Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Techrights

Syndicate content
Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 54 min 51 sec ago

Links 18/9/2018: Qt 5.12 Alpha , MAAS 2.5.0 Beta, PostgreSQL CoC

1 hour 19 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • NYU applies open source Google AI to diagnose lung cancer

    If recent research is any indication, artificial intelligence (AI) has a bright future in medicine. Nvidia developed an AI system that can generate synthetic scans of brain cancer. Google subsidiary DeepMind has demonstrated a machine learning algorithm that can recommend treatment for more than 50 eye diseases with 94 percent accuracy. And in newly published research, New York University (NYU) showed how AI might aid in lung cancer diagnosis.

    A paper today published in the journal Nature Medicine (“Classification and mutation prediction from non-small cell lung cancer histopathology images using deep learning”) describes how a team of NYU researchers retrained Google’s Inception v3, an open source convolutional neural network architected for object identification, to detect certain forms of lung cancers with 97 percent accuracy.

  • Google AI Tool Identifies a Tumor’s Mutations From an Image
  • Announcing Heritage: An Open Source, Public Blockchain Project

    Heritage is a project of A​3​ by Airbus, the advanced projects outpost of Airbus in Silicon Valley. Airbus Foundation is the first strategic partner within Airbus to utilize blockchain technology developed by Heritage.

    Heritage is a decentralized application for the Airbus Foundation to hold charity fundraising campaigns internal to Airbus. Through open sourcing Heritage, Airbus Foundation will help charities onboard cryptocurrency and smart contracts, opening them to a new class of donor. Heritage hopes to set a standard non-profits can replicate to continue to grow the ecosystem while aiding an underserved market.

  • Versity announces next generation open source archiving filesystem

    Versity Software has announced that it has released ScoutFS under GPLv2. “ScoutFS is the first GPL archiving file system ever released, creating an inherently safer and more user friendly option for storing archival data where accessibility over very large time scales, and the removal of vendor specific risk is a key consideration.”

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • Fedora Firefox – GCC/CLANG dilemma

        After reading Mike’s blog post about official Mozilla Firefox switch to LLVM Clang, I was wondering if we should also use that setup for official Fedora Firefox binaries.

        The numbers look strong but as Honza Hubicka mentioned, Mozilla uses pretty ancient GCC6 to create binaries and it’s not very fair to compare it with up-to date LLVM Clang 6.

        Also if I’m reading the mozilla bug correctly the PGO/LTO is not yet enabled for Linux, only plain optimized builds are used for now…which means the transition at Mozilla is not so far than I expected.

      • September 2018 CA Communication

        Mozilla has sent a CA Communication to inform Certification Authorities (CAs) who have root certificates included in Mozilla’s program about current events relevant to their membership in our program and to remind them of upcoming deadlines. This CA Communication has been emailed to the Primary Point of Contact (POC) and an email alias for each CA in Mozilla’s program, and they have been asked to respond to the following 7 action items:

      • Emily Dunham: CFP tricks 1

        Some strategies I’ve recommended in the past for dealing with this include looking at the conference’s marketing materials to imagine who they would interest, and examining the abstracts of past years’ talks.

      • Thunderbird 60 with title bar hidden

        Many users like hidden system titlebar as Firefox feature although it’s not finished yet. But we’re very close and I hope to have Firefox 64 in shape that the title bar can be disabled by default at least on Gnome and matches Firefox outfit at Windows and Mac.

        Thunderbird 60 was finally released for Fedora and comes with a basic version of the feature as it was introduced at Firefox 60 ESR. There’s a simple checkbox at “Customize” page at Firefox but Thunderbird is missing an easy switch.

  • Databases
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
  • BSD
    • OpenBSD/NetBSD on FreeBSD using grub2-bhyve

      When I was writing a blog post about the process title, I needed a couple of virtual machines with OpenBSD, NetBSD, and Ubuntu. Before that day I mainly used FreeBSD and Windows with bhyve. I spent some time trying to set up an OpenBSD using bhyve and UEFI as described here. I had numerous problems trying to use it, and this was the day I discovered the grub2-bhyve tool, and I love it!

      The grub2-bhyve allows you to load a kernel using GRUB bootloader. GRUB supports most of the operating systems with a standard configuration, so exactly the same method can be used to install NetBSD or Ubuntu. [...]

    • OpenZFS Developer Summit 2018

      The sixth annual OpenZFS Developer Summit took place September 10th and 11th in San Francisco, California with an expanded focus on non-technical topics like community development and cross-project coordination. It also marked the “light at the end of the tunnel” status of several long-term OpenZFS features, notably dRAID, the distributed spare technology originally developed by Intel. [...]

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Washington State Electronic Notary Public endorsements

      [...] This all seemed to me to be something that GnuPG is designed to do and does
      quite well. So I sent an email on Friday night to the sender of the letter
      requesting specific issues that my provider did not comply with. This
      morning I received a call from the DoL, and was able to successfully argue
      for GnuPG’s qualification as an electronic records notary public technology
      provider for the State of Washington.

      In short, GnuPG can now be used to perform notarial acts
      <http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=42.45.140> in the State of
      Washington!

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Hindawi Limited Launches Open-Source Peer Review System Built on the PubSweet Framework

      Hindawi Limited is pleased to announce the launch of a new peer review platform built using the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation’s (Coko) open source PubSweet framework.

      This is the first complete open-source peer review system to come out of the Coko community, a group of like-minded organizations, including eLife, the European Bioinformatics Institute, and the University of California Press, keen on working collaboratively towards the advancement of openness in scholarly communications software.

    • Open Access/Content
      • Surprise: Bill Introduced To Finally Make PACER Free To All

        This would be… amazing. We’ve spent years highlighting the massive problems with PACER, the federal court system that charges insane amounts for basically everything you do, just to access public records, and which functions very much like it was designed around 1995. There are a few court cases arguing that PACER fees are illegal and a recent ruling in one of those cases agreed. As we noted at the time, that was hardly the final word on the matter. A bill like the ones Collins introduced would be an amazing leap forward in giving public access to court documents.

      • Collins introduces bill to increase transparency and access to federal court documents

        Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) today introduced a bill to reform both parts of the federal courts’ electronic records system.

        “Americans deserve a justice system that is transparent and accessible. I introduced the Electronic Court Records Reform Act to modernize the judicial records systems and remove fee-for-access barriers that technology has rendered unnecessary,” said Collins.

        “As an attorney and the son of a law enforcement officer, I understand how crucial it is that this legislation ensures access to a freer, fairer and more accountable judiciary.”

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Learn To Code Games With The DevBoy Modular Open Source System

        Developer Nicolai Shlapunov has created a new modular open source system specifically created for learning how to program and develop games. The DevBoy has this week launched via Kickstarter with the aim of raising $100,000 over the next 30 days to make the jump into production. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the modular hardware kit can help you learn to dove games and allows you to configure different gaming systems depending on your needs. “Ever wanted to build your own game console? Robot remote control? May be an oscilloscope? DevBoy is what you need!”

      • RISC-V microconference accepted for Linux Plumbers Conference

        The open nature of the RISC-V ecosystem has allowed contributions from both academia and industry to lead to an unprecedented number of new hardware design proposals in a very short time span. Linux support is the key to enabling these new hardware options.

      • A $1, Linux-Capable, Hand-Solderable Processor

        Over on the EEVblog, someone noticed an interesting chip that’s been apparently flying under our radar for a while. This is an ARM processor capable of running Linux. It’s hand-solderable in a TQFP package, has a built-in Mali GPU, support for a touch panel, and has support for 512MB of DDR3. If you do it right, this will get you into the territory of a BeagleBone or a Raspberry Pi Zero, on a board that’s whatever form factor you can imagine. Here’s the best part: you can get this part for $1 USD in large-ish quantities. A cursory glance at the usual online retailers tells me you can get this part in quantity one for under $3. This is interesting, to say the least.

      • Open Source Paramotor Using Quadcopter Tech

        But not always. The OpenPPG project aims to create a low-cost paramotor with electronics and motors intended for heavyweight multicopters. It provides thrust comparable to gas paramotors for 20 to 40 minutes of flight time, all while being cheaper and easier to maintain. The whole project is open source, so if you don’t want to buy one of their kits or assembled versions, you’re free to use and remix the design into a personal aircraft of your own creation.

        It’s still going to cost for a few thousand USD to get a complete paraglider going, but at least you won’t need to pay hangar fees. Thanks to the design which utilizes carbon fiber plates and some clever hinges, the whole thing folds up into a easier to transport and store shape than traditional paramotors with one large propeller. Plus it doesn’t hurt that it looks a lot cooler.

  • Programming/Development
    • TNS Context: The CNCF Open Source Survey and the Ballerina Programming Language

      Today on The New Stack Context podcast, we talk with Chris Aniszczyk, co-founder of the TODO Group and Chief Technology Officer of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) about the results of our recent open source program management survey. We also talk about WS02‘s new cloud native programming language, Ballerina.

      Joining Context host TNS editorial director Libby Clark for this episode is TNS founder Alex Williams and TNS managing editor Joab Jackson.

    • The D Language Front-End Is Trying Now To Get Into GCC 9

      Going on for a while now have been D language front-end patches for GCC to allow this programming language to be supported by the GNU Compiler Collection. It’s been a long battle getting to this state but it looks like it soon might be mainlined.

      Last June was the approval by the GCC Steering Committee to allow D support in GCC. While the committee approved of its addition, the D language front-end didn’t end up getting merged in time for the GCC 8 stable release that took place earlier this year.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Being nice to your employees pays off: Research

      Researchers surveyed nearly 1,000 members of the Taiwanese military and almost 200 adults working full-time in the US, and looked at the subordinate performance that resulted from three different leadership styles.

      They found that authoritarianism-dominant leaders — who assert absolute authority and control, focused mostly on completing tasks at all costs with little consideration of the well-being of subordinates — almost always had negative results on job performance.

      On the other hand, benevolence-dominant leadership — where primary concern is the personal or familial well-being of subordinates — almost always had a positive impact on job performance.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • What The U.S. Could Do If So Much Money Wasn’t Wasted On Health Care

      The United States spends 7.2 percent points more of our gross domestic product (GDP) on health care than several industrialized countries. That is $1.3 trillion the country effectively wastes on health care without getting better health outcomes.

      This is such a large amount of money it is almost impossible to wrap one’s head around. But it’s important to highlight just what could be done with that much money.

    • Negotiated Deal Stands For UN Tuberculosis Declaration

      The final text of the declaration can be found here [pdf], and the letter from the President of the UN General Assembly marking the end of the “silence period,” during which member states have an opportunity to break consensus, can be found here [pdf].

      “In accordance with paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 72/268, the political declaration shall be approved by the high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis on 26 September 2018 and subsequently adopted by the General Assembly,” the letter states.

      The final version of the text could be stronger on intellectual property flexibilities that promote access to medicines, but it is important that a deal has been reached, and there is room for improvement, according to civil society groups.

  • Security
    • Quantum Computing and Cryptography

      Quantum computing is a new way of computing — one that could allow humankind to perform computations that are simply impossible using today’s computing technologies. It allows for very fast searching, something that would break some of the encryption algorithms we use today. And it allows us to easily factor large numbers, something that would break the RSA cryptosystem for any key length.

      This is why cryptographers are hard at work designing and analyzing “quantum-resistant” public-key algorithms. Currently, quantum computing is too nascent for cryptographers to be sure of what is secure and what isn’t. But even assuming aliens have developed the technology to its full potential, quantum computing doesn’t spell the end of the world for cryptography. Symmetric cryptography is easy to make quantum-resistant, and we’re working on quantum-resistant public-key algorithms. If public-key cryptography ends up being a temporary anomaly based on our mathematical knowledge and computational ability, we’ll still survive. And if some inconceivable alien technology can break all of cryptography, we still can have secrecy based on information theory — albeit with significant loss of capability.

      At its core, cryptography relies on the mathematical quirk that some things are easier to do than to undo. Just as it’s easier to smash a plate than to glue all the pieces back together, it’s much easier to multiply two prime numbers together to obtain one large number than it is to factor that large number back into two prime numbers. Asymmetries of this kind — one-way functions and trap-door one-way functions — underlie all of cryptography.

    • This New CSS Attack Restarts iPhones & Freezes Macs
    • Time to Rebuild Alpine Linux Docker Containers After Package Manager Patch
    • GrrCon 2018 Augusta15 Automation and Open Source Turning the Tide on Attackers John Grigg
    • Software Patch Claimed To Allow Aadhaar’s Security To Be Bypassed, Calling Into Question Biometric Database’s Integrity

      As the Huffington Post article explains, creating a patch that is able to circumvent the main security features in this way was possible thanks to design choices made early on in the project. The unprecedented scale of the Aadhaar enrollment process — so far around 1.2 billion people have been given an Aadhaar number and added to the database — meant that a large number of private agencies and village-level computer kiosks were used for registration. Since connectivity was often poor, the main software was installed on local computers, rather than being run in the cloud. The patch can be used by anyone with local access to the computer system, and simply involves replacing a folder of Java libraries with versions lacking the security checks.

      The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the government body responsible for the Aadhaar project, has responded to the Huffington Post article, but in a rather odd way: as a Donald Trump-like stream of tweets. The Huffington Post points out: “[the UIDAI] has simply stated that its systems are completely secure without any supporting evidence.”

    • New CAS BACnet Wireshark Report Tool Helps User to Quickly Locate Intermittent Issues
    • Hackers For Good, Working To Gather Stakeholders To Find Answers To Cyberspace Challenges

      For a number of people, the word hacker means bad news. However, if some hackers have malevolent intentions, there are also hackers for good, and their skills were put to the challenge last week as they tried to save a fictitious city fallen into the hands of a group of cyber terrorists. The challenge was part of a two-day event organised by a young Geneva-based non-governmental organisation seeking to raise awareness about digital trust and bring accountability to cyberspace.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
  • Finance
    • I worked in an Amazon warehouse. Bernie Sanders is right to target them

      Sanders has also been highlighting some of the 19th-century working practices used by Amazon to control and discipline its workforce inside of its fulfilment centres. Sanders’ bill – the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, or the ‘Stop Bezos Act’ – would tax employers like Amazon when their employees require federal benefits.

      [...]

      Yet what I found while working for Amazon shocked me. I had done warehouse work previously when I was younger, along with a range of other poorly paid, manual jobs. In other words, my shock at the way workers were treated by Amazon was not a product of some wet-behind-the-ears naivety: I fully expected warehouse work to be tough. Yet what I witnessed at Amazon went far beyond that. This was a workplace environment in which decency, respect and dignity were absent.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • US power couple purchase Time Magazine for $190 million

      Time Magazine is being sold by Meredith Corp to Marc Benioff, a co-founder of Salesforce, and his wife.

      The Wall Street Journal reported that the iconic news magazine is being sold for USD 190 million to Benioff, one of four co-founders of Salesforce, a cloud computing pioneer.

    • Morning Edition’s Think Tank Sources Lean to the Right

      When it comes to seeking “expert” opinions on events for its reports, NPR often looks to a trusted roster of think-tank sources. In a study of NPR’s Morning Edition from February to July 2018, FAIR found that sources from left-of-center think tanks were underrepresented, with right-leaning think tank sources appearing almost twice as often.

      Out of 129 episodes aired Monday through Friday over the course of six months, researchers and fellows representing think tanks were quoted 144 times. Centrist think tanks were most commonly heard on Morning Edition, with 63 interview (44 percent of citations). Fifty-one (35 percent) of the show’s interviews were with conservative or center-right groups, while 28 (19 percent) involved progressive or center-left groups.

      Representatives from two think tanks—the pro-seafood Lobster Institute and the Rich Earth Institute, which promotes turning urine into fertilizer—could not be placed on the political spectrum.

    • The Election DataBot: Now Even Easier

      We launched the Election DataBot in 2016 with the idea that it would help reporters, researchers and concerned citizens more easily find and tell some of the thousand stories in every political campaign. Now we’re making it even easier.

      Just as before, the DataBot is a continuously updating feed of campaign data, including campaign finance filings, changes in race ratings and deleted tweets. You can watch the data come in in real time or sign up to be notified by email when there’s new data about races you care about.

      DataBot’s new homepage dashboard of campaign activity now includes easy-to-understand summaries so that users can quickly see where races are heating up. We’ve added a nationwide map that shows you where a variety of campaign activity is occurring every week.

      For example, the map shows that both leading candidates in Iowa’s 1st District saw spikes in Google searches in the week ending on Sept. 16 (we track data from Monday to Sunday). The Cook Political Report, which rates House and Senate races, changed its rating of that race from “Tossup” to “Lean Democratic” on Sept. 6.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Google’s Chinese Search Engine Will Censor Results, Provide Gov’t-Approved Pollution Data

      Google’s Chinese search engine also contains a blacklist of terms like “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize,” showing the government has a deep interest in using the custom-built search engine to deter and punish dissent. None of this is surprising, other than Google’s willingness to participate in government censorship. Google does pretty much the same thing with Android phones here in the US, where everything in the ecosystem is tied to the originating phone. There are ways to prevent that, but most phone users won’t take those steps. In China, however, the phones are also registered with the government, removing the third-party hop needed to tie internet activity to a person.

      Even Google’s seeming embrace of censorship and dissent deterrence may not be as surprising as it should be, as any number of social media platforms have made considerable concessions to authoritarian governments in recent years, rather than face losing market share in these countries.

      [...]

      Companies make bad decisions when faced with doing the right thing or doing the most profitable thing. Google premised its existence on not being evil. Pulling out of China lived up to that ideal. This does not. Concessions will always be made, but if these leaked documents are accurate, what Google is doing in China is far more than making small compromises to provide Chinese citizens with platforms not entirely controlled by their government. For all intents and purposes, Dragonfly is the government’s toy, built on tech underpinnings and expertise Google has apparently offered willingly.

    • Google’s search engine for China censors results for ‘democracy,’ ‘human rights,’ or ‘free speech’

      Early in August, a report from The Intercept claimed that Google was working to make a China-friendly version of its search engine that would censor results to make the government happy. A number of Google engineers quit the company after learning about this particularly egregious breach of Google’s “don’t be evil” policy, and now yet another report from The Intercept reveals exactly what Google was willing to censor.

      [...]

      More than anything, the report — which is well worth reading in full — shows the extent that even the biggest tech companies will go to in order to capture a share in a major emerging market. It’s easy to argue that if Google doesn’t acquiesce, a local firm will just do so anyway, but clearly Google’s own employees think it’s worth keeping the moral high ground.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Revealed: The Justice Dept’s secret rules for targeting journalists with FISA court orders

      Today, we are revealing—for the first time—the Justice Department’s rules for targeting journalists with secret FISA court orders. The documents were obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Freedom of the Press Foundation and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

      While civil liberties advocates have long suspected secret FISA court orders may be used (and abused) to conduct surveillance on journalists, the government—to our knowledge—has never acknowledged they have ever even contemplated doing so before the release of these documents today.

      The FISA court rules below are entirely separate from—and much less stringent—than the rules for obtaining subpoenas, court orders, and warrants against journalists as laid out in the Justice Department’s “media guidelines,” which former Attorney General Eric Holder strengthened in 2015 after several scandals involving surveillance of journalists during the Obama era.

      When using the legal authorities named in the “media guidelines,” the Justice Department (DOJ) must go through a fairly stringent multi-part test (e.g. certifying that the information is critical to an investigation, that it can’t be obtained by other means, and that the DOJ exhausted all other avenues before doing so) before targeting a journalist with surveillance. They must also get approval from the Attorney General.

    • Federal Court Says NSA PRISM Surveillance Good And Legal Because The Gov’t Said It Was Good And Legal

      Three years after its inception, a prosecution involving possibly unlawful FISA-authorized surveillance, hints of parallel construction, and a very rare DOJ notification of Section 702 evidence has reached a (temporary) dead end. The defendants challenged the evidence on multiple grounds — many of which weren’t possible before the Snowden leaks exposed the breadth and depth of the NSA’s domestic surveillance.

      The federal judge presiding over the case — which involved material support for terrorism charges — has declared there’s nothing wrong with anything the NSA or FISA Court did, so long as the surveillance was authorized and possibly had something to do with national security. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      First, the defendants — all accused of providing material support to Al Qaeda (remember them?) — asserted the constitutionality of the NSA’s upstream collections should be revisited in light of the Snowden leaks. The court [PDF] says these more-recent exposures are no reason to upset the precedential apple cart.

    • Congress Is Poised to Give Trump Administration Powerful New Spying Powers

      Congress is once again using “national security” as magic words to increase the government’s surveillance powers in dangerous and unaccountable ways.

      The Trump administration wants more spying power — and Congress appears poised to give it to them.

      Touting national security to justify spying powers that jeopardize our constitutional rights is a strategy that we have seen before. It happened with the Patriot Act after 9/11, and members of Congress and government officials are now employing similar arguments again. This time it involves a drone bill that some in Congress are pressing to be sneakily inserted into a larger piece of legislation that could be considered this month.

      According to news reports, members of Congress are lobbying to add the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 to the Federal Aviation Agency Reauthorization Act. Proponents of the bill claim that it will make our country safer. But, in reality, the drone legislation will give new surveillance powers to the Trump administration to spy on journalists, activists, and other Americans without a warrant.

      According to bill sponsors, the bill’s intent is to arm the “Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department with the ability to act quickly and effectively when a drone poses a risk to large-scale events and government facilities.” This goal may be admirable, but the bill does not achieve it.

      Instead, the bill empowers these agencies to warrantlessly spy on Americans without complying with existing US laws — including the Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Generally, these laws require the government to get a warrant if they want to wiretap or access other types of stored communications.

      The drone bill, however, exempts DHS and DOJ from these restrictions anytime it deems a drone a “threat” to certain covered areas. The bill defined covered areas so broadly — including areas where there may be emergency responses or federal investigations— that it will inevitably sweep in areas where media organizations have a legitimate interest in reporting.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ‘This Is an Unprecedented Level of Secrecy and Non-Transparency’

      Media are certainly reporting the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But there’s a case to be made that stories that just get views from various folks about what it would be like with Kavanaugh on the court, but sidestep serious questions about the process that would put him there, are doing less covering than covering up.

      Media get things wrong all the time, but among the deepest damage they do is invisibilizing possibilities, making it seem that things they don’t consider can’t happen. It’s a sort of implicit passivity that permeates corporate reporting, of which the air of “oh well, what’s next” fatalism wafting off of much coverage of Kavanaugh is just one example.

    • California Law Could be a Big Step Forward for Police Transparency
    • A Full Investigation Is Needed Into the Sexual Assault Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh

      Both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, should testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

      Over the weekend, details of serious charges of sexual assault alleged to have been committed by Judge Brett Kavanaugh became public, as did the name of the woman raising these allegations. In a letter to Sen. Diane Feinstein and in an interview with The Washington Post, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford described an incident in high school when she says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party.

      Judge Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” he said in a statement on Monday.

      These allegations, like all allegations of sexual misconduct, deserve to be taken seriously.

      Initially, Dr. Ford did not want her story to become public. She was afraid that doing so would “upend her life.” This is the reality women face, within a culture that too often vilifies people who come forward. Already, she has reportedly received threatening emails and is the subject of vicious online trolls, cruel tweets, and mocking Instagram posts, including one by Donald Trump Jr. But according to her lawyer, Debra Katz, “She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth.”

      It is critical that the confirmation hearings be delayed so that a thorough and transparent investigation can be conducted, including a hearing at which both Ford and Kavanaugh have an opportunity to testify under oath. The Senate cannot move forward with this lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land without considering the results of a fair, non-partisan, and complete process. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, he could sit on the Supreme Court for the next 40 years. This confirmation process is the only process he will ever go through. Now is the time for the allegations to be investigated and testimony to be heard.

    • Blood-Spatter Expert in Joe Bryan Case Says “My Conclusions Were Wrong”

      A hearing to determine whether Joe Bryan should be granted a new trial came to a dramatic conclusion on Monday with a surprise, eleventh-hour admission from the expert witness whose testimony had proved critical in convicting the former high school principal of the 1985 murder of his wife, Mickey.

      “My conclusions were wrong,” retired police Detective Robert Thorman wrote in an affidavit introduced by the defense of the bloodstain-pattern analysis he performed. “Some of the techniques and methodology were incorrect. Therefore, some of my testimony was not correct.”

      Bloodstain-pattern analysis is a forensic discipline whose practitioners regard the drops, spatters and trails of blood at a crime scene as clues, which can sometimes be used to reverse-engineer the crime itself. Thorman had only 40 hours of training in the discipline when he was called in to work on the Bryan case. His testimony about a blood-speckled flashlight that Mickey’s brother found in the trunk of Bryan’s car four days after the murder made the state’s tenuous theory of the crime seem plausible.

      At Bryan’s trial in 1986 and then again at his 1989 retrial, Thorman testified that tiny flecks of blood on the flashlight could only be “back spatter” — a pattern that indicated a close-range shooting. What connection the flashlight had to the crime, if any, was never clear; in 1985, a crime lab chemist found that the blood on it was type O, which corresponded not only to Mickey but to nearly half the population. But Thorman effectively tied the flashlight to the crime scene, going so far as to say that the killer had likely held the flashlight in one hand while firing a pistol with the other.

      Bryan had been attending a principals’ convention in Austin, 120 miles from where the murder occurred in Clifton, Texas, in the days surrounding the murder. He has always maintained that he was in Austin, asleep in his hotel room, at the time of the crime.

    • How Facebook Is Giving Sex Discrimination in Employment Ads a New Life

      We’re taking on Facebook and 10 companies for using the social platform to direct job ads toward men, excluding others.

      In 1967, the newly formed National Organization for Women staged a weeklong protest of The New York Times and other newspapers. Their demonstration targeted the long-standing practice of printing classified listings in two separate columns: “Help wanted: Male” and “Help wanted: Female,” which of course resulted in the exclusion of women from high-paying jobs and industries. As a result of NOW’s advocacy campaign, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency charged with enforcing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting race and sex discrimination in employment, finally made clear — over the strong objection of newspapers — that limiting job postings to one sex was unlawful. Sex-segregated classified ads subsequently became a thing of the past.

      Or so we thought.

      Today, five decades later, sex-segregated job listings are roaring back to life. Enabled by social media platforms like Facebook, advertisers are increasingly using users’ personal data to direct their ads — including for jobs — to individual users based on characteristics such as sex, race, and age, thus excluding users outside of the selected groups from learning about these opportunities.

      We can’t let this archaic form of discrimination continue to take hold. That’s why on Tuesday, the ACLU, along with the Communications Workers of America and the employment law firm Outten & Golden LLP, filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 companies that targeted ads for jobs in male-dominated fields to younger male Facebook users only, excluding all women and non-binary individuals, as well as older male users. The case is brought on behalf of three job seekers and the Communications Workers of America on behalf of a proposed class of millions of job applicants. It alleges that these job advertising practices violate federal civil rights laws prohibiting sex and age discrimination in employment.

    • Court: Trump’s ‘Get ‘Em Out’ Order Directed At Campaign Rally Protesters Is Protected Speech

      The Sixth Circuit Appeals Court has taken a look at some of President Trump’s campaign trail trash talk and decided urging fans to remove protesters wasn’t incitement, even if the phrasing was a bit graceless. (h/t Elizabeth Joh)

      The plaintiffs — Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah, and Henry Brosseau — attended a Trump campaign rally for the express purpose of protesting it. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the sort of thing that happens all the time, even if Trump tends to draw more detractors than most. During his speech, Trump had his critics ejected, telling attendees to “get ‘em out of here.”

      The plaintiffs, having been unceremoniously ejected (with some extra jostling from Trump supporters), sued, claiming Trump’s “get ‘em out of here” directly caused them harm and violated the state of Kentucky’s riot incitement law.

      The Appeals Court disagrees [PDF] with this assessment, using the plaintiffs’ own statements to undo their assertions. But it’s not happy with the lower court’s decision to apply a less strict standard to Trump’s wording to give the plaintiffs a better shot at hitting the mark with their state claims (“incitement to riot”). Applying the plausibility standard — that Trump’s “get ‘em out of here” could have conceivably incited a riot — makes no sense if the lower court wasn’t willing to apply that same standard to words Trump said directly after that.

    • Beyond Prisons — Episode 28: Prison Strike 2018

      Recorded in the midst of the strike on August 30, co-hosts Brian Sonenstein and Kim Wilson have a conversation with Ware about the strike’s progress, as well as the challenges of organizing and why the press is woefully unprepared to report on the action.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Ajit Pai Whines About California’s Net Neutrality Effort, Calls It ‘Radical,’ ‘Illegal’

      Much like the giant ISPs he’s clearly beholden to, Ajit Pai isn’t particularly happy about California’s efforts to pass meaningful net neutrality rules. The state’s shiny new law recently passed the state assembly and senate, and is awaiting the signature of California Governor Jerry Brown. ISPs recently met with Brown in a last-minute bid to get him to veto the bill (a very real possibility) despite widespread, majority public support.

      Pai last week took some time to whine about California’s bill at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a “free market” think tank supported by (shockingly) major ISPs.

    • Ajit Pai: California net neutrality law is “illegal”

      During the Obama years, when Pai was a mere FCC commissioner, he argued that states had the right to overrule federal telcoms rules. But he was arguing in favor of states’ rights to overrule federal regulations that said states couldn’t stop cities from building municipal internet services that competed with the telcos that Pai formerly served in an executive capacity.

    • Ajit Pai calls California’s net neutrality rules “illegal”

      California’s attempt to enforce net neutrality rules is “illegal” and “poses a risk to the rest of the country,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said in a speech on Friday.

      Pai’s remarks drew an immediate rebuke from California Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who authored the net neutrality bill that passed California’s legislature and now awaits the signature of Governor Jerry Brown.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Economic Analysis of Intellectual Property Notice and Disclosure

      Notice of intellectual property content, ownership, boundaries, scope of rights (and limitations), enforcement institutions, and remedial consequences plays a central role in resource planning and other economic and social functions. This chapter examines the function, design, and economic effects of intellectual property notice and disclosure rules and institutions. Based on this analysis, the chapter offers a comprehensive set of policy, institutional, and litigation reforms.

    • India: Patents Excluded

      Later, in 2012, Mr. Patel (Bharat Bhogilal Patel) filed a complaint against LG Electronics and multiple other importers for infringement. A circular was released by the govt. in 2009, which helped in the implementation of the IPR Rules, 2007. This circular addressed the issue of a Customs Officer not having the pre-requisite knowledge on Patents, Geographical Indication Infringements and design compared to Trademark and Copyrights. In order to deal with the infringements of the former kind, they should have been pronounced as offences by the court of law making the application by the Customs Officer simpler.

      In order to deal with this, vide notification no. 56/2018, the Central Government introduced amendments to the IPR Enforcement Rules, 2007 and introduced the Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Amendment Rules, 2018.

    • Germany: Abdichtsystem, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 120/15, 16 May 2017

      This case concerns the question of whether, and under what conditions, a supplier of infringing products who is located abroad can be held liable for infringement of the German patent for acts committed abroad. The FCJ held that the supplier may be liable if he was aware or should have been aware of the fact that the products he was supplying would eventually also reach the German market through his customers. Where the supplier does not market the products directly to Germany, there is no general obligation to monitor the activities of his customers.

    • Trademarks
      • Cai v. Diamond Hong, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018)

        Zheng Cai DBA Tai Chi Green Tea Inc. appealed an opinion of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) cancelling registration of his mark “WU DANG TAI CHI GREEN TEA” due to a likelihood of confusion with Diamond Hong, Inc.’s registered mark, “TAI CHI,” pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1052(d) (2012).

        The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision, and despite the two marks (shown below) looking substantially different in appearance at first glance, other factors weighed in favor of the cancellation.

    • Copyrights
      • Traditional Knowledge and the Commons: The Open Movement, Listening, and Learning

        CC licenses and public domain tools help individuals, organisations, and public institutions better disseminate digital resources and data, breaking down the typical barriers associated with traditional “all rights reserved” copyright. At the same time, CC licenses can’t do everything for everyone. First, the licenses operate in the sphere of copyright and similar rights. They do not attempt to license, say, personality rights, trademark, or patent rights. Also, the CC community recognizes that voluntary licensing schemes will never be a comprehensive solution for access to and reuse of knowledge and creativity around the world. This is one reason why CC works on international copyright reform issues, including the protection and expansion of user rights.

        Another dimension of openness that could be better understood from the perspective of the “open” community is the sharing of cultural works related to indigenous communities. This has been talked about with terms such as “traditional knowledge”. Traditional knowledge consists of a wide range of skills, cultural works, and practices that have been sustained and developed over generations by indigenous communities around the world. These communities hold entitlement over this knowledge as well as responsibility for the preservation of their knowledge, but haven’t always had the autonomy to decide what can be done with their knowledge. International and national instruments have attempted to codify the value of traditional knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples, but the place of such knowledge within conventional intellectual property structures remains deeply contested and uncertain.

        These issues and more were brought up at the 2018 Creative Commons Global Summit as well, and has since started an important conversation within the CC community. I’m an attorney and doctoral candidate at UC-Berkeley Law, and over the summer I worked as a research fellow for Creative Commons to conduct an investigation into the current issues regarding traditional knowledge and its intersection with the open movement. A draft of the paper is complete, and we welcome your thoughts and suggestions to it.

      • Thanks To ISP Bahnhof, We Know Just How Crazy Copyright Trolling In Sweeden Is Getting

        For some time, Swedish ISP Bahnhof has been sounding the alarm over copyright trolling practices in its home country. While cynics will note that Bahnhof has absolutely made its refusal to hand over customer data a central part of its marketing messaging, the ISP has also made a point to publicly track copyright trolling court cases, threat letters, and pretty much everything else related to copyright trolling in Sweden. And, frankly, it’s due pretty much solely to Bahnhof’s tracking efforts that we now know just how insanely worse copyright trolling in Sweden has gotten in just the last year or so.

      • Apple Didn’t Delete That Guys iTunes Movies, But What Happened Still Shows The Insanity Of Copyright

        Last week we, like many others, wrote about the story of Anders G da Silva, who had complained on Twitter about how Apple had disappeared three movies he had purchased, and its customer service seemed to do little more than offer him some rental credits. There was lots of discussion about the ridiculousness — and potential deceptive practices — of offering a “buy” button if you couldn’t actually back up the “purchase” promise.

        Some more details are coming out about the situation with da Silva, and some are arguing that everyone got the original story wrong and it was incorrect to blame Apple here. However, looking over the details, what actually happened may be slightly different, but it’s still totally messed up. Apple didn’t just stop offering the films. What happened was that da Silva moved from Australia to Canada, and apparently then wished to redownload the movies he had purchased. It was that region change that evidently caused the problem. Because copyright holders get ridiculously overprotective of regional licenses, Apple can only offer some content in some regions — and it warns you that if you move you may not be able to re-download films that you “purchased” in another region (even though it promises you can hang onto anything you’ve already downloaded).

        [...]

        But, alas, we’re left with yet another example of the insanity driven by excessive copyright, in which copyright holders get so overly focused on the notion of “control” that they feel the need to control absolutely everything — including making sure that no wayward Canadians might (GASP!) purchase and download a movie meant for Australians. It’s this overwhelming, obsessive desire to “control” each and every use that messes with so many people’s lives — including da Silva’s — and makes sure that the public has almost no respect at all for copyright. Give up a little control, and let the edge cases go, and maybe people wouldn’t be so quick to condemn copyright for removing their own rights so frequently.

Today’s European Patent Office (EPO) Works for Large, Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies in Pursuit of Patents on Nature, Life, and Essential/Basic Drugs

8 hours 55 min ago

Summary: The never-ending insanity which is patents on DNA/genome/genetics and all sorts of basic things that are put together like a recipe in a restaurant; patents are no longer covering actual machinery that accomplishes unique tasks in complicated ways, typically assembled from scratch by humans; some supposed ‘inventions’ are merely born into existence by the natural splitting of organisms or conception (e.g. pregnancy)

THE EPO used to be so much better than the USPTO. I personally used to like the EPO and was proud to say we had the best patent office in the world. It was strict, it was pedantic, and it assured limits on patent scope. That is no longer the case, however, as many EPO insiders can attest to as well. They too complain about the collapse in patent quality that we've just revisited.

“…billionaire drug lords are using patents to profit from the very disease which they themselves created (drug addiction).”Looking across the Atlantic, it’s not hard to see patent scope going (or already gone) insane. Some of the things being patented are outright laughable (we’ll deal with these in a separate post later on) and they would be funny/amusing if they didn’t cause so much agony/pain for legitimate, practicing companies. In the area of patents on natural things, how about this new “settlement”? Bausch Health blackmailed a rival until the rival gave up. They try to drive competitors out of business using patents alone. Is this good for the so-called ‘free market’? What would be the impact on people in need of medicine?

In other news that gained traction lately, billionaire drug lords are using patents to profit from the very disease which they themselves created (drug addiction). It is not even remotely ethical. These people should be in prison, but they are billionaires who are well connected. We mentioned this yesterday and it’s good to see that the public now scrutinises the USPTO over it.

Speaking of evil patents, how about the EPO’s decision to uphold a notorious patent last week? For those who haven’t been keeping abreast of it, read “António Campinos Needs to Listen to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) et al to Salvage What’s Left of Public Consent for the EPO” (published a few days ago).

Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review (LSIPR), a propaganda site of the patents-on-life lobby, wrote about the subject yesterday. It started as follows:

The European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld a patent covering Gilead’s hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir, despite opposition from humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Speaking to LSIPR, the EPO confirmed that it has “maintained in an amended form” European patent number 2,604,620 on Thursday, September 13.

The decision was announced following oral proceedings in Munich, Germany. The EPO advised that it will publish the full decision here once the Opposition Division has written its ruling.

We certainly hope that these people at the Opposition Division understand their impact on many lives, especially poor people. It’s a dark day for the EPO. It’s even darker for a lot of people with darker skin.

“Putting aside DuPont’s historic role in genocide, we’re rather concerned to see the trend of patenting organisms, genetics and so on.”Now, looking at the US, the Federal Circuit dealt with a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) and patent maximalists responded as follows yesterday: “The new DuPont v. Synvina decision is important for its specific application obviousness of claim ranges. It also creates some amount of tension with prior cases — particularly Dynamic Drinkware and Magnum Oil – regarding burden shifting within Inter Partes Review proceedings. [...] On appeal, the Federal Circuit holds here that the traditional obviousness burden-shifting associated with ranges applies to IPR proceedings. To be clear, the patentee never has the burden of proving non-obviousness. But, once a prima facie case of obviousness is established, the claims will be cancelled unless the patentee provides evidence to support its position.”

Putting aside DuPont’s historic role in genocide, we’re rather concerned to see the trend of patenting organisms, genetics and so on. This should not be happening. Earlier this month Wired published this article titled “Crispr’s Epic Patent Fight Changed the Course of Biology” and as we noted earlier this year the EPO’s Opposition Division fought back against it. Making life “owned” using patents sure “Changed the Course of Biology”… for the worse. From the article, which names the role of the Federal Circuit:

After three bitter years and tens of millions of dollars in legal fees, the epic battle over who owns one of the most common methods for editing the DNA in any living thing is finally drawing to a close. On Monday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decisive ruling on the rights to Crispr-Cas9 gene editing—awarding crucial intellectual property spoils to scientists at the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The fight for Crispr-Cas9—which divided the research community and triggered an uncomfortable discussion about science for personal profit versus public good—has dramatically shaped how biology research turns into real-world products. But its long-term legacy is not what happened in the courtroom, but what took place in the labs: A wealth of innovation that is now threatening to make Cas9 obsolete.

So they’ll be evergreening their patent portfolio if they get their way. The concept that all of life should be patented isn’t so controversial among patent law firms. Kevin Noonan, for example, constantly promotes this agenda and yesterday he wrote about another case of the Federal Circuit with an important outcome:

The varying appellate fortunes of patentees regarding the question of obviousness is illustrated nicely in the Federal Circuit decision in Orexo AB v. Actavis Elizabeth LLC handed down earlier this month. The statute, 35 U.S.C. § 103, was intended to tether the question of obviousness to the prior art (and untether it from judicial whim regarding “inventiveness” or “invention” as found in several Supreme Court decisions stating with Hotchkiss (and, to patent law’s detriment, resurrected under § 101 by Justice Breyer and in other recent decisions from the Court). Nevertheless, there cannot help to be a subjective aspect to the issue of obviousness, which is illustrated by this decision when placed in contrast, for example, with other recent obviousness determinations by the Federal Circuit (see, for example, “Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. v. Roxane Laboratories, Inc.”).

[...]

The opinion illustrates the District Court’s error in accepting as evidence supporting obviousness testimony that, if selected, citric acid as a carrier particle would have been expected to work, citing In re Gordon, 733 F.2d 900, 902 (Fed. Cir. 1984) (“The mere fact that the prior art could be so modified would not have made the modification obvious unless the prior art suggested the desirability of the modification.”). A similar error arose regarding the District Court’s dismissal of Orexo’s argument regarding preserving the 4:1 ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone, the panel stating the error to be the District Court’s finding that “there is nothing in the prior art which would have discouraged a person of ordinary skill from following the path set out in the various references” instead of recognizing that “no reference or combination of references proposes the path of the ’330 Patent.” Put more succinctly the opinion states “[t]he question is not whether the various references separately taught components of the ’330 Patent formulation, but whether the prior art suggested the selection and combination achieved by the ’330 inventors.”

Finally, the opinion turns to the objective indicia, which “guide the analysis of obviousness,” citing Leo Pharm. Prods., Ltd. v. Rea, 726 F.3d 1346, 1357–58 (Fed. Cir. 2013). Without expressly stating it, the Court here finds clear error in the District Court’s discounting these factors, for example, stating that a 66% increase in buprenorphine bioavailability was “more than a trivial ‘degree.’”

Well, it is our view that any patent on life should be regarded as obvious and fail the obviousness test, as well as prior art test. Life is, after all, not an invention but something that always existed or evolved on its own (an act of nature). When laws are drawn up by lobbyists of law firms and pushed by politicians bribed by big pharmaceutical firms, however, laws make no sense. It’s like companies are basically buying laws. Those laws are designed for nothing except boosting their profits and eliminating competition, including competition in the form of disruptive (to their cash cows) research.

The EPO Has Quit Pretending That It Cares About Patent Quality, All It Cares About is Quantity of Lawsuits

10 hours 3 min ago

Dark clouds over every legitimate (practicing) company in Europe

Summary: A new interview with Roberta Romano-Götsch, as well as the EPO’s promotion of software patents alongside CIPA (Team UPC), is an indication that the EPO has ceased caring about quality and hardly even pretends to care anymore

TODAY’S EPO is nothing like your father’s and grandfather’s EPO. It has become a lot more like the USPTO (one decade ago, predating much-needed reforms in the US).

“They conflate application pendency with patent quality and staff (as in patent examiners) isn’t happy about this lie.”The EPO’s Roberta Romano-Götsch, who will attend an event in Chicago in which the EPO (per its own words) will promote software patents under the guise of “automobiles” innovation, has done an interview with Gene Quinn (Watchtroll). The second part was published yesterday. It’s an event they organise with IPO, the pressure group of the litigation ‘industry’ (which also lobbies quite ferociously for software patents). EPO promoted this and “stay classy, EPO” was my response to them. “Associating with patent zealots who attack judges just like Battistelli did…”

Regular readers of ours are probably familiar with the tone and the agenda of Watchtroll. From the interview:

We then move on to discuss what the term “quality” means to the EPO, and then pivot into discussing the EPO’s upcoming Automotive and Mobility Seminar, which will take place in Chicago from September 26-27, 2018.

As usual, we prefer not to quote much — or anything at all — from Watchtroll because the site uses misleading terms like “efficient infringers” and insults those who stand for science. The interview reinforces the perception that what EPO means by “quality” is how fast it grants a patent! That’s it. Even if wrongly. They conflate application pendency with patent quality and staff (as in patent examiners) isn’t happy about this lie. Not even stakeholders are happy because what good are patents that would be rendered invalid if brought into a courtroom? The patent microcosm doesn’t care so much because it profits by the number of applications and any visit to the court is very “big money”, irrespective of the outcome of cases (frivolous or not).

We are very concerned that António Campinos is nothing but an extension of Team UPC because his first step as President, on his second day in Office, was UPC boosting. Campinos competed for the job with an actual judge (one who values justice and sports decades of experience, including at the ICC), but Battistelli intervened and stacked the deck as he always does. So now we have another ‘flavour’ of Battistelli — a quieter and more subtle one. “President @EPOorg António Campinos gives a master class to the new civil servant graduates of the #SPTO on IP future challenges,” the EPO quoted another account as saying yesterday. At least we now know how Campinos uses his time. So I asked them: “Did he teach them how to illegally sack workers like he does at the EPO?”

“Campinos competed for the job with an actual judge (one who values justice and sports decades of experience, including at the ICC), but Battistelli intervened and stacked the deck as he always does.”I cited this recent example of what he did at the EU-IPO although there are more recent examples from the EPO.

In another EPO tweet there was yet more of the usual advocacy of software patents — something that the EPO does 2-4 times per day (weekdays). This one explicitly names “computer-implemented inventions” (CII means exactly the same as software patents) and speaks of some “free-of-charge” brainwash from CIPA. To quote: “What’s the EPO’s approach to computer-implemented inventions? Daniel Closa, one of our senior experts, will explain at this free-of-charge seminar in London” (where such patents aren’t allowed “as such”).

The EPO’s liaison with CIPA is a subject we recently covered. The EPO typically associates with IPO, CIPA and Watchtroll these days. In other words, it’s all about the litigation ‘industry’.

“The EPO typically associates with IPO, CIPA and Watchtroll these days. In other words, it’s all about the litigation ‘industry’.”Speaking of this litigation ‘industry’, Managing IP is a site which targets it. It is a pro-UPC publisher (that organised lobbying events for UPC, sometimes directly connected to the EPO). Some media companies are lobbyists and think tanks disguised as “news” and Managing IP is a living reminder of this. Yesterday it published “CIPA urges UK government to stay in EUIPO after Brexit” and then tweeted “CIPA has sent a letter to the UK prime minister asking the government to negotiate continued participation in the EU trade marks and designs system after #Brexit” (Managing IP is being a megaphone of CIPA, as usual).

Even though this has nothing to do with the UPC (which is dead anyway) Team UPC tried to interject things. Thomas Adam wrote on Twitter: “CIPA trying to set an example for continued UPC participation of UK after Brexit?!”

“It’s like the main aim is to ‘generate’ more business for litigators rather than serve the public or acknowledge real innovation.”No, the article doesn’t even mention the UPC. Also published yesterday was this article from Rachel Havard (AA Thornton & Co) titled “Brexit: Considerations for European Union Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs” (UPC not mentioned here either).

The bottom line is that today’s EPO, more so with António Campinos in charge, is little more than an extension in cahoots with the litigation pipeline. It’s like the main aim is to ‘generate’ more business for litigators rather than serve the public or acknowledge real innovation. In our previous post we showed how a European Patent had been used by a notorious bully in Germany (the bully is from the US). No wonder examiners, who are basically scientists, are royally pissed off.

Qualcomm’s Escalating Patent Wars Have Already Caused Massive Buybacks (Loss of Reserves) and Loss of Massive Clients

10 hours 56 min ago

Yesterday: Qualcomm’s Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere


Reference: Qualcomm loses Apple’s business and drops NXP deal. What’s next?

Summary: Qualcomm’s multi-continental patent battles are an effort to ‘shock and awe’ everyone into its protection racket; but the unintended effect seems to be a move further and further away from ‘Qualcomm territories’

ARMED with patents, including software patents from the EPO and USPTO, Qualcomm embarked on a misguided crusade which was bound to drive away clients and reduce interest in its patent pool. A few hours ago it was noted that “Apple Moves Away From Qualcomm” (even further than before) and according to Florian Müller, who followed the respective cases closely, there’s a new lawsuit in Germany, based on a European Patent:

With a view to a Qualcomm v. Apple patent infringement trial in Munich on Thursday I contacted the Munich I Regional Court to check on the time. As for the biggest issue in that case, may I refer you to my recent post on how thin air can “practice” claim limitations unless the name of the game is the claim.

On the same occasion, I inquired about any Qualcomm v. Apple first hearings that might come up in the near term. Unlike other German courts, the Munich court holds a first hearing, not as formally focused on claim construction as a U.S. Markman hearing, prior to patent trials. A spokeswoman for the court kindly informed me that a first hearing in two parallel cases, targeting different Apple entities, has been scheduled for March 28, 2019.

The patent-in-suit in both cases is EP1988602 on a “mobile terminal with a monopole[-]like antenna.”

Knowing the usual Munich timelines, it appears that the new complaints have only been filed recently. I guess just before the main summer vacation season here, or at least not long before.

“These sorts of multi-continental patent battles aren’t particularly new, but they serve to highlight the sort of thing that the EPO in Germany probably looks to facilitate, even if that would mean a lot more patent trolls, attacks on generics and so on.”In a later post Müller wrote that ITC “staff raises public-interest concerns over ban of Intel-powered iPhones sought by Qualcomm” and “staff says none of the 3 remaining patents-in-suit (from Qualcomm’s 2nd ITC complaint against Apple) is infringed. Apple [is] on [a] winning track.”

“CCIA raised these concerns in our public interest filings,” Josh from the CCIA said, so “I’m glad the ITC staff sees the same issues with exclusion in this case. (Not to mention infringement.)”

Quoting Müller, who was busy writing more than usual yesterday:

This morning, opening statements were delivered at the start of the evidentiary hearing in the investigation of Qualcomm’s second ITC complaint (request for U.S. import ban). The complaint was filed last December. An earlier complaint by Qualcomm against Apple is at a more advanced procedural stage: a final initial determination (a preliminary ruling by an Administrative Law Judge, which is however subject to Commission review) was originally due last Friday, but after the ALJ originally in charge retired, Chief ALJ Bullock took over and extended the deadline by two weeks. In that earlier case, the Office of Unfair Import Investigations (OUII, commonly referred to as “the ITC staff”) recommended an infringement finding with respect to one patent. Staff recommendations are not binding on ALJs, and even ALJs don’t make the final decision: the Commission itself does. But what the staff says is often adopted.

We have been critical of ALJs who ignored rulings from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The Federal Circuit later dealt with the inter partes review (IPR) in question. The matter of fact is, Qualcomm is trying to increase pressure and improve its chances of “winning” by filing actions in several courts and in several continents — not so unusual a trick. Apple did that the Samsung and Huawei too is trying it against Samsung right now. But as Müller pointed out, the judge in the US is well aware that Chinese patent law is different and in some sense harsher than American law. Müller compares this to the case of Microsoft v Motorola — one which we covered at the time. To quote:

With respect to China, let’s face one thing: every U.S. judge knows that the rule of law, just like democracy, works differently in China. Huawei’s lawyers portray the Chinese proceedings at 100% fair and comprehensive. Samsung’s counsel obviously didn’t suggest that the proceedings were unfair, nor did Judge Orrick say so in his order. The Federal Circuit will be diplomatic, too. But that doesn’t mean that the appellate judges won’t have their private and unspoken opinion anyway.

The strategic issue here is the one I mentioned in the headline: coerced FRAND rate-setting arbitration. In order to distinguish Huawei v. Samsung from Microsoft v. Motorola (with Samsung being the new Microsoft and Huawei being the new Motorola), Huawei points out that Microsoft said it would accept a court-determined FRAND rate without insisting on adjucation of all the defenses that Samsung is pursuing (though Judge Robart actually did hold some Motorola patents invalid anyway). But beyond differences between Huawei and Microsoft regarding the preconditions for rate-settings (which I simply attribute to the fact that the standards at issue in Microsoft v. Motorola were not nearly as critical to Microsoft’s business as the ones in Huawei v. Samsung are to Samsung’s core business, thus Microsoft was prepared to pay for invalid and non-infringed patents and exclusively concerned about injunctive relief), Huawei must deny that it is an unwilling licensor (not in the sense of unwillingness to extend a license, but to do so on FRAND terms) engaging in hold-up and instead argue that Samsung is an unwilling licensee engaging in hold-out.

These sorts of multi-continental (or cross-continental) patent battles aren’t particularly new, but they serve to highlight the sort of thing that the EPO in Germany probably looks to facilitate, even if that would mean a lot more patent trolls, attacks on generics and so on.

Links 17/9/2018: Torvalds Takes a Break, SQLite 3.25.0 Released

Monday 17th of September 2018 07:24:27 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.2 released

    On behalf of the Apache SpamAssassin Project Management Committee, I am
    very pleased to announce the release of Apache SpamAssassin v3.4.2.
    This release contains security bug fixes. A security announcement will
    follow within the next 24 hours.

    Apache SpamAssassin can be downloaded from
    https://spamassassin.apache.org/downloads.cgi and via cpan
    (Mail::SpamAssassin).

    Our project website is https://spamassassin.apache.org/

    Our DOAP is available at https://spamassassin.apache.org/doap.rdf

  • Valve Prepares Open-Source Moondust Repository

    Back in June, Valve announced “Moondust” as a new VR technical demo to showcase their hardware efforts (primarily with the Knuckles EV2 VR controllers) and consists of some mini games. It looks like this tech demo might be soon open-sourced.

    If you missed Valve’s original announcement of Moondust, you can find it on SteamCommunity.com granted this tech demo is primarily aimed at VR-enabling game developers.

  • Zinc Launches UK’s First Open Source Blockchain-Based Hiring Software

    London: Zinc, a UK based start-up, today launches its blockchain based hiring software, which promises to eliminate many of the inefficiencies associated with recruitment within the technology sector. Available to the public from today, Zinc has been successfully tested in beta with customers including GoCardless and Booking.com.

  • Lumina Networks Expands Engineering Management to Drive Product Innovation and Open Source Leadership

    Open source networking leader Lumina Networks today announced the addition of three industry leaders to their engineering team. Avinash Parwaney joins Lumina’s executive team as VP of Engineering. Parwaney is formerly from Cisco where he was Senior Director of Engineering. Prem Sankar Gopannan has joined Lumina as Director of Engineering and Iyappa Swaminathan has joined as Director of Technical Product Management.

    “I am pleased to welcome Avinash to lead the Lumina engineering team. He brings a wealth of real-world experience in large scale service provider networking,” said Andrew Coward, CEO of Lumina Networks. “Avinash will help Lumina accelerate our open source-based networking platforms and applications from proof of concept trials into production deployment. The addition of Prem and Iyappa to the team will further strengthen our ability to help lead the open source networking community, driving innovation and productization.”

  • Databases
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Initial Flatpak support arrives for Windows Subsystem for Linux
    • Aussie banks dragged into the ‘open source’ era via GitHub

      The open banking Data Standards Body, which is being run by the CSIRO’s Data61 unit, is using the online service to manage feedback and comments for the technical standards that will govern the movement of data in the new economy. All decision proposals and final decisions for the open banking standards will be published on GitHub.

    • eBay Replatforming to Kubernetes, Envoy and Kafka: Intending to Open Source Hardware and Software

      eBay have discussed how they are conducting a replatforming initiative across their entire technology stack, which includes building and releasing as open source both the new hardware and software created. Open source is “fueling the transformation” of eBay’s infrastructure, and they intend to use cloud native technologies like Kubernetes, Envoy, MongoDB, Docker and Apache Kafka.

      As part of a three-year effort to replatform and modernise their backend infrastructure, eBay has recently announced that they are building their own custom-designed servers “built by eBay, for eBay”. The plan also includes making eBay’s servers available to the public via open source in the fourth quarter of this year. Although many large scale technical organisations and cloud vendors custom build their own hardware, including Google, AWS and Azure, they do not typically release this as open source. eBay have stated that they “are using servers and hardware that we designed, reducing our dependence on third parties”.

    • EU antitrust ruling on Microsoft buy of GitHub due by October 19
  • BSD
    • [llvm-dev] [7.0.0 Release] The final tag is in

      The final version of 7.0.0 has been tagged from the branch at r342370. It is identical to rc3 modulo release notes and docs changes.

    • LLVM 7.0 Is Ready For Release

      The LLVM/Clang 7.0 release had been running a bit behind schedule and warranted a third release candidate, but this week LLVM 7.0.0 is now ready to ship.

      Release manager Hans Wennborg announced minutes ago on the mailing list that the 7.0.0 release has been tagged in their source tree. This ends up being the same as last week’s 7.0-RC3 except for release notes and documentation updates.

    • LLVM Developers Still Discussing SPIR-V Support Within Clang

      One of the features that didn’t materialize for LLVM / Clang 7.0 is the SPIR-V support within the compiler toolchain.

      While there has been a SPIR-V / LLVM translator out-of-tree and various developers at different vendors have been discussing for months the prospects of adding SPIR-V intermediate representation support to LLVM/Clang, it has yet to materialize.

      The latest developer discussion is to have a roundtable talk on the SPIR-V integration at the 2018 LLVM Developers’ Meeting. This year the LLVM Developers’ Meeting is happening at the San Jose Convention Center from 17 to 18 October.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Bulgaria prepares to build its own central code repository

      In November, Bulgaria’s state eGovernment agency SEGA (Държавната агенция „Електронно управление“ ДАЕУ) will award a contract for building the country’s open source code repository. SEGA began studying submitted proposals this Tuesday. The repository, to be based on Git, will be hosting source all software newly developed by or for Bulgaria’s public services.

      [...]

      Published under the European Union Public Licence (EUPL) the Data-Gov-BG provides custom code for Bulgaria’s open data portal, including documentation about access and reuse of public sector information. The portal uses CKAN – open source software for data repositories.

  • Programming/Development
    • An “obsessive,” “anti-imperialist” Turing Complete computer language with only one command

      Daniel writes, “An obsessive programmer, frustrated with not only the inefficiencies of mainstream OSes like Windows, but what he sees as their ‘imperialistic oppression,’ built an entire operating system using a subleq architecture. Subleq is a OISC, a language with only a single command. It lacks the most basic features of programming languages, and yet is Turing Complete.

    • PHP 7.3-RC1 Released, Benchmarks Looking Good For This Next PHP7 Update

      Released this week was the first RC milestone for the PHP 7.3 feature update due out before year’s end. This weekend I ran some fresh PHP benchmarks looking at its performance.

      The PHP 7.3 release candidate is made up of many fixes ranging from memory corruption and segmentation faults to undefined symbols and other problems. The list of changes can be found via the NEWS entry.

Leftovers
  • How traveling abroad with kids showed me how to fix U.S. transit

    Ridership is down on nearly every major public transit system in the country. The argument is that agencies have failed to invest in basic upgrades which would have improved service and frequency. But on the other hand, these agencies can’t be effective when governments continue to prioritize cars—both financially and physically.

    Sweden, for example, subsidizes infrastructure improvements meant to eliminate the need for cars as part of a nationwide strategy to eliminate traffic deaths. The U.S. subsidizes widening highways.

    But what most Americans don’t know is that, in most cases, riding public transit is the best way to get public transit back on track. Especially if it helps get a car off the road during rush hour.

  • Fortnite helped cause 5% of UK divorces this year

    The company did not specify how Fortnite contributed to the separations, though its highly addictive, time-consuming nature is a sure contender. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, and gambling are often cited as reasons for relationships ending, and as digital technology increasingly takes over our lives, many argue that social media is as addicting as drugs.

  • Fortnite Battle Royal Game Cited As Cause For Divorce

    I seriously feel games are going to take over this world real soon. Earlier, it was Fortnite coaching where parents paid up to $20 for their kids to get better in the game, now this!

    According to a recent report by U.K divorce resource site Divorce Online, over 200 couples have filed divorce citing Fortnite game addiction as the root of their split.

  • Is fortnite becoming a relationship wrecker?

    Fortnite is all over the news right now as one of the most addictive digital games ever played.

    It’s not only teenagers that are being affected by its drug like qualities.

  • Pornhub traffic took a beating during iPhone XS and Apple Watch reveals

    The iPhone reveal saw Pornhub traffic drop a staggering 11.3 per cent on Apple devices and 4.4 per cent on Android. The Apple Watch Series 4 was also briefly popular (down 9.9 per cent and 3.7 per cent) before talk moved onto the health benefits, at which point viewers were inspired to have a brief 20-minute workout back on Pornhub.

  • Science
  • Security
    • Cryptocurrency mining attacks using leaked NSA hacking tools are still highly active a year later

      Yet, more than a year since Microsoft released patches that slammed the backdoor shut, almost a million computers and networks are still unpatched and vulnerable to attack.

    • Leaked NSA exploits are still used to infect at least 919K servers with cryptojacking malware [Ed: Microsoft gave the NSA back doors. It was inevitable that crackers who do not work for the US government would get in too.]

      Although Microsoft indicated that they have closed the backdoor used by this ransomware, more computers globally are not fully secured to prevent the infection by the malware. Interestingly, the hackers have shifted their game from asking for ransom and are now infecting new computers with cryptojacking malware.

    • Cybersecurity Is Only 1 Part of Election Security

      The DEF CON 2018 Voting Machine Hacking Village aimed to raise awareness in voting security through a full day of speakers and panel discussions along with a challenge for attendees to hack more than 30 pieces of voting equipment. A partnership with rOOtz Asylum offered youths between 8 and 16 years old an opportunity to hack replicas of the websites of secretaries of state to demonstrate that even hackers with limited years of experience can easily compromise critical systems. The goal was to break as many voting machine pieces as possible in order to draw attention to the vulnerabilities that will be present in the upcoming 2018 elections.

      The focus on election equipment, however, ignores the greater danger caused by hacking into the diverse collection of sensitive information that flows through political campaigns and the electoral process, and using that to influence and sow distrust among voters. While changing a vote or voting results can be traced back to a particular stakeholder, changing people’s understanding of facts is far more insidious.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 114 – Review of “Click Here to Kill Everybody”

      Josh and Kurt review Bruce Schneier’s new book Click Here to Kill Everybody. It’s a book everyone could benefit from reading. It does a nice job explaining many existing security problems in a simple manner.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • PAM HaveIBeenPwned module
    • Remote code exec found in Alpine Linux

      Users of Alpine Linux are advised to update their installations – especially those used for Docker production environments – after a researcher found a remotely exploitable bug in the distribution’s package manager.

      Alpine Linux is popular with Docker users due to its small size and package repository.

      Crowdfunded bug bounty program BountyGraph co-founder Max Justicz managed to exploit Alpine .apk package files to create arbitrary files which could be turned into code execution.

    • What is Wireshark? What this essential troubleshooting tool does and how to use it

      Wireshark is the world’s leading network traffic analyzer, and an essential tool for any security professional or systems administrator. This free software lets you analyze network traffic in real time, and is often the best tool for troubleshooting issues on your network.

      Common problems that Wireshark can help troubleshoot include dropped packets, latency issues, and malicious activity on your network. It lets you put your network traffic under a microscope, and provides tools to filter and drill down into that traffic, zooming in on the root cause of the problem. Administrators use it to identify faulty network appliances that are dropping packets, latency issues caused by machines routing traffic halfway around the world, and data exfiltration or even hacking attempts against your organization.

      [...]

      While Wireshark supports more than two thousand network protocols, many of them esoteric, uncommon, or old, the modern security professional will find analyzing IP packets to be of most immediate usefulness. The majority of the packets on your network are likely to be TCP, UDP, and ICMP.

      Given the large volume of traffic that crosses a typical business network, Wireshark’s tools to help you filter that traffic are what make it especially useful. Capture filters will collect only the types of traffic you’re interested in, and display filters will help you zoom in on the traffic you want to inspect. The network protocol analyzer provides search tools, including regular expressions and colored highlighting, to make it easy to find what you’re looking for.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Drone assassins are cheap, deadly and available in your local store

      Aug. 5, 2018. In the heart of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, Nicolás Maduro was delivering of a rousing speech. He stood high on a podium, speaking to a parade of military troops. The event was broadcast live on national TV. An hour in, the Venezuelan president flinched. His eyes widened. An unexpected object flew by.

      It was a drone, carrying explosives along the city’s historic Bolívar Avenue. Allegedly, this was an assassination attempt using a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle — the kind of drone you can buy from any electronics store — fitted with explosives.

      Jai Galliott, a nonresident fellow of the Modern War Institute calls the event in Caracas a “modern form of assassination.”

    • CIA drone program expands across Africa

      The US Central Intelligence Agency’s drone program in Africa is expanding, the New York Times said on September 10.

      Just south of the Libyan border, a covert military base in Dirkou, Niger has been deploying fleets of drones on surveillance missions for several months, a Defense Department spokeswoman, Major Sheryll Klinkel told the NYT.

    • The US expand their drone base in Djibouti in spite of rising local ‘anti-American sentiment’.

      The United States have built another large hangar to house unmanned aircraft at Camp Chabelley in Djibouti, despite Defense Secretary James Mattis announcing in August that he would wind down special operations on the African continent a year after four US troops were killed in Niger.

    • U.S. Spies Rush to Protect Defectors After Skripal Poisoning

      When a suspected hit man for Russian intelligence arrived in Florida about four years ago, F.B.I. surveillance teams were alarmed.

      The man approached the home of one of the C.I.A.’s most important informants, a fellow Russian, who had been secretly resettled along the sunny coast. The suspected hit man also traveled to another city where one of the informant’s relatives lived, raising even more concerns that the Kremlin had authorized revenge on American soil.

      At F.B.I. headquarters, some agents voiced concern that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, himself a former intelligence officer known to reserve scorn for defectors from their ranks, had sent an assassin to kill one he viewed as a turncoat. Others said he would not be so brazen as to kill a former Russian spy on American soil.

  • Finance
    • Time Magazine Acquired by the Benioffs, Founders of Salesforce.com

      Salesforce.com Inc. founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne agreed to acquire Time magazine from Meredith Corp. for $190 million in cash, joining Jeff Bezos among tech billionaires buying venerable print publications.

      The move thrusts the brash 53-year-old entrepreneur, who helped lead the shift of software to an on-demand model, into a new role: media baron.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Former CIA officer blasts Devin Nunes for ‘enabling our indecent president’

      Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) campaign to retain his House seat took another blow Thursday, when former CIA officer Evan McMullin endorsed Democrat Andrew Janz — and slammed Nunes in the process.

      McMullin, who is also a former House Republican staffer, wrote on Twitter that “Andrew Janz is an honorable man who has made a career of upholding the law.”

      He added that Janz will “do a much better job” for the district than Nunes, whom McMullin said “ignores the district, while promoting himself and enabling our indecent president.”

    • From assassinations to CIA mind control: new show investigates how artists tackle conspiracy theories

      “When you don’t have all the information, you’re left to fill in the blanks, and so people come up with these crazy theories,” says Doug Eklund, the co-curator of possibly the first ever exhibition to tackle art and conspiracy theories. “The way that I look at the subject of conspiracy is, it’s about aspects of history that are hidden,” Eklund says. “I think of it as almost a political occult.”

      Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy at the Met Breuer includes around 70 works by 30 artists, made between 1969 and 2016 (up to, but not including, the last presidential election), looking at covert power and the ways governments and citizens interact.

    • Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump

      Retired Adm. William McRaven, former head of Special Operations Command, resigned from the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board last month after asking President Trump to revoke his security clearance.

      Defense News first reported McRaven’s exit Thursday and the Pentagon confirmed to CNN that he resigned four days after publishing his op-ed.

      In his editorial for The Washington Post, McRaven tore into the president for revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, calling Brennan “one of the finest public servants I have ever known.”

    • Reports: Bill McRaven resigns from Pentagon board after op-ed criticizing Trump

      Bill McRaven, former chancellor of the University of Texas System and a current UT-Austin professor, resigned on Aug. 20 from the Pentagon’s technology advisory board, multiple news outlets reported Thursday.

      His resignation came four days after The Washington Post published an opinion piece he wrote that criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan.

      “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” McRaven wrote. “If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken.”

    • Curbing politicization, returning now to espionage

      Former CIA Director John Brennan recently lost his top secret security clearance, a move that will negatively impact his ability to make money in the lucrative world of U.S. government contracting.

      Mr. Brennan complained bitterly that his First Amendment free speech rights were violated by the action — a ridiculous argument since Mr. Brennan remains a paid commentator and speaks his mind freely on NBC and MSNBC national news networks seemingly at will. In fact, the lack of a clearance will enhance Mr. Brennan’s ability to speak out on issues he thinks are important.

      Not being read in to current intelligence means Mr. Brennan needs to worry less about mixing classified information with his on-air remarks or tweets and thus lowers the risk of breaking the law.

    • Enough Gossip. Where are the Trump Whistleblowers?

      I served 24 years in such a system, joining the State Department under Ronald Reagan and leaving during the Obama era. That splay of political ideologies had plenty of things in it to disagree with or even believe dangerous. Same for people in the military and the intelligence agencies, who, for example, were sent to train Afghan mujaheddin under one president and then kill them under another, more significant than wonky disagreement over a trade deal. An amoral president, in Anonymous’ words? How about one who set Americans to torturing prisoners to death?

      In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, some inside government were privy to information about the non-presence of weapons of mass destruction, and understood the president was exaggerating the case for war if not lying about it. Three senior officials resigned from the State Department and left a clear marker in the history books the policy was wrong. Another State Department official, a former Marine, resigned in protest over the war in Afghanistan. He stated in the New York Times (a signed letter, not an anonymous Op-Ed) “[I] tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside.” More than a decade earlier, four State Department officials quit over the Bosnian conflict, also via public letters of resignation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Bozell Warns Rep. Jordan: Social Media Perpetrating ‘Greatest Worldwide Censorship’ in ‘History of Man’ [Ed: Social Control Media was always about policing speech online; it is wrong to allege, however, that the censorship there only muzzles so-called 'Conservatives' as it's far broader than this.]

      In a conversation with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Facebook Live on Wednesday, Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell declared the recent censorship of conservatives “the greatest worldwide censorship” of free speech in “the history of man.”

      “In recent months, there has been a debate that has now exploded on the national scene dealing with the subject of censorship and the power of a handful of tech companies,” Bozell said. “When you consider that Twitter and Facebook have over a billion of an audience – NBC News has four million, Twitter and Facebook have a billion – it’s worldwide.”

    • Illinois Prisons ban Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book on Attica
    • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book Censored In Illinois Prisons

      Attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of historian Heather Thompson, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy was censored by Illinois prison officials.

      Attorneys from Uptown People’s Law Center and Sidley Austin filed the lawsuit. It alleges that this censorship is “arbitrarily applied,” as the book was sent to three different prisons and censored only at Pontiac and Logan Correctional Centers. It argues this censorship is a violation of Thompson’s First Amendment right to communicate with incarcerated people, as such communication should only be restricted when there is a legitimate penological interest. The lawsuit also claims that Thompson’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process was violated because she did not receive notice of this restriction, and as such was not provided an opportunity to challenge it.

    • Lawsuit Challenges Censorship of Book on Attica Prison Uprising

      Two Illinois prisons have censored Blood in the Water, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by historian Heather Ann Thompson about the 1971 Attica prison uprising. Today, the Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center where I work is filing a lawsuit to challenge this unconstitutional and unethical censorship.

      Communication with prisoners is vital to ensure they know what is occurring on the outside — as well as to ensure that those on the outside know what is happening inside prisons. If injustices inside prisons are not brought to light, they won’t be corrected.

      By their very nature, prisons isolate those they lock up. It is difficult for the press, let alone the general public, to learn what is going on inside prisons, and it is equally hard for people in prison to learn what is happening beyond the prison walls. This was most recently made apparent by the difficulty reporters had covering the recent nationwide prison strike, timed by prisoners to commemorate the 1971 uprising by prisoners at Attica prison, which lasted from September 9 to 13.

    • Don’t Miss: ‘Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret’

      The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF) in partnership with PEN America will present the third annual Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret in 13 cities as a part of Banned Books Week (September 23-29), the annual celebration of the freedom to read.

    • Literature and the prison system: art for change and justice

      “The Section of Disapproved Books” grapples with prison system censorship through collaborative processes

    • Lisa Loomis & Justin Silverman: High School Censorship
    • Did BHS break the law by censoring student newspaper?

      The student newspaper at Burlington High School, the BHS Register, broke a story Monday about school guidance director Mario Macias being charged with unprofessional conduct by the Agency of Education.

      But Tuesday, school administrators censored the article, according to paper staff.

      “The BHS Register is like very, very accessible to the students. So I think it, like, shouldn’t be taken down. It makes sense that they would report it and the students would hear about it first,” said McKenna Weston, a BHS student.

    • Student journalists slam censorship, call for administration to respect the law

      Burlington School Board members heard from livid student journalists, former employees and parents on Thursday, who took the district to task for keeping a director of guidance on staff after the Agency of Education filed misconduct charges with the state’s licensing board.

      Three student editors of the high school’s paper, the Register, which on Monday night broke the story regarding the Agency’s charges against Mario Macias, were first to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

    • VT school to adopt new policy after accused of censorship
    • School to Adopt New Policy After Accused of Censorship

      A Vermont school district says it will adopt a new policy in line with a state law aimed at protecting student journalists after students accused the Burlington High School of censoring a recent school newspaper article.

      Last week the principal asked the students to take down a story they broke on the student newspaper website about a school employee facing unprofessional conduct charges.

      They took the story down on Tuesday and later vowed to fight the school’s action based on the new law. The principal said Thursday that the students could repost the story since the story had appeared in other media.

    • Eminem’s Most Ruthless Lines on Machine Gun Kelly Diss “Killshot”

      The devil is back, my God! Nothing fully charges the battery in Slim Shady’s back quite like a good ol’-fashioned street fight. Eminem courts more smoke than a firefighter. He likes his beef red, rare, and bloody, and anyone who dares get in the kitchen with him better not bring too many napkins. Machine Gun Kelly did just that last week, when he dropped “Rap Devil,” a song and accompanying video made in response to a shot Em fired at MGK on his new album.

      MGK ran right in with a fully loaded clip and a song that was honestly better than anyone who hasn’t paid money for an MGK show expected it to be. But Eminem isn’t Drake—there was never any question of whether he’d respond. It was just a matter of when, and how viciously, on a scale from “The Warning” to one of those Benzino drone strikes.

    • Calls for protest in Kuwait as banned book list reveals extent of censorship

      Kuwaiti liberals are calling for demonstrations on Saturday against what they describe as staggering levels of book censorship which has blocked an estimated 4,400 titles from reaching the state’s bookshops and libraries during the past five years.

      #Banned_In_Kuwait and #Don’t_Decide_For_Me have trended on Twitter as authors and followers of literature protested against the authorities’ decision to ban works including One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez as well as books by Palestinian Mourid AlBarghouti and Egypt’s Radwa Ashour.

    • ‘FREADom’ banned book distribution celebrates free speech

      As part of its 23rd annual celebration of reading, free speech, and artistic expression, the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the ACLU of Pennsylvania will distribute banned and challenged books around the city Sept. 23-29.

      The ACLU has teamed with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Book Fairies for “F READ om,” a series of free events in honor of national Banned Books Week.

      “Self-expression is an essential part of the human condition and an essential part of the American experiment. We as Americans honor freedom of speech and encourage it in the broadest possible terms. It serves our political, artistic, religious souls. Any attempt by government to curtail speech is a denial of human dignity,” Marshall Dayan, ACLU Greater Pittsburgh Chapter president, says in a release.

    • Banned Book Read-Out: CCBC event focuses on right to read
    • Casting a spell on censorship
    • China Makes Significant Censorship Decision on Hip-Hop Culture

      While Justin Bieber might be a worldwide sensation, there’s at least one country where he is no longer welcome: the People’s Republic of China, whose government recently released a shocking set of standards regarding what media is morally fit for public consumption. As part of an overreaching crackdown on “low taste content,” the country has recently banned most references to hip-hop culture as well as musicians, celebrities, actors, and other performers with tattoos, or whose lifestyle is considered to be out of line with the ruling party’s standards of morality.

      According to Gao Changli, the publicity department director at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT), there are four major”absolutes” (or rules) that outline the Chinese state-run media’s standards for decency as stated to The Independent: “Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble. Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene. Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class. Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity.” Furthermore, in an interview, the Chinese state-run news media outlet Sina reported that the regulator now “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, sub-culture and dispirited culture.”

    • Decline in violence coincides with unprecedented censorship: CPJ report

      The media in Pakistan is not showing an accurate picture of critical issues facing the country. The reason, according to a special report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists, is increasing instances of self censorship by journalists.

      The report, released earlier this week, also finds that the number of red lines that ought not to be crossed is higher than expected. These include not just the usual suspects: national security policies, civil-military ties, enforced disappearances, insurgency in Balochistan, Pashtun activism for basic rights and civil liberties and religious extremism, etc, but also issues with no apparent bearing on the high politics of state institutions. In this latter category, the CPJ report includes reporting on labour rights and peasants’ struggle for land ownership. It refers to the threats received by a Karachi-based journalist for covering labour-related malpractices of foreign brands. The journalist was told that reporting on labour rights is anti-state, the report says. Similarly, it documents the case of an Okara-based correspondent who was wrongly implicated in multiple terrorism cases for covering peasant protests in support of their claim over vast tracts of agrarian land held by the armed forces.

      While the report finds a drop in instances of violence against journalists, including murders, it correlates the finding to i) security agencies’ crackdown on terrorist outfits in western provinces and on militant wings of parties like the Muttahhida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and, ii) an unprecedented suppression of editorial autonomy across newspapers and private TV channels allegedly by elements within the security establishment.

    • ‘Impotent silence’, a Chinese priest and censorship of Catholic sites

      Vatican News sites, Ucan, AsiaNews.it all blocked. Yet the Chinese constitution defends religious freedom. The considerations of a priest, whose personal blog has been taken down.

    • Help release the FBI’s files on its wartime “Postal Censorship” program

      Back in August, MuckRock user Paul Galante requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on its wartime “Postal Censorship” program. This week, the Bureau responded, having located approximately 83,000 pages. Despite the fact that the files will be released electronically through the FBI’s supposedly cost-saving portal, the Bureau is insisting Galante pay $2,485 in duplication fees.

    • Student editors: BHS administration to restore article review policy

      The editors of the Burlington High School student newspaper say that Principal Noel Green is reinstating a student media policy which requires administrative review of stories they plan to publish.

      But the editors and press advocates say the policy, which was in place for the student newspaper before the passage of so-called “New Voices” legislation in 2017, violates the Vermont law.

      Green has not responded to a request for comment. Nor has Burlington Superintendent Yaw Obeng.

    • Our Opinion: Censorship in Burlington

      On Monday, four student journalists at The Register, the Burlington High School student newspaper, broke the news that the Vermont Agency of Education had filed six counts of unprofessional misconduct charges against BHS guidance director Mario Macias.

    • Chinese Star Fan Bingbing Has Disappeared

      The latest clue emerged Tuesday after a state-affiliated think tank and Beijing university ranked Fan dead last in their annual “Social Responsibility Report,” citing her “negative social impact.”

    • Has China’s most famous actress been disappeared by the Communist Party?

      Imagine if one day Jennifer Lawrence was walking the red carpet in Los Angeles and the next she vanished completely with no word about where she was.

      It might sound ludicrous, or terrifying, but it’s the reality in China, where one of the country’s most famous actresses has disappeared without a trace amid an uproar over tax evasion by celebrities.

      Fan Bingbing, one of China’s highest-paid and most bankable stars, has appeared in both Chinese and Western films, including the multimillion-dollar X-Men franchise.

    • Censorship? Chinese movie star disappears
    • Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing Has Gone Missing
    • Chinese actress vanished following tax evasion rumors
    • Actress vanishes amid China culture crackdown
    • Google queried by House members over reentering Chinese market, complying with censorship regime
    • Bipartisan House group presses Google over China censorship
    • Google Under Fire: Centralization, Censorship, Crypto Startup Complaint and Resignations
    • Google China Prototype Links Searches to Phone Numbers
    • Google’s prototype Chinese search engine connects users’ activity to their phone numbers, report claims
    • US Congress Grill Google On China Censorship Plans
    • Google employees quit over controversial China search engine project, report says
    • Senior Google Scientist Resigns Over “Forfeiture of Our Values” in China
    • Google Cloud’s new AI head comes with his own ties to the Pentagon’s Project Maven
    • Google Scientist Resigns Over Censored Search App for China
    • Frank Vernuccio, Substituting Censorship and Lies for Debate
    • Let’s Be Very Clear About What Breitbart’s Leaked Google Video Shows
    • The Real Google Censorship Scandal

      This week on the right-wing site Breitbart News, a video surfaced of one of Google’s weekly “T.G.I.F.” meetings, where employees and the leadership engage in heated debates over everything from healthier snack stations to the election of Donald Trump.

      Breitbart News described the 2016 video as a “smoking gun” because it showed Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder, telling everyone how he felt about the new leader of the free world.

      Spoiler: Not good.

      “Myself, as an immigrant, as a refugee, I certainly find this election deeply offensive, and I know many of you do, too,” he said in his flat, nasal voice. He was obviously rattled, as were the other top Google executives on stage with him. “I think it’s a very stressful time, and it conflicts with many of our values.”

    • Leaked Google video adds fuel to censorship fire

      Some of Google‘s top executives made critical remarks of President Donald Trump shortly after his election in 2016, according to a leaked video published by Breitbart.

      In the video, which was the company’s first all-hands staff meeting following Trump’s election, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he found Trump’s victory “deeply offensive” and added that the election “conflicts with many of our values.”

      “There are two dominant reasons to be upset,” Brin says in the video. “One is because so many people apparently don’t share many of the values that we have. I guess we’ve known that for many months now… and secondly confronting the reality of an administration that’s now forming and, look, we have no idea what it’s going to do.”

      [...]

      In response to Breitbart leaking the video, a Google spokesperson said people were expressing personal views, and that nothing in the video suggested “any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products,” according to Bloomberg.

    • Google Denies Bias After Video Shows Sergey Brin ‘Upset’ Over Trump’s Election

      A right-wing news site published an internal video from 2016 showing top Alphabet Inc. executives expressing disappointment about the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, potentially giving conservative lawmakers and activists new fuel for their allegations that the internet-search giant is politically biased.

      Website Breitbart published a more than hour-long video of an all-hands meeting at Alphabet’s Google that happened soon after the election. Google co-founder Sergey Brin says “most people here are pretty upset,” and “myself as an immigrant and refugee I certainly find this election deeply offensive.”

    • On internet censorship, China can tell the US: told you so

      Maybe China’s authoritarian leaders were on to something after all.

      In 2011 and 2012, the Chinese government began imposing a series of tough new restrictions designed to rein in what was then the country’s most popular and freewheeling social media platform, Sina Weibo.

      It began with new rules making all weibo (microblogging) account users register with their real names and identity numbers, aiming to end one of microblogging’s most popular features – its anonymity. It made internet companies liable for content spread on its platforms. Individuals and groups were prohibited from using the internet to spread rumours, disrupt social stability, subvert state power or to organise or incite illegal gatherings. Scores of websites were shut, weibo accounts closed and microbloggers jailed.

    • Bebe Neuwirth, Noma Dumezweni, And More Join BANNED TOGETHER: A CENSORSHIP CABARET

      Banned Together is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. The performances will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, Almost, Maine, Rent and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by John Weidman (Assassins, Pacific Overtures) and JT Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts) directed by Ari Edelson (Building The Wall, 24 Hour Plays) Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret will be performed in thirteen cities across the U.S. as a part of Banned Books Week (September 23rd-29th), the annual celebration of the freedom to read.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Lenovo CEO: ‘We’re not a Chinese company’

      We took the opportunity to ask the global CEO of the company, Yang Yuanqing, affectionately known around the office as ‘YY’ a question that has been bugging us for a while.

      After ZTE was brought to its knees recently by accusations of privacy violations and with Huawei facing bans from supplying sensitive areas in the US, Lenovo, the other really big Chinese player in the space, has had a fraction of the flack from certain quarters.

      Why? They’re all Chinese companies, aren’t they?

    • Here come connected vehicles and urban analytics: what do they mean for privacy?

      As sensors on connected cars become more sophisticated, and the data they provide more fine-grained, so the usefulness of that information will increase, and with it applications in everyday life. For example, insurance companies are already offering reduced premiums for those willing to install so-called “black box” systems in their vehicles. These are essentially specialized versions of the connected vehicle tracking devices discussed above, and contain similarly personal data. The danger is that what are undoubtedly useful systems that can improve our cities and save us money could also become yet another way to undermine our privacy.

    • UK spy agency that violated human rights to launch startup accelerator in Manchester

      Britain’s spy agency GCHQ is found to have violated human rights just three days after announcing an open call for startups to join its accelerator in the Greater Manchester area in 2019.

    • Top Euro court: UK’s former snooping regime breached human rights

      The UK government breached human rights rules by failing to ensure proper oversight of its mass surveillance programmes, according to the European Court of Human Rights.

      In a judgment handed down today, the court said the safeguards within the government’s system for bulk interception of communication were not robust enough to provide guarantees against abuse.

      The court said this violated the right to privacy under the European convention – as did the way in which GCHQ obtained communications data from service providers.

    • UK guilty of human rights abuse, ECHR finds in groundbreaking surveillance case

      GCHQ, the British government’s intelligence and security organisation, has breached human rights in its mass surveillance programme, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said in a landmark ruling on Thursday (13 September).

      The ECHR found that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the respect for one’s private and family life, was violated as the UK did not take out the necessary measures to ensure that only individuals relevant to the government’s security operation were watched.

      The court also observed that of the data under surveillance, no safeguards were put in place to ensure the protection of confidential material that was obtained, breaching Article 10, freedom of expression. The judges found that the data retrieved by GCHQ’s surveillance program “could reveal a great deal about a person’s habit and contacts.”

    • Big Win: Britain’s GCHQ Spygrid Violates Right to Privacy, ECHR Rules

      A major court ruling on Thursday said that the UK had violated European law, serving as a victory to privacy advocates worldwide. The news comes days after five nations charged with global surveillance released a memo urging tech companies to use workarounds to internet encryption.

      The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday that Britain’s Cheltenham-based surveillance bureau, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had violated personal privacy laws.

      The Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom case concerned complaints lodged against GCHQ on the bulk interception of communications, intelligence sharing with foreign governments, and obtaining communications data from communications service providers, a press statement said.

    • “Bulk interception” by GCHQ (and NSA) violated human rights structure, European court docket suggestions

      The swimsuit change into brought by Gargantuan Brother Survey, Amnesty Worldwide, the American Civil Liberties Union, and a quantity of different civil liberties organizations from Europe and North The United States, as successfully because the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and others. “The resolution sends a transparent message that the same surveillance packages, equivalent to those performed by the NSA, are also incompatible with human rights,” claimed ACLU legal educated Patrick Toomey. “Governments in Europe and the United States alike have to seize steps to rein in mass spying and undertake prolonged-past due reforms that the truth is safeguard our privacy.”

    • UK mass surveillance violates right to privacy, rules European court
    • UK GCHQ violated human rights

      GCHQ’s methods in carrying out bulk interception of online communications violated privacy and failed to provide enough surveillance safeguards, the European court of human rights (ECHR) has ruled in a test case judgment.

      But the Strasbourg court found that GCHQ’s regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal. It is the first major challenge to the legality of UK intelligence agencies intercepting private communications in bulk, following Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations.

      The long awaited ruling is one of the most comprehensive assessments by the ECHR of the legality of the interception operations operated by UK intelligence agencies.

    • GCHQ Found To Be In Breach Of Privacy Rules

      “If these invasions of privacy go unchecked, we risk setting the path for a tomorrow that apes China, a country where the government is using cyber-surveillance to remove all privacy from an individual’s life.”

    • Man charged with fraudulently billing NSA for contract work
    • Orlando man accused of fraudulently billing NSA for at least $250,000

      A Florida man who worked for a National Security Agency contractor in Maryland has been charged with submitting fraudulent timesheets that billed the federal government at least $250,000 for work he didn’t perform.

      U.S. Attorney Robert Hur’s office on Thursday charged Todd Andrew Leasure with making false statements.

      A court filing says Leasure submitted false timesheets in which he claimed to have worked on a services contract more than 1,500 hours more than he actually did between 2014 and 2017.

    • Police: Florida Man Fraudulently Billed NSA For Contract Work

      A Florida man who worked for a National Security Agency contractor in Maryland has been charged with submitting fraudulent timesheets that billed the federal government at least $250,000 for work he didn’t perform.

      U.S. Attorney Robert Hur’s office on Thursday charged Todd Andrew Leasure with making false statements.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Reader addresses issue of security clearance for former CIA officials
    • US Sanctions Against Venezuela Force Abby Martin’s “Empire Files” to Shut Down

      Recent sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the Trump administration have forced the Empire Files program, hosted by American investigative journalist Abby Martin, to shut down. The decision to officially announce the show’s end came after blocks on wire transfers originating in Venezuela and sent to the U.S. were recently imposed, thereby cutting off the show’s primary source of funding. Issues with funding caused by the U.S.’ Venezuela policy had, however, been a problem for some time, leading Martin and her staff to halt production in late May. While Martin and her team had hoped conditions would improve, the recent sanctions make that such a distant possibility that the decision to shut down the show was made on Wednesday.

    • Qualified Immunity Contradicts Congressional Intent. It’s Time To Kill It Off.

      The doctrine of qualified immunity was conjured up by the US Supreme Court in 1982 and victims of rights violations have been paying the price for more than three decades. The doctrine was created by the Court, not by Congress. This is an important distinction, especially since qualified immunity directly contradicts the liability Congress created as an avenue of redress for citizens.

      Congress specifically said anyone who uses governmental power to deprive others of rights can be sued.

      [...]

      The arguments for keeping the qualified immunity intact are weak. Holes have been poked in these by multiple lawyers and law profs, but the doctrine lives on, propped up by the parade of litigation that would certainly result if government employees were held directly responsible for their actions.

      One of the weakest of the arguments is that the removal of qualified immunity would result in long stream of impoverished cops. As this amicus brief submitted for a QI-centric Supreme Court case points out, government employees are rarely, if ever, held directly accountable for their actions. It’s almost always taxpayers paying other taxpayers for rights the government violated.

    • Is there a myth of free speech on social media?

      Apple, Facebook, Spotify and Youtube banded together this week in a decision to stop hosting audio and video content from Alex Jones, a controversial conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars.

      Denounced by some as censorship and supported by others as a reasonable enforcement of company policies, the move has again raised questions about the control a small handful of social media companies have over what constitutes acceptable speech online.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • The Nation’s Second Biggest Cable Company Probably Won’t Get Kicked Out Of New York State After All

      Back in July, New York State took the historically-unprecedented step of voting to kick Charter Communications (aka Spectrum) out of New York State. Regulators say the company misled them about why the company repeatedly failed to adhere to merger conditions affixed to the company’s $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, going so far as to falsify (according to the NY PUC) the number of homes the company expanded service to. The state has also sued the company for failing to deliver advertised broadband speeds, for its shoddy service, and for its terrible customer support.

      But the threat to kick Charter out of the state appears largely to have been a negotiation tactic, as the two sides are now purportedly making progress and engaging in “productive dialogue” as they attempt to hash out their differences.

  • DRM
    • International Day Against DRM takes action for a Day Without DRM on September 18th

      DRM is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media. DRM creates a damaged good: it prevents you from doing what would be possible without it. This concentrates control over production and distribution of media, giving DRM peddlers the power to carry out massive digital book-burnings and conduct large-scale surveillance over people’s media viewing habits.

      Organized by the Defective by Design team, IDAD has occurred annually since 2006. Each year, participants take action through protests, rallies, and the sharing of DRM-free media and materials. Participating nonprofits, activist groups, and companies from around the world include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Rights Group, Public Knowledge, the Document Foundation, and others (for a complete list, see: https://dayagainstdrm.org). These groups will share the message by writing about why DRM is harmful, organizing events, and offering discounts on DRM-free media.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Guest Professor: Arguing the Scandalous Clause

        The arguments against the scandalous clause are several. Trademark law, it is argued, should concern itself with consumer efficiencies and commercial goodwill—not the psychological protection of children or the majoritarian morality. Consumers choose whether they will view a mark; so by trademarking a scandalous image, no one is forcing anything on anyone. Besides, it’s inevitable that children will hear and see much worse in schools and on the internet. Furthermore, given the diverse moral views in society, a moral-based criterion seems very subjective to enforce. Trademark eligibility, it is argued, should not reflect the moral code of the PTO, a judge, or anyone else for that matter. It should reflect laissez-faire ideals: if there is demand, let the market supply it. So go the arguments.

        [...]

        As already stated, these reasons do not necessarily imply that Congress should have enacted the scandalous clause. Indeed, the clause may be criticized for various reasons. The clause certainly calls for subjectivity in its enforcement—as much subjectivity as enforcing the distinction between descriptive and suggestive marks; assessing the presence of secondary meaning; or determining that a mark has become generic. The clause certainly does not represent a laissez-faire approach—much like the regulation of public television and airwaves (restricting pornographic and vulgar content), or the very trademark system itself (creating an artificial monopoly). The clause certainly does not further source identification—just like the clauses that prevent registration of government flags or insignia, portrayals of deceased presidents, portrayals of living individuals, and surnames. The clause may even result in market inefficiency—although not as much inefficiency as results from trademark’s dilution rights. All these problems with the scandalous clause may be lamented and bemoaned, but they do not suggest that Congress has abused its discretion by abridging the freedom of speech. These problems are relevant to a much different discussion—a discussion about whether we—through Congress—should change this law. They do not inform the discussion about whether the Constitution gives courts power to reject our will.

    • Copyrights
      • South Africa: Copyright Amendment Bill Could Be Finished Next Month

        The committee is still deliberating on the public submissions received after it published specific clauses of the Copyright Amendment Bill for comment, committee secretary Andre Hermans told Intellectual Property Watch in a recent phone interview.

        “Our intention is to finalise in the month of October,” Hermans said.

        The Copyright Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament in May 2017.

        The Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry has met several times since last month, sifting through and debating the merits and practicalities of the submissions it has received. During this process, the committee again identified clauses of the Copyright Amendment Bill to be re-advertised and as a result, specific clauses dealing with the accreditation of collecting societies have been published for comment.

      • U.S. Wants Prison Sentence for Facebook User Who Pirated ‘Deadpool’

        The US Government is recommending a six-month prison sentence for a California man who uploaded a pirated version of the movie Deadpool to Facebook. In just a few days the copy was viewed 6,386,456 times. A strong sentence is needed to deter the defendant, other Facebook users, and the public at large, the US argues.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Helps Prevent Frivolous Software Patent Lawsuits

Monday 17th of September 2018 08:44:24 AM

…it is therefore opposed by those who profit (hundreds of dollars per hour) from these frivolous lawsuits

Summary: PTAB with its quality-improving inter partes reviews (IPRs) is enraging patent maximalists; but by looking to work around it or weaken it they will simply reduce the confidence associated with US patents

THE reputation of the USPTO will depend on its patents. A few days ago we learned, based on an article from Brittany Shoot (Fortune), that OxyContin “drugs lords” make billions getting you addicted to drugs (with the state’s approval) and then they want a patent monopoly on getting you off these drugs. This is outrageous, yet the USPTO sees no “scandalous” thing here; it only sees “scandals” in particular trademark applications because these might seem rude.

It also looks like another bogus software patent has just been wrongly granted by the Office. Aquiire published a press release about it. How about this other press release, this time from MKThink, which speaks of “technologies for analyzing business intelligence applied to physical assets, environmental factors, and cultural dimensions.” Not abstract? Talari Networks also pushed out a press release [1, 2] and this one is almost certainly about software patents. Last among this bunch we have a press release [1, 2] from a firm that’s suing over patents on “Virtual SIM (vSIM) technology,” i.e. probably software-implemented and thus invalid under Section 101 (35 U.S.C. § 101). To quote:

The holding company of Skyroam, Inc. (www.skyroam.com), SIMO Holdings Inc., has filed a lawsuit on June 15, 2018 against UCloudLink Network Technology Limited America, brand-named GlocalMe, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges that UCloudLink is violating SIMO’s intellectual property by selling its infringing WiFi hotspot devices. The lawsuit cites unauthorized use of patented technology, which is prohibited by law, and is intended to protect SIMO’s significant investment in Virtual SIM (vSIM) technology.

Why does the Office keep granting such patents? They breed pointless lawsuits that often end when the underlying patents get invalidated, eroding confidence in US patents as a whole.

Will the USPTO raise the patent bar? It doesn’t look like it. Iancu is making a mess of the Office and patent maximalists rally to get a patent maximalist in charge of PTAB. “Like other members of the PTAB, the Chief Judge is appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the USPTO Director,” they note, recommending/urging patent maximalists that this site targets to apply for the job.

They’re being rather shallow; maybe they can get Rodney Gilstrap to apply for the job. Wouldn’t that be funny? No other judge has earned anywhere near the same level of notoriety. Even politicians have called him names. Rodney Gilstrap was named in this new article a few days ago. To quote: “An unprecedented hearing took place in Marshall’s federal court, Wednesday, as two Chief Judges — Barbara Lynn and Rodney Gilstrap — sat at the bench together, simultaneously…”

Judge Gilstrap again in the news; he’s a friend of patent trolls in his district and he justifies that by saying that it’s good for his town. Never mind justice itself.

Anyway, going back to PTAB, days ago we saw the exception rather than the norm when it comes to software patents; such patents typically perish at PTAB, but this time around PTAB permits software patents on “toolbars” and patent maximalists rejoice:

MyMail Ltd. beat a challenge to a patent related to computer toolbars at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday, a win that comes as MyMail seeks to overturn a court ruling that the patent is invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice test.

The board said in a final inter partes review decision that it was not convinced the disputed patent claims were anticipated or obvious. The IPR was brought by Unified Patents Inc.

Watchtroll has also found the exception, taking stock of another rare decision 3 days ago:

On Monday, September 10th, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final decision in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding petitioned by telecommunications conglomerate Comcast Corporation to challenge a patent held by electronic program guide developer Rovi Guides, a subsidiary of TiVo. The panel of administrative patent judges (APJs) in the case issued a mixed claim finding which nixed 20 of 24 challenged claims but upheld claims covering a buffering feature which Rovi is seeking to license with Comcast.

Watchtroll hasn’t changed its tune. It’s still lobbying against IPRs and looking for scandals/dissent. Basically anything that can lower patent quality. The same goes for Patent Docs, which yesterday advertised the webinar of the litigation ‘industry’ with bulletpoints like: “What guidance do Federal Circuit and PTAB decisions give patent counsel on the application of BRI?”

And in Chicago it advertised another webinar with bulletpoints like “Staying on Top of Recent Developments at the PTAB” and “PTAB Strategy in a Changing Environment: Claim Construction, Amendments and Section 112(6)…”

Also in Chicago: The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) — not quite what it sounds.

The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC) is among those involved in other events advertised yesterday (some are not quite related). And while we’re on the subject of Chicago, Brian Leiter from University of Chicago Law School took stock of most cited authors in this domain, showing that Mark Lemley is by far the most influential scholar in this area (this is why Mr. Gross keeps smearing him; Lemley is ‘problematic’ to all the anti-PTAB campaigning).

The bottom line is, the USPTO is still granting patents that oughtn’t be granted while its new Director seems to be trying to scuttle PTAB. This is a recipe for disaster and that can only further reduce the certainty associated with US patents.

Abstract Patents (Things One Can Do With Pen and Paper, Sometimes an Abacus) Are a Waste of Money as Courts Disregard Them

Monday 17th of September 2018 07:28:19 AM

Summary: A quick roundup of patents and lawsuits at the heart of which there’s little or no substance; 35 U.S.C. § 101 renders these moot

THIS almost final post (for today) is also the longest. It covers new examples in which the patent system — notably the USPTO in this case — presents recklessness or disregards for patent quality, legal certainty and so on. What good are patents if their legitimacy isn’t being assured and whose underlying economics are misunderstood (or worse — ignored)? Mere ideas aren’t inventions. Thoughts aren’t inventions, either. Nature is not an invention and merely discovering things which always existed in nature can’t be considered an invention (at best a discovery). The patent systems oughtn’t be misused or endlessly stretched to cover just about every conceivable thing because that would hold science as well as free thought back. Those who care about patents should shun the patent maximalists and aim to restrict the scope of patents. The same goes for copyrights and trademarks.

We start our journey with this bizarre new article that uses the term “IP”, probably conflating trade secrets, copyrights and trademarks with patents. Proactive Investors UK speaks of “patent licensing,” but this case appears to concern something like copyrights (which they vaguely allude to as “IP”). GAN must be extremely misguided if it thinks that it can win a patent lawsuit over software in the US, so on the face of it it boils down to bad reporting or bad communication (misleading on purpose) from Irwin IP LLP. What does the following mean by “technology”? Code? Mere ideas? Secrets? It doesn’t say clearly. To quote:

GAN claims that some internet gambling operators have been using its technology without permission, and it is now seeking “commercial settlements” for these alleged infringements

[...]

But it appears others have been using the software without permission, and the company said the offending firms had been “substantially and progressively placed on notice” of GAN’s patents.

Chicago-based law firm Irwin IP LLP will now seek “commercial settlements” for any infringements, which, along with patent licensing, represent a “potentially high-margin incremental income stream for GAN”.

We’ll come back to Chicago in a moment. The next and final post will deal with it.

Here is another baffling new article. They speak of a new stationary bike, but they actually describe software, not a bike. In their own words:

Last May, in-studio cycling business Flywheel Sports announced plans for a new stationary bike called the FLY Anywhere that would allow users to stream both live and archived cycling classes into the comfort of their homes, all while tracking performance and letting users compete with other riders.

To the folks at Peloton, it sounded familiar. A little too familiar. So on Wednesday, the company filed a lawsuit against its cycling rival, alleging that Flywheel had willfully infringed on Peloton’s patents in the development of its new toy. But the story Peloton spins about how that infringement took place is the most stunning part of all.

They’re preparing for a patent fight. One thing we know for sure: the law firms will win. They will get richer. At both ends.

Also mind Christopher Wood’s new article, which is actually marketing by law firms. It resorts to intimidation and scare-mongering tactics like this:

Harris related a story of a company making a pitch for investment at a Rockies Venture Club event, with the entrepreneur including a patent number in their slide deck. An investor at the event looked up that number, only to discover that the patent didn’t exist.

So what? Unless they’ll looking to invest in a patent troll, it’s rather improbable that a startup can pick on a large rival in court. Such legal fights favour the wealthier party.

Speaking or legal action, a law firm closely connected to Microsoft (Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP) took note of a lawsuit in which bogus software patents are being used to “assault” (their word) a rival:

In a recent development set against the backdrop of ever-increasing cloud competitor lawsuits, longtime provider of Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) and cloud-based Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions RingCentral filed a patent infringement suit last month against competitor Dialpad in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In its 22-page Complaint filed on August 27, 2018, RingCentral alleges direct and indirect infringement of four of its patents granted between 2010 and 2017 by several of its competitor’s VoIP offerings, namely Dialpad Standard, Dialpad Pro, Dialpad Enterprise, Dialpad Free, UberConference Free, and UberConference Business. RingCentral has been on the receiving end of its fair share of patent infringement suits over the last several years, but this appears to be the first case in which RingCentral has gone on offense as a patent plaintiff.

[...]

While RingCentral appears to have dominated the UCaaS space for some time, Dialpad—a relatively young San Francisco-based company co-founded as Firespotter in 2011 by Craig Walker (creator of Yahoo! Voice and Google Voice) and adopting its current namesake in 2016—has also amassed its share of accolades during its young existence. Along with RingCentral, Dialpad boasts its appearance on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 list, and was also a recipient of TMC’s 2017 WebRTC Product of the Year Award. Additionally, in 2016, TMC Labs awarded Dialpad a winner of its IT Innovations Award for their advancements in VoIP solutions.

It seems pretty clear to us that these are abstract software patents — the sort of thing Microsoft accumulates and leverages in bulk to thereafter blackmail large firms. On the tax evasion aspects of this, Reuters weighed in last week when it wrote: “The GILTI provision, meant to discourage multinational corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by holding intangible assets such as software patents abroad in low-tax countries, imposes an effective 10.5 percent tax rate on income from tax havens.”

We covered this scam many times before. It’s a side ‘perk’ of accumulating many bogus software patents.

Notable over the past week was actually the number of such patents being heralded to the world. This press release spoke of patents on “cloud computing, machine learning and IoT connectivity for HVAC optimization,” i.e. just buzzwords for software patents (bunk patents, worthless in US courts) . Here are some more patents on utter rubbish (technology giants like Google just striving to stockpile garbage for the numbers, presumably to cross-license without even assessing the patents individually).

Aaron Gin and Michael Krasniansky from McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP wrote about bogus software patents that get ‘dressed up’ as “AI” (as almost any algorithm can be). We wrote a great deal about so-called ‘AI’ patents and here come more of these clueless pieces with “AI” in the headline. “Machine bias is difficult to identify and eliminate,” say patent maximalists. One cannot patent algorithms, however, or at least not enforce them in courts. Bunk patents cannot be made any less bunk by adding buzzwords like “AI” to them. Lawyers know this, but they still try to convince us otherwise. From the paywalled article:

Vincent Violago and Nikko Quevada discuss [...] They also discuss patents and directed to bias mitigation, as well as the reasons machine bias is difficult to identify and eliminate

Another site of patent maximalists then said (with “AI” in the headline) that “[t]he emergence of artificial intelligence has coincided with uncertainty of the patentability framework for protecting such innovations.”

So they know that these are bunk, but they go along with it anyway. There was no “emergence of artificial intelligence,” just reemergence of it as a buzzword about a year ago. It’s a marketing strategy, much like “cloud”. They give new labels to old things. The buzzword just means algorithms in this context; “AI” can be just about anything, e.g. algorithm, which does something “clever” (however one defines that). There’s a new paper [PDF] titled “Ethics of Using Artificial Intelligence to Augment Drafting Legal Documents,” but that’s inherently different because it’s about using algorithms to manage and author patents. Even patent lawyers often conflate or confuse these things.

Law firms ought to stop assuming that US courts will respect software/algorithm patents because they won’t. See their track record. How about this from Jessica Zimmer? It’s about Hedera Hashgraph:

Hedera Hashgraph began life as an algorithm. But over the years since 2015 it morphed into a leviathan, raising around $100M on a $6bn valuation from institutional and accredited investors. After launch, it will be almost entirely independent from founding parent Swirlds, which is now one of the members of the Hedera Council and will have the same voting rights as other members.

The algorithm is probably not patentable, but that does not prevent the company from moving ahead and beyond that. Companies which stop innovating and depend only on a pile of patents may end up like Blackberry, which is nowadays behaving like a patent troll. This is the kind of headlines it has earned so far this month and its patents aren’t even legitimate. “BlackBerry’s patent 8,745,149 is invalid, Patent Trial and Appeal Board says in opinions posted on its electronic docket,” as was covered at the time (end of last month). This is what happens when one tries to leverage software patents against large firms; they don’t fold as they can afford to fight back and win.

A Microsoft-connected news site (“Motley Fool”) is meanwhile mischaracterising this Microsoft-like patent trolling. Leo Sun wrote:

Over the past five years, BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) has phased out its smartphone business and expanded its enterprise software portfolio. That turnaround strategy was painful, but it resulted in shallower revenue declines and rising non-GAAP profits.

Another pillar of BlackBerry’s turnaround is its effort to monetize its portfolio of over 44,000 patents through royalties and licensing fees. Some companies willingly paid those fees, but many others didn’t.

That barely helped cover any of the lost revenue. The person behind this strategy is no longer at BlackBerry. The bottom line is, those who pursue software patents and assume these to be worthwhile in court will be rather disappointed. Unless of course they wish to become patent trolls, preying on those opting for a quick settlement without fighting back in court.

“Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

Monday 17th of September 2018 06:02:44 AM

“On a computer” patents (lacking physical, concrete components and usually lacking novelty)

Summary: Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the “blockchain” hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent ‘protection’ (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)

THE EPO grants software patents even though it’s not supposed to. So does the USPTO in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) would certainly invalidate these with the Federal Circuit affirming these decisions.

“All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents”We’ve already expressed many criticisms of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), where patent maximalists and even software patents are being tolerated. The same goes for SIPO in China, but not quite the JPO and KIPO in Japan and South Korea, respectively.

Singapore is basically racing to the bottom with software patents, as confirmed only hours ago (“How Singapore Is Fast-Tracking FinTech Patent Applications”). A FinTech patent is just a software patent with a buzzword, yet apparently IPOS is happy to glorify such patents:

The box-office smash hit, “Crazy Rich Asians”, is on everyone’s lips (and social media feeds) nowadays. The Singapore-set Hollywood movie, featuring an all-Asian cast, comically peers into the lives of the one-percenters strutting their stuff in famously up-market Singapore. Love it or hate it, the movie nails one thing for sure: Singapore is a playground for the financially savvy; a haven for financial technology (commonly known as “FinTech”).

In this spirit, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) has launched a fast-track patent scheme determined to accelerate innovation for finance sector inventions. This one-year scheme, dubbed the FinTech Fast Track (“FTFT”) initiative, began in April and will end on 26 April 2019. Essentially, FTFT provides for expedited prosecution of FinTech patent applications – a much welcomed initiative for the sector.

[...]

As for the general question, a 2013 Working Paper by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment found that while participation was low, the priority given did speed processes up. As such, the initiative did succeed in accelerating development of clean technologies during the first years after the publication of the patents. As for Singapore, this blogger spoke with several FinTech patent examiners, who noted that to prevent abuse, priority for genuine Fintech patents is protected by trained examiners, who detect patent applications unrelated to FinTech but that are (mis)applied for under FTFT.

There’s no good reason to do this. The same goes for many other digital advancements in the area of finance, including Bitcoin and blockchains. Any “blockchain” patent is just another software patent, yet we keep seeing reports about such patents being pursued and sometimes awarded. Days ago we saw “Hedera Hashgraph, A Blockchain Distributed Ledger Tech Rival, Wants Patent Law Protection” and “Blockchain Market Continues to Grow as Record Number of Patents Were Filed in 2017″ (we covered the subject before).

All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents. They’re a waste of time and paper. NBC Right Now is responsible for the latter article which says this:

According to a research report published by Global Market Insights, the blockchain market size is expected to surpass USD 16 Billion by 2024. The blockchain technology builds a secure record of transactions between two parties, eliminating the need for a third-party intermediary. The technology was first applied in cryptocurrency and now, it is widely used in various industry. The market is expected to witness rapid growth as the technology can significantly reduce the cost of operation and enhance efficiency for businesses. As a result, the financial sector is expected to benefit the most from the development of the technology. Victory Square Technologies Inc. (OTC: VSQTF), Pareteum Corporation (NYSE: TEUM), Seven Stars Cloud Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SSC), Appian Corporation (NASDAQ: APPN), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBVA).

Well, measuring adoption of something in terms of patent applications is lying. It’s hype.

Separately, an article was published to say that “China Accelerates Blockchain Patent Activity” — merely a reminder that China is the only large economy in the world which officially permits — at its own peril — patents on software. To quote the nonsensical sentences which precede it all:

In tech, innovation is everything. In innovation, intellectual property is, well, almost everything — it can be the hardware, the software, the processes that comes from the creative endeavor. You might consider patents a form of competitive advantage.

News came last week that, when it comes to patents tied to the blockchain landscape, Thomson Reuters has found that China, and Alibaba, have had an outsized showing, and seem to be accelerating their patent filing activity.

The said Reuters article was covered here last weekend. What it arguably shows is a bunch of large firms — including banks — looking to guard themselves from competition and therefore creating a patent thicket. How does this contribute to innovation? Moreover, how are such patents not abstract? Many of these firms just stockpile lots of these patents, knowing that if leveraged inside or outside the court ‘in bulk’ they would be hard (and expensive) to invalidate/disprove exhaustively. It’s troubling to see patent offices playing along. We’ve been talking about this for a very long time.

Qualcomm’s Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere

Monday 17th of September 2018 05:09:20 AM

Qualcomm’s European Patent (EP) 2954737

Summary: Qualcomm’s dependence on patent taxes (so-called ‘royalties’ associated with physical devices which it doesn’t even make) highlights the dangers now known; the patent thicket has grown too “thick”

THE EPO and USPTO have both granted software patents to hardware giants which disguised these as “physical”. We covered some examples earlier this year (including Qualcomm's, as above).

Here is the latest article (among many recently, specifically about Qualcomm) by Florian Müller, who told me he “talks about a dangerous precedent Qualcomm is trying to set in a German software patent case against Apple. On that basis, thin air would infringe a patent on a coffee filter if filtered coffee was poured in.”

This deals with “software patent claim limitations,” Müller explains, with a “dangerous precedent possible” for the following reasons:

The name of the game is the claim. There’s no German equivalent, at least none that rhymes, but I vividly remember Quinn Emanuel’s Dr. Marcus Grosch stressing this point when he was defending Motorola Mobility against Microsoft, particularly in the Munich appeals court. Now, as counsel for Qualcomm in a German lawsuit against Apple that will be tried on Thursday and involves the iPhone’s built-in Spotlight search technology, he’s espousing the very opposite position. The former anti-software-patent campaigner in me dreads and hates the notion of software patents being given overbroad scope in litigation–way beyond any reaonable claim construction.

Whatever may come out of that Munich case (technically, a host of cases asserting different members of the same patent family and targeting different Apple entities) is rather unlikely to move the needle in the intercontinental Qualcomm v. Apple dispute. Based on how a first hearing held went in May, even an infringement finding wouldn’t result in an immediate injunction: the case(s) would most likely be stayed over validity concerns. But Munich is one of Europe’s most important–and fastest–patent litigation venues, and Presiding Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann one of Europe’s influential patent judges (among other things, he’s a contributor to a leading reference on patent law). An infringement holding could set a dangerous precedent affecting many other cases before the Spotlight matter, if ever (since the patents-in-suit might all die anyway), would be appealed.

[...]

The word “only” is key here. Qualcomm’s counsel says: if a user only has usable communication channels (suzch as only one usable channel per user) in an address book, the search result will be limited to only usable communication channels. Unfortunately, there’s no Markman proceeding in Germany, where claim construction would be determined first and where disputed claim limitations would have to be interpreted by the court in writing. Otherwise I have no doubt–no doubt whatsoever–that this claim element here would have been deemed a filter (a word that, therefore, appeared multiple times in my May post on this matter).

“The former anti-software-patent campaigner in me dreads and hates the notion of software patents being given overbroad scope in litigation–way beyond any reaonable claim construction,” he said, having done a lot of advocacy against software patents in Europe more than a decade ago. As we’ve been emphasising since last year, Qualcomm is nowadays a leading voice for software patents; Qualcomm also leverages many such patents ‘in bulk’, doing what Müller called “Qualcomm’s double-dipping practice” just earlier this month (we lacked the time to cover it in isolation at the time; he also wrote about the massive buybacks that strive to shield the company from market collapse).

“When large companies leverage patents in such lawsuits they know that it would be too costly (and time-consuming) to challenge all underlying patents.”We’re sadly seeing — again and again — how Qualcomm and the likes it frame software as “hardware” or “physical”. Quality (lack thereof) is disguised by quantity. Müller said: “It wouldn’t be practical to have one or more courts make this determination for thousands of patents. And a motion for partial summary judgment is subject to rather strict page limits–the whole idea of summary judgment is that you raise an issue that the court can easily decide. Apple and the likes of Foxconn therefore picked three exemplary patents (from the ones Apple and the contract manufacturers tackled before).”

When large companies leverage patents in such lawsuits they know that it would be too costly (and time-consuming) to challenge all underlying patents. Examiners must remember that. Don’t give them ‘ammo’ so easily.

Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Are Still Desperate to Crush PTAB in the Courts, Not Just in Congress and the Office

Monday 17th of September 2018 04:03:41 AM

Summary: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) improve patent quality and are therefore a threat to those who profit from spurious feuding and litigation; they try anything they can to turn things around

THE new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Director is no friend of PTAB, unlike his predecessor. The Congress, as we noted some hours ago, is being approached by those looking to undermine PTAB. 35 U.S.C. § 101 has a lot to do with it, sometimes because of drug companies.

“There’s an attempt there to make life harder for filers, reducing the overall number of IPRs.”If the patent ‘industry’ cannot get PTAB and the Federal Circuit on its side, then it typically resorts to attacking both. Not a clever strategy

Days ago we saw RPX‘s press release titled “RPX Corporation Completes Transaction with Realtime Data” [1, 2]. The patent maximalist Matthew Bultman (Law360) then recalled a case which patent maximalists hoped would help friction, eroding access to PTAB and degrading productivity. To quote:

Defensive patent group RPX Corp. is asking the full Federal Circuit to reconsider a ruling that instructed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to use a broader test when looking for unnamed beneficiaries in patent reviews, warning the ruling has “massive implications.”

RPX filed a petition for en banc rehearing on Friday, nearly two months after a three-judge panel ordered the PTAB to reconsider whether Salesforce.com Inc. should have been named an interested party in inter partes reviews that RPX requested in 2015 challenging two regulatory…

This would have implications for Unified Patents as well. There’s an attempt there to make life harder for filers, reducing the overall number of IPRs. That’s what SAS proponents sought to accomplish while ‘hiding’ the decision on Oil States a few months ago. SCOTUS still stubbornly defends PTAB. SAS was no exception to this; it was just something for the USPTO to exploit (Iancu in particular) if the goal is to slow down PTAB, if not by fee hikes and 'decapitation' then additional workload per IPR.

“Such a mindset is a dangerous mindset and surrogate of institutional corruption.”Recently we saw the Smartflash petition being promoted by sites like Patently-O. A petition to SCOTUS isn’t so extraordinary a thing; not many are successful, but the patent maximalists view this one as a threat to PTAB, so obviously Watchtroll has just promoted it as well, preceded by the usual propaganda:

In early August, patent owner Smartflash filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a case stemming from covered business method (CBM) review proceedings carried out at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Smartflash is asking the Supreme Court to decide whether PTAB administrative patent judges (APJs) are principal officers of the United States who are subject to the terms of the Appointment Clause, whether CBM review of patents disclosed prior to passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and whether undisputed evidence that an invention is not unduly preemptive is relevant to answer questions of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

At issue in this petition are a total of 30 CBM reviews petitioned by Apple, Samsung and Google against Smartflash, which were instituted by APJ panels at the PTAB. Although the APJ panels in these cases found that petitioners did not establish a likelihood that Smartflash’s patent claims were invalid under on 35 U.S.C. § 102 grounds for novelty or 35 U.S.C. § 103 grounds for obviousness, they did find a likelihood that the patent claims were invalid on Section 101 grounds for being directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. In the CBM reviews, the PTAB panels applied the two-part Alice test to determine first that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of conditioning and controlling access to content based upon payment, and then second that the additional elements of the claims did not contain an inventive step, thus rendering the claims invalid under Section 101. Smartflash appealed the PTAB’s final written decisions and the Federal Circuit issued a Rule 36 affirmance upholding the PTAB’s decisions without an opinion.

These “decisions without an opinion” aren’t so unusual and less than a day ago we wrote about Patently-O‘s long-going lobby on the matter.

At the moment we generally see the patent maximalists working hard to shut down or at least weaken PTAB at the legislative, judicial, and executive levels. They also hope that Iancu, a Trump appointee from the patent microcosm (Trump had paid his firm), will simply disregard courts' decisions. Such a mindset is a dangerous mindset and surrogate of institutional corruption.

IAM, Watchtroll and the EPO Still Spread the Mentality of Patent Maximalism

Monday 17th of September 2018 03:10:40 AM

Summary: The misguided idea that the objective (overall) should be to grant as many monopolies as possible (to spur a lot of litigation) isn’t being challenged in echo chamber ‘events’, set up and sponsored by think tanks and pressure groups of the litigation ‘industry’

TODAY we shall write a lot about patent scope, software patents in Europe and in the US in particular. It is generally a symptom of the patent system getting hijacked by those who were originally meant to service scientists. Roles have been reversed and scientists are now expected to provide “demand” (or cash flow) for lawyers, who sometimes just sue scientists without prior provocation (many patent trolls are just lawyers).

According to this hours-old blog post from Satoshi Watanabe, the patent trolls’ think tank (IAM), which is also a Battistelli mouthpiece (he’s an author and keynote speaker to them), is nowadays in Japan spreading the ‘religion’ (litigation ‘industry’ psyche). The think tank entertains accompanying ‘studies’ etc. “The chart compares the number and ratio of patent applications filed to Japan by US, Korean, and German companies,” Watanabe says, “respectively compared between a period of 2002-2006 and 2012-2016. The JPO studies all the patent applications which are filed both to US and Europe. The yellow bar in the chart indicates the number and ratio of patent applications whose counterparts were not filed to Japan, while the blue bar indicates those whose counterparts were filed to Japan. They obviously reduced patent application filings to Japan.”

So what? So there may be fewer monopolies. Is that a bad thing? It’s only necessarily a bad thing for the litigation ‘industry’. The USPTO is currently paying the price for over-granting for a number of decades.

Hours ago also came Watchtroll’s promotion of the EPO‘s charade with IPO, in which they promote software patents under the guise of ‘automobiles’ (as we last noted yesterday). It’s all about inflating the number of patents, irrespective of patent quality, merit, necessity etc. “The impetus for this interview,” Watchtroll admits upfront, “is the upcoming EPO Automotive and Mobility Seminar, which will be held in Chicago, IL, immediately after the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) 2018 Annual Meeting, on September 26-27, 2018. Romano-Götsch will be participating in this EPO program, providing a landscape and overview on the morning of September 26, as well as participating on a panel and providing closing remarks on September 27.”

It’s somewhat of an inner/insider joke at the EPO that those who get rewarded or promoted are those who suck up to Battistelli and Bergot. That makes one wonder about Romano-Götsch’s motivations. To participate alongside zealots like IPO says a lot about oneself.

Watchtroll and Other Proponents of Patent Trolls Are Trying to Change the Law Outside the Courts in Order to Bypass Patent Justice

Sunday 16th of September 2018 04:02:40 PM

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) voids almost every software patent — a reality that even the most zealous patent professionals have come to grips with and their way of tackling this ‘problem’ is legislative, albeit nowhere near successful (so far)

TWO years ago we still wrote some articles about the EPO‘s relationship with Microsoft — a subject we had covered in years prior to that and got us some threats from the EPO’s lawyers. A few weeks ago we wrote about the USPTO in relation to "Changing Rules to Punish PTAB Petitioners and Reward Microsoft for Corruption at ISO" — a subject which was later discussed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC), as scheduled earlier this month. Based on Watchtroll’s report on this: “The USPTO is also looking to encourage patent applicants to file their applications in the DOCX format by introducing a new surcharge for utility non-provisional applications that are filed in formats other than DOCX. This would introduce a new $400 fee for such applications. According to Hourigan, the decision to encourage DOCX-format filings is intended to simplify the sharing of application data as DOCX files are XML-based. Other formats, such as PDFs, must be converted to XML using optical character recognition (OCR), a technology which is a source of potential errors.”

“Related to this is a bill that deals with fee-setting authority, as covered by CCIA three days ago.”So they basically decided that proprietary Microsoft formats are the gold standard? This is ridiculous. What about ODF (Open Document Format) or XML-based formats that do not contain blobs and Microsoft-specific directives like OOXML?

Related to this is a bill that deals with fee-setting authority, as covered by CCIA three days ago. Josh Landau (CCIA’s main patent matters person) said:

Today, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to markup Rep. Chabot’s newly-introduced SUCCESS Act, which is itself a combination of portions of two other bills Patent Progress has covered: Reps. Comstock and Adams’ SUCCESS Act, and the fee-setting authority contained within Rep. Chabot’s BIG DATA for IP bill.

Each bill is individually worthwhile. The SUCCESS Act attempts to address the relatively low number of patent applications filed by underrepresented groups. And fee-setting authority is important to help prevent marginal patents from being issued.

At the same time, Rep. Chabot’s bill does not currently incorporate any of the suggested improvements to the SUCCESS Act designed to study the impacts of patents that never should have been granted when they’re used to threaten innovative companies founded by underrepresented minorities. Without these improvements, the SUCCESS Act can only study a portion of the barriers to innovation faced by underrepresented minorities.

The problem with many of these bills is that they’re promoted by bribed politicians. They try to shape the law depending on which millionaires and billionaires sponsor them.

Going back to Watchtroll, a site that promotes several anti-PTAB bills (but hasn’t done so recently), on the same day (as the above) it published complete nonsense, pretending that patents are necessary for startups and whatnot (they’re not). In “Can I hold on long enough until the madness stops?” (also published on the same day) Watchtroll gives Jeffrey Killian a platform in which to frame patent quality as “madness”. These people are laughable. Here’s the portion which bemoans Section 101: “This anti-patent bias toward software is illustrated in many ways. The Supreme Court of the United States added the words “abstract” and “significantly more” to 35 U.S. Code § 101 and did not define such terms. Previously 35 U.S. Code § 101 granted patents in the past and now 35 U.S. Code § 101 has become a provision to deny software patents on a wholesale basis. The added judicial exceptions were not approved by Congress, the law still reads the same, the added and undefined terms were legislated from the judicial bench. Something is inherently wrong with this situation from a common person’s viewpoint.”

SCOTUS decided on Alice and patent maximalists like Watchtroll and Patently-O try hard to get US Congress to intervene, counterbalanced by the likes of HTIA, CCIA, EFF etc.

Patently-O meanwhile says that the “House [is] Considering [a] Bill that Would Preclude Enforcement of Injunctions Against Non-Parties,” interjecting the author’s views as follows: “I am trying to envision the problems this creates for patents, and happen to be writing a book on Remedies right now. Problems?”

Injunctions are basically something like an embargo, imposed by the ITC typically. We have already seen how the ITC simply disregards judgments made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on inter partes reviews (IPRs), before or after the Federal Circuit gets involved. This means thar they disregard and totally disreprect the principle of due process — something which certainly makes the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seem rather aloof or detached from the rule of law.

Courts aren’t entirely “pure”, but high courts a lot less impure than politicians with “campaign contributions” and a patent office that measures “success” by number of patents rather than justice. So we’d rather rely on Justices than on a bunch of politicians.

Links 16/9/2018: Windows Plays ‘Nice’ Again, Elisa Music Player 0.3 Beta and Latte Dock 0.8.1

Sunday 16th of September 2018 01:01:05 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Windows derails Chrome, Firefox installation, promotes Microsoft Edge instead [iophk: "Where are the Microsoft apologists on this? They sure have been quiet."]

      Microsoft is trying a new tactic to get people to use its Edge browser: a warning dialog box that interrupts the installation of other browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    • Microsoft tests ‘warning’ Windows 10 users not to install Chrome or Firefox

      While the prompts can be turned off, they’re yet another example of Microsoft infesting Windows 10 with annoying ads and pop-ups. Some similar prompts already appear and attempt to push Chrome or Firefox users to use Edge, but this latest one steps up Microsoft’s war against Chrome even further. It’s not clear why Microsoft thinks it’s a good idea to include these irritating prompts, as all they’re likely to do is anger Windows 10 users rather than convince them to switch to Edge.

    • Microsoft Tests Warning Windows 10 Users About Installing Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox [iophk: "yeah, Microsoft "loves" FOSS"]

      While the warning does not block the installation, it is a blatant move from Microsoft to try and stop users from downloading a rival’s Web browser. As per a CNET report, test was confirmed in Windows 10 version 1809, build 17758.1. It is worth noting that it is a preview release, which will not be available to the general public for another month or so. In a statement to CNET, Microsoft referred to its Windows test programme, and said, “We’re currently testing this functionality with insiders only. The Windows Insider Program enables Microsoft to test different features, functionality and garner feedback before rolling out broadly. Customers remain in control and can choose the browser of their choice.” The Verge, on the other hand, cites its sources to say the warning will not make its way to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

    • Microsoft Rethinks Decision: Windows No Longer Shows A Warning When Trying To Install Other Browsers In Latest Insider Update

      Strong arm tactics like this don’t help anyone, people at this day and age won’t use an inferior product, specially ones that are free.

  • Kernel Space
    • It’s Looking Like WireGuard Could Be Ready In Time For Linux 4.20~5.0

      The latest revised patches were sent out on Friday evening for WireGuard, the very promising secure VPN tunnel technology developed over the past few years by Jason Donenfeld.

      This marks the fourth time these patches have been revised with this latest series fixing various issues discovered during earlier rounds of review, porting more crypto code to the new Zinc crypto library, documentation improvements, and other code improvements.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Igalia Sends Out Another 26 Patches Chipping Away On Intel ARB_gl_spirv Support

        OpenGL 4.6 has been out for more than a year but the Mesa-based drivers (namely RadeonSI and Intel) remain blocked from officially advertising this latest GL revision due to not yet supporting the ARB_gl_spirv extension and related ARB_spirv_extensions.

        Intel Open-Source Technology Center developers and consulting firm Igalia have been working on this key component to OpenGL 4.6 for allowing SPIR-V ingestion (the now common IR to OpenGL / Vulkan / OpenCL) but it’s a tall order and even with many patch series still isn’t quite to the finish line yet.

      • AMD Contributes 8.5x More Code To The Linux Kernel Than NVIDIA, But Intel Still Leads

        Given all the new hardware enablement work going into the Linux kernel recently, I was curious how the code contributions were stacking up by some of the leading hardware vendors… Here are those interesting numbers.

        As of this morning’s Linux 4.19 Git kernel state, I ran some Git statistics for some weekend numbers fun primarily to see how AMD vs. NVIDIA vs. Intel is doing for code contributions.

      • AMD Preps For A Big Linux 4.20 Kernel With Vega 20, Picasso, Raven 2, xGMI, Better DC

        It was a busy Friday for the open-source AMD folks as in addition to releasing AMDGPU DDX 18.1 and the big ROCm 1.9 release, their latest batch of feature changes were also submitted to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel cycle. This is going to be another exciting release for Radeon Linux users.

    • Benchmarks
      • Multi-threaded Linux Performance: AMD’s Threadripper 2990WX vs. Intel’s Core i9-7980XE

        To deliver a full-featured article for launch, my look at AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X combined Windows and Linux performance in the same article. As it turns out, that was a mistake, since few people noticed we even had Linux benchmarks, despite there being an obvious demand for them.

        Before publication, I debated on whether or not I should break Linux performance into its own article, but in this particular case, I opted for the combo because I felt the bigger picture was needed. That’s because in Windows, performance scaling on such a big CPU is hit-or-miss, whereas the Linux kernel seems to support AMD’s biggest no problem.

        I am not going to stand here (or sit) and pretend to understand why the 2990WX doesn’t perform so well in all Windows tests, because getting a clear answer out of anyone is tough. No one wants to pass around the blame, but by all appearances, it looks like a bulk of the problem is Windows. This article exists to not only draw attention to that, but also highlight a bit better what the 2990WX is capable of – if the software in question can take advantage of it.

  • Applications
    • Release of Foundry (previously known as rlife) 0.2.0

      These past weeks, I’ve been working a lot on my side project and I’ve made a new release of it. First of all, the project has been renamed “Foundry” (instead of “rlife”). I wanted to find a better name for this project and as this project is now actually based on Vulkan (that was my primary objective when I started it), I thought it would be a good idea to give a name related to it. Plus, there was no crates already named “Foundry”.

    • Ducktype parser extensions

      When designing Ducktype, I wanted people to be able to extend the syntax, but I wanted extensions to be declared and defined, so we don’t end up with something like the mess of Markdown flavors. So a Ducktype file can start with a @ducktype/ declaration that declares the version of the Ducktype syntax and any extensions in use. For example:

    • Proprietary
      • AION Blockchain System Releases Desktop Wallets With Windows, Mac & Linux Compatibility

        AION has finally released its Desktop wallets; the product is Linux, Wndows and Mac compatible. The AION wallet underwent thorough tests and audits both internally and externally to have this milestone released for users. AION’s wallet is built for storing the AION altcoin as is the move by most of its peer competitors within the crypto space.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • How to Reconfigure Installed Package in Ubuntu and Debian
      • How to Access Microsoft Exchange in Linux
      • Plasma desktop & HD scaling tutorial

        Say you have a small form-factor device with a high-resolution display. Case in point, my Slimbook Pro2 laptop, which comes with fourteen inches of equity and 1920×1080 pixel grid. This means things are rendered rather small, and if you wish to read or interact with the desktop environment and the applications in a meaningful way, you will strain your eyes – unless you’re twenty and a developer, in which case you have bionic eyes.

        Prompted by this serious ergonomic need, I started fiddling with different options and settings, to see if I could adjust the viewability in KDE, and make the small screen shows things in a slightly enlarged manner. This turned out to be a rather long and non-trivial exercise. In this guide, I will show you how to properly and elegantly scale the KDE desktop, GTK applications (both 2.0 and 3.0 editions), Firefox and Chrome browsers with tips that also apply to all operating systems and use cases, and then some. After me.

      • Backup Installed Packages And Restore Them On Freshly Installed Ubuntu System
      • Getting started with Tmux
      • Troubleshooting With Git – Git Series Part 3

        From time to time, you will encounter problems while using Git. The most common of these is a merge conflict. Fortunately, git will provide solutions to many problems for you. Sometimes, though, there are certain problems that do require the assistance of more experienced people. Most of these problems that I will describe are what I have encountered personally in my line of work.

    • Wine or Emulation
      • Wine-Staging 3.16 Released With ~880 Patches Still Atop Wine

        Busy since Friday’s release of Wine 3.16, the volunteers maintaining the Wine-Staging tree with the various experimental/testing patches atop upstream Wine are out with their adjoining update that continues with just under 900 patches being re-based.

    • Games
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE’s Elisa Music Player 0.3 Enters Beta

        Elisa is one of several options when it comes to music players for the KDE desktop. Elisa 0.3 entered beta this week as another step forward for this relatively young project.

      • The Krita 2018 Fundraiser Starts: Squash the Bugs!

        It’s time for a new Krita fundraiser! Our goal this year is to make it possible for the team to focus on one thing only: stability. Our previous fundraisers were all about features: adding new features, extending existing features. Thanks to your help, Krita has grown at breakneck speed!

        [...]

        As an experiment, Dmitry has just spent about a month on area of Krita: selections. And now there are only a few issues left with selection handling: the whole area has been enormously improved. And now we want to ask you to make it possible for us to do the same with some other important areas in krita, ranging from papercuts to brush engines, from color management to resource management. We’ve dug through the bugs database, grouped some things together and arrived at a list of ten areas where we feel we can improve Krita a lot.

        The list is order of number of reports, but if you support Krita in this fundraiser, you’ll be able to vote for what you think is important! Voting is fun, after all, and we love to hear from you all what you find the most important things.

      • KDE Itinerary – Static Knowledge

        In the previous post on writing custom data extractors for the KItinerary framework, I mentioned we are augmenting extracted data with knowledge from Wikidata. This post will cover this aspect in more detail.

        Static knowledge refers to information that with near certainty don’t change for the duration of your trip, or during a release cycle of our software. That’s things like name, location and timezone of an airport, or the country it belongs to, as opposed to dynamic knowledge like departure gates or platforms, delays, etc.

      • KMail Now Supports A Unified Inbox While KDE Keeps Getting Polished

        Come KDE Applications 18.12 in time for the holidays, the KMail KDE email client will finally offer a unified inbox.

        The unified mailbox support for KMail allows for a single “inbox” folder of emails from all of your accounts as well as unified sent/draft folders and other folders.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 36

        Greetings, KDE-loving humans! This week’s Usability & Productivity is a heavy one in terms of importance. We scored awesome fixes and improvements through the KDE software stack for subjects as varied as Libinput mouse and touchpad device handling, Task Manager icon sorting for LibreOffice, and a snazzy new unified mailbox in KMail.

      • Latte bug fix release v0.8.1

        Latte Dock v0.8.1 has been released containing important fixes and improvements!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Behind the GNOME 3.30 Release Video

        With each video I experiment with new workflows. Traditionally I have been involved in every step of the production apart from the voice-over with very few opportunities for others to step in and contribute. With Gitlab’s powerful issue tracking system, this no longer needs to be the case. This has meant that I can spend more time on production in Blender and spread out the other aspects of production to the GNOME community.

  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Summer’s End Roundup 2018

        Although it looked from the outside as if Mageians were sleeping through August, it wasn’t so! And now that it’s Autumn – fall for you folks in the North Americas – we’ll be more communicative, we promise.

    • Gentoo Family
      • Overriding misreported screen dimensions with KMS-backed drivers

        With Qt5 gaining support for high-DPI displays, and applications starting to exercise that support, it’s easy for applications to suddenly become unusable with some screens. For example, my old Samsung TV reported itself as 7″ screen. While this used not to really matter with websites forcing you to force the resolution of 96 DPI, the high-DPI applications started scaling themselves to occupy most of my screen, with elements becoming really huge (and ugly, apparently due to some poor scaling).

        It turns out that it is really hard to find a solution for this. Most of the guides and tips are focused either on proprietary drivers or on getting custom resolutions. The DisplaySize specification in xorg.conf apparently did not change anything either. Finally, I was able to resolve the issue by overriding the EDID data for my screen. This guide explains how I did it.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • A Summary of deepin 15.6 and 15.7

          Both deepin 15.6 and 15.7 were released at June and August 2018. Here’s a short summary of them showing the new features and improvements. You will find new Welcome Intro, new Dark Theme, new Power Saving Mode, reduced RAM usage and smaller ISO size, improvements in System Settings, and new ability of File Manager (renaming partition by right-click, for example). You will see them in this article with GIF animations and screenshots. This article also shows in brief why 15.7 is far better than 15.6 so you can choose it to start deepin for your first time. Enjoy!

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Technology streamlines computational science projects

    Researchers use ICE to study topics in fields including nuclear energy, astrophysics, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, neutron science and quantum computing, answering questions such as how batteries behave and how some 3-D-printed parts deform when exposed to heat.

    Several factors differentiate ICE from other workflow management systems. For example, because ICE exists on an open-source software framework called the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, anyone can access, download and use it. Users also can create custom combinations of reusable resources and deploy simulation environments tailored to tackle specific research challenges.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google Chrome 69 gives worldwide web a stay of execution in URL box

        Google Chrome 70 arrived as a beta release on Thursday, bringing with it a handful of meaningful improvements and some more esoteric features of interest to developers.

        Available on the Chrome Beta channel for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows – the iOS beta requires participation in Apple’s TestFlight program – Chrome 70 implements a Shape Detection API that allows web apps to do things like detect faces in images, read barcodes and parse text in images.

        The API is particularly promising for mobile web apps, which can now return the location of facial features within an image, turn barcodes and QR codes into strings and read Latin alphabet text found in pictures.

  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 11 Won’t Ship With Its Faster JIT Support Enabled By Default

      One of the coolest innovations landing this year in PostgreSQL was LLVM-based JIT support to speed up database queries. But it’s not going to be enabled by default in the upcoming PostgreSQL 11 release.

      This functionality relies upon LLVM for JIT compiling SQL queries rather than passing those queries to the PostgreSQL interpreter. These LLVM JIT’ed queries have led to more efficient code being generated and particularly help with more complex queries.

  • BSD
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Stop using GitHub as a measure of open source contributions

      It should go without saying, but apparently doesn’t, that GitHub hosts only a fraction of open source projects and activity.

      GitHub launched about 10 years ago. Open source and free software development predates GitHub’s existence by twenty years or so. A lot of projects have picked up and moved from their previous homes to GitHub, but many haven’t. GNU projects, for example, aren’t hosted there. Canonical’s Launchpad repository hosts a lot of projects that aren’t on GitHub. Fedora has Pagure, the Eclipse project has its own source control for its projects, as well as the Apache Software Foundation, etc.

      Some of those may mirror projects on GitHub, but it’s unclear to me how people who don’t have GitHub accounts are counted when people survey GitHub. I’m skeptical that using GitHub APIs to pull user data to see “what company does so-and-so work for?” is effective when that person hasn’t created a GitHub account.

      GitHub metrics are biased towards newer projects, corporate-founded projects, and projects that have a bent towards non-reciprocal licenses.

  • Programming/Development
    • Redis does a Python, crushes ‘offensive’ master, slave code terms

      The open-source Redis database, like the Python programming language, is moving away from using the technical terms “master” and “slave” in its documentation and API – to the extent that’s possible without breaking things.

      For Python, the decision this week to replace the words “master” and “slave”, prompted by undisclosed complaints that they’re offensive, led to a backlash.

      Meanwhile, those overseeing Python’s CPython repo on Github today locked a pull request purging the words, and deleted several comments. But not before one developer highlighted the irony of executing the word change using the Git version-control software, which still relies heavily on “master” – for example, merging commits in the master branch. (Barely any instances of “slave” appear in Git code, though.)

      The Register asked Python developer Victor Stinner, author of the pull requests and Python bug report at the heart of the issue, whether he would like to discuss the controversy, but he declined. In previous comments, he justified his proposals to strip “master” and “slave” from the widely used programming language by saying some people object to the terms.

    • Backing the wrong horse?

      I started using the Ruby programming in around 2003 or 2004, but stopped at some point later, perhaps around 2008. At the time I was frustrated with the approach the Ruby community took for managing packages of Ruby software: Ruby Gems. They interact really badly with distribution packaging and made the jobs of organisations like Debian more difficult. This was around the time that Ruby on Rails was making a big splash for web application development (I think version 2.0 had just come out). I did fork out for the predominant Ruby on Rails book to try it out. Unfortunately the software was evolving so quickly that the very first examples in the book no longer worked with the latest versions of Rails. I wasn’t doing a lot of web development that at the time anyway, so I put the book, Rails and Ruby itself on the shelf and moved on to looking at the Python programming language instead.

      Since then I’ve written lots of Python, both professionally and personally. Whenever it looked like a job was best solved with scripting, I’d pick up Python. I hadn’t stopped to reflect on the experience much at all, beyond being glad I wasn’t writing Perl any more (the first language I had any real traction with, 20 years ago).

    • Google’s Dataset Search, Julia programming language, and more news

      TechRepublic described this programming language, originating from 2012 and just released as version 1.0, as follows: “designed to combine the speed of C with the usability of Python, the dynamism of Ruby, the mathematical prowess of MatLab, and the statistical chops of R.”

      Liked by data scientists and mathematicians, Julia is also used in industries, such as the automotive industry for self-driving cars, and for 3-D printing.

      Julia is open source, counts 700 active contributors, 1,900 registered packages and two-million downloads. Details, download, and documentation can be found on julialang.org.

Leftovers
  • Where in the World Is Larry Page?
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Are Aging Americans Too Old to Work?
    • The ‘Liquidators’ Who Risked It All to Clean Up Chernobyl

      It was, obviously, not an easy task. Remote-controlled bulldozers and other robots proved too weak for the job, their circuitry fried by radiation. So the Soviet Union sent in humans—600,000 of them. These brave firefighters, soldiers, janitors, and miners—the so-called “liquidators”—did everything from hosing down streets to felling trees to building a concrete sarcophagus around the exposed reactor … all the while charged subatomic particles ravaged their cells and shortened their life spans.

      “No personal sacrifice was too much for these men and women,” says photographer Tom Skipp. Moved by their story, he visited Slavutych, Ukraine in April to photograph survivors, now in their golden years. The portraits make up his haunting series The Liquidators.

    • Mega-rich family behind opioid crisis has second, secret opioid company

      The Sacklers own the infamous drug company Purdue Pharma, which in 2007 pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for misleading doctors, regulators, and patients about the addictiveness of its branded oxycodone opioid drug, OxyContin. Yet the guilty plea seemed to do little to reform the company’s ethics or curb sales, according to a new report in the FT. Purdue continued to recklessly push the drugs on doctors, insiders told the outlet, and in 2010, it was raking in more than $3 billion in OxyContin sales.

    • Arkansas scraps Medicaid coverage for thousands of individuals

      A total of 4,353 individuals have been booted from the program for not reporting to the state how they’re meeting the requirements or for not working enough hours. Under the new program, those who are out of compliance three months in one year become ineligible for coverage the remainder of the year.

    • New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

      The research, published in BMJ Open and carried out in collaboration with the University of Oulu in Finland and the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia in Africa, examines the relationship between the effects of short-term variations in air pollution and the onset of cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

      [...]

      The research found an increased risk for SIDS two days after exposure to NO2, while exposure to PM10 was shown to have an effect for up to five days after exposure.

    • Michael Moore’s Flint water movie claims county faked kids’ lead blood tests

      Cook-Hawkins repeated her allegations during the “All In With Chris Hayes” show that was taped in Flint and broadcast Wednesday, Sept. 12, on MSNBC.

      The former health department secretary told The Journal that other witnesses and documents will support her story if it is tested and said she will share what she knows with Flint water investigators working for Attorney General Bill Schuette.

    • Lead in US school water “disturbing”—Detroit just shut off all fountains

      Students returning to school in Detroit next week will find their water fountains entirely shut off over concerns of elevated lead and copper levels—something that federal lawmakers say is part of a “disturbing and unacceptable” nationwide issue.

      The decision to shut off the drinking water in Detroit was based on a first round of results from testing that the school district carried out in its 106 schools earlier this year. The results from just 24 schools so far surfaced 16 that had water sources tainted with excessive levels of lead, copper, or both. For instance, tests at the district’s Academy of the Americas Elementary school found a kitchen and drinking faucet in a basement cafeteria that had lead levels of 182 micrograms per liter (ug/L) and 154 ug/L, respectively. Those are more than ten times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit of 15 ug/L. The full testing results can be found here.

    • Detroit schools shutting off drinking water because of lead, copper

      The Detroit school district is shutting off drinking water to all of its schools after test results found elevated levels of lead or copper in 16 out of 24 schools that were recently tested.

    • Sitting is being considered the new smoking, your desk job is to blame

      The rat race of modern life is making bad back a lifestyle disorder, with most people complaining of a catch or a longer period of pain that may keep recurring. Lower back pain can emerge abruptly due to an exercise injury, if you’ve lifted anything heavy or it may just be an age-related disintegration in the body. However, if you have a desk job and spend over 4-5 hours sitting constantly in the incorrect posture, you are prime candidate for recurrent lower backache. Newer scientific studies also point out that sitting is perhaps the new smoking.

    • About Half of Clinical Trials Go Unreported in EU

      Approximately half of all clinical trials registered in the European Union have not reported results on the European Union Clinical Trials Register as required by the European Commission, according to a study published September 12 in The BMJ. While 68 percent of pharmaceutical companies disclosed their trial data, only 11 percent of academic institutions including hospitals and universities had done so.

      “This problem strikes to the heart of evidence based medicine. We cannot make informed choices about which treatments work best, as doctors and patients, unless all results are reported,” coauthor Ben Goldacre of the University of Oxford says in a statement. A new tracker was launched along with the study to help keep a check on clinical trial reporting in the European Union (EU).

    • Emirates flight with dozens of sick passengers lands at JFK

      An Emirates flight from Dubai was quarantined Wednesday morning at JFK Airport, where it landed with about 100 of its 521 passengers feeling sick, according to reports.

  • Security
    • Course Review: Software Defined Radio with HackRF

      Over the past two days, I had the opportunity to attend Michael Ossman’s course “Software Defined Radio with HackRF” at Toorcon XX. This is a course I’ve wanted to take for several years, and I’m extremely happy that I finally had the chance. I wanted to write up a short review for others considering taking the course.

    • WPScan – A Black Box WordPress Vulnerability Scanner

      WordPress is all over the web; it’s the most popular and most used content management system (CMS) out there. Is your website or blog is powered by WordPress? Did you know that malicious hackers are always attacking WordPress sites every minute? If you didn’t, now you know.

      The first step towards securing your website or blog is to perform a vulnerability assessment. This is simply an operation to identify common security loopholes (known to the public), within your site or its underlying architecture.

    • Are BGPs security features working yet?

      This post is a textual version of a talk I gave at NLNOG 2018, You can watch the talk below if that’s your preferred medium: [...]

      BGP has had a problem for quite a while, most of the time when we hear about this in the news outside of the networking word it is referred to as a “BGP Hijack”. Which can be better phrased as “someone routed someone else’s addresses to them”.

    • Illegally Released NSA Hacker Tool EternalBlue Being Used to Mine Cryptocurrency [Ed: Microsoft’s collusion with NSA for back doors continues to serve crackers well, enriching them.]

      One Year After Their Illegal Release, the NSA’s Classified Exploits Are Still Being Used to Mine Crypto

      One year ago, the National Security Agency suffered one of the worst leaks in its history: a series of classified exploits built by the NSA were stolen and published online. Today, those exploits continue to be used to attack cryptocurrency miners worldwide.

      One of the exploits, called EternalBlue, is a particularly effective backdoor exploit. EternalBlue can be used to silently break into virtually any Windows machine in the world.

      Hackers have used EternalBlue to install ransomware on thousands of computers worldwide. Government organizations, corporations, and even entire towns have ground to a halt due to EternalBlue ransomware attacks.

    • Kodi users fall victim to malware due to malicious add-on
    • x86 finds its way into your iPhone

      The baseband cpu is a standalone core that lives in your phone and is responsible for managing 2g/3g/4g/cdma/5g wireless communications. Given the absurd complexity of these standards, today a baseband cpu must be very powerful and enough general purpose, so the days of custom FPGA based IPs are long gone, at least for the main part. A lot has been said and written about basebands on modern smartphones, so I won’t repeat it. For our purpose, you just need to know that usually basebands are implemented using embedded friendly CPUs, like for example ARM (Cortex-M, Cortex-R or something inbetween), Qualcomm Hexagon (a kind of general purpose, VLIW dsp) or other more or less known architectures.

      Apple is nothing special in this regard, up until the iPhone8/iPhoneX, they used to have two different basebands, one for CDMA markets and one for everything else. The CDMA one was based on Qualcomm Hexagon dsp, while the GSM one was based on Intel XMMxxxx architecture. For those that like to play around with iPhone firmwares, you might have seen MAVxxx and ICExxx files in the ipsw, well those two files contain the firmware respectively for Qualcomm based devices (MAV) and Intel based ones (ICE).

      As you may know, Apple decided to drop Qualcomm and now they’re using exclusively Intel based basebands, so we will concentrate on this.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Colombian activists face ‘extermination’ by criminal gangs

      Since the beginning of 2016 – the year that a peace agreement was signed with Colombia’s largest leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) – some 311 activists, community leaders, and human rights defenders have been murdered, according to the national human rights office.

      At least 123 of those killings took place in the first six months of this year, in what the country’s human rights ombudsman described as “an extermination”.

    • ‘Only bones remain’: shattered Yazidis fear returning home

      Her village is Kocho, only a short drive away. In the vast catalogue of Isis’s war crimes, Kocho set a new bar for brutality. About 400 men, the entire male population, were rounded up, shot or beheaded. Old women were killed and dumped in mass graves, younger ones sold in markets as sex slaves, boys turned into child soldiers.

    • The NRA’s Catch-22 for Black Men Shot by Police

      A National Rifle Association spokesperson says Botham Jean would still be alive if he’d had a firearm. But when African Americans legally bearing arms are shot by police, the organization’s media outlet doesn’t defend them.

    • US military to cancel $300m in Pakistan aid over terror groups

      The Haqqani network is a militant group that focuses most of its activities on neighbouring Afghanistan, which has complained for years that Pakistan allows it to operate unimpeded from its soil across the border.

      The group is linked to the Afghan Taliban – a hardline Islamist movement that poses a major threat to the Afghan government. Pakistani Taliban groups, while associated with the Afghan Taliban, focus on attacks within Pakistan.

    • 5 Bizarre Problems Modern Militaries Are Facing

      The challenges facing modern militaries are very real … and very stupid.

    • With New Niger Drone Base, Trump’s CIA Poised for Expanded African Footprint: NYT

      The CIA under President Donald Trump has expanded its drone program in Africa with a recently built-up airbase in northeastern Niger the likely launchpad for surveillance and bombings across the region, the New York Times reported Sunday.

      The expansion reflects the agency’s reclaimed authority to conduct covert lethal drone strikes—a capacity President Barack Obama curtailed but which Trump returned to the CIA soon after taking office.

    • CIA broadening drone strike operations in Africa: report

      The CIA is broadening its drone strike operations in Africa, reversing an Obama-era decision to significantly scale back attacks, according to The New York Times.

      The intelligence agency is reportedly moving aircraft to Niger in order to conduct drone strikes against al Qaeda and Islamic State fighters in Libya.

      Nigerien and American officials told the Times that the CIA has been conducting surveillance missions with drones for several months, and will soon be using the drones in lethal missions.

      A CIA spokesman declined to comment for the report while a Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, insisted the military does not launch drone missions from the Dirkou airport, the alleged base of the recent surveillance missions.

    • How a C.I.A. drone base grew in the desert

      Officials from the U.S. and Niger have confirmed the location of a new C.i.A. drone base to The New York Times. They’ve analyzed its construction and location.

    • Marines are on Sweden’s coast preparing for largest NATO exercise as Russia grumbles

      Marines are also training with Sweden’s Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle.

    • Saudis Created ‘Little Crucible’ for 9/11 Hijackers, CIA Never Told FBI

      On the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Towers and damaged the Pentagon, Radio Sputnik spoke with the authors of a new book that hit shelves last month about the failures of the US intelligence community and heretofore unknown connection the hijackers had with the Saudi monarchy.

      On Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Tuesday, hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou spoke with Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy, about their new book: “The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror,” and some of the shocking facts it brings to light about how competition between intelligence agencies for information overlapped with the creation of “a little crucible” in California for two key 9/11 hijackers by figures with high-up connections in the Saudi state in the year before the attacks, and that those same people were allowed to keep their jobs and advance in the CIA.

    • Abbas Threatens to Terminate CIA Intelligence Briefings

      The Palestinian Authority (PA) is threatening to terminate security and intelligence coordination with the American Intelligence Central (CIA) following the Trump Administration’s decision to close the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington. In a report on Israeli state-run Kan radio, a senior PLO official said the Ramallah government is reconsidering their ties with the United States and is considering severing security ties with the United States.

      Relations between the Palestinian intelligence apparatus, under Majad Farah’s command, and the CIA had been in good standing until now; despite the tense political relations between the White House and the Muqata (the headquarters of the Palestinian government in Ramallah). Security cooperation includes constant meetings between representatives of the CIA and Palestinian intelligence officials, as well as the exchange of information.

    • CIA Veterans Get Chance to Fly Restored Makasi Plane

      In the mid-1960s, the CIA financed a clandestine air force in the congo. The mission: drive Russian and Chinese communists and Che Guevera’s Cuban troops out of the mineral-rich country.

      Who flew those planes? Cuban exiles, many of them veteran pilots from the Bay of Pigs.

      [...]

      The plane looks a lot different almost 55 years later. It’s the same plane, restored in U.S. Navy markings but carrying the logo of the Makasi, the nickname for the secret CIA air force.

      “This airplane is part of my life,” said Dario Filpes, a Makasi pilot. “Today I am 80. I feel good but I can’t fly anymore.”

    • Jordan’s Salt Cell Planned Drone Bomb Attack

      Members of a terrorist cell, who carried out a bombing in the town of Fuheis near the capital Amman on August 9, have admitted to planning for bigger attacks, including attempts to target a military base with a drone.

      The country’s General Intelligence Department (GID) said Friday that during confessions, the terrorists who were arrested in a joint gendarmerie and police raid in the city of Salt, northwest of Amman, admitted to having had the intention to carry out a series of operations across the Kingdom just after the Fuheis attack with a homemade explosive device planted near a police van, which killed a policeman and injured six others.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Mystery of missing Dutch cyber-security expert linked to WikiLeaks whose belongings were found in sea off Norway… before his phones were switched on 1,000 miles away

      The belongings of a leading Dutch cyber-security expert who went missing in August have been discovered floating in the sea around 30 miles from Bodø, Norway.

      This has led to speculation over the fate of Arjen Kamphuis who was last seen in the Arctic Circle after checking out of a hotel in Bodø, with plans to travel to Trondheim by train, which is ten hours away.

      Mr Kamphuis, an associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, never boarded the train or the connecting flight to Amsterdam.

      A thorough search led by Norwegian police has failed to locate Mr Kamphuis, however a kayak believed to belong to him has been recovered from the sea.

    • Mysterious Disappearance of WikiLeaks Associate Takes New Turn

      The man disappeared in Norway three weeks ago, but police still haven’t come up with an official version of what happened with the cyber security expert and tech guru.

      A new piece of evidence has surfaced in the case of tech expert and WikiLeaks associate Arjen Kamphuis, who disappeared on August 20 after leaving his hotel room in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo. According to SBS News, local police found his kayak, which he had recently bought. The boat was found roughly at the same spot as some of Kamphuis’ other belongings, which were spotted by a fisherman floating in the water 50 kilometers away from Bodo on September 12.

    • Julian Assange was involved in Melbourne’s rave scene in the 1990s, Techno Shuffle book reveals

      In early ’90s Melbourne it was difficult to find electronic dance music on the radio or at the record store.

      But almost every weekend, somewhere in the city, a dancefloor would be filled with ravers wearing brightly-coloured home-made costumes.

      “If you wanted to hear this music — you know, techno music, acid house, house music — you could only really hear it in a club, at a party or at a rave,” says Paul Fleckney, author of Techno Shuffle: Rave Culture and the Melbourne Underground.

      These events were put on by English expats and local DJs, supported by rave devotees who looked after the lights, décor and chill-out zones.

      One of these devotees, according to Fleckney, was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • No more BBC platform for climate change deniers? It’d be about time

      The other major factor behind the BBC’s occasional troubles on climate change is lobbying. The newspaper commentariat is amply stocked with columnists who routinely lambast the corporation for bias; and the weight of rhetoric has had an impact.

    • Wildlife group details growing illicit animal trade on Facebook
    • Facebook animal trade exposed in Thailand

      The anti-trafficking body analysed membership of the Facebook groups in 2016 and then again two years later. It found that, while two groups had ceased to exist, total membership had almost doubled – up from 106,111 in 2016 to 203,445 in 2018.

    • Hey, Army Corps of Engineers—Show Us Your Work in Your DAPL Report

      So what’s the Corps hiding? Its reassessment of the potential environmental impacts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, or DAPL, ordered by a federal judge in 2017. (You probably recall the massive demonstrations and international outcry that took place beforehand.) Under the terms of the court order, the Corps was instructed to reexamine whether a leak in the pipeline would pose a disproportionately high risk to the Standing Rock Sioux’s “distinct cultural practices”—which, in this case, include the ability of its 8,000 members to obtain food and water from the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.

    • Trump and Friends Cash In

      Members and backers of the Trump administration are profiting from DAPL while scheming to make even bigger bucks shipping oil and petrochemicals overseas.

    • Trump’s Disregard of Puerto Rico’s Death Toll Is Putting Lives at Risk

      I’m not laying those two studies out to re-report their conclusions but to indicate that claims have to be delivered with evidence and methods. That’s how scientists talk to each other and give policymakers tools to make decisions. In this case, both studies also contained information and recommendations of what could be improved the next time a hurricane comes to Puerto Rico—which could be any week now.

    • The Fight to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline Continues—in the Bayous of Louisiana

      This Labor Day weekend, L’Eau Est La Vie put out a national call for reinforcements for a new wave of actions. It offered newcomers training in using ropes and climbing gear to scale a cypress tree and then establish and defend a tree sit, and led lessons in boat-based resistance, in which “kayaktivists” row up to remote swamp construction zones. Hands were also needed for ongoing construction projects: compost toilets, showers, and a library. I came down to learn why they are so determined. I also wondered why their fight has been almost completely ignored.

    • Australian Youth Activists Are Trying to Shut Down the World’s Largest Coal Port
    • Scientist who thinks more CO₂ is great joins National Security Council

      In the end, Happer was not tapped as Science Advisor by the Trump administration, but E&E News reported Tuesday that he is now a member of the National Security Council.

      Happer was previously listed as the director of a group called the “CO2 Coalition,” which has a website that claims that CO2 released from fossil fuels is just good news for global plant growth while having no real effect on Earth’s climate. (These claims are false.) He has also taken to referring to the field of climate science as a “cult movement.”

    • Sick salmon at Scottish fish farm revealed on film

      A video shot underwater on 27 August 2018 inside a cage at Vacasay fish farm in Loch Roag showed hundreds of sea lice feeding on salmon with open wounds and damaged tails and fins.

      The video has been passed to the Scottish Government and Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), both of which have launched investigations. Campaigners said that lice from the fish farm have spread to wild salmon in a nearby river, and killed them.

    • Campaigners claim fish farms are to blame for wild salmon deaths

      Campaigners claim wild salmon returning to a river in the Isle of Lewis are infested with sea lice originating from local fish farms.

    • Scottish Salmon : Silent, contagious and deadly… the sea lice devastating Scotland’s wild salmon

      Shocking images from Loch Roag on the Isle of Lewis show fish covered in hundreds of deadly sea lice, which campaigners claim are being spread by salmon farms.

      They say the farm parasites are having “devastating consequences” on Scotland’s wild salmon and have called for legislation to be introduced to protect the species.

    • Dozens of elephants killed near Botswana wildlife sanctuary

      Carcases of nearly 90 elephants have been found near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, conservationists say.

      [...]

      With 130,000 elephants, Botswana has been described as their last sanctuary in Africa as poaching for ivory continues to wipe out herds across the rest of the continent.

    • If you want to save the world, veganism isn’t the answer

      So there’s a huge responsibility here: unless you’re sourcing your vegan products specifically from organic, “no-dig” systems, you are actively participating in the destruction of soil biota, promoting a system that deprives other species, including small mammals, birds and reptiles, of the conditions for life, and significantly contributing to climate change.

      Our ecology evolved with large herbivores – with free-roaming herds of aurochs (the ancestral cow), tarpan (the original horse), elk, bear, bison, red deer, roe deer, wild boar and millions of beavers. They are species whose interactions with the environment sustain and promote life. Using herbivores as part of the farming cycle can go a long way towards making agriculture sustainable.

    • Tropical Forests Are Flipping From Storing Carbon to Releasing It

      Apart from the human toll, the violence in the Amazon is also driving an ominous trend in the earth’s climate system. Last October, Science published one of the most important—and least noticed—climate studies in years. Tropical forests in the Amazon and around the world have been so degraded by logging, burning, and agriculture that they have started to release more carbon than they store, according to scientists from the Woods Hole Research Center and Boston University. In the parlance of climate change, these forests are flipping from carbon sinks to carbon sources.

      [...]

      “We’re dangerously approaching a point where the convergence of all these drivers might reach irreversibility,” Nobre says. Cross that threshold, and much of the Amazon rain forest will begin to die. The Amazon could reach that tipping point if 20 to 25 percent of its original forest cover is destroyed, Nobre estimates. In that case, more than half the Amazon would transition from rain forest to savannah, releasing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere as the trees die and burn. Such a “dieback” is one of the scenarios that could trigger runaway global warming, according to the “hothouse Earth” study published by the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute in August.

    • To Prevent ‘Major Extinction Crisis,’ Scientist Call for Designating Half of Planet as Protected Areas by 2050

      The demand comes in the form of an editorial published in the journal Science on Friday by chief scientist of the National Geographic Society Jonathan Baillie and Chinese Academy of Sciences biologist Ya-Ping Zhang.

      In their piece, Baillie and Zhang argue, “If we truly want to protect biodiversity and secure critical ecosystem benefits, the world’s governments must set a much more ambitious protected area agenda and ensure it is resourced.”

      “Given the evidence to date and the implications of an underestimate,” the editorial urges policymakers “to set minimum targets of 30 percent of the oceans and land protected by 2030, with a focus on areas of high biodiversity and/or productivity, and to aim to secure 50 percent by 2050.”

      “This will be extremely challenging, but it is possible,” the editorial asserts, “and anything less will likely result in a major extinction crisis and jeopardize the health and well-being of future generations.”

      The scientists concede that “estimating how much space is required to protect current levels of biodiversity and secure existing ecosystem benefits is challenging because of limited knowledge of the number of species on this planet, poor understanding of how ecosystems function or the benefits they provide, and growing threats such as climate change.”

    • Pope urges action on plastic in the ocean

      The Pope addressed about 100 business leaders invited to the Vatican for the occasion, saying that “each of us has to be responsible for others and for the future of our planet”.

      United Nations figures show eight million tonnes of plastic – bottles, packaging and other waste – enter the ocean each year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain.

      Scientists have urged tougher restrictions on plastic waste.

    • U.N. Chief Warns of a Dangerous Tipping Point on Climate Change

      One of the big tests at those talks, which start Dec. 3 in Katowice, will be whether countries, especially industrialized countries that produce a large share of global emissions, will set higher targets for reducing their emissions.

    • Here’s how climate change is fueling Hurricane Florence

      Reed talked with Science News about what a forecast attribution study is, how the new study suggests climate change may have altered Florence’s rainfall and size, and the future of real-time attribution. His responses are edited for space and clarity.

  • Finance
    • Women suffering more than men from austerity policies, finds gov’t report

      The report concluded that changes to taxation and social programmes benefitted 61 percent of men compared to 54 percent of women. As a result women’s disposable incomes have seen a greater decrease compared to men’s during the period under review.

      One finding was that government policies have resulted in roughly half a million people losing more than 50 euros in income every year. Some 55 percent of these economic underdogs have been women, whose disposable income declined by 0.41 percent more than their male peers’, the report said.

    • Zambia’s looming debt crisis is a warning for the rest of Africa
    • Why PayPal’s crackdown on ASMR creators should worry you

      In June, China banned and excised videos of sound effects while claiming to cleanse its internet of pornography. YouTube had already demonetized the genre in a sex panic; now PayPal is banning people for life and holding individuals’ funds, ignorant of the facts and marching lockstep to the tune of 8chan trolls enacting a campaign to punish “whores.”

      The most bitter punchline in all this? A tiny percentage of the entire video genre is even remotely sexual, and those suffering — female creators — aren’t even making sex content.

      This past week, nonsexual ASMR video creators Sharon DuBois (ASMR Glow), Scottish Murmurs, Creative Cal, and Rose ASMR have been permanently banned from PayPal and had their funds frozen for 180 days.

      [...]

      Capitalizing on entrenched and easily exploitable anti-sex policies by internet giant payment processors and a new internet sex panic ushered in by FOSTA, 8chan trolls have started a campaign to mass-report attractive women who make ASMR videos. Listing names of women making these sound-effect videos in a forum thread called “PayPal lowering the hammer on ASMRtits” they’ve declared war by posting links to report pages for PayPal, and called upon fellow haters to get the women kicked off YouTube and Patreon as well. They’re laughing at the women’s anguish over creating nonsexual content and losing their revenue streams, saying things like “another whore for the deep-freeze” — in between posting anti-Semitic and Pepe the frog images, of course.

      If you’re unfamiliar with ASMR, it’s essentially a genre of videos where the creator makes sound effects in a variety of scenarios that are geared toward evoking a sense-memory of tingling sensations from the back of the head. If anyone ever played with your hair and you felt a funny but calming shiver, you get the idea. The performance artists in these videos do things to create sounds like playing with hair, brushing microphones with makeup brushes, chewing ice and lots of other things that evoke a feeling for viewers. Not everyone tunes into the sensations, but those who do find it very beneficial.

    • Bitcoin [BTC]’s censorship resistance will propel it towards mass adoption, says mining firm Argo’s head

      On Friday, 14th September, Jonathan Bixby, the Chief Executive Officer of Argo, a mining company stated that the demand for cryptocurrency has actually suffered from the bearish market but there is still hope for mass market adoption.

      He stated that the affiliation of normal market users to cryptocurrencies is still in the early stages with a majority of them being early adopters. The CEO went on to say that the main problem that affects the industry is misconceptions with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. People just need to simplify and understand what the fintech industry is really about and that will solve almost all the insecurities related to cryptocurrencies, he said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Google a cult of censorship, fear and discrimination

      In the past days, weeks, months, and years the mask has come off Google, the company that was once considered cool and benevolent, to reveal a festering, pus-filled pit of hypocrisy and corrupt values.

    • Don’t Force Google to Export Other Countries’ Laws

      We’ve come a long way from the 1990s, when the internet evangelist John Perry Barlow, in his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” asserted that governments “have no sovereignty” online. These days, many critics call for more state intervention online, to curb the spread of disinformation and other internet-borne harms, and to limit the power of platforms like Google and Facebook to shape political discourse. Those are legitimate concerns, and rightly the subject of debate.

      We should be equally worried, however, about the prospect of platforms like Google and Facebook, with their international reach and pervasive role in our lives, doing the bidding of governments around the world.

    • Blasphemy: Pakistan’s curse
    • How Chinese influence in US universities relies on self-censorship

      A research project looking into Chinese influence in US universities has found that it is far more nuanced than many China critics have suggested.

      The Asia Society study identifies self-censorship by academics and students as the biggest impediment to independent research on China.

      The author is Senior Fellow at the Asia Society’s Centre on US-China Relations in New York, Isaac Stone Fish and he joined The World Today from New York.

    • China scholars agree ‘self-censorship is a problem in the China field.’ But whose problem?

      The conservative National Association of Scholars and the liberal American Association of University Professors have both warned about the influence of Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes on American college campuses.

      A recent research paper by University of Missouri and Princeton University political scientists probes a related issue: how Chinese pressure on scholars of China studies has affected their research.

      Sheena Chestnut Greitens and Rory Truex conducted a survey of more than 500 China scholars to collect the first “systematic data on how common it actually is for China scholars to have their work affected by PRC [Chinese government] repression,” they write in the paper.

    • Amazon opposes voluntary censorship code move mooted by industry

      Amazon is opposing a move by its peers in the video-on-demand industry in India to consider adopting an industry-wide voluntary censorship code, fearing that it will alienate viewers.

      [...]

      ET reported last week that top VOD companies were exploring the adoption of a voluntary code in anticipation of the Indian government coming up with its own rules, which some players expect will be onerous. AltBalaji, the VOD arm of Balaji Telefilms, opposes such a move and has stayed away from these discussions.

    • Amazon India Says ‘No’ To Self-Censorship, Urges Other OTT Players To Follow

      The Seattle-based company is reportedly trying to dissuade other players to drop the idea, fearing that it will alienate viewers in India.

      It was earlier reported that OTT players in India, including Amazon, allegedly met in New Delhi to discuss the possibility of censorship codes and what they would look like.

    • I don’t believe in song censorship – M.anifest

      Ghanaian rapper, M.anifest says he doesn’t believe in censoring lyrics of songs.

      According to him, just like a writer or poet is allowed to use any diction to express a concept, he believes rappers must have the same privilege.

      “I don’t believe in censorship. I don’t go into a song saying ABC, its like any writer. Just like Ama Atta Aidoo, she uses whatever she wants to use. Its not something done for short value but if needs be. We have to be real. People have grown to know authenticity so for me to censor myself, it will be a big fail…

      He, however, added that, he adheres to the censorship rules when writing his songs.

      “We do the radio and clean versions, we master all of these. I always have a radio edit…” he said.

    • Burlington school district rescinds principal’s article review policy

      Editors at the Burlington High Register, the student paper, said Friday that principal Noel Green was re-instituting a policy that required all articles be reviewed by administrators 48 hours prior to publication.

      The students and their allies immediately criticized the move as a violation of the ‘New Voices’ legislation passed by the Vermont legislature in 2017 to protect student journalists from censorship.

    • Burlington School Officials Seek to Quell Censorship Controversy

      The Burlington School Board and Superintendent of Schools Yaw Obeng on Saturday attempted to quell the controversy over censorship of the city high school’s newspaper, saying that a new policy will be developed.

      The board and Obeng announced that guidelines for material to be published in the Burlington High School Register are no longer in effect. Instead, the board and administration will develop a policy that is consistent with the free speech and student journalist protections under Vermont’s New Voices law, the announcement said.

    • Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Nick Ut on his Napalm Girl shot, censorship and taking it slow

      I kept thinking that I had a bad picture. I kept thinking if it was any good at all,” says Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, whose iconic photograph — The Terror Of War or Napalm Girl — taken in 1972 is one of the most hard-hitting images of the Vietnam War. “We — there were other media personnel as well — used to travel with the soldiers, in the helicopters, everywhere. The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese (Army) troops were at a stand-off and the highway was shut. We were walking just outside a village in Trang Bang, it was early in the morning, there was random bombing happening, and we were taking pictures. And then we saw this huge airplane fly low, then came a second one that dropped the napalm, and everyone screamed and started running,” says Nick Ut at a Networking India Series event in Delhi’s Unesco auditorium, organised by Yes Arts and Culture Institute and Leica.

      It’s a tale that he has recounted innumerable times, to the likes of actors Warren Beatty and Joan Collins. Even the reclusive actor Marlon Brando, who did not like to be photographed, gave Ut an audience because of the defining photograph. “I think seconds later, after the bomb dropped, I saw this deluge of children and women running on the road towards us. I started shooting. First, I saw a woman, she had a baby in her arms. Then on the periphery of my lens I saw this small girl, she was naked. She was crying. I started running towards her, but I kept shooting,” says Ut, who was born Huynh Công Út, in a village just outside of Saigon, Vietnam. After having shot eight rolls of film, Ut piled on as many children and women as possible in a van, including the nine-year-old napalm girl — he first wrapped her up in a raincoat — and drove them to a hospital, after having used his media card at check points to drive unhindered all the way to Saigon. “I kept thinking she would die. She had torn off her clothes because she was burning,” says Ut in heavily-accented English.

      Clicked on June 8, 1972, The Napalm Girl — which the 21-year-old thought was a bad picture — and other pictures were sent to the Associated Press in the US, after being routed through Tokyo. “The photo was a subject of debate. Associated Press (AP) had a strict policy on nudity. Horst Faas, the editor and senior journalist, argued that the photo rose above the clauses of nudity. It got published on June 12, 1972, in The New York Times and then everything changed for me,” says Ut, 67. The photo won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973, and was also the World Press Photo of the year. The napalm girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, survived severe third-degree burns that affected her deeper tissues. Fourteen months after multiple surgeries, she returned home. Kim, now 55, lives in Canada and is a grandmother. She speaks to Ut every week till date. He even attended her son’s wedding.

    • Hong Kong airport accused of censorship after Taiwanese airline’s logo disappears from photo

      Hong Kong International Airport has been accused of censorship after it removed the logo of a Taiwanese airline in a photo posted to Facebook.

      HKIA’s Facebook page was posting about the iconic Boeing 747, which is often nicknamed the “Queen of the Skies.”

      “Have you ever come across her at the airport?” the post on Tuesday read.

    • CPJ: Pakistan’s Press Freedom Climate Fraying

      A global media monitoring group said the climate for press freedom in Pakistan is deteriorating and accused the country’s powerful military of “quietly, but effectively” encouraging “self-censorship.”

      In a report released Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said its findings are based on interviews with journalists during a mission to Pakistan this year. They “painted a picture of a media under siege,” CPJ noted.

      The research, however, noted a drop in murders and violence against journalists in Pakistan, which, until recently, had been condemned as one of the deadliest for reporters.

    • Freedom of press on the decline in Pakistan: Committee to Protect Journalists
    • Press freedom in Pakistan under pressure by military: Report
    • Pakistan military ‘quietly’ stifles press with intimidation: group
    • CPJ: Pakistan’s Military Curbing Press Freedoms Using Fear, Intimidation
    • How Pakistan’s military intimidates journalists and silences dissent, according to press watchdog
    • Acts of Intimidation: In Pakistan, journalists’ fear and censorship grow even as fatal violence declines
    • Target is reportedly censoring words like “Nazi” and “queer” from book descriptions
    • Allison Varnes writes a cautionary tale about censorship for young readers
    • This Vietnamese singer tried to battle state censorship. Now she only performs in secret.
    • Constitution After-Dark: Obscenity, Censorship, and Speech Rights in the Digital Age
    • EDITORIAL: The latest examples of academic censorship

      There are many valid reasons for an academic journal to reject a scientific paper, but concerns over the political implications of its findings aren’t among them.

      Yet that’s what happened to Theodore Hill, a professor emeritus of mathematics at Georgia Tech. He chronicled his saga at Quillette.com earlier this month. It started last year with a paper on the “greater male variability hypothesis,” which contends that men are more likely to be both geniuses and dolts. This isn’t a new idea. Charles Darwin studied this back in the 19th century, finding a greater variability among males, compared to females, in many animal species.

      Hill was interested in why this was and worked on “a simple intuitive mathematical argument based on biological and evolutionary principles.” Mathematical Intelligencer, a research journal, decided to publish a paper by Hill detailing his work. That’s when the backlash started.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Chinese tech firm fights GCHQ warning

      A Chinese state-backed technology giant is recruiting MPs and peers for a campaign to overturn GCHQ advice that its equipment may be a threat to national security.

      ZTE, which makes network gear and is owned by the Chinese state, is ­battling advice issued in April by GCHQ’s National Cyber ­Security Centre (NCSC) that use of its “equipment or services within ­existing ­telecommunications infra- structure would present a risk to UK national ­security that could not be mitigated effectively or practicably”.

    • UK mass surveillance broke human rights convention, European court rules

      The UK’s mass surveillance program is in violation of human rights, the European Court of Human Rights has declared. The challenge was instigated following the revelations from US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

      The court stated there is “insufficient oversight” and “inadequate safeguards” over the government’s ‘bulk interception’ of communications. Furthermore, it found the UK “was not in accordance with the law” over it’s obtaining of communications data from service providers.

    • UK Surveillance Programs Violated Privacy Rights, Court Says

      The European Court of Human Rights said that some U.K. surveillance programs, including the bulk interception of communications exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, violate rules that protect privacy and family life.

      The seven judges at the Strasbourg, France-based court said in a 5-2 ruling that such interceptions violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which also deals with the privacy of communications. There was insufficient oversight of how information in the bulk scoop of data was intercepted and filtered, and the safeguards governing the selection of “related communications data” for examination were inadequate, the judges said in a statement published Thursday following their decision.

    • Top European Court Says British Spies Broke Human Rights Rules With Their Mass Surveillance Tactics
    • “Bulk interception” by GCHQ (and NSA) violated human rights charter, European court rules

      The Court found that sharing intelligence information gathered from bulk surveillance—as GCHQ does with the NSA and other members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence and security alliance—does not violate the human rights charter. But the judges did warn that using such intelligence sharing to bypass restrictions on surveillance of a member state’s own citizens would be a violation of the charter.

      In the ruling, the judges found that there was insufficient oversight through the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (the UK equivalent of the US’ Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) over the UK’s bulk interception, filtering, and search of communications by the GCHQ. The judges also found that there were insufficient safeguards put in place to govern access to communications data. While the case has no direct impact on US intelligence gathering, the case could have a ripple effect because of the close connections between US and UK intelligence and law enforcement organizations.

    • British spies broke law in GCHQ mass surveillance, says European Court of Human Rights

      Britain broke human rights law when the GCHQ intelligence agency carried out the mass snooping operation that was exposed by Edward Snowden, a European court has ruled.

      The European Court of Human Rights said spies broke the right to privacy and ignored surveillance safeguards when they carried out the data harvesting and intercepted private online conversations in bulk. Judges ruled that UK intelligence agencies sharing the data with foreign governments, such as the US, was not illegal.

    • AT&T Users Lack Standing In NSA Spying Suit, Court Told

      The National Security Agency is pressing a California federal judge to ax a long-running putative class action accusing the agency of illegal spying, arguing that the AT&T customers leading the dispute lack standing because they have failed to offer any “competent evidence” that their communications were scooped up by the challenged surveillance.

      A group of American citizens who are AT&T telephone subscribers first sued the NSA and several high-ranking government officials in 2008, claiming that several NSA intelligence-gathering programs that involve the collection of noncontent data about…

    • Tech Firms Push Gov’t For Limits In Hoarding Security Flaws [Ed: Microsoft is a company of liars. They actively collude with the NSA to make back doors, based on leaks. Publicly they pretend to oppose it.]

      Members of the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, which includes Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc., HP, Cisco Systems Inc. and Dell, called Monday for the U.S. government and other major powers to develop criteria for deciding whether to disclose software and hardware vulnerabilities to the public.

    • Bay Area transit system approves new surveillance-oversight policy

      On Thursday, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors voted to approve a new policy that requires that it be notified if the local police department wishes to acquire new surveillance equipment.

      BART is one of the largest mass transit agencies in northern California, with a system that stretches from the San Francisco International Airport, through San Francisco itself, across to Oakland, north to Antioch and south to Fremont—adjacent to Silicon Valley. This new policy puts it in line with a number of other regional cities that impose community oversight on the acquisition and use of surveillance technology. It is believed to be one of the first, if not the first, such policies for a transportation agency in the nation.

    • Edward Snowden Reconsidered

      The Snowden phenomenon was far larger than the man himself, larger even than the documents he leaked. It showed us the first glimmerings of an emerging ideological realignment—a convergence, not for the first time, of the far left and the far right, and of libertarianism with authoritarianism. It was also a powerful intervention in information wars we didn’t yet realize we were engaged in, but which we now need to understand. To this day, Snowden speaks often, and uses his platform. So whether we trust him matters. And it certainly matters if we conclude that he is a well-intentioned whistleblower who has shown bad judgment or has allowed himself to become an unwitting pawn of the Russians.

    • U.S. Mobile Giants Want to be Your Online Identity

      Tentatively dubbed “Project Verify” and still in the private beta testing phase, the new authentication initiative is being pitched as a way to give consumers both a more streamlined method of proving one’s identity when creating a new account at a given Web site, as well as replacing passwords and one-time codes for logging in to existing accounts at participating sites.

      [...]

      All four major mobile providers currently are struggling to protect customers against scams designed to seize control over a target’s mobile phone number. In an increasingly common scenario, attackers impersonate the customer over the phone or in mobile retail stores in a bid to get the target’s number transferred to a device they control. When successful, these attacks — known as SIM swaps and mobile number port-out scams — allow thieves to intercept one-time authentication codes sent to a customer’s mobile device via text message or automated phone-call.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Ending Child Marriage in the United Kingdom

      In allowing some children to marry the UK is out of step with the international standards it claims to support. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child supports a global minimum of 18 years for marriage, without exceptions, and recommended in 2016 that the UK raises the minimum marriage age to 18, including in its overseas territories.

    • Criminalizing Childhood: School Safety Measures Aren’t Making the Schools Any Safer

      By the time the average young person in America finishes their public school education, nearly one out of every three of them will have been arrested.

      More than 3 million students are suspended or expelled from schools every year, often for minor misbehavior, such as “disruptive behavior” or “insubordination.”

      Black students are three times more likely than white students to face suspension and expulsion.

      Zero tolerance policies that were intended to make schools safer by discouraging the use of actual drugs and weapons by students have turned students into suspects to be treated as criminals by school officials and law enforcement alike, while criminalizing childish behavior.

    • Dallas cop faces homicide charge after killing neighbor in his [own] apartment
    • Dallas officer who shot man in his own apartment was involved in 2017 shooting of a suspect
    • Texas officer charged with manslaughter over ‘wrong flat’ killing
    • Dallas Cop Claims Botham Jean Ignored Her ‘Verbal Commands’
    • Hate preacher Anjem Choudary, to be freed in weeks, is ‘still a threat’

      Around 25 Muslim chaplains are to receive a week’s training on how to deal with prisoners with Islamist extremist ideologies as part of a pilot to be launched before the end of the year, the Ministry of Justice confirmed.

      [...]

      There are already about 300 Muslim chaplains working in prisons. Stewart’s proposal would lead to one or two specially-trained chaplains assigned to prisons on a regional basis.

    • Pope Francis summons his bishops to discuss sexual abuse
    • When Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Hits Home

      Sadly, Olivia is one of many Native women who have gone missing in the United States. Native Americans and Alaska Natives represent only 0.8% of the U.S. population, but in 2017, they made up 1.8% of missing persons cases in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.

    • “It Was Us Against Those Guys”: The Women Who Transformed Rolling Stone in the Mid-70s

      “Some of it was about drugs, and some of it was about sex,” recalls Sarah Lazin, who went from editorial assistant to director of Rolling Stone Press over the course of a decade. “But it was really about doing challenging work, and being on the cutting edge of journalism and history.”

    • Labor Day 2018: How the Ongoing Prison Strike is Connected to the Labor Movement

      The striking prisoners of today have released a list of ten demands, which calls for improvements to the current living conditions in prisons, increased rehabilitation programs, educational opportunities, and specific policy goals. This essentially articulates the idea of non-reformist reforms, a central plank of prison abolition. By illuminating the barbarity of the current prison system and calling for its abolishment while advocating for an improvement in current conditions, they are—to paraphrase French socialist André Gorz—asking not for what can be achieved within a current system, but for what should be possible.

      [...]

      The prison strike was organized by workers both inside and outside detention facilities, spearheaded by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), and supported by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), and sparked by [deadly uprisings at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina earlier this year that cost seven prisoners’ lives. The strike began on August 21 and ends on September 9, dates that reflect the legacy of rebellion in American prisons: on August 21, 1971, George Jackson was killed by prison guards in San Quentin, and his death was met by protests from other prisoners across the country, culminating in the famed September 9 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. By choosing these dates, participants in the prison strike of 2018 are drawing a direct line between their current struggle and the struggles of those who have come before, emphasizing the stark fact that very little has changed in terms of conditions or opportunities for those who are locked up and held by the state since the birth of the modern prison system.

    • US inmates claim retaliation by prison officials as result of multi-state strike

      As a multi-state prison strike continues through a second week, many participants have been hit by prison officials with swift and vicious reprisals, advocates, prisoners and their families said.

      It is claimed that inmates – especially those seen as organizers – have been subject to solitary confinement, revocation of communication privileges and long-distance transfers, in attempts to weaken the effects of work stoppages and to chill dissent.

    • Woman lay dead in Nevada jail cell for hours after deputy found her unresponsive

      Locked away in a Nevada county jail for failing to take care of her traffic tickets, 27-year-old Kelly Coltrain asked to go to the hospital. Instead, as her condition worsened, she was handed a mop and told to clean up her own vomit. She died in her jail cell less than an hour later.

      Despite being in a video-monitored cell, Mineral County Sheriff’s deputies did not recognize that Coltrain had suffered an apparent seizure and had not moved for more than six hours. When a deputy finally entered her cell and couldn’t wake her, he did not call for medical assistance or attempt to resuscitate her. Coltrain lay dead in her cell until the next morning when state officials arrived to investigate.

      [...]

      According to the investigation report, the 20-minute section of video depicting Gulcynski entering her cell was missing entirely from the files the state obtained for its investigation from the sheriff’s office. But a Reno Gazette Journal reporter found the video in files provided by Keyser-Cooper.

    • Vigilantes With A Badge: Warrior Cops Endanger Our Lives And Freedoms

      So when I say that warrior cops—hyped up on their own authority and the power of the badge—have not made America any safer or freer, I am not disrespecting any of the fine, decent, lawful police officers who take seriously their oath of office to serve and protect their fellow citizens, uphold the Constitution, and maintain the peace.

      My beef is with the growing squads of warrior cops who have been given the green light to kill, shoot, taser, abuse and steal from American citizens in the so-called name of law and order.

      These cops are little more than vigilantes with a badge.

    • Duterte Jokes About Rape, Again. Philippine Women Aren’t Laughing.

      “Instead of seriously addressing the problem, the misogynist Duterte has added insult to the scars of rape survivors,” a coalition of a women’s groups called #BabaeAko (I Am Woman), said in a statement.

    • US envoy denies CIA hand in coup plot

      United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim has denied accusations that the US Central Intelligence is involved in the alleged destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

      “I can assure you with great confidence and conviction that there is actually no effort in the US government, including the CIA, to come up with some effort to undermine President Duterte’s administration,” Kim said in a rountable discussion with journalists.

    • Ambassador Kim denies CIA kill plot against Duterte: President’s fears have no impact on US-PH ties
    • US envoy on ‘CIA slay plot’: No efforts to undermine Duterte admin
    • No CIA destab effort vs. Duterte: US envoy
    • Why sex assault survivors are fuming over DeVos proposal

      The proposed changes — from the federal Department of Education led by Michigan’s Betsy DeVos — would limit colleges to investigating only those sex assaults that happen on campus. Assaults that occur just off campus, in places like fraternity houses or off-campus housing, wouldn’t be investigated by the institutions.

    • Stephon Clark-inspired bill to limit police killings in California shelved for the year

      AB 931 would have raised the state standard for using lethal force from “reasonable” — when a reasonable officer in similar circumstances would have acted the same way — to “necessary,” when there are no alternatives for police to consider in that situation.

    • Met police sergeant cleared over strip search of academic

      “They are effectively saying: ‘This is our policy; Met police policy is to strip search anyone who stands up for their rights or the rights of somebody else.’

      “This makes very clear that we are not dealing with one bad apple, they are closing ranks and saying this is Met police policy. That’s my sense of what this judgment means.

    • The Trajectory Of The Restriction Of Privacy And Freedom

      Recently, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a plan to begin deploying full-body scanners in the LA subway system.

    • Man who bought sex doll online ends up in court because it was child-sized

      He added that pictures of the doll on the website showed it set against a white background and that there was no way to compare its height and he had cohosen than particular model because it was on sale.

      Ayelen Tunon, defending, told jurors that while it may be a short version it had an adult face and breasts, which a child would not have.

    • Women caned in Malaysia for attempting to have lesbian sex

      Rare punishment was carried out in a courtroom and witnessed by up to 100 people

    • Christian girl attacked for refusing to marry and convert to Islam

      Binish Paul, a high school student, was being stalked by a Muslim man who was her friend, and when she said no to his petition, he got angry and after beating her, he took her to the second floor of a building and pushed her from there.

      The Pakistani girl survived, but has suffered severe fractures in her spine and legs, and she will no longer be able to walk.

    • Vision and strategy: on solidarity, multiculturalism, identity politics, Muslims, Islamists and the Western Left

      The problem occurs when multiculturalism becomes social policy. There is more emphasis on differences then similarities. This leads to communities living separate, but unequal lives. For example, in Britain we have faith-based schools and faith-based services as if we can’t go see a doctor that doesn’t have the same beliefs as we do. We also have faith-based courts such as Jewish courts or Sharia courts where there is discrimination against women. You have citizens in this country who don’t have the same access to the same rights, services and education as the rest of the country. You have children from Muslim parents that are going to Islamic schools where they are taught that they need to be veiled, they can’t listen to music, they can’t take pictures of themselves and they can’t mix with boys. This is happening to children from a very young age. These are not prescriptions for a multicultural, plural society as people envision it to be, but a society that is completely segregated, separated and unequal.

    • Indonesia: Ban on Unmarried Couples Dining Together Spawns Criticism

      However, the head of Bireuen’s sharia office, Jufliwan, said the guidelines were intended to protect the honor of women.

    • Saudi Arabia arrests man who filmed video of himself eating breakfast with female colleague

      The owner of the hotel has also been summoned for questioning, according to the ministry.

      The footage, which has been shared widely on social media, shows a woman dressed in a burqa eating breakfast with a man and, at one point, feeding him some food.

    • Muslims ‘proselytizing’ at U.S. school assemblies

      However, both the California and U.S. Constitutions prohibit the government from aiding religious sects or favoring one religious organization over another. The legal team explained courts repeatedly have ruled students suffer spiritual and psychological harm if they are exposed to religious indoctrination in a compulsive educational environment.

    • Two sisters die after undergoing FGM in Somalia, campaigner says

      “Unfortunately, they never made it to the hospital as they all died on the way,” said Aden Mohamed, who has been calling for legislation banning the practice commonly done on young girls in Somalia.

    • UK schoolgirls have been pressured by peers to have FGM, campaigner says

      She is frustrated that there have been no convictions in the UK to date, although FGM has been illegal since 1985. Hussein ascribed that failure partly to a lack of evidence available to the police, PA said.

    • U.S., U.K. authorities to work more closely on ending female genital mutilation

      “FGM is an international issue. No one country can deal with it on its own,” Ivan Balhatchet, Commander in the London Metropolitan Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for FGM, told CBS News.

    • Factbox: Female genital mutilation around the world: a fine, jail or no crime?

      World leaders have pledged to eliminate FGM, which affects an estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide. But a report launched in London by campaign group 28 Too Many says there are major gaps in legislation across countries in Africa where FGM is prevalent.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Starting an Internet Service Provider – Part 2 – Deploying Fiber

      Nearly 2 years ago I wrote Starting an Internet Service Provider. When I sat down to write that post I initially intended it to be a weekly or monthly log of events to look back on, but it turned into one long blog post about the struggles of starting an ISP. That post ended up receiving over 20,000 visits in one day while at the top of Hacker News and roughly 40,000 total. I obviously haven’t written weekly or monthly since then; mainly due to lack of time.

    • Here’s why you can’t use dual SIM iPhones in India

      Moving on to the network part, the type of carrier you are using decides if you can use two SIMs simultaneously in your iPhone. Notably, amongst the two SIM cards you’ll be integrating, one of them needs to support the eSIM standard. Only then can you use two carriers together. Not all companies provide cards with the support for eSIM standard and in India, Airtel and Reliance Jio are the only two providers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Time for a break – catching up with KitKat

        By now, the fate of the four fingered KitKat shape mark is old news – Joined Cases C‑84/17 P, C‑85/17 P and C‑95/17 P

        Rumours of the mark’s death have been greatly exaggerated – it is now for the EUIPO to reconsider the evidence in light of the CJEU’s ruling and reach a decision as to whether or not the mark is valid.

        Whilst the press may have put the cart before the horse, the CJEU’s decision does suggest that the mark will not remain registered long term.

      • The Most Significant Unresolved Legal Issue In Trademark Licensing
    • Copyrights
      • You Don’t Really ‘Own’ That Movie You Bought, But Pirates…

        In this day and age ownership of digital media is often an illusion. When you buy a book or movie there are severe restrictions on what you can do with these files. In some cases, purchased content can simply disappear overnight. These limitations keep copyright holders in control, but they breed pirates at the same time.

      • ISP Can Charge Money to Expose Pirates, Canadian Supreme Court Rules

        The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that ISPs are entitled to compensation for looking up the details of alleged copyright infringers. This is the result of a dispute between Rogers and movie company Voltage Pictures, which demanded details of tens of thousands of alleged pirates. The scale of compensation is yet to be determined.

Slamming Courts and Judges Won’t Help the Patent Maximalists; It Can Only Make Things Worse

Sunday 16th of September 2018 10:47:45 AM

Recent: Patent Maximalists — Not Reformers — Are the Biggest Threat to the Viability of the Patent System and Innovation

Summary: Acorda Therapeutics sees its stock price dropping 25% after finding out that its patent portfolio isn’t solid, as affirmed by the Federal Circuit (CAFC); the only way out of this mess is a pursuit of a vastly improved patent quality, thorough patent examination which then offers legal certainty

THE EPO grants monopolies that kill people, just like the USPTO. It’s like corporate interests rather than science or innovation are the sole priority. What about public interest? Or public welfare/wellbeing?

The other day patent maximalists wrote about Acorda. Dennis Crouch (Patently-O) keeps sobbing for the patent aggressors, even if the patents at hand (underlying USPTO-granted monopolies) turn out to have been errors, hence injustices. To quote Crouch:

In a 50+ page majority opinion, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a district court obviousness judgment. Judge Taranto penned the majority opinion and was joined by Judge Dyk. Judge Newman wrote in dissent — arguing in 20+ additional pages that the majority improperly discounted the objective indicia of non-obviousness. On news of the invalidity decision, Acorda’s stock price dropped 25%.

[...]

Remember that broad Elan patent exclusively licensed by Acorda. The majority explains that Acorda’s commercial success and the long-felt need for advances were due to the roadblock set-up by that patent. “The risk of infringement liability for marketing in the US would have provided and independent incentive [for third parties] not to develop the invention of the Acorda patents, even if those inventions were obvious.” (internal quotations eliminated; this holding, the appellate court finds was supported by the trial record). Although the Elan patent was a US patent — and thus did not block research (FDA Research Exemption) nor did it block international sales, the majority explained that those caveats are “not shown to be weighty.” Several Amici filed briefs in support of the patentee — however, the Federal Circuit found that the friendly arguments failed for lack of proffered evidence.

If a company is this dependent on a patent monopoly, then perhaps it should not exist in the first place and the patents are of rubbish quality anyway. Something similar happened in Europe recently.

It’s not too surprising that similar ‘sob stories’ came from proponents of patents on life/nature such as “Patent Docs authors Kevin Noonan and Donald Zuhn,” as Patent Docs themselves put it shortly after Kevin Noonan wrote about Acorda:

Determining obviousness is always a reconstruction, imperfectly done, of a past that never was. The prior art is consulted and the question asked, would the worker of ordinary skill in the art have been able to achieve the claimed invention with a reasonable expectation of success? Of course, this question is posed against a backdrop of the ordinarily skilled worker not having achieved the invention; that accomplishment was attained by the named inventor. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court since Hotchkiss and the Patent Act since 1952 has recognized that sometimes the answer to the question must be no, if only to ensure that the constitutional mandate that Congress only grant patents that will “promote the progress of . . . the useful arts” be satisfied.

[...]

The lawsuit arose when Roxane and co-Defendants Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. each filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Acorda’s multiple sclerosis drug (Ampyra®) and sent Paragraph IV letters to Acorda (and co-Plaintiff Alkermes Pharma Ireland Ltd.) asserting that four Orange Book-listed patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 8,007,826; 8,663,685; 8,354,437; and 8,440,703) were invalid. As the Federal Circuit panel stated, there was one additional patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,540,938, owned by Elan Corp. plc and exclusively licensed to Acorda. That patent broadly claimed therapeutic formulations of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP); Acorda’s patents were for more narrow formulations having specific characteristics and properties that distinguished (undisputedly, for novelty purposes) these claims from the claims of the ’938 patent.

None of that would happen had the USPTO properly assessed the patents in the first place, possibly aided by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), even without an inter partes review (IPR). What we generally have here for all to see is a reminder of the great importance of patent quality.

The US patent courts, CAFC in this case, keep telling off the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for granting bogus patents and trying to justify that, as is common when it comes to 35 U.S.C. § 101. Here is another new example from Patently-O:

Today the Federal Circuit issued three parallel decisions all stemming from the patent case brought by Asghari-Kamrani. The first two decisions affirm the E.D.Va. judgment-on-the-pleadings. In those cases, the district court held that the patentee (Asghari-Kamrani) failed to state a plausible claim for relief within her complaint. In particular, the court found that all the asserted claims were invalid for lack of eligibility. On appeal, the Federal Circuit AFFIRMED in a R.36 Judgment Without Opinion. [Link].

The third decision is an order of dismissal of a parallel appeal from the PTAB (CBM Review). The PTAB had found all of the claims unpatentable as obvious or anticipated. On appeal, though the Federal Circuit dismissed the appeals as moot — and vacated the USPTO decisions.

Dennis Crouch, in his rather typical fashion, complains about it. This patent maximalist says “the automatic vacatur of the PTAB decisions does not sit well with me.” He has long used this strategy of trying to slow PTAB down, just like the SAS decision from earlier this year.

Crouch later wrote another one of his many rants, this time titled “The Federal Circuit Strides Forward with No-Opinion-Judgments” (never mind if they cannot cope with the number of appeals coming from PTAB). To quote Crouch:

Petition for Writ of Certiorari. I explain in the article, that the issue was rather low-level up until 2013 and the explosion of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings and resulting appeals to the Federal Circuit. Because those cases typically involve complex obviousness analysis (as in the case at hand), the shortcut route has been for the court to issue R.36 Judgments Without Opinion in these IPR appeals. The result has been hundreds of R. 36 Judgments of PATO appeals over the past few years.

Although a number of parties have raised the issue with the Federal Circuit, the court has not yet addressed the issue directly (other than by continuing to issue no-opinion-judgments). I will note that the same question is also presented in the pending petition in Leon Stambler v. Mastercard International, Inc., SCT Docket No. 17-1140.

Rob Sterne’s team at Sterne Kessler is representing the patentee-petitioner. Sarah Guske (Baker Botts) represented Cisco in the appeal.

If Crouch is so bothered to see patents invalidated at a very high pace, maybe he should introspect and consider if his worldview has been warped by the litigation ‘industry’ with its financial agenda. He’s supposed to be a law professor, but instead he speaks like a lobbyist for patent trolls who just ‘happens’ to lecture people in an educational institution.

Observations like the above only further contribute to the perception of a nefarious agenda; and as a side note, many patent sites I’ve long followed (they’re even called “Patent” something) are diverging/moving away from patents to copyright and trademark stuff. Some, including Watchtroll, no longer even cover any of the above. They seem totally lost. When they write something — as we shall show later this weekend — it’s typically an attack on a court, tribunal, panel, or judge. This is not good. It’s not good for the image of their profession as a whole. Unless they give up on their patent maximalism/lobbying, they will only alienate judges even further. Moving to greener pastures may be a better trajectory. IAM, for example, has virtually gone dark; it’s barely even visible anymore.

Patent Trolls Are Still Active and Microsoft is Closely Connected to Many of Them

Sunday 16th of September 2018 09:55:29 AM

Summary: A roundup of patent trolls’ actions in the United States; Microsoft is connected to a notably high number of these

THE software patents granted by the USPTO often travel or find their way into the hands of trolls such as Intellectual Ventures (IV) with its notorious proxies like ‘offspring’ trolls (for ‘enforcement’ i.e. lawsuits and shakedown). IV isn’t just Microsoft-funded; it’s also funded by Bill Gates, headed by his close friend, and led by former Microsoft executives. It’s everything one needs to know about the ‘new’ Microsoft.

Watchtroll’s post about IV’s latest defeat in court was composed by Robert Schaffer, Joseph Robinson and Dustin Weeks. The case was previously covered by Watchtroll and in Techrights as well. James Korenchan from Patent Docs said this a few days ago:

Last week, in yet another patent case before Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division, the Court ruled that Defendants T Mobile USA, Inc. and T-Mobile US, Inc. (collectively, “T-Mobile”) failed to show that a claim related to packet scheduling is patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

T-Mobile had moved to dismiss claim 109 of U.S. Patent. No. RE46,206 (the ’206 patent) (a reissue of U.S. Patent No. 7,251,218) as directed to ineligible subject matter. In addition, T-Mobile, as well as Defendants Ericsson Inc. and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, moved to dismiss all claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,359,971 and claim 1 of the ’206 patent as barred by issue preclusion. The Court carried the motion under issue preclusion grounds but denied the motion as to patent eligibility.

35 U.S.C. § 101 thankfully stepped in, but in the Eastern District of Texas the outcomes aren’t so predictable. Expect this to carry on for some time…

There are many other trolls that are connected to Microsoft. Interval Licensing, for instance, is a patent troll of Microsoft’s co-founder and it recently resurfaced in some headlines. One patent maximalist picked on Judge Plager for this: “There was a funny moment during the oral argument of Interval Licensing, LLC v. AOL, Inc. last December when Judge Plager explained why his law clerk was just an abstract idea…”

Another Microsoft proxy was mentioned by Nasdaq the other day in anticipation of a “Mini-Trial December 10, 2018″ against Juniper Network. Finjan is a patent troll that has Microsoft behind it (as backer and funder). There’s also Cisco, a rival of Juniper Network.

It is just too difficult to ignore the fact that Microsoft is responsible for a feeding frenzy, sending money and patents into the laps of notorious and active patent trolls while offering ‘protection’ from these trolls. This racket has been bundled or lumped into Azure [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20].

Over the past week there have been also troll stories that have nothing to do with Microsoft. Here are software patents in action again… in the US. Note that the target in this case was Azure Farms (not Microsoft):

Farm victim of ‘patent troll’ lawsuit

The vaguely threatening letter over alleged patent infringement that Azure Farms received last year didn’t make much of an impression on David Stelzer.

Stelzer, the company’s founder and CEO, consulted with his information technology employees, who assumed the letter was a scam.

“I didn’t give it a second thought,” he said.

Now, the Oregon company is the defendant in a lawsuit that alleges its online website for selling organic food and other products has violated a patent for automated financial transactions owned by Landmark Technology LLC of San Diego, Calif.

Stelzer said his website isn’t much different from multitudes of others that sell products online, making him think the plaintiff has filed a “nuisance lawsuit” aimed at a quick settlement.

Azure Farms, based in Dufur, Ore., doesn’t have deep pockets to hire expensive attorneys, which is perhaps why the company was targeted, he said.

“I have no clue what they are after,” said Stelzer, who farms nearly 2,000 acres. “They’re basically saying because we have a working website, we have patent violations.”

Another troll lawsuit was covered by Dennis Crouch a few days ago. It’s about Blackbird Tech LLC, which is a malicious patent troll we wrote a great deal about in the past. Having failed with software patents they now try again with fluorescent patents:

Blackbird Tech’s US patent at issue (7,086,747) is directed to an LED light fixture designed to retro-fit to the space of old tubular fluorescent light fixture having a ballast cover. The claims particularly require a “housing having an attachment surface.”

[..]

In the original panel decision, Judge Moore penned the majority decision and was joined by Chief Judge Prost. Judge Reyna filed a dissent — concluding that the “attachment surface” limitation is an element of the claimed retrofit function of the invention and should be attachable to something in the old housing. Judge Reyna writes: “The plain language of claim 12, read in the context of the specification, implicitly requires that the attachment surface be secured to the ballast cover to achieve the retrofit function.”

The basic debate here stems from the reality that the canons of construction conflict with one another. The unfortunate result though is the old-fallback that claims mean what the Federal Circuit says they mean.

Crouch’s complaints (and sometimes rude remarks) about the Federal Circuit is a subject we explored before and will revisit later this weekend. He is particularly upset that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decisions are so often affirmed by the Federal Circuit (after referrals/appeals emanating from inter partes reviews).

Advancements in Automobile Technology Won’t be Possible With Patent Maximalism

Sunday 16th of September 2018 08:43:29 AM

Summary: Advancements in the development of vehicles are being discouraged by a thicket of patents as dumb (and likely invalid) as claims on algorithms and mere shapes

THE EPO‘s and the USPTO‘s retreat to buzzwords isn’t particularly new. They attempt to find creative new ways to grant software patents pertaining to driving/vehicles. The EPO together with IPO will do this in Chicago.

We previously wrote about "Autonomous Driving" and "Self-Driving Cars" in relation to patents; these are software patents. Such patents ought not exist.

“They attempt to find creative new ways to grant software patents pertaining to driving/vehicles.”A few days ago we also saw updates on the ludicrous case of Nikola, which thought the design of a vehicle merited a patent (designs are covered more appropriately by other laws). According to this update from Ross Tessien: “The US Patent Examiner ruled the Tesla design is unique compared to the Nikola design.”

There’s also this lengthy report from Fred Lambert, who said this:

Tesla is currently being sued by Nikola Motors for $2 billion over the design of the Tesla Semi, but the automaker has now obtained its own design patents for the electric truck – significantly weakening Nikola’s case.

As we previously reported, Nikola alleged that Tesla’s electric truck design infringes on its existing patents. Specifically, a series of 3 patents that Nikola recently obtained for the design of a few features of their Nikola One truck unveiled in 2016 – a year before Tesla unveiled its own electric truck.

We broke down each of the Nikola’s specific claims in what we believed basically amounted to a patent trolling case in a purely design-based objective way.

As we said before, design patents are a stupid idea to begin with; laws covering designs exist which have nothing to do with patents. How is society supposed to advance when not only technical patents need to be assessed but also patents on mere shapes? That’s an impediment to science and technology, not a facilitator thereof.

“How is society supposed to advance when not only technical patents need to be assessed but also patents on mere shapes?”The patent maximalism site BNA (and its authors who are themselves patent maximalists) has just published this “INSIGHT” (all caps) titled “Biggest Roadblocks to Getting Driverless Cars on the Road—The High Stakes of Patent Protection in the Era of Self-Driving Cars” (title seems promising enough).

We expected the article to give examples of patents holding back science in this domain (in this particular domain we’d be dealing with computer vision for the most part). The article, however, makes excuses for patents on self-driving cars:

There are few inventions that have changed the face of the planet. First, there were motor vehicles, then airplanes, and now self-driving cars have emerged, set to completely revolutionize the way we travel. This convergence of so many disparate technology sectors will make self-driving cars a reality: chip companies; software developers; and cameras (to name a few). This has made investments in the space the hottest commodity in Silicon Valley. With continued innovation and efforts in technology such as engines, microchips and 5G all being funneled into the development of self-driving cars, technology companies should consider how to protect their intellectual property in a way that keeps them competitive and brings their innovations to the roadway as soon as possible.

There’s no time to waste—companies need to start thinking through now how they plan to protect their inventions, innovations, talent and investments—while still ensuring they don’t halt the growth of the industry in the process. Considerations of patent protection and strategy are critical in this burgeoning field. Here’s what companies need to keep in mind as they “autonomously” navigate new waters…

Like we said several times a few years ago, virtually all of these patents are software patents that are reducible to mathematics. The cars themselves are the same, but there’s a computer doing all or much of the steering, throttling etc. based on stereo-vision and an assessment of the environment (segmentation, classification and so on).

Society won’t be able to advance too well if electric and computer-assisted cars are kept out of reach — artificially — by patents and patent lawsuits.

Battistelli “Has Deeply Hurt the Whole Patent Profession, Examiners as Well as Agents” and Also the Image of France

Sunday 16th of September 2018 07:20:39 AM

There’s still lack of diversity in the management, which is clearly French-led under António Campinos

Summary: A French perspective regarding Battistelli’s reign at the EPO, which has not really ended but manifests itself or ‘metastasises’ through colleagues of Battistelli (whom he chose) and another French President (whom he also chose)

MANY EPO scandals that include nepotism have been covered here for over four years. 3 out of 4 successive EPO presidents are French and that has a lot to do with politics as well as lobbying, including by Battistelli, who intervened to have António Campinos appointed. Pompidou was reasonably OK (not perfect, there were a few complaints associated with him as well) and a few hours ago I received the following comment in French:

Avec le comportement radicalement antisocial et délibérément dictatorial du précédent président français de l’OEB, la France va pour longtemps paraitre indésirable au niveau exécutif de l’OEB aux yeux de nombreux pays membres. On peut déjà être heureux que le Français soit encore considéré comme langue officielle de l’OEB. Dans un passé relativement récent, Mr Pompidou a été un président français raisonnable et diplomate qui a été respecté, bien que tout le monde savait y compris lui-même que son implication dans les brevets ne lui permettait pas de s’imposer en tant qu’expert de la propriété industrielle au niveau international. Evidemment, la renommée de son père adoptif a été déterminante dans sa nomination à la tête de l’OEB.

Mr Batistelli, par contre, a profondément blessé toute une profession, les examinateurs aussi bien que les mandataires, spécialement par son mépris du droit de la propriété inustrielle. Son trop long mandat à l’OEB a sapé tous les efforts diplomatiques de la France dans les années 1970 à 2010. L’INPI qu’il a dirigé n’a jamais eu une politique d’examen quant au fond très développée et il ne pouvait se prévaloir de cette expérience puisque l’INPI a délivré pendant très longtemps des brevets sans examen sérieux.

L’Allemagne, les Pays-Bas, la Grande-Bretagne, la Suisse ont été des membres fondateurs de l’Organisation européenne des brevets qui, à la différence de la France, avaient de longue date développé un examen quant au fond de qualité, ce qui reste dans les mémoires toujours maintenant et qui reste le seul élément important pour l’industrie mondiale. La désindustrialisation de la France dans les dernières décennies n’est pas pour donner à la France un rôle de 1er plan dans le développement de la protection par brevets.

Il est vrai que l’évolution actuelle du droit communautaire attire les convoitises de chaque pays pour occuper les places importantes de la structure de l’OEB. Souhaitons que les choix des responsables soient basés, non pas sur des motifs politiques aveugles, mais sur des raisons sérieuses et consistantes.

Ces réflexions sont basées sur mon expérience d’examinateur pendant 10 ans à l’INPI puis pendant 30 ans à l’OEB. Ceci autorise une vue d’ensemble certainement crédible.

The entirely automatic translation:

With the radically antisocial and deliberately dictatorial behavior of the former French President of the EPO, France will for a long time appear undesirable at the executive level of the EPO in the eyes of many member countries. We can already be happy that French is still considered the official language of the EPO. In a relatively recent past, Mr Pompidou was a reasonable and diplomatic French president who was respected, although everyone knew, including himself, that his involvement in the patents did not allow him to prevail as a expert in industrial property at the international level. Evidently, the fame of his adoptive father was decisive in his appointment as head of the EPO.

Mr. Batistelli, on the other hand, has deeply hurt a whole profession, examiners as well as agents, especially by his contempt for industrial property rights. His lengthy tenure at the EPO undermined France’s diplomatic efforts in the 1970s to 2010. The INPI he led never had a substantive substantive examination policy and he did not could benefit from this experience since the INPI issued for a very long time patents without serious examination.

Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland were founding members of the European Patent Organization which, unlike France, had long developed a substantive quality examination, what remains in the memories always now and which remains the only important element for the world industry. The deindustrialization of France in recent decades is not to give France a leading role in the development of patent protection.

It is true that the current evolution of Community law attracts the desires of each country to occupy the important positions of the structure of the EPO. Let us hope that the choices of those responsible are based, not on blind political motives, but on serious and consistent reasons.

These reflections are based on my experience as an examiner for 10 years at the INPI and for 30 years at the EPO. This allows for a certainly credible overview.

Back in the days (over a year ago) French MP Philip Cordery spoke about these issues [1, 2, 3] and he wasn’t alone [1, 2]. A female French politician said that Battistelli is “extremely damaging to the image of France” and Cordery said something similar to a lot of politicians. Battistelli had simply lied to them by claiming that his exposers were just "Nazis".

António Campinos Needs to Listen to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) et al to Salvage What’s Left of Public Consent for the EPO

Saturday 15th of September 2018 09:16:49 AM

What would António’s father have said, having campaigned against imperialism/colonialism in Angola (where poverty kills and denies access to medicines that are relatively cheap to manufacture)?


Reference: Health in Angola

Summary: Groups including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Médecins du Monde (MdM) have attempted to explain to the EPO, with notoriously French-dominated leadership, that it’s a mistake to work for Gilead at the expense of the public; but António Campinos is just another patent maximalist

PATENT offices are inherently scientific institutions (anything around examiners at these offices is merely a bureaucracy or a distraction), so nothing good can come out of an EPO and USPTO that are run by a banker and a lawyer, respectively. Prior to Frenchman António Campinos the Office was run by another Frenchman — a politician who lacked experience in this domain until his mid fifties. The USPTO will occupy much of our time the rest of this weekend (its Director was actually born in Hungary), but this post will be about Mr. Campinos, whose family background is very much relevant to his career because his father was a prominent politician, a campaigner against Portuguese colonisation in Angola (we wrote about this in great length more than a year ago). We’ve twice before mentioned the decision regarding a controversial patent which would likely kill many people in Angola. It’s a European Patent, which the Office under Campinos insists on upholding after Battistelli’s Office granted it (the application itself can be traced back to the days another Frenchman, albeit an actual scientist, was the President).

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) issued the following statement yesterday:

The European Patent Office on Thursday ruled against patient and provider groups in 17 countries that had challenged Gilead’s unmerited patent on the hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir. The decision, following a hearing today in Munich, will keep more affordable generic versions of the medicine out of reach for people across Europe and beyond.

This hearing follows a legal challenge filed by patient and treatment provider organizations from 17 European countries, including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Médecins du Monde (MdM), and several other groups.

Gilead initially set the price for the oral drug sofosbuvir, which forms the backbone of most hepatitis C combination treatments, at $84,000 per 12-week treatment in the United States—a staggering $1,000 per pill. In countries where MSF is treating people with hepatitis C, including Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Mozambique, Uganda, and Kenya, sofosbuvir is currently being procured from generics manufacturers for less than $100 for the same treatment course. The exorbitant price of sofosbuvir and the way its price has led to rationing of this drug has stirred an intense debate on the pricing of patented medicines in Europe.

There’s some more in there (mostly quotes). Médecins Sans Frontières is a former client of mine (at my employer, where we worked on backups for them) and if given a choice between the EPO and MSF, I’d always choose MSF because people there are mostly volunteers who try to make the world a better, healthier, safer place.

Where does Mr. Campinos stand on the matter? Is he becoming the antithesis of his father? It sure feels like it sometimes. The father (left) died a very long time ago (a car accident in Mozambique in 1993), so he’s not around anymore and cannot guide his son, except ‘in spirit’.

We kindly ask António to have a good think about the kind of EPO he wants to lead. Does he serve billionaires or does he serve medics whose aspiration is to save lives? Having served large and controversial banks in the past, we tend to believe that António gravitates towards the former, as did Battistelli. The other French President was a professor who had practised in the field of medicine; surely he would know the ramifications of granting the patent Gilead sought when he was in charge of the Office.

Going back to the senior Campinos (on the right), we also ask António to rethink abstract patents. Is he willing to defy the EPC and European Parliament? Software patents advocacy by the EPO has only increased in frequency since António Campinos came (well over a hundred tweets; we cannot even mention them all or keep count anymore). In that regard, he is even worse than Battistelli. The EPO now liaises with lobbyists of software patents and then brags about it; the EPO has done that almost every day for about a week now! Here is the example from yesterday: “If you’re a patent attorney, and particularly if you work in the field of ICT, then you might be interested in this free-of-charge event we’re holding in London..”

“It’s not only a spit in the face of people who crafted the EPC but also existing European politicians. The EPO not only exploits immunity; it actively boasts about it.”Wow, “free-of-charge” lobbying. Makes one wonder who benefits…

It’s no secret by now that Team UPC in the UK (the CIPA front group) is promoting software patents; this is an abomination and insult to the European institution. It’s not only a spit in the face of people who crafted the EPC but also existing European politicians. The EPO not only exploits immunity; it actively boasts about it.

On Friday at around noon the Campinos-led Office not only bragged about working with/for CIPA but also a US group of patent zealots. It’s called IPO and it aggressively lobbies for software patents in the US (i.e. against Section 101/Alice). Its seminar in Chicago, along with the EPO, was advertised yesterday by the EPO. The EPO has advertised it almost every day for a number of weeks and it has also promoted software patents under the guise of “AI” for about that long. Here is the example from yesterday: “Experts discussed how the EPO deals with the challenges of AI in patent applications at this recent conference…”

“António is an example of people who climb the ‘career ladder’ or get promoted merely for serving those in power. People like the billionaires behind Gilead, who some argue have blood on their hands.”Well, “AI” is just another algorithm type/framing. I know this having worked in that domain for many years.

What we’re sadly seeing here is yet more evidence that Campinos is at least as much of a patent maximalist as Battistelli was. Quality of patents isn’t going to improve. Yesterday they promoted Inventor Award 2019 not just once but a couple of times [1, 2]. Will next year’s ceremony also be held in France, where Campinos was born, where Campinos studied, and where his mother comes from? France was the venue of choice almost half the time (there are dozens of EU member states) and last year Battistelli shoved his hand in the cookie jar, pulling out millions of euros and sending these to the municipality where he now works. Corruption is an understatement. Corruption such as this is what Campinos is actively or at least passively covering up every single day he walks into the Office while failing to address it. His father would not have been proud. Even at EU-IPO his son António served only the greedy and self-serving. António is an example of people who climb the ‘career ladder’ or get promoted merely for serving those in power. People like the billionaires behind Gilead, who some argue have blood on their hands. Gilead profits like mad for denial of treatment or for very selective treatment that deliberately excludes the poor (to keep cures out of reach, fiscally). It’s all about artificial scarcity and they know it.

The Max Planck Institute’s Determination on UPC’s (Unitary Patent) Demise is Only “Controversial” in the Eyes of Rabid Members of Team UPC

Saturday 15th of September 2018 07:57:30 AM

“Controversial” like allegations that Battistelli is corrupt

Summary: Bristows keeps lying like Battistelli; that it calls a new paper “controversial” without providing any evidence of a controversy says a lot about Bristows LLP, both as a firm and the individuals who make up the firm (they would not be honest with their clients, either)

TECHRIGHTS has long argued that the EPO was lying about UPC along with Team UPC — basically the very same elements that crafted UPCA and would stand to benefit from such an ‘agreement’ (behind the public’s back). Thankfully, the UPC is now in its death throes. It seems extremely improbable to us that it can ever recover, though it might re-emerge with a different name and new marketing strategy (as happened before).

Just before the weekend the Max Planck Institute made some headlines (not enough, however, in our humble assessment). Team UPC would rather nobody saw it. It would rather pretend such a paper does not exist. But some people did take note of it and we managed to get a copy.

“If it was pro-UPC or had a favourable — even if purely fictional — view of the UPC, the patent microcosm would probably have prodded some publishers to write a bunch of puff pieces, complete with those infamous old lies which they keep repeating every week.”Soon afterwards even some pro-UPC sites (of patent maximalists) took note of it. Managing IP, for instance, having previously set up pro-UPC events (with the EPO also involved), has just said: “UK in UPC after Brexit is “incompatible with EU principles” – Max Planck Institute [link] … An association of German research institutes concludes in a paper that the UK being in UPC post Brexit would create a “fictitious unity” that is incompatible with EU law…”

This links to a post we mentioned before the weekend. No other Web site appears to have covered it, at least not in English. If it was pro-UPC or had a favourable — even if purely fictional — view of the UPC, the patent microcosm would probably have prodded some publishers to write a bunch of puff pieces, complete with those infamous old lies which they keep repeating every week.

Funnily enough, last night we spotted the headline “Max Planck Institute publishes controversial opinion on continued UK involvement in the UPC” (it’s not controversial at all).

We could immediately guess that it came from Bristows LLP or the likes of it. According to Bristows LLP, no such issue exists because Bristows LLP staff are a bunch of self-serving liars and they don’t mind the world seeing that they’re liars. Gregory Bacon wrote this piece; it was the first blog post in this blog for a very, very long time (awkward silence that actually says a lot!)…

“A very long paper with ample evidence is being contested by… basically nothing.”The decision or determination from the said paper is not controversial; we saw not a single person publicly disputing it. Nobody. It’s just not convenient to Team UPC, who decide to label it “controversial” and come up with their usual lies (which we covered here aplenty in the past).

Bacon has provided no evidence whatsoever that Matthias Lamping and Hanns Ullrich were wrong and therefore the title, calling it “controversial”, isn’t supported by any substance in the body. A very long paper with ample evidence is being contested by… basically nothing.

Here is the abstract of the paper, which is actually dated more than a fortnight back. We’ve highlighter some bits for ‘lazy’(ier) readers:

Among the many problems Brexit raises in the field of European intellectual property those relating to the system of unitary patent protection stand out for their complex and controversial nature. The reason is that this system rests on two legally different but interconnected pillars: EU Reg. 1257/2012 on the implementation of enhanced cooperation by the creation of unitary patent protection on the one hand, and, on the other, the Agreement between the Member States of the EU on the establishment of a Unified Patent Court (UPC) that will have exclusive jurisdiction over invalidation and infringement actions concerning the European patent with unitary effect and/or the classic European (bundle) patent. However, the link between unitary protection of European patents and the UPC Agreement is not only one of jurisdiction, but also one of substantive law. Thus, as regards the rules on infringement of the unitary patent, Reg. 1257/2012 refers to those contained in the UPC Agreement in respect of the European (bundle) patent.

Many in the patent law community hope to overcome the disruptive effects the withdrawal of the UK from the EU will produce on both the territorial scope of unitary patent protection and on the UPC as a court common to EU Member States. However, unitary patent protection cannot be dissociated from the general legal order of the EU’s Internal Market and extended to the UK once it has left the Union. Any such extension is incompatible with the autonomous character of EU law and its institutions, will result in a legally split unity for separate and separately regulated markets, and conflict with both the UK’s and the EU’s public interests in defining and implementing a patent policy of their own. Since the core objective of the UPC Agreement is to establish for the adjudication of unitary patent protection a common court of EU Member States that, as such, forms part of the judicial system of the EU, continued participation in the UPC Agreement of the UK post Brexit will not be possible. It would be incompatible with the EU’s foundational principle, which is integration by virtue of the operation of an autonomous legal order based on a complete system of legal protection by national courts acting as ordinary courts of the Union and in cooperation with the Court of Justice of the EU.

We cannot say we’re surprised that Bristows et al attempt to twist this paper, picking the word “controversial” from the first sentence of the abstract and then framing the entire paper (almost 200 pages long, i.e. months in the making) “controversial”. Shame on Bristows and its hatred of scientific, legal discourse. It’s just like Battistelli.

Links 15/9/2018: Wine 3.16, Overwatch’s GNU/Linux (Wine) ‘Ban’, New Fedora 28 Build, and Fedora 29 Beta Delay

Saturday 15th of September 2018 06:50:32 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Microsoft intercepting Firefox and Chrome installation on Windows 10

      The intercepting of installers on Windows is a new low, however. A user who initiates the installation of a browser does so on purpose. The prompt that Microsoft displays claims that Edge is safer and faster, and it puts the Open Microsoft Edge button on focus and not the “install anyway” button.

    • Slimbook Kymera Aqua is a Powerful Water-Cooled Linux PC

      A pair of powerful new Linux PCs have gone on sale from Spanish company Slimbook, including a high-end liquid-cooled illuminated rig.

      Best known for its range of Linux laptops, like the KDE-branded KDE Slimbook, the new The Slimbook Kymera is the first proper desktop Linux PC line the company has offered – assuming we discount its curved-screen all-in-one PC and low-power Intel NUC offerings as not being proper desktop PCs which, oops, we just did.

      And to celebrate they’ve really gone to town, making not one but two distinct versions: the versatile Slimbook Kymera Ventus and the awesome Slimbook Kymera Aqua.

    • SD Times Open Source Project of the Week: freedesktop.org

      Freshly migrated from its self-managed services to GitLab, this week’s highlighted open-source project is freedesktop.org (f.do), the umbrella project encompassing many open-source software packages for running Linux on desktop.

      In development since 2000, fd.o is designed to provide developers of desktop Linux distributions easy-to-access packages for getting their desktop environment up and running quickly and completely.

      freedesktop.org project administrator Daniel Stone described the project’s goal in a Q&A with GitLab about the migration as “providing a database of available applications and preferred MIME type handlers, network device management, inter-process communication, a PDF renderer; in general, all the things we can do well in one place, to enable people who want to write desktop environments to focus on the thing that matters to them: building the actual desktop!”

    • Microsoft Abandons Plan to Troll Windows 10 Users With Browser Warnings

      While this Microsoft spokesman calls this a “feature,” it’s worth nothing exactly what it was: A literal “warning” not to install Chrome or Firefox once you’ve downloaded it, interrupting the installation process. As we pointed out, this would train Windows users to ignore real security warnings.

      Of course, the only reason this “test” was unsuccessful is because it enraged Windows 10 users more than usual. If this browser warning was just a feature that generated a normal amount of rage, like automatically installing Candy Crush Saga on Windows 10 Professional, Microsoft wouldn’t have backed off.

      But today, let’s celebrate. We all stopped Microsoft from doing something dumb! The battle is won.

    • Linux vs Mac: 7 Reasons Why Linux is a Better Choice than Mac

      If you’re already using a Mac or planning to get one, we recommend you to thoroughly analyze the reasons to decide whether you need to switch/keep using Linux or continue using Mac.

  • Server
    • How Kubernetes’ Founder is Building an Un-Distribution at Heptio

      Unlike other software vendors that are part of the Kubernetes community, Heptio doesn’t want to build a software distribution of Kubernetes. Rather, the Heptio Kubernetes Service (HKS) is about support and services to help organizations deploy and manage upstream Kubernetes. It’s an approach that Heptio has referred to as being an Un-Distribution.

      “Our goal with the whole idea of the un-distribution is we want to provide the best parts of a distribution without necessarily some of the downsides that come along with that,” Beda said.

      Beda said that generally what happens with a distribution of an open source project is that a software vendor takes the upstream code, cleans it up so it’s fit for enterprise consumption and then shipping a combination of tools that are prove to work well together.

      “Upstream Kubernetes doesn’t need a lot of clean up, because the community is so strong and we want to keep it that way,” he said.

      As such, a lot of the work that Heptio is involved with is all upstream with effort to make Kubernetes easier to install and use. Beda said that Heptio is putting a lot of effort into the kubeadm installer effort from the upstream project as well as the cluster API effort. As part of HKS, Beda said that Heptio is developing a set of validated designs, which integrate best practices for deployment.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Ubuntu Podcast S11E27 – Twenty-Seven Bones

      This week we’ve been moonlighting on other podcasts and started using DuckDuckGo. Trend Micro get booted from the Apple Store, Intel adopts an AMD display standard, a cheesy history of Linux gaming is published, Amazon Echo now Looks at you and we round up the community news.

  • Kernel Space
    • VKMS Driver Getting Cursor Support In The Next Kernel Cycle

      One of the notable additions to the Linux 4.19 kernel is the initial VKMS driver for “virtual kernel mode-setting” that in the long run should be significant for headless Wayland/X.Org systems. The driver is still in its early stages but continuing to be improved.

      The VKMS DRM driver came around this summer thanks to GSoC and Outreachy students working on this virtual KMS driver. The driver isn’t feature complete yet, but Haneen Mohammed of Outreachy has landed some more of her patches that will come during the next kernel merge window.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Lights, Camera, Open Source: Hollywood Turns to Linux for New Code Sharing Initiative

        In looking to code smarter, faster and more efficiently, developers across the globe and industries are turning to open-source components that allow them to add powerful features to their work without having to write everything from scratch themselves. One of the latest groups to embrace the Open Source movement is the entertainment industry.

        Similar to many other initiatives that have come together in recent years to support the sharing of code between companies, a number of key players under the umbrella of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have teamed up with The Linux Foundation to establish the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF). Members include companies like Disney, Google, Dreamworks, Epic Games and Intel, just to name a few.

      • Open Source Networking Days Returning This Fall

        As we gear up the for the first ever Open Networking Summit Europe event, Amsterdam, September 25-27, it’s becoming clear to me just how far we’ve come this year since the formation of LF Networking. With new major operators joining, like Deutsche Telekom, and others requiring open source project automation tools in their RFPs, like Orange, it’s inspiring to witness just how much the networking industry is rallying around open source and incorporating it as a key element of their business strategies. It’s great to see LF Networking recognized for its role in bringing the ecosystem together, and to see open source community contribution increasingly recognized as driving increased business value.

    • Graphics Stack
      • RADV Vulkan Driver Finally Picking Up 16-Bit Integer Support In Shaders

        Samuel Pitoiset working for Valve’s Linux GPU driver team has now sent out shaderInt16 support for the RADV driver.

        Following 9 patches hitting the Mesa mailing list on Friday, Samuel wired up shaderInt16 support for this Mesa-based open-source Radeon Vulkan driver. The shaderInt16 capability indicates whether 16-bit signed/unsigned integers are supported in the shader code for the Vulkan driver.

      • AMD Sends Out Initial Vega 20 Support For AMDKFD Compute Kernel Driver

        While AMD has been sending out Linux enablement patches for the yet-to-be-released Vega 20 for months now, what didn’t see any work until today was for the AMDKFD driver support so this expected 7nm Vega GPU can work with their ROCm/OpenCL compute stack.

      • AMDGPU X.Org 18.1 Driver Released With RandR Leasing, Updates For DC Functionality

        AMD has issued rare updates today to their xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers for use with the X.Org Server.

        These DDX drivers see seldom updates due to all of the interesting work these days happening in kernel space (DRM) or Mesa and friends, plus a lot of users running the generic xf86-video-modesetting DDX.

      • AMD ROCm 1.9 Available WIth Vega 20 Support & Upstream Kernel Compatibility

        For months we have been looking forward to ROCm 1.9 as the latest feature update to the Radeon Open Compute stack while on Friday that big release finally took place. This ROCm update for GPU compute purposes has a lot of new features.

        Initially we were looking forward to ROCm 1.9 for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support, which ended up being back-ported to the 1.8 series. But other headlining features of ROCm 1.9 include Vega 20 “Vega 7nm” support, a ROCm System Management Interface (ROCm SMI) library, HIP/HPCC improvements, rocprof for ROCm profling, compatibility with the upstream AMDKFD support now found in the mainline Linux kernel (Linux 4.17+), and various other improvements.

      • NVIDIA Publishes An In-Depth Look At Turing

        Next week is when the GeForce RTX 2080 “Turing” graphics cards will begin to ship while today is when NVIDIA lifted the embargo on “unboxing” videos/pictures and talking more about this new GPU microarchitecture.

        NVIDIA has posted their own in-depth Turing architecture look. Go check it out if you want to learn more about Turing’s quite fascinating design and improvements over particularly the GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” series.

        Unfortunately no unboxing/reports on our end today… NVIDIA still appears to be not too interested in Linux gamers for the GeForce RTX 2080 series. While they have sent out hardware for many of the past launches, for Turing I am having a difficult time even getting them to respond to my inquiries. I am told by at least one NVIDIA’ian though that there will be Linux drivers in time for launch-day… We’ll see.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • New Life to KDE – Edu

        Some seeds take a while to grow, and what a while. I’v met Karina Mochetti five years ago when I moved to Campinas, back then I had just started working at Intel and I had finished one of my most glorious software developer tasks, good subversive terrorist that I’m, I made Linus Torvalds program in C++ and talking with a friend that lives in Rio de Janeiro I heard “I have a programmer friend in Campinas, wanna meet?”, well, yes, always.

      • API Changes in Clang

        I’ve started contributing to Clang, in the hope that I can improve the API for tooling. This will eventually mean changes to the C++ API of Clang, the CMake buildsystem, and new features in the tooling. Hopefully I’ll remember to blog about changes I make.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • NetworkManager 1.14 Officially Released With A Lot Of Networking Goodies

        Following the release candidate last week, NetworkManager 1.14 is now officially available as the latest feature release to this widely-used Linux networking software component.

        The NetworkManager 1.14 release is a biggie and includes LLMNR configuration support (Link-Local Multicast Name Resolution), IEEE 804.15.4 / 6LoWPAN low-power personal wireless network device support, Ethtool offloading support, it can now detect WireGuard interfaces, and SR-IOV network devices can now be configured, among other fixes and improvements.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Freespire Linux: A Great Desktop for the Open Source Purist

        Quick. Click on your Linux desktop menu and scan through the list of installed software. How much of that software is strictly open source? To make matters a bit more complicated, have you installed closed source media codecs (to play the likes of MP3 files perhaps)? Is everything fully open, or do you have a mixture of open and closed source tools?

        If you’re a purist, you probably strive to only use open source tools on your desktop. But how do you know, for certain, that your distribution only includes open source software? Fortunately, a few distributions go out of their way to only include applications that are 100% open. One such distro is Freespire.

        Does that name sound familiar? It should, as it is closely related to Linspire. Now we’re talking familiarity. Remember back in the early 2000s, when Walmart sold Linux desktop computers? Those computers were powered by the Linspire operating system. Linspire went above and beyond to create an experience that would be similar to that of Windows—even including the tools to install Windows apps on Linux. That experiment failed, mostly because consumers thought they were getting a Windows desktop machine for a dirt cheap price. After that debacle, Linspire went away for a while. It’s now back, thanks to PC/OpenSystems LLC. Their goal isn’t to recreate the past but to offer two different flavors of Linux…

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Latest Tumbleweed Snapshot Brings Major Versions of Flatpak, qemu, Thunderbird, Nano

        Since the last openSUSE Tumbleweed update, three snapshots have been released and the latest snapshot has brought two new major versions of both Flatpak and qemu.

        On the heels of the Libre Application Summit last week, which is a conference focusing on sandboxing and application distribution, a new major version of Flatpak was released in Snapshot 20180911. Flatpak 1.0 marks a significant improvement in performance and reliability, and includes a big collection of bug fixes with a collection of new features. Naturally, libostree 2018.8 was updated with Flatpak and added a new feature that provides an auto-update-summary config option for repositories. Full-system emulation with qemu 3.0.0 isn’t necessarily significant. The changelog states not to “read anything into the major version number update. It’s been decided to increase the major version number each year.” Yet there is improved support for nested Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) guests running on Hyper-V. The project did emphasized that ongoing feature deprecation is tracked at both http://wiki.qemu-project.org/Features/LegacyRemoval and in Appendix B of the qemu-doc.* files installed with the qemu package. Mesa 18.1.7 had a handful of fixes and once again added wayland to egl_platforms. The Linux Kernel 4.18.7 added support for Intel Ice Lake microarchitecture in the snapshot. There were several other minor updates in the snapshot, but the nodejs10 update to version 10.9.0 brought a few Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) fixes and upgraded dependencies to OpenSSL 1.0.2.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Containers key for Hortonworks alliance on big data hybrid

        Hortonworks is joining with Red Hat and IBM to work together on a hybrid big data architecture format that will run using containers both on the cloud and on premises.

      • Hortonworks, IBM and Red Hat Announce Open Hybrid Architecture Initiative
      • Hortonworks, IBM and Red Hat Team Up for Hybrid Containerized Big Data
      • New Initiative Reimagines Data Architectures with Hybrid Model
      • IBM expands data science’s reach

        As companies accumulate data, they need new ways to store it, manage it, innovate off it, and scale services based on it. Earlier this year, IBM announced the IBM Cloud Private (ICP) for Data solution, and today the company is expanding it to provide new ways to uncover hidden insights from data.

        The company has revealed it is collaborating with Red Hat to certify the AI-focused data platform to run on Red Hat’s open source container application platform OpenShift.

      • ​Ansible Tower 3.3 arrives to make DevOps easier than ever

        Ansible makes it easier to move your resources and applications from platform to platform as needed. In a world where your data and applications are running simultaneously on containers, virtual machines, private and public clouds, this is a must.

        As Joe Fitzgerald, Red Hat VP, said in a statement, “As more organizations move toward modernizing their infrastructure, tools that can work seamlessly across environments become a critical part of that equation. Red Hat Ansible Tower can already run anywhere it’s needed across hybrid environments and now with the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform functionality available in Ansible Tower 3.3 we take that a step further by making the platform consumable in more ways for even easier automation across infrastructures.”

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Give Fedora Silverblue a test drive

          Fedora Silverblue is a new variant of Fedora Workstation with rpm-ostree at its core to provide fully atomic upgrades. Furthermore, Fedora Silverblue is immutable and upgrades as a whole, providing easy rollbacks from updates if something goes wrong. Fedora Silverblue is great for developers using Fedora with good support for container-focused workflows.

          Additionally, Fedora Silverblue delivers desktop applications as Flatpaks. This provides better isolation / sandboxing of applications, and streamlines updating applications — Flatpaks can be safely updated without reboot.

          The Fedora Workstation team is running a Test Day for Silverblue next week, so if you want to try it out, and help out the development effort at the same time, keep reading.

        • F28-20180914 updated Live isos Released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F28-20180914 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.18.5-200 kernel.
          This set of updated isos will save about 1GB of updates after install. (for new installs.)

        • Fedora 29 Beta Has Been Delayed

          As happens almost every Fedora Linux release cycle, the initial development release has been pushed back.

          Fedora stakeholders determined on Thursday that Fedora 29 Beta isn’t ready to ship yet as had been scheduled. Developers/QA are still testing beta release candidates and open blocker bugs remain. Rather than shipping next week, they will now try to have the beta out on 25 September.

        • FPgM report: 2018-37
    • Debian Family
      • Recommendations for software?

        Secondly the excellent Have I Been Pwned site provides an API which allows you to test if a password has been previously included in a leak. This is great, and I’ve integrated their API in a couple of my own applications, but I was thinking on the bus home tonight it might be worth tying into PAM.

        Sure in the interests of security people should use key-based authentication for SSH, but .. most people don’t. Even so, if keys are used exclusively, a PAM module would allow you to validate the password which is used for sudo hasn’t previously been leaked.

        So it seems like there is value in a PAM module to do a lookup at authentication-time, via libcurl.

      • Derivatives
        • Liberado MiniNo Queiles 3.1 LTS
        • The Blue Bird Effect: Scanning with an Epson XP 231 multifunction printer on Elive 3

          Mamerto Menapace, an Argentinian monk, wrote a story entitled “El Pajaro Azul” (“The Blue Bird”). In this story, a prince gradually falls very sick and no doctor can determine the source of his disease. A hermit is brought from his mountain as the last hope, and this wise man tells everyone that the prince is dying of nostalgia. To get cured, the prince must start a journey looking for a rare blue bird.

          [...]

          In Elive, one has to basically use SciTE as root to open the files dll.conf (to add the line example-backend), epson.conf, and epson2.conf (to add the values that one gets with the comand sane-find-scanner in Terminology). In my case, I had to uncomment, in both files, the line usb 0x01aa 0×0001 and modify it to read:

          usb 0x04b8 0×1102

          That was it.

          Now I can both print and scan on Elive 3.0

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • The Featureful Release of Nextcloud 14 Has Two New Security Features

    Nextcloud has announced the release of version 14 of their software. The update brought improved security, collaboration features, and more. Take a look at the new features in detail.

  • Fedora Silverblue Test Day Next Week, Nextcloud 14 Released, Plasma 5.4 Beta Now Available, openSUSE’s Recent Snapshots and Ansible Tower 3.3 Is Out

    Nextcloud announced the release of version 14 this week. This new version introduces two big security improvements: video verification and signal/telegram/SMS 2FA support. Version 14 also includes many collaboration improvements as well as a Data Protection Confirmation app in compliance with the GDPR. Go here to install.

  • Top 3 Open Source Trading Bots With Binance Implications

    Some cryptocurrency traders may be familiar with the Blackbird bot. It is primarily designed for arbitrage purposes and is coded n a language most people can get familiar with. That latter aspect is not unimportant when dealing with open source trading bot solutions. It also means users can change the features of this bot as they see fit, assuming they possess the necessary coding knowledge.

    At this current stage, Binance is not officially supported by the bot. Unlike what people assume, the developers are working on implementing access to this trading platform, at least to open long positions through Blackbird. Anyone with the necessary knowledge can implement this feature as well, thus it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this bot accordingly.

  • The new developer role centers on open source technology

    At the same time, the network core is providing developers with massive compute capabilities that were unheard of not too long ago. That core can power compute-intensive applications such as machine learning and blockchain.

    Many of these improved capabilities, and the potential for innovation, have been fed by open source development. Now, we’ve got major enterprise initiatives built upon a foundation of open source, developed organically from community-driven products and accessible to anyone, anywhere.

    The result is a whirlwind of creative growth and, not incidentally, a new developer role. Developers are becoming the leading forces for creative development within organizations and a competitive advantage for businesses that are trying to move into the digital age.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Change UI theme in Google Chrome 69

        Say what you will about Chrome, but over the years, it has maintained a rather consistent look & feel. The changes are mostly done under the hood and they do not interfere with how the user interacts with the browser. But occasionally, mostly guided by their wider influence in the OS space, especially the mobile world, Google has made some stylistic changes. Most notably, they introduced Material Design to the Chrome UI, and now, there’s another facelift.

        I noticed the new looks in the freshly updated Chrome 69 in Kubuntu Beaver, and I wasn’t too happy. The font is gray and pale, ergo contrast isn’t as good as it should be, and the new round design feels odd. So I decided to change this back to the older style. Let me show you how you can do this.

        [...]

        There you go. If you don’t like the aesthetically pleasing but ergonomically dubious change to the Chrome’s UI look in version 69 onwards, then you can change (we don’t know for how long) the layout back to what it was, or try one of the several available themes. The goal is to retain maximum visual clarity and efficiency. The old looks offer that. The new ones hamper that.

        I am quite alarmed by this trend. The only solace I get is the knowledge that a few Google shares in me possession are generating profit, which I shall use to heal my soul of all this sub-IQ100 touch-led destruction of the desktop and fast productivity, a crusade that started worldwide around 2011 or so.

      • Chrome 70 beta: shape detection, web authentication, and more

        Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome Beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. View a complete list of the features in Chrome 70 on ChromeStatus.com. Chrome 70 is beta as of September 13, 2018.

      • Chrome 70 In Beta With TLS 1.3, Opus Support In MP4 & AV1 Decode

        Following last week’s Chrome 69 release, Chrome 70 is now in beta as the latest feature-update to Google’s browser.

    • Mozilla
      • MDN Changelog for August 2018

        A lot of these were migration PRs, and the migration is now 95% complete, with 10,000 features over 6,300 pages. Some of the remaining migration work will be straightforward. Other data sources will require strategy and format discussions, such as Event support and summary pages. These discussions will be easier with the experience of migrating thousands of simpler features.

        Existing data also got some love. Contributors fixed incorrect data, clarified if and when a browser supported a feature, and celebrated support in new browser releases. We expect a steady stream of maintenance PRs as the project transitions from migration to ongoing maintenance.

        Florian Scholz has worked to make this a community project, organizing the effort with spreadsheets and transitioning to issues as the remaining work becomes manageable. This has been a successful effort, and GitHub insights shows that most contributions were not from MDN staff.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • FLOSS Weekly 497: LibreOfficeOnline

      Michael Meeks is the General Manager of Collabora Productivity, leading Collabora Office and Online products, supporting customers and consulting on development alongside an extremely talented team. He serves as a Director of the The Document Foundation, and on the LibreOffice Engineering Steering Committee. Prior to Collabora he was a Novell/SUSE Distinguished Engineer working on various pieces of Free Software infrastructure across the Linux stack to MeeGo, GNOME, CORBA, Nautilus, Evolution and Open Source accessibility, among others.

    • Updated LibreOffice growth infographic (2018)

      Numbers are growing and the Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) is very popular now, with currently over 7.5 million Docker image pulls! Also, this year we are the top code contributors to LibreOffice with 5302 code commits.

  • Healthcare
    • Microscope add-on could be a game-changer for 2D, 3D brain imaging

      Researchers have developed an add-on for laser-scanning microscopes that can improve the quality of 2D and 3D imaging of the brain, according to a new study published in Optica.

      The add-on, called PySight, includes both hardware and open-source software. A laser-based imaging technique called multiphoton microscopy is often used to capture high-quality 2D and 3D images of neurons, blood vessels and other parts of a patient’s brain, the authors observed, but it can be difficult because the images must be taken quickly. This results in fewer photons being visible in the final image.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Intel Releases New BSD-Licensed Open-Source Firmware Implementation

      At the European Open-Source Firmware Conference happening this week in Erlangen, Intel announced the open-source “Slimbootloader” (also referred to as Slim Bootloader) project that is quite exciting.

      [...]

      Still digging through the limited information that’s public so far after being tipped off on the news from the OSFC conference, but for now those interested can check out the documentation and code.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • IceCat 60.2.0 Pre-release

      GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in ways that hinder freedom 0.

      GNU IceCat has multiple practical advantages as well, such as better privacy and security settings, extensive blocking of sites that may track the user’s browsing habits, or the inclusion of LibreJS and other extensions that help browse without running non-free javascript.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • The Commons Clause causes open-source disruption

      Redis Labs tried to legally stop cloud providers from abusing its trademark, but found it difficult because of the legal resources and budgets these giant companies have.

      So the company took another route and decided to change the licenses of certain open-source Redis add-ons with the Commons Clause. This change sparked huge controversy within the community with many stating that Redis was no longer open source.

      “We were the first significant company to adopt this and announce it in such a way that we got most of the heat from the community on this one,” said Bengal.

      The reason for the uproar is because the Commons Clause is meant to add “restrictions” that limit or prevent the selling of open-source software to the Open Source Initiative’s approved open-source licenses.

      “ … ‘Sell’ means practicing any or all of the rights granted to you under the License to provide to third parties, for a fee or other consideration (including without limitation fees for hosting or consulting/ support services related to the Software), a product or service whose value derives, entirely or substantially, from the functionality of the Software. Any license notice or attribution required by the License must also include this Commons Clause License Condition notice,” the Commons Clause website states.

      According to the OSI, this directly violates item six of its open-source definition in which it states no discrimination against fields of endeavor. “The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research,” the definition explains.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • Scale and nuTonomy open-source massive AI dataset for self-driving cars

        Scale Inc. and Aptiv PLC’s nuTonomy group, two influential players in the autonomous vehicle ecosystem, today open-sourced a massive research dataset designed to aid self-driving car initiatives.

        Autonomous vehicles rely on artificial intelligence models to make navigation decisions. Those AI models, in turn, must be trained with large amounts of sample information to achieve the necessary accuracy, which is where the new dataset comes into the picture.

      • Open Source Multi-Sensor Self-Driving Dataset Available To Public

        Scale has released what it believes to be the largest open source multi-sensor (LIDAR, RADAR, and camera) self-driving dataset published by nuTonomy (acquired by Aptiv in 2017), with annotations by Scale. Academic researchers and autonomous vehicle innovators can access the open-sourced dataset, nuScenes.

        The nuScenes open source dataset is based on LIDAR point cloud, camera sensor, and RADAR data sourced from nuTonomy and then labeled through Scale’s sophisticated and thorough processing to deliver data ideal for training autonomous vehicle perception algorithms. It provides the full dataset that includes 1,000 twenty-second scenes, nearly 1.4 million camera images, 400,000 LIDAR sweeps, and 1.1 million 3D boxes.

    • Open Access/Content
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Coreboot Improvements For FU540 Land Following SiFive’s Open-Source Boot Code

        Last week SiFive published their HiFive Unleashed open-source boot-loader code for this first RISC-V SoC on their Linux-friendly development board. This code being open-sourced has already helped improve the support for the FU540 SoC within Coreboot.

        The code open-sourced last week by SiFive allows for a fully open-source boot process after this first RISC-V developer board received some criticism for some of its initialization code being closed-source, namely around the SDRAM start-up code.

  • Programming/Development
    • Firefox Reality Developers Guide

      Firefox Reality, Mozilla’s VR web browser, is getting closer to release; so let’s talk about how to make your experiences work well in this new browser.

    • PHP version 5.6.38, 7.0.32, 7.1.22 and 7.2.10
    • Xonsh – A Python-Powered Shell Language and Command Prompt

      Xonsh (pronounced “Konk“,) is a cross-platform, Python-powered, Unix shell language and command prompt designed for the use of experts and novices alike.

      The Xonsh language is a Python 3.4+ superset and it features additional shell primitives that make it familiar to working from IPython and Bash.

      Xonsh is easily scriptable and it allows you to mix both command prompt and python syntax coupled with a rich standard library, man-page completion, typed variables, and syntax highlighting, among other features.

    • Python Programming Language Ditches ‘Master-Slave’ Terms, Pissing Off Some

      A quiet debate has been brewing in the coding community for years that’s forced programmers to ask if using the terms “master” and “slave” are insensitive. Now, Python, one of the most popular high-level programming languages in the world, has ditched the terminology—and not everyone is happy about it.

      Master/Slave is generally used in hardware, architecture, and coding to refer to one device, database, or process controlling another. For more than a decade, there’s been some concern that the terms are offensive because of their relationship to the institution of slavery. Last week, a developer named Victo Stinner published four pull requests asking the Python community to consider changing the Master/Slave terms to something like Parent/Worker. “For diversity reasons, it would be nice to try to avoid ‘master’ and ‘slave’ terminology which can be associated to slavery,” he wrote to explain his thinking.

    • EuroPython 2018

      In July I took the train up to beautiful Edinburgh to attend the EuroPython 2018 conference. Despite using Python professionally for almost 8 years, this was my first experience of a Python conference. The schedule was packed, and it was challenging deciding what talks to attend, but I had a great time and enjoyed the strong community feeling of the event. We even went for a group run around Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, which I hope is included in the schedule for future years.

      Now that the videos of the talks have all been published, I wanted to share my personal highlights, and list the talks I saw during and since the conference. I still haven’t caught up on everything I wanted to see, so I’ve also included my watch list.

    • ​Cloud Foundry survey finds top enterprise languages

      That said, the CFF also found that, “More and more, businesses are employing a polyglot and a multi-platform strategy to meet their exact needs.” The CFF discovered 77 percent of enterprises are using or evaluating Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS); 72 percent are using or considering containers; and 46 percent are using or thinking about serverless computing. Simultaneously, more than a third (39 percent) are using all three technologies together.

      For companies this “flexibility of cloud-native practices enables [companies to move] away from a monolithic approach and towards a world of computing that is flexible, portable and interoperable.” That means, while Java and JavaScript are only growing ever more popular, the larger the company, the more languages are used.

Leftovers
  • Inbox is signing off: find your favorite features in the new Gmail [Ed: Google says their shareholders no longer saw "value("profit), so they’re giving the middle fingers to so-called ‘customers’ who were actually “products” they sought to ‘monetise’]

    Inbox by Gmail has been a great place to experiment with new ideas like snoozing emails to later, as well as try the latest AI-powered experiences like Smart Reply, Nudges and high-priority notifications to help you stay productive.

  • Google Inbox Is Shutting Down; Switch to Gmail Before March 2019 [Ed: "The cloud" - we don't just change things ('upgrade') without your approval but we also remotely 'delete' things when we feel like it]

    After months of the noticeable slow progress of Inbox, Google has decided to shut down the Inbox project altogether. The Inbox by Gmail is going off the air by March 2019 so fans have about less than 7 months to move over to the everlasting Gmail.

  • The ‘Gmail Offline’ App is Shutting Down, Here’s What to Use Instead

    Do you use Chrome’s Gmail Offline app to access your email offline? That app is shutting down on December 3, but you can still access Gmail offline on your computer.

    For years using Gmail offline meant using a Chrome app with its own user interface. It wasn’t great, but it worked. It’s also no longer necessary: one of the best features in the new Gmail is the ability to use the full Gmail interface offline, without any app to install. It’s a pretty big improvement, and it doesn’t take long to enable.

  • Hardware
    • What Does Data “Durability” Mean?

      Friend may be right that these are the top 5 causes of data loss, but over the timescale of preservation as opposed to storage they are far from the only ones. In Requirements for Digital Preservation Systems: A Bottom-Up Approach we listed 13 of them. Below the fold, some discussion of the meaning and usefulness of durability claims.

  • Security
    • Cryptomalware Hits Windows & Linux Kodi Users; 4,700+ Users Affected [Ed: It is a little worrying that CBS hired Catalin Cimpanu to write for ZDNet because he's well known for sensationalisation of security issues. He's quite the 'drama queen' and often misleads for mere traffic/hits. Not good. Hit-based 'journalism'.]

      A large number of people who have been enjoying streaming movies and live TV using Kodi on their Windows and Linux devices have been hit by a Monero cryptomalware, as reported by ZDNet.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • OPINION: Latest Research Shows Your Android Apps Aren’t As Secure As You Think [Ed: One wonders why Steve Pociask, aka "American Consumer Institute", is so eager to make Android look bad and attribute holes in PROPRIETARY software to "open source".]
    • Dem introduces bill to create federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program

      Under the bill, the programs would be required to offer certain cybersecurity certifications and help connect participants with local businesses or other entities for apprenticeships in hopes to boost the number of qualified workers for federal cyber jobs.

    • The Overlooked Weak Link in Election Security

      More than one-third of counties that are overseeing elections in some of the most contested congressional races this November run email systems that could make it easy for hackers to log in and steal potentially sensitive information.

      A ProPublica survey found that official email accounts used by 11 county election offices, which are in charge of tallying votes in 12 key U.S. House of Representatives races from California to Ohio, could be breached with only a user name and password — potentially allowing hackers to vacuum up confidential communications or impersonate election administrators. Cybersecurity experts recommend having a second means of verifying a user’s identity, such as typing in an additional code from a smartphone or card, to thwart intruders who have gained someone’s login credentials through trickery or theft. This system, known as two-factor verification, is available on many commercial email services.

      “Humans are horrific at creating passwords, which is why ‘password’ is the most commonly used password,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C., who has pushed for security fixes in the voting process. This means increasingly we need something other than passwords to secure access to our accounts, especially email, which tends to undergird all our other accounts.”

      The email vulnerabilities emerged in ProPublica’s survey of election security in 27 counties encompassing all or part of roughly 40 congressional districts that the Cook Political Report has said are toss-ups. These contests could determine if Democrats take control the U.S. House of Representatives, where the party needs to pick up about two dozen seats to flip the current Republican majority. Of the 12 districts in counties with less protected email systems, Republicans are seeking re-election in 10. The other two are open seats where incumbents are stepping down.

    • Open Source Security Research Group gets a new office [Ed: “Open Source Security Research Group” = anti-Open Source FUD group connected to Microsoft]
    • Docker fave Alpine Linux suffers bug miscreants can exploit to poison containers

      An infosec bod has documented a remote-code execution flaw in Alpine Linux, a distro that pops up a lot in Docker containers.

      Max Justicz, researcher and creator of crowd-sourced bug bounty system Bountygraph, said on Thursday that the vulnerability could be exploited by someone with man-in-the-middle (MITM) network access, or operating a malicious package mirror, to inject arbitrary code via apk, Alpine’s default package manager.

      Justicz said that the vulnerability is particularly dangerous because, first, Alpine is commonly used for Docker images thanks to its small footprint, and second, most of the packages apk handles are not served via secure TLS connections, making them more susceptible to tampering.

      In the worst-case scenario, the attacker could intercept apk’s package requests during Docker image building, inject them with malicious code, and pass them along to the target machines that would unpack and run the code within their Docker container.

    • Kodi users on Windows and Linux infected with cryptomining malware [Ed: 1) not many affected. 2) it's due to add-ons, not Kodi. 3) the severity is low because it's mining, not blackmail or destruction of data.]

      What just happened? Unofficial repositories serving third-party add-ons for open source media player Kodi have been serving malicious cryptocurrency mining malware for several months. Fewer than 5,000 victims are estimated but that number could grow as the malware spreads.

    • Securonix Threat Research: KRONOS/Osiris Banking Trojan Attack

      The KRONOS malware was first discovered in June 2014 as a Banker Trojan available for purchase in a Russian underground forum for $7,000 [1]. After staying dormant for few years, a new variant of KRONOS, known as Osiris, was discovered in July 2018, with three distinct campaigns targeting Germany, Japan, and Poland [2]. The new variant contains features like TOR network command and control (C2), keylogging, and remote control via VNC along with older features like form grabbing and web-injection [3].

      [...]

      Infiltration vector(s): The primary infiltration vector used by KRONOS/Osiris malware is phishing email campaigns containing specially crafted Microsoft Word documents/RTF attachments with macro/OLE content that cause malicious obfuscated VB stagers to be dropped and executed. In many scenarios the malware is distributed using exploit kits like RIG EK.

      The malicious document exploits a well-known buffer overflow vulnerability in Microsoft Office Equation Editor Component—CVE-2017-11882—which allows the attacker to perform arbitrary code execution [4][5].

    • KRONOS Trojan, Known For Hacking Bank Accounts, Gets A New Update [Ed: targets Windows]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • As Trump Commits to Endless War, Corporate Media Obsess Over Anonymous Op-Ed

      The anonymous New York Times op-ed (9/5/18), purportedly written by a senior Trump administration official, coupled with the release of Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear—itself full of White House back-stabbing and anonymous quotes—unleashed a veritable tsunami of breathless press speculation last week. But lost amidst the deluge was a Trump administration story that will have deadly, far-reaching consequences long after the Times op-ed is forgotten and Woodward’s book hits the discount pile. That’s because Trump effectively endorsed endless US war in Syria last week, and almost no one in the press noticed.

      [...]

      The Associated Press (9/6/18) also covered the story, but its effort left much to be desired. Its ponderous headline, “US Plays Down Talk of Imminent Pullout of Forces From Syria,” entirely missed the point of what this president had just committed to. Likewise, the article’s lead was a jumble of disingenuous and contradictory official statements that the reporter never bothered to deconstruct or challenge.

      Instead, the AP allowed Trump’s special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, to spin away, demanding an “enduring defeat” of ISIS while also casually claiming that “means we’re not in a hurry to get out,” and then adding that this didn’t necessarily require a long-term military presence in the country. All this in the first two paragraphs. Readers who weren’t already dizzy from hearing the press dutifully pass along the same shopworn clichés used to justify our multi-decade wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could be forgiven for having a case of journalistic whiplash as well.

    • ‘Nothing Will End if the US Continues to Support Saudi Arabia’

      It is disheartening that with tens of thousands of people killed, millions in need of assistance, at least a million affected by the largest cholera outbreak in history, and no clear end in sight to the violence behind it all, that the Washington Post would feel a need to run a piece headed “Five Reasons the Crisis in Yemen Matters.”

      Coverage is better than silence, of course, but as the war on Yemen is in its third year now, one would hope that US media would be in the business of regularly illustrating why the crisis matters, and specifically why it should matter to people in the US, whose government continues to play an active, central role in the war.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Speculation over fate of missing Dutchman linked to WikiLeaks

      A kayak believed to belong to Kamphuis, who advised governments, corporations, journalists and activists on information security, was pulled from the sea about 50km from Bodø on Thursday, police said, the day after an amateur fisherman found some of his belongings – reportedly including an ID card – floating in the water.

      But mobile phone records show that 10 days after the Dutchman was seen leaving his hotel, both his work and personal mobile phones were briefly switched on – with German SIM cards inserted – more than 1,700km from the small northern town, at Vikeså near Stavanger.

      Police said on Thursday they were “holding all possibilities open in respect to what might have happened” to Kamphuis and pursuing three distinct lines of inquiry: a “voluntary disappearance” including a possible suicide; an accident; or foul play.

    • Norwegian police finds belongings of WikiLeaks man missing since August

      Wikileaks acknowedged the finding of the missing man’s belongings in a tweet, indicating police believed his phone had been used for 20 minutes 10 days after he disappeared, 1500 kilometres away in southern Norway.

    • European analyst: the death of Assange will destroy the image of the leaders of several countries of the world

      Death in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the founder of the portal WikiLeaks (WL) Julian Assange will lead to public condemnation of the international community policies a number of countries and even the resignation of their leaders.

      The correspondent of ГолосUA said the European expert Knut Berg.

      According to the analyst, currently George. Assange, who for the last six years hiding in the Embassy of Ecuador in the British capital, is seriously ill, and the procrastination of the West in solving its fate is threatened by scandalous journalist of “imminent death”. “Quito official already admitted their failure to guarantee Assange financial and medical assistance, and if that person will be given America, he will be executed – said, in particular, the expert. On the other hand, Sweden, which is also seeking the extradition of the head of the WL, is unable to protect him from deportation in the United States. If Assange dies, the image of the leaders of those countries which for a long time subjected to harassment of a journalist, would be virtually destroyed. And Ecuador, and Sweden, and America, and even the UK will have to answer for this development”. As the expert stressed, the only way out of this situation may be a complete withdrawal from John. Assange charges against him and giving founder of the WL full freedom of movement.

    • Norway police find missing WikiLeaks associate’s kayak

      Norwegian police on Thursday said they have found a kayak they believe belonged to a missing WikiLeaks associate who disappeared in mysterious circumstances three weeks ago.

      The police released a photo of a white foldable kayak they believe Dutch cyber security expert Arjen Kamphuis bought just before going on a holiday in Norway.

      Kamphuis, 47, has not been seen since leaving his hotel in the northern
      Norwegian town of Bodø on August 20th.

      [...]

      Police have not clarified what the objects are due to the ongoing investigation, but Norwegian broadcaster TV2 reported that they include Kamphuis’ identification papers.

    • A WikiLeaks associate has been missing for weeks, now his kayak has turned up

      A phone linked to Kamphuis was briefly switched on in an area near the southwestern city of Stavanger, located 1,600 kilometres from Bodo, on August 30, police said, but could not confirm who was using it.

      His friend Ancilla van de Leest told AFP on Wednesday that Kamphuis showed no signs of being suicidal and that his links with WikiLeaks were “strongly overblown in the press”.

    • Belongings of missing WikiLeaks associate Kamphuis found in Norway: police

      Investigators searched the area with assistance from local Red Cross and a rescue vessel.

    • The police were looking for was found by a fisherman

      In Norway found items belonging to the missing member of the “Wikileaks” Arjen Kamphuis. It is reported that the discovery in one of the fjords were made by the fisherman. What kind of things the police in the interests of the investigation does not disclose. And the fact of detection does not bring clarity. Kampas now looking for in Norway and in Denmark.

    • Halla Norwegian Police Boat of a Missing WikiLeaks Collaborator

      Arjen Kamphuis disappeared after leaving his hotel in Bodø (northern Norway) on August 20, a disappearance that spawned a multitude of conspiracy theories on social media.

      Famous for having published compromising documents of the American diplomacy and the army, WikiLeaks assures that Kamphuis is a partner of the founder of the organization, the Australian Julian Assange, a refugee in the embassy of Ecuador in London to escape of the American justice.

      The organization describes the disappearance as “strange”, and the police assure that it is exploring all the options: a voluntary disappearance, including a possible suicide, an accident or a criminal act.

    • Julian Assange and Antonio Trillanes: A Political Prisoner And a Fugitive From Justice

      Julian Assange is the most globally famous political prisoner of the 21st century. He has been trapped in Ecuador’s London Embassy since August of 2012 and earlier this year had all of his communications with the outside world cut off as part of an agreement between the new Ecuadorian administration and Assange’s western persecutors. Meanwhile, medical professionals who have visited Assange in the Embassy have stated that his physical and mental health are rapidly deteriorating and that his life is in danger unless he is allowed to safely receive full medical attention.

      Julian Assange’s only “crime” was exposing the war criminality of major western regimes including that of the United States under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Additionally, Assange is known for publishing materials on government corruption, dishonesty and systematic fraud throughout the world but primarily in the US and Europe. Assange was initially sought by police and prosecutors for rape allegations relating to a deeply controversial piece of Swedish legislation which defines rape as that which would otherwise be a legal act in most other nations including Assange’s native Australia, his last place of residence in Britain or the United States for that matter. Ultimately, Swedish prosecutors dropped the case against Assange but the Wikileaks founder is still not a free man as British authorities seek his arrest on a minor issue of skipping out on his bail while the wider worry is that London would rapidly turn Assange over to the US where many prominent politicians including Hillary Clinton have called for his execution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • This terrifying graphic from The Weather Channel shows the power and danger of Hurricane Florence

      The National Hurricane Center is predicting storm surges anywhere from two to more than 11 feet high. But it’s hard to visualize what those numbers actually mean for someone near the water. The National Hurricane Center tried to make it clear with a cartoon graphic that shows rainbow colored water levels rising over the heads of a family in a house.

    • Potential Insurance Bill From Hurricane Florence Could Take Toll on Wallets Far From North Carolina’s Coast

      For years, North Carolina has bet against a storm like Hurricane Florence.

      Even as nationally known insurance companies pulled out of the state’s coastal communities, development boomed along the shore, despite the threat from a megastorm like Harvey or Maria.

      In the face of warnings that climate change was making such storms more common, the state-created “insurer of last resort” has written policies for thousands of coastal properties worth tens of billions of dollars.

      With Hurricane Florence headed straight for North Carolina, the state faces not only a natural disaster but a financial reckoning.

      According to the most recent totals available, from 2017, the state-created insurance plan had access to about $3 billion in reserves, reinsurance and contributions from insurance companies to repair and rebuild damaged homes and properties. It could need a lot more than that if it were to be hit by a storm comparable to Harvey, which devastated Houston last year. Insurers estimate that the total payout from claims related to Harvey will reach $19.4 billion, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

    • Hurricane Florence’s Surge Is Expected to Hit Homes That Already Cost the Government Millions

      Though the flooding from Hurricane Florence is predicted to be unprecedented, residents of the coastal North Carolina towns threatened by the storm surge know what it’s like to take on water. Some homes in these areas have been repeatedly flooded — and repeatedly bailed out by federal flood insurance.

      ProPublica examined storm surge predictions by the National Hurricane Center, layering a map of areas expected to be affected by Florence over a map of the most flood-prone properties tracked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides most of the flood insurance for U.S. homeowners.

      Critics have long argued that the program subsidizes risky development, but efforts at reform inevitably stall because raising premiums would make flood insurance unaffordable for lower-income residents. The insurance is required for federally backed mortgages of homes in flood-prone areas. The program is more than $20 billion in debt.

      Looking at some of the towns, it’s easy to see why.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      Who Gets Their News From Which Social Media Sites?

      The survey also confirms what we’ve known for a long time about which social media sites have news delivery at the core of their services. Facebook is by far the most common social media “news gateway” in the US, with nearly half of respondents saying they rely on the site for news. YouTube came in second (21 percent) and Twitter a distant third, with 12 percent of respondents saying they use that site for news. Twitter’s standing is no surprise, given its much smaller user base than Facebook or YouTube. Those two networks have been jockeying for the most popular social media site in the US, but Twitter is fifth, according to a different Pew survey from January of this year.

    • More NYC Primary Voters Find Their Names Missing From Voter Rolls

      An untold number of primary voters are arriving at polling sites today only to find that their names are mysteriously missing from the voter rolls. Others have found that their registration has been quietly transferred to new election/assembly districts, or assigned to new parties without their knowledge. Attorneys with the NYCLU say they are currently receiving reports from numerous voters who are shocked to find their names missing from the voting rolls.

    • Lynch Mob Mentality

      I was caught in a twitterstorm of hatred yesterday, much of it led by mainstream media journalists like David Aaronovitch and Dan Hodges, for daring to suggest that the basic elements of Boshirov and Petrov’s story do in fact stack up. What became very plain quite quickly was that none of these people had any grasp of the detail of the suspects’ full twenty minute interview, but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media.

      As I explained in my last post, what first gave me some sympathy for the Russians’ story and drew me to look at it closer, was the raft of social media claims that there was no snow in Salisbury that weekend and Stonehenge had not been closed. In fact, Stonehenge was indeed closed on 3 March by heavy snow, as confirmed by English Heritage. So the story that they came to Salisbury on 3 March but could not go to Stonehenge because of heavy snow did stand up, contrary to almost the entire twittersphere.

      Once there was some pushback of truth about this on social media, people started triumphantly posting the CCTV images from 4 March to prove that there was no snow lying in Central Salisbury on 4 March. But nobody ever said there was snow on 4 March – in fact Borisov and Petrov specifically stated that they learnt there was a thaw so they went back. However when they got there, they encountered heavy sleet and got drenched through. That accords precisely with the photographic evidence in which they are plainly drenched through.

      Another extraordinary meme that causes hilarity on twitter is that Russians might be deterred by snow or cold weather.

    • Crossing the Divide: The Challenges and Rewards of Working in Spanish-Language Media

      A conversation with Chicago journalist Jackie Serrato about bottom-up reporting, building trust and covering local arrests by ICE.

      [...]

      I saw there was a disconnect [between] what mainstream outlets covered and the things we found important as immigrant communities. So I started a Facebook page for my neighborhood, La Villita Chicago, which now has over 125,000 likes. I just wanted a space on the web for Mexican-Americans and Latinos in Chicago.

      I realized this was a very much-needed space. We were talking about gang violence, ward politics, threat of gentrification and what people were witnessing on their blocks. When I shared links to news stories [from mainstream outlets] in this group, I could tell these articles were very hard to relate to. They were number-heavy, harsh and included very few interviews with locals. Perspectives in the stories seem one-sided.

      My focus at Hoy is to cover immigrants and Mexican-Americans in Chicago. I do it to alert people of what’s going on. This process is the essence of journalism.

    • Richard Kim on Brett Kavanaugh, Jamil Dakwar on John Bolton

      This week on CounterSpin: The elite media takeaway on the nomination to the Supreme Court of arch-conservative Brett Kavanaugh—despite allegations of perjury, and an unprecedented lack of access to his work—would seem to be reflected by CNN, which ran two items on the same day: a poll showing more Americans oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation than support it, and an analysis that took his confirmation as a given. “Americans don’t want it, but it’s happening anyway; next!” seems to be corporate media’s approach to many things these days. Others take democratic dysfunction less sanguinely. We speak with Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation magazine, about that.

    • Why Mnangagwa ‘won’, but lost the 2018 election

      PRESIDENT Mnangagwa won the 2018 election on one hand, but lost it on the other. First, while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and Mnangagwa celebrated their vindication by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), the upshot was that Zec, Mnangagwa, and the ConCourt got tainted.

      While the MDC Alliance lost the ConCourt challenge, it exposed the degree to which the entire system is defective.

      Second, there is an entrenched perception that Mnangagwa is a ruthless man who played a role in the commission of grave human rights violations, including Gukurahundi. Mnangagwa has rejected these claims, claiming that he is “as soft as wool”.

    • I Sorta Know Who Wrote That Anonymous NYT Op-Ed

      But the only way for America to function credibly was for us to work on her behalf, and that meant following the boss, the system created by the Constitution, and remembering you weren’t the one elected, and that you ultimately worked for those who did the electing. There were ways to honorably dissent, such as resigning, or writing a book with your name on the cover (my choice) and taking your lumps.

      But acting as a wrench inside the gears of government to disaffect policy (the Washington Post warned “sleeper cells have awoken”) is what foreign intelligence officers recruit American officials to do, and that doesn’t make you a hero acting on conscience, just a traitor. It seems odd someone labeled a senior official by the New York Times would not understand the difference before defining themselves forever by writing such an article.

      So don’t be too surprised if the author turns out to be a junior official not in a position to know what they claim to know, a political appointee in a first government job reporting second- or third-hand rumors, maybe an ex-Bushie in over their head. That will raise important questions about the Times’ exaggerating the official’s importance, and thus credibility, and whether anonymity was being used to buff up the narrative by encouraging speculation.

    • Not even Republicans trust Trump on Russia
    • Trump ‘Often’ Told His Former NSA Chief He’s ‘In a Different Place’ Than Experts on Russia Hacking

      While President Donald Trump has on a handful of occasions been forced to publicly state he believes Russia attacked the U.S. election that placed him in the White House, no one actually thinks he believes that. Trump countless times has made very clear he believes the very idea of Russia hacking the U.S. is a “hoax,” and the investigation into Russian interference is a “witch hunt!”

      One of the few people who would know first hand exactly how Trump thinks about Russia and its attacks on America is the president’s own former Director of the National Security Agency, retired Admiral Mike Rogers.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Remove terror content or be fined millions, EU tells social media firms

      The European commission is proposing legislation to ensure all member states bring in sanctions against those who repeatedly fail to respond to the new removal orders within an hour of them being issued, with platforms facing penalties of up to 4% of their global revenue.

    • A Benchmark Of Sorts: Steam’s First Fully Uncensored Adult Novel-Game To Be Released In Coming Weeks

      So, it’s been nearly three months since Valve announced that it was going with a new policy for the Steam gaming platform that was supposed to basically be hands off, with only “illegal” and “trolling” games being disallowed from the Steam store. As with all things Steam, the end result of what was supposed to be a transparent and simple policy turned into a shitshow, with developers having no idea whether once-banned games would suddenly be allowed, and some developers that were contacting Valve to get their games included were being told that their bans were still in place. There must have been a fair amount of frustration in the developer community, because Steam last week attempted to clear up its vague language in its policy. This attempt to clear things up, of course, cleared up basically nothing.

    • That Racist Serena Williams Cartoon Is So Very Australian

      By now, you have probably seen the Australian newspaper cartoon about the U.S. Open final, in which the cartoonist depicted tennis icon Serena Williams as a hulking, hissy-fitting child. You might have seen that the paper, the Herald Sun, doubled down on the depiction and defended the cartoonist, equating the uproar to censorship and suppression.

    • The Serena cartoon debate: calling out racism is not ‘censorship’

      If there is one thing more damning than the racist cartoon of Serena Williams published in Melbourne’s Herald Sun earlier this week, it’s the paper’s response to accusations of racism. And that’s saying something. Because the cartoon is bad. It’s Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind, Mammy Two Shoes from Tom and Jerry, going out in the cotton fields with Topsy to eat watermelon, Aunt Jemima’s pancakes bad. It’s Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Pauline Hanson, Jeremy Clarkson after a bottle of scotch and a screening of Katie Hopkins’ documentary on white South African farmers bad.

      In the cartoon, Williams’ hair provides a bulbous, bloated, outsized frame for an enormous lolling tongue that’s bigger than her knee; nostril to nostril, her flat, expansive nose is roughly the size of her shoulder. It is not a caricature of Williams, whose lips, nose and tongue are not particularly pronounced and are rarely, if ever, remarked upon. It is a caricature of black people – and more specifically black women – that went straight through the editing process as though the 20th century had never happened. (Never mind the fact that Naomi Osaka, Williams’ Haitian-Japanese opponent, is portrayed as a white woman). When a furore broke out on social media, the cartoonist, Mark Knight, said: “The world has just gone crazy.”

    • Cartoonist defends his racist depiction of Serena Williams and fails

      The Herald Sun, the Australian newspaper whose racist caricature of Serena Williams set off shockwaves around the world, insists that not only is the clearly racist drawing is not racist, but that people pointing out the obvious historical connections between that drawing and the Little Black Sambo cartoons from a century ago, are simply “making it up.”

      Mark Knight, the cartoonist who drew the racist cartoon, said the online hate he received was “unfair” and claims that as the cartoon was about Williams’ argument with the line umpire during her the U.S. Open final loss to Naomi Osaka.

    • A racist Serena Williams cartoon went viral. Here’s how to caricature her the right way.
    • EFF Helps Launch Anti-SLAPP Task Force ‘Protect the Protest’

      Aboard the Arctic Sunrise, a working icebreaker that has sailed to the Arctic Circle, the Congo, and the Amazon Rivers under Greenpeace’s stead, EFF joined several civil liberties and environmental rights groups to send a message: no longer will we be bullied by malicious lawsuits that threaten our freedom of speech.

      “We have the Constitution, we have our rights, and now, we have each other,” said Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard.

      On September 5, EFF helped launch Protect the Protest, a coalition of nearly 20 organizations committed to fighting back against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, also known as SLAPPs. The coalition includes EFF, ACLU, Greenpeace, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

    • Crackdown on online terror content not censorship, says EU [Ed: Corruptible politicians, who work for Hollywood it seems, cannot win the debate, so they pretend it’s actually about “terrorism”]

      Plans to fine online platforms for failing to act within an hour to take down terrorist-related material is not a case of censorship, EU security commissioner Julian King said.

      Mr King was elaborating on proposals to journalists set out in Wednesday’s state of the union speech in Strasbourg by commission president Jean Claude Juncker.

      Every internet platform that wants to offer its services in the European Union will be subject to clear rules to prevent their services from being misused to disseminate terrorist content, the commission says.

    • White House Potentially Exploring Executive Order On ‘Social Media Bias’

      The White House may be preparing an executive order for the President, pushing for investigations of “bias” at social media companies. It is not definite, but someone has leaked us a draft two page executive order. We’re not releasing the draft because, despite it coming directly from someone in the White House, others have insisted it’s not an accurate document, even as the approach to some extent mirrors the announced plans of the DOJ to investigate bias. Another reason we’re not releasing the document itself is that we’re quite aware of reports saying that there are attempts to find “leakers” in the White House, and one common method of doing so is to put small indicators in documents. We cannot guarantee that this document is not such a document and thus will be reporting on the basic concept of what’s in this draft, without revealing the full document.

      But, to be clear, if this document is accurate, it would almost certainly lead to a huge First Amendment fight, which it seems likely the companies would win.

      Obviously the issue of social media and supposed political bias has been a big topic in DC lately — including with the President — despite the near total lack of actual evidence to support these claims. Yes, there is evidence of people being kicked off these platforms… but there is no evidence that the reasons have anything to do with political bias (people of all political stripes have been removed from these platforms). And, yes, there is also evidence that employees at many internet companies may lean one way politically, but that too is overstated and says nothing about how the platforms actually work.

      Recently, we noted that the DOJ and various state Attorneys General were talking about using antitrust law against social media companies over bias, and explained in fairly great detail why that would almost certainly run afoul of the First Amendment and a whole long list of Supreme Court cases detailing how the government cannot compel speech of this nature.

    • Cuban activists issue manifesto against artistic censorship

      The growing movement of artists against Cuba’s restrictive new law Decree 349 has issued a manifesto in Havana denouncing government censorship.

      The document, the San Isidro Manifesto, released on Wednesday (12 September) sets out principles defining a movement for artistic freedom in Cuba that has been gaining momentum since the law was published in July. The decree has met with opposition from journalists and cultural figures in Cuba and around the world and has become pivotal to an ongoing public debate about constitutional change.

      The law was among the first signed by the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, who took office in April, and it is due to go into effect on 7 December.

    • Ibsen Play Is Canceled in China After Audience Criticizes Government

      A German theater production that invited audiences in China to voice their complaints about society has been canceled over fears of what they might say.

      The Schaubühne Berlin company was due to perform “An Enemy of the People,” a 19th-century play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, in Nanjing on Thursday and Friday. But the shows were abruptly canceled after members of the audience in Beijing last week shouted criticisms of their authoritarian government.

      The theater in Nanjing that was to host the play cited “technical problems,” including a hole in the stage, Tobias Veit, the Schaubühne’s executive director, said in a telephone interview.

      But Mr. Veit said the real reason for the cancellation appeared to be that the theater managers deemed the play, first performed in 1883, too risky given the audience comments in Beijing.

    • China Cancels Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’ Amid Ever-Widening Censorship
    • Chinese censors bring down the curtain on Ibsen play
    • Facebook accused of censorship by liberal site after Weekly Standard fact checks article
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Microsoft Clears the Air About Fighting CLOUD Act Abuses [Ed: EFF playing along with one of the biggest and worst spies out there. Shame.]
    • The Game is Rigged: Congress Invites No Consumer Privacy Advocates to its Consumer Privacy Hearing

      The Senate Commerce Committee is getting ready to host a much-anticipated hearing on consumer privacy—and consumer privacy groups don’t get a seat at the table. Instead, the Committee is seeking only the testimony of big tech and Internet access corporations: Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter. Some of these companies have spent heavily to oppose consumer privacy legislation and have never supported consumer privacy laws. They know policymakers are considering new privacy protections, and are likely to view this hearing as a chance to encourage Congress to adopt the weakest privacy protections possible – and eviscerate stronger state protections at the same time.

      The upcoming hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee may be the launch pad for this strategy of undoing stronger state laws.

      It is no coincidence that, in the past week, two leading industry groups (the Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association) have called for federal preemption of state data privacy laws in exchange for weaker federal protections. For example, laws in California and Illinois require companies to have user consent to certain uses of their personal information (Nevada and Minnesota have these requirements for Internet access providers), while the industry proposals would only require transparency. That means that companies would be allowed to collect information without your permission as long as they tell you they’re doing it. The upcoming hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee may be the launch pad for this strategy of undoing stronger state laws.

      Since we can’t be there to say this ourselves, we’ll say it here: EFF will oppose any federal legislation that weakens today’s hard-fought privacy protections or destroys the states’ ability to protect their citizens’ personal information. EFF has had a long and continuous battle with some of the testifying companies, such as Google and AT&T, regarding your right to data privacy, and we’re not going to give up now.

      To be clear, we would look closely at a sensible federal legislation that offers meaningful protections for data privacy. Uniform laws offer predictability, making life easier for smaller companies, nonprofits and others that may struggle to meet the rules of different states. But a uniform law is only a good alternative if it’s actually a good law—not a weak placeholder designed only to block something stronger.

    • More Bay Area Jurisdictions Adopt Civilian Control of Police Spy Tech

      This week, two California jurisdictions joined the growing movement to subject government surveillance technology to democratic transparency and civilian control. Each culminated a local process spearheaded by concerned residents who campaigned for years.

      First, on Monday, the City of Palo Alto voted 8-1 to adopt an ordinance to “Establish Criteria and Procedures for Protecting Personal Privacy When Considering the Acquisition and Use of Surveillance Technologies, and Provide for Ongoing Monitoring and Reporting.” Like a handful of similar ordinances adopted across the Bay Area over the past two years, it includes several requirements.

    • Google, Apple, Amazon Summoned To Testify On Consumer Data Protection Techniques

      Six big companies including Google, Apple, Twitter, Amazon, AT&T, and Charter have been summoned by the US government to testify before the Senate about the consumer data and privacy mechanisms adopted by them.

      The hearing called “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy” is scheduled for September 26 where the representatives from the companies will answer questions on Commerce, Transportation, and Science.

    • AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile & Sprint Want Even Broader Access To Your Personal Data

      We’ve noted repeatedly that however bad Facebook has been on privacy (pretty clearly terrible), the broadband industry has traditionally been much, much worse. From AT&T’s efforts to charge consumers more just to protect their privacy, to Verizon getting busted for covertly tracking users around the internet without telling them (or letting users opt out), this is not an industry that respects you or your privacy. That’s before we even get to their cozy, often mindlessly-loyal relationship with intelligence and law enforcement.

      As such, it’s kind of amusing to note that these are the same companies now trying to position themselves as the gatekeepers of all of your private data online. As security expert Brian Krebs notes, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint (the latter two of which will likely soon be one company) are cooking up something dubbed “Project Verify,” which would let end users eschew traditional website passwords — instead authenticating visitors by leveraging data elements unique to each customer’s phone and mobile subscriber account, including location, “customer reputation”, and device hardware specs.

    • Another Batch Of FISA Court Docs Confirms The NSA Frequently Abuses Its Collection Powers

      More evidence of the NSA’s abuse of its surveillance powers has surfaced, thanks to a FOIA lawsuit by the EFF. To date, the EFF has secured 73 FISC opinions as the result of this lawsuit and is still fighting for the release of six opinions the government has chosen to withhold entirely.

      One of the opinions released to the EFF shows the NSA’s frequent assertions about proper minimization, careful deployment of surveillance techniques, and supposedly robust oversight are mostly false. The NSA abuses its powers and withholds evidence of its abuses from the FISA court, undermining the system of checks and balances meant to keep the agency in line.

    • European court rules against Britain over mass surveillance
    • GCHQ mass surveillance breached human rights on privacy, EU court rules
    • GCHQ’s mass surveillance violates citizens’ right to privacy, ECHR rules
    • GCHQ mass surveillance regime was in breach of human rights law, European court rules
    • An SEO Expert Has Shown How Chrome’s Back Button can be Hijacked to Spy on Users

      This allowed Petrovic to spy on users’ traffic to impersonated versions of his competitors’ websites. He was able to record mouse movement, clicks and typing, among other things.

    • How pervasive real-time bidding for online ads silently undermines your privacy

      This result suggests that real-time bidding is causing almost all information about our movements around the Web to be shared with major advertisers and advertising exchanges. Many people use ad blockers in an attempt to protect their privacy from this kind of information leakage. The researchers examined to what extent these browser add-ons reduce the sharing of personal information. Here’s what they found with the most popular of these, AdBlock Plus:

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • French Soldiers Tortured Algerians, Macron Admits 6 Decades Later

      One of the ugliest unsolved crimes of France’s long-ago, quasi-colonial war in Algeria was finally laid to rest on Thursday, as President Emmanuel Macron recognized that the French Army had tortured and killed a youthful antiwar intellectual in 1957.

      The death in custody of Maurice Audin, a 25-year-old mathematician, has for decades been a symbol of the French Army’s brutality during the Algerian War, much as the My Lai massacre became for the United States’ war in Vietnam. But unlike My Lai, which led to prosecutions, the Audin affair was never investigated.

    • ‘Attica Is Every Prison; and Every Prison Is Attica’

      Forty-seven years later, the uprising that shocked the world continues through the demands of prisoners for human rights.

      On Sept. 9, 1971, prisoners at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York rebelled over extreme crowding, racism, and brutal living conditions. They took control of the prison and sought to negotiate with state officials over their demands. Four days later — and 47 years ago this week — the uprising was crushed in a massive assault by the state police, National Guard, and corrections officers. Forty-three people lost their lives, most of them during the retaking of the prison.

      The Attica rebellion and its bloody suppression shocked the nation and world, and shone a much-needed light on the grim reality of American prisons.

      Yet there was nothing particularly unusual about conditions at Attica at that time. America’s prisons were hellish by any standard. In its 1972 report, the New York State Special Commission on Attica, which was formed to investigate the rebellion, concluded that “the elements of replication are all around us. Attica is every prison; and every prison is Attica.”

      The echoes of Attica can be heard today in the voices of people in prisons struggling against the injustices they experience. So it is no surprise that the organizers of the Nationwide Prison Strike that began on August 21 chose the anniversary of the Attica uprising as the final day of the strike.

    • Trump’s New Attack on Immigrant Children

      The government has proposed new regulations which are a roadmap for keeping immigrant children and families locked up indefinitely.

      Last Thursday, two federal agencies announced new regulations concerning the detention of immigrant children. They are nothing less than a roadmap for keeping children and families locked up indefinitely.

      The proposed regulations have a very clear goal, which is to terminate a longstanding federal consent decree — known as the Flores Settlement Agreement — that sets nationwide standards concerning “the detention, release, and treatment of minors” in immigration custody. The 1997 agreement arose out of litigation challenging the government’s practice of detaining children for lengthy periods of time in inhumane conditions.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics and numerous child-welfare experts have warned that jailing children and parents can severely damage their physical and mental health, often irreversibly. For decades, Flores has stood as a critical check against government efforts to needlessly jail children and families and prevented abuse of children in custody.

      The government has often chafed under these legal obligations, but Flores has now come under direct assault by the Trump administration. The White House is characterizing Flores’ protections as a “loophole” and has even falsely claimed that the agreement justified its brutal family separation policy. Its allies in Congress have introduced several bills seeking to eliminate Flores protections and echoed the Trump administration’s anti-Flores rhetoric.

    • Off-Duty Cop Tasing an 11-Year-Old Should Provoke a Clear Wakeup Call for Police Reform

      How young is too young for a person to be tased? In Cincinnati, the answer disturbingly seems to be 7 years old. This is as shocking as it is unacceptable.

      The city is purportedly reviewing its policy on the use of force, specifically the use of tasers, after an off-duty Cincinnati police officer working as a security guard deployed his stun gun against an 11-year-old girl who allegedly stole about $50 of goods from a grocery store. According to media reports, the officer’s bodycam video shows the girl crying as firefighters removed the taser barbs from her back.

      The child was not a threat to law enforcement, and the officer is clearly guilty of using excessive force. After the incident, he even conceded that she was not a threat to him, to others, or to herself. Make no mistake, tasers are weapons, and they can not only hurt but kill.

      The American Heart Association confirms that misuse of a taser can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death. Tasers emit a 50,000-volt initial shock followed by 100 microsecond pulses of 1,200 volts. Since 2000, more than 1000 people in the United States have died from police-inflicted stun gun encounters. While intended, theoretically, to be a “non-lethal” method of control by law enforcement, there is too much evidence to the contrary.

    • Cop: Screwdrivers And Wrenches Are Drug Dealer Things; Appeals Court: WTF

      Some things most of us keep in our vehicles is considered by at least one police officer to be tools of the drug trade. Literal tools. Of the literal drug trade. I guess. The bad news is even more of us keep these items at home. We’re drowning in contraband, it appears. Those of us with attached garages should just brace ourselves for early morning no-knock raids.

      [....]

      If you don’t want extra police attention, you keep your driving stuff in order. That’s why police so often claim clean vehicles and drivers with no records are also tools of the drug trade — because drug dealers don’t want to give officers any reason to perform a pretextual stop. This claim goes the other direction, ensuring drivers are damned either way, and turning a nation of non-criminal drivers into erstwhile drug dealers.

    • Member Newsletter: Why South Carolina Abandoned Prisoners During Hurricane Florence

      South Carolina corrections officials refused to evacuate prisoners held in mandatory evacuation zones in the path of Hurricane Florence. Their decision should be placed in the context of this year’s prison strike, the call for which originated in that state.

      While around one million people in South Carolina were ordered to flee, the state had no such plans for the few thousand prisoners who are also in danger.

      State officials argued that weathering the storm in prison would be safer than evacuations. Meanwhile, they forced prisoners to fill over 35,000 sand bags before it hit.

      To figure out whether this a good idea, one only needs to reflect on the experience of prisoners in Louisiana who were abandoned to the floods of Hurricane Katrina. Locked in their prisons, inmates had to survive for days in water up to their chests. Hundreds of people were never accounted for. Texas prisoners survived similar experiences during Hurricane Rita and Harvey.

    • Trump’s Border Wall Obsession Is a Threat to the Southwest Border Region

      To save lives, preserve habitats, and ensure thriving border communities, Congress should stop funding President Trump’s border wall.

      Given all the false rhetoric and rage that drive President Trump’s fixation on building his border wall, it’s critically important to step back from that noise and think about people and places that would be jeopardized if his wall obsession continues to be funded by Congress.

      Take, for instance, Fred Cavazos, a property owner on the Rio Grande in Texas.

      Mr. Cavazos traces his family’s 77 acres of ranchland in South Texas back to Spanish land grants in the 1760s. As The Washington Post recently reported, he was notified by the federal government that the border wall’s potential path would cut “through the Cavazos family barn, through their rental house, and through a field where they grazed a small herd of longhorn cattle.” The map sent to Mr. Cavazos showed that the wall would sever his property in half and make it hard to access the riverfront.

      Indeed, despite being criticized for abusive and still uncompensated land seizures a decade ago, the possibility of private property seizures by the Department of Homeland Security is again looming over hundreds of more landowners. Moreover, with the passage of the REAL ID Act of 2005, the secretary of homeland security has the authority to waive any and all laws to speed up the construction of patrol roads and border walls. Barrier construction has disturbed or destroyed indigenous graves and cultural sites, which have particularly affected the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, because laws that protect Native American rights are waived. No one else in the government, not even the president, has this kind of authority.

      The border wall, however, wouldn’t just violate landowners’ property rights.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Free roaming ‘could no longer be guaranteed’ with a no-deal Brexit

      Thanks to the Digital Single Market, Brits travelling in Europe have not had to pay roaming charges since June 2017, after changes to regulation meant that UK mobile phone users could use their regular allowance of calls, texts and data for no extra cost from anywhere in the EU.

      This could all change in March next year, though, as the government has confirmed warned that Brexit – which was recently been blamed for Panasonic shifting its European HQ from the UK to Amsterdam – could see the re-introduction of pesky roaming charges.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • US government likely to be disappointed in Brunetti review quest

        The USPTO has appealed to the Supreme Court to allow it to control immoral and scandalous trade mark registrations. Review and reversal of In re Brunetti seems unlikely because a similar issue was addressed in Tam

      • That Bizarre Trademark Suit Between Music Promoters Over An ‘Ultra’ Trademark Nobody Owned Is Still Going On

        I’ll forgive the average reader here if they cannot recall the post we did nearly a year and a half ago about a trademark dispute between Worldwide Entertainment Group Inc. of Florida and Adria MM Productions Ltd. of Croatia. It’s by far my favorite trademark story ever. It has all the hallmarks of a typical trademark bullying story that we would cover: from a fairly generic term (“Ultra”) in a really broad industry (music festivals) being licensed for use overseas in Europe by Worldwide to Adria, only to have the former ratchet up its licensing fee and control demands over the trademark it had on the term “Ultra.” Pretty standard fare, even when we get to the part where Worldwide sends Adria notice that it is in breach of the licensing agreement and demanding the stoppage of all use of the term “Ultra.”

    • Copyrights
      • Canadian Supreme Court rules ISPs can charge some costs of identifying illegal downloaders

        ISPs’ obligations in tackling illegal downloading have been clarified in Rogers Communications v Voltage Pictures. They can charge copyright holders for some steps in identifying suspected customers but not those costs incurred under the notice and notice regime

      • Plagiarists Or Innovators? The Led Zeppelin Paradox Endures

        Fifty years ago – in September 1968 – the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin first performed together, kicking off a Scandinavian tour billed as the New Yardbirds.

        The new, better name would come later that fall, while drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980 effectively ended their decade-defining reign. But to this day, the band retains the same iconic status it held back in the 1970s: It ranks as one of the best-selling music acts of all time and continues to shape the sounds of new and emerging groups young enough to be the band members’ grandchildren.

        Yet, even after all this time – when every note, riff and growl of Zeppelin’s nine-album catalog has been pored over by fans, cover artists and musicologists – a dark paradox still lurks at the heart of its mystique. How can a band so slavishly derivative – and sometimes downright plagiaristic – be simultaneously considered so innovative and influential?

        How, in other words, did it get to have its custard pie and eat it, too?

        As a scholar who researches the subtle complexities of musical style and originality as well as the legal mechanisms that police and enforce them, such as copyright law, I find this a particularly devilish conundrum. The fact that I’m also a bassist in a band that fuses multiple styles of music makes it personal.

        [...]

        Led Zeppelin was also accused of lifting from white artists such as Bredon and the band Spirit, the aggrieved party in a recent lawsuit over the rights to Zeppelin’s signature song “Stairway to Heaven.” Even in these cases, the power dynamics were iffy.

        Bredon and Spirit are lesser-known composers with lower profiles and shallower pockets. Neither has benefited from the glow of Zeppelin’s glory, which has only grown over the decades despite the accusations and lawsuits leveled against them.

      • Guy In Charge Of EU Copyright Directive Claims He Didn’t Know What He Voted On, Needs To Fix Things

        Following the decision earlier this week of the EU Parliament to vote for the destruction of the open web by putting in place some pretty awful copyright proposals, people began highlighting more and more problems with the bill. Most of the focus before the vote had been on two particular articles, Article 11 and Article 13. But there are many other problems in the Directive as well — it was just getting to be overwhelming to get into the weeds on all of them. One area of concern was in Article 12, which included a special new form of copyright for sporting events. Specifically, with no debate or discussion the legal affairs committee of the EU Parliament added in text saying that sporting event organizers would gain absolute control over recording, sharing and presenting any film clips — even those that would otherwise be deemed legal in other copyright contexts. And yes, the law implies that if you’re at a sports event, you can’t even film anything from your own seat as that is reserved solely to the event organizers.

        Incredibly, after the vote approving the directive, reporter Emanuel Karisten of the Swedish publication Breakit, asked Voss about this and Voss gave a fairly astounding answer, stating that “this was kind of a mistake” and that “no one had been aware of this.”

        [...]

        There are a few possibilities here, none of which make Voss look any good. He either voted for an amendment he hadn’t read and/or didn’t understand, or he’s lying to this reporter. It also suggests that rather than taking the concerns of critics like Reda seriously, Voss just tuned them out and happily voted away for such horrible proposals.

      • EU Continues To Kill The Open Web: Massive Fines For Sites That Don’t Censor Within An Hour

        The EU really seems quite hellbent on absolutely destroying the open internet. Just as the EU Parliament was voting to approve the EU Copyright Directive, requiring that much of the internet be licensed and curated, rather than open for anyone, the EU Commission decided to move forward with an awful idea that it had first proposed earlier this year: that social media companies must disappear “terrorist content’ within one hour.

        [...]

        It is literally insane that anyone could possibly think this is a good idea.

        Activists are already pointing out that this proposal has simply ignored its obligation to review how such a law would impact human rights, because apparently if you just wave your hands in the air screaming “terrorists’ the EU will toss basic human rights out the window.

        At some point you have to wonder if the EU really just wants the internet shut off completely.

      • Europol Operation Targets Pirate IPTV Providers, Four More Arrested

        After two people were arrested in the UK this week, a Europol-led investigation into pirate IPTV services has led to four more arrests in Southern Ireland. Two men and two women were detained under suspicion of copyright and money laundering offenses. Major TV companies and the MPA provided assistance to the authorities.

      • Copyright Cop? ISP Willingly Kept Pirates On Board, Labels Say

        The legal battle between Texas-based Internet provider Grande Communications and the major record labels is heating up again. After Grande discredited the labels’ lawsuit as an attempt to turn ISPs into their private copyright police, the music companies now fire back with several damning allegations.

More in Tux Machines

Cozy Is A Nice Linux Audiobook Player For DRM-Free Audio Files

You could use any audio player to listen to audiobooks, but a specialized audiobook player like Cozy makes everything easier, by remembering your playback position and continuing from where you left off for each audiobook, or by letting you set the playback speed of each book individually, among others. The Cozy interface lets you browse books by author, reader or recency, while also providing search functionality. Books front covers are supported by Cozy - either by using embedded images, or by adding a cover.jpg or cover.png image in the book folder, which is automatically picked up and displayed by Cozy. When you click on an audiobook, Cozy lists the book chapters on the right, while displaying the book cover (if available) on the left, along with the book name, author and the last played time, along with total and remaining time: Read more

New KDE.ru website

Today, on September 18th, 2018, the Russian-speaking KDE community launches its updated website on KDE.ru. The new website serves as the main page for the Russian-speaking community. It provides localized information about the community, product download links and the list of social network pages we maintain. It is also meant to help new members get involved in KDE’s projects, particularly in our translation and promotion efforts. The website was created by me and Alexander Potashev on top of Jonah Brüchert‘s work for plasma-mobile.org. It uses Jekyll and is now hosted on official KDE servers. It replaces the old forum that has significantly lost its users in the past years. Read more

Variety Wallpaper Changer And Downloader 0.7.0 Ported To Python 3, Adds Support For Settings GDM Background

A new major version of Variety Wallpaper Changer is out. With the latest 0.7.0 release, Variety was ported to Python 3, while also receiving some improvements like support for setting the Gnome Screensaver / GDM background to match the desktop wallpaper. Read more

10 Free Open Source Tools for Creating Your Own VPN

As more people use the Internet everyday they are becoming more conscious about their privacy with regards to how much of the information they don’t want to share at all is being compromised. Tons of VPN services have been created to solidify users’ safety but that doesn’t seem to be enough as there seems to be an increasing need to create custom VPNs. It isn’t a bad thing to create a VPN service for yourself and there are actually a good number of developers and organizations that favour this habit. Today, we bring you a list of the best open-source tools that you can use to create your own VPN. Some of them are relatively more difficult to set up and use than the others and they all have their feature highlights. Depending on the reason why you want to deploy your own VPN, choose the title that is suitable for you. Read more