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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 21 min ago

In the Age of Alice and PTAB There is No Reason to Pursue Software Patents in the United States (Not Anymore)

3 hours 43 min ago

Summary: The appeal board in the US (PTAB) combined with a key decision of the Supreme Court may mean that even at a very low cost software patents can be invalidated upon demand (petition) and, failing that, the courts will invalidate these

Unwired Planet (formerly known as Openwave) is a patent troll that’s controlled by Ericsson. It is very malicious and it has already targeted the UK too. According to this (more reports from this event can be found at IP Kat), the troll was discussed in Australia and Ruschke from PTAB was there too. Here is the relevant section:

Arguing before a jury is second nature for experienced US patent trual lawyers. According to PTAB Chief Judge David Ruschke, that fact accounts for one of the biggest mistakes parties make in IPRs. Those same trial lawyers are still trying to figure out how best to argue at PTAB proceedings, Ruschke told a panel on post-grant procedures around the world. “You’re not talking to a jury, you’re talking to a panel of technology and law experts,” the judge reminded practitioners. “Some counsel try to tell a story like they would tell to a jury, but then can’t answer fundamental technical questions,” he observed. Ruschke said he was well aware that the PTAB has received what he called “challenging press” and assured attendees that he does not turn a blind eye to it. But he emphasised that the post-grant system is still very much in a transition period.

That’s almost the equivalent of the EPO‘s appeal board (albeit there are fundamental differences).

PTAB is a very important subject right now because it has managed to squash software patents a lot faster than courts, and at a vastly lower cost. No wonder the trolls’ lobby wants so badly to squash PTAB itself.

According to yesterday’s press release from StrikeForce, it managed to escape PTAB’s scrutiny. The funny thing is, this company actually paid money to brag that it had managed to dodge scrutiny of its crappy patents (which would probably have been trashed by PTAB, based on their description which invokes Alice).

“PTAB is a very important subject right now because it has managed to squash software patents a lot faster than courts, and at a vastly lower cost.”Also yesterday there was this press release from FatPipe Networks, which calls itself “the inventor and multiple patents holder of software-defined networks” (i.e. software patents).

Unless they can pretend that the software is somehow physical (an impossibility), these patents are likely worthless.

Eric Lavallee from Lavery de Billy LLP has just published this article, openly urging people to disguise software patents as something else like “AI” (a fashionable buzzword these days even though the concept is far from new). To quote:

The initial instinct of many entrepreneurs would be to patent their artificial intelligence processes. However, although in some instances such a course of action would be an effective method of protection, obtaining a patent is not necessarily the most appropriate form of protection for artificial intelligence or software technologies generally. Since the major Supreme Court of the United States decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, it is now acknowledged that applying abstract concepts in the IT environment will not suffice to transform such concepts into patentable items. For instance, in light of that decision, a patent that had been issued for an expert system (which is a form of artificial intelligence) was subsequently invalidated by a U.S. court.2

Law firms are just trying to ‘dress up’ software patents as “AI” to bypass the simple law that renders them worthless.

When will the wider public realise that software patents are virtually dead now? It’s very hard to actually enforce these in a court of law.

“When will the wider public realise that software patents are virtually dead now? It’s very hard to actually enforce these in a court of law.”“Software patents provided some limited protection,” yesterday’s article from Venturebeat said, “but feature wars rage on.”

Programs live or die based on their features, not based on patents that are basically dead now (no leverage to gain from them).

Let’s face the simple fact that Alice changed everything. Last night the EFF published yet another story about Alice, this time regarding blackmail by “My Health”. To quote some portions:

Alice Saves Medical Startup From Death By Telehealth Patent

[...]

When Justus received the demand letter, he was shocked. He read the patent, and it seemed incredibly mundane. It didn’t offer any of the technical detail that Justus knew went into building a complex product like the one offered by MyVitalz. It gave no explanation on how to accomplish any of the goals it claimed. Instead, it seemed to claim the idea of telehealth itself. Justus thought, “I put in four years of work to build my product, and this patent seems so basic.”

“It almost felt as though my business was being blackmailed,” Justus says. “Sure, I could make the threat go away with a payment that would be less than the cost of litigation. But I refused to pay just to be able to keep running my business which I’d devoted my life to building.”

Justus scoured the Internet for information that could help him with My Health’s demand. He tried to figure out how he could defend himself, knowing that to do so would likely mean selling his personal assets to afford a lawyer.

[...]

Thanks to Alice, Justus never heard from My Health again. He’s now back focusing on what matters most: helping people get better health care.

Patent filings at the USPTO are still growing, but legal actions have collapsed. In the coming years we can expect further reduction in the number of patent cases, bringing the system closer to its roots (and further away from extortionate litigation).

IAM is Wrong, the Narrative Isn’t Changing, Except in the Battistelli-Funded (at EPO’s Expense) Financial Times

4 hours 42 min ago

Summary: The desperate attempts to change the narrative in the press culminate in nothing more than yet another misleading article from Rana Foroohar and some rants from Watchtroll

The patent trolls lobby, not the “pro-patent lobby” as IAM called it yesterday, is attempting to warp the debate. In general they’re losing; the laws are being changed against them. So what makes IAM think that this “lobby in the US finally seems to be getting its act together and so the narrative is changing”? They just got that nonsense in the Financial Times (as we pointed out earlier this week). To quote: “if a recent Financial Times article is any guide, the tide might be turning. Headlined “Big tech versus big pharma: the battle over US patent protection”, the article goes through a series of complaints from patent owners, that includes the full list of Supreme Court cases familiar to all readers of this blog. Its hook is the danger of pharmaceutical companies declining to invest in new drugs if they are unable to effectively defend their IP; but the story makes clear that it is not just the large, brand name drug companies that are concerned – it cites similar feelings among semiconductor and electronics firms, universities and the venture capital community. “The large drug companies are only one voice among many that have begun to complain about how shifts in the US patent system over the past decade have weakened the ability of companies to protect their innovations,” writer Rana Foroohar states.”

“The patent trolls lobby, not the “pro-patent lobby” as IAM called it yesterday, is attempting to warp the debate.”Foroohar has a track record of publishing misleading nonsense about patents. We did debunkings before. And look at the name of her section. It’s rather revealing.

One might say that the Financial Times, now paid by the EPO, has dedicated itself to patent indoctrination for the litigation ‘industry’. They even created sections and campaigns for the EPO’s management, i.e. not for examiners. They’re a compromised publication.

“Foroohar has a track record of publishing misleading nonsense about patents.”Also yesterday it was Gene Quinn (Watchtroll, the trolls’ lobby) bemoaning the crackdown on patent trolls, inadvertently exposing what Watchtroll really is (and stands for). According to Watchtroll (2 days earlier), it seems likely that Trump has put the fox in charge of the hen house, but it may be premature to tell. We ought to give him the benefit of the doubt (if he is at all going to head the USPTO).

“One might say that the Financial Times, now paid by the EPO, has dedicated itself to patent indoctrination for the litigation ‘industry’.”All in all, the supposition that things are becoming somehow better for patent trolls/aggressors is delusional at best. IAM has an incentive to claim so, having been paid by trolls. And speaking of trolls, watch what RPX stated in is press release a few days ago: “As of June 30, 2017, RPX had invested over $2 billion to acquire more than 18,000 US and international patent assets and rights on behalf of over 320 clients in eight key sectors: automotive, consumer electronics and PCs, E-commerce and software…”

RPX markets itself as a sort of shield against trolls. Whether anything good will come out of it remains to be seen because some people — rightly or wrongly — accuse RPX itself of being a potential troll.

The Federal Circuit Continues Squashing Software Patents

Wednesday 18th of October 2017 12:00:00 AM

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit virtually overrides even a rare decision from last year — one in which it tolerated a software patent

Summary: Under the leadership of Sharon Prost (left) the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues its war on software patents, making it very hard to remember the last time it tolerated any

THE EPO is depressing, but at the USPTO we are currently seeing a lot of bad patents swept aside and eliminated by the courts.

The latest?

It’s referring to Enfish v Microsoft again:

Federal Circuit finds mail patents invalid under Alice despite Enfish plea

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed a district court decision that found seven patents belonging to patent licensing company Secured Mail Solutions (SMS) invalid under the Alice Corp v CLS Bank ruling.

This is despite SMS stating that the decision in Enfish v Microsoft—which adopted a more permissive approach to computer-related technology—meant its patents shouldn’t be invalidated.

The dispute began after a complaint was made by SMS, which was set up by former lawyer Todd Fitzsimmons “to pursue the using and licensing of his inventions”. SMS accused marketing company Universal Wilde of infringing seven patents relating to various systems and methods for mail verification.

So Enfish does not quite change much (if anything at all). In fact, on the same day as the above report — a report about invalid patents — the patent microcosm (PCK Perry + Currier Inc Currier + Kao LLP) suddenly recalls Enfish v Microsoft. To quote:

This rare decision bucks the current US trend of invalidating software patents as mere abstract theorems as started by the decision in Alice Corp Pty Ltd v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. __ (2014) (“Alice”).

[...]

In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) reversed the decision of the district court in part, finding that the claims at issue were patent-eligible as being directed to “an improvement to computer functionality itself, not on economic or other tasks for which a computer is used in its ordinary capacity.” [pg. 12] The CAFC also reversed the finding that the claims were anticipated, but affirmed the district court’s decision that there was no infringement. [pg. 30]

Let’s wait and see how many patent maximalism sites conveniently ignore the decision regarding the patent troll, SMS.

Here is what Patently-O wrote several hours ago:

The patents all involve an mailer (i.e. package or envelope) with an identifier on the outside such as a barcode, QR code, or URL. Once delivered, information is communicated (via computers) to the recipient about the contents and the sender.

As Patently-O readers understand, abstract ideas themselves are not patentable. Likewise a patent directed to an abstract idea is also unpatentable, unless the claims include an additional inventive concept that goes beyond the unpatentable idea to “transform the nature of the claim into a patent-eligible invention.” Alice.

The Alice two-step inquiry first asks whether the claims are directed to an abstract idea. Here, the courts agreed that the claims “are directed to the abstract idea of communicating information about a [mailer] by use of a marking.” Under Step Two, the appellate panel found that the claims merely recited “well known and conventional ways to allow generic communication between a sender and recipient using generic computer technology.” Invalid.

So yet more software patents bite the dust at the Federal Circuit. When was the last time the Federal Circuit tolerated an actual software patent (not something which the maximalists wrongly described as such)? We can hardly remember.

It certainly seems like, at least as far as the Federal Circuit is concerned, software patents are dead. They have no chance.

Dr. McDonagh has meanwhile mentioned this new case in which “Facebook and Instagram receive enforcement letters over iFramed app” (nothing innovative).

To quote: “Telecoms company UnitedCorp has claimed that features on Facebook and Instagram that allow users to reveal their location infringe technology it owns covering a newly released smartphone app.

“In cease-and-desist letters, Miami-based UnitedCorp said the social media networks’ geolocation-based image overlays infringe a patent covering the iFramed app.”

Seems like a simple Alice case if Facebook (connected to Instagram) decides to file an IPR and/or challenge it in a court. Facebook is one of the loudest PTAB proponents after all. It’s incredible that some patent cases like these are still being filed, let alone against a deep-pocketed company which can afford to appeal all the way up to CAFC (or higher).

SUEPO Representatives Like Elizabeth Hardon Vindicated as Battistelli’s Detrimental Effect on Patent Quality is Widely Confirmed

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 11:23:44 PM

And some EPO insiders already want Christoph Ernst (below) to resign or be fired

Summary: Feedback regarding the awful refusal to acknowledge patent quality crisis at the EPO as well as the appointment of a President so close to Battistelli (who most likely assures continuation of his policies)

THE EPO saga is a show that never ends. It just keeps getting worse in all sorts of ways, much as predicted by insiders several years ago (they were trying to prevent this horror show while it was still remotely possible).

“Reckoning With The “System Battistelli”” — an article which we mentioned 24 hours ago — is now available as a PDF at SUEPO’s Web site (it’s otherwise behind a paywall at IP Watch). Having read that article, it seems to be very similar but not identical to Monika Ermert’s report at Heise (in German, translated and published by us on Monday night). The importance of this couple of reports from Ermert is that they shed some light on the otherwise-secretive proceedings. It doesn’t look particularly good for Christoph Ernst. EPO staff doesn’t seem too happy about him, either.

“After all, it’s not really difficult to find out what’s wrong rotten in and about EPO, is it? Reports, whistleblowing, all easy there to see,” one observer or insider wrote. “Maybe he’s paid to not grasp,” s/he continued. “It’s often the case.”

People like him tend to be promoted based on whether they turn a blind eye to it all. It’s the same in politics. Ethics/morals aren’t appreciated, only an illusion thereof. Apathy and loyalty/obedience is something people tend to be rewarded for (in this domain anyway).

Someone whom we know for sure is an insider told us: “Immediate resignation of Ernst would be more than appropriate. With all respect but Ernst is an insult to EPO staff. Remember, supporting Battistelli for 5 years…multiple suicides and firing/downgrading of union workers….the list seems almost endless…”

Strong words.

Earlier today Kieren McCarthy published yet another article about EPO affairs (third article in less than a week). It’s similar to what Ermert reported, including the bits about Elizabeth Hardon.

Well, Germany has become infested with patent trolls (we wrote some articles about this, the statistics speak for themselves) and crappy European Patents that should not exist are at the centre of it. Many of these are found to be invalid only after two parties spend a lot of money on lawyers (legal fees). We covered some examples of that recently (in English, not in German).

Anyway, from McCarthy’s article:

The issue of falling patent quality at the European Patent Office (EPO) has again reared its head, this time thanks to German intellectual property lawyers.

Following a testy exchange last week at an official meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council where staff aired their grievances and were attacked by EPO president Benoit Battistelli in response, companies are now raising their concerns.

According to German newspaper Heise, a meeting at the Max Planck Institute in Munich grew heated when a group of patent lawyers used a presentation by new EPO chairman Christoph Ernst to make their views known about the “System Battistelli”.

For several years Battistelli has been aggressively pushing changes at the EPO aimed at increasing the number of patents that are reviewed and approved. The result of that drive has been a complete breakdown in communications between EPO staff and management – but that is something many consider a price worth paying in order to “modernise” the EPO and keep it in line with other competing patent authorities in the US and Japan.

The problem, as the patent attorneys told Ernst, is that despite official EPO claims stating the opposite, quality is starting to fall as a result of the changes.

[...]

That point was also made last week by a Reg commenter who complained that even though his patent application had been noted as valid by the EPO, “the brief comments given provide just one reference to another document – and that one has very little to do with the subject of my invention. Seems that a poor soul under heavy pressure to close as many open cases as quickly as possible just did that.”

A further warning was relayed by another German IP lawyer who was present at the meeting. Thorsten Bausch warned in a blog post that there is also a “catastrophic backlog of EPO appeal cases” and argued – in all caps – that “URGENT ACTION IS REQUIRED HERE! This matter should not be allowed to wait until the next EPO President takes over.”

[...]

However, Elizabeth Hardon, an EPO staffer who was controversially fired by Battistelli for resisting his reforms, was also present at the meeting and said that it is going to take a few years for a decline in quality to be officially recognised as poor patents are challenged in nullity actions.

There are a few comments there too. The first few comments are OK.

“So less appeals is an obvious result of more patents granted,” said the second comment to appear. To quote:

What rubbish!!! If EPO rejects a patent, the filer will presumably appeal. If the patent is accepted, of course there will be no appeal. So less appeals is an obvious result of more patents granted. More patents granted means either an upsurge in quality of patent filings, or a lowering of standards for accepting filings of the same quality. My money is on the second.

We have been talking about this for years. It’s not at all surprising. It was inevitable.

There are many more comments at IP Kat. Why did that blog even mention the EPO after all this time? Well, check out this comment. The comment may be why IP Kat (nowadays a primarily mouthpiece for Battistelli and UPC, as it’s connected to CIPA) belatedly mentioned Campinos, and only in a short puff piece (the comment was approved only 5 days after it had been posted). To quote: “I wonder if I am missing something here. A new EPO President has been elected and IPKat is completely silent about this development … how strange …”

It took a long time (almost a week) for this comment to appear (it appeared earlier tonight).

As usual, comments are much better than the posts at IP Kat, which is mostly used for (self) promotional purposes since the founder left.

Let’s examine some of the latest comments on the puff piece:

“Merpel welcomes Mr. Campinos to the exciting world of European Patents.”

Shouldn’t that read “to the murky world of the European Patent Office”?

Yes, it should. They refrain from even mentioning the EPO.

And what’s “exciting” about European Patents? The rapidly-declining quality?

Watch the next comment:

The Importance of Being Ernst is a farcical comedy with a Wilde plot about patent quality. This Oscar candidate will be showing at your local cinema soon(open Bank Holidays).

Not a big fan of Ernst then…

Regarding Campinos:

Another French grand commis d’ètat in disguise…

Yes, he’s French but disguised as Portuguese to give an illusion of ethnic/national diversity at the Office. He and Battistelli go quite a few years back. They know each other well.

The next comment refes to Ernst as “Senor Ernst.”

Here it is:

To that last Anonymous, I too see an increase in something you might call “Quality”. Every one of my cases glides through to issue. My clients pay the EPO fees and, in return, the EPO grants them a patent, as fast as the Applicant requires. No wonder some Applicants are happy.

So there are more crap patents, and more oppositions. And the oppositions get examined more quickly, don’t they? Trouble is, OD Decisions are less and less rigorous. Crappy, one might suggest?

Which throws the burden of maintaining “quality” on to DG3. Precisely where the AC hasn’t got a clue, and doesn’t give a toss.

The consequences of this disgraceful sacrifice of “quality” will manifest themselves long after your career and mine have ended, anon. not to mention the EPO career of Senor Ernst.

The next comment quite correctly recalls that “[t]he Portuguese AC member hasn’t exactly been particularly vocal in condemning BBs behaviour, and Campinos is clearly a member of the French school…”

We wrote about the Portuguese AC member before. Again, plenty of connections there, linking back also to Battistelli.

I agree with Max3. I see poor examination quality (sometimes to the detriment of my clients, sometimes to their benefit), disrespect for procedures and for applicants legal rights.

I also see increased productivity,and in itself that is a good thing, but not with inferior quality

The Portuguese AC member hasn’t exactly been particularly vocal in condemning BBs behaviour, and Campinos is clearly a member of the French school, so I am sceptical, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Things get even heavier in the next comment, which says that “even under the new chairman, the AC is much more of a lapdog than a watchdog.”

To quote:

Better late than never. I was beginning to think that IPKat had given up entirely on matters pertaining to the EPC and the EPO.

On a more serious note, I am prepared to put my scepticism aside and see how Mr Campinos performs before reaching any conclusions on whether it is a good or a bad thing that he has been appointed as the next President of the EPO. In the meantime, I will be much more interested to see how another “newbie” performs: Mr Ernst, the Chairman of the AC. My hope is that the AC will grow a backbone and start taking its role as a supervisory authority more seriously.

In this regard, does anyone know the fate of CA/103/17 (https://regmedia.co.uk/2017/10/10/epo-reforms.pdf)? If the AC failed to block the heinous proposals in that document, then we will be able to say with certainty that, even under the new chairman, the AC is much more of a lapdog than a watchdog.

We imagine that many people who wrote these comments are either insiders or stakeholders (or people who used to be one and are currently the other).

In reply to the above:

you might be interested in the “Ernst” thread on the Kluwer blog, here:

http://patentblog.kluweriplaw.com/2017/10/16/epo-all-problems-solved/

As to those who sit on the AC, and whether they are worms or vertebrates, it is well-known to be folly to commit all your troops to a battle you cannot win. This is why, until now, so many AC members have declined to challenge BB to his face. But now BB is half way out the door, those AC Members, scarred during the tenancy of the departing President, have a second chance to do the right thing, to draw a better ethical line in the sand, and collectively grasp afresh the responsibilities that come with their office. Can we be optimistic that they will seize the chance, under their very experienced new Chair? I do hope so.

And also in reply to the same:

Isn’t that document on the agenda of the next AC, despite its date – it was too late for the October meeting? It still has to go to the Budget & Finance Committee.

If someone has all these documents, please consider sending these to us. This stuff needs to be made public (not partially but wholly).

There is some troll in the comments, basically trolling EPO examiners, like at The Register‘s comments, only to receive this reply (we would rather not draw attention to it all). “Please do your housework and check FACTS before trolling,” it concluded. But replying to these merely emboldens the trolls and tends to invite yet more insults.

The latest three comments say a lot about declining patent quality and intentional denial of the facts. In case IP Kat deletes these comments (it recently deleted some UPC comments, and not for the first time) we have reproduced these below:

There is in Germany a misconceived idea that, given enough time, an Examining Division can issue a valid patent. Wrong! Inter partes proceedings are the only thing that can truly test validity. So there has to be a balance, how much time and effort to put into examination, ex parte, prior to issue. Too little, and crap patents routinely issue. Too much and EPO fees for everybody rise too high.

The EPO President must know this. The EPO AC must know this. Shame on them both, then, that they give no attention to getting the balance right. Shame on them, that they discard the jewel of the 40 years life of the EPO, namely, the vigour and “Quality” of DG3; the clarity of the Established Caselaw of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO.

There are so many hidden gems in CA/103/17 that one does not know where to start.

My preferred is however Article 14. A true masterpiece missed by many observers.
While the newcomers are to be recruited on a fixed-term basis for a couple of years (extendable, of course, to introduce flexibility and modernise the framework) the present “compulsory retirement at 68 years” sentence is now suddenly gone, so that the old lucky ones who are in the grace of Le President may enjoy the EPO as long as they like after the age of 65 (always, of course, “in the interest of the service”).

Proof, we’ll know pretty soon what kind of dog the AC is.

It’s already looking more like a lapdog than a watchdog.

The longest and most detailed comment speaks quite correctly about Ernst’s not-to-earnest record. “During the past 5 years, Dr Ernst supported ALL policies presented by Mr Battistelli,” it says. To quote the whole thing:

1 – the EPO quality figures are produced and checked by the EPO (this in all objectivy of course).

2 – Dr Ernst (new Chairman of EPO Administrative Council since this month) was former Head of the German Delegation at the Administrative Council of the EPO.

During the past 5 years, Dr Ernst supported ALL policies presented by Mr Battistelli.
Dr Ernst systematically disregarded ALL reasoned opinions he received from the Central Staff Committee and SUEPO among which those underlining :

- the risks on the health of staff generated by HR policies deliberately designed to add too much pressure with irrealistic production targets (please never forget the six suicides for which the CSC/SUEPO requested independant enquiries which were all refused by Mr Battistelli and the 7th miraculously avoided 3 weeks ago in The Hague see http://www.br.de/br-fernsehen/sendungen/kontrovers/traumjob-albtraum-arbeit-belastung-story-100.html),

- the fact this far too high production pressure de facto leads to cutting corners with regards to patent quality.

The more one speaks about something (eg sex) the less he/she actually practices it.

Dr Ernst (or is it Germany?) speaks a lot of quality but it seems they play naughthy on all grounds at EPO:

1 – with Munich and Berlin as EPO branches : over a BILLION of EPO money have been invested in buildings (and their maintenance) over the past 4 decades in Germany.

2 – with Munich and Berlin as EPO branches : 4000 EPO Staff live in Germany with their families (thousands of dependents) and spend tons of EPO money in eg houses, schools, restaurants, cars, clothes etc; hundreds of pensioners (even expats) stay in Germany when retired and continue thus to actively support the German economy.

3 – Finally last year roughly about 140.000.000 Euros went from the EPO back into the German State budget (that of the Ministry of Justice).

GELDGIER. Nothing else but money matters at EPO.

Funny though is that after years of a brutal Battistelli regime actively supported by Dr Ernst, all of sudden some wonder that the quality of EPO patents may have declined. Funny is that they find surprising that when questioned Dr Ernst has nothing convincing to answer.

The reality at EPO today is simple: hundreds of EPO staff of each site come at work every day with pain in their stomach; hundreds are in treatment with psycho-therapists; hundreds take drugs to go to bed and other drugs to stand in the morning and be able to go to work.

You bet that they produce lower quality like hell since otherwise they fear reprisal via harsch sanctions in mock trials and are being put off work. All this was said by SUEPO to no avail for more than five years. All this is known by Dr Ernst which could not care less.

Yes the quality of patent at EPO is worse off than before Battistelli’s time.

But have faith in the system: for his zealous and complacent attitude towards Battistelli Dr Ernst will soon be properly rewarded: he should get the position of VP5 which will soon be vacant (when current VP5, another competent jurist coming from the German Ministry of (in)justice), retires).

All this is a sad cynical farce. They cannot care less about the quality of patent work at EPO. Only their little interests matter, not that of the Public, much less that of true inventors.

Battistelli does not care about inventors. He just has a lobbying event named after them, and the event is all about him, not them.

The EPO has become nothing but a shrine to Battistelli, with his face and quotes plastered everywhere to glorify him like a bunch of statues in public squares. Nothing will stop that any time soon because he promoted his loyalists to top positions at the Office, in order for them to enjoy EPO budget while it lasts. They certainly make a killing. A pile of dead bodies won’t bother them.

Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 01:19:15 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • 20 Most Promising Open Source Solution Providers – 2017

    Open source has become an imperative part of every developer’s arsenal. The potential to gather assistance from the community and the capacity to link into a range of systems and solutions make open source incredibly powerful. As open source software becomes ubiquitous, and used by the vast majority of enterprises throughout the world, 2017 is all set for vendors of application delivery controller (ADC) to start providing improved and tighter integration packages for various open source projects, especially surrounding ADC-generated telemetry. Companies have been extensively using their analytics and machine learning capabilities for quite some time to identify actionable patterns from the collected data. With the rising demand for business intelligence, this year is foreseen to be the year of information superiority with businesses, leveraging data as a key differentiator. In the past couple of years, containers have been emerging as an imminent trend. As the business focus starkly shifts on rightsizing of resources, containers are expected to become a common phenomenon, giving businesses the ability to leverage highly portable assets and make the move into micro services much simpler. Adjacently, automation has become essential now. Mostly intensified by DevOps adoption, the automation of software delivery and infrastructure changes have freed developers to spend more time creating and less time worrying about infrastructure.

  • DevOps pros and open source: Culturally connected

    Like chocolate and peanut butter, DevOps and open source are two great tastes that taste great together. For many DevOps pros, it’s the perfect cultural and technical match.

  • Interoperability: A Case For Open Source – GC@PCI Commentary

    He continues: “An open source model allows companies to see the assumptions behind the calculation and lowers the cost of entry into the cat modeling business. More importantly, the standardized and interoperable hazard, vulnerability and financial modules included in a true open source model facilitate the collaboration of data from insurers, reinsurers, entrepreneurs, scientists, computer programmers and individuals, all of which may result in a new generation of cat models.”

  • DevOps Skills Are Key to Collaboration within Organizations

    DevOps is one of the most highly sought skills employers are seeking to fill among 57 percent of respondents in the 2017 Open Source Jobs Report, from Dice and The Linux Foundation. Specifically, firms are looking for developers (73 percent) and DevOps engineers (60 percent).

  • The origin and evolution of FreeDOS

    Over the years, developers have shared with me how they use FreeDOS to run embedded systems. My all-time favorite example is a developer who used FreeDOS to power a pinball machine. FreeDOS ran an application that controlled the board, tallied the score, and updated the back display. I don’t know exactly how it was built, but one way such a system could work is to have every bumper register a “key” on a keyboard bus and the application simply read from that input. I thought it was cool.

    People sometimes forget about legacy software, but it pops up in unexpected places. I used to be campus CIO of a small university, and once a faculty member brought in some floppy disks with old research data on them. The data wasn’t stored in plaintext files, rather as DOS application data. None of our modern systems would read the old data files, so we booted a spare PC with FreeDOS, downloaded a shareware DOS program that could read the application data, and exported the data to plaintext.

  • Uber Open Sources AthenaX, Its Streaming Analytics Platform
  • Bloomberg’s big move on machine learning and open source

    With its orange text on black interface and colour coded keyboard, the Bloomberg professional services terminal – known simply as ‘The Terminal’ – doesn’t appear to have changed much since it was launched in the early ’80s.

    But behind the retro (Bloomberg prefers ‘modern icon’) stylings, its delivery of financial markets data news, and trading tools has advanced rapidly.

    The terminal’s 315,000 subscribers globally are now able to leverage on machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing techniques developed by the company, as they seek an edge in their investment decisions. Bloomberg is also applying those same techniques to its internal processes.

    Leading the company’s efforts in the area is Bloomberg’s head of data science Gideon Mann, who spoke with CIO Australia earlier this month.

    [...]

    Behind much of Bloomberg’s recent builds has been an open source ethic. Mann says there has been a sea change within the company about open source.

    “When the company started in 1981 and there really wasn’t a whole lot of open source. And so there was a mentality of you know if it’s not invented here we’re not interested,” Mann says.

    [...]

    The organisation took some convincing, but, championed by the CTO, there has been a “huge culture change” towards open source.

    “There are two groups you got to convince: you’ve got to convince management that using open source is going to be safe and lead to better software, and then you also have to convince engineers that using open source is going to increase their skillset, will lead to software that’s easier to maintain and is less buggy and it’s going to be a more beautiful system. Once you can kind of convince those two then you’re set,” Mann says.

    The company is an active contributor to projects including Solr, Hadoop, Apache Spark and Open Stack.

  • OSIsoft to Collaborate with Dianomic as Part of Edge and Open Source Strategy
  • How open source and agility are powering enterprise IT

    Looking back over the past decade, history has certainly demonstrated that trying to predict the pace and nature of technology development is a near impossible task.

  • Events
    • Join The Linux Foundation at Open Source Summit EU for Booth Swag, Project Updates, and More

      Going to Open Source Summit EU in Prague? While you’re there, be sure stop by The Linux Foundation training booth for fun giveaways and a chance to win one of three Raspberry Pi kits.

    • Japanese TeX User Meeting 2017

      Last saturday the Japanese TeX User Meeting took place in Fujisawa, Kanagawa. For those who have been at the TUG 2013 in Tokyo you will remember that the Japanese TeX community is quite big and vibrant. On Saturday about 50 users and developers gathered for a set of talks on a variety of topics.

      The first talk was by Keiichiro Shikano (鹿野 桂一郎) on using Markup text to generate (La)TeX and HTML. He presented a variety of markup formats, including his own tool xml2tex.

    • Who knew we still had low-hanging fruits?

      We had the opportunity of explaining how we at Collabora cooperated with igalians to implemented and optimise a Wayland nested compositor for WebKit2 to share buffers between processes in an efficient way even on broken drivers. Most of the discussions and some of the work that led to this was done in previous hackfests, by the way!

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox 57 – Trick or Treat?

        The best way to describe Firefox 57 is too little, too late, but better later than never. In a way, it’s a pointless release, because it brings us back roughly where Firefox was and should have been years ago. Only all this time in between was wasted losing user base.

        WebExtensions will be the thing that makes or breaks the browser, and with insufficient quality in the available replacements for those that don’t make the culling list, there will be no real incentive for people to stay around. Firefox 57 is better than earlier versions in terms of looks and performance, but that’s like saying you get 50% discount on a price that is twice what it should be. Ultimately unnecessary, just like graduating from university by the age of 68. There aren’t any major advantages over Chrome. This is essentially a Firefox that sucks less.

        So yes, on the positive side, if you do want to continue using Firefox, version 57 makes much more sense than the previous 53 releases. It has an almost normal look, some of the sorely needed security & privacy addons are available, and it offers a passable user experience in terms of speed and responsiveness. Bottom line, I will stick with Firefox for now. As long as my extensions keep working. Take care.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Oracle Promises To Open Source Oracle JDK And Improve Java EE

      Oracle had already announced it would be moving Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, and the announcements at JavaOne move the language further to a more vendor-neutral future. It’s worth noting that the keynote was preceded by a Safe Harbor disclaimer in which Oracle said it could not be held to plans made during the speech, so nothing is actually certain.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
    • U.S. makes renewable energy software open source

      As a longtime proponent of open source solar photovoltaic development, I am happy that the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has shared all the source code for System Advisor Model (SAM), its most powerful renewable energy economic analysis software.

      SAM is now SAM Open Source. It is a performance and financial model designed to help make decisions about renewable energy. This is perfect timing, as the costs of solar have dropped so far that the levelized cost of electricity for solar power is less than what you are probably paying for electricity from your utility.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Conservancy Applauds Linux Community’s Promotion of Principled Copyleft Enforcement

      Software Freedom Conservancy congratulates the Linux community for taking steps today to promote principled, community-minded copyleft enforcement by publishing the Linux Kernel Enforcement Statement. The Statement includes an additional permission under Linux’s license, the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 (GPLv2). The additional permission, to which copyright holders may voluntarily opt-in, changes the license of their copyrights to allow reliance on the copyright license termination provisions from the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) for some cases 1.

      Conservancy also commends the Linux community’s Statement for reaffirming that legal action should be last resort for resolving a GPL violation, and for inviting noncompliant companies who work their way back into compliance to become active participants in the community. By bringing clarity to GPLv2 enforcement efforts, companies can adopt software with the assurance that these parties will work in a reasonable, community-centric way to resolve compliance issues.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement FAQ

      Based on the recent Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement and the article describing the background and what it means , here are some Questions/Answers to help clear things up. These are based on questions that came up when the statement was discussed among the initial round of over 200 different kernel developers.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement
    • Linux Kernel Gets An “Enforcement Statement” To Deal With Copyright Trolls

      Greg Kroah-Hartman on the behalf of the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board has today announced the Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement. This statement is designed to better fend off copyright trolls.

      Among the copyright troll concerns is how a Netfilter developer has been trying to enforce his personal copyright claims against companies for “in secret and for large sums of money by threatening or engaging in litigation.”

    • An enforcement clarification from the kernel community

      The Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory board, in response to concerns about exploitative license enforcement around the kernel, has put together this patch adding a document to the kernel describing its view of license enforcement. This document has been signed or acknowledged by a long list of kernel developers. In particular, it seeks to reduce the effect of the “GPLv2 death penalty” by stating that a violator’s license to the software will be reinstated upon a timely return to compliance.

Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Senator Elizabeth Warren: Attacks on Birth Control Access Are Attacks on Women’s Freedom

      If anyone told a young woman today that she was expected to quit school after eighth grade or leave her job once she got married, most Americans would be outraged. Not fair! Women should have the same range of economic choices as men.

      Through the years, one door after another has opened, as women have become astronauts and neurosurgeons, run Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations, and started their own businesses. Sure, there’s still a lot of ground to make up, but the country has headed in the direction of greater equality for decades now.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • “Stop the Unconstitutional War in Yemen”: Rep. Ro Khanna on Growing Opposition to U.S.-Backed War

      The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war and naval blockade in Yemen has sparked a cholera epidemic that has become the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of the disease in modern world history. There are expected to be a million cases of cholera in Yemen by the end of the year, with at least 600,000 children likely to be affected. The U.S. has been a major backer of the Saudi-led war. But in Washington, opposition to the U.S. support for the Saudi-led war is growing. Lawmakers recently introduced a constitutional resolution to withdraw all U.S. support for the war. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Congressmembers Ro Khanna, Walter Jones and Mark Pocan wrote that they introduced the resolution “in order to help put an end to the suffering of a country approaching ‘a famine of biblical proportions.’ … We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians.” We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California.

    • Jesus Campos, Vegas security guard shot before rampage, appears to have vanished

      The story seemed straightforward: The unarmed security guard approached Stephen Paddock’s room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, distracting the gunman and potentially saving lives.

      With a gunshot wound to his leg, he helped point officers to the gunman’s location and stayed behind to evacuate hotel guests.

      He was hailed a hero by many, even as the story changed. Twice.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks

      As part of her ongoing “Thank God You Didn’t Elect Me” tour, Hillary Clinton made her debut on Australian television last night in an interview with the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson. Though she didn’t repeat her infamous “17 intelligence agencies” lie, which she’d continued to regurgitate long after that claim had been conclusively debunked, there were still plenty of whoppers to be heard.
      From her ridiculous claim that the aggressively protested DNC convention was “very positive” to her completely baseless assertion that Bernie Sanders “couldn’t explain his programs” during the primaries, Clinton did a fine job of reminding us all why the average American finds her about as trustworthy as a hungry crocodile. But while she has blamed her loss on James Comey and Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and self-hating women and the media and uninformed voters and voter suppression and her campaign staff and the DNC and campaign finance laws and Jill Stein and the Electoral College and Anthony Weiner and sexism and Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton reserved the lion’s share of her deceit for the organization she hates most of all: WikiLeaks.

    • Leading Maltese political journalist killed by car bomb

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, a leading Maltese journalist who had reported extensively on government corruption, was killed in a car bombing Monday, according to TVM, the country’s public broadcaster.

      The explosion took place near her home in Bidnija at approximately 2:30 p.m., minutes after her last blog post was published.

      Caruana Galizia, 53, had spent the last year publishing stories about allegations of corruption involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest allies. The story first came to light in the Panama Papers scandal — a leak in April 2016 of more than 11 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    • Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in car blast

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of Malta’s best known investigative journalists, was killed after a powerful blast blew up her car, local media reported Monday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Get Ready For A New Chernobyl In Ukraine

      According to analysts from Energy Research & Social Science (ERSS), there is an 80% probability of a “serious accident” at one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants before the year 2020. This is due both to the increased burden on the nuclear plants caused by the widespread shutdowns of Ukraine’s thermal power plants (the raw material they consumed – coal from the Donbass – is in critically short supply) and also because of the severe physical deterioration of their Soviet-era nuclear equipment and the catastrophic underfunding of this industry.

    • Ophelia became a major hurricane where no storm had before

      The system formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia is moving into Ireland on Monday, bringing “status red” weather throughout the day to the island. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann, has warned that, “Violent and destructive gusts of 120 to 150km/h are forecast countrywide, and in excess of these values in some very exposed and hilly areas. There is a danger to life and property.”

    • London’s sky turns red Monday, but we can’t blame pollution

      Residents of England awoke on Monday morning to a sky that looked very much like a scene from the movie Blade Runner—red and hazy. Fortunately this isn’t science fiction—or even pollution. Rather, it’s a combination of the rare, powerful ex-hurricane Ophelia’s winds and African dust.

      The large, extra-tropical cyclone that brought high winds and damaging seas to Ireland on Monday also produced a huge swath of powerful southerly winds that brought Saharan dust from the West Coast of Africa all the way north across the Atlantic and Western Europe into the United Kingdom.

    • More than 4,000MW of coal power slated for retirement in Texas. But why?

      Late last week, power company Vistra Energy announced that it would close two of its Texas coal plants by early 2018. In a press release, the company blamed “Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors.”

  • Finance
    • EU commission obscures growing impacts multilateral investment court

      The European Commission published an impact assessment of a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution. The current supranational system is known as investor-to-state dispute settlement or ISDS. ISDS gives multinationals far reaching supranational privileges to challenge government decisions.

    • You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.

      Instead, they played Rick like a fiddle, burned out all of his talent and skill, and once Rick was considered damaged goods, kicked his ass to the curb for the good of the company’s productivity. How brave! How heroic!

    • Russia Plans To Launch Its National Cryptocurrency Called “CryptoRuble”

      Slowly, but yes, governments across the world are giving cryptocurrencies a place in their economy. Earlier, we heard about India in talks to launch their cryptocurrency called LakshmiCoin. Soon, there might be a Russian digital money called CryptoRuble as well.

    • Financial regulator warns of growing debt among young people

      In an interview with the BBC, Andrew Bailey said the young were having to borrow for basic living costs.

      The regulator also said he “did not like” some high-cost lending schemes.

      He said consumers, and institutions that lend to them, should be aware that interest rates may rise in the future and that credit should be “affordable”.

    • Centrist MPs could save us from hard Brexit – but they’ve gone silent

      The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The Labour and Conservative conferences were proof positive that the moderates no longer hold sway. The cheers were for the zealots, whether that was John McDonnell or Jacob Rees-Mogg. And, whether from front or back benches, it is they who rule the roost when it comes to leaving the EU. So where have the centrists (and I acknowledge, as Helen Lewis has underlined, that the term is imprecise and potentially misleading, but I can think of no better one) gone? And how should they react?

    • The Koch brothers (and their friends) want President Trump’s tax cut. Very badly.

      The message from the billionaire-led Koch network of donors to President Trump and the Republican Congress it helped to shape couldn’t be more clear: Pass a tax overhaul, or else.

      As the donors mixed and mingled for a policy summit at the St. Regis hotel in midtown Manhattan last week, just a block south from Trump Tower, it came up again. And again. And again.

      “It’s the most significant federal effort we’ve ever taken on,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-aligned group with offices in 36 states. “The stakes for the Republicans, I’ve never seen them this high.”

    • I work for the DWP as a universal credit case manager – and what I’ve seen is shocking

      I work with many compassionate and thoughtful employees, who try their hardest every day to help vulnerable claimants. However, we can only act within the remit of strict guidelines which don’t offer us the flexibility we sometimes need to prevent unnecessary suffering.

      The problem is compounded by employees’ lack of knowledge about the universal credit regulations which can have an especially devastating impact on care leavers, the disabled and those with mental health conditions. It is not uncommon for charities and support workers to inform case managers – the ones whose job it is to assess people for universal credit and other benefits – of the law, rather than the other way round.

    • May’s Brexit gambit leaves Brussels mystified

      At least there was an agreement about no leaks.

      When U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last shared an intimate dinner focused on Brexit, it was a debacle. Leaks from the Brussels side claiming May was “deluded” about Brexit infuriated London, sparking condemnation on the steps of Downing Street by the PM.

    • Mystery deepens over secret source of Brexit ‘dark money’

      A number of major political donors have denied they are the source of a controversial £435,000 donation to the DUP’s Brexit campaign, openDemocracy can reveal today – with only one person refusing to distance themself from the secret donation.

      openDemocracy has investigated a list of key figures in relation to the donation, and all apart from one have either denied involvement or have made public statements indicating opposition to Brexit. The only person we contacted who has told us he will not comment is Henry Angest, a banker and longstanding Conservative party donor, who is known to be a supporter of Brexit.

    • Turns out Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought

      Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought.

      The Office for National Statistics has revised its assessment of the country’s accounts, and decided Britain has overestimated its international assets.

      And we owe far more to foreign investors than previously thought.

      Overall it amounts a quarter of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.

      It comes just six weeks ahead of Philip Hammond’s first Autumn budget – and Treasury officials are reportedly braced for “gloomy” forecasts.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump

      Metaphorically anyway, Trump supporters like Goril were right. Not one of these career politicians had the gumption to be frank with this crowd about what had happened to their party. Instead, the strategy seemed to be to pretend none of it had happened, and to hide behind piles of the same worn clichés that had driven these voters to rebel in the first place.

      The party schism burst open in the middle of a speech by Wisconsin’s speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos. Vos is the Billy Mays of state budget hawks. He’s a mean-spirited little ball of energy who leaped onto the stage reminding the crowd that he wanted to eliminate the office of the treasurer to SAVE YOU MONEY!

      Paul Ryan speaks at the Wisconsin Fall Fast, avoiding the the topic of Donald Trump.

      Vos went on to brag about having wiped out tenure for University of Wisconsin professors, before dismounting with yet another superawkward Trumpless call for Republicans to turn out to vote.
      “I have no doubt that with all of you standing behind us,” he shouted, “and with the fantastic record of achievement that we have, we’re going to go on to an even bigger and better victory than before!”

      There was scattered applause, then someone from the crowd called out:

      “You uninvited Donald Trump!”

      Boos and catcalls, both for and against Vos and the Republicans. Most in the crowd were Trump supporters, but others were angry with Trump for perhaps saddling them with four years of Hillary Clinton. These camps now battled it out across the field. A competing chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” started on the opposite end of the stands, only to be met by chants from the pro-Trumpers.

    • Puerto Rico Is a Symptom of America’s Rotting Democracy

      Ferocious hurricanes and other climate-fueled disasters are nature’s stress tests. They expose faulty infrastructure and systemic inequalities, to say nothing of incompetent leadership. With payments on its massive debt to Wall Street long prioritized over safe electricity, Puerto Rico’s archaic power grid was already prone to blink out in a windstorm. Then Maria hit. Help has been grudging; President Trump took eight days just to waive shipping restrictions.

    • Trump’s dumbfounding, expansive press conference with Mitch McConnell, annotated
  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Australia’s National Rape Hotline Run By Insurance Company, Who Demands All Sorts Of Private Info

      Australia is providing a fairly stunning case study in how not to set up a national hotline for sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse and other such situations. It has a service, called 1800Respect, which lets people call in and be connected to trained counselors from a variety of different call centers around the country. However, as Asher Wolf informs us, a change in how the system will be managed has created quite a shit storm, and leading one of the major providers of counselors to the program to remove itself from the program — meaning that it will likely lose government funding and may go out of business entirely.

      The issues here are a bit convoluted, but since its inception, 1800Respect has actually been run by a private insurance company, Medibank Health Solutions, who partners with organizations who can provide qualified counselors. One of the big ones is Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDSVA). While it already seems somewhat troubling that a private insurance company runs the “national” rape and domestic violence hotline — it’s even more troubling when you find out that the company views the service as a profit center:

    • Big Data is watching you

      This week, MEPs on the Civil Rights Committee will vote on the ePrivacy regulation, which will determine how secure our data is when we are online. For the past 16 months, industry lobbies, including all those who collect or use citizens’ personal online data for advertising purposes, have been vigorously opposing new proposals on ePrivacy. On the other side of the debate, digital rights campaigners demand that citizens should enjoy optimum data privacy when online.

    • USA Liberty Act Won’t Fix What’s Most Broken with NSA Internet Surveillance

      A key legal linchpin for the National Security Agency’s vast Internet surveillance program is scheduled to disappear in under 90 days. Section 702 of FISA—enacted in 2008 with little public awareness about the scope and power of the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet—supposedly directs the NSA’s powerful surveillance apparatus toward legitimate foreign intelligence targets overseas. Instead, the surveillance has been turned back on us. Despite repeated inquiries from Congress, the NSA has yet to publicly disclose how many Americans are impacted by this surveillance.

    • Here’s What Might Come of NSA’s Surveillance Powers

      As the deadline to renew the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance powers looms, proposed bills and speculations of bills drive the conversation on national security versus privacy.

      Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., proposed a bill in June to completely renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without any changes or sunset provision. Section 702, which expires at the end of the year, allows the NSA to collect data from foreign nationals without obtaining a warrant.

      Proponents of Section 702 said that it would be impossible for the NSA to protect the country effectively without the law, because of the backlog that would be created by having to go to the FISA court every time the agency wanted to spy on suspicious foreign activity.

      “This program has provided our national security agencies vital intelligence that has saved American lives and provided insights into some of the hardest intelligence targets,” said Cotton. “Section 702 also includes extensive privacy protections for American citizens. We can’t handcuff our national security officials when they’re fighting against such a vicious enemy. We’ve got to reauthorize this program in full and for good, so we can put our enemies back on their heels and keep American lives safe from harm.”

    • Surveillance “Reform”: The Fourth Amendment’s Long, Slow, Goodbye

      Over 16 years after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent repeated passage or renewal of draconian “temporary” but “emergency” domestic surveillance laws in response, it’s fair to ask: Have we officially abandoned the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights?

      With the expiration of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) less than three months away, now is a good time to review the effects of these surveillance laws in the seemingly endless “War on Terror.” But first, a quick recap of America’s embrace of mass surveillance in the post-9/11 era.

      Within six weeks of the terrorist attacks in 2001, and with virtually no serious debate, Congress passed the behemoth PATRIOT Act. The law created vast new government surveillance powers that abandoned the Fourth Amendment’s across-the-board probable cause warrant requirement. In an October 11, 2001 speech discussing the Senate version of the legislation, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) assured terrified civil libertarians that the PATRIOT Act’s five-year “sunset” clause governing 15 of the bill’s provisions would serve “as a valuable check on the potential abuse of the new powers granted in the bill.”

    • The search for painless Internet privacy gets another boost with InvizBox 2

      InvizBox, a small Irish company focused on building Wi-Fi routers with built-in Internet privacy, has successfully crowdfunded the next generation of its eponymous privacy platform. The InvizBox 2 and InvizBox 2 Pro are more than an evolution from the team’s original product, which was an open source modification of the OpenWRT router code focused on use of the Tor anonymizing network. These new devices are more powerful and faster, and they focus more on usable networking that avoids ISPs’ prying eyes (and defeating geo-blocking of online content) rather than striving to avoid the long arm of state surveillance.

      The InvizBox team is doing a livestream event today, despite the arrival in Ireland of Hurricane Ophelia—which has caused widespread closures of businesses in the country. But the project is already fully funded, which bodes well for delivery based on the team’s previous track record. Working with an industrial design team in China, InvizBox has created a much more attractive privacy tool, both aesthetically and practically.

      The original InvizBox launched two years ago in response to the somewhat poorly conceived crowdfunding launch of another product aimed at Internet privacy. Ars tested InvizBox (and its competitor, Anonabox) in 2015. An open source Wi-Fi router with built-in support for the Tor anonymizing network, InvizBox was a good implementation of an idea with some major roadblocks to wide adoption—the most obvious one being the limitations of Tor itself. Then InvizBox followed up with the InvizBox Go, which shifted the focus away from Tor and toward a more consumer-friendly and mobile-friendly form of privacy. This was a battery-powered Wi-Fi router that could act as a protected bridge to public Wi-Fi networks.

    • Supreme Court to decide if US has right to data on world’s servers [Ed: Microsoft has given NSA et al access to everything. This is a PR stunt.]

      The US government appealed, contending it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world’s servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored.

    • Microsoft’s fight with the feds over foreign servers is headed to Supreme Court

      The current state of the law doesn’t mean that US law enforcement has no access to data stored on foreign servers. If domestic disclosure warrants cannot be served on the foreign servers of US companies, US law enforcement can lean on treaties with the country that the servers are based in.

    • DOJ Continues Its Push For Encryption Backdoors With Even Worse Arguments

      Early last week, the Deputy Attorney General (Rod Rosenstein) picked up the recently-departed James Comey’s Torch of Encroaching Darkness +1 and delivered one of the worst speeches against encryption ever delivered outside of the UK.

      Rosenstein apparently has decided UK government officials shouldn’t have a monopoly on horrendous anti-encryption arguments. Saddling up his one-trick pony, the DAG dumped out a whole lot of nonsensical words in front of a slightly more receptive audience. Speaking at the Global Cyber Security Summit in London, Rosenstein continued his crusade against encryption using counterintuitive arguments.

      After name-dropping his newly-minted term — responsible encryption™ — Rosenstein stepped back to assess the overall cybersecurity situation. In short, it is awful. Worse, perhaps, than Rosenstein’s own arguments. Between the inadvertently NSA-backed WannaCry ransomware, the Kehlios botnet, dozens of ill-mannered state actors, and everything else happening seemingly all at once, the world’s computer users could obviously use all the security they can get.

    • White House Cyber Security Boss Also Wants Encryption Backdoors He Refuses To Call Backdoors

      Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently pitched a new form of backdoor for encryption: “responsible encryption.” The DAG said encryption was very, very important to the security of the nation and its citizens, but not so important it should ever prevent warrants from being executed.

      According to Rosenstein, this is the first time in American history law enforcement officers haven’t been able to collect all the evidence they seek with warrants. And that’s all the fault of tech companies and their perverse interest in profits. Rosenstein thinks the smart people building flying cars or whatever should be able to make secure backdoors, but even if they can’t, maybe they could just leave the encryption off their end of the end-to-end so cops can have a look-see.

      This is the furtherance of former FBI director James Comey’s “going dark” dogma. It’s being practiced by more government agencies than just the DOJ. Calls for backdoors echo across Europe, with every government official making them claiming they’re not talking about backdoors. These officials all want the same thing: a hole in encryption. All that’s really happening is the development of new euphemisms.

    • Facebook looks to hire people with national security clearances amid backlash over Russian meddling

      Earlier, security clearances were deactivated once an official or intelligence worker left their government job. Now, they can be carried over to private sector jobs so long as the position still requires access to classified information.

    • Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances

      Workers with such clearance can access information classified by the U.S. government. Facebook plans to use these people — and their ability to receive government information about potential threats — to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is sensitive. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

    • Visiting websites with your smartphone on mobile data can reveal your full name, phone number, address, and even location

      With just your mobile IP address, a website can find out all of your billing information, and even your precise location. This has been going on for years, largely behind the scenes – but recently the issue has been re-highlighted and the benefits of hiding your IP address are super clear.

    • Facebook is testing a CV upload feature as it chases LinkedIn (again)

      Facebook has been trying to push into the enterprise space for some time with Facebook at Work (now known as Workplace), and if confirmed, this would see the social network going head to head with LinkedIn owner Microsoft in the same space.

    • PureVPN Explains How it Helped the FBI Catch a Cyberstalker

      After several days of radio silence, VPN provider PureVPN has responded to criticism that it provided information which helped the FBI catch a cyberstalker. In a fairly lengthy post, the company reiterates that it never logs user activity. What it does do, however, is log the IP addresses of users accessing its service.

    • Bizarre: Swedish Minister of Justice shames ISP in public for NOT doing illegal wiretapping

      Something quite bizarre just happened on Twitter: the Swedish Minister of Justice went out of his way to lash out at the ISP most known for privacy in Sweden, criticizing the ISP for following the direct orders of the European Court of Justice instead of agreeing to covert illegal wiretapping. The Minister of Justice criticized the ISP for “not helping investigations against severe cases of child pornography”. The CEO of the ISP responded in the only way possible: “we cooperate with the police, but we also follow the law and due process”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • COINTELPRO 2? FBI Targets “Black Identity Extremists” Despite Surge in White Supremacist Violence

      A leaked FBI counterterrorism memo claims that so-called black identity extremists pose a threat to law enforcement. That’s according to Foreign Policy magazine, which obtained the document written by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit. The memo was dated August 3, 2017—only days before the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis killed one anti-racist protester, Heather Heyer, and injured dozens more. But the report is not concerned with the violent threat of white supremacists. Instead, the memo reads: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups have slammed the FBI report, warning the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups. Many have also compared the memo to the FBI’s covert COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement. We speak with Malkia Cyril, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice as well as a Black Lives Matter Bay Area activist.

    • Week 6: Guide To NFL Players Who Protested During National Anthem

      Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the movement of taking a knee during the anthem, filed a “grievance” against the National Football League. He alleged owners colluded to prevent him from playing another NFL game because he engaged in protest.

      “If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished,” one of his attorneys, Mark Geragos, said in a posted statement. “And athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the executive branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation.”

    • Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

      The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

      Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the car into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

      A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.

      Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

    • Utah Senator Wants To Revive The State’s ‘Porn Czar’ Office To Combat The Threat Of Women’s Magazines

      Todd Weiler, a state Senator in Utah, has appeared on our pages before. When last we checked in with the good senator, he was quite oddly attempting to purge his notoriously prudish state from the dire threat of pornography. His plan was more than a bit heavy-handed in that it centered on mandating porn-filtering software on all smartphones under his stated theory that “A cell phone is basically a vending machine for pornography.” This tragic misunderstanding by a sitting state senator of what a phone is and exactly what its primary functions are aside, government mandates that infringe on free and legal expression are kind of a no-no in these here secular United States. Even setting constitutional questions aside, attempts like these are immediately confronted by the obstreperous demands from the public for a definition of exactly what constitutes “pornography.”

    • New York Considers Barring Agreements Barring Victims From Speaking

      In the wake of the news about Harvey Weinstein’s apparently serial abuse of women, and the news that several of his victims were unable to tell anyone about it due to a non-disclosure agreement, the New York legislature is considering a bill to prevent such NDAs from being enforceable in New York state. According to the Buzzfeed article the bill as currently proposed still allows a settlement agreement to demand that the recipient of a settlement not disclose how much they settled for, but it can’t put the recipient of a settlement in jeopardy of needing to compensate their abuser if they choose to talk about what happened to them.

      It’s not the first time a state has imposed limits on the things that people can contract for. California, for example, has a law that generally makes non-compete agreements invalid. Even Congress has now passed a law banning contracts that limit consumers’ ability to complain about merchants. Although, as we learn in law school, there are some Constitutional disputes about how unfettered the freedom to contract should be in the United States, there has also always been the notion that some contractual demands are inherently “void as against public policy.” In other words, go ahead and write whatever contractual clause you want, but they aren’t all going to be enforceable against the people you want to force to comply with them.

    • Only Nonviolent Resistance Will Destroy the Corporate State

      The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.

      Native American communities—more than 200 were represented at the Standing Rock encampments, which at times contained up to 10,000 people—called themselves “water protectors.” Day after day, week after week, month after month, the demonstrators endured assaults carried out with armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, stun guns, tear gas, cannons that shot water laced with chemicals, and sound cannons that can cause permanent hearing loss. Drones hovered overhead. Attack dogs were unleashed on the crowds. Hundreds were arrested, roughed up and held in dank, overcrowded cells. Many were charged with felonies. The press, or at least the press that attempted to report honestly, was harassed and censored, and often reporters were detained or arrested. And mixed in with the water protectors was a small army of infiltrators, spies and agents provocateurs, who often initiated vandalism and rock throwing at law enforcement and singled out anti-pipeline leaders for arrest.

    • The refuge system at breaking point

      In a small office in the Midlands the telephone rings every half hour or so. On the line are women desperate for help, trying to flee domestic violence. But there is no space in the refuge, there is almost never any space.

      “Last week”, says a volunteer, “we had a lady call; she had four children, and the closest space we could find for her was the Orkney Islands.” They do not know if the woman took the 600 miles trip to safety; she did not call back.

      An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found domestic violence refuges across England struggling under huge budget cuts. More than a thousand vulnerable women and children have been turned away from refuges in just six months.

    • Black members of Congress push for more diversity in Silicon Valley hires

      Days after two leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus got Facebook to commit to hiring a black member to its board of directors, they again pressed major tech firms to diversify the hiring of executives and rank-and-file employees.

      In brief remarks before dozens of assembled employees at the downtown offices of Hustle, a texting startup, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) said Monday morning that they have been meeting with companies including Uber and Salesforce to improve on a longstanding issue of underrepresented minorities in Silicon Valley.

    • Court Tells Sheriff’s Dept. Shackling Kids Above The Elbows Is Excessive Force

      The ruling [PDF] restates common sense, albeit in 33 pages of legalese. It is excessive force to restrain preteens who weigh less than 60 lbs. with handcuffs meant to keep full-grown adults from moving their arms. The procedural history notes school personnel are forbidden from using mechanical restraints on students by state law. This law, however, does not forbid law enforcement officers from using handcuffs on students.

      In both cases, the students cuffed by a sheriff’s deputy had been combative. School personnel turned both students over to the SRO once it became obvious they would not be able to calm the students down. The combativeness didn’t stop once the deputy entered the picture. These would appear to be arguments in the deputy’s favor but only if other factors weren’t considered — like the students’ ages and sizes. Both children also suffered from behavioral disorders.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Google Bombs Are Our New Normal
    • FCC’s DDoS claims will be investigated by government

      The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate DDoS attacks that allegedly targeted the Federal Communications Commission’s system for accepting public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back net neutrality rules.

      Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) requested the investigation in August, and the GAO recently confirmed that it accepted the Schatz/Pallone request.

      [...]

      The FCC’s public comment website suffered an outage on May 8, just as the commission was receiving an influx of pro-net neutrality comments spurred by comedian John Oliver’s HBO segment on the topic.

      The FCC attributed the downtime solely to “multiple” DDoS attacks and said the attacks were “deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host.”

  • DRM
    • Linux Users Discuss DRM – Unleaded Hangout

      Today my Patreons and I discuss encrypted media extensions, digital rights management and our freedom on the Linux desktop.

    • The European Parliament Should Be Talking About DRM, Right Now!

      [Teresa Nobre, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] The European Union is currently discussing a reform of its copyright system, including making mandatory certain copyright exceptions, in order to introduce a balance into the system. However, no one, except Julia Reda, is paying any attention to one of the biggest obstacles to the enforcement of copyright exceptions in the digital age: technological protection measures (TPM), including digital rights management (DRM). In this blogpost we will present the reasons why the European Parliament should not lose this opportunity to discuss a reform of the EU anti-circumvention rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Supreme Court refuses to hear case questioning Google’s trademark

        The Supreme Court declined Monday to review a petition asserting that the term “google” has become too generic and therefore unqualified for trademark protection.

        Without comment, the justices set aside a legal challenge claiming that Google had fallen victim to “genericide” and should no longer be trademarked. A lawsuit claimed the word “google” had become synonymous with the term “search the Internet” and therefore could no longer sustain a trademark. For the moment, Google will keep its trademark—unlike the manufacturers of the teleprompter, thermos, hoover, aspirin, and videotape. They were once trademarked but lost that status after they were deemed too generic.

      • JPO Issues First Decision To Register Sound Trademark Consisting Solely Of Sound Element

        On 26 September, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announced, for the first time ever, the grant of protection to three sound trademarks consisting solely of a sound element.

    • Copyrights
      • Neighbor Sues For $2.5 Million After Renovation Looks Too Much Like Their Own House

        Copyright on home design has always been a really sketchy idea. Earlier this year, we wrote about a disturbing trend of housing copyright trolls and have had some other similar stories over time. For reasons that are beyond me, the Berne Convention requires copyright on architecture, and that creates silly situations, such as the one in Australia, where a homeowner was forced to modify their home due to “infringement.”

        And this nonsense has spread to Canada. The Toronto Star has the story of a couple, Jason and Jodi Chapnik, living in Forest Hill, Toronto (one of the “most affluent neighborhoods” in Toronto), who sued their neighbors for $2.5 million for the horrific faux pas of renovating their house to look too much like the Chapniks.

      • Over 50 Human Rights & Media Freedom NGOs ask EU to Delete Censorship Filter & to Stop © Madness

        On 16 October, over 50 NGOs representing human rights and media freedom (see the full list below) sent an open letter to the European Commission President, the European Parliament (EP) and the Council asking them to delete the censorship filter proposal (Article 13), as it would “would violate the freedom of expression set out in (…) the Charter of Fundamental Rights” and “provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens’ communications“. It is especially striking that organisations such as Reporters without Borders and Human Rights Watch, which are known to intervene for the protection of human rights in less democratic countries, have now been moved to the point where they felt the need to voice their concerns in this matter to ensure that EU citizens are safeguarded from the EU’s copyright agenda crushing their fundamental rights.

      • 56 Groups Call For Deletion Of Internet Filtering Provision In EU Copyright Proposal

        Today a range of civil society organisations sent an open letter to European Union policymakers calling for the removal of a provision they say would violate citizens’ rights by forcing monitoring and filtering of copyrighted materials.

      • 57 rights groups back anti-Article 13 letter to the European Parliament

        “The European Commission tabled a proposal that would force [I]nternet companies that share and store user-generated content, such as video or photo-sharing platforms or even creative writing websites, to filter uploads to their services,” said the group in a note to interested parties.

        “The signatories argue that the proposal would lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content, while at the same time constantly monitoring users’ activity online. These conditions would violate freedom of expression, freedom of information and also privacy. Therefore, the organisations are asking Members of the European Parliament to delete Article 13 from the proposal”.

      • Pirate Bay’s Iconic .SE Domain has Expired (Updated)

        The Pirate Bay’s iconic .SE domain name has expired and will be deactivated soon if no action is taken. This means that thepiratebay.se, which played a central part in the site’s history, is no longer redirecting to the most current Pirate Bay domain.

      • Spinrilla Wants RIAA Case Thrown Out Over ‘Lies’ About ‘Hidden’ Piracy Data

        In its continuing legal battle, popular hip-hop mixtape site and app Spinrilla is striking back against the major record labels. The company accuses the labels of maliciously hiding crucial piracy data, which puts it at a severe disadvantage. Spinrilla now wants to see the entire case dismissed.

Judge Bryson Rules Against Allergan After It Used Native American Tribes to Dodge Scrutiny of Patents (IPRs); Senator Hatch Does Not Understand IPRs

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 01:09:15 PM

Summary: Having attempted to dodge inter partes reviews (IPRs) by latching onto sovereign immunity, Allergan loses a key case and Senator Hatch is meanwhile attempting to water down IPRs albeit at the same time bemoaning patent trolls (which IPRs help neutralise)

THE above judge, Judge Bryson, called it a "sham" and US Congress got involved too. It’s an old issue [1, 2, 3] that emerged a few months back. Can tribes exploit their sovereign immunity to help patent trolls and other aggressors?

As Judge Bryson sees it, this exploitation of Native Americans by patent bullies and trolls is a serious issue. The case is therefore falling apart, as reported less than a day ago by a trolls expert. To quote:

A federal judge ruled today that patents protecting Allergan’s $1.5 billion blockbuster dry-eye drug, Restasis, are invalid due to obviousness. The international drug company’s stock dropped about five percent on the news.

The ruling by US Circuit Judge William Bryson could have wide effects on the patent landscape because the Restasis patents are at the center of a novel legal strategy that involves using Native American sovereignty rights to avoid certain types of patent reviews, called inter partes reviews, or IPRs.

[...]

Restasis was approved by the FDA in 2002, three years after Allergan began the drug-approval process. Allergan had an original patent on the formulation, known in the case as the Ding I patent, US Patent No. 5,474,979, which was filed in 1994 and expired in 2014.

In a 135-page opinion (PDF) published today, Judge Bryson found that Allergan’s patents on later formulations were obvious in light of the Ding I patent, as well as two other patents known as the Sall patent and the Ding II patent.

Yes, it’s 135 pages long!

As we noted last night, next month there will be oral proceedings in a case that can determine the future of inter partes reviews (IPRs). The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will quite likely (re)affirm the authority of PTAB to invalidate patents (like Allergan’s patents) and the subject is therefore entertained a lot by the trolls’ lobby. The attacks on PTAB in the lobbyists’ media (The Hill) are quite telling. This example from yesterday speaks about the Hatch-Waxman law and says that the “2011 AIA was a solution in search of a problem.” AIA is what ushered in PTAB and it tackled a very obvious problem.

Considering who’s behind these attacks on PTAB — and their motivations — it certainly means that the “right” people worry. These latest attacks acknowledge that patent trolls are a nuisance, but they also devolve into criticisms of PTAB (that stops trolls). Here is one key portion:

The AIA was intended to stymie patent trolls that bought up patents they never intended to use. Hedge funds, individuals and companies purchased patents not with the intent to protect their manufacture of innovative products, but to sue innovators who had their own, similar patents. Stopping this practice was a laudable goal that made sense for technology like software code and cell phone hardware.

However it was never intended to be applied to pharmaceutical innovation, where the so-called Hatch-Waxman law, which created a pathway for generic drugs, had already effectively balanced the interests of brand-name and generic drug manufacturers. Especially with regard to pharmaceuticals, the 2011 AIA was a solution in search of a problem.

The PTAB alternative to the courts has been widely condemned by patent-holders in a number of industries, chiefly the innovative pharmaceutical industry, which considers it to be unfair, unnecessary and anti-innovation. (The Supreme Court will take that up next year). Other, non-stakeholder observers, including one Federal Circuit Court decision, have reservations as well, calling the panels’ actions “arbitrary and capricious.”

Actually, almost all the PTAB bashers are in the litigation ‘industry’; many are trolls or work for trolls. We have provided plenty of evidence to that effect.

Speaking of the litigation ‘industry’, watch yesterday’s article “Hatch Hints At Changes To Patent Law”. It says this:

Senator Hatch discussed venue in non-practicing entity cases, possible reforms to IPR proceedings, and recent Supreme Court subject-matter eligibility case law. While Senator Hatch essentially punted on IPRs as something warranting Congress’s attention, he did not mince words when criticizing “patent trolls” and praising the Supreme Court’s recent TC Heartland decision. But he also expressed concerns about whether the Court’s subject-matter eligibility case law has gone too far, endangering life sciences and software development companies as a result.

Senator Hatch was blunt in expressing his views on non-practicing entities. He wrote that patent trolls “extort settlements” and “have become a serious drain on our economy.” He approved of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in TC Heartland, arguing that it “put a stop to rampant forum-shopping.” He nevertheless believes that “some unanswered questions remain” in the wake of TC Heartland. He cited, for example, the need to develop an answer to what constitutes a “regular and established place of business.”

Perhaps Senator Hatch does not fully understand the importance of IPRs. These are, in very many cases, thwarting attacks from patent trolls which target literally thousands of businesses. You cannot really be against trolls and at the same time against IPRs. Unless, of course, you don’t quite comprehend the situation (perhaps because someone lobbies and deceives you).

Rumours That António Campinos Initially Had No Competition at All (for Battistelli’s Succession) Are Confirmed

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 12:15:25 PM

Did the EPO just get itself a ‘younger Battistelli’?


Reference: Order of succession

Summary: Succession at the EPO (mostly French) shows that there’s little room for optimism and Battistelli’s people are too deeply entrenched in the upper echelons of the EPO

REMEMBER the judge from Italy who wanted to become the President of the EPO? We really feel for him. He probably didn’t know that the next President of the EPO had already been chosen. The purpose of another candidate was only to give an illusion of choice or a selection process. We have been following this closely for months and for a long time there was no eligible application from anyone other than António Campinos (other applications got rejected outright). At some stage, towards the very end, we became aware of only another application. But there was no doubt in our minds António Campinos would get the job, knowing (and hearing) what Battistelli had been doing behind the scenes.

“Maybe it’s time for this Italian judge to consider an ICC investigation. He did, after all, come from ICC.”The culture of nepotism at the EPO is a serious cancer. Just watch the spectacular rise, for example, of Elodie Bergot and her husband, a longtime Battistelli ally (from INPI). We wrote a lot about that. The EPO’s recruitment process has become best known for tailoring job requirements for particular people — a classic nepotist’s trick. Battistelli lobbied countries to help rig the ‘crowning’ process. Why should EPO staff be quiet about it and tolerate any of this?

Maybe it’s time for this Italian judge to consider an ICC investigation. He did, after all, come from ICC. Immunity probably isn’t much of a barrier to ICC, which itself enjoys immunity.

“Is Battistelli going to be to the EPO what Henry Kissinger became to the US government? In other words, is only Battistelli being ejected but not Battistelli-ism?”Consider again Monika Ermert's articles about the EPO scandals (she published articles about Ernst's first chairmanship opportunity over the past few days at IP Watch and Heise).

Here is her Heise article about António Campinos, which SUEPO has just translated into English [PDF] (and French too). It’s useful (especially the latter parts) because it confirms what we reported as rumours several months back.

European Patent Office: Battistelli steps down, Campinos steps up

[photo]

António Campinos in his role as Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office 2013 in Bangkok.

Boss of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, is going. During his time in office some of his staff had dubbed him the Sun King – more of a reign. Maybe António Campinos, a Portuguese, can calm things down at the EPO.

Former chief executive of the Portuguese Patent Office, António Campinos will be the new boss of the European Patent Office. As the Munich-based authority revealed today, Wednesday, the 38 members of the EPO Administrative Council elected Campinos at their meeting directly at the first vote. Campinos is not heir to an easy throne. Campinos is due to succeed Battistelli on 1 July 2018, whose second term in office which is limited to three years will then terminate in the proper manner, according to the EPO.

Proven expert

Still ruling President of the EPO, over the past few years Benoît Battistelli has made some bitter enemies in his own institution due to a rigorous policy of economy measures and a contentious routine of monitoring his staff. He dismissed employees from the ranks of the in-house staff union Suepo who demonstrated their willingness to strike. Some of these have since then lodged proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights in support of their right to strike. At the end of last year Battistelli even fired the chief staff representative at The Hague.

Campinos will be the first person representing a southern European country to head the EPO. As former chief executive of the Portuguese Patent Office he is a proven expert in the field, and was well known to the members of the Administrative Council after representing Portugal on the Council for a number of years.

Campinos’s present job as Managing Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) was plainly viewed by the EPO Administrative Council as proof of his qualifications to lead an international authority. This was lacking with the only other candidate, a judge put up for the position by Italy. Initially Campinos had had no competition at all. Battistelli himself is no longer standing for election.

Fears that he is too close to Battistelli

The EPO is emphasising above all the smoothness of the election and the seamless handover of the reins of office in the summer. By contrast, before Battistelli was elected in 2009/2010, the Member States on the Administrative Council were for months unable to agree on a candidate.

At the same time, JUVE, the publishing house for legal information, was reporting on mixed feeling among the members in the light of Campinos’s election. Some of them are afraid that Campinos is too close to Battistelli, who rapturously congratulated his successor. Nevertheless, “some of the Administrative Council clearly trust” Campinos “to resolve the conflicts with some of the staff and with the unions”, so say the experts.

Those last two paragraphs are key. Even the people inside the Council recognise that the Frenchman (yes, he's French too) Campinos is too close to Frenchman Battistelli. Maybe they’re concerned that Battistelli will sneak back into his 'pub' at the top floorof the EPO building in Munich, acting as a sort of ‘advisor’ to the much younger Campinos. Is Battistelli going to be to the EPO what Henry Kissinger became to the US government? In other words, is only Battistelli being ejected but not Battistelli-ism? We certainly think so. What’s more, a lot of recently-promoted top-level management is French amici of ‘king’ Battistelli. It’s stuffed with his people and there’s no “swamp-draining” anywhere in the foreseeable future/horizon.

EPO Stakeholders Complain That the New Chairman Does Not Grasp the Issues at the EPO (or Denies These)

Tuesday 17th of October 2017 11:34:19 AM

German stakeholders speak out about a German Chairman

Summary: Some information from inside the EPO’s Administrative Council, whose Chairman is denying (at least to himself) some of the core issues that render the EPO less competitive in the international market

THE EPO crisis won’t end until or unless different strategies are adopted. Last night we wrote about the EPO having a dispute over patent quality, but at the end the Administrative Council just parroted the lies of Battistelli. It’s as if there’s no intention at all to tackle the key issues. These key issues are not even publicly acknowledged. It’s all hogwash.

“According to Dr. Thorsten Bausch (Hoffmann Eitle), the Chairman at the Administrative Council does not quite know what’s going on or is in denial about it.”This morning an EPO insider said that “Chair of AC C. Ernst being told by “Users” that he has no clue of what’s going on at the European Patent Office. Note, however, that “Users” are concerned with Board of Appeal staffing and quality. Distressed employees kindly mentioned, but does not really become an issue.”

According to Dr. Thorsten Bausch (Hoffmann Eitle), the Chairman at the Administrative Council does not quite know what’s going on or is in denial about it. Very bad it is indeed if he’s not aware of the judge being illegally put on “house ban” (whatever that is). Why isn’t Ernst bringing him back? Why does he not bring all the judges back to Munich? They were collectively punished and marginalised by Battistelli.

Some interesting inside information can be found in Bausch’s article from yesterday. It’s about Ernst and the German delegation at the EPO:

With regard to the UPC, I learnt that this is a good idea from a European perspective, even though it may occasionally lead to some disruption of the existing business models of some. All well and good. Will it come and when? On that I did not learn anything. I cannot remember Dr. Ernst using the word ‘Brexit’ even once. He did mention the German constitutional complaint against the UPCA ratification, but his only two comments were “I am afraid I must disappoint you – I cannot comment on it here since I am a member of the Ministry of Justice”, and “I hope that it will end well and that it will soon be decided”. Amen.

Turning now to the two problems mentioned above, i.e. quality and the understaffing of the Boards of Appeal, I was flabbergasted to learn that the first was not actually a problem at all – at least not for Dr. Ernst – and the second has meanwhile been solved since the vacant positions have now been filled up, as Dr. Ernst explained.

Hmm. “Die Botschaft hör ich wohl, allein es fehlt der Glaube”. (I hear your message loud and clear, but still I don’t believe it – Goethe, Faust)

[...]

But let us put quality aside and turn to the really good news. The Chairman of the EPO’s Administrative Council said – and I am not joking here! – that the understaffing problem has meanwhile been solved. He literally stated that the (vacant) positions have been filled again (“die Stellen sind jetzt wieder besetzt”).

How great!

Except that this is unfortunately simply not true.

While a few Board of Appeal chairmen were appointed (out of current board members) and a number of current board members were apparently re-appointed in the last AC meeting, the overall result was such that EPO users can only be very disappointed. Following Dr. Ernst’s speech, I asked around and quickly learnt that there have, in fact, been virtually no new appointments of technical members lately.

[...]

In any case, it cannot be denied that the large majority of the more than 20 open positions as shown by the latest complete business distribution scheme from the end of 2016 have not been filled. Just to mention one example, the pharma board 3.3.02 now (finally!) has a new chairman, but still no (zero!) technical members. Its cases go to TBA 3.3.01. The backlog of cases grows and grows. This cannot be the solution!

Dr. Ernst was confronted with this fact by some members of the audience after his speech. He seemed genuinely surprised, if not even a little embarrassed, on hearing this and said he was not aware of this.

This raises serious questions.

I assume that Dr. Ernst genuinely told the audience what he believed to be true. If so, one must wonder how on earth he could come to this view. Did somebody falsely inform the Chairman of the EPO’s Administrative Council? If so, who was it and will that have any consequences? Or did the Chairman not bother to inform himself properly? He may be forgiven for not reading this blog, but is there nobody around him telling him what is going on?

As we expected, he will probably play “aloof” or apathetic much like Kongstad. Unless he tackles the hard issues and becomes a reforming actor we can expect nothing substantial to change. The same goes for Campinos, whom we’ll revisit in the next post.

Another Misleading Article Regarding Patents From Rana Foroohar at the Financial Times

Monday 16th of October 2017 10:38:34 PM

Summary: In an effort to promote the agenda of patent maximalists, many of whom are connected to the Financial Times, another deceiving report comes out

A NEW article that’s composed by Rana Foroohar from New York worries us because it’s not the first time she spreads falsehoods. She recently did more of that and her latest says: “Critics fear Silicon Valley lobbying has weakened the defence of intellectual property and sapped innovation” (by “critics” she means the patent microcosm).

“The Financial Times actively participates in lobbying, e.g. for the UPC. Agenda is up for sale.”
      –Foroohar writes for a large audience, namely the readers of the Financial Times which the EPO incidentally pays. The Financial Times actively participates in lobbying, e.g. for the UPC. Agenda is up for sale.

The latest nonsense from Foroohar uses false dichotomy/split (it’s not about “Big Pharma” but the patent microcosm) and quotes lobbyists like David Kappos. Unfortunately, we live in a world where big media is just a business and ‘facts’ (or ‘alternative facts’) are just a commodity to be determined by the highest bidder.

“The latest nonsense from Foroohar uses false dichotomy/split (it’s not about “Big Pharma” but the patent microcosm) and quotes lobbyists like David Kappos.”Speaking of the patent microcosm, Patently-O has just spotted that “Oral arguments for both Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712 and SAS Institute Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-969, have been set for November 27, 2017.”

As a reminder, Patently-O has been trying hard to ‘scandalise’ PTAB and influence this case in favour of patent trolls. The US Supreme Court will likely rubberstamp PTAB some time soon in spite of all the pressure from the patent trolls lobby and biased media including Patently-O and the Financial Times. A day earlier Patently-O presented some data about patent application pendency at the USPTO. To quote:

The chart below shows the pendency timing for issued US patents — looking particularly at the time from priority filing (including foreign priority claims) until issuance of the US patent.

This does not show anything profoundly interesting, but compared to the EPO it looks consistent. The EPO is just rushing things through and granting low-quality patents — the very same thing which the patent microcosm in the US wants. It’s all about litigation to these people.

Monika Ermert’s Reports About the Crisis at the EPO and IP Kat’s Uncharacteristically Shallow Coverage

Monday 16th of October 2017 10:06:49 PM

Good site; shame about the paywall…

Summary: News from inside the Council shows conflict regarding the quality of European Patents (granted by the EPO under pressure from top-level management)

THE situation behind the scenes at the EPO is hard to decipher because secrecy persists and intimidation prevails.

Earlier today, adding further to the mystique, Monika Ermert published this article about “System Battistelli” behind a paywall. To quote the only paragraph which is open access:

Considerable quality problems in the examination and processing of patent applications at the European Patent Office (EPO) were deplored by a group of patent attorneys during a visit of the new Chair of the EPO Administrative Board, Christoph Ernst, from the German Ministry of Justice, to the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research in Munich. Meant as a presentation of Ernst’s thoughts on “the future of the European patent system,” the debate developed into a harsh reckoning of the “System Battistelli.”

Some readers of ours asked if we could gain access to the full article, but we could not. One reader said that “the only way to receive the full article is by subscribing and paying the 1 year fee of 99 CHF or 86 €!”

Transparency at the EPO is crucial now. It would be nice to know what the article above said (which was new).

We have instead decided to publish a translation of another article from Ermert. She wrote also for Germany’s leading technology news site.

Translation of the article which appeared on Heise.de on the 14th of October can be found below:

Outgoing head of the European Patent Office criticised

14.10.2017 15:30 – Monika Ermert

European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich. (Picture: dpa, Frank Leonhardt)

On Friday evening, what had originally been intended as a specialist technical discussion about the future of the European patent system with the new head of the EPO Administrative Council turned into a round of severe criticism directed at the outgoing President.

The newly appointed head of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO), Christoph Ernst, Assistant Chief Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Justice, was obliged to listen to harsh criticism about the deteriorating quality of patent examination at the EPO as a result of the overworking of patent examiners. At the invitation of the Munich Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Innovation and Competition, Ernst presented an optimistic picture of the future of the European patent system but declared that he was willing to conduct a discussion about the quality problem with the experts.

The patent figures at the European Patent Office are rising, the Office is equipped to deal with new challenges and the EU Unitary patent is almost ready to go, according to Ernst’s optimistic message. On 1st October, he took over the Chairmanship of the Administrative Council. Prior to that, he already sat as head of the German delegation in the supervisory body of the 38 member states and he represented Germany at the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Pressure to perform and toxic workplace relations

For years the EPO has been getting negative press coverage, mainly because of the severe conflict between President Benoit Battistelli who is due to depart next year and his employees and staff unions. Because of the intense pressure to perform and also psychological pressure exerted on the employees within the Office, perverse incentives have been introduced, warned Gero Maatz-Jansen from the Munich-based law firm Grüncker.

Instead of thoroughly scrutinizing patent applications, EPO staff try to get the files off their desks as quickly as possible. In the medium term, declining quality could drive the users away and cause the entire EPO system to collapse, the lawyer said with great applause from around 60 participants at the MPI event, many of whom contributed their own observations.

Evidence of deterioration in quality?

Weaker prior art citations and superficial search reports on the state of the art, as well as problems in the formal procedures underscored the fact that the work of the EPA staff was suffering. Examiners increasingly complied with the rigorous efficiency agenda of EPA CEO Battistelli by quickly rejecting applications because of minor formal flaws, said one lawyer.

Ernst called for data concerning such deficiencies to be presented. To date, there had been no real evidence of a deterioration in quality, he said. The number of oppositions against granted applications was declining slightly, as were the revocations and the “destruction rate” was negligible. “The mere fact that more patents are granted does not in itself mean that the quality is impaired,” he told the patent lawyers.

The EPO examiner and staff union official Elizabeth Hardon, who was dismissed by Battistelli in 2016, recalled that quality problems will only become apparent a number of years down the line in subsequent nullity proceedings. The staff union official expressly welcomed the fact that at the MPI event others were standing up to voice criticism of the workplace situation at the EPO. “For years nobody was listening to us,” she said.

Patent system in crisis?

According to the host, Reto Hilty, Managing Director of the MPI for Innovation and Competition, a rising number of patent applications does not provide proof of any increase in innovation, which is supposed to be what the patent system is all about. Researchers who for a long time have been talking about a “crisis of the patent system” are noting a veritable race for high numbers of applications in China, the USA and Europe.

In his speech at the MPI Ernst also referred to individual crisis symptoms. For example, there are intense discussions at the United Nations about the artificial restriction of access to vital medication by patents. However, he called the relevant UN report “one-sided” and “not pointing in the right direction.” The controversial issue of bio-patenting has not yet been resolved because the EPO is currently dealing with a new opposition proceedings against the patenting of beer. Finally, a consultation relating to patents on essential standards is one of the top priorities on the agenda of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Update, 14.10.2017 16:30:

Name of Elizabeth Hardon corrected (Monika Ermert)

One might wonder, where’s the Kat?

Well, the Kat finally wrote something about it, but it’s disappointing. “Merpel welcomes Mr. Campinos to the exciting world of European Patents,” it says.

This unusually shallow coverage from the user “Merpel” makes us wonder if it’s CIPA (Stephen) who wrote it. It’s a short post that’s repeating/parroting Battistelli’s statements (without noting that it’s Battistelli who set him up for this job) and calling Campinos “a Portuguese national” even though he is French too (like Battistelli). Merpel is not an actual person but a name used by several people who prefer to post anonymously.

Incidentally, somebody wrote this comment today regarding what Ernst means to the UPC. It says: “Interesting thoughts – one further comment – should the UPC fail or succeed in coming about, that may indicate the trend of IP in future, reflecting as it does the “in” or “out” discussions in regions and nations at present (although with an added sprinkling of complex constitutional compromise for good measure to mix things up a little). Personally a retreat to tribalism does not seem to bode well.”

The UPC will probably fail at the end; it’s stuck and won’t become a reality under Battistelli, but the one legacy Battistelli put in place is lenient grants with PPH, PACE, Early Certainty etc. Very bad for patent quality, no doubt. Earlier today Awapatent published this article about the EPO’s PPH arrangement with a former Portuguese colony (not Angola but Brazil). What this will mean when Campinos take charge remains to be seen.

Patent Troll VirnetX a Reminder to Apple That Software Patents Are a Threat to Apple Too

Monday 16th of October 2017 09:28:26 PM

Summary: VirnetX, a notorious patent troll, is poised to receive a huge sum of money from Apple and Qualcomm is trying to ban Apple products, serving to remind Apple of the detrimental impact of patents on Apple itself

AS reported in some Apple fan sites and VirnetX with its press release, Apple will need to pay about half a billion dollars for some dubious patents. It’s the latest reminder to Apple that software patents should be abolished.

There is also an attempt to ban all the ‘i’ things. That’s the latest on Qualcomm, as we noted yesterday. Even patent fanatics from IAM don’t think Qualcomm’s strategy will succeed. As they put it some hours ago:

A series of Beijing lawsuits first reported by Bloomberg on Friday are just the latest salvos in the increasingly bitter global patent war between Qualcomm and Apple. Announcing the new suits to the press, Qualcomm declared explicitly that it will seek an injunction in China to stop the manufacture and sale of iPhones.

The three cases have been filed to the Beijing IP Court. A Qualcomm spokesperson said the patents are related to power management and touch screen technologies, and made clear that they are not standard essential patents (SEPs). Apple emphasised that the rights are peripheral to the core of the dispute between the two companies, saying in a statement: “In our many years of ongoing negotiations with Qualcomm, these patents have never been discussed.” But by asserting patents not subject to a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing pledge, Qualcomm is likely to be counting on an easier path to injunctive relief – its stated goal.

Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler for Apple if software patents simply did not exist (in China too)? Many of the patents Qualcomm is using are software patents.

Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

Monday 16th of October 2017 11:05:00 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Microsoft faces Dutch crunch over Windows 10 private data slurp

      Yet another European nation is turning up the heat on Microsoft for extracting heaps and heaps of telemetry and other intelligence from Windows 10 PCs.

      This time, it’s privacy authorities in the Netherlands who are calling out Redmond for its hog-wild harvesting of data from machines that run Windows 10 Home and Pro. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said on Friday it will impose sanctions on Microsoft should the American tech giant fail to make changes to its software.

    • Dutch slam Windows 10 for breaking privacy laws

      Dutch authorities claim Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is violating data protection and privacy laws, and warned they may impose fines on the US technology giant.

      “Microsoft breaches the Dutch data protection law by processing personal data of people that use the Windows 10 operating system on their computers,” the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said in a statement late Friday.

      The company fails to “clearly inform” users of Windows 10 that it “continuously collects personal data about the usage of apps and web surfing behavior through its web browser Edge, when the default settings are used,” the DPA said.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 based laptop features DIY hacking bay

      Pi-top has revised its RPi based laptop with a 14-inch HD screen and a slide-off keyboard that reveals a cooling unit and DIY space for a breadboard kit.

      Pi-top’s Raspberry Pi driven laptop has received a major upgrade with a new model with a slightly larger 14-inch, HD screen and a 6 to 8 hour battery. The 2017 edition of the education-focused Pi-top features a modular design with a larger keyboard that slides forward to reveal a Raspberry Pi 3 with a new heatsink. It also includes an empty bay for DIY hacking, which can be filled with components from a free Inventor’s Kit. This DIY kit includes a breadboard, a motion sensor, LEDs, and a microphone, all mounted on a magnetic sliding rail.

    • Pi-Top: This Raspberry Pi And Linux-powered Laptop Is For New

      In late 2014, Pi-Top, U.K.’s education startup raised about $200,000 on Indiegogo to fund its first DIY laptop. It was followed by pi-topCEED, a cheap desktop computer that’s powered by Raspberry Pi.

      Their latest offering, the new Pi-Top, is a new tinkering machine that you can assemble on your own using modular approach. Compared to the past offerings, the number of steps needed to assemble the computer and start working are much less.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.13.7

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.7 kernel.

      All users of the 4.13 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.13.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.13.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.15 Is Shaping Up To be An Exciting Kernel, Especially For AMD Users

      There still is a few weeks to go until the Linux 4.14 kernel will be released, but following that the Linux 4.15 kernel is shaping up to be a very exciting cycle.

    • F2FS Tools 1.9 Released With Encryption & More

      An updated version of the user-space F2FS (Flash Friendly File-System) utilities was quietly released a few weeks back.

      The f2fs-tools 1.9 update is a fairly big update for adding the bits for recent additions to the F2FS kernel driver. Now handled by f2fs-tools is dealing with encryption support, sparse support, inode checksum support, no-heap allocation is enabled by default, and support for the CP_TRIMMED_FLAG.

    • Improvements in the block layer

      Jens Axboe is the maintainer of the block layer of the kernel. In this capacity, he spoke at Kernel Recipes 2017 on what’s new in the storage world for Linux, with a particular focus on the new block-multiqueue subsystem: the degree to which it’s been adopted, a number of optimizations that have recently been made, and a bit of speculation about how it will further improve in the future.

      Back in 2011, Intel published a Linux driver for NVM Express (or NVMe, where NVM is the Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface), which was its new bus for accessing solid-state storage devices (SSDs). This driver was incorporated into the mainline kernel in 2012, first appearing in 3.3. It allowed new, fast SSD devices to be run at speed, but that gave no improvement if the block subsystem continued to treat them as pedestrian hard drives. So a new, scalable block layer known as blk-mq (for block-multiqueue) was developed to take better advantage of these fast devices; it was merged for 3.13 in 2014. It was introduced with the understanding that all of the old drivers would be ported to blk-mq over time; this continues, even though most of the mainstream block storage devices have by now been successfully ported. Axboe’s first focus was a status update on this process.

    • Kernel prepatch 4.14-rc5
    • Linux 4.14-rc5 Released

      Linus Torvalds has just issued the Linux 4.14-rc5 kernel update.

      With this release out today, we’re three to four weeks out from seeing the official Linux 4.14 kernel release. Linux 4.14 has overall been a big cycle with the possibility of going up to a Linux 4.14-rc8 test release prior to declaring the stable release, but we’ll have to see Torvalds’ reactions in the weeks ahead.

    • Linux 4.14-rc5

      Things seem to be finally starting to calm down for 4.14.

      We’ve certainly had smaller rc5′s, but we’ve had bigger ones too, and
      this week finally felt fairly normal in a release that has up until
      now felt a bit messier than it perhaps should have been.

      So assuming this trend holds, we’re all good. Knock wood.

      So what do we have here? A little bit of everything, but what might be
      most noticeable is some more fixes for the whole new x86 TLB handling
      due to the ASID changes that came in this release. Some of the lazy
      TLB handling changes caused problems on a few AMD chips with
      particular settings, because it was all a little bit *too* lazy in
      flushing the TLB. Even when TLB entries aren’t used (and will be
      flushed before any possible use), the TLB may be speculatively filled,
      and that can cause problems if we’ve already free’d the page tables
      that the speculative fill ends up looking up.

      The other thing perhaps worth mentioning is how much random fuzzing
      people are doing, and it’s finding things. We’ve always done fuzzing
      (who remembers the old “crashme” program that just generated random
      code and jumped to it? We used to do that quite actively very early
      on), but people have been doing some nice targeted fuzzing of driver
      subsystems etc, and there’s been various fixes (not just this last
      week either) coming out of those efforts. Very nice to see.

      Anyway, rc5 is out, and things look normal. We’ve got arch updates
      (mostly x86and poweerpc, but some mips), drivers (gpu, networking,
      usb, sound, misc), some core kernel (lockdep fixes, networking, mm)
      and some tooling (perf, selftests).

      Go out and test,

      Linus

    • Linus Torvalds lauds fuzzing for improving Linux security

      Linus Torvalds release notification for Linux 4.14′s fifth release candidate contains an interesting aside: the Linux Lord says fuzzing is making a big difference to the open source operating system.

      Torvalds’ announcement says Linux kernel 4.14 is coming along nicely, with this week’s release candidate pleasingly small and “fairly normal in a release that has up until now felt a bit messier than it perhaps should have been.”

      This week’s most prominent changes concern “… more fixes for the whole new x86 TLB [translation lookaside buffer – Ed] handling due to the ASID [address space ID - Ed] changes that came in this release.”

  • Applications
    • Catching up with RawTherapee 5.x

      Free-software raw photo editor RawTherapee released a major new revision earlier this year, followed by a string of incremental updates. The 5.x series, released at a rapid pace, marks a significant improvement in the RawTherapee’s development tempo — the project’s preceding update had landed in 2014. Regardless of the speed of the releases themselves, however, the improved RawTherapee offers users a lot of added functionality and may shake up the raw-photo-processing workflow for many photographers.

      It has been quite some time since we last examined the program during the run-up to the 3.0 series in 2010. In the intervening years, the scope of the project has grown considerably: macOS is now supported in addition to Windows and various flavors of Linux, and the application has seen substantial additions to the tool set it provides.

      The competitive landscape that RawTherapee inhabits has also changed; 2010-era competitors Rawstudio and UFRaw are not seeing much active development these days (not to mention the death of proprietary competitors like Apple’s Aperture), while darktable has amassed a significant following — particularly among photographers interested in a rich set of effects and retouching tools. At the other end of the spectrum, raw-file support improved in the “consumer” desktop photo-management tools (such as Shotwell) in the same time period, thus offering casual users some options with a less intimidating learning curve than darktable’s. Where RawTherapee sits amid all of the current offerings can be a bit hard to define.

      The 5.0 release landed on January 22, 5.1 then arrived on May 15, and 5.2 was unleashed (in the words of the announcement) on July 23. The project also migrated its source-code repository and issue tracking to GitHub, launched a new discussion forum, and has assembled a wiki-style documentation site called RawPedia.

    • psdash – System And Process Monitoring Web Dashboard For Linux

      psdash is a system monitoring and information web dashboard for Linux written in python using psutils and flask. The GUI is pretty much straight forward and clean. All the data is updated automatically, no need to refresh.

      psutils (process and system utilities) is a cross-platform library for retrieving information on running processes and system utilization (CPU, memory, disks, network, sensors) in Python.

    • Tiling Terminal Emulator Tilix 1.7.0 Released with Minor Improvements

      Tilix, the modern tiling terminal emulator for Linux desktops, scored an update at the weekend.

      Although a modest release, Tilix 1.7.0 brings some timely bug fixes and feature improvements to the app formerly known as Terminix.

      This includes support for using tabs instead of a sidebar, a feature Tilix dev Gerald Nunn says was a frequent user request.

      There’s also preliminary Flatpak support, though there’s no specific information on how to text or make use of the Tilix Flatpak. It’d be great to see the app added to the (awesome) Flathub Flatpak app store.

    • Oceanaudio An Audio Editor For Linux

      Audios are an integral part of life. Playing our best songs, having a party or a special function, we require audio everywhere. That is why audio editors are there too to help us make the best of an audio file. When I say audio editor, many of you will just think of audacity. Sure that is a pretty cool software but I think it’s a bit complicated for the inexperienced one.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
      • Wine 2.19 Supports 32-Bit Float Audio on Android, Has iTunes 11.1.x Improvements

        The bi-weekly release of Wine is here today with a new development release, versioned 2.19, which adds a few new features and fixes a total of 16 bugs in multiple Windows apps and games.

        Let’s start with the new features and improvements, as the Wine 2.19 release introduces support for 32-bit float audio on Android, support for a new Microsoft root certificate, the ability for the Wine server to fully handle named pipes, a bunch of optimizations to heap allocation, as well as an extra layer of transform fixes in GdiPlus.

    • Games
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Celebrates 21st Anniversary with New Updates of KDE Applications, Frameworks

        Today, the KDE Project celebrates the 21st anniversary of the well-known and widely used desktop environment for GNU/Linux and UNIX-like operating systems with new releases of its KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications software stacks.

        KDE recently unveiled KDE Plasma 5.11 as the latest and most advanced version of the KDE desktop environment, and today they released KDE Applications 17.08.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, which are now available to download for users of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environments, as well as GNU/Linux distros that use the KDE Stack.

      • Replacing Audacity with KWave

        KWave has been developed since 1998, yet few have heard of it. I only recently heard of it myself from writer and podcaster Marcel Gagné while I was setting up to do how-to-videos. Part of the reason for its obscurity might be that, despite its name, it only recently become an official KDE project in the last release. However, the major reason for its obscurity is probably that it has been overshadowed by the better-known Audacity — which is a pity, because in most ways, KWave is every bit as useful as an audio editor.

        Why would anyone want an Audacity substitute? For one thing, while Audacity is cross-platform, it is not well-integrated into Linux. Audacity handles its own resources, as you can tell by its lengthy load time. Often, Audacity frequently gives confusing options for input and playback sources, giving several names to the same device and offering irrelevant front and back options for mono devices, so that users can only find the one they need through trial and error. Sometimes, the necessary option for a particular source can change for no apparent each time Audacity starts.

      • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) final RC images now available

        Artful Aardvark (17.10) final Release Candidate (RC) images are now available for testing. Help us make 17.10 the best release yet!

        The Kubuntu team will be releasing 17.10 on October 19, 2017.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • There’s One Week Left To Apply For Outreachy Round 15

        There’s one week left for women and other under-represented groups in the open-source world to apply for Outreachy Round 15 for a winter internship to work on various projects.

        Outreachy applications are due 23 October and accepted participants are announced in early November for this $5500 USD internship period that runs from December to March. This round is open to: “internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Internships are also open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.”

      • retro-gtk: Renaissance

        This is the second article in a small series about retro-gtk, I recommend you to read the first one, retro-gtk: Postmortem, before this one.

        In the previous article I listed some problems I encountered while developing and using retro-gtk; in this one I will present some solutions I implemented to fix them! All that is presented in this article is part of the newly-released retro-gtk 0.13.1, which is the first version of the 0.14 development cycle.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” Xfce

        The mission for a swap Linux conveyance for Linux Mint 13 LTS “Maya” Xfce proceeds. With this post comes a review of the most recent MATE version of Linux Mint. Particularly for consistent perusers of this blog, I will simply say that with the most recent point discharge, it appears like the designers have put cleaner into the conveyance, including their new arrangement of “X-applications” intended to work crosswise over MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce, and GNOME, keeping away from the entanglements of more DE-particular applications. I need to perceive what has changed since my last review and to see whether this would be reasonable for the establishment and everyday use on my portable workstation. With that in mind, I made a live USB framework (once more, on my new SanDisk Cruzer USB streak drive) utilizing the “dd” order. Take after the bounce to perceive what it resembles. Note that I’ll often refer to past review, noticing just changes and general imperative focuses as required.

      • Star 1.0.1 – lightweight desktops on a Devuan base

        On the whole, I like the ideas presented in Star’s design. The distribution is basically Devuan and pulls packages from Devuan’s software repositories, but the live media and lightweight environments are great for testing the distribution and for breathing life into older computers. While this approach of starting light and adding only what we need is a solid concept, and proved to be very forgiving on resources, there are some rough edges in the implementation. The missing manual pages, for example, and the media player issues I ran into posed problems.

        A few programs I used flashed warning messages letting me know PulseAudio was not available as Star uses the ALSA sound system by default. Strictly speaking, PulseAudio is not required most of the time and, if we do run into a situation where it is needed, we can install PulseAudio easily enough by rerunning Star’s welcome script.

        The default JWM environment is very plain and empty, which suited me. My only complaint was the constantly updating Conky status panel at the bottom of the screen. I was able to disable Conky, but it required digging into JWM’s configuration files. Which brings me to another point: many users will probably prefer to try heavier editions of Star (like Xfce) to gain access to more user friendly configuration tools. The JWM edition is intentionally bare bones and probably best suited to more experienced users.

        One last observation I had while using Star is that it is based on Devuan 1.0.0, which presents us with software that is about three years old (or more) at this point. This means some packages, like LibreOffice, are notably behind upstream versions. Since Star is best suited for older computers, this may not be an issue for most users, but it is worth keeping in mind that Star’s software repository is a few years old at this point.

    • Gentoo Family
      • Sakaki’s EFI Install Guide/Disabling the Intel Management Engine

        The Intel Management Engine (‘IME’ or ‘ME’) is an out-of-band co-processor integrated in all post-2006 Intel-CPU-based PCs. It has full network and memory access and runs proprietary, signed, closed-source software at ring -3,[1][2][3][4] independently of the BIOS, main CPU and platform operating system[5][6] — a fact which many regard as an unacceptable security risk (particularly given that at least one remotely exploitable security hole has already been reported[7][8]).

    • Slackware Family
      • October updates for the Slackware Plasma5 desktop

        There’s been updates to all the major components of the KDE Software Collection (I know they stopped using that name but I think it is still fitting). So I tasked my build box to compile hundreds of new packages and today I have for you the October ’17 set of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current. KDE 5_17.10 contains: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Plasma 5.11.0 and Applications 17.08.2. All based on Qt 5.9.2 for Slackware-current and Qt 5.7.1 for Slackware 14.2.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat software and services land on Alibaba Cloud

        With that in mind, Alibaba Cloud, which is the cloud computing arm of eCommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said today that it’s partnering with the open-source software company Red Hat Inc. The alliance sees Alibaba Cloud join the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program, which makes it possible for it to offer a range of popular Red Hat products to its customers. These will include the company’s flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform, which will soon be made available via a pay-as-you-go pricing model in the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace.

      • Fedora
        • Korora 26 Bloat – More is less or less is more?

          Korora 26 Bloat is a noble concept, but it does not solve the fundamental problem it aims to solve: make Fedora usable. It tries to minimize the wreck that is Fedora 26 and fails to do so. Additionally, it introduces problems that the original did not have, making an even bigger mess.
          Korora comes with a slew of ergonomics issues, flaking hardware support, too much actual bloat, tons of niggles and issues that are technically Fedora’s legacy, and then the horrible Nvidia support that is just embarrassing in 2017. To answer my own question, more is less in this case, and there isn’t a justifiable reason why you should prefer Korora over Fedora, nor why you should use it against the likes of Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Mint. Alas, this is not a good release, 2/10. Unusable, which is a shame, because I did like what Korora managed to do in the past. But it just shows how fragile the Linux world is. Proper distro release QA is a joke, regressions are nothing but a silent excuse to move on and churn out more bad code, almost like industrial protein, and this is so depressing I sometimes wonder why I even bother.

          Anyway, to sum it up, Fedora 26 is worse than its predecessors, and Korora 26 is both worse than its own forefathers and the original article it seeks to tame, with appalling support for proprietary graphics drivers and other distros in a multi-boot setup that I really cannot recommend it. The cosmetic issues are also important, but in the end, the real deal breaker is the hardware side. Waiting for Korora 27. Peace.

    • Debian Family
      • Debian 9.2.1 is out
      • A New Debian/Ubuntu Kernel Build With The Latest AMDGPU DC Patches

        For those wanting to run the very latest bleeding-edge AMDGPU DC display code on an Ubuntu/Debian-based box, here is a fresh x86_64 kernel build of the latest DC kernel patches as of today.

        It was on Friday that more AMDGPU DC patches were pushed out as AMD works to have this code all tidied up and prepped for the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle.

      • Debian Installer git repository

        While dealing with d-i’s translation last month in FOSScamp, I was kinda surprised it’s still on SVN. While reviewing PO files from others, I couldn’t select specific parts to commit.

        Debian does have a git server, and many DDs (Debian Developers) use it for their Debian work, but it’s not as public as I wish it to be. Meaning I lack the pull / merge request abilities as well as the review process.

      • Free software log (September 2017)

        I said that I was going to start writing these regularly, so I’m going to stick to it, even when the results are rather underwhelming. One of the goals is to make the time for more free software work, and I do better at doing things that I record.

        The only piece of free software work for September was that I made rra-c-util compile cleanly with the Clang static analyzer. This was fairly tedious work that mostly involved unconfusing the compiler or converting (semi-intentional) crashes into explicit asserts, but it unblocks using the Clang static analyzer as part of the automated test suite of my other projects that are downstream of rra-c-util.

        One of the semantic changes I made was that the vector utilities in rra-c-util (which maintain a resizable array of strings) now always allocate room for at least one string pointer. This wastes a small amount of memory for empty vectors that are never used, but ensures that the strings struct member is always valid. This isn’t, strictly speaking, a correctness fix, since all the checks were correct, but after some thought, I decided that humans might have the same problem that the static analyzer had. It’s a lot easier to reason about a field that’s never NULL. Similarly, the replacement function for a missing reallocarray now does an allocation of size 1 if given a size of 0, just to avoid edge case behavior. (I’m sure the behavior of a realloc with size 0 is defined somewhere in the C standard, but if I have to look it up, I’d rather not make a human reason about it.)

      • Free Software Efforts (2017W41)

        The issue that was preventing the migration of the Tasktools Packaging Team’s mailing list from Alioth to Savannah has now been resolved.

        Ana’s chkservice package that I sponsored last week has been ACCEPTED into unstable and since MIGRATED to testing.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Newbie’s Guide to Ubuntu 17.10 Part 2

            This is Part 2 of the newbie’s guide to operate Ubuntu 17.10. Here you’ll learn how to operate the Nautilus File Manager. You’ll do most of daily activities in Nautilus because it is your file manager, like Finder in Mac OS X or Explorer in Windows. You’ll learn basic skills such as selecting & navigating, creating & deleting, searching & sorting files/folders, and also basic knowledge for keyboard shortcuts and the user interface. I wish this article helps you best to run Ubuntu 17.10 easily and happily.

          • Do You Plan to Upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10? [Poll]

            Ubuntu 17.10 is set to be released on Thursday October 19 — which, if you haven’t been paying attention to the nearest calendar, is less than a week away!

            Having spent the past 6 months in development chances are you’ve some inclination as to whether or not you will upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) initial RC images now available

            Artful Aardvark (17.10) initial Release Candidate (RC) images are now available for testing. Help us make 17.10 the best release yet!

          • Please get to testing Artful RCs (20171015)
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • How to define a metrics strategy for your community

    Data sets are everywhere, and because open source communities produce plenty of information in addition to source code, most community infrastructures require tools to support the software development process. Examples include bug-reporting systems such as Jira and Bugzilla, versioning systems such as Git, and code review tools like Gerrit. Although communication also takes place through these tools, most is done through mailing lists, IRC, supporting systems like Discourse, and even Twitter and other social channels (especially for marketing and announcements). In fact, most open source communities utilize at least five or ten tools, if not more.

  • Events
    • LibreOffice Conference 2017

      This week the annual LibreOffice conference was held in Rome and I had the pleasure to attend. The city of Rome is migrating their IT infrastructure to open software and standards and the city council was kind enough to provide the awesome venue for the event, the Campidoglio.

    • More from the testing and fuzzing microconference

      A lot was discussed and presented in the three hours allotted to the Testing and Fuzzing microconference at this year’s Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), but some spilled out of that slot. We have already looked at some discussions on kernel testing that occurred both before and during the microconference. Much of the rest of the discussion will be summarized below. As it turns out, a discussion on the efforts by Intel to do continuous-integration (CI) testing of graphics hardware and drivers continued several hundred miles north the following week at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC); that will be covered in a separate article.

    • Opensource.com Lightning Talks at All Things Open 2017

      Join the Opensource.com community for a set of amazing lightning talks you won’t want to miss during the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, NC. Speakers have five minutes to enlighten the audience about an open source topic they are passionate about. We’ve got everything from DevOps and Kubernetes, to wearables, cloud, and more. Grab your lunch, find a seat, warm up your Twitter fingers, and get ready for the fastest hour at All Things Open 2017. Share your favorite thoughts using hashtage #ATO2017.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • CMS
    • 4 website maintenance mistakes to avoid

      Maintenance is a good idea for every website, but it’s a requirement for websites using open source code. The upside of open source is that everyone can participate. The downside is that means keeping up with everyone’s changes. Code gets patched, which causes other code to stop working and need patches in turn. Exploits are found and then blocked. Fancy new features are developed, and your users want them. All of this means you need to keep up! The most important weapon to combat these forces is maintenance. Maintenance is a simple process, but there are basic mistakes that many people make at least once. Avoid these and you’ll be well on your way to a safer, cleaner website that isn’t a huge pain to keep running.

      [...]

      Even if you could do better, are you being paid to rewrite something that’s already mostly working? If you’re frustrated enough to take it on as a hobby project, is that what you want to spend your weekend on? GitHub is chock full of not-all-that-unique content management systems (CMSes) and static site builders. Most of them are abandoned, clones of more popular systems, or both. Don’t be yet another one.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • Open-source mapping being used to help first responders in Puerto Rico

        Satellite images of rural towns, sprawling woodlands and grooved mountainsides fill the computer screens as homeowners and students scroll across digital maps.

        This group of a few dozen people gathered on Friday at the Perry Castenada Library on the University of Texas at Austin campus for a four-hour disaster relief mapathon to bolster humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico, where 91 percent of the island is still without electricity, and Mexico, which was ravaged by a 6.1 earthquake.

  • Programming/Development
    • Kotlin Programming Language Will Surpass Java On Android Next Year

      At Google I/O 2017, Google announced the newly added support for Kotlin programming language in Android, along with the existing languages Java and C++. As per the experts, Kotlin came as a breath of fresh air in Android development ecosystem to make “Android development faster and more fun. But, what about the numbers? How many developers are making a shift to Kotlin? Let’s find out.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Progress Being Made On New “WebGPU” Web Graphics API

      There continues to be progress made on the new Apple/W3C backed web graphics API dubbed “WebGPU” that has the backing of major stakeholders.

      Separate from the work being done by The Khronos Group on “WebGL-Next” there is the “WebGPU” initiative being organized by the W3C.

Leftovers
  • How China Has Built Major Roads In Doklam: Exclusive

    India backs Bhutan’s claim to the Doklam Plateau, which lies North of the “Chicken’s Neck” – a narrow strip that links India to its northeastern states. Any roads in or around this area are a cause of concern for Delhi because they could give Beijing access to this strategically sensitive terrain.

  • Car accidents killed 37,000 people last year — it’s time to act
  • Finnish military grants athlete status to e-sports conscripts

    Young people pursuing a career in the increasingly-lucrative field of e-sports will be able to serve their compulsory service in the Finnish Defence Forces as an athlete in future. The Finnish Defence Forces will allow the e-sports players to serve with the same status as elite sportspeople, giving them special privileges as they undertake their compulsory service.

    Conscripts meeting the requirements will be assessed as part of the special forces selection associated with every round of call-ups. The Finnish E-sports Federation will assist in the assessment of possible candidates.

    “By completing their military service in the Sports School, e-sports professionals will have enough time to practice and compete,” the federation’s director Joonas Kapiainen said in a press release.

  • Outlook, Office 2007 slowly taken behind the shed, shots heard

    A decade after their release, Microsoft Office 2007 and Outlook 2007 today fell out of extended support. Gaze teary-eyed at your installation discs. The software has entered the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

    The cutoff has been coming for some time, of course, but if you’re of a nostalgic bent, the Outlook 2007 epitaph is here, and the somewhat longer (with more dates to absorb) Office 2007 farewell is here.

    With extended support ending for both 2007-era families, no new features, bug fixes, security patches, nor support, will be available in future for the programs.

  • Catalonia and the ‘Europe of Regions’

    One of the solutions that emerged was to promote the notion of a “Europe of Regions,” i.e. along with the centralization of power on certain matters at the supranational level, there would also be a devolution of powers towards local authorities in other fields. The idea of emphasizing regional characteristics on an ethnic basis was not new, but it received renewed attention in the 1990s as avenues were sought to advance E.U. integration.

  • Science
    • Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It’ll Be Gone
    • Studying human tumors in mice may end up being misleading

      Cancer is, unfortunately, governed by the same evolutionary rules that drive life itself. Cells in tumors are essentially competing to see which can divide the fastest. This competition drives them to pick up new mutations that can help them divide faster, survive immune attack, resist drugs, and expand to new areas of the body.

      We can tell this by looking at the genetic changes that occur as tumors progress. Over time, we can trace the appearance of new mutations that confer abilities that are, from cancer’s perspective, useful for tumor cells.

      Now, a new study suggests that an unfortunate side effect of these evolutionary changes is that human tumors are really difficult to study. Whether the tumor cells are put in a culture dish or grown in mice, they evolve changes that help them grow in this new environment. And some of these changes influence how the tumor cells respond to drugs.

  • Hardware
    • The impossible dream of USB-C

      I love the idea of USB-C: one port and one cable that can replace all other ports and cables. It sounds so simple, straightforward, and unified.

      In practice, it’s not even close.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Labor’s Stake in the Fight for Veterans’ Health Care

      In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

      As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) that operates the largest health care system in the country.

      But Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S., where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

    • Vulnerable people left to suffer chronic loneliness as services ‘underfunded and overwhelmed’, Labour warns

      Vulnerable people are being left to suffer chronic loneliness as nearly half of all local authorities are spending nothing on specialist social isolation services, new figures suggest.

      A probe by Labour found crucial services had been left “underfunded and overwhelmed” as dedicated spending fell by around £1m in two years amid a squeeze on town hall budgets.

      It comes as the leader of Britain’s GPs warned that being lonely could be as harmful to older people’s health as a chronic long-term condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, with around 1.1 million elderly people believed to be affected.

    • Finnish police weigh criminal probe into tobacco industry

      Police will decide by the end of October whether to launch a pre-trial investigation into allegations that Finnish tobacco executives should be held personally liable for misleading marketing of “light” cigarettes, with the terminology banned 15 years ago. Experts estimate that the products led to some 60,000 deaths in Finland.

    • Early Medicaid Expansion Associated With Reduced Payday Borrowing In California

      The early Medicaid expansion was associated with an 11 percent reduction in the number of loans taken out each month. It also reduced the number of unique borrowers each month and the amount of payday loan debt.

    • Why Do Republicans (and Some Democrats) Vilify Single Payer?

      Unfortunately, very bad ideas never die in a corrupted political process. It’s all about bottom lines: for billionaire campaign donors and for the powerful recipients of those campaign donations.

    • Your Boss Shouldn’t Get to Have ‘Religious’ Objections to Your Health Care

      When Obamacare — aka, the Affordable Care Act — became law in 2010, it mandated coverage of birth control without co-payments.

      Some employers didn’t like the rule, and Hobby Lobby hated it so much that the company filed a lawsuit to stop it. Company owners said they didn’t believe in contraception and claimed that covering it for female employees violated their religious freedom.

      Understand, the Obama administration went to great lengths to exempt churches and church-related institutions from the rule, while still guaranteeing their female employees the right to birth control if they wanted it.

    • NHS chiefs spend £100,000 on failed bid to stop whistleblowing doctor having his day in court

      NHS chiefs spent more than £100,000 on a failed bid to stop a whistleblowing junior doctor having his day in court.

      Dr Chris Day, 32, said his career was “destroyed” after he raised fears over a short-staffed intensive care unit in Woolwich, London.

      Yet he was blocked from taking his claims to an employment tribunal after Health Education England (HEE) argued it wasn’t his employer.

    • Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent

      The evidence has been mounting for years that the world’s most widely used pesticides, neonicotinoids, harm bees and other pollinating insects. Now it seems the problem isn’t limited to Europe and North America, where the alarm was first sounded. It’s everywhere.

    • Bad news for bees: three-quarters of all honey on Earth has pesticides in it

      Scientists analyzed 198 honey samples from all continents, except Antarctica, for five types of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are known to harm bees. They found at least one of the five compounds in most samples, with the highest contamination in North America, Asia, and Europe. The results are published today in the journal Science.

    • Did Monsanto Ignore Evidence Linking Its Weed Killer to Cancer?

      But the future of the ubiquitous herbicide is in question. Monsanto is currently fighting allegations that glyphosate might not be as safe as advertised, particularly when combined with other chemicals in Roundup. In 2015, an international science committee ruled that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, countering previous determinations by regulatory agencies in the United States and other countries. Soon after, more than 200 people sued Monsanto in a federal case now centralized in California, claiming that Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a common blood cancer. Over 1,000 people have filed similar suits against the company in state courts in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Nebraska, and elsewhere.

    • Multi-State Suit Targets Trump’s “Reckless Assault” on Healthcare as Anger Flows

      Warning of the decision’s “great human cost,” 19 attorneys general on Friday filed suit in a federal court to stop President Donald Trump’s decision to cut off key Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies, as outrage from advocacy groups continued to pour in.

      “Taking these legally required subsidies away from working families’ health plans and forcing them to choose between paying rent or their medical bills is completely reckless. This is sabotage, plain and simple,” said California Attorney Xavier General Becerra, who’s leading the coalition of states.

      New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’s also a party to the suit, called it “a reckless assault on the healthcare of thousands of New Yorkers and millions of Americans,” which is part of a “partisan campaign to sabotage our healthcare system.”

  • Security
    • N. Korea stole cyber tools from NSA, carried out WannaCry ransomware attack – Microsoft chief [Ed: Microsoft's Brad Smith is a liar who blackmails with patents. He's now trying to blame the Norks for Microsoft giving back doors to the NSA. No shame!]
    • North Korea behind devastating ‘WannaCry’ cyberattack that hit NHS and systems across US, says Microsoft head [Ed: Microsoft will say anything to distract from and deflect from the fact it gives the NSA back doors. The NHS ‘attacked’ itself by installing on its system an OS which it knew had back doors. Kaspersky showed that Microsoft lied about Wannacry and that Windows XP was hardly targeted. Now watch how US media treats Kaspersky. Microsoft blaming North Korea rather than itself and the NSA (for back doors) is basically high-fiving the Trump administration for agenda.]

      North Korea was behind the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack that temporarily crippled dozens of NHS trusts, the president of Microsoft has said.

    • Kaspersky asks for proof of claims made in American media

      Under pressure after a series of articles in the US press made various claims about its links to Russian state authorities this week, security firm Kaspersky Lab appears to be reluctant to dismiss the allegations out of hand.

    • Google, IBM, and Others Introduce Grafeas Open Source API
    • My Blogging

      Blog regulars will notice that I haven’t been posting as much lately as I have in the past. There are two reasons. One, it feels harder to find things to write about. So often it’s the same stories over and over. I don’t like repeating myself. Two, I am busy writing a book.

    • Sexual assault allegations levied against high profile security researcher and activist
    • Let MalwareTech Surf! Status Report
    • 500 million PCs are being used for stealth cryptocurrency mining online

      A month or so ago, torrent search website The Pirate Bay raised concern among the community as visitors noticed their CPU usage surged whenever a page was opened.

    • Using Elliptic Curve Cryptography with TPM2

      One of the most significant advances going from TPM1.2 to TPM2 was the addition of algorithm agility: The ability of TPM2 to work with arbitrary symmetric and asymmetric encryption schemes. In practice, in spite of this much vaunted agile encryption capability, most actual TPM2 chips I’ve seen only support a small number of asymmetric encryption schemes, usually RSA2048 and a couple of Elliptic Curves. However, the ability to support any Elliptic Curve at all is a step up from TPM1.2. This blog post will detail how elliptic curve schemes can be integrated into existing cryptographic systems using TPM2. However, before we start on the practice, we need at least a tiny swing through the theory of Elliptic Curves.

    • Linux vulnerable to privilege escalation

      An advisory from Cisco issued last Friday, October 13th, gave us the heads-up on a local privilege escalation vulnerability in the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA).

      The bug is designated CVE-2017-15265, but its Mitre entry was still marked “reserved” at the time of writing. Cisco, however, had this to say about it before release:

    • Pizza Hut was hacked, company says

      According to a customer notice emailed from the pizza chain, those who placed an order on its website or mobile app between the morning of Oct. 1 and midday Oct. 2 might have had their information exposed.

      The “temporary security intrusion” lasted for about 28 hours, the notice said, and it’s believed that names, billing ZIP codes, delivery addresses, email addresses and payment card information — meaning account number, expiration date and CVV number — were compromised.

    • Want to see something crazy? Open this link on your phone with WiFi turned off

      These services are using your mobile phone’s IP address to look up your phone number, your billing information and possibly your phone’s current location as provided by cell phone towers (no GPS or phone location services required). These services are doing this with the assistance of the telco providers.

    • Telcos “selling realtime ability to associate web browsing with name & address”
    • Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping

      An air of unease set into the security circles on Sunday as they prepared for the disclosure of high-severity vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi Protected Access II protocol that make it possible for attackers to eavesdrop Wi-Fi traffic passing between computers and access points.

    • WiFi Security Is Borked – We’re All Screwed… Maybe

      KRACK – or the Key Reinstallation AttaCK – looks like the new infosec word we all need to know. According to the authors of a paper that will be presented at conference in a couple of weeks, Mathy Vanhoef of KU Leuven and Frank Piessens say they have found a way to circumvent WPA2 security – one of the key tools used for protecting wireless networks. If KRACk proves to be true, all bets are off when it comes to stopping eavesdroppers from listening in to your wireless network.

    • Your Wifi router could be hiding a scary vulnerability

      Anybody that has a WiFi router might want to be sure to have their login details close at hand throughout the course of today.

      That’s because later today security researcher Mathy Vanhoef will reveal a potentially disastrous vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol.

      The Wifi Protected Access protocol appears to have been cracked by Vanhoef according to Gizmodo which took a look at the source code of the researcher’s website Krack Attacks and found this throw forward.

    • Wi-Fi WPA2 encryption possibly cracked

      Just to add on to your Monday morning blues, WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access Version 2) which is the de-facto encryption method used by the majority of Wi-Fi routers is rumored to have been cracked.

    • Researchers Reveal Critical KRACK Flaws in WPA WiFi Security

      The WPA2 protocol which is widely used to secure WiFi traffic is at risk from multiple vulnerabilities, collectively referred to as “KRACK Attacks” that were publicly disclosed on Oct. 16

      “Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted,” the vulnerability disclosure warns.”The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks.”

      KRACK is an acronym for Key Reinstallation Attacks, which were discovered by security research Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens working at Belgian University KU Leuven. The researchers have disclosed the details of the KRACK attack in a research paper and plan on discussing it further in talks at the Computer and Communications Security (CCS) and Black Hat Europe conferences later this year.

    • The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.
  • Defence/Aggression
    • When Cities Fall

      Recovery, as in other parts of formerly IS-held cities, appears a near impossibility. All the military and political plans aimed at driving Islamic State out seem to take little account of the aftermath.

    • Trump’s North Korea Delusions

      A combination of ignorance and rashness is making President Trump a particularly dangerous leader as he crashes ahead with a possible preemptive war on North Korea, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • How Trump’s Iran Decision Invites War

      By decertifying the Iran-nuke deal, President Trump opts for another Mideast war of choice, but war on Iran is really the choice of Israel and Saudi Arabia wanting the U.S. to do the killing and dying, as Trita Parsi explains.

    • Police investigate blast in Malmö apartment block

      A large explosion caused severe damage to an apartment building in the southern Swedish city of Malmö early on Friday morning, which police believe was caused by dynamite.
      “It’s lucky that no one was in the area because it clearly would have been fatal,” said regional police officer Hans Nilsson.

    • Marseille attack: Two young women stabbed to death
    • West Papua petition: Australia made a human rights promise that’s about to be tested

      Many Australians wouldn’t think twice about putting their name to a petition to support a cause close to their hearts, but in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces, where free speech is routinely and severely curtailed, “acts of treason” such as supporting calls for independence can land you in jail for 15 years.

      So it is truly remarkable that 1.8 million Papuans (about 70 per cent of the population) have signed a petition — specifically banned by the Indonesian Government — calling on the United Nations to conduct a free vote about independence.

    • Rockin’ for West Papua Peace Concerts held around the world!

      Free West Papua music and the West Papuan flag are outlawed by the Indonesian government in occupied West Papua but Rockin’ For West Papua; organised by the Free West Papua Campaign and the music collaborative Rize Of The Morning Star brought people together from across the world to play Free West Papua music and raise the West Papuan flag!

    • ‘Soldier of Allah’ avoids terror charge due to Facebook settings

      However, he could not be charged under the Terrorism Act because his profile was set to private, meaning he was jailed for just 18 weeks.

    • Ex-Taliban hostage says group killed infant daughter, raped wife
    • From estate agent to IS recruiter: How woman became ‘different person’ & kidnapped her son
    • Migrant Crisis: As Rule of Law Crumbles, Denmark Deploys Army, Depleting its Capacity to Fulfill NATO Obligations

      Skyrocketing terror and crime following increased numbers of migrants and refugees from Islamic countries has seriously depleted police resources. Yet another EU country will see a decrease in its ability to fulfill international military obligations as a result of domestic instability.

    • Death toll rises to 276 in Somalia truck bomb attack

      The death toll from the single deadliest attack in Somalia’s history rose to 276 Sunday as emergency workers feverishly dug through the rubble of a Mogadishu bomb blast that collapsed buildings and set nearby cars ablaze.

      About 300 people were injured when the truck explosion rocked a crowded shopping district Saturday. On Sunday, Mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed issued a plea for residents and businesses that owned earth-moving equipment to bring it to the blast site to help the desperate search for survivors — and bodies.

    • Union rep for hero Las Vegas security guard addresses ‘highly unusual’ disappearance

      The Mandalay Bay security guard shot in the moments leading up to the Las Vegas massacre checked into a “quick clinic” instead of appearing in a series of previously scheduled interviews, but his union representative does not know his exact condition or location.

    • Macron: ‘I told Trump not to tear up Iran deal’

      French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he told U.S. President Donald Trump not to tear up a nuclear arms deal with Iran, as doing so could lead to a similar standoff as the one with North Korea.

      “What I told him was not to tear up the deal,” Macron told TF1 and LCI in his first live TV interview since taking office. “After that I told him, let’s have a demanding dialogue, let’s continue to conduct checks, but let’s be much more demanding with Iran on its ballistic activity.”

    • Trump Ignores Israeli/Saudi Abuses

      By offering a propagandistic tirade on Iran’s role in the Mideast – a classic neocon screed – President Trump has demonstrated his inability to bring any fresh or honest thinking to the regional crises, as Kathy Kelly explains.

      Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned in Israel for 18 years because he blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He felt he had “an obligation to tell the people of Israel what was going on behind their backs” at a supposed nuclear research facility which was actually producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. His punishment for breaking the silence about Israel’s capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons included 11 years of solitary confinement.

      [...]

      Vanunu, designated by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as the “the pre-eminent hero of the nuclear era,” helped many people envision nations in the region making progress toward a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

      In fact, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jawad Zarif, spoke eloquently about just that possibility, in 2015, holding that “if the Vienna deal is to mean anything, the whole of the Middle East must rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn’s minister for peace calls for arms embargo on Yemen coalition

      A Labour government would ban exports of British-made weapons to all members of the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen, Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow minister for peace has told Middle East Eye.

      “We should not be selling weapons to any state that uses, or could potentially use, weapons we supply for internal repression or for foreign wars,” said Fabian Hamilton MP in his first major interview since he was appointed shadow minister for peace and the Middle East last year.

      Hamilton said that the Labour leader’s recent calls to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its bombardment of Yemen would be widened to include all nations involved in the bloody conflict.

    • Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

      In September 2016, North Korean cyber-defense forces hacked into South Korean military computers and downloaded 235 gigabytes of documents. The BBC has revealed that the documents included detailed U.S. plans to assassinate North Korea’s president, Kim Jong Un, and launch an all-out war on North Korea. The BBC’s main source for this story is Rhee Cheol-Hee, a member of the Defense Committee of the South Korean National Assembly.

      These plans for aggressive war have actually been long in the making. In 2003, the U.S. scrapped an agreement signed in 1994 under which North Korea suspended its nuclear program and the U.S. agreed to build two light water reactors in North Korea. The two countries also agreed to a step-by-step normalization of relations. Even after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.

    • History Blinded by Anti Socialism: Ken Burns’ Vietnam

      It’s not surprising that an Americana-obsessed filmmaker botched a history of the Vietnam War. National pride doesn’t mesh with the Empire’s lost war. And though Ken Burns’ Vietnam is worth the watch for its footage alone, Vietnam war experts such as John Pilger and Nick Turse have offered blistering critiques that, when combined, allow for accusations of “whitewash” to be levied against the film.

      Why does Burns make such glaring mistakes of analysis? He did his best to be objective, but ultimately Burns made yet another film “about America” for an American audience, which colors the entire film in red, white and blue. But there’s also a deeper bias that further distorts the history he’s trying to tell.

    • Profiting from America’s Longest War: Trump Seeks to Exploit Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan

      In an effort to justify the continued and expanded presence of US troops in the country, President Trump is seeking a plan to have US companies extract minerals from resource-rich Afghanistan. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)

      October 7th marked sixteen years since the start of the US War in Afghanistan – America’s longest war. In an effort to justify the continued and expanded presence of US troops in the country, President Trump is seeking a plan to have US companies extract minerals from resource-rich Afghanistan.

      Afghanistan’s deposits of iron, copper, zinc, gold, silver, lithium and other rare-earth metals are estimated to be worth roughly $1 trillion, a price tag which has intrigued the business mogul-turned-President Trump.

      Afghan President Ashraf Ghani brought up the matter in one of his first conversations with Trump, suggesting it would be a great opportunity for US businesses.

    • EU vows to save Iran deal, fears for North Korea mediation

      The European Union vowed on Monday to defend a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and urged U.S. lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions after President Donald Trump chose not to certify Tehran’s compliance with the accord.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Talvivaara: Finland’s biggest environmental crime case returns to court [iophk: "actually Europe's biggest case. more such cases probably on the way in coming years given the huge burst of mining activity by foreign firms."]

      Under scrutiny in the trial are the construction and use of Talvivaara’s gypsum waste pond, alleged scheduled and uncontrolled dumping of effluents into nature, as well as issues surrounding the handling and placement of the mine’s various waste components.

    • The defenders: recording the deaths of environmental defenders around the world

      This year, in collaboration with Global Witness, the Guardian will attempt to record the deaths of all these people, whether they be wildlife rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or indigenous land rights activists in Brazil. At this current rate, chances are that four environmental defenders will be killed this week somewhere on the planet.

    • Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels

      More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

    • A Final Fight for the Keystone Pipeline

      Kleeb is already organizing for an intensified struggle in the event that the Keystone XL survives the PSC’s decision. “We have two years of eminent-domain lawsuits” mixed with direct action and civil disobedience of the type seen at Standing Rock, she says. It is all part of Bold’s larger legacy: a new environmentalism, galvanized by a lack of access to clean water in ever more places, that has taken root in rural America. In 2014, Art got “so pissed off at TransCanada” that he installed an array of solar panels by his barn – “It’s the only crop I made money on last year,” he says – and now rolls to the town coffee shop in a Chevy Volt. “It’s good,” Helen says, “to feel like part of the solution.” If the bulldozers come, they say, TransCanada will meet massive resistance. “Money’s nice, but it’s not important,” Art tells me. “If one of your grandchildren drinks a drop of benzene, that’s important. If our grandchildren decide not to have children because they’re worried about the planet they’ll grow up on, that’s important.”

    • The Sioux Lost a Key Battle in Their Struggle Against the DAPL

      A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) may continue to operate, keeping the oil flowing while the government completes a court-ordered environmental review.

    • MLPs: Careful What You Wish For

      The Dakota Access Pipeline is cannibalizing other pipelines, creating new winners and losers in the Bakken Region, says AB Bernstein.

    • The Grain That Tastes Like Wheat, but Grows Like a Prairie Grass

      For 12,000 years, human agriculture has cultivated grains that are replanted every year, at enormous environmental cost. Kernza represents a new way forward.

    • Why Rick Perry’s proposed subsidies for coal fail Economics 101

      In a controversial proposal, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has asked federal regulators to effectively subsidize coal and nuclear power plants at ratepayers’ expense. Under Perry’s proposal, plants that operate in deregulated electricity markets – where generators normally compete to provide power at the lowest cost – would be guaranteed positive profits so long as they stockpile 90 days’ worth of fuel on site.

      To rationalize this proposal, which a former Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has dubbed “the antithesis of good economics,” Secretary Perry points to uncompensated benefits generated by coal and nuclear plants.

      As energy economists, when we think about coal-fired electricity generation, what usually comes to mind are unaccounted-for costs – not benefits. This emerging pro-coal narrative is worth unpacking.

  • Finance
    • British MPs want to force Theresa May to sign soft Brexit deal

      A cross-party group of British lawmakers is trying to make it impossible for Prime Minister Theresa May to withdraw from the EU without soft transition and trade deals, the Guardian reported.

      The group, which includes several former Tory and Labour ministers and other prominent parliamentarians, wants to write a transition deal — including acceptance of EU rules — into the U.K.’s withdrawal bill. If such a transition does not happen, one tabled amendment to the bill says, Britain should not be allowed to leave the EU.

    • Britain’s missing billions: Revised figures reveal UK is £490bn poorer than previously thought

      Global banks and international bond strategists have been left stunned by revised ONS figures showing that Britain is £490bn poorer than had been ­assumed and no longer has any reserve of net foreign assets, depriving the country of its safety margin as Brexit talks reach a crucial juncture.

      A massive write-down in the UK balance of payments data shows that Britain’s stock of wealth – the net international investment position – has collapsed from a surplus of £469bn to a net deficit of £22bn. This transforms the outlook for sterling and the gilts markets.

    • Beloved local restauranteur can’t sell coffee or tea because Starbucks strongarmed the landlord

      But when they applied for a liquor license, they revealed a curious circumstance: the Arepa Lady wanted a license to sell beer, wine and spirits because their landlords wouldn’t let them sell coffee.

      That’s because their landlord has also rented a storefront to a Starbucks cafe, and Starbucks insisted on a clause in their lease that banned the landlord from renting to anyone who competed with them to sell coffee or tea.

    • Tories to give private firms like G4S and Serco POWERS TO ARREST people in shocking 290m privatisation deal

      That’s right, Serco and G4S – the same two companies who were stripped of contracts for tagging prisoners because a Serious Fraud Office investigation revealed they were charging for tagging people who didn’t exist – are going to be trusted with the handcuffs by the Tory government.

    • China’s 1 percenters are now worth as much as the GDP of the United Kingdom

      China’s latest rich-list of 2,030 people controlling fortunes of $300M or more now totals $2.6 trillion, as much as the UK GDP.

    • I’m a working class woman. The British Dream is unachievable for me

      Let’s assume it means owning your own home, progressing well in your chosen career and feeling financially comfortable – and that all of this is achievable no matter what your background. If that’s the case, as a working class woman, nothing about the ‘British Dream’ feels achievable for me.

    • Detroit evictions: Crackdown could worsen issues

      “It got pretty bad,” Garner said. “The investors would belly up the money to do a rehab on a property. We’d go in and put new cabinets in, carpet, paint and show up the next day to finish up a project, and someone would have broken into the property and steal everything out, including the carpet, toilet and cabinets. We’d be starting all over again.”

    • When Growing Old Means Living in Your Car, Working in an Amazon Warehouse
    • Five things to know about Trump and NAFTA

      A fourth round of talks is taking place this week in Washington, and the negotiations seem surrounded by angst and gloom for those with the most invested in the pact’s future.

    • Tesla Fires Underperforming Workers After Annual Evaluation
    • Tesla fires hundreds of workers

      Tesla has a reputation as a demanding place to work, and the company lived up to its reputation this week when it fired hundreds of workers. The San Jose Mercury News estimates that between 400 and 700 workers were let go, based on employee reports.

    • Tesla fires hundreds after company-wide performance reviews

      Tesla fired hundreds of workers this week, including engineers, managers and factory workers, even as the company struggles to expand its manufacturing and product line.

    • How to Wipe Out Puerto Rico’s Debt Without Hurting Bondholders

      How did the president plan to pull this off? Pam Martens and Russ Martens, writing in Wall Street on Parade, note that the U.S. municipal bond market holds $3.8 trillion in debt, and it is not just owned by Wall Street banks. Mom and pop retail investors are exposed to billions of dollars of potential losses through their holdings of Puerto Rican municipal bonds, either directly or in mutual funds. Wiping out Puerto Rico’s debt, they warned, could undermine confidence in the municipal bond market, causing bond interest rates to rise, imposing an additional burden on already-struggling states and municipalities across the country.

    • Yanis Varoufakis: ‘I would like to live in a world where we’re all privileged’
    • The British right’s propaganda is an affront to democracy

      It’s easy to dismiss the Tory right as stupid: too easy if you wish to stop Brexit or limit the damage it will cause. As insults go, it is mild. The right has no plan beyond a desire to turn Britain into a Randian dystopia where regulations vanish and the state withers. It has no policy beyond a nostalgic hope that Britain will sail across the wide blue oceans and conquer new markets as our imperial ancestors conquered them before.

      The right offers religion, not politics. Its faith is without blemish, the gospel runs. If Brexit fails, that is not because the faith is false but because heretical traitors, judges, civil servants and EU governments have schemed to defeat it. “He that doubteth is damned,” said St Paul. “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Boris Johnson agrees.

      Thatcherism, Britain’s last revolt of the right, was preceded by years of hard planning in the Centre for Policy Studies and Institute of Economic Affairs. If you were around in the 1970s, you might have loved or loathed it. But you could not deny the right had built a programme for government. Today, there is no plan, no programme, no nothing. Instead of being populated by serious thinkers, Brexit’s thinktanks are filled with propagandists, tabloid hacks and tax-exile newspaper proprietors. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are columnists turned politicians. The Sun, Telegraph, Mail and Express do not just cheer on the cause while the grown-ups make the real decisions, as they did in Margaret Thatcher’s day. They are what brains the Brexit campaign possesses.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why the 25th Amendment Won’t Save Us

      This may only be a minor accent in the vast symphony of outrage we are confronted with on a daily basis, but it is worthy of note. You are aware, I’m sure, of the ongoing shouting match Donald Trump is having with the NFL over players standing for the national anthem. Well, Trump found himself last week at the Air National Guard Base in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with Fox fiend Sean Hannity. By tradition, “Retreat” was bugled on the base as the flag was lowered for the day.

      The same tradition requires all military personnel and civilian leadership to stand at attention out of respect for the flag. Neither Trump nor Hannity stood, flouting that tradition. Laughing as the bugle call filled the air, Trump asked Hannity, “Are they playing that for you or for me?” Referring to Hannity’s show, Trump then addressed the crowd with, “They’re playing that in honor of his ratings.”

    • 5 of the Biggest Corporate Media Disasters This Week
    • On what should happen if the unthinkable happens

      This “if” has got to be specified very precisely. The question is not whether Trump obstructed justice, or is guilty of tax evasion, or has violated the Emoluments Clause or done any other act justifying impeachment. The “if” here is quite specific: It relates explicitly to the validity of the election. The question I’m asking here is what should happen if Trump conspired with a foreign government to get elected? If he did that, then what should happen.

    • It’s the One-Year Anniversary of the Leak of Trump’s “Access Hollywood” Tapes About Sexual Assault
    • What happened: Hillary’s view

      There are many lessons Clinton learned. There is extraordinary wisdom and insight that her book teaches us. But I fear that this point is still lost on too many on our side. That blindness leaves the field wide open for the party of no — no taxes, no immigration, no health care, no (more) social security, no protection for privacy, no network neutrality, no family planning, no dreamers.

    • It’s What Bob Corker Does Next That Counts

      For reporters, there is a logical extension from the opening Corker has given. Get Mitch McConnell, get Paul Ryan, get John Thune and John Barrasso and John Cornyn, get Kevin McCarthy, get every Republican in a position of responsibility to answer: Do you agree with your colleague that Donald Trump is a danger to the country and the world? Who’s right here: Your comrade who is the veteran chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee? Or a president who can’t stop tweet-threatening “Little Rocket Man”? And what about Corker’s claim that the White House is a daily battleground to keep the incumbent under control? Are you going to call one of your own a liar? Or is he right about Trump?

    • ‘It’s a Shame the White House Has Become an Adult Day Care Center’
    • Mike Pence’s NFL Walkout Was a Cheap, Transparent Stunt

      It’s not what happened. It’s how it happened. This was staged: a taxpayer subsidized stunt aimed at attacking dissenting black athletes. It was revealed in record time to be yet another toxic effort by this administration to divide people along racial lines and distract us from a train wreck of an administration, described by Senator Bob Corker as “an adult day care center” that looks after a big orange baby.

    • Noam Chomsky Diagnoses the Trump Era

      The president has abetted the collapse of a decaying system; Chomsky explains how.

    • Why Christian conservatives supported Trump — and why they might regret it

      For many of these self-described “value voters,” Trump was a walking contradiction of nearly everything they claim to believe in — a vulgar, thrice-married real estate tycoon whose brand is built on money, women, and debauchery.

    • Were Trump Voters Irrational?

      I am afraid that my Democratic friends are just going to have to reconcile themselves to the conclusion that the cognitive science of rationality does not support their judgment of the Trump voters. You can say whatever you want about the rationality or irrationality of Trump himself, but cognitive science does not support the claim that his voters were irrational—or, more specifically, that they were any less rational than the Clinton voters. Politics is not the place to look for objective rightness or wrongness—and that is what judgments about the rationality of voting entail. Our judgments in this domain are uniquely susceptible to myside bias.

    • What Justice Kennedy’s Silence Means For The Future Of Gerrymandering
    • The Media Needs To Stop Rationalizing President Trump’s Behavior

      His outburst on Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico shows that not everything is a clever ploy to rally his base.

    • Hustler Magazine founder offers $10 million for info to help impeach Trump

      Flynt cites several reasons he believes Trump should be impeached in the ad, including Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. The adult magazine founder also ripped Trump for his “unconscionable defense of the KKK and neo-Nazis after the Charlottesville riots,” and argued that Trump’s “worrisome” ability to “trigger a nuclear world war” is one of the more “horrifying” reasons Trump should be impeached.

      “Impeachment would be a messy, contentious affair, but the alternative – three more years of destabilizing dysfunction – is worse,” Flynt writes in the ad. “Both good Democrats and good Republicans who put country over party did it before with Watergate.”

    • Harvey Weinstein and the Trump children show why the US shouldn’t have elected prosecutors

      Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr is a Democrat who has been New York County’s chief prosecutor since 2008. He is also, at the moment, a very controversial figure.

      On Oct. 4, the New Yorker (paywall) revealed that Vance had ordered his prosecutors to drop an investigation into Donald Trump’s children, Ivanka and Donald Jr, for allegedly inflating the worth of a property in New York to prospective buyers. Just a few days later, the same magazine (paywall) revealed that he had decided not to press sexual abuse charges against Harvey Weinstein, the high-powered Hollywood producer, after listening to a police tape of Weinstein aggressively propositioning a model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. Weinstein has now been accused of sexual harassment and rape by a host of women.

      What links these two cases is that in both of them, Vance received hefty campaign donations from lawyers for the people involved. Donald Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, had given $25,000 to Vance’s campaign, the New Yorker reported. Vance had returned the money after Kasowitz asked him to intercede on the Trump children’s behalf—as is customary with people involved in investigations. But a few months after deciding not to prosecute them, Vance accepted another, larger donation and fundraising help from Kasowitz, worth a total of about $50,000. Similarly, a few months after Vance decided to drop the case against Weinstein, the producer’s attorney, David Boies, donated $10,000 to the prosecutor’s campaign.

    • Germany’s Dangerous Lean: What the Far-Right Victory Means for the Rest of Europe

      The German election last month once again secured Chancellor Angela Merkel and her centrist Christian Democratic Union’s position in government, but it also heralded the dramatic rise of Germany’s populist far-right party, Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), the country’s first right extremist group to enter the Bundestag since World War II.

      In an unprecedented turn, the AfD – which was founded in 2013 primarily as a Eurosceptic party, before its deeper xenophobic message took hold – garnered nearly 13 percent of the national vote, placing third after the CDU and the Social Democratic Party. The bulk of its supporters hailed from formerly Communist-occupied parts of East Germany; according to voters in AfD strongholds, the “Revenge of the East” resulted from Merkel’s “lack of respect” for Germans in the region, who accused her CDU of wasting money on immigrants while their local economies crumbled.

    • Trump and Weinstein

      Trump is actively assaulting women in other ways. The Trump administration’s Education Department has moved to make it harder for women at universities to prove sexual harassment. Trump’s Health and Human Services Department has made it harder for women to get contraceptives. Trump has nominated 32 men and just one woman to become U.S. Attorneys. Trump’s 2018 budget calls for a 93 percent cut in funding for federal programs that aid survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

    • Is Trump Unraveling?

      Last week, Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

      Corker said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here … the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

      Corker’s interview was followed by a report from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who wrote that the situation has gotten so out of control that Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have discussed ways to stop Trump should he order a nuclear attack. Kelly has tried to keep Trump focused by intercepting outside phone calls to the White House and restricting access to the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s advisors believe he is “unstable” and “unravelling” quickly.

    • Trump and Pence’s War on Black Athletes Has Nothing to Do With Sports

      Like his boss Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence is a lazy racist. Trump’s public demands nothing more because they are easily satisfied by the thought of humiliating black and brown people. Last Sunday, Pence spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to fly from Las Vegas to an NFL game in Indiana. His plan? To stage a political stunt where he showed his displeasure towards “uppity” black football players who are protesting police brutality and social injustice in America.

    • Promise the Moon? Easy for Trump. But Now Comes the Reckoning.
    • California secessionists think their path to independence is easier than Catalonia’s

      The world has been watching the play-by-play of Catalonia’s bid for independence from Spain, but one group is tuning in more closely than most: California secessionists.

      The California Freedom Coalition, the campaign that has taken the lead in the effort to break California off from the United States, sees similarities with Catalonia’s secessionist movement. But there’s an important caveat: they believe California has more legal tools at its disposal, creating an easier path to secession – if that’s what Californians decide they want.

      “There are definitely similarities in the fiscal situation – we both give more than we get back,” said Dave Marin, director of research and policy for the California Freedom Coalition. “But there’s more flexibility in the U.S. Constitution for secession than there is in the Spanish one. California has more tools available to it.”

    • Where’s the Beef? The Senate Intel Committee and Russia

      The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment.

    • The Bizarre Story of How Trump Won’t Stop Claiming a Fake Renoir Painting He Owns Is Real

      Biographer Tim O’Brien told Vanity Fair an amazing anecdote about how President Donald Trump owns a Renoir print and straight-up refuses to acknowledge it’s not the original painting.

      O’Brien spotted the print on Trump’s plane and asked him if it was an original, apparently to see if he’d lie.

      Trump told O’Brien it was. The biographer responded, “No, it’s not Donald.” Instead of letting it go, Trump argued with him.

      “I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters on the Terrace, and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago,” O’Brien countered. “That’s not an original.” The conversation was eventually dropped.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Learn the ins and outs of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    • How Facebook Outs Sex Workers

      Leila has two identities, but Facebook is only supposed to know about one of them.

      Leila is a sex worker. She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).

      Her “real identity”—the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics—joined Facebook in 2011. Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila (a name I’m using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.

    • DreamHost Wins Challenge Against DOJ’s Overbroad Data Demands

      DreamHost has been fighting the DOJ and its breathtakingly-broad demand for information on all visitors to an anti-Trump website. This has gone on for a few months now, but the origin of the DOJ’s interest in the DreamHosted disruptj20.org site traces all the way back to protests during Trump’s inauguration.

    • Strategies for offline PGP key storage

      While the adoption of OpenPGP by the general population is marginal at best, it is a critical component for the security community and particularly for Linux distributions. For example, every package uploaded into Debian is verified by the central repository using the maintainer’s OpenPGP keys and the repository itself is, in turn, signed using a separate key. If upstream packages also use such signatures, this creates a complete trust path from the original upstream developer to users. Beyond that, pull requests for the Linux kernel are verified using signatures as well. Therefore, the stakes are high: a compromise of the release key, or even of a single maintainer’s key, could enable devastating attacks against many machines.

      That has led the Debian community to develop a good grasp of best practices for cryptographic signatures (which are typically handled using GNU Privacy Guard, also known as GnuPG or GPG). For example, weak (less than 2048 bits) and vulnerable PGPv3 keys were removed from the keyring in 2015, and there is a strong culture of cross-signing keys between Debian members at in-person meetings. Yet even Debian developers (DDs) do not seem to have established practices on how to actually store critical private key material, as we can see in this discussion on the debian-project mailing list. That email boiled down to a simple request: can I have a “key dongles for dummies” tutorial? Key dongles, or keycards as we’ll call them here, are small devices that allow users to store keys on an offline device and provide one possible solution for protecting private key material. In this article, I hope to use my experience in this domain to clarify the issue of how to store those precious private keys that, if compromised, could enable arbitrary code execution on millions of machines all over the world.

    • Intel leaders urge Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program [Ed: Intel leaders urge Congress to give “Intel leaders” more money and power]

      FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday that members of Congress who are trying to restrict the bureau’s access to information obtained through the monitoring of foreign nationals are jeopardizing national security.

      The Section 702 program, first amended to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 and reauthorized in 2012, allows intelligence agencies to legally monitor emails and phone calls of foreign nationals outside of the US and is set to expire at the end of the year.

    • Policing in the future involves citizen detectives and a Pokémon Go-like app

      A loose translation of what Akerboom described is that citizens would photograph license plates to find out if the car is stolen via the Pokémon-inspired app Automon. If it is, then the citizen-turned-detective scores points. And if a vehicle is reported stolen, citizens in that neighborhood might also be tasked to search for that specific license plate. The more you find, the higher your score.

    • Someone Created a Tor Hidden Service to Phish my Tor Hidden Service

      SMS Privacy is available as a Tor hidden service, and it turns out ~10% of users actually use it that way. This post details what I found when somebody created a phishing site of my Tor hidden service.

    • Judge Limits DOJ’s Warrant For Records From Anti-Trump Site

      The judge’s new order instructs DreamHost to redact identifying information of “innocent persons” who visited the website before providing the records to the government. It also dictates a protocol for incorporating procedural safeguards to comply with “First Amendment and Fourth Amendment considerations.” Among other stipulations, the government must submit to the court its plan for permanently deleting from its possession all information not within the scope of the warrant.

      [...]

      The company says it does not intend to appeal the court’s ruling.

    • French intelligence texts jihadist by mistake, inadvertently warning of surveillance operation

      A French intelligence agent sent a text message by mistake to the mobile phone of a jihadist, inadvertently warning him that he was under surveillance and undermining an investigation, it emerged on Friday.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • After Harvey, Texas Inmates Were Left in Flooded Prisons Without Adequate Water or Food

      The treatment allegedly follows a pattern of neglect set during previous years’ hurricanes.

    • Turkey sentences Wall Street Journal journalist to jail in absentia: WSJ

      Ayla Albayrak, a Wall Street Journal reporter with dual Turkish and Finnish citizenship, was sentenced over a 2015 story about ongoing clashes between Turkish security forces and militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

    • Outrageous charges against jailed Amnesty staff in Turkey must be rejected
    • Dalit Girl Raped by Muslim Man in MP, Act Recorded on Mobile by Accused’s Female Relative

      Such instances of Muslim women facilitating rape or sexual grooming of non-Muslim girls are disturbingly common. In January, we had reported on the case of a Bengaluru teen who was gang-raped, confined & tortured for 40 days by a Muslim family (including women of the family).

    • Dalit woman raped, video uploaded on net in MP’s Agar-Malwa dist

      The act was recorded by a woman who facilitated the crime and put on online platforms to shame the girl. The matter came to fore when the 18-year-old girl approached the police [...]

    • Turkey Issues Arrest Warrant For Second US Consulate Worker, Lira Plunge Accelerates

      One day after an escalating diplomatic spat, in which both the US and Turkey halted the issuance of non-immigrant visas to each other’s citizens following last week’s arrest by Turkey of a US consulate worker, on Monday Turkey issued another detention warrant for a second US consulate employee, Ahaber newspaper reports.

    • Turkish prosecutors demand up to 15 years in prison for Amnesty International activists

      Turkish prosecutors have demanded up to 15 years in prison on charges of backing a terror group for 11 activists, most of whom were detained in a raid on a workshop led by Amnesty International, a report said on Sunday.

    • Jammu and Kashmir clerics of Majlis-e-Shura issue fatwa banning women from travelling alone

      According to Times Now, the religious conglomerate issued a list of diktats imposing restrictions on women in the state. According to the diktat, women can’t go to markets and public events alone, they must not interact with men on the streets and there will be separate classrooms for boys and girls in schools as co-education is ‘un-Islamic’.

    • Malaysia’s moderate Muslim nation image dented?

      The Economist says what happened to prominent Turkish intellectual Mustafa Akyol sends sombre message about Islam and the current situation in Malaysia.

    • I’m on Probation and It’s Like Another Form of Incarceration
    • He was 20 and unarmed. A police shooting brings Seattle’s Vietnamese Americans into the world of activism
    • Trump Thinks Protest Is a Worse Offense Than Treason

      There are at least two grave legal implications to what the president has been urging—one of private law, the other constitutional.

    • Pakistan is “mainstreaming” misogynist tribal justice

      Instead of trying to stamp out jirgas, however, the government has decided to integrate them into the formal justice system. Earlier this year it won parliamentary approval for a law that gives their rulings force, subject to certain reforms. The government will appoint “neutral arbitrators” to each jirga, who must approve their verdicts—a measure it hopes will eliminate misogynist horrors.

    • Girls wearing mini-skirts made me convert to Islam- Bishop
    • Less judgement, more action is needed on female genital mutilation
    • ‘FGM Should Be Everybody’s Business’ – We Spoke to a FGM Activist About the Lifelong Impact of Cutting

      Due to the secrecy that surrounds FGM, the true extent of the practise in Western countries isn’t known. We spoke to the director of No FGM Australia, the Human Rights Award-winning charity that works to abolish FGM and supports those at risk.

    • Campaign Tackles Baby-killing Ritual in Nigeria
    • Cameroon palm oil campaigner arrested in crackdown on activists

      Nasako Besingi has been jailed after opposing a US-funded palm-oil plantation and supporters say this is linked to Cameroon’s ‘anglophone crisis’

    • On-duty NYPD officers admit handcuffing teenage girl, putting her in van, and having sex with her, but say it wasn’t rape
    • Is the Republican Party a Threat to the Constitution?

      Anti-Constitution politics is an opposition to democracy as both practice and ideal. This is different from being against effective campaign-finance reform or for spurious voter-fraud measures. Elite dominance of national politics long precedes PACs and dark money. And the poor and people of color have been excluded from polling stations as long as ballots have been in the United States. However pernicious, these are retail assaults on constitutional democracy—all serious, but nonfatal to the enterprise as a whole. A full-scale version of the same attack requires more. If the movement accepts elections, it does so only if they serve as rituals to sanctify what is already known to be the true voice of the people.

    • The burden of reform and why we do it

      As patriarchal misogyny slowly dawned on us, we realised it was institutional and these lives being revealed before us were either vocal, aggressive cries for help or the last moment breaking of silences in shared confidences by those who elected to stay mute for years. The inner harem of our homes where women turned to women for help, advice, a shoulder to cry on, we girls had front seats to the sadness and tragedy permeating Muslim society because of laws that were unjust and biased towards us.

    • Unholy Alliance: Why do left-wing Americans support right-wing Muslims?

      Now, try to imagine the shock, betrayal and sadness I feel seeing fellow liberals celebrating right-wing, conservative aspects of Islam. On February 1, I was so upset over World Hijab Day that I spent the day in bed with a migraine. Hijab Day? Would it make sense to have Wings Day to celebrate the garment that women in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ are forced to wear? Is there a Mormon underwear day? What about a chastity belt day? I risked my life, and my daughter’s life, to escape from the darkness into the light — only to find the light celebrating and fetishising darkness.

    • Love jihad a fact in Kerala: Yogi Adityanath
    • Pakistani Christian On Death Row Among Nominees For Sakharov Prize

      She was convicted and sentenced to hang after an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water. Her supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute.

      Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam can be sentenced to death. Rights groups say blasphemy laws are often abused to carry out personal vendettas, mainly against minority Christians.

    • Chess player banned by Iran for not wearing a hijab switches to US

      A chess player banned from the Iranian national women’s team for attending an international competition without wearing an Islamic headscarf has joined the US team.

    • Donald Trump is letting Turkey hold an American citizen hostage

      Erdogan, a frequent recipient of Trump’s praise, has refused to release an American citizen being held hostage

    • The Quiet Islamic Conquest of Spain

      The Saudis also launched a new Spanish television channel, Cordoba TV, as did Iran.

    • A Proposal for Islam

      “We heard that you will speak about commonalities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity,” one officer said. “We don’t like that kind of stuff.” Then they left.

    • A one-way wall on the border?

      Do the people in USA supporting this wall really believe it is a one way wall, only keeping people on the outside from getting in, while not keeping people in the inside from getting out?

    • Justice for José Antonio, a 16-Year-Old Boy Killed By U.S. Border Patrol

      There is no Constitution-free zone where border patrol agents can kill unarmed civilians, no matter their country.

      If a U.S. Border Patrol agent uses excessive and unnecessary force to kill a noncitizen in a foreign country, are there consequences under the U.S. Constitution? The answer might seem to be obviously “yes” to most people. Unfortunately, our own government believes the answer is “no.”

      On October 10, 2012, José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16-year old boy, was shot and killed on Calle Internacional, a street in his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. He was four blocks away from his home.

    • Changing the Politics of Mass Incarceration

      It’s been almost 50 years since President Richard Nixon played the law-and-order card to help him win the presidency. Decades later Donald Trump has adopted the same playbook, telling his own version of the forgotten American who is at the mercy of a crime wave. It didn’t matter that facts didn’t support candidate Trump’s arguments. Politically speaking, it worked.

      Nixon’s tough on crime political playbook, used by generations of American politicians after him, including Bill Clinton during the introduction and passage of the 1994 crime bill, has resulted in a mass incarceration crisis. On any given day, 2.3 million people are locked up, more than in any other nation. This mass incarceration crisis has devastated families and communities, particularly low income communities of color.

    • Louise Godbold: “My Encounter with Harvey Weinstein and What It Tells Us About Trauma”

      We continue our look at two shocking investigations by The New Yorker and The New York Times, which revealed a slew of rape and sexual assault allegations against disgraced and now-fired movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for decades. We speak with Louise Godbold, who recently wrote a blog post titled “My Encounter with Harvey Weinstein and What It Tells Us About Trauma.” Now executive director of Echo Parenting & Education, Godbold calls on others to believe and support survivors of sexual assault and harassment, saying, “We need to educate everyone about trauma.”

    • 5 Shocking Failures Of Criminal Justice You’ve Never Heard

      The legal system isn’t run by all-knowing super-robots (yet), so we’re stuck with regular old law enforcement officers, who are human beings. Ones who are going to make mistakes. Sometimes authorities make the right call. Sometimes they make honest mistakes. But then there are the times you get stories like…

    • These Muslim Students Built an App to Document Islamophobia on Campus

      In the aftermath of the Chapel Hill shooting in February 2015—when Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were killed by their 44-year-old neighbor—police hesitated to call the shooting a hate crime. After Craig Hicks’s arrest, Chapel Hill police announced that the ruthless killings were “motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.” But for many in the Muslim community, the Chapel Hill shooting wasn’t an isolated event. It was just one of many instances of Islamophobia that Muslims in America experience on a regular basis.

      “After the shooting, I remember going on YikYak, and the hate speech was just blowing my mind,” said Ayesha Faisal, current president of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill’s Muslim Student Association. “It was hours after the shooting. Out of nowhere there were people saying…‘It was justified because Muslims are terrorists.’”

    • If Ahmadis want equal status, they should stop pretending to be Muslims: Sanaullah

      Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan on Friday said the Ahmadi minority community should stop declaring themselves as Muslims if they want to be treated in the same manner as other religious minority groups in Pakistan.

      Addressing a press conference organised to ‘clear his position’ on the issue, Rana Sanaullah said that some media outfits had quoted his statement on Ahmadis out of context.

      “I said that Ahmadis pretend to be Muslims as they quote Quranic verses and perform religious rituals just like us in a bid to propagate their faith. But let me state it very clearly that, according to Islam and Pakistan’s constitution, those who do not believe in Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (finality of Prophethood) are not Muslims,” he said.

    • ‘I was not aware of what I was doing at the time,’ says UBC attempted murder suspect

      When asked by Sgt. Jeffrey why he might have attacked Mary Hare with a knife Almestadi said, “I started listening to the Koran and understanding the meanings differently.”

      “If you read something and your mind is thinking something else, you understand differently.”

      Almestadi — who was 18 at the time of the incident — said he even began seeing things that weren’t real.

      “At that point I thought Mary was the devil,” he said.

    • Judge rules Kentucky county liable for handcuffed children

      A federal judge says it was unreasonable for a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy to handcuff two unruly elementary school students and says the county government is liable for the officer’s conduct.

      The lawsuit was filed by the parents of two children, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, identified in court documents only by their initials. In 2014, both children were handcuffed in separate incidents at separate schools after officials called for assistance from Kevin Sumner, a Kenton County Sheriff’s deputy and a school resource officer.

      The lawsuit and an accompanying video uploaded to YouTube by the ACLU ignited a nationwide debate about school discipline. The video, captured by a teacher, showed the boy handcuffed above his elbows and squirming in a chair with his arms behind his back while crying that he was in pain.

    • Utah police officer who dragged screaming nurse is fired

      A Salt Lake City Police spokesman told the AP that police chief Mike Brown decided to fire the officer on Tuesday after an investigation into the incident.

    • BREAKING: Utah officer fired after nurse’s arrest caught on video

      Authorities say a Utah police officer who was caught on video roughly handcuffing a nurse because she refused to allow a blood draw has been fired.

    • QB Colin Kaepernick files grievance for collusion against NFL owners

      Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance under the latest collective bargaining agreement against NFL owners for collusion, according to his attorney, Mark Geragos.

      Kaepernick is not going through the NFL Players Association but has instead hired Geragos, who has represented several high-profile clients, including Michael Jackson, former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield and musician Chris Brown.

    • California Police and Civil Liberties Groups Agreed on a Simple Transparency Measure. Gov. Brown Vetoed It Anyway.

      California Gov. Jerry Brown used the weekend to veto one of 2017′s last remaining bills to shine light on police practices.

      S.B. 345 was pretty straightforward: every law enforcement agency would have to upload its policies and training materials to its public website—but only documents that would be available anyway under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The bill had uncommon support from both law enforcement associations and civil liberties organizations, like EFF and the ACLU of California.

    • Russia’s anti-corruption protests: detentions, detentions, detentions

      On 7 October, supporters of Alexey Navalny held events in 79 Russian cities. Jointly with Meduza, we have made an interactive map of the protests. According to our data, between 2,560 and 21,520 people took part in the various protests. In total, the number of those detained was 321 in 30 cities; some of the activists were detained before the start of the protests.

      The interactive map shows how many people took part in the protests, whether the rallies had official permission or not, how many people were detained, and in addition the various specifics of how each rally was held. You can tell the story of your own detention by using the form on our website (click on the megaphone in the top righthand corner) or add to the information about detentions on the map if we have missed something.

    • No evidence torture produces reliable info: former investigator

      Torture is not only immoral and illegal, it is also counterproductive to effective intelligence gathering, an independent international security consultant has said.

      Mark Fallon spent more than three decades with the US Government, mainly as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
      Since the 1990s he has been working in counter-terrorism operations, particularly related to Al-Qaeda, and is the author of a forthcoming book on torture.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • How Many “Parts” (or “Labels”) Does A Domain Name Typically Have?

      Summarizing that graph, 99.98% of all unique RRnames seen have 10 or fewer labels, and 78.36% have just 1, 2 or 3 labels

    • TV Stocks Tumble After AT&T Cord-Cutting Disclosure

      The research firm eMarketer says that by the end of last year 16.7 million U.S. adults had already cut the cord and that by the end of this year it will be 22 million.

    • Google Fiber Gives Up On Traditional TV, And Won’t Be The Last Company To Do So

      While Google Fiber was initially hailed as the be-all-end-all of broadband disruption, the bloom has come off the rose in recent months. Last fall, Google executives began to have doubts about the high cost and slow pace of the project, resulting in a not-yet cooked pivot to wireless and the departure of two CEOs in less than a year. Company PR reps seem unable to answer basic questions about cancelled installations and the unsteady direction of the project, which has also faced more than a few obstacles erected by incumbent ISPs unhappy about the added competition.

      But Google Fiber has another problem: the slow but steady death of traditional television.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Monster Energy Loses Trademark Bid To Push Around Japanese Software Company

        There must be something about using the word “monster” in one’s business that turns that business into a true monster from a trademark bully perspective. Readers of this site will be familiar with the two largest offenders along these lines, Monster Cable and Monster Energy Corporation. It’s the latter that has continued its prolific trademark bullying ways to date, as recently as earlier this year, when it threatened a root beer company with the word “beast” in its name, claiming that this was too close to “monster” for the purposes of trademark law.

    • Copyrights
      • EU Study Finds Even Publishers Oppose the “Link Tax”

        Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament representing Germany, writes about a EU study which finds that even publishers oppose the proposed “link tax” which is currently up for consideration by legislators. Interestingly, the report also finds that many journalists are afraid to cover the issue. Several publications declined to comment giving various reasons, including differences of view between the online editions and their parent publications. In other words, the subject is being silenced.

      • Popular Zer0day Torrent Tracker Taken Offline By Mass Copyright Complaint

        A popular content-neutral torrent tracker has been forced offline following pressure from an anti-piracy outfit. Zer0day was tracking more than five million peers earlier this month but a mass complaint from SCPP, an outfit that represents Warner, Universal, Sony and thousands of others, caused its host to terminate service.

      • Netflix Expands Content Protection Team to Reduce Piracy

        Netflix-type streaming services are among the best and most convenient alternatives to piracy but they have failed to make unauthorized consumption a thing of the past. Netflix understands this and by continuing to expand its content protection team, the company hopes to reduce piracy to a fringe activity.

      • ‘Pirate’ EBook Site Refuses Point Blank to Cooperate With BREIN

        A site focusing on eBooks is being pressured by Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. Among other things, Eboek.info says it provides digital versions of comics to people who’ve already bought a physical copy but BREIN insists this is illegal. The site says it won’t be giving in to BREIN’s demands, adding that Cloudflare’s services offer no protection against copyright groups.

The Systematic Erosion of Workers’ Rights and Holidays at the EPO Goes Years Back

Monday 16th of October 2017 07:08:50 AM

And Christoph Ernst ought to restore and recognise Reformation Day 2017 at the EPO

Summary: The legitimacy of the staff’s concerns at the EPO, having seen basic labour safeguards being shredded to pieces by Battistelli for a number of years (predating even the escalation of the conflict)

THE legacy of Battistelli as President of the EPO isn’t just brain drain, poor quality of EPs, and serious damage to reputation.

The erosion in pay and career paths, combined with depression and sometimes suicides, will continue to haunt the Office. SUEPO warned about this years ago [PDF], but that fell on deaf ears and the only outcome was the sacking of SUEPO leaders. Recently, Battistelli had yet more holidays called off simply because that suits him (and his right-hand bulldog said it would increase “productivity”).

“Will the rule of law be enforced and will it be recognised that Battistelli cannot simply ‘rob’ the staff (their rights, their rest days) for the sake of “productivity”?”Well now, with a German at the helm, will any of this change? Will the rule of law be enforced and will it be recognised that Battistelli cannot simply ‘rob’ the staff (their rights, their rest days) for the sake of “productivity”? Ernst has an opportunity to intervene before it’s too late, at the very least as a goodwill gesture to staff in Germany (Munich, Berlin).

Earlier this morning someone posted/approved this comment at IP Kat

Now that the EPO has a German chairman, will there be a different (even If only temporary ) approach to being so UP promoting??

As we wrote a very long time ago, Ernst has a hand in the UPC too, so we doubt he’ll just unilaterally walk away from it, the constitutional challenge notwithstanding.

If he is truly toothless a Chairman, who is as subservient to Battistelli as Kongstad was, he’ll probably neither say nor do anything.

The bizarre situation of Battistelli controlling the Council isn’t new. It’s like the overseer of Battistelli became his lapdog, sometimes because Battistelli showered some nations (typically smaller ones) with Office money.

The situation was never this bad. Staff representatives already pointed this out to the Council 3 years ago ahead of its quarterly meeting, chaired by Kongstad. To quote the letter in full:

Zentraler Vorstand . Central Executive Committee . Bureau Central

su14216cl
8 October 2014

To the members of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

Increased legal uncertainty surrounding decisions of the Administrative Council of the EPO

Dear Sir, Madam,

In our letter of 3 March 2014, we have informed you1 about the legal risks taken by the Organisation when introducing unilaterally – and against the reasoned opinion of the Staff Representation – substantial changes to the Service Regulations.

It is our responsibility to draw your attention to new facts that further question the legal validity of many decisions taken by the Administrative Council in the recent past.

Since 2012 Mr Battistelli has been appointing the Vice-Presidents of the Office (VPs) to the General Advisory Committee (GAC). The Staff Representation warned the Office that this was probably unlawful, to no avail. GAC members filed Internal Appeals against this decision. The Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) recently decided on the matter and unanimously considered that appointing VPs to the GAC in 2012 and 2013 was against the Service Regulations in force. The IAC further discussed the legal consequences, i.e. whether all decisions following GAC consultations in 2012 and 2013 should be quashed or not, and had a split opinion in this respect.

The President, who took the challenged decision in the first place, disagreed with the opinion of the IAC and rejected the appeal. The matter will thus be referred to the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation (ILO-AT) that will issue its judgement in a few years’ time.

________

1 Letter to AC Delegations ref. su14037cl dated 3 March 2014 concerning the reform “Social Democracy”.

Should the Tribunal, as we deem likely, concur with the unanimous opinion of the IAC, it could decide to quash all decisions of the AC that followed GAC consultations since 20122, including CA/D 2/14 that led to the creation of the new framework for social dialogue labelled “social democracy”, and to the body which replaces the GAC in that new framework, namely, the General Consultative Committee (GCC), to which the President has again appointed VPs.

After the doubts cast in 2010 on the legal validity of Ms Brimelow’s pension reform 3, you may have hoped of not being confronted with even larger legal issues created by the Office. Not only several past decisions of the AC (since 2012) are now put into question, but also future ones.

The reputation of the Organisation is at stake. Solutions can be found before the Tribunal rules on the matter. Be assured that SUEPO is – as ever – willing to develop them together with management.

Yours faithfully,

SUEPO Central

________
2 It is likely that the appeal against the 2014 appointments of VPs to the GAC will receive the same opinion from the IAC.
3 Cf. Opinion of the Internal Appeals Committee on CA/D 17/08. The case is now pending in front of the ILO-AT.

Who runs today’s Organisation? Does the Organisation manage the Office or does the ‘king’ of the Office manage the Organisation still?

How can Battistelli just deny staff’s rights? He’s likely doing this unlawfully, probably without any consultation with — or authorisation from — the Council, having nonchalantly decided to call off public holidays.

Reformation Day 2017 is at the end of this month, but Battistelli decided to call it off. Will Ernst intervene? Will he signal to staff that Battistelli is no longer a ‘king’ (in his own mind)? What we have seen so far isn't reassuring. Ernst is too weak.

Articles in English and German Speak About the Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

Monday 16th of October 2017 02:15:47 AM

Quality of European Patents (EPs) is the very thing EPs derive their value from

Summary: Heise and The Register, two sites that have closely watched EPO affairs for a number of years, speak about the real problem which is declining patent quality (or rushed examination) — a recipe for frivolous litigation in Europe

THE past week was a busy week for the EPO, but most news coverage focused on the next President. We did, however, write several articles about patent quality (or lack thereof) and the disappointing statement from Christoph Ernst's Council (or rather, the Administrative Council headed by Ernst).

“The Council seems too weak to be willing to state the truth and publicly acknowledge that there’s a problem with patent quality — a problem whose full magnitude will only be realised after invalidations, appeals etc.”The new German Chairman of the Administrative Council is already coming under scrutiny. Now there’s some news coverage in German about it and SUEPO drew attention to it. An update also contains some information from Elizabeth Hardon. From the article in German (written by one who is familiar with these matters):

Was als Fachdiskussion über die Zukunft des europäischen Patentsystems mit dem neuen Verwaltungsratschef des EPA gedacht war, entwickelte sich am Freitagabend zu einer harten Abrechnung mit dem scheidenden Präsidenten.

Harte Kritik an der sinkenden Qualität der Patentprüfungen im Europäischen Patentamt (EPA) als Folge der Überlastung von Patentprüfern musste sich der frisch gebackene Chef des Verwaltungsrats des Europäischen Patentamts, Christoph Ernst, Ministerialdirigent im Bundesjustizministerium am Freitag anhören. Ernst hatte auf Einladung des Münchner Max-Planck-Instituts (MPI) für Innovation und Wettbewerb eine optimistisches Bild zur Zukunft des europäischen Patentsystems gezeichnet, erklärte sich aber dazu bereit, die Diskussion über das Qualitätsproblem mit den Fachleuten zu führen.

An automated translation from Google Translate says:

What was conceived as a discussion about the future of the European patent system with the new board of directors of the EPO developed on Friday night to a hard billing with the outgoing president.

The freshly baked head of the Administrative Board of the European Patent Office, Christoph Ernst, Ministerialdirigent in the Federal Ministry of Justice, had to listen bitterly to the falling quality of the patent tests in the European Patent Office (EPO) as a result of overloading patent examiners. Ernst had drawn an optimistic picture of the future of the European patent system at the invitation of the Munich Max Planck Institute (MPI) for innovation and competition, but declared willing to discuss the quality problem with the experts.

Here is what stakeholders think about it:

Instead of thoroughly scrutinizing the filings, the EPA staff tried to get the files back quickly from the table. In the medium term, the declining quality of users could drive the users away and the entire EPO system shake, the lawyer said with great applause from around 60 participants at the MPI, many of whom contributed their own observations.

And then the part about Elizabeth Hardon:

The EPA auditor and trade unionist Elizabeth Hardon, who was put on the air by Battistelli in 2016, recalled that deficiencies in quality will only be apparent in a few years in follow-up nullity proceedings. The trade unionist at the MPI expressly welcomed the fact that others are standing up to criticize the work situation at the EPO. “We have not been heard for years,” she said.

There are many comments there.

More was said about the subject over at The Register; from page 2 (emphasised by SUEPO):

In response to the criticism, Battistelli came out swinging. He pushed the EPO’s annual Quality Report and argued that “quality is the first priority of the Office.”

He went to suggest there was a split between the examiners doing the work and their union representatives: “Unfortunately, I regularly hear untruths about the quality offered by the Office. In particular, this comes from the side of the personnel representation. Those who represent the staff dispute the quality of the products. This is normally never the case that one contests the quality of the work of his/her colleagues.”

But after years of complaints about how Battistelli has handled staff complaints and union officials, and with the announcement of his successor at the same meeting, several governments expressed their dissatisfaction.

The German government representative welcomed the quality report but then noted that the EPO was effectively grading itself.

“We must distinguish between process quality and product quality. The process quality can be certified. Product quality is discussed at meetings and it is unclear how it can be assessed,” he noted.

Aside from the German government being a very powerful voice within the EPO given Germany’s position as the largest patent holder in Europe, the EPO’s new chair is German government representative Christoph Ernst.

[...]

Concerns about EPO quality don’t just rest with the staff or governments either. Recently the EPO’s customers – European corporations – have started raising doubts about patent quality.

With Battistelli still in office until July next year, it is clear that nothing is going to be done to remedy what has become a toxic environment at the organization for the next six months (lest you forget, Battistelli has a permanent bodyguard and even had the brakes of his bike cut – quite something for a man who is very far from the public eye).

In a sense, none of this was new except the response from Battistelli and Ernst. The Council seems too weak to be willing to state the truth and publicly acknowledge that there’s a problem with patent quality — a problem whose full magnitude will only be realised after invalidations, appeals etc.

Software Patents and Patent Trolls Not a Solved Issue, But the US is Getting There

Sunday 15th of October 2017 04:18:52 PM

Summary: A media survey regarding software patents, which are being rejected in the US in spite of all the spin from law firms and bullies such as IBM

TROLLS appear to be moving to Europe and Asia, notably to China. It’s not hard to see why.

As we noted in our previous post, there’s a big problem for patent trolls in the US. As for China? An article just updated (or bumped), some time during this weekend, reminds us that the only country where software patents are still valid and enforceable is China. Lei Zhou and Nancy (Xiaowen) Song (of Linda Liu & Partners, Linda Liu Group) said: “A computer program is patentable in China if it is written in the form of a method or virtual apparatus (ie, an apparatus including modules in one-to-one correspondence with methodological steps). In recent years, claims with an apparatus including processors and memories as their subject matter have been increasingly accepted by examiners.”

Barely any other nation that we can think of would tolerate these; it’s only China where these have bearing when brought before a court. We need to ensure that software patents become extinct everywhere, including in China, as many companies still trade with/in China.

Over the past week we’ve accumulated observations and various takes on the subject of software patents in the US. We’re still observing and concluding that there’s no redemption for them. More worthless software patents, based on [1, 2], are being framed as “AI”, but anyone with a clue knows Alice scraps these. Even if the USPTO says “OK” the courts will likely say “No!”

Steven J. Pollinger, the managing principal of McKool Smith’s Austin office (Texas), ranted the other day about the USPTO’s rejection of “Direct Claiming Of ‘Computer Software’” (i.e. no weasel words or loopholes).

McKool Smith staff, however, are in no position to assert what should come under patent scope; they represent many patent trolls. National Law Review published this on behalf of Pollinger, in essence lobbying for software patents without even asking any software professionals (who oppose this, obviously). To quote:

We propose that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office amend its subject matter eligibility guidelines, and all other related guidance, to make clear that claims may be expressly directed to “computer software” consistent with 35 U.S.C. §101. This would bring the Patent Office’s practice in line with recent Supreme Court and Federal Circuit case law, and would help innovators to better protect their software inventions that play such a key role in today’s computer-focused economy.

The Patent Office’s current guidelines can be read to discourage or even prohibit direct claiming of computer software. Even where the crux of an invention is directed to software, patentees currently are motivated to engage in a needlessly inefficient and expensive claim drafting process, whereby practitioners seek to cover software in an indirect manner — with various sets of claims directed to configured systems, media, methods, or other similar language — instead of simply claiming software itself.

Even if people like Pollinger can ‘trick’ examiners into granting a software patent, the likelihood of such a patent being respected by courts has been vastly diminished. They know it! An honest law firm would say, “don’t litigate, software patents are dead,” but they profit for lying about it. As is often the case, the media that they have a grip on will twist and spin to make it seem otherwise.

How about this press release? It’s a paid-for statement that says “Enterprise IP management software is an automation system for modern corporate that supports in the tracking of patents, trademarks, copyrights and IP.”

IP Pro Patents, in the meantime, reminds us that it’s just a propaganda and marketing site with this puff piece about Anaqua. All these pieces of software merely give the illusion of value. They’re like a virtual world for paper ‘assets’.

Here is IP Pro Patents with another puff piece, ‘dressed up’ as an article preceded by: “Barney Dixon speaks to James Muraff of Neal Gerber Eisenbeg on how to tackle patent subject matter eligibility in the ever-growing wake of Alice” (2014)

The whole thing is just a marketing opportunity and a lot of spin around Alice, e.g.:

How does Neal Gerber & Eisenberg’s approach to Section 101 litigation differ from other law firms?

Arguing the first step equally to, if not more than, the second is important because it gives a patent examiner a better sense of what the invention really is and the meaning of the specific required claim limitations, all up front. This often causes the examiner to realise the invention is really not just some broad (abstract) idea, at the outset of the arguments. I think the firms with better success argue both steps strongly, especially the first step.

But once assessed at a higher level like PTAB or courts (with an appellant) none of this would work. We’ve seen it all before. What are these people on, drugs?

Surely they know that patents on software aren’t worth pursuing, but either they intentionally lie about it or they’re on some truly strong drugs. Speaking of drugs, there are also patents on drugs, deemed “recreational”. Here is an article composed and published about it 5 days ago. From the introduction:

Patent law, possibly the most talked about yet least understood form of intellectual property, has yet to have a large impact on the marijuana industry. However, there is no doubt that the powerful protections that patent registrations provide will certainly have lasting effects. Many within the industry have the powerful tool known as patent law at their disposal, and a few have used it to great extent already. In this post I intend to nail down some patent basics and the potential implications that a patent-ridden landscape could have on not just the industry, but the plants themselves.

Even patents on drugs would be a lot more enforceable than patents on software at this stage. This new article admits that “Alice thus significantly curtailed what software-related inventions remained available for patent protection. However, it provided no specific guidance for determining the bounds of what software-related innovations remained patent eligible” (there are caselaw-type examples though).

EFF bashers such as J Nicholas Gross like to over-complicate patents to celebrate them being granted; when rejected they simplify it.

Watch what he wrote the other day: “USPTO reaches new milestone of insanity, rejects patent application on turbine engine as just an “abstract idea” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016005774-09-28-2017-1 …”

“You must be over-simplifying what the patent claimed,” I told him “maybe wrongly ascribed to a “device” such as a turbine engine.”

Several days ago we found this report titled “Lufthansa Technik AG Files Patents For New Composite Repair Robot” and it made it sound like Lufthansa is patenting software now. To quote from the article: “The robot’s specially developed software scans and diagnoses damage, identifies the surface and calculates the scarf joint’s form and a milling path before cutting out the damaged material.”

There’s a physical element to it, but the software part should not be patentable. The same goes for 3-D printers. Several days ago there was this report about Ultimaker, noting that “[o]pen source was a big focus at this year’s edition of the TCT Show, and remains so as well for Ultimaker, which maintains deep roots in the community.”

So why patents? It says “following the company’s first filed intellectual property patent” as if they try to build a patent portfolio around their software.

How about this new article regarding Blockchain, which is already being infested with questionable software patents? Leslie M. Spencer and Marta Belcher ought to know that software patents are dead. Courts reject them.

Why does Ropes & Gray LLP promote software patents on Blockchain still?

From their article:

Blockchain — the distributed ledger technology underlying bitcoin — has the potential to have a revolutionary impact far beyond cryptocurrencies. Fundamentally, a blockchain is an immutable record of transactions — each one cryptographically verifiable and linked to the other transactions — that allows for accurate and secure transfers of digital assets without requiring a middleman or trusted broker such as a bank. IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty has stated that “blockchain will do for trusted transactions what the internet has done for information,”1 and a recently published World Economic Forum white paper argued that blockchain is creating an “internet of value.”2 Whether the mainstreaming of blockchain is as imminent as some suggest, a huge amount of investment is flowing into the development of blockchain applications in sectors ranging from financial services to health care to supply chain management.

They are quoting Ginni Rometty from IBM, the leading lobbyist for software patents and one of the biggest patent bullies around. IBM keeps trying to undermine Alice and the company’s patent chief has in fact just promoted this article about Alice, taking note only of the few decisions where Alice challenges got rejected by the Federal Circuit (not any time recently). To quote:

It has now been over three years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its transformative patent decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank. During that time, the Federal Circuit has issued only a precious few decisions upholding the validity of software patent claims. Thus, it is critical that patent applicants and practitioners understand the lessons that these cases offer and the hallmarks of software patent eligibility they establish. While clear eligibility rules remain elusive, the cases that have been decided provide valuable guideposts for drafting patent applications moving forward.

The post-Alice eligibility analysis uses the Supreme Court’s previously established two-step framework. Under Step 1, courts first decide whether patent claims are directed to an abstract idea. If they are found “not abstract,” that finding alone supports eligibility, and the analysis can end. If the claims are found to be directed to an abstract idea, under Step 2 courts decide whether the claims contain an inventive concept sufficient to ensure that the claims amount to “significantly more” than the abstract idea itself. If they do, they are deemed patent eligible. This post examines the Federal Circuit decisions upholding software patent claims on Step 1 grounds; we will also publish a second post that examines patent claims upheld on Step 2 grounds.

Look who wrote this article. It’s S. James Boumil from Proskauer Rose LLP, which is being dishonest (cherry-picking) again. No Federal Circuit case has, for many months, favoured software patents (Visual Memory v NVIDIA is not relevant at all). “James assists clients in obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights in the U.S. and abroad,” says the disclosure. So obviously he just wants companies to sue spuriously; he would earn money no matter if the cases get dropped/dismissed.

This is the kind of tripe pushed by IBM!

IBM is trying hard to convert its pile of software patents into much-needed cash (now that IBM is imploding), but PTAB and courts keep invaliding IBM patents, typically using Alice. IBM keeps setting up groups and events to fight against Alice, but so far no success…

Dennis Crouch, who has also been trying to crush Alice and bring back software patents, advertised this event a few days ago. The title says very clearly what it’s trying to accomplish. “The Need for Legislative Reform: The Berkeley Section 101 Workshop” is the title and here is the abstract:

Over the past five years, the Supreme Court has embarked upon a drastic and far-reaching experiment in patent eligibility standards. Since the founding era, the nation’s patent statutes have afforded patent protection to technological innovations and practical applications of scientific discoveries. However, the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories imposed a new limitation on the scope of the patent system: that a useful application of a scientific discovery is ineligible for patent protection unless the inventor also claims an “inventive” application of the discovery. The following year, the Court ruled that discoveries of the location and sequence of DNA compositions that are useful in diagnosing diseases are ineligible for patent protection. And in its 2014 Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International decision, the Court ruled that software-related claims are ineligible for patent protection unless the abstract ideas or mathematical formulas disclosed are inventively applied.

They just can’t help trying to undermine the Supreme Court, can they?

The other day Crouch promoted a paper which said “legal job market is strong and growing” (by “legal jobs” they means jobs that are not making anything, just suing, or threatening to sue).

Looking at the paper in question, it speaks of patent maximalism and concludes: “In fact, patent attorneys with the appropriate background (mechanical, electrical, chemical or computer engineering degrees or “MECC Engineers”) are quite attractive on the employment market. Yet, they still do not come to law school.”

Maybe they want to change the world for the better, not destroying people’s actual work. Dennis Crouch remarked that this “article argues that “this fact will have a deleterious effect on the United States economy.””

What will? The patent microcosm? To people like Crouch, for example, the “United States economy” probably just means a bunch of blood-sucking law firms. With patents being granted to malicious firms like Securus (the incarceration industrial complex).

Some “economy”, eh?

US Patent Trolls Are Leaving and the Eastern District of Texas Sees Patent Cases Falling by More Than Half

Sunday 15th of October 2017 03:14:47 PM

Summary: The decline of patent aggression in the US and the patent microcosm’s response to Justices, having ruled in TC Heartland, curtailing patent trolls

THE world is changing for the better when it comes to patents. Sure, the European Patent Office (EPO) is in trouble as patent scope is out of control there, but in the US things are improving. The EPO‘s friends at IP Europe wrote/quoted: “Development of innovative new standards jeopardised by #IEEE patent policy”

We wrote about IEEE the other day, specifically in relation to this article. This is a lie. IP Europe knows that it’s a lie. But it’s paid to lobby for patent extremists such as Microsoft. The IEEE is US-based and it’s possibly leaning towards liberal policies. That may mean no patent tax on standards.

In various other ways the US improving. Patent trolls seem to be on their way out. We have not heard of Erich Spangenberg for a while (he nearly disappeared). He is one of the most disgusting patent trolls of all. He had blackmailed over a thousand (maybe thousands) of firms using what later turned out to be an invalid patent and now, according to IAM, he is “back buying in the US”. To quote:

IPNav founder and renowned [sic] patent monetiser [sic] Erich Spangenberg is back buying US assets. According to an 18th September notice on the USPTO patent assignment database an entity called Page Innovations LLC acquired a single patent from inventor Justin Page relating to identity theft protection. In the assignment cover sheet Spangenberg is listed as the manager of Page Innovations. The details of the assignment were first reported in an RPX weekly email.

We have been writing about RPX for nearly a decade. We’ll come back to RPX in a moment.

The biggest news on the patent front was reported by Joe Mullin several days ago. It’s extremely pleasing to see that the US Supreme Court has managed to eject many patent trolls out of Texas. Here are some numbers:

New lawsuits are down—way down—in the mostly rural district that was once the national hotspot for patent disputes.

For several years, the Eastern District of Texas hosted more patent lawsuits than any other judicial district in the country. Last year, East Texas saw more patent lawsuits filed than the next four judicial districts combined. But in May, the Supreme Court sharply limited where patent owners can choose to file their lawsuits, in a case called TC Heartland. That’s leading to a sharp change in the geography of patent litigation.

[...]

The trend seems likely to continue, given a recent case called In re: Cray Inc., in which an appeals court clarified how TC Heartland must be applied. In that case, a federal judge ruled that a case against supercomputer manufacturer Cray could be kept in East Texas because the company employed a single work-from-home employee in the district. The top patent appeals court sharply disagreed, though, and overturned that decision, forcing the Cray case out of East Texas.

“The patterns we’re seeing are changing dramatically, and the double-digit dominance of East Texas is gone,” said Brian Howard, Lex Machina’s data scientist, in an interview with Ars.

United for Patent Reform‏ said: “Since #TCHeartland #patenttroll filings in #EDTX have dropped from 50% to 26%…”

This is based on Lex Machina.

Here is RPX’s take on some of the latest figures: “Patent law faces continued uncertainty in all three branches of government. The Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision in May likely precipitated a dip in new patent litigation that carried unevenly through the third quarter. While litigation remains slow overall, plaintiffs have begun to test the bounds of TC Heartland by bringing novel venue arguments in the Eastern District of Texas and by charting new courses in Delaware, California, and Illinois. On the other hand, the tables could turn: the Court granted certiorari in Oil States in June, casting the continued existence of inter partes review (IPR) into doubt. Though most commentators discount petitioner Oil States’s likelihood of success, even the slightest potential for victory is a ray of hope for patent owners.”

On the Federal Circuit reaffirming all this, here is another belated take (we wrote about this before):

Until the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 22, 2017 ruling in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States district courts had interpreted the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. §1400(b), to allow plaintiffs to bring a patent infringement case against a domestic corporation in any district court where there is personal jurisdiction over that corporate defendant. The Supreme Court’s TC Heartland ruling, however, clarified that personal jurisdiction alone does not convey venue for patent cases under the patent venue statute. But that clarification led to confusion as to how to interpret the venue statute itself. The Federal Circuit just addressed that confusion in In re Cray Inc.

In re Cray was also an important decision because it helped highlight the sheer disregard for the law (and the Supreme Court) down in Texas. It is hopefully a lot clearer now (to more trolls) that there’s nothing attractive about Texas. The figures speak for themselves.

Qualcomm’s Nightmares Are Getting Worse as Antitrust Questions Are Raised and Assessed

Sunday 15th of October 2017 02:22:13 PM

Summary: Qualcomm is getting itself deeper in trouble as fines pile up and its multi-billion dollar dispute with Apple isn’t getting it anywhere

THE company known as “Qualcomm” used to exist in the market. One could actually buy things with the “Qualcomm” brand on them. Nowadays, Qualcomm is just something that’s a tax. It’s embedded in many products and the tax includes software patents, which aren’t even valid in many of the respective markets. Later this week we intend to organise our articles about Qualcomm in a Wiki page similar to that of the EPO.

“It’s embedded in many products and the tax includes software patents, which aren’t even valid in many of the respective markets.”Several days ago Qualcomm got slapped with a massive fine (almost $0.8 billion in a nation as small as Taiwan). Will they fine them even more in nations like Korea and China? We shall see…

From the report of Bloomberg (found via Florian Müller):

Qualcomm Inc. was fined a record NT$23.4 billion ($773 million) by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission in the latest blow from regulators over the way the U.S. company prices mobile phone chips and patents.

The company has been violating antitrust rules for at least 7 years and Qualcomm collected NT$400 billion in licensing fees from local companies during that time, the Taiwanese regulator said in a statement on its website Wednesday. The San Diego-based company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Qualcomm has attracted scrutiny from regulators around the world, with it practices probed in South Korea, China, Japan, the European Union and elsewhere. The company is engaged in a fierce battle with Apple Inc. that has seen the iPhone maker cut off billions of dollars in payments to Qualcomm.

Müller wrote about it in his own blog later on. To quote:

The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission’s decision to impose a record fine of more than $700 million on Qualcomm and to demand a departure from some of Qualcomm’s longstanding, problematic practices is really huge. If I didn’t believe so, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post about two hours after receiving approval from Apple to publish my iOS game, after three years of development. We’re initially making the game available in 24 countries now and will do our U.S. launch (after a bit more fine-tuning) next month, at which time I’ll be more specific about category, name, features, everything.

[...]

This has been a very eventful ten months for Qualcomm in antitrust terms. It’s hard to identify the tipping point, but my prediction is Qualcomm will have to fundamentally change its patent licensing and other business practices in the not too distant future, and when that happens, today’s Taiwanese decision will be considered to have been among the more important events in that regard.

IAM, as expected, isn’t too happy. “Whatever happens with the appeals,” it wrote, “the fact that the TFTC has shown its cards means there is one less major regulatory question mark for Qualcomm in Asia. The focus of the antitrust war may shift to the US and EU going forward, although there is still important Apple-Qualcomm litigation going on in China, Taiwan and Japan.”

On a separate day IAM spoke about NXP patents and Qualcomm, which it dubbed “one of the world’s leading licensors” (more like one of the world’s leading bullies). To quote:

According to a news report earlier this week Qualcomm has offered to agree to certain patent-related conditions in order to get the greenlight for its $38 billion takeover of NXP from European Union regulators. The giant US chipmaker is said to have told regulators that it will not acquire NXP’s standard essential patents (SEPs) and will not assert the Dutch company’s IP relating to near field communication (NFC) technology, except for defensive purposes.

Given that Qualcomm is one of the world’s leading licensors and makes a big chunk of its profits from monetising its patent portfolio in the mobile space, these possible concessions are very significant. The San Diego based business’s licensing practices are of course well and truly in the spotlight right now thanks to various regulatory investigations and its increasingly bitter spat with Apple. As we reported earlier today, Qualcomm was fined $773 million by Taiwan’s antitrust authorities (the company has said it will challenge the decision in court) and has also been hit with fines in the recent past by South Korea and China.

An article from Eric Jhonsa at The Street has meanwhile explained “Why Apple Is Likely to Come Out Ahead in Its Royalty Battle With Qualcomm” and to quote the summary:

Apple probably won’t get everything it officially wants in its legal fight with Qualcomm. But similar to what happened in its patent battles with Samsung, Apple might end up in a better position than if it had never sued.

As we explained at the start of the year, if Apple wins this battle, it will be good news for Android, too. Apple has just, yet again, been sued for patent infringement. Will Apple interpret that as a wakeup call regarding patents? Perhaps a nice goal for us to have is to compel companies like Apple to understand that software patents aren’t in their interest and therefore fight along with us.

“Will Apple interpret that as a wakeup call regarding patents?”In the meantime, as of Friday, “Qualcomm Seeks China iPhone Ban, Expanding Apple Legal Fight” (because it’s feeling the pressure).

To quote Bloomberg again:

Qualcomm Inc. filed lawsuits in China seeking to ban the sale and manufacture of iPhones in the country, the chipmaker’s biggest shot at Apple Inc. so far in a sprawling and bitter legal fight.

The San Diego-based company aims to inflict pain on Apple in the world’s largest market for smartphones and cut off production in a country where most iPhones are made. The product provides almost two-thirds of Apple’s revenue. Qualcomm filed the suits in a Beijing intellectual property court claiming patent infringement and seeking injunctive relief, according to Christine Trimble, a company spokeswoman.

Qualcomm is just trying to intimidate Apple, but we very much doubt this pressure (or financial risk) will turn Apple away. At the end, we certainly hope that Qualcomm will lose and preferably fold as a company. Qualcomm has nothing left to offer.

Forget About Apple; Two of the Leading Phone Makers (Samsung and Huawei) Are Bickering Over Patents

Sunday 15th of October 2017 01:35:25 PM

The aggressor is Huawei

Summary: Massive Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung, are in a big patent dispute and this time, for a change, China is a legal battleground

THE war Apple started against Android in 2010 was a patent war. The first target was HTC from Taiwan. Later on Apple targeted the biggest (at the time) Android OEM, namely Samsung.

Huawei has since then challenged Samsung to the crown, after Samsung became a bigger OEM than Apple. As is widely known by now, Apple started flinging all sorts of ridiculous design patent lawsuits at Samsung. Some of these patents looked almost comical and last week we explained why design patents, as a whole, are a lame shame (trademark and copyright laws already cover designs). More people need to talk about this. Several days ago Patently-O plotted duration of such patents (believe it or not, it’s fifteen years). “If I were preparing to file a design patent around early May 2015,” it said, “I might have held-off a bit on the filing to pass the May 13, 2015 threshold. Design patents stemming from applications filed on or after that date have a 15-year patent term (calculated from patent issuance) as opposed to a 14-year term for those filed prior to the threshold date.”

“…the patent courts in china have become kangaroo courts like the Eastern District of Texas.”So the USPTO further extended the life of patents which probably ought not exist in the first place.

Sadly, patents like these continue to be used in countries where the threshold for patenting is low. Huawei, for example, first sued Samsung in both China and the US, knowing that China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) is notorious worldwide for probably the lowest patent quality. Moreover, as we have shown recently, the patent courts in china had become kangaroo courts like in the Eastern District of Texas. Here is the latest on this from English-speaking Chinese media:

The patent war between Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co and its South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co has been in the headlines again recently, after China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) announced its latest rulings on eight cases.

The SIPO’s Patent Reexamination Board announced on September 30 that five patents involved in Samsung’s lawsuits against Huawei are invalid, one is partly invalid and only two remain valid. At this point, 10 of the 16 patent infringement lawsuits Samsung filed against Huawei in China have been determined invalid, accounting for 62.5 percent of the total.

The patent battle started in May 2016 when Huawei first sued Samsung in both China and the US for alleged infringement of its smartphone patents, involving several of its cellular communications technology and software inventions used in Samsung smartphones. In July 2016, Samsung countersued Huawei over six alleged infringement patents.

It’s worth noting that SIPO found most of the patents it had granted to be invalid. Yet another reminder of the low patent quality there.

IAM (lobbying group that calls itself publisher) keeps egging on or encouraging a patent trolls epidemic in China. See what it wrote some days ago. We are worried that China’s race towards patent maximalism will spread to other countries. Patent radicals in the US already cite “China!” all the time, in an effort to lobby their officials for broader patent scope.

Tim Heberden From the Glasshouse Advisory is Throwing Stones in a Glasshouse to Create Patent Litigation

Sunday 15th of October 2017 12:55:50 PM

One-man firm or just a patent propaganda front with marketing like “Elevate your IP”?

Summary: IAM’s latest lobbying, aided by the patent microcosm, for a climate of feuds and disputes (to line the pockets of the litigation ‘industry’)

PEOPLE who make a living out of patent maximalism are, quite expectedly, promoting patent maximalism. Tim Heberden is one such person, who is linked to IAM, a patent maximalism lobby group.

As a reminder, Australia recently extended or augmented the ban on software patents. We last wrote about this a monhh ago. The Productivity Commission, a government research body, studied these matters and concluded that patents on almost everything would be misguided and counterproductive. Patent maximalists were — and still are — angry about it. That means more money for programmers, not for pests.

“The Productivity Commission, a government research body, studied these matters and concluded that patents on almost everything would be misguided and counterproductive.”Now there is a so-called ‘study’ from a patent maximalist who says companies should embrace patent maximalists (like himself). Tim Heberden From the Glasshouse Advisory (which seems to be only/mostly about himself) obviously received a mention from IAM, which towards the end disclosed the connection. To quote: “These businesses are all leaders in the field of IP value creation. But new research from Tim Heberden, IP economics director at Glasshouse Advisory, shows that many publicly traded companies in Australia are missing the opportunity to explain the value of their intellectual assets to investors. This, he says, can be detrimental to their corporate health. [...] Heberden is a member of the IAM Strategy 300.”

“What’s worth noting here is IAM’s eagerness to increase litigation and tensions.”Another fine example of IAM lobbying disguised as media (as in “IAM Media”). Around the same time they also congratulated TiVo, which had become somewhat of a patent bully in recent years, on a new hire from patent bully number 1, IBM. TiVo seems certain or looks like it’s going to become more and more aggressive with patents. To quote IAM: “Ehrlich spent almost 30 years at IBM first as an engineer before moving to the legal department in 1994 and taking a series of IP-focused roles. Most recently he led the patent licensing and business development legal team responsible for generating IP income. At TiVo he will take charge of all of the IP functions outside of litigation essentially filling the role that Patel had at Rovi before his move to take the top IP job at Technicolor and the company’s acquisition of TiVo (the combined business adopted the latter’s name). “The TiVo IP team is already one of the best in the world but we’re looking to make it even stronger,” Patel told the IAM blog. “I’m looking to turn it into a powerful 21st century commercialisation engine that is capable of driving the growth of the company. Marc is one of the first pieces that will help us move in that direction.””

IBM’s push for software patents will be mentioned later today in another post. What’s worth noting here is IAM’s eagerness to increase litigation and tensions.

Access to Medicine is More Important Than Patents

Sunday 15th of October 2017 11:51:05 AM

Summary: Some of the latest news about patents that impede/deny access to crucial medication; strategic litigation from the generics sector, seeking to invalidate patents and then offer low-cost alternatives

A COUPLE of weeks ago we wrote about various patent monopolies whose value to society is questionable. At one point we highlighted news about a patent case which led to massive penalties ($70,000,000) and medicine embargoes. That was Amgen.

Last week Amgen’s patent disputes were brought up again by Managing IP. To quote: (it’s mostly restricted in terms of access)

The permanent injunction [i.e. embargo] granted by the District of Delaware in the dispute between Amgen and Sanofi/Regeneron over cholesterol-lowering treatment has been vacated, in a decision that also included some implications for the USPTO’s practice of granting broad antibody claims

The Federal Circuit has vacated the permanent injunction in the dispute between Amgen and Sanofi/Regeneron over cholesterol-lowering treatment.

It’s hard to see how sanctions like embargoes can ever benefit society, especially when life-saving medicine is at stake. It’s saddening to see almost no sites (bar IP Watch perhaps) speaking about this. What’s worse, now that there’s positive change, owing to the US Supreme Court, sites like this are promoting the illusion that doing the right thing on patents would cause death in “developing nations” — the very opposite of what is true. To quote:

On May 30th, the Supreme Court ruled in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. that all patent rights are automatically exhausted upon the sale of a product irrespective of contract stipulations and regardless of whether the sale is made domestically or internationally. While the dispute in this case involved articles of manufacture, the decision has strong implications for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical Industry, and may make it easier for drugs sold legally overseas to make their way back to the U.S. market.

[...]

Another possible effect of the Lexmark decision is a decrease in drug donations from pharmaceutical companies to developing nations…

This is nonsense. If anything, the ruling compels companies to focus less (in their business model) on patents. We used to write a great deal about the sham such “donations” tend to be; sometimes they just experiment on a population, under the guise of philanthropy or charity. Production costs are minuscule anyway and what’s expensive is risk of litigation due to clinical trials gone awry. We wrote about companies such as Merck and Novartis in relation to this (mostly half a decade ago) and speaking of which, watch what Patently-O published a few days ago. It is now a platform for patent radicals from Novartis (malicious company in the patent sense) and the notorious WIPO. It’s easy to see what they want and it has nothing to do with public interests.

In Japan, according to last week’s IAM blog post, there’s now a debate (and lawsuit) that spills over to the US. Generics versus patents again:

In order to submit Paragraph IV certifications, Sawai will reportedly conduct invalidity searches for patents which protect original drugs and that have significant patent terms remaining. By invalidating patents for original drugs, Sawai expects to increase sales of its generic drugs. From the early 2020s, Sawai plans to release one or two generic drugs each year in the United States.

This is very good. Sawai would therefore improve access to medicine at affordable prices.

More in Tux Machines

Servers: Docker, Red Hat and InfluxData

Laptops: Chrome OS and System76

  • Chrome OS Gets Material Design for "Do Not Disturb," Android-Like Screenshots
    Chromium evangelist François Beaufort is sharing today information on a new Material Design refresh for Google's Chrome OS' "Do Not Disturb" mode, which landed in the latest Chrome Canary channel. According to the developer, the Material Design refresh for the "Do Not Disturb" mode will make the Notification Center look nicer, but also consistent with the Android user experience. Those using the Chrome Canary experimental channel can give it a try right now.
  • System76 'Lemur' and 'Galago Pro' Ubuntu Linux laptops get 8th gen Intel Core CPUs
    The famed Linux-laptop seller also says, "The Lemur you know and love is now even better with the Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads, allowing you to multitask up to 40-percent faster. The slim, 3.6 lb laptop with impressive 14.1-inch 1080p IPS display is still your perfect travel companion; easy to carry from meeting to meeting or across campus." New processors aside, these laptops should be pretty much identical to prior generations -- which is a very good thing. If you want to configure a Lemur with a Coffee Lake chip, you can build your own here. A Galago Pro with an 8th Gen Intel Core processor can be configured here.

Events: Open Source Summit Europe, LibrePlanet 2018

Licences: Eclipse Public Licence 2.0, GPL Copyright Troll, Fiduciary License Agreement 2.0

  • Eclipse Public License version 2.0 added to license list
    We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 (EPL). In terms of GPL compatibility, the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 is essentially equivalent to version 1.0. The only change is that it explicitly offers the option of designating the GNU GPL version 2 or later as a "secondary license" for a certain piece of code.
  • Linux kernel community tries to castrate GPL copyright troll
    Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman and several other senior Linux figures have published a “Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement” to be included in future Linux documentation, in order to ensure contributions to the kernel don't fall foul of copyright claims that have already seen a single developer win "at least a few million Euros.” In a post released on Monday, October 16th, Kroah-Hartman explained the Statement's needed because not everyone who contributes to the kernel understands the obligations the GNU Public Licence 2.0 (GPL 2.0), and the licence has “ambiguities … that no one in our community has ever considered part of compliance.”
  • Fiduciary License Agreement 2.0
    After many years of working on it, it is with immense pleasure to see the FLA-2.0 – the full rewrite of the Fiduciary License Agreement – officially launch.