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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 26 min ago

New Survey Shows That Even Patent Professionals Know That Team UPC is Lying About Unitary Patent Roadmaps

50 min 42 sec ago

Team UPC is fooling/successfully misleading almost nobody but is still lying to everyone, finds/infers a new WIPR survey


One example of plenty more fake news about the UPC (e.g. [1, 2, 3]), courtesy of those who stand to profit from legal Armageddon

Summary: The “Unified Patent Court (UPC) is unlikely to become operational by December 2017 [according to] nearly three-quarters of WIPR readers,” but Team UPC continues to spread lies

JUST earlier this month WIPR published the results of a survey about the UPC, which emboldened us and reinforced our predictions. See our post titled “New WIPR Survey and Other Data Points Suggest That the Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead, at Least in the UK“.

“…it’s time MPs talked about it, understood it and explained it – too important not to be publicly scrutinised…”
      –David BrookeI spoke to someone from WIPR today (David Brooke). He said that he would “hardly think any MPs know what the upc is – pro or anti Brexit. not even sure carswell does either…”

“It’s not simple to explain,” I told him, and he agreed, adding that “it’s time MPs talked about it, understood it and explained it – too important not to be publicly scrutinised…”

Max Walters‏, another frequent writer on the matter (not a patent practitioner, but one with profound understanding of the subject) weighed in and said: “They know that it can involve the CJEU. For some that should be enough…”

He also said: “How can it be ratified without a vote?”

“They know that it can involve the CJEU. For some that should be enough…”
      –Max Walters‏“The concern is,” I explained, “people who vote might know nothing about it except what CIPA (front group) says [...] that it’s good for SMEs yada yada…” (that’s a famous lie about the UPC).

Walters‏ then asked: “Didn’t the IP Bill also give the sec of state power to ratify?”

FFII is currently trying to figure out the process and we are speaking with them about it.

Days ago Walters‏ wrote (adding a screenshot): “Still no MPs declaring support for Douglas Carswell’s anti #UPC motion. Have to say I’m somewhat surprised by this…”

“They try to disseminate mere belief (false belief) that the UPC is unstoppable (just a matter of time), inevitable (a question of when, not if), and even desirable.”“Not surprising given that they’re not aware of what #upc does,” I told him, “how patent law works, and #cipa lies to them…”

We still have some time to explain this to them. In a new survey, just published at the end of February, it is made abundantly apparent that WIPR’s audience — probably patent professionals in the UK for the most part — is agreeing with what surveys previously showed. People in the profession don’t swallow all the lies of Team UPC, which is just lying through its teeth with fake news in order to bamboozle politicians into a Unitary Patent hop. They try to disseminate mere belief (false belief) that the UPC is unstoppable (just a matter of time), inevitable (a question of when, not if), and even desirable. Here is what the new survey says:

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is unlikely to become operational by December 2017, as predicted, according to nearly three-quarters of WIPR readers.

In January, WIPR reported that the UPC preparatory committee announced that the court can become operational in December this year.

And one reader said: “I have confidence that the UPC will be operational in December but uncertainties related to Brexit diminish its use.”

But most readers weren’t quite as optimistic. One major spanner in the works, they said, is Brexit.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech in January sparked concerns that the UK may seek to leave the UPC after Brexit.

“We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave,” said May, setting out a 12-step plan that the UK government will use for negotiating Brexit terms.

A question less loaded would not presume that it’s just a matter of time. It might never happen at all. Most WIPR readers previously said so.

“A question less loaded would not presume that it’s just a matter of time. It might never happen at all. Most WIPR readers previously said so.”What does Team UPC do and say in the mean time? Have a look at Bristows with its villainous lobbying blog. It says “The Unified Patent Court is still on track to open in December 2017.”

That’s a lie. But keep repeating it, Bristows, and maybe some gullible politicians will actually believe you. Bristows is a truly nasty firm and anyone seeking an honest advice from them would be well advised to avoid.

“Imagine what would happen if we empowered and equipped large (often foreign) firms with injunctions Europe-wide.”The only thing the UPC would bring to Europe (and the UK, if it ever miraculously passes and pervades) is patent trolls, more patent litigation, higher damages, and more patent injunctions. The London-based IAM would certainly love it; it even got paid to promote the UPC!

Imagine what would happen if we empowered and equipped large (often foreign) firms with injunctions Europe-wide. Imagine no more!

There are patent raids in Europe and IAM seems rather thrilled about it [1, 2]. The Mobile World Congress was supposed to be all fun and showcases (a couple of days ago), but instead there are raids to come. IAM wrote: “Barcelona court orders seizure of phones at Mobile World Congress over possible infringement of Fractus patent. [...] Phones were being displayed at the event by French and Chinese companies. Fractus applied for the order last week.”

“It’s not hard to see who such a system is desirable to as SMEs rarely operate in more than one nation anyway.”That’s a case of “I steal all your phones, because I allege you infringe some patents (in a rush, hardly a chance for defense!).”

Laws for the rich and powerful? That’s UPC. And the above new story is a cautionary tale. Imagine what patent trolls would do with such powers; one ruling in one European city would be applicable not just in the EU but also beyond! It’s not hard to see who such a system is desirable to as SMEs rarely operate in more than one nation anyway.

Does the EPO Want Patent Quality to Decline Against the USPTO and Become Akin to SIPO?

1 hour 37 min ago

Anything goes with crooked management like this

Summary: The EPO, which is trying to convert a patent system into a cash cow rather than a public service, risks losing public support and an applicants base (where it hasn’t lost it already)

PATENT quality and scope (inherently similar things) have been a concern of ours predating Battistelli at the EPO. There just doesn’t seem to be the same aspiration to quality that there used to be. It got even worse under Battistelli (compared to Brimelow and her predecessors) and the Administrative Council, a bunch of spineless chinchillas, just doesn’t seem to genuinely care. It mentions “quality” every now and then, yet it takes no practical steps to assure it. The last meeting of the Administrative Council barely even brought up the subject and the next one, which is just weeks away, seems unlikely to even have it on the agenda. Battistelli continues to rely on his propaganda mill, IAM, to deny the issue with dubious surveys.

“After the US patent office ruled against the University of California in its battle for key patents on the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology last week, UC put on a brave face.”
      –California HealthlineAs people who read this site closely enough (not just EPO matters) would have noticed, the USPTO aided by the AIA gifts (notably PTAB) is growingly picky and selective on CRISPR — essentially patents on life. Read this new article titled “University Of California Faces Uphill Climb In CRISPR Appeal”. To quote: “After the US patent office ruled against the University of California in its battle for key patents on the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology last week, UC put on a brave face. It might appeal the decision, it told reporters. It might settle for the patent it originally filed for, in 2012, and live with the fact that the Broad Institute, which prevailed at the patent office, gets to keep crucial patents that UC challenged. Unfortunately for UC, a public institution that could really use royalty and licensing revenues from CRISPR patents, experts in intellectual property suspect that even its fallback positions are no more solid than shaving cream.”

“How many more patent applications will the EPO receive in the long run when attorneys need to tell clients that the EPO has gone awry?”Other publications too wrote about it this week [1, 2], as did we. Just see our Wiki and some of the latest things we wrote about the topic, culminating in PTAB’s actions against CRISPR [1, 2, 3] (last covered yesterday). A couple of days ago we received an alert about this press release titled “European Patent Office To Grant CRISPR-Cpf1 Patent To Broad Institute, MIT, And Harvard University” (disappointing).

So the USPTO and PTAB make sceptical moves towards or against CRISPR, but the EPO under Battistelli (where examiners are under stress and are urged to reject of grant everything, as fast as possible, without sufficient research) does the opposite. What are applicants supposed to think? Yesterday I spoke to a highly-ranked university professor about this. He seems to be aware of what goes on at the EPO and he has informed his university. How many more patent applications will the EPO receive in the long run when attorneys need to tell clients that the EPO has gone awry? Job applications (and quality thereof) have already nosedived. How many applicants out there already prepare to just pursue patents at the national patent offices (NPOs)? We’ve heard from a few.

To quote from the press release: “The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced it intends to grant its first CRISPR-Cpf1 patent to the Broad Institute, MIT, and Harvard University, based on a patent application filed in June 2015.”

Intention to grant and actual grant are not the same thing. Is this some sort of “early certainty” thing? Where people make decisions before they actually make decisions? Or make semi-official determinations without actually doing the work involved? This is Battistelli’s legacy. There are many other bad legacies, including a plethora of abuses and one might say “corruption”. Yesterday the EPO wrote about EPO procurement, telling people nothing about dodgy contracts and lack of tenders at the EPO. Also yesterday, the EPO said: “Join us on Wednesday for our free webinar on recent & upcoming law changes in India!”

“If firms take these patents to court and then find out that these patents are worthless (and invalidated on the spot), what good is the EPO’s service to them?”Well, India has rejected software patents, whereas the EPO defies EU decisions if not orders to reject them. What does that say about the EPO? An entity above the law, no doubt! What can ever stop it? In Europe, pressure at all levels has perpetually attempted to stop the EPO’s software patents (erroneous grants) and where has it gotten us? Battistelli is doing whatever he want. In India, by contrast, the pressure from the politicians and large corporations is to actually grant software patents, but the patent office managed to skirt them off or drive them away (time after time over the years). The Indian patent lobby, writing in IAM right now (a patent maximalist and his colleague Sunil Kumar Tyagi), offers tips for bypassing limitations. We recently wrote how India had adopted a process for speeding up applications of those with deeper pockets (the EPO did this first) and this one says: “Most patent applications in India are granted after amendments are made to the patent claims; there are few cases in which patent applications are allowed with no claim amendments. To speed up the examination process, claims can be amended on a voluntary basis or in response to objections raised in an examination report. This means that applicants can either file a request for voluntary amendment along with the associated fee or wait until the examination report is issued.”

We certainly hope that whistleblowers inside the EPO will share stories with us about the decline of patent quality at the Office, with or without intent to make the information public (some people already tell us about this, but we cannot make public any of the details as that might jeopardise these sources). Dissent is strong inside the Office, partly because insiders believe they are being pressured to hastily grant patents they would not otherwise grant. If firms take these patents to court and then find out that these patents are worthless (and invalidated on the spot), what good is the EPO’s service to them? For small companies, scenarios such as these can render them insolvent as patents are expensive to pursue and maintain (renewal), never mind the legal fees associated with litigation.

Xinova is a Patent Troll With Connections to Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures, the World’s Largest Troll

2 hours 35 min ago

Summary: A Microsoft patent troll gives birth to another trollish tentacle (one among literally thousands), this one called “Xinova” but formerly known as Invention Development Fund (IDF)

THE patent troll named Intellectual Ventures (IV), which reportedly has thousands of satellites, is no exception to the norm. Like all trolls, it is suffering right now and there are also layoffs, departures etc. But we need to keep track of the thugs when they leave and land elsewhere, as they can potentially resurface to serve the same goals from different umbrellas.

There is some branching out right now, or some firm coming out of Intellectual Ventures. The trolls’ mouthpiece, IAM, calls it by the euphemism “development fund”. The firm itself describes “Xinova” as merely a rebrand, or “the new name for the company formerly known as Invention Development Fund (IDF)” (exact quote from the source itself).

Are they just nymshifting like MOSAID, another Microsoft-connected troll which is now known as “Conversant”?

IAM wrote: “Speaking to Bloomberg earlier this month, CEO Thomas Kang, who was brought in to head up Xinova when it completed its separation from IV last September, said that while the enterprise remains unprofitable – as was the case while under the aegis of IV – it currently makes “tens of millions” of dollars in revenue.” Well, it doesn’t even need to be profitable if its goal is merely to harass lots of companies on behalf of some company or companies (like Microsoft).

“…the enterprise remains unprofitable – as was the case while under the aegis of IV…”
      –IAMIAM says the firm “makes “tens of millions” of dollars in revenue.” One can imagine where that money comes from. The source for IAM is this article from the 8th of February. The summary says “Xinova was recently spun out from Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures. Inventions include a spray-on coating to keep cattle clean.”

Watch out for Xinova because it sounds like a truly nasty firm that not only develops nothing but also brews/engineers ruinous, frivolous patent lawsuits.

IAM ‘Magazine’ Rented Out to Microsoft Again, in Order to Attack Amazon (as Host of Free/Libre Software) Using Software Patents FUD

2 hours 58 min ago

Marketing and an attack on one’s competition disguised as ‘news’

Summary: The new front against GNU/Linux, or the attempt by Microsoft to tax the platform using software patents, is glossed over in puff pieces from Microsoft, conveniently published under IAM’s own umbrella again

FOR a number of years now — and as recently as just months ago — we have been pointing out the role of IAM as mouthpiece/megaphone of Microsoft Corporation, or whoever pays the bills (e.g. by company-wide subscription). However one passes/creates financial strings, it’s not publicly disclosed and it can affect the editorial process.

Right now there is this new ‘article’ (actually ghostwritten) which repeats the lie that “Azure IP Advantage” is some sort of Earth-shattering thing and that it’s effective against trolls (it’s not because Microsoft cannot sue them; at best it could offer indemnification, but that’s not what this programme is about). It’s yet more of that scaremongering about what would happen to people, especially if they don’t pay Microsoft. We have already covered the subject in the following recent articles:

Is the Linux Foundation going to remark on Microsoft’s resort to software patents? Or playing dirty games with software patents in order to entice people? With Microsoft money on its table, the Linux Foundation’s staff is likely to just foolishly smile and hope that nobody will notice what kind of members it continues to let in.

A point worth emphasising about Azure’s supposed “IP Advantage” is, these are all Microsoft software patents, as inside mere VMs one can only run software. It’s not about hardware or gadgets; the “bare metal” argument in the context of so-called ‘clouds’ has totally changed.

In the above IAM piece, the editor in chief continues a pattern of speaking to Microsoft chiefs or former chiefs for talking points. In this case, it’s just a large copy-paste job. Why not just call IAM a “division of Microsoft” or something like that? Or the courier of sponsors, including patent trolls? They are doing this not for the first time, and it’s usually the same people (just reprinting them). Sometimes it’s the EPO. In Techrights alone we wrote about IAM’s proximity to Microsoft many times before (they also run on Microsoft platforms and proprietary software).

Here is a portion from this ‘article’:

Microsoft’s recent launch of its Azure IP Advantage programme for the company’s cloud customers has generated a great deal of coverage. On the IAM blog, we argued that it once again showed the company to be a world leader when it comes to creating value from its patent portfolio. Regular IAM blog contributor and former Microsoft chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer – now managing partner of the Seattle office of Shook Hardy & Bacon – has put together a piece for us that explains why that is undoubtedly the case. Equally as important, however, is his observation that the Azure programme puts Microsoft way out ahead of the current number one cloud service provider, Amazon and its AWS programme, as well as (to a lesser extent) Google.

Microsoft can send trolls to attack Amazon or Amazon’s customers, then say, “flee to Microsoft or go bankrupt!” It’s not unthinkable given what we saw in recent history.

A lot of people use AWS to host GNU/Linux with a lot of Free software such as Apache. Only software patents can ever be asserted against customers of AWS and if Amazon was to offer indemnification of some kind, it would still enable Microsoft’s trolls to drive up the operation costs and thus hosting fees, rendering the platform less competitive. Amazon is actually one of the most sued (if not the most sued) company over patents.

As a side note, we often complain that Microsoft sends its trolls to attack Google. Microsoft’s legal targets (targets for bullies with patents) these days are typically Chrome or Chrome OS and Android, the GNU/Linux- and Linux-based operating systems (respectively) from Google. Microsoft goes after the pertinent OEMs as they have less incentive than Google to fight back in court. Having said that, Google too has gone to the dark side, as we noted a short while ago. TechDirt‘s founder too has just said that it’s “Disappointing To See Google’s Waymo Sue Over Patents” and this is what he published hours ago:

For years, we had pointed out that one of the nice things about the new generation of tech companies was that they rarely seemed to use patents offensively. Yes, they were subject to tons of patent lawsuits from trolls or from legacy players trying to hang on against innovators, but we’ve pointed out in the past that young companies innovate, while older companies litigate. So, we have a tendency to watch companies to see when they shift from being patent litigation defenders, to going on the offensive. For years — even as patent system supporters falsely claimed that Google only existed because of patents — it was good to see not a single example of Google going on the offensive and filing patent lawsuits against other companies.

That changed, unfortunately, back in 2012 when Google brought a patent lawsuit against Apple. Some argued that it wasn’t “really” Google, because it came from Motorola, a company that Google had purchased (mainly for the patents) and then only owned for a short while before dumping, but it was still a Google-owned property going on the offensive. At that time, we argued that if Google really wanted to support patent reform (as the company claimed) then it should stop being a patent aggressor.

Where are the large corporate actors that are willing to publicly and prominently fight back against software patents? Are there no real allies left, at least not among companies that grew too large to care? And what good is OIN or the Linux Foundation if they are mere lapdogs of some of the world’s largest patent bullies?

Links 27/2/2017: GNU Linux-libre 4.10, Weston 2.0.0, Git 2.12.0, Linux From Scratch 8.0

Monday 27th of February 2017 02:50:18 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • GitHub Invites Developers to Contribute to the Open Source Guides

    GitHub has recently launched its Open Source Guides, a collection of resources addressing the most common scenarios and best practices for both contributors and maintainers of open source projects. The guides themselves are open source and GitHub is actively inviting developers to participate and share their stories.

  • Top open source projects

    TechRadar recently posted an article about “The best open source software 2017″ where they list a few of their favorite open source software projects. It’s really hard for an open source software project to become popular if it has poor usability—so I thought I’d add a few quick comments of my own about each.

  • Dropbox releases open-source Slack bot

    Dropbox is looking to tackle unauthorized access and other security incidents in the workplace with a chatbot. Called Securitybot, it that can automatically grab alerts from security monitoring tools and verify incidents with other employers.

    The company says that through the use of the chatbot, which is open source, it will no longer be necessary to manually reach out to employees to verify access, every time someone enters a sensitive part of the system.

    The bot is built primarily for Slack, but it is designed to be transferable to other platforms as well.

  • Dropbox’s tool shows how chatbots could be future of cybersecurity

    Disillusion with chatbots has set in across the tech industry and yet Dropbox’s deep thinkers believe they have spotted the technology’s hidden talent: cybersecurity.

  • What motivates the open-source community?

    Many of us will have been involved in a free-software community that ran out of steam, and either ended up moribund or just plain died. Some of us will have gone through such cycles more than once; it’s never nice to watch something that used to be a vibrant community in its death throes. Knowing what motivates the sort of people who get heavily involved in free software projects is really useful when trying to keep them motivated, and a systematic approach to understanding this is what Rina Jensen, Strategist at Mozilla, talked about at FOSDEM 2017.

    Mozilla talks a lot about promoting innovation and opportunity on the web, and the organization does care a lot about those objectives, but the realities of day-to-day life can interfere and make working toward them tedious. The thinking was that if Mozilla could help make the experience for contributors better, then the contributors could make Mozilla better — but doing that required understanding how things could be better for contributors.

  • Shuttle Music Player is now Open Source

    Music is a major part of everyone’s life, and our smartphones allow us to truly enjoy our music anywhere. Over the years, Android has received a fair share of excellent music player apps, and Shuttle Music Player has managed to stand out.

    Shuttle is a music player following Google’s Material Design guidelines, and its listing is nearing 4 Million downloads. Currently, the app offers two versions: free and paid. The paid version is priced at $0.99 and has received over 50 thousand downloads on the Play Store already.

  • GNU/Linux Events
    • Takeaways from the Open Source Leadership Summit: Mainstream Open Source, Security, Policy, and Business Models

      The 2017 Open Source Leadership Summit, put on by the Linux Foundation, brought together leaders from the open source community in Lake Tahoe last week to discuss timely open source topics. The topics that came up most throughout the conference included: open source becoming mainstream, future open source business models, security in a time where everything is connected, and a call to action to be active in technology policy.

      Open source is becoming a larger focus for major companies, from Toyota to Disney to Walmart. While open source vendors continue to look to the Red Hat model as one of the most successful open source business models to date, entrepreneurs believe there are new models that can surpass this success. As the world becomes ever more connected to the internet, there are general concerns about security, and a call to take action in policymaking. Read on below to learn more about the conversations at the Open Source Leadership Summit.

    • Persistent Memory Usage within Linux Environment by Maciej Maciejewski & Krzysztof Czurylo, Intel
    • Persistent Memory Usage in Linux

      In most cases, when a machine crashes or fails, we lose whatever we had loaded into memory, which for some applications can result in quite a bit of time and effort to recover when the system comes back online. At LinuxCon Europe, Maciej Maciejewski, Senior Software Engineer at Intel, talked about how persistent memory can be used to retain its contents after a power failure.

    • Amidst Bias, Women Work to Find a Place in Open Source Communities

      Despite efforts to enhance diversity, women continue to be under-represented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and open-source software is no different.

      A talk at the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Leadership Summit (OSLS), held last week in Lake Tahoe, highlighted some of the issues facing women in the open source community, from low participation to gender bias and unequal pay to overall job satisfaction.

    • Engineer Finds Passion and Community With Kids On Computers

      If you love technology, you can find a space for yourself and connect with others around mutual interests, according to Avni Khatri, president of Kids on Computers (KoC), a nonprofit that sets up computer labs using donated hardware and open source software in areas where kids have no other access to technology.

      During LinuxCon North America 2016, Khatri organized Kids Day, a day-long workshop that’s aimed at helping school-aged children get interested in computer programming. For Khatri, it’s also a way of furthering her dream of giving children unlimited access to education and helping them succeed in technology.

    • Join Hackaday And Tindie At The Southern California Linux Expo

      Do you like Open Source? Join Hackaday and Tindie at the largest community-run Open Source conference in North America. We’ll be at the Southern California Linux Expo next week, and we want to see you there.

    • What I’m looking forward to at IBM Interconnect 2017

      IBM Interconnect 2017 is coming up next month in Las Vegas. Last year’s conference was a whirlwind of useful talks, inspiring hallway conversations, and great networking opportunities. I was exhausted by the week’s end, but it was totally worth it.

    • foss-north 2017

      After much preparation, the tickets for foss-north 2017 is available at foss-north.se – grab them while they are hot!

    • C++ in Russia, again

      Yesterday during our team meeting Eike told me that I’m a mobile C++ conference nowadays. While it sounds funny, it is true that I’ve been a bit more active than usual.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • The Great Debian Iceweasel/Icedove Saga Comes to an End

        The hatchet is finally completely buried. Iceweasel was laid to rest a year ago with the return of Firefox to Debian. Now, Icedove gets to go gently into that good night as well, as the Thunderbird email client returns to Debian.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • OpenStack isn’t dead. It’s boring. That’s a good thing.

      The first OpenStack Project Teams Gathering (PTG) event was held this week in Atlanta. The week was broken into two parts: cross-project work on Monday and Tuesday, and individual projects Wednesday through Friday. I was there for the first two days and heard a few discussions that started the same way.

    • A Guide to the OpenStack Ocata Release
    • OpenStack Ocata improves core components, containerization

      The OpenStack Foundation has released Ocata, the 15th iteration of the popular open source cloud platform. The latest release has focused on enhancing core compute and networking services and expanding support for application container technologies.

    • RDO Ocata Released

      The RDO community is pleased to announce the general availability of the RDO build for OpenStack Ocata for RPM-based distributions, CentOS Linux 7 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. RDO is suitable for building private, public, and hybrid clouds. Ocata is the 15th release from the OpenStack project, which is the work of more than 2500 contributors from around the world (source).

    • Walmart Boasts 213,000 Cores on OpenStack

      Two Walmart associates who spoke recently at the Linux Foundation’s Leadership Summit provided some updates on the retailer’s efforts to automate its business.

      According to Andrew Mitry, a distinguished engineer, Cloud, and Megan Rossetti, a senior engineer, Cloud, the company is expanding its cloud services to encompass more than its e-commerce business. And it’s streamlined its cloud services and DevOps teams into one group for the whole company.

    • Reflections on the first #OpenStack PTG (Pike PTG, Atlanta)
    • A look at OpenStack’s newest release, Ocata

      Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

  • CMS
    • Diving into Drupal: Princeton’s Multi-site Migration Success with Open-source

      Princeton University’s web team had a complex and overwhelming digital ecosystem comprised of many different websites, created from pre-built templates and hosted exclusively on internal servers.

      Fast forward six years: Princeton continues to manage a their multisite and flagship endeavors on the open-source Drupal platform, and have seen some great results since their migration back in 2011. However, this success did not come overnight. Organizational buy-in, multi-site migration and authentication were a few of the many challenges Princeton ran into when making the decision to move to the cloud.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Think open source software is free? Think again… [Ed: Think open source FUD is dead? Think again… gymnastics in logic and cherry-picking by Founder and former CTO of Palamida, who is trying to sell a 'solution']
    • Open Source: Not Pragmatic After All? [Ed: FUD that is repeating Microsoft talking points and dirty tricks in Munich, pretending that proprietary software never ceases development]

      Another open-source project, the Mozilla-backed (and Dipert-beloved) Thunderbird email client also mentioned as atypically thriving in my late-2012 blog post, is now also struggling. As is Firefox itself, which recently wound down its Firefox OS-for-smartphones efforts and is also facing browser add-on developer defections due to its embrace of Chrome-model APIs and other changes. Even mighty Linux is struggling with developer-induced bugs. Wonder if all this uncertainty is behind longstanding open-source poster child Munich, Germany’s reconsideration of Microsoft products?

    • You Can’t Get Around Code Scanning if You Care About Open Source Licenses [Ed: Let's just pretend there are no issues associated with proprietary licensing, renewal, patching etc.]
    • Linux on Windows 10: Will penguin treats in Creators Update be enough to lure you? [Ed: When Microsoft Tim writes about “Linux” [sic] it’s to promote Microsoft malware]
  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Software Freedom Conservancy matching

      Non-profits that provide project support have proven themselves to be necessary for the success and advancement of individual projects and Free Software as a whole. The Free Software Foundation (founded in 1985) serves as a home to GNU projects and a canonical list of Free Software licenses. The Open Source Initiative came about in 1998, maintaining the Open Source Definition, based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines, with affiliate members including Debian, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Software in the Public Interest (SPI) was created in the late 90s largely to act as a fiscal sponsor for projects like Debian, enabling it to do things like accept donations and handle other financial transactions.

    • Clojars is Conservancy’s Newest Member Project

      Software Freedom Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of Clojars as its newest member project. Clojars is a community-maintained repository for free and open source libraries written in the Clojure programming language. Clojars emphasizes ease of use, publishing library packages that are simple to use with build automation tools.

  • Programming/Development
    • Coder Dojo: Kids Teaching Themselves Programming

      Despite not much advertising, word has gotten around and we typically have 5-7 kids on Dojo nights, enough that all the makerspace’s Raspberry Pi workstations are filled and we sometimes have to scrounge for more machines for the kids who don’t bring their own laptops.

      A fun moment early on came when we had a mentor meeting, and Neil, our head organizer (who deserves most of the credit for making this program work so well), looked around and said “One thing that might be good at some point is to get more men involved.” Sure enough — he was the only man in the room! For whatever reason, most of the programmers who have gotten involved have been women. A refreshing change from the usual programming group. (Come to think of it, the PEEC web development team is three women. A girl could get a skewed idea of gender demographics, living here.) The kids who come to program are about 40% girls.

    • 3 cool machine learning projects using TensorFlow and the Raspberry Pi

      In early 2017, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a Google developer survey, which requested feedback from the maker community on what tools they wanted on the Raspberry Pi. The blog post says that Google has developed tools for machine learning, IoT, wearables, robotics, and home automation, and that the survey mentions face- and emotion-recognition, speech-to-text translation, natural language processing, and sentiment analysis. “The survey will help them get a feel for the Raspberry Pi community, but it’ll also help us get the kinds of services we need,” the post explains. Meanwhile, data scientists aren’t waiting around to put Google’s TensorFlow, an open source software library for machine learning, to work on the Raspberry Pi.

      Let’s take a look at a few cool examples of machine learning with TensorFlow on the Raspberry Pi.

Leftovers
  • Microsoft hasn’t turned a phone into a PC just yet [Ed: copying GNU/Linux again]

    Using the Lapdock wired to the X3 charges the phone and provides the most reliable connection for Continuum. I found the wireless connection made things a little unreliable and choppy on some more graphically intense things like full-screen video playback. Connecting the phone is as simple as just plugging it in and watching a Windows 10 desktop burst to life on the Lapdock.

    While the Windows 10 desktop looks familiar, this is exactly when I realized just how limited Continuum really is. There’s a Start Menu that’s basically the home screen of a Windows phone, and access to Cortana, but there’s a lot missing. Things like putting apps side by side simply don’t exist in this Continuum world, nor do a lot of the typical places you’d right-click on apps or use keyboard shortcuts to get to the desktop. If you’re a Windows power user like me, or even if you’re just used to a standard window management system, it’s immediately frustrating.

  • Science
    • Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

      In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

      Some students discovered that they had a genius for the task. Out of twenty-five pairs of notes, they correctly identified the real one twenty-four times. Others discovered that they were hopeless. They identified the real note in only ten instances.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Radiation levels in one Fukushima reactor high enough to kill a human in two minutes

      The radiation levels in Fukushima’s unit two reactor are so high they could kill a human in two minutes, according to data collected by a robot.

      Tokyo Electric Power, the company which operates the nuclear plant in Fukushima, carried out a robotic survey of the area around the core that melted six years ago, following the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear accident.

      But the scorpion robot Sasori got stuck inside the reactor after its crawling functions failed while climbing over highly radioactive debris and had to be abandoned inside the reactor.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Friday
    • [Older] Microsoft Delays February Patch Tuesday Updates Until Next Month

      It was created by Microsoft as a way to have a standard delivery date/schedule for updates that were being provided for the companies software. This allowed a lot of stability for users and IT Pros so they could be prepared for the monthly distribution oof the updates.

      Well this month Microsoft has hit a snag with their monthly Patch Tuesday.

    • Watershed SHA1 collision just broke the WebKit repository, others may follow

      The bug resides in Apache SVN, an open source version control system that WebKit and other large software development organizations use to keep track of code submitted by individual members. Often abbreviated as SVN, Subversion uses SHA1 to track and merge duplicate files. Somehow, SVN systems can experience a severe glitch when they encounter the two PDF files published Thursday, proving that real-world collisions on SHA1 are now practical.

    • SHA1 collisions make Git vulnerable to attakcs by third-parties, not just repo maintainers

      After sitting through an endless flood of headless-chicken messages on multiple media about SHA-1 being fatally broken, I thought I’d do a quick writeup about what this actually means.

    • Cryptographers Demonstrate Collision in Popular SHA-1 Algorithm
    • Linus Torvalds on SHA-1 and Git: ‘The sky isn’t falling’

      Yes, SHA-1 has been cracked, but that doesn’t mean your code in Git repositories is in any real danger of being hacked.

    • Torvalds patches git to mitigate against SHA-1 attacks

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds says two sets of patches have been posted for the distributed version control system git to mitigate against SHA-1 attacks which are based on the method that Dutch and Google engineers detailed last week.

      The post by Torvalds detailing this came after reports emerged of the version control system used by the WebKit browser engine repository becoming corrupted after the two proof-of-concept PDF files that were released by the Dutch and Google researchers were uploaded to the repository.

    • Linus Torvalds on “SHA1 collisions found”
    • More from Torvalds on SHA1 collisions

      I thought I’d write an update on git and SHA1, since the SHA1 collision attack was so prominently in the news.

      Quick overview first, with more in-depth explanation below:

      (1) First off – the sky isn’t falling. There’s a big difference between using a cryptographic hash for things like security signing, and using one for generating a “content identifier” for a content-addressable system like git.

      (2) Secondly, the nature of this particular SHA1 attack means that it’s actually pretty easy to mitigate against, and there’s already been two sets of patches posted for that mitigation.

      (3) And finally, there’s actually a reasonably straightforward transition to some other hash that won’t break the world – or even old git repositories.

    • Cloudflare Reverse Proxies are Dumping Uninitialized Memory

      Thanks to Josh Triplett for sending us this Google Project Zero report about a dump of unitialized memory caused by Cloudflare’s reverse proxies. “A while later, we figured out how to reproduce the problem. It looked like that if an html page hosted behind cloudflare had a specific combination of unbalanced tags, the proxy would intersperse pages of uninitialized memory into the output (kinda like heartbleed, but cloudflare specific and worse for reasons I’ll explain later). My working theory was that this was related to their “ScrapeShield” feature which parses and obfuscates html – but because reverse proxies are shared between customers, it would affect *all* Cloudflare customers. We fetched a few live samples, and we observed encryption keys, cookies, passwords, chunks of POST data and even HTTPS requests for other major cloudflare-hosted sites from other users. Once we understood what we were seeing and the implications, we immediately stopped and contacted cloudflare security. ”

    • Secure your system with SELinux

      SELinux is well known as the most sophisticated Linux Mandatory Access Control (MAC) System. If you install any Fedora or Redhat operating System it is enabled by default and running in enforcing mode. So far so good.

    • [Older] The Secure Linux OS – Tails

      Some people worry a lot about security issues. Anyone can worry about their personal information, such as credit card numbers, on the Internet. They can also be concerned with someone monitoring their activity on the Internet, such as the websites they visit. To help ease these frustrations about the Internet anyone can use the Internet without having to “look over their shoulder”.

    • Major Cloudflare bug leaked sensitive data from customers’ websites

      Cloudflare revealed a serious bug in its software today that caused sensitive data like passwords, cookies, authentication tokens to spill in plaintext from its customers’ websites. The announcement is a major blow for the content delivery network, which offers enhanced security and performance for more than 5 million websites.

      This could have allowed anyone who noticed the error to collect a variety of very personal information that is typically encrypted or obscured.

    • Password management made easy as news of CloudFlare leak surfaces

      In the last 24 hours, news broke that a serious Cloudflare bug has been causing sensitive data leaks since September, exposing 5.5 million users across thousands of websites. In addition to login data cached by Google and other search engines, it is possible that some iOS applications have been affected as well. With the scale of this leak, the best course of action is to update every password for every site you have an account for. If there was ever a good time to modernize your password practices, this is it.

      As consumers and denizens of the Internet, we have a responsibility to be aware of the risks we face and make an attempt to mitigate that risk by taking best-effort precautions. Poor password and authentication hygiene leaves a user open to risks such as credit card fraud and identity theft, just like forgetting to brush your teeth regularly can lead to cavities and gum disease. This leaves us with the question of what good password and authentication hygiene looks like. If we stick with the (admittedly poorly chosen) dentistry analogy, then there are five easily identifiable aspects of good hygiene.

    • Security: You might want to change passwords on sites that use Cloudflare
    • Smoothwall Express

      The award-winning Smoothwall Express open-source firewall—designed specifically to be installed and administered by non-experts—continues its forward development march with a new 3.1 release.

    • [Older] Wire’s independent security review

      Ever since Wire launched end-to-end encryption and open sourced its apps one question has consistently popped up: “Is there an independent security review available?” Well, there is now!

    • Malware Lets a Drone Steal Data by Watching a Computer’s Blinking LED
    • FCC to halt rule that protects your private data from security breaches

      The Federal Communications Commission plans to halt implementation of a privacy rule that requires ISPs to protect the security of its customers’ personal information.

      The data security rule is part of a broader privacy rulemaking implemented under former Chairman Tom Wheeler but opposed by the FCC’s new Republican majority. The privacy order’s data security obligations are scheduled to take effect on March 2, but Chairman Ajit Pai wants to prevent that from happening.

      The data security rule requires ISPs and phone companies to take “reasonable” steps to protect customers’ information—such as Social Security numbers, financial and health information, and Web browsing data—from theft and data breaches.

      “Chairman Pai is seeking to act on a request to stay this rule before it takes effect on March 2,” an FCC spokesperson said in a statement to Ars.

    • Google releases details of another Windows bug
    • Researchers offer simple scheme to stop the next Stuxnet [Ed: Well, to stop Stuxnet they would have to stop Microsoft Windows being spread]

      One of the world’s oldest programming styles, the ladder logic that runs on industrial programmable logic controllers, remains dangerously vulnerable to attack, according to boffins from Singapore and India.

      The researchers – Naman Govil of the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad; and Anand Agrawal and Nils Ole Tippenhauer of the Singapore University of Technology and Design – explain that for all the attention paid to attacks like Stuxnet, there’s a dearth of work looking at what’s going on at the control logic level.

    • How to secure the IoT in your organisation: advice and best practice for securing the Internet of Things

      All of the major technology vendors are making a play in the Internet of Things space and there are few organisations that won’t benefit from collecting and analysing the vast array of new data that will be made available.

      But the recent Mirai botnet is just one example of the tremendous vulnerabilities that exist with unsecured access points. What are the main security considerations and best practices, then, for businesses seeking to leverage the potential of IoT?

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Thousands mourn ‘blind sheikh’ convicted in 1993 World Trade Center bombing

      Thousands of mourners gathered in a small Egyptian town on Wednesday for the funeral of the Muslim cleric known as “the blind sheikh” who was convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York.

      Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was also convicted of planning a broader “war of urban terrorism” in the United States, died on Saturday in a North Carolina prison aged 78.

      Movements across the Islamist spectrum from the Muslim Brotherhood to al Qaeda issued statements mourning him, and several leaders from Egypt’s Islamic Group, which views the sheikh as a spiritual leader and renounced violence in 1997, attended.

    • Militants kill 2 Christians in Egypt’s Sinai

      Egyptian security officials say suspected militants have killed two Christians in the restive north of the Sinai Peninsula, days after an Islamic State affiliate vowed to step up a wave of attacks on the embattled minority.

      The officials said Saad Hana, 65, was shot dead and his son Medhat, 45, was abducted and burned alive before their bodies were dumped on a roadside in el-Arish on Wednesday.

    • Olathe shooting: India shocked after national killed in US

      India has expressed shock after the fatal shooting of an Indian national in the US, amid reports that the attack may have been racially motivated.

      Srinivas Kuchibhotla died shortly after Wednesday’s attack at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. His friend Alok Madasani, also from India, and an American were hurt.

      Adam Purinton has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder.

      The killing dominated news bulletins in India and social media, where some blamed Donald Trump’s presidency.

    • Portrait Of A Trump-Supporter

      This isn’t really about some loser losing it. It’s about Trump not understanding leadership. If he understood leadership, he would lead his country towards the light not towards Hell. If he’s doing it deliberately, and understands leadership, he is a traitor to USA of the first magnitude.

    • Trump promises border wall ‘soon, way ahead of schedule’

      US President Donald Trump has vowed to start building a wall on the Mexican border “soon, way ahead of schedule”, in a speech at a conservative event.

      Addressing the Conservative Political Action Congress (CPAC), he vowed to always put American citizens first and build a “great, great border wall”.

      He also promised to focus on “getting bad people out of this country”.

    • Trump Lie Of The Week

      Trump is not so stupid that he doesn’t know smugglers are entrepreneurial, so this is just another lie in a long line of them, about a project of no value except getting elected by haters and lazy voters who are now aroused and angry and going after their congresspeople.

    • Egypt’s Christians flee Sinai amid Islamic State killing spree

      Christian families and students fled Egypt’s North Sinai province in droves on Friday after Islamic State killed the seventh member of their community in just three weeks.

      A Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia’s Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province’s capital, have also left.

      Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire.

    • BBC Glories in Death

      The BBC appear enraptured by the apparent death of Ronald Fiddler in Mosul fighting for Islamic State forces. Fiddler was a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, so this “vindicates” the War on Terror. The BBC are leading every news bulletin and giving us full spectrum security services propaganda. We have MI6 mouthpiece Frank Gardner, the discredited neo-con chancers of the Quilliam Foundation and the far right professional supporter of military attacks on the Middle East, Afzal Ashraf, all giving us their views every half hour on the BBC.

      It has never been disputed that Ronald Fiddler was tortured in Guantanamo, which is partly why he was paid substantial compensation by the British government. It does not seem to have occurred to the BBC as worth any consideration that the fact Fiddler emerged from Guantanamo and apparently became a supporter of violent Islam, does not in any sense prove that he was a violent islamist before being tortured in Guantanamo. Yet that Guantanamo was the cause of his extreme alienation is on the surface highly probable.

    • Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia

      The Nuclear Question is becoming increasingly obfuscated by spin and lobbying as the West sleepwalks into Cold War II — a walk made all the more dangerous when the loose lips of the U.S. tweeter-in-chief announced that another nuclear arms race is a great idea (see link and link). Two Cold War II issues are central and almost never addressed: What will be the Russians’ understanding of all the propaganda surrounding the Nuclear Question and the looming American defense spendup? And how might they act on this understanding?

    • Syrian War Propaganda at the Oscars

      The Western-backed war in Syria, like the invasion of Iraq, was so smothered by propaganda that truth was not only the first casualty but has been steadily suffocated for five years, now reaching the Oscars, says Rick Sterling.

    • Using phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is not helpful for US: Trump’s NSA
    • Trump’s new national security adviser: Saying ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ is counterproductive
    • Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming
    • New US NSA breaks with Trump admin’s views on Islam
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • [Older] FBI Throws Up Digital Roadblock to Transparency

      It’s well documented that the FBI is keen on adopting new technologies that intrude on our civil liberties. The FBI’s enthusiasm for technology, however, doesn’t extend to tools that make it easier for the public to understand what the agency is up to—despite such transparency being mandated by law.

    • Julian Assange Lawyer Fears Wikileaks Founder Could Be Evicted From Embassy Shelter

      A lawyer acting for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told NBC News there is “great concern” among his team that a new Ecuadorian president could force him out of the country’s London embassy and warned his health was deteriorating.

      Ecuador’s presidential race will be decided in a run-off election, to be held April 2, between ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso.

      Moreno has indicated he would back Assange’s continued stay, while Lasso has indicated he would evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office.

      “We are preparing potential legal remedies should the opposition come to power in Ecuador,” Jennifer Robinson, a member of the legal team representing Assange and Wikileaks, told Keir Simmons on MSNBC Saturday.

    • Julian Assange Lawyer Fears Wikileaks Founder Could Be Evicted From Embassy Shelter

      A lawyer acting for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told NBC News there is “great concern” among his team that a new Ecuadorian president could force him out of the country’s London embassy and warned his health was deteriorating.

      Ecuador’s presidential race will be decided in a run-off election, to be held April 2, between ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso.

      Moreno has indicated he would back Assange’s continued stay, while Lasso has indicated he would evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Human-Generated Electromagnetic Radiation as Possible Explanation for Climate Change

      A new theory has emerged as a possible explanation for climate change. Human generated electromagnetic radiation may contribute to global warming by diverting a natural energy force termed KELEA (kinetic energy limiting electrostatic attraction) from its presumed association with cosmic rays. This theory states that cosmic ray delivered KELEA normally participates in the formation of clouds, by transforming electrostatically inert particles into electrostatic aerosols capable of acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). These clouds then act as a reflective barrier to some of the infrared radiation from the sun, thereby, reducing the earth’s heat.

    • ‘Any of the Journalists Present Could Have Been Arrested’

      Filmmaker Jahnny Lee working with the Sundance Institute was arrested yesterday by North Dakota police while filming a stand-off between police and water protectors. He was charged with “obstruction of a government function.” I can only surmise that the charge of “criminal trespass,” leveled at Jihan Hafiz and many other journalists while covering events of the Standing Rock resistance against the DAPL pipeline, could not be used against Jahnny because he was on State Highway 1806. (How can one trespass on a highway?)

    • From Ridge to Reef

      A Unique Approach to Habitat Conservation in Culebra, Puerto Rico

    • Sweden Has Run Out of Garbage with Revolutionary Recycling System

      “Swedish people are quite keen on being out in nature and they are aware of what we need do on nature and environmental issues,” Gripwall says. Despite these successes, Swedish authorities are not satisfied. Gripwall says the eventual aim in Sweden is to stop people from sending waste to recycling in the first place; instead, they are actively promoting repairing, sharing and reusing, and assessing other futuristic waste collection techniques. In this respect, Sweden is a practical role model for the rest of the world.

  • Finance
    • Americans believe robots will take everyone else’s job, but theirs will be safe

      You may accept, by now, that robots will take over lots of jobs currently held by human workers. But you probably believe they won’t be taking yours. Though other industries are in danger, your position is safe.

      That’s according to a report released Thursday by LivePerson, a cloud-based messaging company that provides customer service messaging software to companies and which surveyed 2,000 U.S.-based consumers online in January. Their researchers find that only three percent of respondents say they experience fear about losing their job to a robot once a week. By contrast, more than 40 percent of respondents never worry about it.

    • Secretive DUP Brexit donor links to the Saudi intelligence service

      The shadowy donor group that gave the Democratic Unionist Party £425,000 during the Brexit referendum campaign has links to the former Director General of the Saudi intelligence service – also the father of the current Saudi Ambassador to the UK – openDemocracy can reveal.

      The donation to Arlene Foster’s party – which was used to fund key Leave campaign advertisements across the UK in the run up to the European referendum – was initially kept hidden because of Northern Ireland’s donor secrecy laws. However, under pressure from activists after openDemocracy revealed how Brexit campaigners were funnelling dark money through Northern Ireland to fund “Take Back Control” adverts, the Democratic Unionist Party was forced last night to reveal its major donor to be a group calling itself the Constitutional Research Council.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • NPR Spins Trump’s ‘Restrained’ Foreign Policy–Ignoring Threats, Bans and Escalation

      The NPR story mentions the US-backed Yemen catastrophe, but only in the context of the botched January 29 raid, which it euphemistically says had “mixed and disputed results,” without mentioning that those results included the death of an eight-year-old girl—a US citizen—and dozens of other civilians (though the linked article does, ten paragraphs down).

      NPR glosses over the January raid by insisting it was “planned during Barack Obama’s final days” (again, that which is bipartisan must therefore be normal and moderate and good) but even this is misleading. Lots of things are “planned” by the military; whether a president greenlights them depends upon their disposition and, yes, restraint. Members of Obama’s inner circle have denied “planning” such a raid at all.

    • Trump Didn’t ‘Revoke’ Protections for Trans Students–Because He Can’t

      The problem with this framing is that Trump does not have the power to unilaterally change what rights transgender students have. These rights derive from Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972, that bars discrimination based on gender in publicly funded schools. It was a series of federal court rulings, not the Obama administration’s say-so, that found that protection against gender discrimination extends to trans people.

    • President Trump blames Mexicans, Chinese and other foreigners for the plight of downwardly mobile Americans

      President Trump blames Mexicans, Chinese and other foreigners for the plight of downwardly mobile Americans but the real culprits are his corporatist pals who grab the lion’s share of the wealth from U.S. global dominance, says JP Sottile.

    • The mystery of ‘populism’ finally unveiled

      Hungarian Prime Minister Orban looking at the Bavarian and the Hungarian flag in front of the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, March 2016. Peter Kneffel DPA/Press Association. All rights reserved.There is nothing new in consecrated terms being used in an entirely novel sense without announcing the change, and thereby misleading readers. It happens every day. It is no surprise if, being unable to explain a new phenomenon, people give it a resounding name instead of a theory or at least a description. This is what is happening with ‘populism’ or ‘right populism’ – or even ‘left populism’ – words used to depict states of affairs old as the hills at the same time as surprisingly new ones. ‘Populism’ has become a synonym of ‘I don’t understand it, but I was asked to talk about it’.

    • ‘Incredibly Disappointing’: Democrats Choose Tom Perez to Head Party

      Democrats on Saturday chose Tom Perez to lead the party, sparking criticism from progressive organizations who say picking the former labor secretary over the other front-runner, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), was a missed opportunity for the party.

      Perez’s win was secured in a second round of voting by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) gathered in Atlanta, getting 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.

      It marks the end of a race many observers saw as a choice between the establishment and the progressive wing of the party. Ellison had the backing of lawmakers like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and groups including National Nurses United and the Communications Workers of America; Perez was backed by “many from former President Obama’s political orbit,” as ABC News writes, and “is viewed—with good reason—as a reliable functionary and trustworthy loyalist by those who have controlled the party and run it into the ground,” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote this week.

    • Fox News Interview With Fake Expert on Sweden Further Baffles Swedes

      A man interviewed by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News this week, who was identified in an on-screen caption as a “Swedish Defense and National Security Advisor,” turns out to be entirely unknown in his native country, with no connections to either the nation’s defense or security services.

      As the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported on Friday, Nils Bildt, who echoed President Donald Trump’s debunked claim that immigrants from Muslim majority nations had driven a rise in violent crime in Sweden, has no known expertise in national security, and has not lived in his homeland since 1994. Officials at the Swedish Defense Ministry and Foreign Office told the newspaper they have never heard of this “unknown Bildt.”

    • While War on Media Escalates, CBS Chief Praises Trump’s Deregulatory Agenda

      While the Washington press corps is expressing ever-greater alarm over President Donald Trump’s mounting attacks on journalists — culminating in Friday’s banning of some leading outlets from a White House press briefing — the media executives who sign their paychecks are praising the new administration for a deregulatory agenda that would likely boost company profits.

      Les Moonves, the chief executive and chairman of CBS Corporation, told investors recently that he is “looking forward to not having as much regulation and having the ability to do more.”

      Moonves specifically celebrated the appointment of Trump’s new FCC chairman, former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai, calling him “very beneficial to our business.”

      The media industry arguably helped Trump enormously in the early presidential campaign with extensive coverage that drowned out his competitors and left little room for discussion of the substantive policy issues facing voters. Now it has a lot to gain if the FCC begins a new wave of ownership deregulation and relaxes certain limits that currently prevent media conglomerates from controlling a large swath of local television stations, and prevent firms from owning television stations and newspapers in the same media market.

    • BBC Announces New Anti-Scottish Channel

      The BBC is to launch a major new unionist propaganda channel in time for the next Independence referendum. There will be 80 new unionists employed as journalists. Close relatives of senior Labour party figures are particularly welcome to apply, and in a new broadening of BBC Scotland employment policy, a larger percentage of Ruth Davidson fans will also be recruited. The news of the new job opportunities is especially welcome to the large number of Labour Party hacks who will be unemployed following the Scottish council elections in May.

    • Tom Perez Narrowly Defeats Keith Ellison for DNC Chair

      Tom Perez, the former Obama administration secretary of labor, was elected Saturday to chair a Democratic National Committee that must rapidly renew the party after a devastating 2016 election cycle that saw Republicans take control of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government and most statehouses.

      “A united Democratic Party is not only our best hope,” declared Perez, “it is Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.” That is undoubtedly true.

      But Perez clearly recognizes that he will have to work hard to first unite the party and then transform it into a dramatically more grassroots-oriented and ideologically progressive political force within a broader resistance to Trump.

    • Trump: I won’t attend White House correspondents’ dinner

      President Trump announced Saturday he will not be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a break with past presidents.

      “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted.

    • New York Times, CNN and other media barred from White House press event

      The New York Times reports that it and at least two other media outlets, CNN and Politico, were barred today from a White House press event. Also locked out were the LA Times and Buzzfeed, writes Politico’s Dan Diamond.

    • White House blocks CNN, BBC, New York Times, LA Times from media briefing

      The White House has blocked several major news outlets from covering its press briefing.

      White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday hand selected news outlets to participate in an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the James S Brady Press Briefing Room.

      The news outlets blocked from the press briefing include organisations who President Trump has criticised by name. CNN, BBC, The New York Times, LA Times, New York Daily News, BuzzFeed, The Hill, and the Daily Mail, were among the news outlets barred from the gathering.

    • Trump’s Rhetoric Degrades Freedom of Press

      Even before the Revolutionary war began, the founding fathers and mothers articulated how important the freedom of the press is. The Continental Congress – the legislative body of these political minds – wrote in 1774:

      “The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honorable and just modes of conducting affairs.”

    • Donald Trump: White House bars several major news outlets from informal press briefing [Ed: Shielding oneself from criticism by attacking the press]

      News organisations including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining an informal, on-the-record White House press briefing.
      Key points:

      The Associated Press chose not to participate in the gaggle after White House press secretary Sean Spicer restricted the number of journalists present for the briefing.

      Typically, the daily briefing is televised and open to all news organisations credentialed to cover the White House.

      On Friday, hours after President Donald Trump delivered a speech blasting the media, Mr Spicer invited only a pool of news organisations that represents and shares reporting with the larger press corps.

    • Federal Election Commission Member Quits, Says Agency Refuses To Address Campaign Finance Violations

      Every bit as meaningless as Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp.” The Beltway Swamp is drain-proof. The process that populates the swamp is rigged. Not in the “millions of illegal votes from illegals” way… or even the “I can see the Russians hacking the election from my house” way. It’s rigged because the only federal agency charged with making sure the election process is fair and equitable can’t — actually, won’t — do a single thing to ensure the process’ integrity.

    • Trump’s Fake News Attack on Sweden, Immigrants, and Crime

      Is it really safe for you to return to Sweden, asked an American friend, jokingly, when I prepared to check out from my hotel in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump had just warned his audience in Melbourne, Florida, about Muslim immigrants and terrorism in Europe. “You look at what happened last night in Sweden” the president yelled, “Sweden! Who would believe this!”

      Swedes took to social media to speculate about which awful event he referred to. An aged pop star had technical problems during rehearsal for a popular music contest, observed someone. Another Swede tweeted that out of respect for the families of victims we should not speculate about the terrible event until after it actually occurs. #lastnightinsweden quickly became a meme.

    • Pro-Trump megadonor is part owner of Breitbart News empire, CEO reveals

      Breitbart News Network, the far-right media outlet that heralded President Trump’s rise and was once led by his top White House strategist, is owned in part by a wealthy conservative family that poured millions into propelling Trump into office, the company’s chief executive acknowledged Friday.

      The site’s financial backing from the Mercers further cements the family’s status as some of the most influential financiers of the Trump era. The news comes as Breitbart has enjoyed a higher profile within the White House press corps.

    • DNC Chair Candidate Tom Perez’s Bank-Friendly Record Could Kneecap the Democratic Party

      “Why does nobody ever go to jail?” asked Mandy Grunwald, a messaging guru for the Hillary Clinton campaign, in an email in 2015 to eight other top campaign officials.

      She was responding to a settlement announced by the Department of Justice with several large banks that had manipulated foreign exchange markets. Though the banks pled guilty as institutions, no individual banker was punished.

    • Beware the Trump brain rot: The cognitive effects of this administration’s actions could be disastrous

      Thirty years ago one of the most famous public service announcement ad campaigns was launched. “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” featured a man asking the audience if they understood the dangers of drug use. He then held up an egg, saying, “This is your brain.” He motioned to a frying pan, “This is drugs.” He then cracked the egg into the pan and as the egg fried said, “This is your brain on drugs.”

      Now just a bit more than a month into President Donald Trump’s administration, I’ve found myself returning to the imagery of that ad because it seems to so perfectly encapsulate the cognitive damage that we risk as a result of the Trump presidency.

      While there is little question that the Trump team is set to unravel our democracy, our foreign relations and every stitch of political progress our nation has ever made; that isn’t all that is at stake here. A healthy democracy depends on an active and engaged citizenry. It demands a citizenry attentive to issues and able to productively debate and dialogue. But, most important, it requires a nation that can think.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • China Orders Every Vehicle In Region Troubled By Ethnic Unrest To Be Fitted With Satnav Tracker

      Techdirt stories on China tend to paint a fairly grim picture of relentless surveillance and censorship, and serve as a warning of what could happen in the West if government powers there are not constrained. But if you want to see how a real dystopian world operates, you need to look at what is happening in the north-western part of China’s huge domain. Xinjiang was originally a turkic-speaking land, but the indigenous Uyghur population is increasingly swamped by Chinese-speaking immigrants, which has caused growing unrest. Violent attacks on the Chinese population in the region have led to a harsh crackdown on the Uyghurs, provoking yet more resentment, and yet more attacks.

    • Protect Biometric Privacy in Montana

      The danger to our privacy is growing commensurately with the development of sophisticated biometric technology. More and more companies are using biometrics, such as requiring our fingerprints to access amusement parks, or scraping social media for our faces.

    • “Smart Cities,” Surveillance, and New Streetlights in San Jose

      The San Jose City Council is considering a proposal to install over 39,000 “smart streetlights.” A pilot program is already underway. These smart streetlights are not themselves a surveillance technology. But they have ports on top that, in the future, could accommodate surveillance technology, such as video cameras and microphones.

      EFF and our allies sent a letter to the San Jose City Council urging them to adopt an ordinance to ensure democratic control of all of that community’s surveillance technology decisions—including whether to plug spy cameras into the ports of smart streetlights.

    • FBI Search Warrant That Fueled Massive Government Hacking Was Unconstitutional, EFF Tells Court

      Appeals Court Should Find Warrant Violated Fourth Amendment Protections

      Boston—An FBI search warrant used to hack into thousands of computers around the world was unconstitutional, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal appeals court today in a case about a controversial criminal investigation that resulted in the largest known government hacking campaign in domestic law enforcement history.

      The Constitution requires law enforcement officers seeking a search warrant to show specific evidence of a possible crime, and tie that evidence to specific persons and places they want to search. These fundamental rules protect people from invasions of privacy and police fishing expeditions.

      But the government violated those rules while investigating “Playpen,” a child pornography website operating as a Tor hidden service. During the investigation, the FBI secretly seized servers running the website and, in a controversial decision, continued to operate it for two weeks rather than shut it down, allowing thousands of images to be downloaded. While running the site, the bureau began to hack its visitors, sending malware that it called a “Network Investigative Technique” (NIT) to visitors’ computers. The malware was then used to identify users of the site. Ultimately, the FBI hacked into 8,000 devices located in 120 countries around the world. All of this hacking was done on the basis of a single warrant. The FBI charged hundreds of suspects who visited the website, several of whom are challenging the validity of the warrant.

    • Border Security Overreach Continues: DHS Wants Social Media Login Information
    • Using Linux and Looking for a VPN! Here is How Choose The Best Option?

      Linux is always a better option than other operating systems in terms of security, and it is an ideal OS for the privacy and security conscious user, but the best way to secure your online activity and increase your privacy is to use a good Linux VPN, a Virtual Private Network that encrypts all your internet traffic and prevents monitoring of your online communications. VPNs are useful tools to access business or home networks when you are traveling, and region-restricted websites, hide your browsing activity when you use a public Wi-Fi connection, avoid internet censorship, and download files.

    • FCC puts the brakes on ISP privacy rules it just passed in October

      The new chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will seek a stay on privacy rules for broadband providers that the agency just passed in October.

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will ask for either a full commission vote on the stay before parts of the rules take effect next Thursday or he will instruct FCC staff to delay part of the rules pending a commission vote, a spokesman said Friday.

    • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) lobbied the FCC for permission to spy on you

      Your Internet service provider’s (ISP) ability to not only spy on you, but to profit on that spying, has been upheld by the FCC. Ajit Pai, President Trump’s pick for the new FCC Chairman has made it clear that he is going to overturn wide-reaching data security and privacy order that the FCC had originally agreed upon back in October of 2016 under Tom Wheeler. The privacy order, which would have come into effect by December 4, 2017, would have forced large ISPs, such as AT&T, to get user consent before selling personal information such as web browsing history, to third party advertisers. The data security order, which would have come into effect by March 2nd, 2017, would have forced phone companies and ISPs to take steps to protect any sensitive user information such as social security number or health information.

    • NSA head Rogers pushes to loosen reins on cyberweapons

      Adm. Michael Rogers — both head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Cyber Command — is pushing for widespread changes to the U.S.’s treatment of cyber weaponry, including contracting private sector firms to develop arms.

      “In the application of kinetic functionality — weapons — we go to the private sector and say, ‘Build this thing we call a [joint directed-attack munition], a [Tomahawk land-attack munition].’ Fill in the blank,” he said at a conference in San Diego, as quoted by the Department of Defense.

      “On the offensive side, to date, we have done almost all of our weapons development internally,” Rogers said. “And part of me goes — five to 10 years from now is that a long-term sustainable model? Does that enable you to access fully the capabilities resident in the private sector? I’m still trying to work my way through that, intellectually.”

    • Judge Rejects Warrant Seeking To Force Everyone At A Searched Location To Unlock Seized Electronic Devices

      Late last year, Thomas Fox-Brewster of Forbes uncovered a strange search warrant among a pile of unsealed documents. The warrant — approved by a magistrate judge — allowed law enforcement officers to demand that everyone present at the searched location provide their fingerprints to unlock devices seized from the same location.

      In support of its request, the government cited cases dating back to 1910, as though they had any relevance to the current situation. The most recent case cited was 30 years old — still far from easily applicable to today’s smartphones, which are basically pocket-sized personal data centers.

      The judge granted it, stating that demands for fingerprints, passwords, or anything (like encryption keys) that might give law enforcement access to the devices’ content did not implicate the Fourth or Fifth Amendments. While the magistrate was correct that no court has found the application of fingerprints to unlock devices to be a violation of the Fifth Amendment, the other access options (passwords, encryption keys) might pose Fifth Amendment problems down the road.

    • NSA snoops told: Get your checkbooks and pens ready for a cyber-weapon shopping spree

      NSA and US Cyber Command boss Mike Rogers has revealed the future direction of his two agencies – and for the private sector, this masterplan can be summarized in one word.

    • Peter Thiel’s Palantir Spreads Its Tentacles Throughout Europe

      Palantir Technologies Inc., the data mining company named after the all-seeing stone from the Lord of the Rings, likes to apply J.R.R. Tolkien references to many aspects of its business. The name of its London office is Grey Havens, a major strategic port in the fantasy trilogy’s Middle Earth setting.

      It’s an apt moniker since the U.K. capital has become a vital hub driving growth of the $20 billion startup. Palantir has roughly tripled annual revenue from Europe over the past three years, said Alex Karp, the chief executive officer who started the company with billionaire Peter Thiel.

    • Turkey encouraging teachers to spy in German schools: report

      The Turkish government has urged teachers and parents in western Germany with Turkish roots to report any criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan they hear at schools, according to local media.

      The Turkish consulate in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) told parents and teachers at “information events” in Düsseldorf, Essen, Cologne und Münster in January that they should spy on classes at German schools, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported on Thursday.

      Attendees were told to report any criticism of Erdogan they witnessed in schools to the consulate.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Swedish police accused of failings after riots break out in immigrant suburb of Stockholm

      An investigation has been launched after unrest broke out in Rinkeby, which saw masked rioters throwing rocks, setting vehicles alight and looting shops.

      The violence broke out at around 8pm following the arrest of a man on drugs charges a few hours earlier.

      Warning shots were fired, but police later said one officer had also fired at least one shot at stone-throwers directly.

    • Philippines: Impending Arrest of Senator Politically Motivated

      Amnesty International condemns the impending arrest of prominent human rights defender Senator Leila de Lima as politically motivated and is calling for all charges against her to be dropped immediately. The arrest of de Lima is a blatant attempt by the Philippine government to silence criticism of President Duterte and divert attention away from serious human rights violations in the “war on drugs.”

    • The ‘unpatriotic’ post on Facebook that meant I finally had to flee Russia

      I can tell you what political harassment feels like in Putin’s Russia. Like many dissidents I am used to abuse, but a recent campaign against me was so personal, so scary, that I was forced to flee.

      Two months ago, a Russian plane transporting the world-famous military choir Alexandrov Ensemble crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria. They were travelling to perform for pilots involved in Russia’s air campaign on Aleppo.

    • Memo Restoring Use of Private Prisons Is Good News for One Company

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s four-sentence memo rescinding Justice Department guidance to reduce the use of private prisons sent stock soaring for the two companies that dominate the industry, Geo Group and CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America). That’s not necessarily because the memo will lead to a ramp-up in Geo- or CoreCivic-run federal prisons. As of December 2015, about 12 percent of all inmates in federal prisons were housed in private facilities, representing only 22,660 inmates. That certainly won’t decline under Sessions, but he didn’t promise to increase it substantially. “I direct the [Bureau of Prisons] to return to its previous approach,” Sessions wrote. Anyway, DoJ renewed a pair of contracts with CoreCivic despite the now-scuttled order, so it’s unclear if the status quo ever stopped.

      But the high-profile memo does matter because of the precedent. States and federal agencies that might have otherwise been wary of the negative perception of private prisons, and their often horrific outcomes, can now rest easy.

    • Pope Francis: better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic

      Pope Francis has delivered another criticism of some members of his own church, suggesting it was better to be an atheist than one of many Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life.

      In improvised comments in the sermon of his private morning mass in his residence, he said: “It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life.

      “There are those who say, ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to mass, I belong to this and that association’,” the head of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic church said, according to a Vatican Radio transcript.

    • Arizona Legislators Approve Bill That Would Allow Government To Seize Assets From Protesters

      Nothing good can come from the expansion of racketeering laws, which are already abused by government agencies and citizens alike. But it gets worse. A lot worse. It doesn’t just apply to protesters who damage property. It applies to anyone possibly connected to a protest in which damage occurs, even if they don’t induce or encourage the destruction. (Perhaps even if they speak out against violent acts, but still support the demonstration’s premise.)

      And, to top it all off, police officers would not only be authorized to arrest people engaged in First Amendment activity just because someone down the street broke a window, but also to enrich themselves in the process.

    • California Law Enforcement Union Sues To Block Police Accountability

      Because there’s just not enough opacity shrouding police misconduct and not enough slanting of the criminal justice system against defendants, California police unions have decided to get involved in a judicial dispute over lists of law enforcement officers whose half of “our word against yours” isn’t quite as bulletproof as is normally assumed.

      A Los Angeles sheriff is trying to do the right thing, but he’s running into opposition from his own supposed “representatives.”

    • High Court rejects devout Muslim’s divorce claims

      He had insisted that because he and his wife married in Pakistan under Sharia law a divorce could only be approved in that country. The man made this argument after his wife, a dual British and Pakistani citizen, filed a petition for divorce here in the UK.

      Following a hearing in Birmingham, Mr Justice Francis dismissed the man’s claim and ruled that his wife was entitled to seek a divorce in England.

      Accepting the man’s argument would have “far-reaching consequences”, the Judge explained. Had he done so, the wife “would be subjected to different rules of English law than people of other faiths or other nationalities living here”.

      This would amount to “approving both racial and gender discrimination” Mr Justice Francis declared. If the husband’s claim was endorsed by the Court, it would state that his wife “should be treated differently from a British citizen who is not a national of Pakistan”.

    • Somali Group Pushes For Non-Pork Food Shelf

      But many in the Somali-American community say finding a food shelf that caters to their religious dietary restrictions is almost impossible.

      “Some food shelves are trying to meet the need, but some of them already got canned beans that have already been mixed with pork — and there is a literacy issue here,” said community activist Fartun Weli.

      A group of first-generation Somali Americans says they need help in developing a food shelf that specializes in healthy foods that do not contain pork or pork byproducts.

    • Woman: After I rebuffed my Uber driver’s advances, he tried to rape me

      A woman in Minnesota has sued Uber, alleging that one of the company’s drivers attempted to rape her in August 2016.

      As is the case in other sexual assault lawsuits involving the ride-sharing company, the woman argues that Uber has been negligent in its hiring practices. The company, she claims, is not as safe as it purports to be.

      Uber has faced numerous similar legal battles in recent years. Last month, a New Jersey man sued the company over an alleged assault that he sustained after his driver apparently refused to take him from Philadelphia back to his hometown, nine miles away. Last year, two women in Boston settled their lawsuit with Uber on similar allegations of sexual assault.

    • Uber might genuinely be worried that #DeleteUber is working

      This week, Uber drew increased scrutiny in the wake of public allegations by a former engineer named Susan Fowler, who described Uber as having a culture of sexual harassment during her tenure there. The San Francisco company has since publicly rebuked this behavior and announced that it has retained former US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Fowler’s allegations.

      However, in response, some customers renewed calls to “#DeleteUber,” which led the company to respond with an automated message about the investigations. The hashtag dates back to 2011 but didn’t really get going until 2014, and it has flared up at various moments since.

    • Mizue Aizeki on Criminalizing Immigrants

      This week on CounterSpin: Early morning deportation raids are stoking fear in immigrant communities, pulling parents from children and shipping people who’ve lived in the US for decades to places they don’t remember. Donald Trump talks about rounding up “drug lords” and murderers, but not only is that not who is being targeted, recently released executive orders expand the category of “criminal alien” to any immigrant who has been accused of a crime, or who someone thinks may have committed one.

      The evidence of the chaos and harm deportation policies inflict is in the spotlight now. Can we use the moment to talk about resisting viewing immigration policy through a lens of criminality? Jettisoning the pretense that these measures—from Obama’s stated “felons, not families” approach to this new conceit about “bad hombres”—are about public safety? That shift will be key in moving toward a humane vision of immigration. We talk about that with Mizue Aizeki, deputy director of the Immigrant Defense Project.

    • Admitting Refugees Makes America Great

      I know because I worked in the White House to bring them to the United States.

      Since President Trump first issued an executive order slashing refugee admissions to the United States this year from 110,000 to 50,000, a certain irony keeps running through my mind. Candidate Trump campaigned on a slogan of “Make America Great Again.” Yet now he is pushing to cut refugee admissions by more than half. I can think of few policy decisions that would make America look smaller or more cold-hearted than closing our doors to refugees who desperately need a second chance at life. Even worse, the decision is animated by a discriminatory intent that is completely inconsistent with our values and Constitution.

      I spent the last few years of the Obama administration running the refugee portfolio from the White House, which gave me a front row seat on countless displays of true American greatness. Faced with an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis, I watched America’s commitment to respond grow week by week — in communities around the country, in the private sector, and within government. At the White House, we convened officials from across the federal agencies at the deputy secretary level every two weeks to ensure we were doing as much as we could. We worked to not only meet our refugee admissions targets each year but to increase them, even as we added new layers of rigor to our security screening.

    • Trump Is Violating the Constitution

      When Barack Obama became the forty-fourth president of the United States in 2009, he appointed Norman Eisen, a “special counsel for ethics and government,” to ensure that he violated no prohibitions on conflicts of interest. Before he was replaced in 2011, Eisen, later an ambassador to the Czech Republic and a lawyer who specialized in cases involving fraud, addressed a wide range of questions, including such matters as whether President Obama, a basketball fan, could accept tickets to see the Washington Wizards or the Georgetown Hoyas play.

    • Keith Ellison Loses DNC Race After Heated Campaign Targeting Him for His Views on Palestine

      Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison lost his bid to become the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Saturday after a scorched-earth smear campaign targeting his religious faith, his affinity for the Nation of Islam in his youth, and his support for Palestinian rights alongside a secure Israel.

      Instead, the majority of the DNC’s voting members chose former labor secretary Tom Perez to lead the party. After two rounds of voting in Atlanta, Perez netted 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.

      Perez was widely perceived as being brought into the race by allies of President Obama, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other members of the party establishment. One of the speakers who introduced his nomination, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jamie Harrison, also works as a corporate lobbyist for the D.C.-based Podesta Group. After neither candidate reached a majority of votes in the first round of voting, Harrison was on the floor, whipping votes for Perez.

    • Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?

      On Jan. 25, 26 and 27, the new president repeated falsely that “torture works.” Claiming to have spoken with high-level intelligence officers, Trump said they told him torture works “absolutely.”

      This implausible story flies in the face of the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report which concluded that torture is not merely illegal but worthless. The 6,000+-page report found that torture produced “fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence.” This common knowledge has been settled law for so long that torture has been prohibited by international treaties and US statutes. Historian Michael Kwass reminds us that as early as 1764, Cesare Beccaria called for abolishing torture because it is immoral and doesn’t work. For good measure, the Senate again voted to ban torture in 2015.

      On Feb. 17 last year at an event in Bluffton, S.C., Trump said, “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works,” and, “Half these guys [say], ‘Torture doesn’t work.’ Believe me, it works. … I would bring back waterboarding. And I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” At a big rally Nov. 23, 2015, he said, “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would, in a heartbeat, in a heartbeat. And don’t kid yourself folks, it works, okay, it works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work. It works.” At a Republican debate last March he said, “Waterboarding is fine, and if we want to go stronger I’d go stronger too. We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.” In a televised chat with South Carolina State Rep. Bill Herbkersman, Trump said that if elected he would “immediately” resume waterboarding and “much worse,” calling waterboarding a “minor form” of interrogation.

    • Grandmother married to British man for 27 years is deported from UK to Singapore

      She told the BBC she was put in a van and taken to the airport from the Dungavel Detention Centre in South Lanarkshire on Saturday without the opportunity to contact her lawyer or get any clothes from her home.

      Mrs Clennell was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK after her marriage but periods spent in Singapore caring for her elderly parents appear to have invalidated her residential status.

      She has made repeated attempts – both in the Singapore and in the UK – to re-apply for permission to live with her husband, who she said is in poor health and needs her as his carer.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • ‘Ajit Pai Wants to Shut Down the Way We Communicate and Organize’

      Regulators who don’t much believe in regulation are looking like a hallmark of the Trump administration. What does that mean for the access to communication and information that’s critical to our daily lives? The newly appointed chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, doesn’t want to actually eliminate the agency, as far as we know, but what does his record suggest for his term leading what’s meant to be the public’s advocate in the communications realm? Jessica Gonzalez is deputy director and senior counsel at the group Free Press. She joins us now by phone from Los Angeles. Welcome to CounterSpin, Jessica Gonzalez.

  • DRM
    • The Video Game Industry Is Lobbying Against Your Right to Repair Consoles

      The video game industry has been a particularly notable enemy of fair repair.

      The video game industry is lobbying against legislation that would make it easier for gamers to repair their consoles and for consumers to repair all electronics more generally.

      The Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that includes Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, as well as dozens of video game developers and publishers, is opposing a “right to repair” bill in Nebraska, which would give hardware manufacturers fewer rights to control the end-of-life of electronics that they have sold to their customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Tiffany & Co., Defenders Of Intellectual Property, Sued For Copyright Infringement

      For some time now, famed jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. has been a staunch defender of intellectual property and an adversary to a free and open internet. You will recall that this is the company that wanted eBay to be held liable for third-party auctions of counterfeit Tiffany products. The company also lent its support to censoring the internet via the seizing of domains it didn’t like, as well as its support for COICA (which was the predecessor of the bill that eventually became SOPA). COICA, among other things, was a bill that would have allowed the DOJ to seize so-called “pirate” websites that infringed on others’ intellectual property.

    • Patents and the Silicon Valley of clothespins

      In 1998, the Smithsonian institute’s National Museum of American History carried a display—“America’s Clothespins”–, which included 41 patents dealing with clothespins for the period between 1852-1887 (although the child of one visitor was heard to say– “What’s a clothespin, Dad?”) All of this points to a fascinating tale of how patents served as a linchpin (with a Kat apology for the unintended pun) for the rise of the American of State of Vermont, nestled in the northwestern corner of New England, as, in the words of the New York Times, “the Silicon Valley of 19-century clothespin technology”.

    • Trademarks
      • ARGOS – trade marks, domains, and google advertising

        First there was metadata, then there was Google AdWords, the latest High Court dispute concerns the question: can the adverts which are displayed on a website constitute trade mark infringement?

        Back in 1992, Argos Systems Inc (ASI), an American company specialising in CAD systems for the design and construction of buildings, registered the domain argos.com. Several years later in 1996, Argos Limited, a well known UK retailer registered argos.co.uk. Argos owned various EU and UK trade marks for ARGOS but was too late to the domain name party to secure the .com.

    • Copyrights
      • Shadow Regulation Withers In The Sunlight

        Yesterday, the group that runs the .org top-level domain announced that they will suspend their plans to create a new, private, problematic copyright enforcement system. That’s welcome news for tens of millions of nonprofits, charities, businesses, clubs, bloggers, and personal website owners that use .org. It’s also surprising, because most of those Internet users had no idea that a new copyright system, strongly reminiscent of the failed SOPA/PIPA Internet censorship bills, might be forced on them.

        The possibility was easy to miss. Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit organization that administers the .org domain, never mentioned the new policy on its blog before yesterday, nor on the registrar websites where people actually register and renew their domain names. It was announced two weeks ago on a news website that covers the domain industry. And it was referenced in a proposal by the Domain Name Association, an industry group, titled “Registry/Registrar Healthy Practices,” a day later.

      • Fair Use: Journalism Can’t Succeed Without It
      • Law Professors Address RCEP Negotiators on Copyright

        Next week the latest round of secret negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) kicks off in Kobe, Japan. Once the shy younger sibling of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the recent death of the TPP has thrust RCEP further into the spotlight, and raised the stakes both for its sixteen prospective parties, and for lobbyists with designs to stamp their own mark on the text’s intellectual property and e-commerce chapters.

        Our last analysis of RCEP pointed out some of the ways in which the then-current leaked text represented an improvement on the TPP, but how other parts of it—including those on copyright enforcement—repeated its mistakes and failed to seize opportunities for improvement. This week, over 60 copyright scholars released an open letter that sets out their views of what negotiators ought to do in order to address these problems.

        [...]

        While EFF’s position is that copyright doesn’t belong in trade agreements at all, we have acknowledged that copyright lobbyists aren’t going to stop seeking their inclusion in such agreements any time soon. We have also recommended some improvements to the processes of trade negotiation that would make them more transparent and inclusive, and therefore more democratically legitimate. Although our recommendations were directed to the U.S. Trade Representative (which is not a party to the RCEP negotiations), the law professors’ letter echoes the spirit of some of them.

      • Copyright Law Versus Internet Culture

        Throughout human history, culture has been made by people telling one another stories, building on what has come before, and making it their own. Every generation, every storyteller puts their own spin on old tales to reflect their own values and changing times.

        This creative remixing happens today and it happens in spite of the legal cloud cast by copyright law. Many of our modern cultural icons are “owned” by a small number of content companies. We rework popular stories to critique them or assign new meanings to them, telling our own stories about well-known characters and settings. When copyright holders try to shut us down, fair use helps us fight back.

      • Fair Use as Consumer Protection

        Talking about fair use often means talking about your right to re-use existing copyrighted works in the process of making something new – to make remixes and documentaries, parodies, or even to build novel Internet search tools. But now that copyright-protected software is in almost everything (including our cars, our toasters, our pacemakers and our insulin pumps) fair use has a new critically important role: basic consumer protection.

        We entrust a lot of our lives to the devices we use on a daily basis – and to the software inside them. We trust them to get us from one place to another safely, to monitor our health conditions accurately and securely, and to keep us warm on a cold night. But what if those devices break? What if we want to make sure they aren’t collecting information about us without our consent, or infecting our systems with malware? What if we just want to be able to use third party apps and so on to make them work better?

      • Federal Judge Says Providing Web Hosting Isn’t Even Close To The Same Thing As Contributory Infringement

        A federal judge has just let a plaintiff know there’s a big difference between providing hosting for infringing content and actually participating in copyright infringement. ALS Scan sued basically everybody for copyright infringement after discovering adult images that it owned posted all over the web. In addition to Steadfast Holdings — the defendant just dismissed from this suit — ALS Scan sued Cloudflare, Juicy Ads, and a number of other hosting services and Does.

      • How Snapchat, Instagram and Apple Are Reinventing Photography Forever [iophk: "a world where you don't own the photos you've taken"]

        The next chapter of Snapchat’s life will begin over the coming months, as parent company Snap, Inc. goes public with an initial offering that could value the firm at approximately $20 billion. Success is far from certain: The Venice Beach, Calif.-based Snap has warned in investor documents that it could lose users to competitors with “greater resources and broader global recognition” — shorthand for the Facebook-owned Instagram. Snapchat’s once-meteoric growth is showing signs of slowing, with only 8 million new users over the last six months.

        But whether or not Snapchat survives in a competitive market in the coming years, its contributions — along with those of rivals like Instagram and Apple — to the medium of photography and visual communication are unprecedented. Snap put it this way in its IPO documents: “In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones.”

Top Officials in French Government Are Growing Tired of Battistelli’s Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Monday 27th of February 2017 01:18:38 PM

Not the first time Axelle Lemaire speaks out against Battistelli, even in his own media-shaping events (see below, from 2015)




Summary: An automated translation of a recent debate about the EPO in the French government, culminating in intervention by Richard Yung

IT IS no secret that many politicians, including several French ones, have grown tired of the EPO‘s management, which they view as a disgrace/liability to France that damages the country’s image.

The other day Mr. Yung spoke about it and then wrote about, but soon afterwards he removed his blog post, whereupon we contacted Yung and asked for the reason. Well, he has just posted this augmented piece (same thing again, but this time with text rather than video).

The automated translation reveals involvement also from Axelle Lemaire, who spoke about the issues as far back as 2 years ago. We could use a proper French translations from a native (mother’s tongue) speaker; that would be appreciated. Maybe SUEPO will do this soon, as it noticed the removal of the previous post and took note of the revision earlier today. It looks like, just in case, it also made a copy of the text in French [PDF]. We prefer not to comment on automated translations as these are not reliable and can sometimes propagate confusion (due to subtleties that machines cannot capture). Here is how Google translated the whole thing (unmodified and uncorrected)

Oral question on the deterioration of the social climate in the EPO: reply from the Government

Written by Richard Yung Tuesday, 21 February 2017 00:00

On 21 February I asked the Government about the deterioration of the social climate in the European Patent Office (EPO) .

Below, you will find the text and The video of my speech and the response of the Secretary of State for Digital and Innovation , Axelle Lemaire.

The Chairman . I call Mr Richard Yung, the author of Question No 1578 to the Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance.

Mr. Richard Yung . My unfortunately recurrent question concerns the deterioration of the social climate in the European Patent Office, the EPO.
Since 2010, the measures implemented by the EPO management have led to a reduction in the fundamental rights of the staff: I am thinking in particular of limiting the right to strike, calling into question freedom of association or Right to collective bargaining.
It appears that the EPO is the organization most often challenged before the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labor Organization, which is called upon to rule on staff disputes in international organizations.
In a judgment of 2015, the Hague Court of Appeal found several measures taken by the EPO management illegal. The latter appealed to the Court of Cassation, claiming immunity from execution, which was in fact enjoyed by international organizations.
Since the beginning of 2016, several sanctions have been imposed on union representatives: three lay-offs and one demotion. In addition, investigations and disciplinary proceedings are under way.
In a resolution adopted on 16 March 2016, the EPO’s Governing Board, which is its highest authority, calls on the President of the Office, inter alia, to “ensure that disciplinary sanctions and procedures are not only fair but Considered to be strong, and to consider the possibility of appealing to an external review, arbitration or mediation body “.
This resolution was ignored by the management of the EPO, who was content to organize a “Potemkin” social conference, one might say.
The Bavarian Parliament has recently debated and debated the matter, although the immunity from jurisdiction and enforcement enjoyed by the EPO makes it difficult for States to take action.
The proper functioning of the EPO is one of the prerequisites for the success of the European patent, which is proven, and for the implementation of the future unitary patent. I therefore ask the Government what solutions it proposes to propose, in particular through the French delegation to the EPO’s Board of Directors, in order to encourage the resumption of social dialogue and the emergence of a new mode of governance, As well as the review of sanctions.

The Chairman . I call the Secretary of State.

Ms Axelle Lemaire , Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of digital and innovation. The European Patent Office, created by the European Patent Convention of 5 October 1973, is an intergovernmental organization that has been operational since 1977. It employs nearly 7,000 agents from thirty different countries. Its Management Board, which brings together representatives of thirty-eight Member States, has decided to reform the EPO staff regulations in order to ensure its long-term financial viability.
This reform, which covers the entire social framework – pensions, remuneration, social benefits, etc. – must be implemented in consultation with the staff representatives. This is the beginning of the story …
In February 2015, the Hague Court of Appeal questioned certain decisions taken internally at the EPO. The Office appealed to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, which in a decision of 20 January 2017 annulled the judgments of the courts of The Hague and confirmed the jurisdictional immunity of the Office.
In March 2016, France supported the initiative taken by the EPO’s Board of Directors, which voted a resolution to underline the urgent need to resolve the social problem that is causing this organization.
The resolution, which was adopted nearly a year ago, provided for the implementation of a social audit, the presentation to the Board of Directors of changes in staff regulations and the suspension of disciplinary proceedings.
What about today ?
The objective, independent study carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, presented in October 2016, highlights the deterioration of the social climate within the Office. This degradation undermines the image of the organization; It is also harmful, indirectly, but certainly, in the image of France abroad and within international organizations, despite the very favorable remuneration of agents compared to other international organizations.
This study recommends ways to improve existing disciplinary procedures.
The March 2016 resolution provided for the Board of Directors to review the status of EPO staff in order to change the guidelines on internal investigations and disciplinary procedures. The French representatives on the board of directors will be very careful to ensure that this revision is conducive to appeasement of social dialogue within the institution. Indeed, that is what is at stake.
No less than five ministers have joined forces with parliamentarians to explain these issues: Emmanuel Macron, Michel Sapin, Christophe Sirugue, myself, and also the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault. We have been deeply involved in ensuring that decisions taken at the EPO’s boards of directors are in line with the rules and jurisprudence of international law.
The secretary of state for industry, Christophe Sirugue, who has had several exchanges with EPO management, continues to be fully mobilized to reaffirm France’s determination to see an unacceptable social situation standardized.
This standardization is essential to create the conditions for greater efficiency of the EPO in the context of the implementation of the European patent with unitary effect, which should enable Europe to distinguish itself in terms of intellectual property And industry in the world of innovation.

The Chairman . I call Mr Richard Yung.

Mr. Richard Yung . Madam Secretary of State, I agree with you that the current situation is detrimental to the staff and affects the motivation of the staff and the Office as a whole. Moreover, it taints the reputation of our country, and I fear that there are still sequels.
While I note the specific action taken by the Government, I see that this is really happening on the EPO’s Board of Directors, which is the determining body. It is here that France must make her voice heard.
Another possibility, provided for by the Munich Convention, would be to convene a Council of Ministers responsible for industrial property. He could discuss a number of issues: the unitary patent, which you have mentioned and which will soon come into force, plant patents, and the management of the EPO’s staff.
That is a proposal I am sending to your sagacity, Madam Secretary of State.

We eagerly wait (or hope) for a human-produced translation of the above.

A US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Which is Hostile Towards Patent Maximalists May Closely Examine More Patents That Apple Uses Against Android

Monday 27th of February 2017 10:03:56 AM

GNU/Linux-powered devices are habitually being targeted by artsy design patents, but might this end soon?

Summary: A company which often takes pride in designers rather than developers (art, not technical merit) may lose that leverage over the competition if its questionable patents are taken away by the Supremes

THE SCOTUS, in its current composition at least (many nominations and appointments by Democrats — a trend that is now changing), has handed down some important decisions on patents over the past half a decade and most of them were favourable to patent reformers. Reformist scope-oriented measures such as restriction if not elimination of software patents are just the tip of the iceberg; a few months ago we wrote about the Lexmark case.

“This time around it’s about the second California Apple v. Samsung case (the one that went to trial in 2014, resulting in a $119 million verdict).”
      –Florian MüllerFlorian Müller scooped an important story the other day. “I tried to find media reports on Samsung’s new Apple v. Samsung Supreme Court petition,” he wrote, “and couldn’t find any, so maybe I scooped’em all” with the blog post “Samsung is now taking the second Apple v. Samsung patent case to the Supreme Court”. To quote: “The first Apple v. Samsung case went all the way up to the Supreme Court and has meanwhile gone all the way back to the Northern District of California to take a new look at the question of design patent damages. But the steps to the Supreme Court are like a revolving door for this huge commercial dispute: a new petition for writ of certiorari (request for Supreme Court review) is already in the making! This time around it’s about the second California Apple v. Samsung case (the one that went to trial in 2014, resulting in a $119 million verdict).”

Someone disputed the number, saying that “it’ll actually be the third. They had another petition denied on a very technical issue.”

Müller insisted, however, that “by “second case” I meant the second case filed by Apple against Samsung in U.S. district court…”

“If this is all that Apple has left in its future plans (suing competitors), then it doesn’t look particularly bright; nor does it look innovative…”Techrights had been sceptical of Apple for a long time, even before Apple began attacking Android with patents (there was sabre-rattling even before that, e.g. against Palm). Apple and its nonsensical patents never end. Our sources at the EPO indicate that it’s not different in Europe, but we cannot publicly share any further details on that (in order to protect sources). Watch this article from CNN, published just 6 days ago. “Apple often patents interesting hardware or futuristic iPhone designs that may never see the light of day,” it says. “But in its latest patent granted on Tuesday, Apple (AAPL, Tech30) describes something a little less innovative, and already wildly popular.”

They’re ignoring prior art and also neglecting the fact that software patents are a dying breed. If this is all that Apple has left in its future plans (suing competitors), then it doesn’t look particularly bright; nor does it look innovative…

We look forward to that (potentially second) SCOTUS case which might, due to Apple, spell doom for design patents, which are often similar to software patents (in the GUI sense).

Life Technologies Corp. v Promega Corp.

“We look forward to that (potentially second) SCOTUS case which might, due to Apple, spell doom for design patents, which are often similar to software patents (in the GUI sense).”SCOTUS rulings on patents actually made a lot of headlines this past week, but this did not involve software patents or anything like that. Mayer Brown LLP, for example, wrote about Life Technologies Corp. v Promega Corp. (at SCOTUS) in lawyers’ media. “In an effort to curb efforts to circumvent patent protection,” they said, “the Patent Act imposes liability for infringement on anyone who supplies “all or a substantial portion” of a patented invention’s components from the United States for combination overseas. 35 U.S.C. s 271(f)(1). The Federal Circuit had held that a single component—in this case, of a five-component test kit—could be sufficiently important to a patented invention to constitute “a substantial portion.””

“The Supreme Court has reversed the Federal Circuit in Life Tech v Promega, ruling that manufacture and exportation of a single component of a patented invention assembled in another country is not enough for infringement in the US. However, as a concurring opinion and observers note, the Supreme Court did not indicate how much more than one is enough,” MIP wrote.

“IAM is basically ranting about this ruling because SCOTUS didn’t rule for patent maximalists.”IAM, the lobby of the patent maximalists (disguised as press whilst lobbying/preaching), wrote: “Yet again #SCOTUS left #patent community in the dark on a key part of its latest ruling” (misinformation).

Well, by “patent community” they mean something like “hedge funds of the patent world”, not a community per se. And nobody is really left “in the the dark”; it’s just a dark day for patent maximalists.

IAM is basically ranting about this ruling because SCOTUS didn’t rule for patent maximalists. To quote their blog post about it:

Seven US Supreme Court justices issued their latest patent ruling yesterday in a case that may not have been awaited with the same level of expectancy as next month’s oral arguments in the venue selection case TC Heartland, but which nonetheless showed them sticking to form. As ever with this court it was a case of what wasn’t said as much as what was outlined in the decision.

The case in question, Life Technologies Corp v Promega Corp, involved the supply of a single infringing component manufactured in the US by Life Technologies but then shipped to the UK for assembly. Promega sued citing the Patent Act’s prohibition of the supply from the US of “all or a substantial portion of the components of a patent invention” for combination abroad.

As for Patently-O, it said about Life Technologies Corp. v Promega Corp. that “[i]n a largely-unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court has ruled that the “supply of a single component of a multicomponent invention for manufacture abroad does not give rise to §271(f)(1) liability.””

“Patent maximalism is good for nobody except those who make a living from nothing other than patents (no actual invention, production and so on).”“Writing for the court,” Patently-O added, “Justice Sotomayor found that the “substantial portion” should be seen as a quantitative requirement and that a single component is not sufficient.”

The very fact that sites like IAM are upset about it should say quite clearly that it’s a good and positive development. Patent maximalism is good for nobody except those who make a living from nothing other than patents (no actual invention, production and so on).

As Long as Software Patents Are Granted and Microsoft Equips Trolls With Them, “Azure IP Advantage” is an Attack on Free/Libre Software

Monday 27th of February 2017 08:56:23 AM

This definitely impacts GNU/Linux when Microsoft shamelessly passes Nokia‘s patents, for instance, to active patent trolls


Pay us or face the consequences? Terror tactics or Mafia tactics?

Summary: Microsoft is feeding enemies of GNU/Linux and Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) in order to sell its ‘protection’, which it names “IP Advantage” in a rather Orwellian fashion (same naming as back in the Novell days)

SOFTWARE patents are the most potent threat to Free/libre software. As we noted here just over a fortnight ago, Microsoft continues to use software patents to divide and conquer Free/libre software, essentially dividing it based on “safe” and “unsafe” (from litigation over patents). It’s that classic modus operandi that goes along the lines of, “pay us, or terrible things will happen…”

Corporate Counsel, a very popular site among lawyers, decided to write about Microsoft’s de facto attack (as above) but missed the main point. Having caught up with it nearly 3 weeks later, the summary (article’s body is behind walled gardens) says “Microsoft’s conversations with customers have led it to tackle an emerging risk through Azure IP Advantage, but others say the ‘umbrella’ program may not yet be legal necessity.”

“Microsoft can try to increase perceived and/or actual threat, making the only “safe” option for hosting of Free/libre software the option which is monthly payments to Microsoft (Azure subscription/veiled patent royalties).”Microsoft can send or unleash its many patent trolls (named here over the years, as recently as months ago) to make it more of a “legal necessity.” Microsoft can try to increase perceived and/or actual threat, making the only “safe” option for hosting of Free/libre software the option which is monthly payments to Microsoft (Azure subscription/veiled patent royalties). This strategy was last explained here two weeks ago and it shouldn’t be too hard to understand. It’s similar to what Microsoft attempted over a decade ago with Novell. We wrote literally thousands of articles on this topic. It doesn’t take a patent strategist to grasp it.

The threat of software patents is still very much real, in spite of Alice (whose impact can end as soon as SCOTUS under Trump revisits the matter, caving in to anti-§ 101 lobbyists).

“The threat of software patents is still very much real, in spite of Alice (whose impact can end as soon as SCOTUS under Trump revisits the matter, caving in to anti-§ 101 lobbyists).”Just in the past few days alone we saw patent maximalists from Greenberg Traurig promoting software patents [1, 2], among other things. They definitely want software patents back and they relentlessly work towards that goal, as we show here almost every day. They keep setting up more and more front groups for that purpose and they try to scandalise public officials whom they don’t agree with. They essentially try to oust reformers.

Software patents in the US are still being advertised; they are also still being celebrated in press releases, e.g. this new one (aside from that other press release about their activity in Texas) which says “Jigsaw, a leading provider of virtual training and education technology, recently became the first e-learning software to receive a patent for its game-changing, multi-dimensional learning solution. The patent, granted December 20, 2016, was especially noteworthy, as software patents of any kind are difficult to acquire and only infrequently approved by the U.S. Patent Office. Jigsaw’s proprietary technology proved itself unique not only among virtual learning tools, but among all software products.”

“Recall what, in the area of server-side security, the Microsoft-connected (financed, like Blackboard) Finjan had done until as recently as earlier this year.”They sound like another Blackboard-like entity, which probably intends to sue the competition, including Free/libre software (remember the sabre-rattling and patent lawsuits from the Microsoft-connected Blackboard).

Here is another new press release which speaks about newly-granted software patents:

IOMAXIS LLC, a leader in innovative computing and communication technologies, announced today that it has been granted two new patents for novel security approaches in the area of cloud-based computing by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patents, which give the company ownership of two unique approaches to identifying threats in cloud-computing environments, serve as part of IOMAXIS’ new cloud security practice. The establishment of the new practice provides commercial and federal clients unparalleled protection from internal and external threats within cloud-computing environments.

Recall what, in the area of server-side security, the Microsoft-connected (financed, like Blackboard) Finjan had done until as recently as earlier this year.

“If they start to sue and shake down more of these companies, raising the temperature in the room and making managers sweat a little, will Microsoft then step in to offer “Azure IP Advantage” for “intellectual property peace of mind” (a term it used ad infinitum back in the Novell days)?”Let it be emphasised in case it’s not obvious. There are many entities out there, both large and small (as large as the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures), which are strongly connected to Microsoft and are habitually threatening, using software patents of course, Free/libre software projects and companies that develop/distribute/deploy/support/maintain these. If they start to sue and shake down more of these companies, raising the temperature in the room and making managers sweat a little, will Microsoft then step in to offer “Azure IP Advantage” for “intellectual property peace of mind” (a term it used ad infinitum back in the Novell days)?

Patent Trolls on Their Way Out in the United States and Their Way Into China, No Thanks to the Open Invention Network (OIN)

Monday 27th of February 2017 08:02:10 AM

OIN has in many ways contributed to the problem rather than or instead of working to tackle it

Summary: An update on patent trolls and the role played by supposed allies of Free/libre software, who in practice do everything to exacerbate the problem rather than resolve it

Trolls are a symptom of a big problem, typically the granting of far too many patents and too lenient a treatment (favouring the claimant) at the courts. This is why the US was so popular among patent trolls and China is now attracting if not giving birth to those same sorts of trolls.

Things are about to change for the better in the US. “Broad patent venue rules allowing corporations to be sued for patent infringement almost anywhere,” as this new article puts it, is a regime which will likely end soon (it’s reminiscent of what UPC proponents envision in Europe — a recipe for patent trolls in the EU and beyond).

“This is why the US was so popular among patent trolls and China is now attracting if not giving birth to those same sorts of trolls.”This new article refers to TC Heartland — a decision we eagerly await — and says this: “Broad patent venue rules allowing corporations to be sued for patent infringement almost anywhere are under siege both in Congress and in the courts. Yet, a non-patent case that was recently granted certiorari by the Supreme Court, although not widely noted in intellectual property law circles, may provide another potential front in this ongoing battle. [...] Based on the cert grant, the U.S. Supreme Court now appears set to decide when a claim sufficiently “arises out of or relates to” a defendant’s contacts with the forum state. Although Bristol-Myers is not a patent case, it involves the same specific jurisdiction criteria that the Federal Circuit has found satisfied in patent cases by product shipments into a forum. Therefore, it is possible that a Supreme Court decision that tightens the nexus between the claims and the defendant’s acts that is required to establish specific personal jurisdiction may curb patent owners’ abilities to bring suit in as wide array of fora as is possible under current Federal Circuit precedent.”

“OIN has become pretty useless and it’s likely that it was always this useless.”Some time later this year, assuming that new Justices grasp the damage caused by patent trolls, the whole business model of trolls is likely to collapse, having already suffered a great deal when Alice made their patents a lot weaker. We cannot rest on the laurels, however, as patent maximalists constantly try to sabotage all this progress and Make Trolls Great Again, as we last noted yesterday. Here, in this new article from Embry-Riddle, a person who makes a living by promoting patents (or patent maximalism) unsurprisingly promotes more and more patents. We see articles like these every day. This other new article, one from Beta News, is very wrong and misguided; it oddly enough calls or paints OIN as anti-trolls, even though OIN openly admits that it’s not (OIN is absolutely incapable of stopping trolls). Here is the key part:

More and more, we’re seeing businesses band together to find creative, efficient solutions to the patent troll problem.

Take OIN (Open Innovation Network) [sic, it's Invention] as an example. This organization operates in the open source community, cross-licensing patents to protect companies against litigation using Linux-related patents. Another example is the LOT Network, the non-profit community that I lead. More than 80 percent of patents litigated by patent trolls are acquired from operating companies through events like bankruptcies, M&A, or when a company is looking for an extra revenue stream. LOT members agree that if one of their patents falls into the hands of a troll, the other members get a free license. This acts as immunization for member companies — rendering a troll lawsuit involving that patent moot. At the same time, LOT Network does not affect the traditional uses of patents — like buying, selling, or even suing other companies.

One could argue that OIN helps weaken trolls by attempting to grab (buy) particular patents which would otherwise be given to trolls, but having seen how it works from the inside (long conversations more than half a decade ago), that just barely ever happens. It happened maybe once before (that we know of). OIN has become pretty useless and it’s likely that it was always this useless. Its stated goals are not its real goals. Recently, OIN pretty much endorsed a lobby for software patents, misleadingly named Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU). OIN often seems to have remained somewhat of an IBM front group, often aligned with IBM’s own agenda and even led by former IBM staff. Speaking of IBM, which is becoming an ally of Apple and a foe of GNU/Linux, its patent chief said the other day: “Patents should promote innovation regardless of inventor size (large co, small co, independent) and regardless of technology” (easy for him to say, coming from the largest patent assignee). Benjamin Henrion’s response to him can be see here; it’s all just mumbo-jumbo from IBM, equating patents with “innovation” — however one defines that thing. IBM uses its patents to bully competitors and extract ‘protection’ money from them. That’s hardly innovation.

“Recently, OIN pretty much endorsed a lobby for software patents, misleadingly named Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU).”Where was OIN when Acacia, a patent troll with connections to Microsoft, attacked GNU/Linux vendors such as Novell and Red Hat? As expected, patent trolls such as Acacia pivot/expand in China after SIPO and the courts had done damage to the country (diluting the patent system with low-quality patents). According to the trolls’ news site the “Texas-based NPE [which the headline calls "Acacia alumni NPE"] Longhorn IP announced this week that it has acquired a patent portfolio, including several China-only patent families, from a major Chinese telecoms company.”

Guess what will happen next…

Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VIII: When Governed by Criminals, Truth-Tellers Are Cast as Criminals and Criminals as Justice Deliverers

Monday 27th of February 2017 07:00:55 AM

Kangaroo courts don’t exist only in Eponia; In these politically-motivated grand juries, for instance, almost never is the accused found innocent.

Summary: The bizarre state of affairs at the European Patent Office, where being an honest and transparent person makes one incredibly vulnerable and subjected to constant harassment from the management

WE CURRENTLY have two ongoing series about the EPO and both pertain to health and employment. These series help shed light on what causes illness, depression, and sometimes even suicide (which still happens).

“The management wishes to keep people uninformed, helpless, and isolated.”At Techrights we have patiently studied such matters for a very long time (more than 2 years). We read a lot of documents about it, we heard many personal stories, and we have reviewed all the material we have, including documents, various attachments, formal publications, letters, tribunal decisions and so on. We’ve decided to cover such personal cases with anonymity although in practice it would often be impractical because cases are unique and each contains some clues (for those already familiar with them). It would be too obvious — more so in some cases than in others — who the complainer is. As such, and always with great prudence, we carefully review everything before publication and receive clearances. We decided that the disclosures’ risks (e.g. risk of reprisal and risks associated with exposure) are usually outweighed by the upsides (the principal downsides being retribution); these disclosures would help show grievances among staff, and at times staff representatives. Last year and the year before that we ended up releasing some details of ludicrous accusations against various staff representatives (an older series) and these hopefully helped illuminate the extent to which the Office adopted kangaroo courts — a fact later confirmed by ILO's tribunal.

Stories like these can help increase support among the staff for their staff representatives. These stories can also shed light on the horrible treatment of EPO staff and shift focus to the core of these matters (a la ILO, but without having to wait several years for determinations). People who have suffered injustice at the EPO are not alone. The management wishes to keep people uninformed, helpless, and isolated. It makes them weaker, incapable of collective action (e.g. defence). Gag orders are being used to accomplish this and here in Techrights we have to undo these ugly practices, which makes one wonder if the EPO is a patent office or a secret agency.

“…the management, in my humble opinion, bears great accountability for some deaths. This is a point that Bavarian television has already made.”Some cases are more tragic than others; what’s consistent, however, is lack of humanity at the top of the Office. Generally speaking, the EPO is inconsiderate, cruel, abusive, and arrogant; it doesn’t mind driving people to the verge of suicide or serious mental breakdown, even if just to ‘punish’ certain people or get rid of them. Vengefulness has become a hallmark of Team Battistelli, including all those French cronies. We will show examples in the future.

Taking some examples that we’ve already covered into account, especially considering a person who lost some parents and got nothing but abuse from the Office for it, I have strong opinions on it; it’s something that I can wholeheartedly state: the management, in my humble opinion, bears great accountability for some deaths. This is a point that Bavarian television has already made. The EPO’s management was very distressed about the public finding out about it, but not about the deaths themselves. Such is the nature of sociopaths.

The sociopath in chief, as is typical for sociopaths, tries to justify all this abuse to himself, maybe because of SUEPO having the moral high ground and him being incapable of ever accepting that he made grave errors. As convenient pretext or excuse, the sociopath in chief resorted to "sniper" and Nazi analogies, pretending that the Office he presides over is some sort of battleground for terror other than his own.

“Those who pursue justice are treated like criminals, whereas those who are exposed for criminality claim to be embracing “justice” to imprison the whistleblower/s and complainer/s.”Frankly, if not bluntly, the man is insane. He belongs in some hospital in Haar. But guess who is instead going to Haar pretty soon: Those who are mere colleagues of one who is alleged to have exposed the sociopaths (Team Battistelli), in particular one who faces corruption indictments in Strasbourg (which vindicates the accuser/s).

The reversal of roles here is a familiar one. Those who pursue justice are treated like criminals, whereas those who are exposed for criminality claim to be embracing “justice” to imprison the whistleblower/s and complainer/s. We saw this shortly after Trump’s inauguration (e.g. Yates), we still see that in Duterte (e.g. de Lima), and let’s now forget the basis for effectively ‘arresting’ Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London based on pure allegations of sexual misconduct when in fact they just want to stop his reporting and ultimately silence Wikileaks (decapitation tactics against a potent organisation with broad public support, having exposed both the left and the right over the past decade).

The Sickness of the EPO – Part V: Shedding Light on Institutional Abuse Against Ill and/or Disabled Individuals

Monday 27th of February 2017 06:23:57 AM

This cartoon was recently supplied by an anonymous contributor

Summary: The seriousness of the situation at the EPO and a call for action, which requires greater transparency, even if imposed transparency

“The sickness of the EPO,” told us one reader over the weekend, is a reality. “Intimidation has become an efficient management tool at the EPO to improve the sick leave statistics. Techrights also reported how individuals being long-term sick or invalid are put under psychological pressure and punished with a kind of home arrest.

“And the regime’s utter lack of empathy does not stop them from attacking disabled staff members. There is a recent case in The Hague where a disabled person was removed from a production unit. This is reality at the EPO in 2017.”

For those who are just joining/catching up with this series, here are the previous parts, which so far only scratch the surface:

“I’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of names of these “cooperating servants” serving in the OHS and Personal dept,” one source recently suggested. What for? Well, there is a point to be made and something for everyone to be made aware of. “The list must be “comprehensive” in order to have a small identifiable “footprint”,” our source explains. “Or I can provide you with a non-comprehensive list that you can complete from other sources before publication.”

At this stage, we openly call for anyone with relevant information to get in contact with us. Complete or partial data would be fine. Once published, other anonymous readers could fill in the gap for us. A better understanding of this situation, as well as accountability through transparency, is required. People’s lives are profoundly impacted by this.

The EPO’s Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider

Sunday 26th of February 2017 02:16:56 PM

Maybe Breitbart has something to offer at the EPO?

Summary: The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract — and certainly failing to retain — talented examiners

A few days ago we wrote about brain drain at the EPO (rebutting claims to the contrary), having already written a lot about the subject numerous times over the years, e.g. in:

One of our readers decided to weigh in, as he or she did:

About brain drain: of course there is a brain drain! The office was a place where you would start with little professional experience and remain until retirement, at 65. But these were the conditions 20 years ago. Now staff recruited at that time reach the 50 years limit and can leave on pension. I know many at ages between 50 and 60 therefore leaving under “early retirement conditions”. Of course with smaller benefits than retiring with 65, but is money everything? Certainly, not. 15 years of freedom are something valuable. And there are still chances that you can use your professional knowledge somewhere else. Your life is at stake here. What is the value of money if you wake up every morning with the feeling of being trapped in a golden cage or asking yourself if suicide wouldn’t be the best solution?

Unhappiness at the EPO — a subject we shall continue to focus on — has made the EPO a poisonous place to work in. It’s a bad employer to work for. Understandably, fewer people would even bother applying.

Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths

Sunday 26th of February 2017 01:41:02 PM

Patent prosecutors’ coup: Telling lies to politicians in order to rush them into accepting an undesirable (to member states) system


Reference: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Summary: The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as “news”, continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year

THE UPC is always “real soon now”. It has been like this every year for a number of years and it’s part of an old and dirty strategy. Team UPC even advertises job openings for jobs that do not exist and probably will never exist, adding to it a potentially felonious element.

“Team UPC even advertises job openings for jobs that do not exist and probably will never exist, adding to it a potentially felonious element.”Wouter Pors, partner of law firm Bird & Bird, was mentioned here many times over the years, for instance when he wrote about Battistelli and the UPC [1, 2]. Pors is not stupid; he’s actually an astute person, so whenever he too resorts to the inevitability brainwash from Team UPC (typically the likes of Bristows play this game) we’re rather disappointed. This new blog post by Wouter Pors (found via UPC proponents) in his pro-UPC site repeats what we’re expecting from shoddy lobbyists, with loaded sentences such as: “How to prepare for the upcoming Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, which are expected to start functioning on 1 December of this year?”

No, they’re not expected to start then (if ever, at all!). That’s just the line echoed by Battistelli’s PR department and Team UPC, which is itself financially-vested in this whole Trojan horse. If they keep repeating these lies, how many people will actually believe them? If we believed all the previous projections and forecasts for the UPC, we would be called foolish, but every prediction we have made about the UPC so far turned out to be true, including back in the days when UPC was called something else.

“Team UPC seems to be recycling its own talking points — at times gross distortion of facts — in an effort to mislead politicians, making them convinced that the UPC is inevitable.”People must learn to recognise which blogs are little more than UPC propaganda/lobbying sites. There are several of them out there, including some that get co-opted (like IP Kat, at least until recently). Look out there not only for stuff that’s called “UPCBlog”; see these two new tweets [1, 2] linking to this blog post. “UPCBlog” says: “the Spanish Socialist Worker’s party (PSOE) -the opposition party- called on the Spanish government to reconsider joining the unitary patent and the UPC.”

Actually, nothing news here. Even Spaniards has already debunked this.

Team UPC seems to be recycling its own talking points — at times gross distortion of facts — in an effort to mislead politicians, making them convinced that the UPC is inevitable. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna recently published a paper, taking note of this ugly strategy.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

Sunday 26th of February 2017 01:05:15 PM

Pseudo-intellectuals who lobby for their bottom line (pockets) want PTAB destroyed

Summary: A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting

THE progress made by PTAB, which faces record demand, makes patent maximalists squirm. That in itself is an indication that it is doing the right thing.

Remember the time Watchtroll used words like "impotence" to insult PTAB? That’s a classic! Watchtroll is so angry at PTAB right now that he (the founder) even resorts to bad grammar in the headline, “The PTAB is a thoroughly broken tribunal incapable of being fixing” (don’t laugh, he may be having a tantrum which isn’t good for his already-questionable health).

“And to think that companies like IBM actively support such attack sites says a lot about IBM…”“The PTAB is a thoroughly broken tribunal incapable of being fixing,” says one whose entire worldview is broken. What PTAB does is it fixes a problem, but Watchtroll and his swamp now hijack the word "fix" and ascribe it to the tackling of PTAB itself, as we noted the other day. Amazing! Incredible!

What will Watchtroll do next in his efforts to dismantle patent progress? He already shames and spreads false rumours about the Director of the USPTO, in an effort to get her ousted/fired. It’s appalling and it’s painful to watch. And to think that companies like IBM actively support such attack sites says a lot about IBM…

“This is very interesting. So Unified Patents takes practical steps to help defendants; in this case, a patent gets challenged in an IPR filed by a collective actor/action.”Anyway, in more positive news about PTAB, “MyMail patent [gets] challenged in IPR2017-00967 filed by @unifiedpatents,” according to this new tweet. “For more information, go here…” (original link).

This is very interesting. So Unified Patents takes practical steps to help defendants; in this case, a patent gets challenged in an IPR filed by a collective actor/action. It’s a good approach, and it is aided by PTAB. This same approach, which was already embraced by the EFF at times, promises to deter if not eliminate some notorious patent trolls. To quote from the site of Unified Patents:

On February 24, 2017, Unified Patents Inc. filed a petition for inter partes review on a patent owned and asserted by MyMail, Ltd. In the IPR2017-00967 petition, Unified challenged the patentability U.S. patent 8,275,863 which teaches methods of modifying a toolbar to facilitate internet traffic.

If your patent is rubbish, don’t expect to change it ‘on the go’ in order to dodge invalidation. As this other new report notes: “Among the changes brought about by the America Invents Act (AIA) was the creation of new post-issuance review proceedings – inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR) and covered business method review (CBM)” and “Amending claims at the PTAB [is] a fool’s errand?”

Well, yes. It barely ever happens. PTAB should invalidate patents rather than allow them to be modified. Patents are not something dynamic that can just be edited as one goes along. We wrote about this before.

To be fair, inter partes reviews don’t always result in success, i.e. invalidation (that would destroy the perception of justice anyway), but the success rate is very high. Here is an inter partes review which involves not software patents. As Law 360 put it the other day:

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday declined to review claims in a Chamberlain Group Inc. patent on garage door openers, just a few weeks after the Federal Circuit said that a rival manufacturer had raised a “substantial question of invalidity” with respect to the patent.

PTAB denied two separate petitions from a unit of Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. seeking inter partes review of various claims in the patent. The petitioner, One World Technologies, argued that the challenged claims were invalid

So for those who think that PTAB is just blindly eliminating patents, it clearly does not do this. Many of the patents it invalidates these days are software patents and other abstract nonsense. That’s what courts at the highest levels have requested, e.g. in Alice (but not limited to it). Understandably, that’s what most petitions (IPRs) are filed to enforce.

PTAB has made a great first step against patent parasites that want to ‘own’ lives, too. The other day we wrote about the CRISPR case (covered here for a number of years) and it’s still making some headlines. “The eagerly-anticipated ruling from the PTAB of “no interference-in-fact” is a win for the Broad Institute in its CRISPR patent battle with University of California Berkeley. But much wrangling lies ahead over the rights to the gene-editing technology, including a potential appeal and likely licensing disputes,” wrote Natalie Rahhal for MIP.

Thankfully, PTAB expands beyond software patents and now tackles all sorts of patents that are working against public interests and ethics. PTAB, unless patent maximalists somehow manage to stop (or sabotage) it, will bring back patent sanity to the US. See what Patently-O wrote the other day about the promise of “[a] written decision on “every claim challenged””. Patently-O explains that “[t]he basic issue – under the statute, can the PTO (the PTAB acting as the Director’s delegate) institute inter partes review to a subset of the challenged claims? Or, does the requirement for a “final written decision as to every claim challenged” require that the Board grant or deny the petitions as a whole.”

This seems to be a method for slowing PTAB down and proponents of this approach are not too shockingly patent maximalists.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods

Sunday 26th of February 2017 12:19:11 PM

This intervention from CAFC can spell doom for some more patent trolls

Summary: Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called ‘business methods’, just like algorithms) and oughtn’t be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)

THE PAST week was an important week for the subject of patents on business methods (CBM, or covered business method), almost a sibling of software patents. There were also many articles on the subject, including this from the mainstream/corporate media (the Wall Street media in this particular case).

“They just mean to say that business method patents may be rubbish and should not be patentable in the first place.”Ignore the expected bias (publication is joined/connected to big banks by the hip) and disregard the weird and almost incomprehensible headline. They just mean to say that business method patents may be rubbish and should not be patentable in the first place. To quote: “The assertion of a patent against Bank of America, GE Capital Corp. and 40 other financial institutions doesn’t make it a financial business method invention vulnerable to attack in a Patent and Trademark Office special proceeding, an appeals court said Feb. 21 ( Secure Axcess, LLC v. PNC Bank N.A. , 2017 BL 51354, Fed. Cir., No. 2016-1353, 2/21/17 )”

Also from the article: “Patent challengers like the special “covered business method” proceeding because it gives them more options to make invalidity charges, such as on whether the invention is patent-eligible. In November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against Apple Inc.’s argument that a CBM patent includes one whose invention is “incidental” to financial activity. The court’s 2-1 decision Feb. 21 further limited CBM to be more dependent on what, exactly, the patent holder claimed.”

Michael Loney, a PTAB expert from MIP, covered it as follows, taking note of the relevance to PTAB:

The Federal Circuit has concluded “the patent at issue is outside the definition of a CBM patent that Congress provided by statute” in its Secure Axcess v PNC Bank National Association ruling. Judge Lourie wrote a dissent, backing up the PTAB’s determination

The Federal Circuit has reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in secure Axcess v PNC Bank Association.

WIPR‘s article about it was fairly detailed:

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) adopted a statutory definition of covered business method (CBM) patents that went too far.

In an opinion handed down on Tuesday, February 21 in Secure Axcess v PNC Bank, the court reversed the finding that a patent owned by internet security company Secure Axcess was a CBM.

Secure Axcess challenged a final written decision of the PTAB that held that its patent was a CBM.

The dispute concerned US number 7,631,191, called “System and method for authenticating a web page”.

Now watch the following CBM review, which involves Ericsson’s patent troll, Unwired Planet LLC. Law 360 had this to say about it:

Unwired Planet LLC urged the Federal Circuit on Wednesday to let stand its November decision that held the Patent Trial and Appeal Board is using an overly broad definition of what qualifies under its covered business method patent review program.

In a brief responding to Google Inc.’s request for an en banc rehearing, the company said the appeals court rightly reined in the PTAB’s authority for reviewing patents directed at financial services, arguing that Google and its tech company amici are inappropriately asking a federal appeals…

Patently-O, in the mean time, wrote about CBM reviews as follows, taking stock of AIA (which brought PTAB): “The America Invents Act created a temporary mechanism (8-year) for challenging certain “covered” business method patents. The program will sunset for new petitions in the “Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents” (“CBM review”) sunsets on September 16, 2020. The program allows for CBM patents to be challenged on any ground of patentability (e.g., Sections 101, 102, 103, and 112) and is not limited to post-AIA patents.”

This has been a fantastic and very successful program. No business methods should be patentable and the CAFC has been looking into it, in effect (or potentially) axing a lot of patents that should never have been granted in the first place.

Google’s Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent ‘First Strikes’

Sunday 26th of February 2017 11:54:26 AM

From search engine with a ‘cute’ face to patent aggressor with a mean face, in less than two decades

Summary: Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)

ABOUT 7 years ago I wrote to Google managers whom I knew that they should refrain from hiring patent lawyers, collecting lots of patents, and basically turning the company into a big patent bubble. But this had little effect on the company’s decision; it has since then been taken over by ‘foreign’ (newly-hired) influence.

“We can no longer say what we used to say — that Google was officially using patents only for defensive purposes or in response to a preemptive attack from other companies.”Google, over time, went from being a patent sceptic to gradually becoming a patent collector. Now, as we feared, Google becomes patent aggressor. Google is gradually becoming a patent bully now, even if it calls itself “Alphabet”, and it’s bad even if the defendant is a company that’s pure evil (as in this case). Even IAM took note of it already; it recalled the BT case which we covered here many times before as follows: “The first and really only high-profile patent infringement lawsuit Google has pursued was against BT – and even that was after BT had transferred patents to a third party which had then used them to sue the search giant. Google quickly filed a counter suit against the British telco and the conflict ultimately fizzled out. So, for a Google business to be asserting now is a very big deal indeed.”

There is already a huge trove of news articles about it, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s everywhere. The effect on the competitor was described yesterday as follows:

When Anthony Levandowski loped onto the stage to accept the Hot New Startup award at an industry awards show this month, the trucker hat perched on his head served as a cringeworthy nod to the millions of drivers his self-driving truck company is poised to leave jobless.

Three weeks later, it is the pioneering engineer of self-driving car technology whose job could be in jeopardy, and the lawsuit he is named in could pose an existential threat to an increasingly vulnerable Uber.

We can no longer say what we used to say — that Google was officially using patents only for defensive purposes or in response to a preemptive attack from other companies. Google is turning ever more evil, even when it comes to patents. It’s a very big deal because Google is probably the world’s largest distributor of GNU/Linux (e.g. Android and Chromebooks).

There will, from now on, be less of a track record to guard and thus less of a deterrent against further such actions from Google. Suffice to say, Google has many sofwtare patents now.

Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

Friday 24th of February 2017 05:25:39 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Google Rolling Out New Ignition + TurboFan V8 Compiler Architecture

    The JavaScript engine performance wars are not over with Google preparing to make some significant changes to their V8 JavaScript engine used by Chrome and friends.

    The V8 JavaScript engine will be switching to a new compiler architecture following their 5.8 branching. Their current compiler architecture of FullCodeGen + Crankshaft as their optimizing compiler will be replaced by the Ignition interpreter and a new optimizing compiler called TurboFan.

  • Using Open Source Software to Speed Development and Gain Business Advantage

    Last week, we started by defining “Open Source” in common terms — the first step for any organization that wants to realize, and optimize, the advantages of using open source software (OSS) in their products or services. In the next few articles, we will provide more details about each of the ways OSS adds up to a business advantage for organizations that use and contribute to open source. First, we’ll discuss why many organizations use OSS to speed up the delivery of software and hardware solutions.

  • Tying together the many open source projects in networking

    There are a lot of pieces to the ongoing network transformation going up and down the stack. There’s the shift away from proprietary hardware. There’s the to need to manage complex network configurations. Add subscriber management and a wide range of other necessary functions. Add customer-facing services. All of those pieces need to fit together, integrate with each other, and interoperate.

    This was the topic of my conversation with Heather Kirksey, who heads up the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) project when we caught up at the Open Source Leadership Summit in mid-February. OPNFV is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project which focuses on the system integration effort needed to tie together the many other open source projects in this space, such as OpenDaylight.

    As Heather puts it: “Telecom operators are looking to rethink, reimagine, and transform their networks from things being built on proprietary boxes to dynamic cloud applications with a lot more being in software. [This lets them] provision services more quickly, allocate bandwidth more dynamically, and scale out and scale in more effectively.”

  • Your future boss? An employee-interrogating bot – it’s an open-source gift from Dropbox

    Dropbox has released the code for the chatbot it uses to question employees about interactions with corporate systems, in the hope that it can help other organizations automate security processes and improve employee awareness of security concerns.

    “One of the hardest, most time-consuming parts of security monitoring is manually reaching out to employees to confirm their actions,” said Alex Bertsch, formerly a Dropbox intern and now a teaching assistant at Brown University, in a blog post. “Despite already spending a significant amount of time on reach-outs, there were still alerts that we didn’t have time to follow up on.”

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Master the Open Cloud with Free, Community-Driven Guides

      One of the common criticisms of open source in general, especially when it comes to open cloud platforms such as OpenStack and ownCloud, is lack of truly top-notch documentation and training resources. The criticism is partly deserved, but there are some free documentation resources that benefit from lots of contributors.

      Community documentation and training contributors really can make a difference. In fact, in a recent interview, ClusterHQ’s Mohit Bhatnagar said: “Documentation is a classic example of where crowdsourcing wins. You just can’t beat the enthusiasm of hobbyist developers fixing a set of documentation resources because they are passionate about the topic.”

    • OpenStack Ocata Nova Cells Set to Improve Cloud Scalability

      Among the biggest things to land in the OpenStack Ocata cloud platform release this week is the Cells v2 code, which will help enable more scale and manageability in the core Nova compute project.

      Nova is one of the two original projects (along with Swift storage) that helped launch OpenStack in June 2010. The original Nova code, which was written by NASA, enables the management of virtualized server resources.

  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
  • Licensing/Legal
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • Which is the best programming language for beginners?

      What is the best language for a budding programmer to get their start with? There are probably as many opinions about which language is best for beginners as there are languages to choose from. And the options change all of the time. When we asked this question two years ago, Python came out on top as the clear winner. But is it still the best choice today?

    • Top 3 machine learning libraries for Python

      You don’t have to be a data scientist to be fascinated by the world of machine learning, but a few travel guides might help you navigate the vast universe that also includes big data, artificial intelligence, and deep learning, along with a large dose of statistics and analytics. (“Deep learning” and “machine learning” are often used interchangeably, so for a quick terminology primer that might help you understand the difference, read Nvidia’s blog post, What’s the Difference Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning?)

      In this article, I’ll look at three of the most popular machine learning libraries for Python.

    • Is your AI being handed to you by Google? Try Apache open source – Amazon’s AWS did

      Surprisingly, the MXNet Machine Learning project was this month accepted by the Apache Software Foundation as an open-source project.

      What’s surprising about the announcement isn’t so much that the ASF is accepting this face in the crowd to its ranks – it’s hard to turn around in the software world these days without tripping over ML tools – but rather that MXNet developers, most of whom are from Amazon, believe ASF is relevant.

    • Current Trends in Tools for Large-Scale Machine Learning

      During the past decade, enterprises have begun using machine learning (ML) to collect and analyze large amounts of data to obtain a competitive advantage. Now some are looking to go even deeper – using a subset of machine learning techniques called deep learning (DL), they are seeking to delve into the more esoteric properties hidden in the data. The goal is to create predictive applications for such areas as fraud detection, demand forecasting, click prediction, and other data-intensive analyses.

    • Your IDE won’t change, but YOU will: HELLO! Machine learning

      Machine learning has become a buzzword. A branch of Artificial Intelligence, it adds marketing sparkle to everything from intrusion detection tools to business analytics. What is it, exactly, and how can you code it?

    • Artificial intelligence: Understanding how machines learn

      Learning the inner workings of artificial intelligence is an antidote to these worries. And this knowledge can facilitate both responsible and carefree engagement.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Flint water crisis doctor invited to President Trump’s address to Congress

      U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee had one guest ticket for President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, and he’s given it to the Flint pediatrician who helped to expose the Flint water crisis.

      Kildee said in a news release Thursday, Feb. 23, that Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will be his guest at next week’s joint session.

      Hanna-Attisha played a critical role in the water crisis having been declared a national emergency after her work revealed the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood lead levels doubled after the city changed its water source to the Flint River in April 2014.

      MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Hanna-Attisha, who last month spoke out against Trump’s executive order that attempted to bar immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

    • More Transparency In Medical Product Prices Discussed At Event

      The lack of access to medical products has spread from being a developing country problem to a global one as prices are now too high even for developed country patients and health systems for some medicines. An event at the Graduate Institute Global Public Health Centre yesterday was an opportunity to explore these issues.

  • Security
    • Change all the passwords (again)

      Looks like it is time to change all the passwords again. There’s a tiny little flaw in a CDN used … everywhere, it seems.

    • Cloudflare’s Cloudbleed is the worst privacy leak in recent Internet history

      Cloudflare revealed today that, for months, all of its protected websites were potentially leaking private information across the Internet. Specifically, Cloudflare’s reverse proxies were dumping uninitialized memory; that is to say, bleeding private data. The issue, termed Cloudbleed by some (but not its discoverer Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero), is the greatest privacy leak of 2017 and the year has just started.

      For months, since 2016-09-22 by their own admission, CloudFlare has been leaking private information through Cloudbleed. Basically, random data from random sites (again, it’s worth mentioning that every site that used CloudFlare in the last half year should be considered to having fallen victim to this) would be randomly distributed across the open Internet, and then indefinitely cached along the way.

    • Serious Cloudflare bug exposed a potpourri of secret customer data

      Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users.

      A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five months before it was discovered, although the greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18. Second, some of the highly sensitive data that was leaked was cached by Google and other search engines. The result was that for the entire time the bug was active, hackers had the ability to access the data in real-time by making Web requests to affected websites and to access some of the leaked data later by crafting queries on search engines.

      “The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines,” Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post published Thursday. “We are disclosing this problem now as we are satisfied that search engine caches have now been cleared of sensitive information. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence.”

    • Today’s leading causes of DDoS attacks [Ed: The so-called 'Internet of things' (crappy devices with identical passwords) is a mess; programmers to blame, not Linux]

      Of the most recent mega 100Gbps attacks in the last quarter, most of them were directly attributed to the Mirai botnet. The Mirai botnet works by exploiting the weak security on many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The program finds its victims by constantly scanning the internet for IoT devices, which use factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords.

    • How to Set Up An SSL Certificate on Your Website [via “Steps To Secure Your Website With An SSL Certificate”]
    • SHA-1 is dead, long live SHA-1!

      Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you heard that some researchers managed to create a SHA-1 collision. The short story as to why this matters is the whole purpose of a hashing algorithm is to make it impossible to generate collisions on purpose. Unfortunately though impossible things are usually also impossible so in reality we just make sure it’s really really hard to generate a collision. Thanks to Moore’s Law, hard things don’t stay hard forever. This is why MD5 had to go live on a farm out in the country, and we’re not allowed to see it anymore … because it’s having too much fun. SHA-1 will get to join it soon.

    • Stop using SHA1 encryption: It’s now completely unsafe, Google proves

      Security researchers have achieved the first real-world collision attack against the SHA-1 hash function, producing two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 signature. This shows that the algorithm’s use for security-sensitive functions should be discontinued as soon as possible.

      SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made.

      However, despite these efforts to phase out the use of SHA-1 in some areas, the algorithm is still fairly widely used to validate credit card transactions, electronic documents, email PGP/GPG signatures, open-source software repositories, backups and software updates.

    • on pgp

      First and foremost I have to pay respect to PGP, it was an important weapon in the first cryptowar. It has helped many whistleblowers and dissidents. It is software with quite interesting history, if all the cryptograms could tell… PGP is also deeply misunderstood, it is a highly successful political tool. It was essential in getting crypto out to the people. In my view PGP is not dead, it’s just old and misunderstood and needs to be retired in honor.

      However the world has changed from the internet happy times of the ’90s, from a passive adversary to many active ones – with cheap commercially available malware as turn-key-solutions, intrusive apps, malware, NSLs, gag orders, etc.

    • SHA1 collision via ASCII art

      Happy SHA1 collision day everybody!

      If you extract the differences between the good.pdf and bad.pdf attached to the paper, you’ll find it all comes down to a small ~128 byte chunk of random-looking binary data that varies between the files.

    • PayThink Knowledge is power in fighting new Android attack bot

      Android users and apps have become a major part of payments and financial services, carrying an increased risk for web crime.

      It is estimated that there are 107.7 million Android Smartphone users in the U.S. who have downloaded more than 65 million apps from the Google App Store, and each one of them represents a smorgasbord of opportunity for hackers to steal user credentials and other information.

    • Red Hat: ‘use after free’ vulnerability found in Linux kernel’s DCCP protocol IPV6 implementation

      Red Hat Product Security has published details of an “important” security vulnerability in the Linux kernel. The IPv6 implementation of the DCCP protocol means that it is possible for a local, unprivileged user to alter kernel memory and escalate their privileges.

      Known as the “use-after-free” flaw, CVE-2017-6074 affects a number of Red Hat products including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Openshift Online v2. Mitigating factors include the requirement for a potential attacker to have access to a local account on a machine, and for IPV6 to be enabled, but it is still something that will be of concern to Linux users.

      Describing the vulnerability, Red Hat says: “This flaw allows an attacker with an account on the local system to potentially elevate privileges. This class of flaw is commonly referred to as UAF (Use After Free.) Flaws of this nature are generally exploited by exercising a code path that accesses memory via a pointer that no longer references an in use allocation due to an earlier free() operation. In this specific issue, the flaw exists in the DCCP networking code and can be reached by a malicious actor with sufficient access to initiate a DCCP network connection on any local interface. Successful exploitation may result in crashing of the host kernel, potential execution of code in the context of the host kernel or other escalation of privilege by modifying kernel memory structures.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Ecuador President blasts plans to kick out Wikileaks’ Julian Assange as BUTTERING UP USA

      The Australian hacker has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, London, for nearly five years in an attempt to avoid being deported to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, allegations he has denied.

      But the 45-year-old could find himself being booted out should the right-wing candidate Guillermo Lasso, 61, get elected in the country’s presidential election, when the second round of voting takes place on April 2.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Red, rural America acts on climate change – without calling it climate change [Ed: Oil giants spread their religion]

      President Donald Trump has the environmental community understandably concerned. He and members of his Cabinet have questioned the established science of climate change, and his choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has sued the EPA many times and regularly sided with the fossil fuel industry.

      Even if the Trump administration withdraws from all international climate negotiations and reduces the EPA to bare bones, the effects of climate change are happening and will continue to build.

      In response to real threats and public demand, cities across the United States and around the world are taking action to address climate change. We might think this is happening only in large, coastal cities that are threatened by sea-level rise or hurricanes, like Amsterdam or New York.

      Research shows, however, that even in the fly-over red states of the U.S. Great Plains, local leaders in small- to medium-size communities are already grappling with the issue. Although their actions are not always couched in terms of addressing climate change, their strategies can provide insights into how to make progress on climate policy under a Trump administration.

    • Police Begin Making More Arrests At DAPL Protest Camp

      Police in full riot gear began arresting Dakota Access pipeline opponents who remained in a protest camp in North Dakota on Thursday in defiance of orders to leave.

      Most protesters left peacefully Wednesday, when authorities closed the camp on Army Corps of Engineers land in advance of spring flooding, but some refused to go.

      Eighteen National Guardsmen and dozens of law officers entered the camp from two directions shortly before midday Thursday, along with several law enforcement and military vehicles. A helicopter and airplane flew overhead.

    • We Have to Keep Fighting: Water Protectors Vow Continued Resistance to #DAPL as Main Camp Is Evicted

      In North Dakota, the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline has been largely vacated after protesters were ordered to leave the camp on Wednesday. Police arrested around 10 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor had imposed a noon eviction deadline for the hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. Prayers ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. A couple dozen people remain at the camp. The ongoing encampments in North Dakota were the largest gathering of Native Americans in decades. At its peak, more than 10,000 people were at the resistance camp. Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River. We go to Standing Rock to speak with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and Linda Black Elk.

    • Standing Rock is burning in the snow and departing water protectors grieve DAPL progress

      Wednesday marked a last stand of sorts at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where about 200 to 300 “water protectors” have remained for months to protest completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which would transport 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states. The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered that the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation be closed at 2 p.m. local time on Wednesday, citing the potential for spring flooding.

      Like the Indian warrior in the iconic Old West image “The End of the Trail” (a late 1800s sculpture by South Dakota artist James Earle Fraser) who slumps over his horse’s back, weary after a long and difficult battle, those left at Standing Rock remained, prayed and burned the teepees that had housed so many over the past 10 months. They also burned wooden structures central to the camp’s function, so that government engineers could not touch what they made and found sacred. The smoke that rose to the heavens was symbolic, as were the prayers: This was a ceremony of leaving.

  • Finance
    • In Latest Twist To The Global Trade Deal Saga, EU Now Looking To Fill The Gap Left By US In Exiting TPP

      Remember the good old days, when trade deals were so boring nobody even cared they were happening? That started to change with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, (ACTA), where the copyright industries rather foolishly tried to slip in some proposals that would have had big impacts on the online world. As Techdirt reported at the time, that led to an unprecedented awareness of, and resistance to, ACTA that ultimately caused its defeat in the European Parliament.

      After that, things were never the same again in the world of trade deals, because digital activists were now on the lookout for the bad stuff hidden in the stultifyingly dull language. They soon found it in TPP, which people realized was basically “Son of ACTA,” but worse. Then came TAFTA/TTIP, which publicly dropped its ACTA-like elements in a desperate attempt to stave off criticisms and mass protests. That didn’t work, of course; TTIP soon ground to a halt, and remains in limbo. Even though TPP was eventually concluded after years of delays, it was derailed by the election of Donald Trump as US President, who promptly withdrew from the deal. But if you thought things had finally quieted down for a while — TISA too has dropped off the radar recently — think again.

    • How Much Does it Cost to Run a Full Bitcoin Node?

      Bitcoin nodes commonly use 200 gigabytes upload or more a month and download around 20 gigabytes per month.

    • Did You #DeleteUber? Your Account Lives On

      As social media erupted with outrage over a sexism scandal at the app-based ride service Uber over the weekend, consumers in Seattle and around the country vowed to “delete the app” in protest.

      But unless people followed that up with a tweet or Facebook post — or entirely deleted their account with the company — the message might not have been received.

      “A developer is not notified when an application is deleted,” said Morgan Reed, executive director of The App Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents more than 5,000 app and information-technology companies.

      “They may notice a decrease in information flowing from an app or reconnecting to their services,” he said. “All it knows is that your application is dormant.”

      That’s due to privacy concerns, and practical considerations that take into account multiple devices, new devices and user error, Reed said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Study reveals bot-on-bot editing wars raging on Wikipedia’s pages

      For many it is no more than the first port of call when a niggling question raises its head. Found on its pages are answers to mysteries from the fate of male anglerfish, the joys of dorodango, and the improbable death of Aeschylus.

      But beneath the surface of Wikipedia lies a murky world of enduring conflict. A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years.

      Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots”, that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks.

    • Hah, Hah, Hah…They Think Trump Is A Republican

      Trump, who has rarely held a position that he didn’t once hold the other side on, is a crony capitalist ME! ME! ME!-publican and/or a ME! ME! ME!-ocrat, depending on who’s listening and what his whim happens to be at a particular moment.

      Adorably, we’ve got a free-market think tank dude who seems a little confused about this.

    • Protecting Trump Tower cost New York $300,000 every day between November and January

      New York City spent $308,000 (£248,000) every day protecting Donald Trump’s Trump Tower residence between his election and his inauguration.

      Police commissioner James O’Neill said the city spent $24m (£19.3m) to provide security at the skyscraper over the three-month period, and he foresees spending up to $145,000 (£117,000) a day when only First Lady Melania Trump and her son Barron are in town as the 10-year-old attends school.

      “We are seeking full federal reimbursement for all costs incurred related to security for President Trump and his family at Trump Tower,” Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for mayor Bill de Blasio, said.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • NSA Deputy Director: Why I Spent the Last 40 Years In National Security [Ed: Time for NSA hagiography]

      In 1977 I was finishing my sophomore year of college, working two jobs to put myself through school, and thought, “There has to be a better way.” So I enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Signals Intelligence/Electronic Warfare Morse Intercept Operator, which didn’t tell me much but would let me earn money toward college through the GI Bill. My plan was to do my 3 years, get out, and finish college. That plan didn’t work out; I ended up staying in the Army almost eleven years and then transitioned to the National Security Agency as a civilian for 29 more, and am retiring this April after 40 years in the business. I did end up finishing my degree after hours, and went on to get a master’s degree, just not in the way I’d planned. What happened along the way was that I discovered the fulfillment that comes from serving the nation and its allies, working with some of the most amazing people on the planet, on the most challenging problems we face.

    • Social Media Are Driving Americans Insane

      If you pull out your phone to check Twitter while waiting for the light to change, or read e-mails while brushing your teeth, you might be what the American Psychological Association calls a “constant checker.” And chances are, it’s hurting your mental health.

    • How Will the REAL ID Act Impact You?

      There’s already plenty for travelers to consider when flying: strategies for packing light, tricks for dealing with long security lines and sanity savers when seated next to obnoxious passengers. The reality is you must take plenty of precautions for smooth, hassle-free travel, beyond picking the right seat or securing affordable plane tickets. And in case you haven’t heard (or noticed the signage at select U.S. airports), there’s a big new rule coming down the pike on Jan. 22, 2018, when the the REAL ID Act will be enforced and driver’s licenses in nine states will no longer be a valid form of identification at TSA checkpoints. If you live in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington, you’ll need to pack another accepted form of identification to travel domestically.

    • Threat via Whisper prompts FBI to show up: “holy f**k I’m… going to get raided”

      If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times: these so-called “anonymous” messaging apps simply aren’t anonymous. To put it another way, if you’re dumb enough to make violent threats on them, you’ll get caught.

      According to a newly released federal criminal complaint, Garrett Grimsley of Cary, North Carolina, allegedly used the Whisper app to make such remarks on February 19. Hours later, local police and the FBI arrived at his door to search his apartment.

    • That Health Tracker Could Cost You

      Using big data to improve health might seem like a great idea. The way private insurance works, though, it could end up making sick people — or even those perceived as likely to become sick — a lot poorer.

      Suppose a company offers you an insurance discount and a free FitBit if you agree to share your data and submit to a yearly physical. You’re assured that the data will be used only in aggregate, never tied back to specific identities.

      If that makes you feel safe, it shouldn’t. The way machine learning works, data can be used against individuals without being connected directly to names.

    • Wearing an activity tracker gives insurance companies the data they need to discriminate against people like you

      Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy “Mathbabe” O’Neil points out, the allegedly “anonymized’ data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn’t improving your health outcomes — it’s dividing the world into high-risk and low-risk people, so insurers can charge people more.

      That means that if your fitbit-a-like shows that left-handed vegetarians like you are at higher risk for expensive medical treatments, then people like you will end up paying higher premiums — and you’ll have helped make that possible.

    • Netherlands Looks To Join The Super-Snooper Club With New Mass Surveillance Law

      The mention of the safeguards of European law is significant. As we reported in December, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that general and indiscriminate data retention is illegal in the EU. Assuming the Dutch law is passed as expected, a legal challenge at the CJEU could follow, and would seem to stand a good chance of getting the law struck down in its present form.

    • [NSA (SIGNAL):] Cybersecurity Must Take Front and Center National Attention, Experts Say

      “It must be viewed more broadly and must be tackled from a national security perspective,” Adm. Rogers said during a morning West 2017 conference presentation Thursday with Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), former NATO commander and dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

    • NSA Head: Russian Interference in U.S. Election, ‘Hey, This Happened’ [Ed: NSA does not need evidence, it needs innuendo]

      The head of the National Security Agency reiterated that Russia engaged in cyber actions to influence the result of the U.S. presidential election and said the Moscow-directed interference is changing the way the NSA thinks about U.S. critical infrastructure.

    • German Regulators Urge Parents To Destroy WiFi Connected Doll Over Surveillance Fears

      For a while now, we’ve discussed how your children’s toys are quickly becoming the latest and greatest privacy threat courtesy of cryptic or half-cooked privacy policies and the treatment of device security as an afterthought; rather part and parcel now for the privacy dumpster fire that is the internet of not-so-smart things era. Numerous privacy groups have complained that smart Barbies and other toys not only now hoover up and monetize childrens’ prattle, but leave the door open to the devices’ being used nefariously by third parties.

      The problems culminated in a lawsuit last December here in the States against Genesis Toys, maker of “smart” toys like the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que Intelligent Robot. The lawsuit accuses the company of violating COPPA (the Childrens’ Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998) by failing to adequately inform parents that their kids’ conversations and personal data collected by the toys are being shipped off to servers and third-party companies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Amos Yee allegedly in solitary confinement in the USA for insulting Muslims in jail[Ed: Mentally tortures a teenage asylum seeker (not a crime) for insulting Islam; torture and Sharia law imposed in immigration purposes detention facilities?]

      According to a Facebook post which has since been deleted, teen blogger Amos Yee is currently in solitary confinement for criticising Muslims and Islam during their Muslim Studies in jail; and that he is feeling terrible about it.

      [...]

      “He attended a Muslim Studies class, in order to “disagree”. There was a “Muslim pastor” from outside (not a prisoner) and about 18 Muslim prisoners in attendance. Amos called Allah a “sky wizard”. He said that if the religion is 5,000 years old then it’s “complete fucking garbage”. (He said “fuck” a lot). He said that the Quran has passages instructing the devout to kill non-Muslims; the pastor handed him the Quran and challenged him to show such passages, and when Amos said “Ok, I will”, the pastor took the Quran back.

    • The Responsibility to Leak, and Leaking Responsibly

      I know you’re out there, and this is for you. What you’re weighing, it’s not as easy as you think. But it can matter more than anything else you do with your professional life.

      Washington is awash with leaks; if they were real water we’d all drown. The American people feel they are seeing the inner most workings of government, and it is not pretty. Powerful people are falling. Our democracy may be at risk. President Trump and his team have no intention of watching from the sidelines. There is a struggle going on, and people are taking sides.

    • This Keralite ‘Rape Jihadi’ who spoiled over 30 Hindu girls thinks it’s sin to molest Muslim women.

      Devout Quran follower Muhammad Shafi from Kerala posed as Hindu NRI doctor raped over 30 Hindu women under Love Jihad and job placement racket, but never molested a Muslim woman even.

    • Manipur’s Muslim woman jumps into fray despite ‘fatwa’

      Despite a fatwa being issued against her for contesting election, Manipur’s first Muslim woman candidate Najima Bibi said she wants to continue her fight against domestic violence and work for uplift of Muslim women.

      “I am not bothered about my life, but as long as I live I will continue my fight against domestic violence and in favour of social uplift of the Muslim women in the society. My life has been a struggle since childhood, I am not afraid of any threats,” Najima Bibi told PTI.

    • They won’t admit it in Stockholm, but Donald Trump is right about immigration in Sweden

      I was in Stockholm last Friday, an eyewitness on the great night that nothing happened. Donald Trump gave a speech in Florida the next day, asking his audience to look at what had occurred “last night in Sweden”. Something appalling, apparently, involving asylum seekers. The Swedes “took in large numbers,” he said. And now “they’re having problems like they never thought possible”. But he was wrong: nothing of note had happened that night. His mistake was used by much of the Swedish media (and politicians) to slate him, as if he concocted the whole idea of an immigration problem.

    • Divided federal appeals court rules you have the right to film the police

      A divided federal appeals court is ruling for the First Amendment, saying the public has a right to film the police. But the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding the bulk of a lower court’s decision against an activist who was conducting what he called a “First Amendment audit” outside a Texas police station, noted that this right is not absolute and is not applicable everywhere.

      The facts of the dispute are simple. Phillip Turner was 25 in September 2015 when he decided to go outside the Fort Worth police department to test officers’ knowledge of the right to film the police. While filming, he was arrested for failing to identify himself to the police. Officers handcuffed and briefly held Turner before releasing him without charges. Turner sued, alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unlawful arrest and detention and his First Amendment right of speech.

      The 2-1 decision Thursday by Judge Jacques Wiener is among a slew of rulings on the topic, and it provides fresh legal backing for the so-called YouTube society where people are constantly using their mobile phones to film themselves and the police. The American Civil Liberties Union says, “there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.”

    • White House Promises ‘Greater Enforcement’ of Federal Marijuana Laws

      The Trump Administration will step up enforcement of federal laws barring recreational marijuana in states where its use is legalized, the White House said Thursday.

      Asked about the conflict between federal laws barring recreational marijuana and the handful of states that allow it, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Administration would change direction from the more permissive approach under President Obama.

      “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer told reporters Thursday during the White House briefing.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC votes to lift net neutrality transparency rules for smaller internet providers

      The newly Republican-controlled FCC took its first steps to scale back net neutrality today by voting to lift transparency requirements from smaller internet providers.

      Internet providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers will not be required to disclose information on network performance, fees, and data caps, thanks to this rule change. The commission had initially exempted internet providers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers with the intention of revisiting the issue later to determine whether a higher or lower figure was appropriate.

    • Comcast’s Decision To Charge Roku Users A Bogus Fee Highlights Its Uncanny Ability To Shoot Innovation In The Foot

      So when we last checked in with Comcast, the company was whining about a now deceased FCC plan to bring some much-needed openness and competition to your dusty old cable box. The FCC had proposed requiring that cable providers let users pick the cable box of their choice, later modifying the plan (after endless industry pearl-clutching) to simply requiring that cable providers bring their existing content in app form to existing streaming boxes. Granted, Comcast was at the heart of a massive, bizarre disinformation effort claiming the plan would end civilization as we know it.

      Of course, what it would have ended was not only $21 billion in cable box monopoly rental fees, but a cornerstone of the closed, locked down walled garden that helps prop up the cable industry’s gatekeeper power. Comcast, for what it’s worth, claimed that bringing its content to third-party devices would harm copyright, increase piracy, hinder cable industry “innovation,” and was technically impossible anyway. Regardless, the FCC’s plan is dead, and it’s not coming back any time soon.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Lindsay Lohan Won’t Put Her GTA5 Lawsuit Out Of Its Misery

      Here is something you, the dear Techdirt reader, may not have known about me: I had always thought that there was only one proper spelling for the name “Lindsey.” I’m not sure why I thought that, but I was certain that name was only spelled with an “e” before the “y.” But, it turns out, spelling it as “Lindsay” is a perfectly common and accepted alternate spelling for the name. And the only reason that I now know that is because Linsday, with an “a,” Lohan will not let her lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive — for appropriating her likeness for several characters, which didn’t actually happen — die its final death.

      First, a refresher. Lohan decided that a side quest character in Grand Theft Auto 5, which was actually an amalgam of several Hollywood starlet tropes, violated her publicity rights. She also claimed that an entirely different character that was used on some of the game’s marketing and packaging was also her and also violated her publicity rights. The case wove its way through the past half-decade, largely with the court and Take-Two casting narrow eyes at the mountains of paperwork Lohan’s legal team was able to produce while somehow maintaining an inability to come up with claims that were in any way credible, before the court finally tossed the lawsuit entirely. The court at the time made it clear that Take-Two’s characters weren’t direct appropriations of Lohan’s likeness and that the parody amalgam starlet it had created was clearly protected by the First Amendment.

    • WIPO Committee On Protection Of Folklore: Shall We Dance? [Ed: When people of one nation 'copy' (inspiration) a dance of another it isn't theft but sharing. Who 'owns' folklore? Maximalists help rich privateers.]

      The United States tabled a document for discussion next week, listing a number of what they consider examples of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). The European Union proposed a study on the protection of TCEs in WIPO members, and if and how TCEs benefit from intellectual property protection in those countries. The United States and the European Union countries are generally opposed to a binding instrument to protect TCEs.

      [...]

      According to WIPO, TCEs may include music, dance, art, designs, names, signs and symbols, performances, ceremonies, architectural forms, handicraft and narratives.

      Next week is the first meeting on TCEs of the biennium. The last formal meeting on TCEs dates back to April 2014, due to a one-year hiatus in the work of the committee and the order in which the topics of the IGC have been addressed in this biennium.

    • Copyrights
      • Google: With No Fair Use, It’s More Difficult to Innovate

        Unlike the United States where ‘fair use’ exemptions are entrenched in law, Australia has only a limited “fair dealing” arrangement. As a result, Google’s head of copyright William Patry says that Australia wouldn’t be a safe place for his company to store certain data, a clear hindrance to innovation and productivity.

IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of ‘News’

Friday 24th of February 2017 11:22:56 AM

Nelson Wild

Summary: The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn

“There are 650 MPs,” IAM’s official account wrote. “The one signature in support is Douglas Carswell’s. He tabled the motion

Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

Friday 24th of February 2017 10:50:47 AM

Patenting life, too

Summary: In its misguided race to raise so-called ‘production’, the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature

OUR original criticism of the EPO was limited to unrestrained expansion of patent scope, or patent maximalism which we first noticed about a decade ago. The Office was expanding the scope of patents to software in clear defiance of orders from European authorities (not to mention public will). This attracted protests not just from software professionals but later, in the context of patents on life, also from farmers. There are some famous protests with inflatable pigs that we covered here nearly a decade ago (dozens of photos in this site).

“EPs (European patents) are becoming anything but a valuable ‘asset’ and growingly the subject of public disdain in the countryside, not to mention the subject of ridicule in the press (like these ridiculous Apple patents which are found invalid).”The European Council, according to this new report, is at it again, criticising the EPO not for the social climate (to put it politely) but for patent scope. The latter parts of the article make it clear that this is about the EPO granting broccoli/tomatoes monopolies. To quote:

The notice discussed in the meeting came in response to EPO decisions on the patentability of plant material obtained through conventional breeding methods.

The EPO’s decisions, in March 2015 on the Broccoli/Tomatoes II cases (G2/13; G2/12), said that products derived from an essentially biological process might be patentable, even if the process used to obtain the product is essentially biological and thus not patentable.

With 0% approval rating not only from staff but also from stakeholders, it has become rather clear that change is imperative. It’s never too late! EPs (European patents) are becoming anything but a valuable ‘asset’ and growingly the subject of public disdain in the countryside, not to mention the subject of ridicule in the press (like these ridiculous Apple patents which were found invalid).

Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

Friday 24th of February 2017 10:28:04 AM

SUEPO is vindicated, again

Summary: The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts

THE stories we have published about the EPO are approaching 2,000 in number and we spent thousands of hours on these. One reader told us the other day that these stories are having an impact. To quote:

Knowing that the management reads your blog, I suggest to disseminate some information that may accelerate the deliverance process. For instance, this information: I have recently observed in the Isar headquarters of the epo in Munich a remarkable change in the atmosphere, a kind of feeling you may have when the war is nearly at end, or at the end of a reign. The minions are preparing the departure of Sun king Bat (sounds pretty north-Korean!). Of course they are younger than the capo and may want to stay after his departure to further milk the cow. All they need is a “Persilschein” – denazification certificate- to show that they were on the proper side in spite of the situation. In our digital era this is no longer a problem: all “classified” /compromising documents circulating in the office (and there are many!!!!) are instantly photographed and sent to the “cloud”. Thank you google for your google disk and thank you to all companies producing these amazing smart-phones. I guess that after the departure of the capo, the rain coming from the cloud is likely to be a storm of …. Sun King Bat will then appreciate the difference between immunity and impunity.

Can anyone relate to the above? Either way, yes, we do have a lot of documents coming. They’re in the pipeline, just waiting for the right timing (and relevance) to come out. This assures accountability, even if belated accountability.

The other day we found ourselves criticised in an anonymous comment at IP Kat. Someone claimed that no brain drain was going on, refuting what many insiders have said anonymously (in public) and told us directly. Brain drain is not just about retirements but about many early retirements, not counting a lot of unjust dismissals of veteran (experienced and valuable) staff. Here is what the comment said:

@Rasputini @Techrights
I see my comment has attracted the attention of Dr Roy from Techrights.
The hundred examiners leaving is not a sign of brain drain nor has it anything to do with the current management.
It is simply a result of an aging population and the recruitment policies 30 years ago.
I’ll try to explain so that even Dr Roy can follow, should he have a mind willing to understand:
1) we have about 4200 examiners
2) examiners start on average when they are about 30 years old at the EPO
3) the average (pre-) retirement age is currently about 60 years old
4) on average examiners therefore work during 30 years at the EPO
5) on average, 4200/30=140 examiners will therefore retire per year
The 100 current retirements is lower than average since 30 years ago we recruited less. The number will even drop a bit in the next 5 years, then rise up to 200-250.
No magic, no brain drain, no terror management driving people away. Just demography.
And with 200-250 yearly retirements in the near future, no risk of overcapacity at all, quite the contrary I’m afraid.

It didn’t take long for people to refute the above, for example with the following comment:

30 years ago, the EPO had less than 2000 employees, some of them having been there since the time of the IIB. Normally 1 out of 30 or 40 would reach the retirement age which sums up to a natural turnover lower than 67 per year, all staff included. The actual number of staff leaving is more than twice this number. Statistically speaking, a brain drain at the EPO cannot be denied.

Dismantling an argument that suggested we were wrong about brain drain, “anxious attorney” wrote:

Moreover the EPO started with accepting only new examiners from national offices. So elder people. A few years after the start of the EPO also patent attorneys up to 40 years old could apply for a job at the EPO. Many of them older people. More years later also relatively young people finishing their studies at a university could apply. However preferred were people with some years of technical or research experience, so also older ones. Anonymus (1)here above made a very rough calculation, missing a lot of important factors. Anonymes(2) made a better analyses.

Denying that there is EPO brain drain seems rather strange to us as it is so obvious for insiders to see. It has gone on for more than a year and internal numbers (which were privately shared with us) confirm it as an undeniable fact. We did not publish names of people, mostly for privacy reasons (they’re not high-profile public figures).

The problem is now further exacerbated as Battistelli’s management receives a 0% approval rating not only from staff but also from stakeholders. The following comment is a remark about what it means for “national offices” (NPOs) and what this may, in turn, mean for EPO pensions:

A happy almost ex-examiner-to-be:
After much trouble and pain actually trying to do my work, I’ve at last seen the light. I am now able to see the convincing arguments of the applicant. All of them. Thank you Mr french. I can work 4 times faster now and everyone is happy. My cupboards are almost empty but I can start dealing with patents from other technical areas. “Flexibility is much appreciated”, I was told. They are right: I go even faster now that I search & examine medicaments, locks, reactors, filters, telephones, glassware, cosmetics, oled tv. I am such an expert in all these fields: I immediately spot the convincing arguments. I was given last week a larger container for my stamp ink. What I have problem to understand is why they keep asking for patents from us. Oops. They stopped? They now apply directly to national offices? Who could have guessed? What I am going to do now? Who is going to pay my pension? What pension? What EPO? Thank you Mr french. Thank you.

What happens at the EPO, due to the above “Mr french” (Battistelli), can only be described as a disaster, although that word might be an understatement. Board 28 already called it a "crisis" one year ago and has since then done absolutely nothing to correct it. It is therefore, in a sense, complicit. As one person put it yesterday in Twitter, “The complicity is of all member states who see, know and don’t act.”

“No interest by media in other nations,” the person wrote in relation to EU IPO too, “what a shame.” In our view, large media organisations too have been somewhat complicit, even if by intentional inaction (turning a blind eye).

More in Tux Machines

Security News

  • Windows 10 least secure of Windows versions: study
    Windows 10 was the least secure of of current Windows versions in 2016, with 46% more vulnerabilities than either Windows 8 or 8.1, according to an analysis of Microsoft's own security bulletins in 2016. Security firm Avecto said its research, titled "2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating risk by removing user privileges", had also found that a vast majority of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products could be mitigated by removing admin rights. The research found that, despite its claims to being the "most secure" of Microsoft's operating systems, Windows 10 had 395 vulnerabilities in 2016, while Windows 8 and 8.1 each had 265. The research also found that while 530 Microsoft vulnerabilities were reported — marginally up from the 524 reported in 2015 — and 189 given a critical rating, 94% could be mitigated by removing admin rights. This was up from 85% in 2015.
  • Windows 10 Creators Update can block Win32 apps if they’re not from the Store [Ed: By Microsoft Peter. People who put Vista 10 on a PC totally lose control of that PC; remember, the OS itself is malware, as per textbook definitions. With DRM and other antifeatures expect copyright enforcement on the desktop soon.]
    The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build doesn't add much in the way of features—it's mostly just bug fixes—but one small new feature has been spotted, and it could be contentious. Vitor Mikaelson noticed that the latest build lets you restrict the installation of applications built using the Win32 API.
  • Router assimilated into the Borg, sends 3TB in 24 hours
    "Well, f**k." Harsh language was appropriate under the circumstances. My router had just been hacked. Setting up a reliable home network has always been a challenge for me. I live in a cramped three-story house, and I don't like running cables. So my router's position is determined by the fiber modem in a corner on the bottom floor. Not long after we moved in, I realized that our old Airport Extreme was not delivering much signal to the attic, where two game-obsessed occupants fought for bandwidth. I tried all sorts of things. I extended the network. I used Ethernet-over-powerline connectors to deliver network access. I made a mystic circle and danced naked under the full moon. We lost neighbors, but we didn't gain a signal.
  • Purism's Librem 13 Coreboot Port Now "100%" Complete
    According to Purism's Youness Alaoui, their Coreboot port to the Librem 13 v1 laptop is now considered complete. The Librem 13 was long talked about having Coreboot over a proprietary BIOS while the initial models still had shipped with the conventional BIOS. Finally in 2017, they have now Coreboot at what they consider to be 100% complete for this Linux-friendly laptop.
  • The Librem 13 v1 coreboot port is now complete
    Here are the news you’ve been waiting for: the coreboot port for the Librem 13 v1 is 100% done! I fixed all of the remaining issues, it is now fully working and is stable, ready for others to enjoy. I fixed the instability problem with the M.2 SATA port, finished running all the tests to ensure coreboot is working correctly, fixed the headphone jack that was not working, made the boot prettier, and started investigating the Intel Management Engine issue.
  • Linux Update Fixes 11-Year-Old Flaw
    Andrey Konovalov, a security researcher at Google, found a use-after-free hole within Linux, CSO Online reported. This particular flaw is of interest because it appears to be situational. It only showed up in kernels built with a certain configuration option — CONFIG_IP_DCCP — enabled.

Kerala saves Rs 300 cr as schools switch to open software

The Kerala government has made a saving of Rs 300 crore through introduction and adoption of Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) in the school education sector, said a state government official on Sunday. IT became a compulsory subject in Kerala schools from 2003, but it was in 2005 only that FOSS was introduced in a phased manner and started to replace proprietary software. The decision made by the curriculum committee to implement it in the higher secondary sector has also been completed now. Read more

Tired of Windows and MAC computer systems? Linux may now be ready for prime time

Are you a bit tired of the same old options of salt and pepper, meaning having to choose only between the venerable Windows and MAC computer operating systems? Looking to branch out a bit, maybe take a walk on the wild side, learn some new things and save money? If so, the Linux operating system, which has been around for a long time and is used and loved by many hard-core techies and developers, may now be ready for prime time with the masses. Read more

Braswell based Pico-ITX SBC offers multiple expansion options

Axiomtek’s PICO300 is a Pico-ITX SBC with Intel Braswell, SATA-600, extended temperature support, and both a mini-PCIe and homegrown expansion connector. Axiomtek has launched a variation on its recently announced Intel Apollo Lake based PICO312 SBC that switches to the older Intel Braswell generation and offers a slightly reduced feature set. The board layout has also changed somewhat, with LVDS, SATA, and USB ports all changing location. Read more