned here too: (new comment)

A non-renewal under these circumstances seems to be problematic in itself.
The disciplinary procedures have not been finished, and the decision to not reappoint has been taken while the disciplinary procedures were running.
This sounds like all ingredients for a hidden disciplinary measure are present, which would again fail to meet the requirements of the EPC and the Service Regulations.

IMHO, a reappointment (possibly under conditions) must be done while disciplinary proceedings are still ongoing.

But he is not on the list the President of the BoA published now.

This story will continue, as the poor chap will now fall under the authority of the president of the EPO as of 1. of January 2018, being an examiner again.

We have heard it from three sources so far, so it’s likely true (unless they have all been fed from the same source). Any documents relating to this would be greatly appreciated.

“Any documents relating to this would be greatly appreciated.”Merpel is alive again. At long last. There was a post this morning and it notes that the fate of Corcoran might not be good:

The problem is, however, that Mr Corcoran has not been reinstated. As further reported by the Irish Times, when Mr Corcoran went to the EPO “last Thursday afternoon he was refused admission and was told the ILO’s judgments had not yet been implemented”.

This is however perhaps not as simple as it may appear. Because the appealed suspensions were not the end of the matter. The Administrative Council repeatedly sought, and failed to achieve, from the Enlarged Board of Appeal, a proposal for Mr Corcoran’s removal from office. That is the only manner, according to Article 23(1) of the European Patent Convention, that a Board of Appeal member can be sacked while in service. But Board of Appeal members are appointed for 5 years, and their appointment can be not renewed. Tucked away in the Report on the 152nd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (available here) from 28 and 29 June 2017 is the innocuous-looking paragraph:

“The Council also decided to reappoint 12 members of the Boards of Appeal, and not to reappoint any other person, hence following the reasoned opinion of the President of the Boards of Appeal. It further agreed to the procedure for designating the deputy of the President of the Boards of Appeal in the future, and took note of the intended procedure to handle after-service activities of former board members.”

The phrase “and not to reappoint any other person, hence following the reasoned opinion of the President of the Boards of Appeal” is understood by Merpel to mean that the new (and first-ever under the new arrangements for the governance of the Boards of Appeal) President of the Boards of Appeal has proposed Mr Corcoran’s non-reappointment and the Administrative Council has accordingly not reappointed him. This seems to leave him in legal limbo – if the EPO declines to readmit him, Mr Corcoran may have to appeal yet again to the ILO-AT in regard to this latest decision.

“Noticeable that they are very narrow decisions,” the first comment noted. The following is not correct: “The IPO has singularly failed to say that Mr Corcoran is innocent of the accusations made against him. If I made similar pseudonymous posts against the CEO and a deputy CEO of the company I worked for, I would fully expect to be sacked immediately. So would anyone at any other company. But the CEO and deputy CEO would stay out of it and leave it to someone else. As a result my sacking would stick. No-one comes well out of this sorry story.”

The EPO is not a company with a CEO and the appeal boards are not subservient to the Office. An EPO insider, moreover, responded to (or refuted) the above by saying/quoting (perhaps Corcoran’s/SUEPO’s lawyer): “The two ILOAT judgments and several decisions of the Regional Court of Munich and the State Prosecutor of Munich have confirmed without any doubt that Mr. Battistelli’s accusations against my client are unfounded.”… So, for the German law he is innocent.”

“The whole situation is a travesty which ought to be noticed (and then noted) by the German constitutional court.”Notice the next comment, which says: “Could the issue be that the BoA member, after initially having suspended by the President, was removed from his duties by the AC and therefore cannot be reinstated until the AC reconvene?”

We’re leaving until the weekend. We depart quite soon (Christmas party far away from home), so this may be the last EPO post for a while. We won’t be able to cover day 2.

For information about today’s protest see this short report from World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR). Here’s a portion:

Staff members at the European Patent Office (EPO) are holding a demonstration at the EPO’s Munich office today.

The EPO’s Administrative Council is meeting today and tomorrow, December 14, also in Munich.

One of the items on the agenda is the reinstatement of a suspended EPO Board of Appeals judge to his former post.

The International Labour Organization’s Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) handed down five decisions last week, with two of the judgments ordering the “immediate reinstatement” of the judge, who had been suspended because of alleged misconduct.

The reinstatement looks like it’s temporary and as we said this morning, he's incapable of doing any meaningful work. The whole situation is a travesty which ought to be noticed (and then noted) by the German constitutional court.

Links 13/12/2017: GIMP 2.9.8, Fedora 25 End Of Life, AltOS 1.8.3

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 08:48:46 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • What Open Means to OpenStack

    In his keynote at OpenStack Summit in Australia, Jonathan Bryce (Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation) stressed on the meaning of both “Open” and “Stack” in the name of the project and focused on the importance of collaboration within the OpenStack ecosystem.

    OpenStack has enjoyed unprecedented success since its early days. It has excited the IT industry about applications at scale and created new ways to consume cloud. The adoption rate of OpenStack and the growth of its community exceeded even the biggest open source project on the planet, Linux. In its short life of 6 years, OpenStack has achieved more than Linux did in a similar time span.

    So, why does OpenStack need to redefine the meaning of the project and stress collaboration? Why now?

    “We have reached a point where the technology has proven itself,” said Mark Collier, the CTO of the OpenStack Foundation. “You have seen all the massive use case of OpenStack all around the globe.”

  • Asynchronous decision-making: Helping remote teams succeed

    In contrast, asynchronous decision-making, which is often used in large open source projects—for example, at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), where I’m most active—provides an efficient way for teams to move forward with minimal meetings. Many open source projects involve only a few meetings each year (and some none at all), yet development teams consistently produce high-quality software.

  • Events
    • Linux Foundation Continues to Emphasize Diversity and Inclusiveness at Events

      This has been a pivotal year for Linux Foundation events. Our largest gatherings, which include Open Source Summit, Embedded Linux Conference, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Open Networking Summit, and Cloud Foundry Summit, attracted a combined 25,000 people from 4,500 different organizations globally. Attendance was up 25 percent over 2016.

      Linux Foundation events are often the only time that developers, maintainers, and other pros who contribute to Linux and other critical open source projects — like AGL, Kubernetes and Hyperledger to name a few — get together in person. Face-to-face meetings are crucial because they speed collaboration, engagement and innovation, improving the sustainability of projects over time.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Early Returns on Firefox Quantum Point to Growth

        When we set out to launch Firefox Quantum earlier this year, we knew we had a hugely improved product. It not only felt faster — with a look and feel that tested off the charts — it was measurably faster. Thanks to multiple changes under the hood, we doubled Firefox’s speed while using 30% less memory than Chrome.

        In less than a month, Firefox Quantum has already been installed by over 170M people around the world. We’re just getting started and early returns are super encouraging.

      • Mozilla Joins Net Neutrality Blackout for ‘Break the Internet’ Day

        We’re joining with others across the web — from Github and Reddit to Etsy and Imgur — for a Break the Internet Day of Action. The idea: to show how broadly we all value an open internet. And to ask Americans to call their members of Congress and urge them to stop the FCC’s plan to end net neutrality.

  • Databases
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • I’m Brian Fox, Author of the Bash Shell, and This Is How I Work

      Brian Fox is a titan of open source software. As the first employee of Richard Stallman’s Free Software Foundation, he wrote several core GNU components, including the GNU Bash shell. Now he’s a board member of the National Association of Voting Officials and co-founder of Orchid Labs, which delivers uncensored and private internet access to users like those behind China’s firewall. We talked to him about his career and how he works.

  • Public Services/Government
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Know Before You Grow: Proprietary Transportation Systems and Open Source Software Risk

      We live in the era of gig economies and e-commerce, where supply chains are evolving before our eyes due in part to the speed of technological innovation. All transportation and logistics services are under pressure to deliver highly analytic data-rich solutions in addition to freight. The challenge to gain advantage through information technology systems, let alone to remain competitive, is often met through “homegrown” proprietary IT solutions in addition to those many options available on the market.

      Developing proprietary IT systems, whether for core operating systems or customer-facing applications, can be a costly endeavor and therefore the speed and cost of development tend to be areas of concern. Most IT systems today contain what is known as open source software because using open source is generally much more cost-effective than developing entirely from scratch. While using open source software is advantageous in some ways, it also carries certain risks that must be navigated in order to achieve and protect the full potential of a homegrown system.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • How a maker with Type I diabetes led an open source project to create a free-as-in-code artificial pancreas

        Dana Lewis kickstarted the Open Artificial Pancreas System (previously) by trying to solve her own problems with monitoring her glucose levels, calculating insulin doses, and administering them around the clock — an onerous task that her life depended on, which disrupted her sleep and challenged her to make reliable calculations regarding dangerous substances while her blood-sugar levels were troughing or spiking.

      • LTE NB Internet Of Things Open Source Arduino Shield

        An open-source LTE shield equipped with SIMCOM’s SIM7000-series modules combined with the latest LTE CAT-M technology has been created by Hackaday member Timothy Woo to enable Arduino users to easily connect low-power Internet of Things devices to next-generation cellular technology!

Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • WHO, World Bank Say Half The World Population Cannot Access Essential Health Services

      According to a report released today by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, at least half the world’s population is lacking access to essential health services. Out of pocket expenses related to health care are pushing millions of people into extreme poverty each year, the report says. Both organisations say they are committed to working with countries to increase access to essential health services.

    • Medicines Patent Pool Expands Its Patent Database To Cancer Treatments

      The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced today that MedsPaL, its database of information on the patent and licensing status of selected HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis medicines, now extends to patented treatments on the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. New patents data include medicines for leukaemia, breast cancer and other cancer indications.

      MedsPaL now covers 6,800 national patent applications in more than 110 countries for more than 70 priority treatments, according to a press release. Patent information has been added for seven medications: bendamustine, bevacizumab, dasatinib, imatinib, nilotinib, rituximab and trastuzumab, “as a first step in incorporating additional data on patented medicines on the WHO’s EML [Essential Medicines List],” according to the release.

  • Security
    • Language bugs infest downstream software, fuzzer finds

      Developers working in secure development guidelines can still be bitten by upstream bugs in the languages they use.

      That’s the conclusion of research presented last week at Black Hat Europe by IOActive’s Fernando Arnaboldi.

      As Arnaboldi wrote in his Black Hat Europe paper [PDF]: “software developers may unknowingly include code in an application that can be used in a way that the designer did not foresee. Some of these behaviors pose a security risk to applications that were securely developed according to guidelines.”

    • Kaspersky Antivirus Engine Causing BSOD on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

      Despite the criticism it received in the United States and in the United Kingdom, Kaspersky continues to be one of the leading security vendors for Windows users across the world, with its software protecting millions of systems powered by Microsoft’s OS.

      But it turns out that some of those whose computers were running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Kaspersky Internet Security 2018 have been hit by a bug causing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) since earlier this month.

      BornCity reveals that the issue first appeared earlier this month when some users complained of a BSOD on Windows 10 build 16299.98, which indicates that these systems were running the latest version of the OS with cumulative update KB4051963.

    • ROBOT Attack

      ROBOT is the return of a 19-year-old vulnerability that allows performing RSA decryption and signing operations with the private key of a TLS server.

    • ROBOT Attack: 19-Year-Old Bug Returns With More Power To Target Facebook & Paypal

      The attack can compromise a website’s RSA encryption by decrypting the data using the private key of the TLS server. It was possible because of the vulnerability present in the RSA algorithm used in SSL protocol, exploited by Bleichenbacher.

    • Intel Adding ‘Hardware Lock’ To Prevent ME Chip Hacking In Future

      While you might be thinking about the ways to get rid of the secret (flawed) ME chip Intel puts insider its processors, the silicon giant has announced their plans to prevent the ME chip from getting hacked in the future.

    • NIST Releases Second Draft to Cybersecurity Framework, ANSI Encourages Stakeholders to Comment

      The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued the second draft of the proposed update to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity—also known as the Cybersecurity Framework. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages all relevant stakeholders to submit draft comments to NIST by the deadline on Friday, January 19, 2018.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Trump’s Lethal Decision on Jerusalem

      Protests have broken out across the Middle East against President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — and Western critics complain that the move adds one more brick in the wall against the prospects for peace.

      Professor Francis Boyle, who teaches international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and served as a long-time legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), calls Trump’s announcement a “symbolic but still critical step in Israeli designs to control not just Jerusalem, but all of historic Palestine.” I spoke with Boyle on Dec. 6.

    • Trump, N. Korea & the Phony ‘Terror List’

      In an effort to further tighten the screws on North Korea in what is likely to be another failed U.S. attempt to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program, President Trump put that country back on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism. North Korea will join Iran, Sudan and Syria on the list. In response, North Korea has conducted another ballistic missile test.

    • North Korea’s Understandable Fears

      Like Pavlov’s dog, the mainstream media slobbers predicable reactions every time North Korea launches another test missile. Listening to the blather one would think that once Kim Jong Un has a missile capable of reaching the U.S., he is going to use it in an unprovoked nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland killing millions of Americans.

    • Silencing of Courageous Documentaries

      In the U.S., I first understood the power of the documentary during the editing of my first film, The Quiet Mutiny. In the commentary, I make reference to a chicken, which my crew and I encountered while on patrol with American soldiers in Vietnam.

    • Trump’s Illegal Syrian Mission Creep

      The other day we learned that there are four times more U.S. troops in Syria than any earlier official figure had acknowledged. The discrepancy did not get much public attention, perhaps because the numbers are small compared to some other U.S. military deployments: about 2,000 troops in Syria, with the earlier official figure being 500.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • We Still Don’t Know Why Three Different Outlets “Confirmed” the Same Bogus Russia Story Last Week

      Referring to erroneous reports that the Trump campaign received a file of hacked emails ten days before it was posted on Wikileaks in September 2016, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote this weekend that last Friday was “one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time.” While Greenwald’s rhetoric about the American press is often harsh even by leftist-intellectual standards, it’s hard to say he is wrong about this. Let’s review:

      • CNN reported Friday morning that Donald Trump Jr. and his father received an email on Sept. 4, 2016 which would have allowed them to access hacked Democratic emails that weren’t posted by Wikileaks until Sept. 13. CNN’s report was based on “multiple sources,” and would have been huge news—evidence of the Trumps being given an early look at material that, it’s believed, was originally obtained by Russian intelligence operatives.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Watchdogs Say US Chemical Safety Board Is “Flying Blind”

      In the early hours of August 31, explosions erupted at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, where floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey had cut off the power supply to refrigerated containers containing organic peroxide. Residences in a 1.5-mile radius had been evacuated, and deputies manning barricades began falling ill in the middle of the road one by one. Medics were called, but no further warning was given as columns of black smoke filled the air.

      Arkema knew the fires were coming — organic peroxides burst into flames unless they are kept cool — but company officials had insisted in a press conference prior to the explosions that the chemicals were not toxic or harmful to people, according to a lawsuit filed in September by emergency workers injured at the scene.

  • Finance
    • Apple Just Bought Shazam. Here’s What We Know
    • Merkel ally says Brexit talks have raised UK support for second referendum

      A key ally of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has claimed that a growing awareness of the damaging terms of a future Brexit deal has led to a rise in support in the UK for a second referendum on EU membership.

      Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest party in the European parliament, said a row over the ineligibility of Britain’s cities in the European capital of culture competition was just the latest example of the UK’s losses hitting home.

      “An opinion poll showed 50% of the British people are in favour of a new referendum,” Weber, who leads the centre-right European People’s party, told MEPs in Strasbourg. “The British people realise that Brexit means losing many things, but not gaining anything.”

    • What Is Litecoin? How Has It Beaten Bitcoin’s Growth To Reach All-time High?

      Before knowing about Litecoin and its exponential growth, I’d like to tell you about the term “Altcoin.” As its name tries to give away (alt + coin), altcoins are the alternative digital coins that mushroomed on the scene after Bitcoin’s success. This was inevitable. A notable feature of all the altcoins is that they try to pose themselves as a better option with more features.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Women Accusing Donald Trump of Sexual Abuse Call for Congressional Probe

      In New York, three of the 16 women who have publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual abuse called on Congress Monday to investigate the president. In a press conference in Manhattan, the women shared accounts in which they said Trump groped, fondled or otherwise made unwanted sexual advances toward them. This is Rachel Crooks, who says Trump forcibly kissed her against her will in 2005.

    • [Older] Donald Trump’s mother asked: ‘What kind of son have I created?’

      Mary Trump, the Scottish-born mother of the US President who died in 2000, is reported to have been acutely embarrassed by the antics of her fourth child during the 1990s when his failing marriage and business were the subject of intense tabloid scrutiny.

      Born as the 10th child of the MacLeod family on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis in 1912, Ms Trump was raised in a strict Presbyterian, Gaelic speaking household.

      [...]

      Psychologists who are analysing the President behaviour have wondered whether his thin skin, need for praise and poor treatment of women – particularly those who stand up to him – stems from his relationship with his mother.

      Prudence Gourguechon, from the American Psychoanalytic Association, told Politico: “I’m not talking specifically about any individual, including the president, or his mother”.

    • Alabama Supreme Court stays judge’s order to preserve voting records in Senate election

      The Alabama Supreme Court has reportedly stayed a lower court’s order to election officials that would have required the preservation of voting records in Tuesday’s Senate special election.

      A circuit judge on Monday ordered election officials to set voting machines to save all digital ballot images, which would preserve voting records in the event of a recount.

      Alabama’s AL.com said Tuesday morning that the state’s Supreme Court had blocked the order.

      A group of four Alabama voters filed a lawsuit last Thursday arguing that the state is required by law to preserve the images. The voters’ attorney, Priscilla Duncan, said that the circuit judge’s order would protect votes if there were an “election challenge.”
      “People think that when they mark the ballots and they go into the machine that that’s what counted,” Duncan told AL.com. “But it’s not, the paper ballot is not what’s counted. That ballot is scanned and they destroy [the ballots] after the election.”

    • Trump’s Mining Regulator Nominee Was Once Dropped by the Agency for Doing “Junk” Work

      President Donald Trump’s choice to head a federal coal mine regulator, like more than one of his nominees, is a vocal critic of the very agency he’s being asked to lead. Steven Gardner is a longtime coal industry consultant, and he has called the agency’s marquee Obama-era regulation the product of “one of the most disingenuous and dishonest efforts put forward by a government agency.”

      But in Gardner’s case, there is an unusual — and contentious — twist: He runs an engineering firm that produced a report as part of the process of preparing that regulation, and the agency deemed it so shoddy that it cut ties with Gardner’s company. Now he’s the nominee to head that agency, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. (In broad terms, OSMRE — pronounced “oz-muhr” — focuses on mining’s effect on the environment, while the other key regulator, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, focuses on the welfare of miners.)

    • Pedestrian Tickets Lead to Hundreds of Suspended Driver’s Licenses

      More than half the 2,000 people who received pedestrian tickets in Duval County, Florida, from 2012 to 2016 saw their driver’s licenses suspended or their ability to obtain one limited, according to an analysis by the Florida Times-Union and ProPublica.

      The tickets, which carry what can seem like a modest $65 fine, can have more significant consequences for those who get them and refuse to pay or are unable to do so.

      Over five years, a total of 2,004 pedestrian tickets were issued in Duval County, which is comprised almost entirely by the city of Jacksonville. Of those tickets, 982 people who failed or were unable to pay the fine lost their driver’s licenses or their ability to obtain one, according to the analysis.

      The license suspensions help answer a question at the center of a Times-Union/ProPublica investigation of pedestrian tickets in Jacksonville: What are the consequences for individuals swept up in the Jacksonville Sheriff Office’s aggressive enforcement of some two dozen often obscure pedestrian statutes?

      Last month, the Times-Union/ProPublica investigation showed that 55 percent of the tickets given in recent years went to blacks despite the fact that they make up only 29 percent of the city’s population. Blacks were similarly overrepresented in the 932 tickets that led to license suspensions — 54 percent.

      As of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, three elected officials on the body have called on Sheriff Mike Williams to order his officers to stop writing pedestrian tickets. Council member Garrett Dennis asked the Office of General Counsel to review what authority the council had to compel him to do so. In addition to voicing her support for that measure, council member Katrina Brown asked for a noticed meeting focused on pedestrian infrastructure and enforcement.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Censorship as False Morality

      The most recent attempt at censorship came from a petition started by Mia Merrill. Merrill complained about a painting that’s housed at the Metropolitan Art Gallery titled Thérèse Dreaming by a Polish-French painter known as Balthus.

      In the petition, Merrill states that the painting “is an evocative portrait of a prepubescent girl relaxing on a chair with her legs up and underwear exposed.” She goes on to say that the image is “disturbing,” and that Balthus “had a noted infatuation with pubescent girls,” and finally, that “given the current climate around sexual assault and allegations,” the gallery is “perhaps, unintentionally, supporting voyeurism and the objectification of children.” Merrill claims that she’s “not asking for this painting to be censored,” but only for the gallery to consider the “implications” of having such a painting on display.

    • Pittsburgh Councilmember Again Faces Allegations Of Social Media Censorship

      The ACLU of Pennsylvania is again confronting Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris for allegedly censoring a constituent on her new official Facebook page.

      In a letter to the city solicitor Tuesday, the civil liberties organization accused Harris of deleting a post on her official page that included a link to the Facebook group, “Citizens Against Darlene Harris for Pittsburgh City Council.”

    • Meet Canada’s pro-censorship librarians (and their surprising supporters) [Ed: The far right props up the lie that censorship comes only from the "left"]

      Hate is a natural human emotion. It’s not illegal. In fact, it is part of our freedom of thought and belief. Just don’t commit a crime while you’re expressing it.

    • Sudan papers go online for freedom from censors

      Seated in his Khartoum office overlooking the Blue Nile, Sudanese journalist Adil al-Baz no longer fears a crackdown by security agents over his articles since he launched an online newspaper.

      “We are free to publish what we want on our online newspaper,” Baz, a former print newspaper editor, told AFP at the office of Al-Ahdath, the website he launched this year.

      In a country of increasing media censorship, Baz is among several independent journalists who have left newspaper jobs and launched online papers or websites.

    • Theresa May told to make Mark Zuckerburg a national censor

      Reacting to Theresa May’s proposal to make social media companies liable for content, Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group said:

      “This is an attempt to make Mark Zuckerberg a national censor.

      “Facebook and Twitter will censor legal material because they are scared of fines. They are the worst people to judge right and wrong. Theresa May is in danger of removing people’s right to a proper legal decision.”

    • Why China’s Internet Censorship Model Will Prevail Over Russia’s

      Over the last few years, China and Russia have been quietly exporting their models of online information controls through the supply of surveillance and censorship equipment, as well as providing training in the latest information control techniques. However, Beijing and Moscow differ considerably in the way they control information online, and these differences will determine which is more popular with authoritarian regimes in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

      Despots, dictators, and autocrats will pick the model they prefer using two criteria: the ambition of the censorship system (e.g. how much information can a system filter) and the technology and services required to maintain the system. China’s model outcompetes Russia’s model in both categories.

    • Balochistan activists accuse London Mayor of censorship

      LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has been criticised over his office banning an ad campaign relating to a conflict-ridden region in Pakistan.

      The #FreeBalochistan adverts were displayed on London taxis and buses to highlight alleged “war crimes and human rights abuses”, but were later removed by Transport for London (TfL) for allegedly breaching advertising guidelines.

    • Saudi lifts ban on movies but what role will censorship play?
    • Saudis rejoice after decades-long ban on cinemas lifted
    • Saudi Arabia to lift 35-year ban on cinemas
    • The Art of Escaping Censorship

      Three recent documentaries track the ingenious ways that banned literature, films, and music circulated in the Soviet Union.

    • African girls march against Google and Facebook censorship

      About 200 young girls marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday to demand that Google and Facebook respect African culture.

      Organised by local media company TV Yabantu‚ the march was to pressure social media platforms to stop censoring African cultural content. Lazi Dlamini said the companies are insulting African culture and women as they continue to remove cultural videos and images that feature bare-breasted women on their platforms.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • FISC Assurances on Spying Leave Too Many Questions Unanswered

      Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced questions from the House Judiciary Committee about how his department is implementing one of the government’s most powerful surveillance tools. Despite repeated bipartisan requests, Director Wray refused to tell the Members of the Committee how many Americans have been impacted by Section 702, enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act. This isn’t the first time the FBI has refused to answer to Congress.

      EFF has long held that Section 702 is being used to violate the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Section 702 authorizes the acquisition of foreign intelligence information; however, because many Americans communicate with foreign persons outside the United States every day, our communications are also being captured and read without a warrant.

    • ACLU Complaint Warns of Privacy Risks From Kobach’s Voter Data Scheme

      The man at the helm of the White House’s voter suppression efforts has a terrible record that just keeps getting worse.

      The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project today amended our complaint in ACLU v. Donald Trump, our lawsuit against the White House’s voter suppression commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

      In addition to the ACLU’s existing transparency and fair balance claims, the amended complaint charges that the commission has acted arbitrarily and outside the scope of its legal authority. In making its unprecedented decision to aggregate the personal data of every registered voter in the United States, the commission failed to properly consider, for example, the cybersecurity and privacy implications of compiling this sensitive data. In addition, investigating records of individual voters goes well beyond the commission’s mandate to study and make recommendations concerning registration and voting processes.

      Kobach’s record on this matter is extremely troubling. His prized voter monitoring system, Crosscheck, which stores millions of voter files and is ostensibly meant to stop people from voting in more than one state, has serious defects. It not only produces erroneous findings, but it is also open to massive security risks.

      Gizmodo found that “the records passing through the Crosscheck system have been stored on a server in Arkansas operating on a network rife with security flaws” and that “multiple sets of login credentials” have been compromised. ProPublica similarly discovered that security vulnerabilities, like hosting files on an insecure server and sharing login credentials over email, “could imperil the safety of millions of peoples’ records.” And security analysts warned in a recent court brief that Kobach’s plan to collect millions of files containing voters’ personal information “would constitute a treasure trove for malicious actors.”

    • The Internet Went Crazy Over a Sex Toy App “Secretly” Recording Lovemaking

      Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense received some bad publicity the past weekend after someone on reddit accused the company of secretly recording users’ lovemaking sessions with the mobile app allowing for remote controlling of its vibrators.

      Basically, reddit user /u/tydoctor claimed he came across a .3gp file stored on his device that was “a full audio recording 6 minutes long of the last time I had used the app to control my SO’s remote control vibrator.” This way, the user claimed, Lovesense secretly created audio recordings of the sex sessions, obviously making people believe that the company was actually spying on people.

      And since spying is quite a hot topic these days, it’s ten times worse when it involves anything related to sex, so the discussion rapidly made the rounds, with more than 200 users chiming in and debating how and why Lovsense creates the audio recording.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • New York City Takes on Algorithmic Discrimination

      The city will create a task force to review its agencies’ use of algorithms and the policy issues they implicate.

      Invisible algorithms increasingly shape the world we live in, and not always for the better. Unfortunately, few mechanisms are in place to ensure they’re not causing more harm than good.

      That might finally be changing: A first-in-the-nation bill, passed yesterday in New York City, offers a way to help ensure the computer codes that governments use to make decisions are serving justice rather than inequality.

      Computer algorithms are a series of steps or instructions designed to perform a specific task or solve a particular problem. Algorithms inform decisions that affect many aspects of society. These days, they can determine which school a child can attend, whether a person will be offered credit from a bank, what products are advertised to consumer, and whether someone will receive an interview for a job. Government officials also use them to predict where crimes will take place, who is likely to commit a crime and whether someone should be allowed out of jail on bail.

    • ‘You’re Fucked’: The Acquittal of Officer Brailsford and the Crisis of Police Impunity

      The execution of Daniel Shaver demonstrates the importance of police training.

      Two words stick in my mind when I think of the video of Daniel Shaver begging for his life before he was shot and killed by Officer Philip Brailsford of the Police Department in Mesa, Arizona. The two words were written on the dust cover of the AR-15 rifle Braisford used to kill Shaver:

      “You’re fucked.”

      We have seen this movie before. Daniel Shaver was not armed or committing any crime when was he shot to death by Brailsford. Like many previous police shooting videos, this one shows police behaving much more aggressively than Mr. Shaver. And like previous videos, a jury acquitted the officer of all criminal charges. But this video showed us two things about policing culture in America that stand out. First, the video shows Shaver begging for his life while he tried to follow contradictory instructions screamed at him by an officer. And Shaver was white.

      Shaver had a job killing pests. Sometimes he used a pellet gun to get the job done, and he was seen holding the gun by people at the hotel. When the police were called, they were told a man had a gun so they had to be careful.

      I get it. But how far does that information take us?

    • Tough-on-Crime Prosecutors Are Out of Step With Public Views

      The ACLU polled likely voters and found strong support for prosecutors committed to criminal justice reform.

      “Mass incarceration is a myth.” Racial bias in the criminal justice system “is the most ludicrous concept ever.” Data on sexual assault prosecutions should be kept secret because it might be “misinterpreted by the public.”

      These are all real quotes from elected prosecutors, the most powerful people in the criminal justice system. There are approximately 2,400 elected prosecutors in America, and these views may well be common among them. But the public appears to be moving away from these misconceptions.

      A first-of-its-kind poll conducted by the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice shows that voters of every persuasion across the United States — in red states and in blue states alike — strongly prefer elected prosecutors who are committed to reducing incarceration, tackling racial disparities, and being transparent.

      Approximately nine out of 10 likely voters surveyed said that it was important for their prosecutor to prioritize alternatives to incarceration. This includes 83 percent of Republicans polled. Eighty-eight percent of voters also said they were more likely to support a prosecutor who actively works to reduce racial bias in the criminal justice system. And 91 percent want prosecutors to reduce sentences in instances where people were treated unequally because of their race. Respondents also want a prosecutor who makes a commitment to transparency, with 85 percent favoring a prosecutor who shares data and policies with the public.

    • U.N. expert says torture persists at Guantanamo Bay; U.S. denies

      The U.S. Department of Defense denied the allegation, saying there was no credible evidence to support it.

      Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said he had information that Ammar al-Baluchi – accused of being a co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks on the United States – was being subjected to treatment that is banned under international law.

      “His torture and ill-treatment are reported to continue,” a statement from the U.N. human rights office said, without giving details of the source of Melzer’s information.

      “In addition to the long-term effects of past torture, noise and vibrations are reportedly still being used against him, resulting in constant sleep deprivation and related physical and mental disorders, for which he allegedly does not receive adequate medical attention,” it said.

    • Ferguson’s School Board Elections Dilute the African-American Vote

      The Ferguson-Florissant School District was born out of a 1975 federal desegregation order, intended to remedy effects of historical discrimination against African-American students.

      Yet, as recently as 2014, the school board was all white, and its members had not had a racial make-up that reflects the district’s population in the 12 years prior. Slightly less than half of the voting-age residents of the district are African-American, as are roughly 80 percent of the students who attend the public schools. While some African-American candidates have been elected to the school board in the last few years, recent victories do not erase the district’s long history of racial exclusion and inequality.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • 100 million Americans live in areas where every single ISP has admitted to violating net neutrality
    • The FCC’s Democratic commissioners on net neutrality vote: ‘We have a mess on our hands’

      Regardless, the rollback is expected to pass by a 3-2 margin on party lines. In separate phone interviews conducted last week, The Verge spoke with commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel about this week’s vote, and what happens next.

      Interviews were conducted separately. They have been condensed and edited.

    • Requiem for an Internet Dream

      The dream of the Internet is dying. Killed by its children. We have barely noticed its demise and done even less to save it.

      It was a dream of openness, of unprecedented technological and social freedom to connect and innovate. Whilst expressed in technology, it was a dream that was, in essence, political and social. A dream of equality of opportunity, of equality of standing, and of liberty. A world where anyone could connect and almost everyone did.

      No-one controlled or owned the Internet; no one person or group decided who got on it or who didn’t. It was open to all.

    • Net Neutrality: How a Repeal Could Kill the Careers of Indie Musicians

      Repeal will corporatize selection too. A free and open Internet has allowed independent artists like Sturgill Simpson, Drive-By Truckers and Chance the Rapper to grow and cultivate a fan base on their own terms, and for fans to find them. But if Net Neutrality goes away, not only will access to discovery platforms be limited, corporations and providers will have the opportunity to boost artists that have deals with their brands instead. And since the Internet is such an important vehicle behind the genre-less creativity in today’s music – artists grow up with near universal access to music from every corner of the globe through the Web – the end of Net Neutrality could mean more music that is culturally myopic in scope.

    • More than 100 Million Americans Can Only Get Internet Service from Companies That Have Violated Net Neutrality

      This is a problem faced by millions of Americans, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Local Self Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for equitable development and local government rule. Based on the Federal Communications Commission’s own data, the ILSR found that 129 million Americans only have one option for broadband internet service in their area, which equals about 40 percent of the country.

    • Net neutrality repeal means you’re going to hate your cable company even more

      No one wanted to see big service providers turn the Internet into the cable industry, with its high prices and relatively few choices. But that’s what’s about to happen.

    • Internet Governance Forum Next Week: Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data On Agenda

      The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will open in Geneva next week. The United Nations entity, which presents itself as a free electron of internet governance, will host a large number of sessions addressing pressing issues of the digital world, including big data, cyber security, and artificial intelligence. Discussions held at the forum will enhance understanding of the broad issue of internet governance, and help hold actors accountable.

      The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will take place from 18-21 December on the theme “Shape Your Digital Future.” This is the first time the IGF is being held in Geneva, which is the home of the IGF secretariat.

  • DRM
    • Why Linux HDCP isn’t the end of the world

      Recently, Sean Paul from Google’s ChromeOS team, submitted a patch series to enable HDCP support for the Intel display driver. HDCP – or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection to its parents – is used to encrypt content over HDMI and DisplayPort links, which can only be decoded by trusted devices.

      HDCP is typically used to protect high-quality content. A source device will try to negotiate a HDCP link with its downstream receiver such as your TV or a frame-capture device. If a HDCP link can be negotiated, the pixel content will be encrypted over the wire and decrypted by the trusted downstream device. If a HDCP link cannot be successfully negotiated and pixel data remains unencrypted, the typical behaviour is to fall back to a lower resolution, or quality that is in some way less desirable to capture.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Idea for finding all public domain movies in the USA

        While looking at the scanned copies for the copyright renewal entries for movies published in the USA, an idea occurred to me. The number of renewals are so few per year, it should be fairly quick to transcribe them all and add references to the corresponding IMDB title ID. This would give the (presumably) complete list of movies published 28 years earlier that did _not_ enter the public domain for the transcribed year. By fetching the list of USA movies published 28 years earlier and subtract the movies with renewals, we should be left with movies registered in IMDB that are now in the public domain. For the year 1955 (which is the one I have looked at the most), the total number of pages to transcribe is 21. For the 28 years from 1950 to 1978, it should be in the range 500-600 pages. It is just a few days of work, and spread among a small group of people it should be doable in a few weeks of spare time.

      • How The US Pushed Sweden to Take Down The Pirate Bay

        A series of documents released by the US Department of State have revealed how Sweden was pressed to take action against The Pirate Bay. According to US officials, this directly led to law enforcement’s decision to shut down the torrent site more than ten years ago. Sweden, meanwhile, avoided a spot on the feared US Trade Representative’s 301 Watch List.

Judge Corcoran Got His User ID/Desk Back (as ILO Asked), But Cannot Perform Actual Work

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 09:40:54 AM

Summary: The latest update regarding Patrick Corcoran, whose 3-year ordeal is far from over in spite of ILO’s unambiguous rulings in his favour

THINGS are worse than widely believed. We are a couple of hours away from EPO staff protests and there’s no indication that justice will be respected. Well, what we have here is minimal “perception” of independence and minimal “perception” of compliance with the ruling.

“How can anyone decide to not go to protest today?”Corcoran can go into the Haar building, based on a source, but no other building. He has a room, desk, and chair. No phone. No computer. No office equipment. Delegates to Administrative Council have been told anyone in HR who challenges a decision, e.g. at ILO, is disloyal. People with cases at ILO are told by HR that even if they win, EPO will ignore it.

How can anyone decide to not go to protest today?

The End of Software Patents and PTAB’s Role in Enforcing That End

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 12:47:53 AM

It’s finally finished

Summary: Software patents are fast becoming a dying breed and the appeal board (PTAB) of the USPTO accelerates this trend, irrespective of patent immunity attempts

A FEW hours ago Patently-O carried on with its Alice-bashing cartoons, showing the site’s overt support for software patents and growing fear of Alice. It will soon be 4 years since that decision, which earlier today was recalled within this article about ‘apps’. Notice the Alice part:

Utility patents protect inventions for a term of twenty years from filing. The good news is that apps are treated no differently than other types of software inventions, and can thus be protected by utility patents. The bad news, however, is that apps are treated no differently than other types of software, and are thus subject to the same undefined and poorly understood “abstract idea” exception to patentability created by the Supreme Court in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. Since the 2014 Alice decision, many software patents were invalidated, and many patent applications were rejected, for being directed to abstract ideas. But not all software inventions are abstract ideas, and applications on software continue to be allowed, and patents on software continue to be sustained.

The more time goes on, the stronger Alice will become. It has not been effectively challenged by anything. Earlier today FatPipe again showed off its “patents for software-defined networks,” perhaps not realising how silly those patents look in light of Alice.

“4 years ago we could only dream that software patents would be invalidated at this scale and efficiency.”Also revealed earlier today was this PTAB decision citing Alice and doing the usual. Basically it’s like a daily routine. PTAB has just eliminated an abstract patent (yet again) [PDF] and the patent booster responded with “PTAB Rejects Patent Application Directed to Tracking Changes in Patent Ownership with 101/Alice” (abstract).

There’s no escaping PTAB either. As Managing IP pointed out this afternoon, Allergan’s “scammer” is trying to claim otherwise:

The lawyer behind Allergan’s controversial transfer of patents to a Native American tribe says others are “lining up to do deals”. But, Michael Loney asks, will the PTAB rule that sovereign immunity applies in these types of deals?

No. In fact, courts/judges and politicians already move to close the potential loophole. Nobody will be exempted from PTAB, hence any software patent ever granted (and not expired yet) can be subjected to elimination at any time (subject to petition or “IPR” as they call it).

It’s pleasing to see just how quickly things can change. 4 years ago we could only dream that software patents would be invalidated at this scale and efficiency.

No, China Isn’t Most Innovative, It’s Just Granting a Lot of Low-Quality Patents

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 12:16:11 AM

Strategic move from Xi, even if a short-sighted and misguided one (attracts trolls)


From “sewed in China” to “sued in China”

Summary: Patent extremists are trying to make China look like a role model or a success story because China grants far too many patents, spurring an explosion in litigation

Patents and innovation are not the same thing. Everybody knows that, especially patent examiners (not officials). At IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, facts don’t matter. Earlier today it published the headline “US innovation rates could quadruple if women, low-earners and minorities effectively targeted, research finds” (a questionable headline in its own right). So I opened the source paper and the said study does not correspond/agree with IAM’s claims. They should know that patents and innovation are not the same thing and hypothetical assertions aren’t facts (and the paper mentions patents, which correlate/relate to wealth, not innovation). But leaving that aside for a moment (it’s a new IAM writer, they lost a lot of staff lately), let’s consider the other blog post IAM published today. Composed by a more senior writer who advocates patent chaos in China, the post admits that patent “infringement cases in China are skyrocketing,” including many from patent trolls (like those IAM cheers for).

Is this actually a good thing? Self harm, destruction, legal battles and tax in the form of legal bills come to mind. It’s like the United States a decade ago. Before it sobered up and regained some sanity.

“Self harm, destruction, legal battles and tax in the form of legal bills come to mind.”Looking at Watchtroll, another patent extremist, earlier today it published a post titled “WIPO Stats on Patent Application Filings Shows China Continuing to Lead the World” (leading in what? Feuds?).

As we said a week ago, this WIPO data actually shows China granting rubbish patents. That’s over-patenting. WIPO does not weigh these numbers based on quality and SIPO alone received over a million patent applications last year (for the sake of comparison, the US has about 10 million patents since inception a very, very long time ago).

Intellectual dishonesty, in the name of profit, runs deep in the patent microcosm. They try to use “China!” to shame Western countries into a regime of patent maximalism, wherein just about everything that exists (even nature itself) gets patented. Yes, the EPO actually grants patents on life. It would be material of comedy if it wasn’t so real!

“When too many patents get granted nobody is happy except lawyers and attorneys.”Earlier today Managing IP (slightly more moderate than IAM) published this paywalled article wherein “Guanyang Yao and Qi Hu discuss recent cases, issues and developments in patent damages awards in China…”

It’s all about litigation. When I was younger China was renowned for manufacturing and stigmatised as a ripoff artist. Does China wish to become stigmatised as a troll instead? The sad thing is, Xi’s vision for China when it comes to patents is disturbingly short-sighted and it failed to heed the warning from the United States. When too many patents get granted nobody is happy except lawyers and attorneys. They don’t produce anything. They add virtually nothing to GDP. They’re a tax.

Battistelli-Campinos Transition Will Be a Smooth One as the Administrative Council Remains the Same and the Boards Still Besieged

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 11:36:41 PM

The loyal 'chinchilla' changed nationality from Danish to German and the President remains French. Maybe Campinos can inherit that infamous pair of ‘presidential’ bicycles to ride in his massive pub. If he gets drunk and crashes, he can always bring up “immunity!” [1, 2]

Summary: A rather pessimistic (albeit likely realistic) expectation from tomorrow’s meeting of the Administrative Council, which continues to show that no lessons were learned and no strategy will be altered to avoid doom (low-quality patents and stocks running out)

TOMORROW will be an interesting day at the EPO — perhaps the culmination of many scandals and Battistelli getting reprimanded (if that’s not far too optimistic). Nobody expects Battistelli to get fired and perhaps he feels safe knowing that his imminent departure makes him immune to anything — even within the Council. Earlier today it was the Campinos-led EU-IPO helping the EPO distract from scandals. EU-IPO said that the EPO’s “new #patent study confirms growth in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies…”

We are still trying to determine what’s going on with the media because based on a comment we received a few hours ago, Battistelli had time to prepare his ‘damage control’. He knew the outcome in advance or at least intended to disregard the ruling from ILO. This is disturbing (if true).

Something just isn’t right. With the media that is…

“The Boards of Appeal scandals only serve to reinforce and vindicate the complainant for it clearly demonstrates utter dysfunction, including but not limited to deficient separation of powers.”Why isn’t Dutch and German media making a big deal out of it? It is a very big deal, yet hardly a bleep on the radar for some. Notice how IP Kat, for instance, has said nothing — not even a word — about it, having meticulously followed this whole affair for over 2 years.

What has IP Kat turned into? I say this as a former fan. A lot of the patent posts at IP Kat come from Bristows, complete with the pro-software patents, pro-trolls, pro-UPC, FRAND, SEP agenda. Bristows does something similar in Kluwer Patent blog and we suspect this is the latest (today’s article about Tilmann — a subject that we covered earlier than that). This is probably Bristows writing anonymously again, having received some truly harsh comments for its recent spin in that blog. Today it wrote in its sad and lonely blog about France and the UK, but what the staff won’t admit is that it makes no real difference. The cards are now on Brexit and the ball is in Germany’s court (literal court, not just a sports metaphor). Tilmann, Bristows and others (we collectively refer to them all as “Team UPC” — a term they recently chose to adopt) try hard to influence the outcome, which may in fact be years away. The Boards of Appeal scandals only serve to reinforce and vindicate the complainant for it clearly demonstrates utter dysfunction, including but not limited to deficient separation of powers.

Earlier today someone wrote this comment about the Administrative Council (AC), which will be meeting within half a day (in view of protesters, namely EPO staff). To quote:

AC putting its house in order, and growing a set of morals and a backbone? No chance, Simon.

I see the supine and amoral AC as ruined beyond repair. The little countries have found out how much voting power they can exert, against the complacent Big Country Bullies. From now on, it is they that will continue to extract from their beloved Cash Cow, its Golden Goose, what they want, namely fat dividends. It’s called “Shareholder Value” and it destroys even the best companies, particularly the best companies.

What the AC did (or didn’t do) will be a textbook example. It’s case of complicity by inaction or blind compliance with a person they were entrusted to regulate. The tail was wagging the dog for longer than half a decade and bribes were perfumed as “projects” or “cooperation” or “agreements” and so on. It’s just grotesque.

“The tail was wagging the dog for longer than half a decade and bribes were perfumed as “projects” or “cooperation” or “agreements” and so on. It’s just grotesque.”It’s hard to see if/how the Boards will ever recover now that they’re in Haar and in a state of limbo. Earlier today Mark Schweizer wrote about the Technical Board of Appeal and the Enlarged Board of Appeal, alluding to another case which in our humble assessment demonstrates need for more staff (so-called ‘human resources’ — a task assigned to Battistelli’s friends’s wife at the Office). The Boards are so grossly understaffed that one starts to wonder if they have a future at all; Battistelli keeps them besieged while lobbying for the UPC. To quote parts of Schweizer’s post:

Svarovski-Optik’s patent EP 1 746 451 had been upheld with limited claims by the Opposition Division. Upon appeal, the Technical Board of Appeal 3.4.02 revoked the grant of the patent. Svaroski-Optik filed a petition for review by the Enlarged Board of Appeal under Article 112a(2)(c) EPC (fundamental violation of Article 113(1) [right to be heard).

[...]

Neither party had advanced such a claim construction or formulation of the objective problem during the entire proceedings. Since this construction was first advanced by the BoA in the written grounds for the decision, Svaroski-Optik could not have objected to it during the appeal proceedings, and the objection was raised in a timely manner in the petition for review (Rule 106, last part of sentence).

By adopting a surprising claim construction only in the written grounds, without giving the parties the opportunity to comment on it, the Board of Appeal had violated Svaroski-Optik’s right to be heard. While it had been discussed whether a limitation of the zoom level of the telescope IOR-01 could lead to the above discussed feature without inventive step, the discussion did not occur in the context of claim construction and did not change the fact that the newly adopted claim construction was surprising.

In a properly-functioning Organisation the Council would announce the hiring of dozens of people for the Boards, not a handful of interns. But alas, the Council seems all too complicit with Battistelli, so we urge readers to remember who will ‘govern’ Campinos when he arrives. It’s the very same people, including (according to court documents) a Head of Delegation who sleeps/slept with the Vice-President.

Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 06:01:15 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Dedoimedo interviews: Tuxmachines

    Dedoimedo prowls the many corners of the Web, searching for textogenic faces for a fresh new interview. Truth to be told, finding the candidate for today’s slot wasn’t too difficult. Roy Schestowitz is a familiar name round the Tux block. Nowadays, you will most likely find him on tuxmachines.org, a community-driven news site.

    News aggregation can be tricky; finding the right balance of quality content isn’t easy, but even with the relatively recent change of ownership, tuxmachines marches on with solid consistency, ardently trying to offer its readers the best the open-source world has to report. I have always been a great fan and supporter, and I approached Roy for an interview. He agreed.

  • Desktop
    • System76 Enables HiDPI Support on All of Their Linux Laptops and Desktops

      We reported last week on the upcoming support for HiDPI displays coming to System76′s for its Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distro, and it didn’t take long for them to release the new daemon that would enable HiDPI support on all of its laptops and desktops where Ubuntu or Pop!_OS Linux is installed.

      HiDPI support was becoming an urgent necessity for System76 as more and more customers started asking for assistance in setting up their displays. And while the Wayland display server isn’t yet mature enough to be adopted by all GPU vendors and completely replace X.Org, there was a need for a compromise.

  • Server
    • With OPNFV, Orange Plans a Full-Scale Rollout of Network Functions Virtualization

      Over the past few years, the entire networking industry has begun to transform as network demands rapidly increase. This is true for both the technology itself and the way in which carriers — like my employer Orange, as well as vendors and other service providers — adapt and evolve their approach to meeting these demands. As a result, we’re becoming more and more agile and adept in how we virtualize our evolving network and a shifting ecosystem.” keep up with growing demands and the need to virtualize.

    • Oracle joins the serverless fray with Fn

      With its open source Fn project, Oracle is looking to make a splash in serverless computing.

      Fn is a container native serverless platform that can be run on-premises or in the cloud. It requires the use of Docker containers. Fn developers will be able to write functions in Java initially, with Go, Ruby, Python, PHP, and Node.js support planned for later. Applications can be built and run without users having to provision, scale, or manage servers, by using the cloud.

    • DevOps, Docker, and Empathy

      Just because we’re using containers doesn’t mean that we “do DevOps.” Docker is not some kind of fairy dust that you can sprinkle around your code and applications to deploy faster. It is only a tool, albeit a very powerful one. And like every tool, it can be misused. Guess what happens when we misuse a power tool? Power fuck-ups. Let’s talk about it.

      I’m writing this because I have seen a few people expressing very deep frustrations about Docker, and I would like to extend a hand to show them that instead of being a giant pain in the neck, Docker can help them to work better, and (if that’s their goal) be an advantage rather than a burden in their journey (or their “digital transformation” if we want to speak fancy.)

    • This open-source, multicloud serverless framework claims faster-than-bare-metal speed

      The move toward fast, serverless computing technology got a boost this month from Iguazio Systems Ltd. The data platform company (named from the Iguazu waterfalls in South America) announced the release of Nuclio, an open-source, multicloud serverless framework that claims faster-than-bare-metal speed.

      “We provide one platform, all the data services that Amazon has, or at least the ones that are interesting, serverless functions, which are 100 times faster, and a few more tricks that they don’t have,” said Yaron Haviv (pictured), founder and chief technology officer of Iguazio Systems. “We do fewer services, but each one kicks ass; each one is much faster and better engineered.”

    • CORD Says It’s the De Facto Choice for Edge Computing

      The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today released 4.1 of its Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) code. CORD has only been around as an independent project within ONF for about a year and a half, but with this release a couple of things have gelled for the project. First, it has merged its residential-CORD, mobile-CORD, and enterprise-CORD into one overarching project. Secondly, the ONF has realized CORD’s relevance in edge computing and edge cloud data centers.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.14.5
    • Linux 4.9.68
    • Linux 4.4.105
    • Linux 3.18.87
    • Four stable kernel updates
    • SysAdmins and Kernel Developers Advance Linux Skills with LiFT

      The annual Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships provide advanced open source training to existing and aspiring IT professionals from all over the world. Twenty-seven recipients received scholarships this year – the highest number ever awarded by the Foundation. Scholarship recipients receive a Linux Foundation training course and certification exam at no cost.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMD Moving Forward In Their RadeonSI Support For ARB_gl_spirv

        AMD open-source developer Nicolai Hähnle has spent the past few months working on the ARB_gl_spirv extension as mandated by OpenGL 4.6. Some of the prep work for supporting that extension has landed in Mesa 17.4-dev Git.

        ARB_gl_spirv is about bringing SPIR-V support to OpenGL drivers, the IR shared by Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1+. ARB_gl_spirv allows for loading SPIR-V modules into OpenGL programs and allows for GLSL to be a source language in creating SPIR-V modules. This is basically for creating better interoperability between OpenGL and Vulkan/SPIR-V.

      • Mesa Glthread Gets Adds Another Game, AMDGPU Winsys Gets Performance Workaround

        This week has started off to being another busy time in Mesa Git just ahead of the holidays.

        First up, Mount & Blade: Warband is the latest game to be white-listed by the Mesa glthread functionality for enabling OpenGL threading on this Steam Linux game. Mount & Blade: Warband was actually whitelisted back in July but then disabled a few days later as it turned out not to be working.

      • VESA Rolls Out DisplayHDR As Its Latest Standard

        VESA has rolled out DisplayHDR 1.0 as its newest standard. As implied by the name, the standard is in regards to specifying HDR (High Dynamic Range) quality for displays.

      • VC5 OpenGL & Vulkan Driver Advancing

        Broadcom developer Eric Anholt has offered an update on the state of the VC5 Gallium3D driver for OpenGL support as well as the work being done on the “BCMV” Vulkan driver. Additionally, the VC4 Gallium3D driver for existing Raspberry Pi devices continues to get better.

      • Initial Tessellation Shader Support For RadeonSI NIR

        The RadeonSI Gallium3D driver’s NIR back-end is moving one step closer to feature parity with the existing OpenGL capabilities of this AMD GCN graphics driver.

        Timothy Arceri working for Valve has been focusing on the NIR back-end recently for RadeonSI. This NIR intermediate representation handling is being driven in order to add SPIR-V ingestion support to RadeonSI with code sharing for RADV’s existing NIR-based infrastructure.

    • Benchmarks
      • Linux 4.15 I/O Scheduler Tests: BFQ, CFQ, Kyber

        With some BFQ performance fixes included as part of Linux 4.15 along with other I/O scheduler work and block improvements for this latest Linux kernel series, here are some fresh benchmarks of the different I/O scheduler options using the Linux 4.15 Git kernel.

      • Is PowerTop / TLP Still Useful To Save Power On Linux Laptops?

        This system was running Ubuntu 17.10 and the configurations tested included:

        - Ubuntu 17.10 in a “stock” or “out of the box” experience when using its Linux 4.13 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.26.1 with Wayland, and Mesa 17.2.2 atop an EXT4 file-system.

        - Upgrading the Ubuntu 17.10 system to Linux 4.15 Git for showing the power consumption when using the very latest kernel cycle.

        - This Ubuntu 17.10 + Linux 4.15 system then with Intel PowerTop installed and changing all the tunables to their “good” values for maximum power-savings.

        - Installing TLP and using its default power-saving options.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Looking Back at Randa Meetings 2017: Accessibility for Everyone

        Randa Meetings are a yearly collection of KDE Community contributor sprints that take place in Randa, Switzerland. With origins dating back to a Plasma meeting in 2009, Randa is one of the most important developer-related events in the community.

      • KDE Edu Sprint 2017

        Two months ago I attended to KDE Edu Sprint 2017 at Berlin. It was my first KDE sprint (really, I send code to KDE software since 2010 and never went to a sprint!) so I was really excited for the event.

        KDE Edu is the an umbrella for specific educational software of KDE. There are a lot of them and it is the main educational software suite in free software world. Despite it, KDE Edu has received little attention in organization side, for instance the previous KDE Edu sprint occurred several years ago, our website has some problems, and more.

        Therefore, this sprint was an opportunity not only for developers work in software development, but for works in organization side as well.

        In organization work side, we discuss about the rebranding of some software more related to university work than for “education” itself, like Cantor and Labplot. There was a wish to create something like a KDE Research/Science in order to put software like them and others like Kile and KBibTex in a same umbrella. There is a discussion about this theme.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • New Antivirus Live CD Release Is Out Now Based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2

        Every time a new major 4MLinux release is being prepped, Antivirus Live CD gets updated with the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source components that have been included in the respective 4MLinux release. As such, Antivirus Live CD 24.0-0.99.2 is based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2 open-source antivirus software toolkit.

        “Antivirus Live CD is an official 4MLinux fork including the ClamAV scanner. It’s designed for users who need a lightweight live CD, which will help them to protect their computers against viruses,” said Zbigniew Konojacki in the release announcement‏. “The latest version 24.0-0.99.2 is based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2.”

      • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Gets Linux Kernel 4.14.4, Updated Installer

        Coming hot on the BlackArch Linux 2017.11.24 ISO snapshot released two weeks ago with more than 50 new hacking tools, the BlackArch Linux 2017.12.11 ISO images are now available to download incorporating the latest version of the BlackArch Installer utility, which fixes a few critical bugs.

        The bugs were related to a login loop and the supported window managers, and they are now fixed in BlackArch Installer 0.6.2, which is included in the BlackArch Linux 2017.11.24 ISO snapshot. Also included is the Linux 4.14.4 kernel and many of the latest system updates and security patches released upstream.

      • BlackArch 2017.12.11

        Today we released new BlackArch Linux ISOs. For details see the ChangeLog below.

        Here’s the ChangeLog:

        update blackarch-installer to version 0.6.2 (most important change)
        included kernel 4.14.4
        updated lot’s of blackarch tools and packages
        updated all blackarch tools and packages
        updated all system packages
        bugfix release! (see blackarch-installer)

      • Latest Linux Distribution Releases (The Always Up-to-date List)
    • Arch Family
      • If You’re Ready for Arch, ArchMerge Eases the Way

        Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure.

        ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux. I recently reviewed Archlabs and found it to be a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros, in general, are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes.

        ArchMerge Linux brings a few extra ingredients that make trying it well worth your while if you want to consider migrating to the Arch Linux platform. Still, no Arch Linux distro is a suitable starting point for Linux newcomers. That reality does not change with ArchMerge, although it helps ease the process considerably for those who are ready for it.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Devuan ASCII sprint — 15-16-17 Dec. 2017
      • Systemd, Devuan, and Debian
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Devs Work on Demoting Python 2 to “Universe” Repo for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Canonical’s Matthias Klose informed the Ubuntu community in a mailing list announcement last week that getting the Python 2 interpreter demoted from Ubuntu has been an ongoing task for the last few releases, and that Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) is the first to ship with a Desktop ISO image that doesn’t contain Python2.

            However, the next step for them is to prepare to move the Python 2 packages to the “universe” repository in the next few months before the release of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system in April 2018. While Python 2 will be supported for only two more years, Ubuntu 18.04 is an LTS (Long Term Support) release supported for five years, until 2023.

          • Spaceman Shuttleworth Finds Earthly Riches With Ubuntu Software

            He’s best known for being the world’s first “Afronaut,” but since returning to Earth from his 2002 trip on Russia’s Soyuz TM-34 rocket ship, Cape Town native Mark Shuttleworth set about with the conquest of a much more lucrative universe: the internet-of-things.

            Shuttleworth created Ubuntu, an open-source Linux operating system that helps connect everything from drones to thermostats to the internet. His company, Canonical Group Ltd., makes money from about 800 paying customers, including Netflix Inc., Tesla Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG, which pay for support services. Its success has helped boost his net worth to $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

            “It’s destructive to be too focused on that,” Shuttleworth said of his wealth in an interview at Bloomberg’s office in Boston. “It’s just a distraction from whether you have your finger on the pulse of what’s next.”

          • Rocket.chat communication platform enables simplicity through snaps

            Created in Brazil, Rocket.Chat provides an open source chat solution for organisations of all sizes around the world. Built on open source values and a love of efficiency, Rocket.Chat is driven by a community of contributors and has seen adoption in all aspects of business and education. As Rocket.Chat has evolved, it has been keen to get its platform into the hands of as many users as possible without the difficulties of installation often associated with bespoke Linux deployments.

          • The Silph Road embraces cloud and containers with Canonical

            The Silph Road is the premier grassroots network for Pokémon GO players around the world offering research, tools, and resources to the largest Pokémon GO community worldwide, with up to 400,000 visitors per day

            Operating a volunteer-run, community network with up to 400,000 daily visitors is no easy task especially in the face of massive and unpredictable demand spikes, and with developers spread all over the world.With massive user demand and with volunteer developers located all over the world, The Silph Road’s operations must be cost-effective, flexible, and scalable.

            This led the Pokémon GO network first to cloud, and then to containers and in both cases Canonical ’s technology was the answer.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Mint 18.3: The best Linux desktop takes big steps forward

              I run many operating systems every day, from macOS, to Windows 7 and 10, to more Linux desktop distributions than you can shake a stick at. And, once more, as a power-user’s power user, I’ve found the latest version of Linux Mint to be the best of the best.

              Why? Let’s start with the basics. MacOS has been shown to have the worst bug I’ve ever seen in an operating system: The macOS High Sierra security hole that lets anyone get full administrative control. Windows, old and new, continues to have multiple security bugs every lousy month. Linux? Sure, it has security problems. How many of these bugs have had serious desktop impacts? Let me see now. None. Yes, that would be zero.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • What is a blockchain smart contract?

    Now, in a blockchain, the important thing is that once the state has changed, you then ensure it’s recorded on the blockchain so that it’s public and nobody can change or challenge it. But there are other uses for blockchain technology, as I explained in “Is blockchain a security topic?” Permissionless systems, often referred to as distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are a great fit for non-transactional state models, largely because the sort of people who are interested in them are closed groups of organisations that want to have complex sets of conditions met before they move to the next state. These aren’t, by the tightest definition, blockchains. Banks and other financial institutions may be the most obvious examples where DLTs are gaining traction, but they are very useful in supply chain sectors, for instance, where you may have conditions around changing market rates, availability, and shipping times or costs, which may all play into the final price of the commodity or service being provided.

  • Running a successful open source project

    Running an open source project is easy. All you have to do is make your source code available and you’re open source, right? Well, maybe. Ultimately, whether or not an open source project is successful depends on your definition of success. Regardless of your definition, creating an open source project can be a lot of work. If you have goals regarding adoption, for example, then you need to be prepared to invest. While open source software is “free as in beer”, it’s not really free: time and energy are valuable resources and these valuable resources need to be invested in the project.

    So, how do you invest those resources?

  • New package repositories are now enabled by default

    During this year’s coding sprint in Toulouse (which I was able to attend, thanks to being in Europe on a study-abroad program), I spent a lot of time massaging HaikuPorts to generate a consistent-enough state of packages for us to switch to them by default, and then making the in-tree changes necessary for the switch. Thanks to this and mmlr’s comprehensive overhaul of the HaikuPorter Buildmaster over the past couple months, we have finally switched to the new repositories by default as of hrev51620. If you’ve installed a nightly image from after this, you should be able to just pkgman full-sync and upgrade away.

  • Haiku OS Is Very Close To Their Long Awaited Beta, New Repository Working

    The BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system should be issuing its long-awaited beta release by early 2018.

    For months there has been talk of the long-awaited beta for Haiku OS while it looks like roughly within the next month we should be actually seeing this milestone.

  • DeepVariant: Tool to call out variants in sequencing data goes open source

    Megan Molteni, Wired, decoded, at least, the very nature of the challenge to know more about our human puzzle. “Today, a teaspoon of spit and a hundred bucks is all you need to get a snapshot of your DNA. But getting the full picture—all 3 billion base pairs of your genome—requires a much more laborious process. One that, even with the aid of sophisticated statistics, scientists still struggle over.”

    DeepVariant was developed by researchers from the Google Brain team, focused on AI techniques, and Verily, the Alphabet subsidiary focused on life sciences.

    It is based on the same neural network for image recognition, but DeepVariant, is now making headlines not for cat IDs but as a way to scan a genetic code for mutations. DeepVariant has gone open source. The GitHub definition of DeepVariant: “an analysis pipeline that uses a deep neural network to call genetic variants from next-generation DNA sequencing data.”

  • Open source VPN clients vs VPN provider apps: which is better?

    Power users love open source software for its transparency and flexibility – but what about open source VPN software? Are there any open source VPN clients that can stand up to being compared with the more popular VPN apps from premium providers like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, IPVanish or NordVPN?

    The short answer is… not really. But the long answer depends a lot on your level of technical know-how, patience, and where you’re willing to place your trust.

  • Events
    • Coreboot Conference 2017 Videos Now Available

      For those interested in the open-source Coreboot project that serves as a replacement to proprietary UEFI/BIOS, the videos from their European Coreboot Conference are now available.

      The European Coreboot Conference 2017 (ECC’17) was held in Bochum, Germany back at the end of October.

    • Election night hackathon supports civic engagement

      On November 7, 2017, members of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) community came together for the annual Election Night Hackathon held in the Simone Center for Student Innovation. This marked the seventh anniversary of a civic tradition for the FOSS @ MAGIC community, in which students and faculty analyze civic problems in the local community, state, or country and propose a project to address them. MAGIC Center faculty and event organizers are on hand to help students choose open source licenses and publish and share their code.

    • Namaste ! (on the road to Swatantra 2017)

      I’ll have the pleasure to give a talk about GCompris, and another one about Synfig studio. It’s been a long time since I didn’t talk about the latter, but since Konstantin Dmitriev and the Morevna team were not available, I’ll do my best to represent Synfig there.

    • #PeruRumboGSoC2018 – Session 4

      We celebrated yesterday another session of the local challenge 2017-2 “PeruRumboGSoC2018”. It was held at the Centro Cultural Pedro Paulet of FIEE UNI. GTK on C was explained during the fisrt two hours of the morning based on the window* exercises from my repo to handle some widgets such as windows, label and buttons.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Chrome 63 revamps Bookmark Manager w/ Material Design on Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

        Chrome 63 began rolling out to Android and desktop browsers last week with the usual security fixes and new developer features. On the latter platform, this update introduces Material Design to the Bookmark Manager.

        Several versions ago, Google began updating various aspects of the browser with Material Design, including History, Downloads, and Settings.

        Like the Flags page for enabling experiments and in-development features, which Google also revamped in version 63, the Bookmark Manager (Menu > Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager) adopts the standard Materials UI elements. This includes an app bar that houses a large search bar. It adopts the same dark blue theme and includes various Material animations and flourishes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.0 Coming Soon to openSUSE Tumbleweed, Along with KDE Apps 17.12

      A total of six snapshots have been released to the public this month, as OpenSuSE Project’s Dominique Leuenberger announced this past weekend, and they brought lots of goodies, along with some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software components. But first, there’s been a bunch of more python2->python3 conversions lately that you should know about.

      “For the ones that don’t know yet, the python2 -> python3 switches are especially of interest to SLE/Leap 15,” said Dominique Leuenberger. “Minimizing the support surface for Python 2 in favor of Python 3 will lead to a much stronger, supportable product for the future. As Tumbleweed is the leading and trendsetting product, it is but natural that we get those changes as well.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNUstep Takes Another Step Forward For Implementing Apple’s Cocoa Frameworks

      GNUstep is the long-standing free software project working to implement Apple’s Cocoa Objective-C frameworks used by macOS. The GNU project has made new releases of their GUI and Back libraries.

      GNUstep GUI 0.26 is out this morning as the latest update to their graphical user-interface library. GNUstep GUI 0.26 has a number of compatibility improvements, translation updates, mouse tracking logic improvements, bug fixes, and other work.

    • New format in GIMP: HGT

      Lately a recurrent contributor to the GIMP project (Massimo Valentini) contributed a patch to support HGT files. From this initial commit, since I found this data quite cool, I improved the support a bit (auto-detection of the variants and special-casing in particular, as well as making an API for scripts).

      So what is HGT? That’s topography data basically just containing elevation in meters of various landscape (HGT stands for “height“), gathered by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) run by various space agencies (NASA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, German and Italian space agencies…).

  • Programming/Development
    • CSR devices now supported in fwupd

      The BlueCore CSR chips are used everywhere. If you have a “wireless” speaker or headphones that uses Bluetooth there is a high probability that it’s using a CSR chip inside. This makes the addition of CSR support into fwupd a big deal to access a lot of vendors. It’s a lot easier to say “just upload firmware” rather than “you have to write code” so I think it’s useful to have done this work.

    • Skylake Server Scheduler Model Updated In LLVM 6.0 Along With Other Intel CPU Updates
    • Most Software Code Will Be Written By Machines By 2040, Researchers Predict

      Imagine a scenario where a programmer needs to follow a couple of tried and tested procedures to write code that becomes a part of a bigger program that needs some insightful contribution from another programmer. So, is the first programmer really needed? Can’t we find a robotic replacement for the same?

      In the past, GitHub CEO had already made a prediction which says that future of coding is no coding at all. A similar speculation has been made by the researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, who have said that machines will write most of their own code by 2040.

    • Hazelcast joins Eclipse, JCache is key focal point

      Open source In-Memory Data Grid (IMDG) company Hazelcast has joined the Eclipse Foundation – and it has done so for a reason.

      Hazelcast’s primary focus will be on JCache the Eclipse MicroProfile and EE4J.

      In particular, Hazelcast will be collaborating with members to popularize JCache, a Java Specification Request (JSR-107).

      So what place does JCache fill in the universe then?

    • Fruit of an acquisition: Apple AI software goes open

      Apple’s joined other juggernauts of the tech sector by releasing an open source AI framework.

      Turi Create 4.0, which landed at GitHub recently, is a fruit of its 2016 US$200 million acquisition of Turi.

      As the GitHub description explains, it targets app developers that want custom machine learning models but don’t have the expertise to “add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity or activity classification” to their apps.

    • Apple Releases Turi ML Software as Open Source

      Apple last week released Turi Create, an open source package that it says will make it easy for mobile app developers to infuse machine learning into their products with just a few lines of code.

      “You don’t have to be a machine learning expert to add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity, or activity classification to your app,” the company says in the GitHub description for Turi Create. “Focus on tasks instead of algorithms.”

Leftovers
  • Amendment​ ​to​ ​Clause ​173​ ​:​ ​Supporting​ ​Consumer ​Rights ​for ​All

    Open Rights Group campaign for a world where we each control the data our digital lives create, deciding who can use it and how, and where the public’s rights are acknowledged and upheld. With these principles in mind, Open Rights Group calls for amendments to Clause 173 to strengthen enforcement of data subjects rights in the Data Protection Bill.

  • Collective Redress: Cheatsheet
  • Helping kids play with danger: crowdfunding a log-splitter, designed for children

    Risky play is good for kids: it lets them test their boundaries in an exhilarating, vivid way — and it’s been all but entirely engineered out of contemporary child-rearing.

    That’s where Monte Sheppard’s University of Technology Sydney Integrated Product Design honors research comes in: it’s a log-splitter designed for small children to use.

  • Security
    • Script Recovers Event Logs Doctored by NSA Hacking Tool

      Security researchers have found a way to reverse the effects of an NSA hacking utility that deletes event logs from compromised machines.

      Last week, Fox-IT published a Python script that recovers event log entries deleted using the “eventlogedit” utility that’s part of DanderSpritz, a supposed NSA cyber-weapon that was leaked online by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers.

      According to Fox-IT, they found a flaw in the DanderSpritz log cleaner when they realized the utility does not actually delete event log entries, but only unreferences them, merging entries together.

    • Pre-Installed Keylogger Discovered on Hundreds of HP Laptop Models

      A keylogger that can help record pretty much every keystroke on the computer has been discovered on HP’s devices, with a security researcher revealing that hundreds of laptop models come with this hidden software pre-installed.

      Michael Myng says in an analysis of the keylogger that the malicious code is hiding in the Synaptics Touchpad software and he actually discovered it when looking into ways to control the keyboard backlight on his laptop.

      According to his findings, the keylogger isn’t activated by default, but it can be turned on by any cybercriminals that get access to the system. The list of affected models includes hundreds of laptops like EliteBook, ProBook, Spectre, Zbook, Envy, and Pavilion.

    • Laptop touchpad driver included extra feature: a keylogger [Ed: This is the second time in recent times HP gets caught with keyloggers; This is no accident, it's intentional.]

      Flaws in software often offer a potential path for attackers to install malicious software, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a hardware vendor to include potentially malicious software built right into its device drivers. But that’s exactly what a security researcher found while poking around the internals of a driver for a touchpad commonly used on HP notebook computers—a keystroke logger that could be turned on with a simple change to its configuration in the Windows registry.

    • Microsoft Needed 110 Days to Fix Critical Security Bug After First Ignoring It

      Microsoft needed more than 100 days to fix a critical credential leak in Dynamics 365 after the company originally ignored the bug report and only reacted after being warned that details could go public.

      Software engineer Matthias Gliwka explains in a long blog post that he discovered and reported a security flaw in Microsoft’s Customer Relationship Manager and Enterprise Resource Planning software in August, but the software giant refused to fix it on claims that administrator credentials would be required.

      Gliwka says he came across a wildcard transport layer security (TLS) certificate that also included the private key, which would in turn expose communications by anyone who could decrypt traffic. The developer says that extracting the certificate grants access to any sandbox environment, with absolutely no warning or message displayed to clients.

    • UK Spy Agency Finds Severe Flaw in Microsoft Antivirus in Kaspersky Bye-Bye Push
    • Security updates for Monday
    • Open Source Patch Management: Options for DIYers [Ed: "Linux comes with patch management," it says, which defeats much of the point of this article...]

      CVE-2017-5638 is the code vulnerability that will long live in the corporate memory of Equifax, the credit ratings agency. A simple patch management system might have kept that vulnerability from turning into one of the most high-profile data breaches in recent memory.

      CVE-2017-5638 is a remote code execution bug that affects the Jakarta Multipart parser in Apache Struts, an open source application framework for developing Java EE web applications. Remote code execution bugs are generally extremely serious, and for that reason, when the vulnerability was discovered, the Apache Foundation recommended that any developers or users of affected versions of Struts upgrade to later versions that had been patched to close the vulnerability.

    • HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger

      HP said more than 460 models of laptop were affected by the “potential [sic] security vulnerability”.

      [...]

      In May, a similar keylogger was discovered in the audio drivers pre-installed on several HP laptop models.

    • Fingerprinting MySQL with scannerl

      The goal here is to identify the version of MySQL running on a remote host.

    • What You Need To Know About The Intel Management Engine

      Over the last decade, Intel has been including a tiny little microcontroller inside their CPUs. This microcontroller is connected to everything, and can shuttle data between your hard drive and your network adapter. It’s always on, even when the rest of your computer is off, and with the right software, you can wake it up over a network connection. Parts of this spy chip were included in the silicon at the behest of the NSA. In short, if you were designing a piece of hardware to spy on everyone using an Intel-branded computer, you would come up with something like the Intel Managment Engine.

      Last week, researchers [Mark Ermolov] and [Maxim Goryachy] presented an exploit at BlackHat Europe allowing for arbitrary code execution on the Intel ME platform. This is only a local attack, one that requires physical access to a machine. The cat is out of the bag, though, and this is the exploit we’ve all been expecting. This is the exploit that forces Intel and OEMs to consider the security implications of the Intel Management Engine. What does this actually mean?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Hurricane Maria Exposed the U.S.’s Long Neglect of Puerto Rico

      The United Nations’ poverty expert will visit Puerto Rico today to survey the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the structural issues it unveiled. The storm exposed the brutal and historic neglect of the island and its 3.5 million U.S. citizens.

      The ACLU and other organizations advocated for the U.N. to visit the island and submitted a letter urging them to do so back in early October. The U.N. poverty expert will meet with communities, local groups, and government officials on the ground in Puerto Rico. He will report back his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

  • Finance
    • Fed set to raise rates as Yellen gives final news conference

      Investors seem certain about this: The Federal Reserve is going to raise interest rates this week for the third time this year.

      They’re less sure about what the central bank might have in store for 2018, and they will look to Janet Yellen’s final news conference as Fed chair Wednesday for any clues.

      Will the Fed’s policymaking change once Yellen steps down in February and is succeeded by Jerome Powell? Powell was a Yellen ally who backed her cautious stance toward rate hikes in his five years on the Fed’s board. Yet no one can know how his leadership or rate policy might depart from hers.

      What’s more, Powell will be joined by several new Fed board members who, like him, are being chosen by President Donald Trump. Some analysts say they think that while Powell might not deviate much from Yellen’s rate policy, he and the new board members will adopt a looser approach to the regulation of the banking system.

    • Bitcoin fees are skyrocketing

      The cost to complete a Bitcoin transaction has skyrocketed in recent days. A week ago, it cost around $6 on average to get a transaction accepted by the Bitcoin network. The average fee soared to $26 on Friday and was still almost $20 on Sunday.

      The reason is simple: until recently, the Bitcoin network had a hard-coded 1 megabyte limit on the size of blocks on the blockchain, Bitcoin’s shared transaction ledger. With a typical transaction size of around 500 bytes, the average block had fewer than 2,000 transactions. And with a block being generated once every 10 minutes, that works out to around 3.3 transactions per second.

    • ZeMarmot project got a Liberapay account!

      We were asked a few times about trying out Liberapay. It is different from other recurring funding platforms (such as Patreon and Tipeee) that it is managed by a non-profit and have lesser fees (from what I understand, there are payment processing fees, but they don’t add their own fees) since they fund themselves on their own platform (also the website itself is Free Software).

    • WaPo Nostalgic for Good Old Days of Trump Campaign Tax Lies

      A Washington Post article (12/9/17) on the Republican tax proposals being considered by Congress implies that they are a sharp departure from the plans Donald Trump put forward in the campaign in the benefits they provides to the rich. The headline is “As Tax Plan Gained Steam, GOP Lost Focus on the Middle Class.”

      This description is pretty much 180 degrees at odds with reality. While Donald Trump always promised to help the middle class, the proposals he put forward during his campaign were hugely tilted toward the rich. The Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the last tax cut plan he proposed before the election showed 50 percent of the benefits going to the richest 1 percent of the population.

    • Fears grow across the Atlantic over Brexit fallout

      Its report argues that Brexit was likely to have a “mostly negative effect” on American interests in Europe, given the UK is a firm ally of the US in security matters and a supporter of free markets.

      “An EU without the UK may be more willing to create barriers for non-EU companies, to the detriment of US companies and the American economy,” the report says.

      “In the development of EU defence policy, for example, the UK aim was often to ensure that EU measures did not undermine NATO and the strong transatlantic partnership.”

      That approach could change once Britain has left the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • National Democrats Resist Reforms

      Still refusing to face why Donald Trump and the Republicans won in 2016, the national Democratic Party rebuffs proposals from progressives to make the party more democratic and less corporate-dominated, writes Norman Solomon.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Facebook, Google, Twitter’s ‘Censorship of Christian, Conservative Speech’ Tackled in NRB Initiative

      National Religious Broadcasters has launched an online effort seeking to highlight what it says is censorship of Christian and conservative speech by online media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple.

      “It is unacceptable for these titans to discriminate against users just because their viewpoints are not congruent with ideas popular in Silicon Valley,” said Jerry A. Johnson, NRB’s president & CEO, on Thursday when announcing the Internet Freedom Watch initiative.

      The website for the initiative, which documents cases of alleged censorship, states that “chillingly, a growing censorship of Christian and politically conservative viewpoints on the internet is happening in America and across the globe.”

    • Letter: The First Amendment applies to government censorship

      Forum opinion columnist Rob Port wrote a blog post Dec. 8 about the decision by Concordia College to rescind funding for an appearance by conservative provocateur Ben Shapiro. Port stated his opinion that this amounts to censorship and seemingly some sort of First Amendment issue since the First Amendment protects controversial forms of speech.

      The problem with this viewpoint is that while Port is correct in that the First Amendment does protect the most controversial forms of speech, but it has no bearing on private entities such as a private university. The First Amendment only serves to protect us from government censorship. If this situation would have occurred at one of our local public institutions, there would possibly be First Amendment implications. But definitely not when it comes to a private institution.

      Port would do well to learn exactly what the First Amendment does and does not do. Especially since his very livelihood as a political commentator is provided by the protections established in that amendment.

    • Video: How the Court System Is Abused to Chill Activist Speech

      One of the most pernicious forms of censorship in modern America is the abuse of the court system by corporations and wealthy individuals to harass, intimidate, and silence their critics.

      We use the term “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” more commonly known as a “SLAPP,” to describe this phenomenon. With a SLAPP, a malicious party will file a lawsuit against a person whose speech is clearly protected by the First Amendment. The strategy isn’t to win on the legal merits, but to censor their victims through burdensome, distracting, and costly litigation. SLAPP suits often make spurious defamation claims and demand outrageous monetary penalties to bully their enemies.

    • Criticizing Balthus Isn’t Censorship

      Imagine that a painting—say, a 1938 painting by Balthus hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York—was revealed as a forgery. Nothing has changed about the painting except that it isn’t authentic. The curators decide to remove it from the museum’s wall. Is this censorship?

      Just about everyone would answer this question negatively. Curators are expected to evaluate the historical and aesthetic quality of the work they put on their walls. Museum space is limited; you can’t show everything, or even everything in the collection, all at once. Deciding to take down a painting if new information becomes available about its provenance is a non-controversial decision.

      The Balthus painting in question, Therese Dreaming, is not a forgery. But many people have argued that it should be taken off the Met’s wall. Mia Merrill is a New Yorker who started a petition asking the Met to consider removing the painting—or provide additional context in the wall text. The petition has garnered some 9000 signatures.

    • Censorship using defamation law escalates under NLD: report

      Myanmar’s notorious online defamation law remains the tool of choice for powerful people in Myanmar who seek to punish those who are trying to hold them accountable, and the amendment of the law in August has had “no discernible impact” on this, says a new report by the rights groups Free Expression Myanmar (FEM).

    • Apple, Google attend China internet conference that promotes control and censorship

      CEOs from Google and Apple participated last week in China’s World Internet Conference, bringing what critics called “credibility” to an annual event used by the country’s Communist government to promote a more controlled and censored internet globally.

      Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook went as far as praising the Communist country during his keynote speech at the conference, saying that China’s vision of cyberspace as promoted by the conference “is a vision we at Apple share.”

    • Interview: Rise Against Talk Politics And Censorship

      Yeah, let me try to sum it up as short as possible. We had a video shoot that we had decided to film on location in Virginia, where a presidential theme park had existed, but after it went out of business the huge statues of the president’s heads, just the busts, just their faces, were moved out to a field somewhere, but they were all falling apart. They were all just haphazardly strewn around this field. So we thought this would be a great place to make the video for ‘The Violence’, and we’d have these symbols of power and also show you all these different things our country had survived, all these people in power that had just come and gone. And everything was going fine, but as we approached video day we were told a board of directors, who owned the field collectively I guess, and somebody decided to look up our band and see what we’re all about and they decided that we were not the right fit for their field of weathered heads. I think the words “anti-government” were thrown around. I wish I had a better explanation as to why they shut us down, but I don’t know what “anti-government” means. I don’t know if they thought we were some of of Lord Of The Flies anarchists. I feel like anybody who’s trying to hold the government accountable for what they do could come down on either side of the argument. But regardless, the thing happened, and it kind of illustrated how polarised America is right now too, where were being shut down because of our message and who we are as a band, it brings up questions around freedom of speech, somewhat at least. But it also made me proud of Rise Against as well. That 18 years later, what we do is still something that the other side considers dangerous.

    • Politicising film censorship

      The Punjab Censor Board’s decision to ban Verna last month made little sense. Most of all because it lasted a day, and all it could achieve was spoil the film’s premiere on Thursday.

      It has since been revealed that the issues the Censor Board officials had was not that it narrated the story of a rape survivor – as had been earlier reported – but the fact that politicians and officials were being targeted. For instance, the Governor, Interior Minister, IG Police were mentioned.

    • Australian charities ‘self-censoring’ political advocacy out of fear of retribution

      Australian charities are avoiding political advocacy and “self-silencing” out of a fear that dissent will attract political retribution, a new report has found.

      Published by Pro Bono Australia and the Human Rights Law Centre, the Civil Voices report found that charities and non-government organisations operate in an “insidious” environment where “self-censorship” is rife because of funding agreements, management pressure and the “implied repercussions” of political speech.

      One of the report’s co-authors, University of Melbourne associate professor Sarah Maddison, said the findings were “fairly insidious”.

    • Amended Version of FOSTA Would Still Silence Legitimate Speech Online
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The throwaway Netflix tweet that reveals a chilling secret

      The streaming service, which has 109 million subscribers, might regret making their anonymising data collection habits public knowledge.

      The fact is Netflix watches you watching it. It’s the trade-off for having a massive online library of film and TV at your fingertips, presented to you as per your viewing habits and preferences.

      The uncomfortable truth remains that if Netflix wants to snoop into your viewing habits, or make a personal point about them, it can.

    • Inside the secret world of the corporate spies who infiltrate protests

      It was perhaps not the most glamorous assignment for a spy. Toby Kendall’s mission was to dress up as a pirate, complete with eye-patch, bandana and cutlass, and infiltrate a group of protesters.

      The campaigners had organised a walking tour of London to protest outside the premises of multinational firms, objecting to what they believed was the corporate plunder of Iraq.

    • Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows

      British Airways, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Porsche are among five large companies that have been identified as having paid corporate intelligence firms to monitor political groups that challenged their businesses, leaked documents reveal.

      The surveillance included the use of infiltrators to spy on campaigners.

      The targets included the grieving family of Rachel Corrie, a student protester crushed to death by a bulldozer, as well as a range of environmental campaigns, and local campaigners protesting about phone masts.

      The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread. However, police chiefs have in the past raised a “massive concern” that the activities of the corporate firms are barely regulated and completely uncontrolled.

    • Battle lines have been drawn over the Data Protection bill.

      The Government have introduced an exemption into the Data Protection Bill that would remove the rights of individuals subject to an immigration procedure to discover what personal data companies and public authorities hold on them.

      The exemption if allowed to pass would set aside fundamental rights such as individuals access to personal data about them, the right to erasure, and the right to rectification, among others. With mistakes commonplace in immigration procedures, it is vital the law retains the power for individuals to hold to account those who collect and process personal data in immigration procedures.

    • FBI Director Complains About Encryption, Offers To Sacrifice Public Safety In The Interest Of Public Safety

      FBI Director Christopher Wray offered testimony to the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing entitled “Oversight of Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Not much in terms of oversight was discussed. Instead, Wray took time to ask for a reauthorization of Section 702 before using several paragraphs of his prepared comments to discuss the “going dark” problem.

      It picks up where Wray left off in October: offering up meaningless statistics about device encryption. Through the first eleven months of the fiscal year, the FBI apparently had 6,900 locked phones in its possession. Wray claims this number represents “roughly half” of the devices in the FBI’s possession. The number is meaningless, but it serves a purpose: to make it appear device encryption is resulting in thousands of unsolved crimes.

    • How Email Open Tracking Quietly Took Over the Web

      According to OMC’s data, a full 19 percent of all “conversational” email is now tracked. That’s one in five of the emails you get from your friends. And you probably never noticed.

    • The Grand Tor: How to Go Anonymous Online

      Tor protects your identity online—namely your IP address—by encrypting your traffic in at least three layers and bouncing it through a chain of three volunteer computers chosen among thousands around the world, each of which strips off just one layer of encryption before bouncing your data to the next computer. All of that makes it very difficult for anyone to trace your connection from origin to destination—not the volunteer computers relaying your information, not your [I]nternet service provider, and not the websites or online services you visit.

    • Facebook Messenger for six-year-olds: need I say why that’s a bad idea?

      Facebook promises that the collection children’s data on Messenger Kids will be limited. But limited to what, and to what end? The company owes parents a much more detailed explanation of what type of data it will be collecting on this app, and how it will be used. Not to generate ads, the company promises (at least for now). OK, but then what kind of data, exactly, will a six-year-old be providing Facebook that it needs to gather?

    • Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society

      Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

    • Facebook is ‘destroying how society works’, former executive says
    • The Hellish Reality Of Working At An Overseas ‘Click Farm’

      They Make Thousands Of Fake Facebook Accounts

      To generate thousands upon thousands of unique clicks/views/likes a day, you’re going to need a lot of accounts. This requires new names, new emails, new passwords, etc. That’s a significant effort, and it’s a big part of what Albert and his colleagues were paid to do. “Before we had technicians [farmers] here, who all they did was create accounts, we would need to create them on the spot.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (2/21): The analog, anonymous letter

      There is no reason for the offline liberties of our parents to not be carried over into the same online liberties for our children, regardless of whether that means somebody doesn’t know how to run a business anymore.

    • France to ban mobile phones in schools from Sept

      The French Government has announced that it will ban the use of mobile phones in primary, junior and middle schools from September next year.

    • France to ban mobile phones in schools from September

      Children will be allowed to bring their phones to school, but not allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Court Holds NYPD In Contempt For Refusing To Hand Over Documents Related To Black Live Matter Surveillance

      The NYPD continues to extend a middle finger to every entity that isn’t the NYPD. The department’s long history of doing everything it can to thwart public records requesters has been discussed here several times. It’s not on much better terms with its oversight, which it routinely ignores when directed to do something about its officers’ routine rights violations and deployment of excessive force.

      If it’s not going to be accountable to the public — either via FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) compliance or respecting the decisions of its oversight — it’s certainly not going to let the judicial branch push it around.

    • Suspect Evidence Informed a Momentous Supreme Court Decision on Criminal Sentencing

      More than 30 years ago, Congress identified what it said was a grave threat to the American promise of equal justice for all: Federal judges were giving wildly different punishments to defendants who had committed the same crimes.

      The worries were many. Some lawmakers feared lenient judges were giving criminals too little time in prison. Others suspected African-American defendants were being unfairly sentenced to steeper prison terms than white defendants.

      In 1984, Congress created the U.S. Sentencing Commission with remarkable bipartisan support. The commission would set firm punishment rules, called “guidelines,” for every offense. The measure, signed by President Ronald Reagan, largely stripped federal judges of their sentencing powers; they were now to use a chart to decide penalties for each conviction, with few exceptions.

    • We Can’t End Mass Incarceration Without Ending Money Bail

      Whether or not you are in jail should not depend on your ability to pay for your freedom. Yet that’s the way our current money bail system works. It is one of the most corrupt and broken parts of our justice system.

      Close to half a million people are in jail today awaiting trial, many of them incarcerated because they are too poor to afford cash bail. The time has come to abolish this system. The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is launching a nationwide campaign today to end this injustice of wealth-based incarceration, deploying all of our tools from our nationwide state affiliate structure to our strategic litigation, communication, and legislative advocacy to support bail reform movements and our partners in states across the country.

      The original purpose of bail was to serve as an incentive to return to court when a person is arrested, released, and their case proceeds. However, the current money bail system has little to do with this original intent. Rather it has mutated into a way to separate people who have money from those who don’t. People with money can almost always buy their way to freedom, regardless of the charges against them. Yet people without access to cash too often end up in jail simply because they cannot afford bail, or alternatively they must take out loans from bail companies that charge exorbitant fees.

    • EFF to Court: Accessing Publicly Available Information on the Internet Is Not a Crime

      EFF is fighting another attempt by a giant corporation to take advantage of our poorly drafted federal computer crime statute for commercial advantage—without any regard for the impact on the rest of us. This time the culprit is LinkedIn. The social networking giant wants violations of its corporate policy against using automated scripts to access public information on its website to count as felony “hacking” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 federal law meant to criminalize breaking into private computer systems to access non-public information.

      EFF, together with our friends DuckDuckGo and the Internet Archive, have urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject LinkedIn’s request to transform the CFAA from a law meant to target “hacking” into a tool for enforcing its computer use policies. Using automated scripts to access publicly available data is not “hacking,” and neither is violating a website’s terms of use. LinkedIn would have the court believe that all “bots” are bad, but they’re actually a common and necessary part of the Internet. “Good bots” were responsible for 23 percent of Web traffic in 2016. Using them to access publicly available information on the open Internet should not be punishable by years in federal prison.

    • Tory MP’s aide ‘raped woman in boss’s office’ after night drinking in parliamentary bar, court hears

      A Tory MP’s aide raped a woman in his boss’s office after a night of drinking in a parliamentary bar, a court heard.

      Samuel Armstrong, 24, the chief of staff to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, is accused of carrying out the attack on October 14 last year.

      The distressed woman later found and told parliamentary cleaners after wandering the corridors of Westminster, it was alleged.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC chair still refuses to help investigate net neutrality comment fraud

      The Federal Communications Commission has again refused to help New York’s attorney general investigate impersonation and other fraud in public comments on the FCC’s net neutrality repeal.

      For the past six months, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been “investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process” by filing fraudulent comments under real people’s names. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s office has “refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession,” Schneiderman wrote in an open letter to Pai last month.

    • The Free Market Argument For Net Neutrality

      On Thursday of this week, the FCC will vote to undo the 2015 Open Internet Order. While the FCC insists that this will just be bringing back the internet to the regulatory framework it had prior to 2015, that is not true. It will be changing the very basis for how the internet works and doing so in a dangerous way. Starting on Tuesday, a bunch of organizations are teaming up for a massive #BreakTheInternet protest. Please check it out. The post below is designed to answer many of the questions we’ve received about “free markets” v. “regulations” on net neutrality, and why we believe that the 2015 rules are consistent with the beliefs of those who support free market solutions.

      I’ve already written about some of the reasons why I changed my mind about net neutrality rules, in which I mentioned that my standard position is to be pretty skeptical of government intervention in innovative markets. But many of the people I know who are opposing net neutrality — including FCC Chair Ajit Pai — like to couch their opposition in “free market” terms. They talk about the “heavy hand of regulation” and “getting government out” of the internet and stuff like that. But as far as I can tell, this is a twisted, distorted understanding of both the telco world and how free markets operate. So, for those folks, let’s dig in a bit and explore the free market argument for net neutrality. And, I should note, this is clearly not the argument that many people supporting net neutrality are making, but this is why I think that even those of us who still believe in free markets helping innovation should still support rules for net neutrality.

    • Congress Took $101 Million in Donations from the ISP Industry — Here’s How Much Your Lawmaker Got

      It’s impossible to quantify the overall influence of this powerful industry, but we can chart some of it. Below you will find contributions to individual members of Congress, and those members’ leadership PACs, from 1989 to the present day. This money came from the telecommunication industry’s own PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. This data was prepared for The Verge by The Center for Responsive Politics: an independent, non-partisan nonprofit research group that tracks money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy.

    • Web pioneers plead to cancel US net vote

      “It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of internet technology,” the open letter read.

    • How You Can Help Save Net Neutrality

      Battle For The Net notes that writing to Congress will hopefully recruit “more members of Congress onto ‘Team Internet,’” particularly Republicans, who currently hold the majority. Since net neutrality has always been a key operating principle of the web, Battle For The Net says it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Showing widespread public support, the organization says, will hopefully inspire legislators to push back against powerful lobbyists.

    • Vint Cerf, Steve Wozniak, and other tech luminaries call net neutrality vote an ‘imminent threat’

      The list includes some of the people responsible for creating the internet as we know it. That includes Steven Bellovin, a former FTC chief technologist who helped develop Usenet; Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Vinton Cerf, who co-created the internet’s underlying TCP/IP protocol; Steve Crocker, who helped develop the protocols for internet predecessor ARPANET; and Stephen Wolff, who helped transform the military ARPANET into a civilian research and communications network.

      Other signatories include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mozilla Foundation executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, and Betaworks CEO John Borthwick.

    • Net neutrality: ‘father of internet’ joins tech leaders in condemning repeal plan

      “The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped,” said the technology luminaries in an open letter to lawmakers with oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday.

    • GitHub’s Santa wishlist: secure infrastructure workflows & net neutrality

      It’s that ‘wonderful’ time of year, when people all across the land exchange presents, meal invitations and predictions for what the open source landscape might look like in the months ahead according to our current understanding of time in relation to space and the wider universe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • MPAA Wins: Australia To Carve Google And Facebook Out Of Its Expanded Safe Harbor Provisions

        Back in November, we discussed some reforms Australia was looking to make to its copyright laws. Chiefly at issue was how safe harbors were incorporated into the law, with those provisions applying only to primary service providers like ISPs due entirely to what appears to be a simple poor choice of words in the law. Under strict reading of the law as written, websites, libraries, and schools that allow internet users to create their own content and engage online would not be subject to safe harbor provisions, unlike the country’s American counterpart. The government initially signaled that it wanted to harmonize its law with EU and American law, before the lobbying dollars of the entertainment industry sprung into action, causing the government to walk this back a bit.

German Media Helps Cover Up — Not Cover — the Latest EPO Scandal

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 04:31:26 PM

Summary: EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO’s biggest scandals to date

THE EPO is in one of its worst situations ever. It’s in crisis if not a total disaster and it’s only a day away from the delegates’ visit and meeting. Some EPO folks believe this is going to get “terse” or “nasty” later this week. One reader expects (or hopes) that Battistelli et al will end up in prison. To quote one message that we received today:

Corsican memorabilia

Let me share some thoughts on the famous Corcoran case. If I am right all actions started by Team Battistelli against the judge were decided on the basis of:
a) a letter that Mr. Cororan sent by postal mail the the deputy Mayor in Saint Germain an Laye, and
b) one e-mail internally sent from a public computer in the EPO premises and that was rather funny that defaming, and
c) nothing else!!!
Now my question is the following: How can the EPO justify that it was spying on THAT computer if the e-mail sent by Mr. Corcoran was his first e-mail? How can they justify the keyloggers?

The answer seems very simple to me: because the EPO was already spying on a public computer mainly used by patent attorneys using a keylogger and Mr. Corcoran was incidentally caught sending a private mail that didn’t please Monsieur le président.

I may be a dreamer by I expect the immunity of the Team Battistelli to be lifted and the whole Team to finish up in jail, that is the place where criminals belong.

As SUEPO points out today, German politicians are starting to get involved. Peter Meyer and Gabi Schmidt, who has long attempted to help EPO staff, published this statement in German. Things are certainly heating up in Bavaria/Germany (because the EPO fails to obey the law), but will German media pay any attention? Any sites other than JUVE (and maybe Heise some time later)? From Meyer and Schmidt:

München. Das Europäische Patentamt (EPA) in München weigert sich, einen zu Unrecht suspendierten Richter der Beschwerdekammer wieder einzusetzen. So verweigert die Amtsleitung dem Richter weiterhin den Zugang zu seinem Arbeitsplatz und hindert ihn damit an der Ausübung seines unabhängigen Richteramts. Ein Gebaren, das gegen zwei letztinstanzliche Urteile des Verwaltungsgerichts der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (ILOAT) vom 6. Dezember 2017 verstößt.

Where is actual press coverage? There seems to have been far more coverage in English than in German even though these affairs are in Germany!

“There seems to have been far more coverage in English than in German even though these affairs are in Germany!”Check out the EPO’s first three (re)tweets on Tuesday [1, 2, 3]. It’s like they live in a different universe even a day ahead of major protests. Even Questel helped the EPO distract from these very major scandals. As we pointed out earlier today, the EPO is paying Handelsblatt yet again (it happened before alongside “media partners”), so don’t expect it to report the latest EPO scandals. This is what the EPO (re)tweets throughout the day. It’s repetitive and unoriginal.

It’s worth noting that Questel has apparently just blocked me in Twitter (for merely pointing out that it helped the EPO shift attention). They probably don’t like it when people tell its EPO story, which is itself a potentially big scandal. But anyway, we digress…

There were several more tweets like these throughout the day, mostly about the Handelsblatt nonsense (commissioned ‘study’). There were even EPO retweets in French: “4e révolution #technologique : l’OEB @EPOorg confirme son essor, +54% demandes #brevet sur 3 ans ; le brevet comme indicateur d’évolution techno rapide #ICT #iA Intelligence artificielle objets connectés #4IR #4RI #innovation #technologie”

“Did the EPO sit on this so-called ‘study’ for a while, just waiting to unleash it as soon as things get hot and heavy?”This is an EPO publicity stunt which is paid for (at the expense of applicants) and is used to distract from massive scandals that applicants deserve and need to know about. We are very disappointed to see how WIPR (media which sometimes covers EPO scandals) plays along with puff pieces/PR (citing EPO/Handelsblatt), possibly for the illusion/perception of “balance”. Knowing how things work in that ‘news’ room, I can’t say I’m surprising…

No day would be complete without the daily #IPforSMEs nonsense (creating or maintaining the false impression that EPO management cares about SMEs), but what worries us a lot more is Handelsblatt‘s role in distracting the media and acting as a ‘damage control’ tool for the EPO. Did the EPO sit on this so-called ‘study’ for a while, just waiting to unleash it as soon as things get hot and heavy? Possibly. It’s a well known PR strategy (attention diversion).

Handelsblatt would probably do for Blatter what it has just done for Battistelli (or Blatterstelli as some EPO insiders used to call him).

PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 12:54:57 PM

Related: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind


The latest in Oil States (Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC), which is very unlikely to stop PTAB but rather reinforce PTAB based on the above oral hearings

Summary: Three Affiliated Tribes probably won’t enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won’t manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit

THE USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has come under various attacks from the patent microcosm. We’ve lost count of the number of attempts to discredit or extinguish PTAB, but the Three Affiliated Tribes "scam" is one that we wrote about quite recently. Sovereign immunity loopholes are being closed by Federal courts and politicians. Seeing all this, Apple now takes aim at patents which were asserted against Apple. The PTAB bashers from IAM explain this as follows:

The debate over the use of sovereign immunity to protect patents from post-issuance reviews at the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has taken another turn. Late last week Apple filed an IPR against a patent held by MEC Resources, an entity owned by the Native American Three Affiliated Tribes, which had previously filed an infringement suit against the iPhone maker in a California district court.

Sovereign immunity as an IPR defence has become one of the patent stories of the year. It was used first (successfully) by several state universities and more recently has been claimed by a number of tribes including the Saint Regis Mohawk, who have taken on patents owned by pharma company Allergan and tech entity SRC Labs.

Allergan has been embroiled in a number of disputes with generics businesses over patents relating to its blockbuster drug Restasis and has been targeted in numerous IPRs filed by generics manufacturer Mylan. The patents assigned to the Saint Regis tribe from SRC have since been asserted in separate lawsuits against Microsoft and Amazon.

MEC Resources and Mohawk/Allergan will both fail to guard these patents (at least from scrutiny). It’s becoming crystal clear that it’s all just a ploy, as a Federal judge put it (“scam” is a more common term than “ploy” and the judge called it a “ sham”, which sounded similar to “scam”).

“MEC Resources and Mohawk/Allergan will both fail to guard these patents (at least from scrutiny).”Irrespective of one’s feelings about Apple, the patent case above is one where we ought to support Apple’s side as it also shields PTAB.

Incidentally, last night Dennis Crouch revisited PTAB in his PTAB-bashing blog. He now bashes PTAB for not giving the right of appeal. To quote:

While the inter partes review (IPR) was ongoing Ariosa/Roche filed a set of three ex parte reexamination requests and the PTO determined that they collectively raised 18 substantial new questions of patentability. However, after siding with the patentee in the IPR, the PTAB also terminated the three pending reexaminations – finding that Ariosa had delayed unreasonably in filing the reexam requests and that the petitions were duplicative of the IPR. This was apparently the first time that the PTAB had ever collaterally terminated an ex parte reexamination. (Remember here, that reexaminations are handled by examiners not by the Board).

[...]

PTAB has the right decision here (I think), but I continue to struggle with the no-appeal result. The argument for no right to appeal here is two-fold: (1) in an IPR only the final written decision can be appealable, and the decision here was separate from that paper; (2) A third-party has no right to appeal dismissal of an ex parte reexamination. What we don’t know is which of these (if either), the Federal Circuit would adopt.

This seems like Crouch's old pattern of trying to slow PTAB down by making the whole process more expensive and cumbersome. Shaming tactics along with Watchtroll. ‘Scholarly’ lobbying… soliciting briefs, too.

“The bottom line is, many more legal disputes are now being ‘settled’ (resolved) without pricey legal proceedings.”PTAB fees have already been raised, potentially accounting for a relative decrease in IPR filings. Does Crouch want them over-encumbered/preoccupied with appeals too? Probably. He also pressured Federal judges to issue written decisions for possibly thousands of PTAB appeals. Easy for him to say, having never written a legal decision; it takes a great deal of time and scales badly/poorly when it comes to the volume of IPRs. He knows that. He has an agenda…

The bottom line is, many more legal disputes are now being ‘settled’ (resolved) without pricey legal proceedings. PTAB typically invalidates low-quality patents before they even reach the courtroom. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s a feature for actual companies, but it’s a “bug” for the litigation ‘industry’. To them (the latter), litigation is just a “product” to be sold. But it’s not a market, it’s a parasite. It’s not an industry but a nuisance. Watch yesterday’s press release which said “growth of the global litigation services market can be attributed to the rise in investments in R&D and for filing patents by organizations in the automotive, FMCG, pharmaceutical, and healthcare sectors.”

“Wanda publicly brags about getting software patents that are null and void (most likely) after Alice.”They say “litigation services market” as if it’s now a real “market”. Ask Crouch about it. Maybe he has actual investments in this “market”, not just amicable relations with that “market”.

And speaking of low-quality patents, see this press release from yesterday [1, 2]. Wanda publicly brags about getting software patents that are null and void (most likely) after Alice. It reads like a a couple of algorithms, one for “Searching of Stationary Datasets” and another for “Detecting Activities and Anomalies in Time Series Data” (they just sneak in words like “Apparatus” to make it appear less abstract than it really is). Worry not, PTAB is very quick to throw away such patents even if they somehow slipped through to the USPTO‘s database.

Team UPC’s Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 11:58:31 AM

What sort of intellectually dishonest person would attempt to defend political corruption followed by cover-up (names of who voted)


Reference: Constructive vote of no confidence

Summary: Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there’s someone ‘courageous’ enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup

A WAVE of autocracy sweeps across Europe, including some elements inside the Bundestag.

Team UPC is just about as crooked and dishonest as the EPO. We have not heard of Tilmann in a long while (he was still very active last year), but moments ago a UPC booster, Thomas Adam‏ (his Twitter handle is dedicated purely to UPC, it’s “UPCtracker”), wrote this: “Tilmann in GRURInt 2017, 1177 quite sceptical about merits of Constitutional complaint, submits in summary: Constitutional complaint cited a “qualified breach” of German Constitution leading to a change of the constitutional identity in order to gain momentum. (cont‘d) [] Such change of constitutional identity Bundestag could not even decide by a 2/3 majority (Art. 79(3) GG). He compares the UPC project to a rationalisation measure “comparable to the merger of the patent district courts of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein”. [] UPC merely centralized tasks decided based on identical subject-matter, facts&law by national courts. ProfT argues this “demonstrates the disproportionate nature of the attack on a project that does not even touch the constitutional identity of the German Constitution from afar”. [] Rather, UPC, in the words of the ECJ and recitals 24 & 25 of the UPC regulation, was of fundamental importance for ensuring the proper functioning of the Unitary Patent, consistent case law and, consequently, legal certainty and cost-effectiveness for patent holders. (end)”

“It’s showing that Tilmann publicly but quietly mocks the rule of law in Germany, just like the EPO does… he tactlessly attempts to justify what happened at 1:30 at night…”Some other hardcore members of Team UPC have embarrassed themselves by writing about it in blog posts, only to be harshly criticised in comments. Tilmann has instead chosen to quietly speak to the courts (deadline is end of this month). This is truly laughable because to attempt to defend the UPC on this basis is to mock democracy itself. Thanks to Thomas Adam, we now know what Tilmann has been up to. It’s showing that Tilmann publicly but quietly mocks the rule of law in Germany, just like the EPO does… he tactlessly attempts to justify what happened at 1:30 at night (or morning, as it’s defined as morning by some). Everyone was asleep. This was the plan.

“The President of the Boards of Appeal has a connection to the UPC, as we noted a year ago when he was appointed.”Another German, Thorsten Bausch, has been rather shocked to see all this. He is rightly concerned that in the name of self interest German law is being ripped apart. Among the latest comments in his blog we see Paul Tauchner, who wrote: “It seems that this affair is a prime example of the way determined dictators in various countries have in the past increased their power, with the rather despicable complicity between control organs (the IC) acting either indifferently or even with incompetence and the leaving President. We may now indeed expect more scandals to become public as it recently happened (in a different context though) with the growing “Me Too Campaign”. Let us hope this will bring satisfaction to those who have suffered from injustice.”

And another person wrote: “Good to hear that at least the President of the Boards of Appeal takes proper account of ILO decisions. A great pity Battistelli has been able to manipulate the Administrative Council so effectively over the years. Let’s hope the Admin Council takes note of the criticisms in the judgments of the ILO.”

The President of the Boards of Appeal has a connection to the UPC, as we noted a year ago when he was appointed. But unlike Tilmann he has not (so far) made a mockery of simple rules. In fact, he appears to be the only person who opened his door to Judge Corcoran.

The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls’ Lobby (IAM)

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 11:07:29 AM

Not only speaking at IAM events and receiving celebrity treatment from IAM


Source: David Kappos 2013 interview

Summary: David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM’s)

THE patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) once again boosts lobbying/lobbyists of patent bullies, courtesy of David Kappos, who used the “China!” scare tactics to pressure for patent maximalism. What’s seemmingly unique this time is that IAM doesn’t just mention Kappos but gives him the entire platform.

Here is the introduction (the rest is mostly copy-paste of his comment on a speech/talk):

David Kappos, who was President Obama’s first USPTO Director and is now a partner at Cravath Swaine & Moore in New York, has put together a brief opinion piece for us on the Delrahim speech. Although he served under the previous administration, Kappos is in no doubt that in its second term, at least, it favoured users of IP over those who created it. Delrahim’s speech, he states, signals that at the DoJ that will now change …

It is very troubling when former USPTO officials (not just Kappos) are proceeding to using their “access” (connections) to get clients in the lobbying sector. Kappos has taken that to new extremes, which reinforces the perception of USPTO corruption.

Also published on the same day was this IAM blog post which debunks Kappos with his China-baiting (examples covered earlier this year). The latest twist in the Veeco tale simply shows how US patent law undermines US companies as they already rely a great deal on Chinese suppliers. By attempting to sue in the US it provoked litigation elsewhere and it has backfired badly. The “US company’s stock [is] falling,” basically because it become overzealous and litigious.

In a patent dispute that seems tailor-made for the Trump era, a US semiconductor company says a Chinese competitor has relied on IP infringement and government subsidies to significantly undercut its business. But although New York-based Veeco won a key preliminary injunction battle in front of a US district judge last month, a court in China hit the US company with an injunction of its own four days ago, causing one analyst to surmise that its patent enforcement campaign has badly backfired.

Veeco makes equipment used to manufacture LEDs, and until recently had about 60% market share in a technology known as MOCVD reactors. It makes the reactors itself, but has licensed German company SGL to manufacture a specific component called a wafer carrier. SGL also supplies wafer carriers to Advanced Microfabrication Equipment (AMEC), a new Chinese player in the MOCVD space.

[...]

It is not clear whether the China injunction is a preliminary or permanent one, or what the next steps are, but Veeco claims the decision was handed down “without providing notice to Veeco and without hearing Veeco’s position on alleged infringement” – which suggests it could be the former. The NASDAQ-listed company told investors that it will appeal the ruling, which it affirned applies only in China and only to some of its products in that market.

China has become fast and loose with embargoes and trolls. This is exactly the sort of thing Kappos wants back in the US, failing to recognise how ruinous it is for small businesses, i.e. not his clients (in his capacity as a lobbyist).

More in Tux Machines

FLOSSophobia

I have seen it many times. "Linux is a cancer". "Open sauce". "Linuxtard". I even remember the teacher who did not bring a laptop for her presentation and, when I offered her my Linux netbook, she rejected it as if I had presented her something illegal. She tried to use an old Windows computer instead but, when the computer failed, she ended up displaying her presentation with my Linux netbook. Clearly, this teacher's position was not based on ignorance or lack of expertise because she knew Linux existed and all she had to do was to display slides. Her refusal was due to indoctrination: she had learned that Linux and non-Microsoft office suites had to be rejected. Read more

Today in Techrights

Hands on With elementary OS Powered Centurion Nano Laptop by Alpha Store

If you want to buy a new laptop, no doubt you should consider the Centurion line. It will be a good choice for you, Linux aficionado. As well as for your Windows-addicted husband/wife/employees. The Centurion Nano is certainly not a “gamer” laptop. However, besides that particular use case, and for an interesting price, you will get a very competent computer, 100% compatible with Linux and usable for a broad range of tasks. Read more

Tryton and Python Deprecation Warnings

  • Trying Tryton
    The quest to find a free-software replacement for the QuickBooks accounting tool continues. In this episode, your editor does his best to put Tryton through its paces. Running Tryton proved to be a trying experience, though; this would not appear to be the accounting tool we are searching for. Tryton is a Python 3 application distributed under the GPLv3 license. Its home page mentions that it is based on PostgreSQL, but there is support for MySQL and SQLite as well. Tryton, it is said, is "a three-tier high-level general purpose application platform" that is "the core base of a complete business solution providing modularity, scalability and security". The "core base" part of that claim is relevant: Tryton may well be a solid base for the creation of a small-business accounting system, but it is not, out of the box, such a system itself.
  • Who should see Python deprecation warnings?
    As all Python developers discover sooner or later, Python is a rapidly evolving language whose community occasionally makes changes that can break existing programs. The switch to Python 3 is the most prominent example, but minor releases can include significant changes as well. The CPython interpreter can emit warnings for upcoming incompatible changes, giving developers time to prepare their code, but those warnings are suppressed and invisible by default. Work is afoot to make them visible, but doing so is not as straightforward as it might seem. In early November, one sub-thread of a big discussion on preparing for the Python 3.7 release focused on the await and async identifiers. They will become keywords in 3.7, meaning that any code using those names for any other purpose will break. Nick Coghlan observed that Python 3.6 does not warn about the use of those names, calling it "a fairly major oversight/bug". In truth, though, Python 3.6 does emit warnings in that case — but users rarely see them.