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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 17 min 51 sec ago

Harm Still Caused by Granted Software Patents

3 hours 23 min ago

Software patents remain a troll’s weapon of choice

Summary: A roundup of recent (past week’s) announcements, including legal actions, contingent upon software patents in an age when software patents bear no real legitimacy

SOFTWARE patents are bunk, but if you throw 26 of them at a rival (in six lawsuits which have software patents in the mix) you hope a settlement will be cheaper than justice. This is exactly what happened some days ago [1, 2, 3] and the aggressor said in its press release:

Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALGN) today announced that it has filed six patent infringement lawsuits asserting 26 patents against 3Shape A/S, a Danish corporation, and a related U.S. corporate entity, asserting that 3Shape’s Trios intraoral scanning system and Dental System software infringe Align patents.

The accused has responded in this press release:

We have today read the news of Align Technology’s lawsuits against 3Shape in the USA. The said lawsuit and infringement claims are completely unfounded and without merit. 3Shape will vigorously defend itself against such claims.

How many of these are software patents we don’t know for sure because we didn’t look at 26 pertinent patents. But what’s at stake here is definitely software. Unfortunately, the USPTO built a large pile (or pool) of software patents for a number of decades and even though Alice renders these obsolete they can still be used, especially in bulk, to force settlement (under threat of heavy legal fees/defense costs).

The USPTO ought to do something about it. The writings are on the wall, but the USPTO lacks the incentive to reduce litigation. In fact, it seems to have just erroneously (again) granted software patents that are invalid under Alice, based on this press release of Foxwordy.

“The USPTO ought to do something about it. The writings are on the wall, but the USPTO lacks the incentive to reduce litigation.”As we said as far back as a decade ago, we are not against patents. We are all for patent justice, but when patents are granted which are out of scope and then used en masse to extract ‘protection’ money (Microsoft does that a lot), then it’s mob justice, not real justice. It’s 2017 and companies still brag about software patents, perhaps pretending not to know about Alice. GE’s promotion of software patents notwithstanding (we covered that many years ago), here it is making deals and boasting about patents in connection to “GE’s software platform for the industrial internet, to monitor the printing process and also the health of the machine.”

We have seen many of these sorts of patents (oftentimes software patents) connected to “machines” or “cars” or “planes” or whatever. Here is a new report which speaks about “an enormous spike in the number of patents filed by major carmakers for autonomous technology since 2007.”

“We have seen many of these sorts of patents (oftentimes software patents) connected to “machines” or “cars” or “planes” or whatever.”These are, in essence, software patents where there’s plenty of prior art. The patent ‘industry’ exploits this latest hype to pursue software patents and tax everything inside the car. Here is another new article (“Re-regulating the car industry now it is all about software”) which says: “The parts-makers are capturing more and more of the value because their patents give them monopolies over critical components. Their shares have doubled in value relative to the carmakers over the past five years.”

Why are patents like these allowed in the first place? We were reminded of FatPipe [1, 2] a few days ago when a press release said that “BCM One, a leading technology solutions provider, announced today a partnership with FatPipe Networks, the inventor and holder of multiple patents of software-defined networks…”

“Each week we look at the news we identify new ways to pass off or characterise software as something which merits patents.”These are, again, software patents. How about this other new press release [1, 2, 3] that says “PSS 3.2 has specific software controls for high-speed 3D printing with EnvisionTEC’s patented Continuous Digital Light Manufacturing (cDLM) technology.”

Each week we look at the news we identify new ways to pass off or characterise software as something which merits patents. The tactics vary over time and we’ll cover them separately later today — in an article dedicated to Alice.

Links 18/11/2017: Raspberry Digital Signage 10, New Nano

Sunday 19th of November 2017 12:38:03 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The Future of Marketing Technology Is Headed for an Open-Source Revolution
  • Events
    • Edging Closer – ODS Sydney

      Despite the fact that OpenStack’s mission statement has not fundamentally changed since the inception of the project in 2010, we have found many different interpretations of the technology through the years. One of them was that OpenStack would be an all-inclusive anything-as-a-service, in a striking parallel to the many different definitions the “cloud” assumed at the time. At the OpenStack Developer Summit in Sydney, we found a project that is returning to its roots: scalable Infrastructure-as-a-Service. It turns out, that resonates well with its user base.

  • Web Browsers
  • CMS
    • Short Delay with WordPress 4.9

      You may have heard WordPress 4.9 is out. While this seems a good improvement over 4.8, it has a new editor that uses codemirror. So what’s the problem? Well, inside codemirror is jshint and this has that idiotic no evil license. I think this was added in by WordPress, not codemirror itself.

      So basically WordPress 4.9 has a file, or actually a tiny part of a file that is non-free. I’ll now have to delay the update of WordPress to hack that piece out, which probably means removing the javascript linter. Not ideal but that’s the way things go.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • 5 DevOps leadership priorities in 2018

      This week, DevOps professionals gathered in San Francisco to talk about the state of DevOps in the enterprise. At 1,400 attendees, the sold-out DevOps Enterprise Summit has doubled in size since 2014 – a testament to the growth of the DevOps movement itself.

      With an ear to this event and an eye on the explosion of tweets coming out of it, here are five key priorities we think IT leaders should be aware of as they take their DevOps efforts into the new year.

    • NumPy Plan for dropping Python 2.7 support

      The Python core team plans to stop supporting Python 2 in 2020. The NumPy project has supported both Python 2 and Python 3 in parallel since 2010, and has found that supporting Python 2 is an increasing burden on our limited resources; thus, we plan to eventually drop Python 2 support as well. Now that we’re entering the final years of community-supported Python 2, the NumPy project wants to clarify our plans, with the goal of to helping our downstream ecosystem make plans and accomplish the transition with as little disruption as possible.

    • Google SLING: An Open Source Natural Language Parser

      Google Research has just released an open source project that might be of interest if you are into natural language processing. SLING is a combination of recurrent neural networks and frame based parsing.

      Natural language parsing is an important topic. You can get meaning from structure and parsing is how you get structure. It is important in processing both text and voice. If you have any hope that Siri, Cortana or Alexa are going to get any better then you need to have better natural language understanding – not just the slot and filler systems currently in use.

    • GNU Nano Latest Version 2.9.0

      GNU nano 2.9.0 “Eta” introduces the ability to record and
      replay keystrokes (M-: to start and stop recording, M-;
      to play the macro back), makes ^Q and ^S do something
      useful by default (^Q starts a backward search, and ^S
      saves the current file), changes ^W to start always a
      forward search, shows the number of open buffers (when
      more than one) in the title bar, no longer asks to press
      Enter when there are errors in an rc file, retires the
      options ‘–quiet’ and ‘set quiet’ and ‘set backwards’,
      makes indenting and unindenting undoable, will look in
      $XDG_CONFIG_HOME for a nanorc file and in $XDG_DATA_HOME
      for the history files, adds a history stack for executed
      commands (^R^X), does not overwrite the position-history
      file of another nano, and fixes a score of tiny bugs.

    • GNU Nano Text Editor Can Now Record & Replay Keystrokes

      GNU Nano 2.9 is now available as the latest feature release of this popular CLI text editor and it’s bringing several new capabilities.

      First up, GNU Nano 2.9 has the ability to record and replay keystrokes within the text editor. M-: is used to start/stop the keystroke recording session while M-; is used to playback the macro / recorded keystrokes.

    • 2018′s Software Engineering Talent Shortage— It’s quality, not just quantity

      The software engineering shortage is not a lack of individuals calling themselves “engineers”, the shortage is one of quality — a lack of well-studied, experienced engineers with a formal and deep understanding of software engineering.

    • HHVM 3.23

      HHVM 3.23 is released! This release contains new features, bug fixes, performance improvements, and supporting work for future improvements. Packages have been published in the usual places, however we have rotated the GPG key used to sign packages; see the installation instructions for more information.

    • Facebook Releases HHVM 3.23 With OpenSSL 1.1 Support, Experimental Bytecode Emitter

      HHVM 3.23 has been released as their high performance virtual machine for powering their Hack programming language and current PHP support.

      As mentioned back in September though, Facebook will stop focusing on PHP 7 compatibility in favor of driving their own Hack programming language forward. It’s after their next release, HHVM 3.24, in early 2018 they will stop their commitment to supporting PHP5 features and at the same time not focus on PHP7 support. Due to the advancements made by upstream PHP on improving their performance, etc, Facebook is diverting their attention to instead just bolstering Hack and thus overtime the PHP support within HHVM will degrade.

Leftovers
  • Conspiracy Theory

    Conspiracy or not, the infrastructure for electronic experimentation is rapidly evaporating. Brick and mortar parts suppliers are scarce, and finding parts for existing devices is often frustrating.

  • A Great Use For Artificial Intelligence: Scamming Scammers By Wasting Their Time

    When you send emails to Re:Scam, it not only ties up the scammers in fruitless conversations, it also helps to train the underlying AI system. The service doesn’t require any sign-up — you just forward the phishing email to me@rescam.org — and there’s no charge. Re:Scam comes from Netsafe, a well-established non-profit online safety organization based in New Zealand, which is supported by government bodies there. It’s a nice idea, and it would be interesting to see it applied in other situations. That way we could enjoy the benefits of AI for a while, before it decides to kill us all.

  • Science
    • To think critically, you have to be both analytical and motivated

      In a world where accusations of “fake news” are thrown around essentially at random, critical thinking would seem to be a must. But this is also a world where the Moon landings are viewed as a conspiracy and people voice serious doubts about the Earth’s roundness. Critical thinking appears to be in short supply at a time we desperately need it.

      One of the proposed solutions to this issue is to incorporate more critical thinking into our education system. But critical thinking is more than just a skill set; you have to recognize when to apply it, do so effectively, and then know how to respond to the results. Understanding what makes a person effective at analyzing fake news and conspiracy theories has to take all of this into account. A small step toward that understanding comes from a recently released paper, which looks at how analytical thinking and motivated skepticism interact to make someone an effective critical thinker.

    • Tax bill that passed the House would cripple training of scientists

      Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed its version of a tax bill that would drop corporate tax rates and alter various deductions. While most of the arguments about the bill have focused on which tax brackets will end up paying more, an entire class of individuals appears to have been specifically targeted with a measure that could raise their tax liability by 300 percent or more: graduate student researchers. If maintained, the changes could be crippling for research in the US.

  • Hardware
  • Health/Nutrition
    • First-ever marijuana overdose death? Let’s review what “potential link” means

      The US Drug Enforcement Administration plainly reports that no death from an overdose of marijuana has ever been reported—a tidbit often repeated by cannabis enthusiasts when discussing the potential harms of the popular drug. But this week, many news outlets coughed up headlines saying that the famous fact had gone up in smoke.

      Those media reports dubbed the death of an 11-month-old Colorado boy as the first marijuana overdose death ever reported. They based that startling stat on a case report published in the August edition of Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine.

      But that’s not what the case report said—at all. And the doctors behind the report (who likely spent the week with their palms on their faces) are trying to set the record straight.

    • What’s worse? Doctors who believe homeopathy or just use it for placebo effect

      It’s hard to predict which would be more disconcerting: finding out that your doctor believes in notions that defy basic science—like, the pseudoscientific doctrine of homeopathy—or that they’ll prescribe you something they know doesn’t work in hopes you’ll be tricked into believing you’re better—achieving nothing more than a placebo effect.

      It might be a toss-up of which is worse. And if you get a homeopathic prescription in Switzerland, it’s also a toss-up of which kind of doctor you’re dealing with.

    • Feds indict AlphaBay’s alleged PR man

      A 24-year-old man from Illinois has been accused by federal prosecutors of being the spokesman for AlphaBay, the now-defunct online drug marketplace.

      On Wednesday, Ronald L. Wheeler III of Streamwood, Illinois, was charged in federal court in Atlanta with “conspiracy to commit access device fraud,” according to the Associated Press.

  • Security
    • Open Source Threat Modeling

      Application threat modeling is a structured approach to identifying ways that an adversary might try to attack an application and then designing mitigations to prevent, detect or reduce the impact of those attacks. The description of an application’s threat model is identified as one of the criteria for the Linux CII Best Practises Silver badge.

    • Oracle rushes out 5 patches for huge vulnerabilities in PeopleSoft app server

      Oracle issued a set of urgent security fixes on Tuesday that repair vulnerabilities revealed today by researchers from the managed security provider ERPScan at the DeepSec security conference in Vienna, Austria. The five vulnerabilities include one dubbed “JoltandBleed” by the researchers because of its similarity to the HeartBleed vulnerability discovered in OpenSSL in 2014. JoltandBleed is a serious vulnerability that could expose entire business applications running on PeopleSoft platforms accessible from the public Internet.

      The products affected include Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, Human Capital Management, Financial Management, and Supply Chain Management, as well as any other product using the Tuxedo 2 application server. According to recent research by ERPScan, more than 1,000 enterprises have their PeopleSoft systems exposed to the Internet, including a number of universities that use PeopleSoft Campus Solutions to manage student data.

    • Man gets threats—not bug bounty—after finding DJI customer data in public view

      DJI, the Chinese company that manufactures the popular Phantom brand of consumer quadcopter drones, was informed in September that developers had left the private keys for both the “wildcard” certificate for all the company’s Web domains and the keys to cloud storage accounts on Amazon Web Services exposed publicly in code posted to GitHub. Using the data, researcher Kevin Finisterre was able to access flight log data and images uploaded by DJI customers, including photos of government IDs, drivers licenses, and passports. Some of the data included flight logs from accounts associated with government and military domains.

    • New Study Finds Poorly Secured Smart Toys Lets Attackers Listen In On Your Kids

      We’ve long noted how the painful lack of security and privacy standards in the internet of (broken) things is also very well-represented in the world of connected toys. Like IOT vendors, toymakers were so eager to make money, they left even basic privacy and security standards stranded in the rear view mirror as they rush to connect everything to the internet. As a result, we’ve seen repeated instances where your kids’ conversations and interests are being hoovered up without consent, with the data frequently left unencrypted and openly accessible in the cloud.

      With Luddites everywhere failing to realize that modern Barbie needs a better firewall, this is increasingly becoming a bigger problem. The latest case in point: new research by Which? and the German consumer group Stiftung Warentest found yet more flaws in Bluetooth and wifi-enabled toys that allow a total stranger to listen in on or chat up your toddler:

    • How to fix a program without the source code? Patch the binary directly
    • Senator urges ad blocking by feds as possible remedy to malvertising scourge

      A US Senator trying to eradicate the Internet scourge known as malvertising is proposing that all federal agencies block ads delivered to worker computers unless advertisers can ensure their networks are free of content that contains malicious code.

      In a letter sent today, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden asked White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce to begin discussions with advertising industry officials to ensure ads displayed on websites can’t be used to infect US government computers. If, after 180 days, Joyce isn’t “completely confident” the industry has curbed the problem, Wyden asked that Joyce direct the US Department of Homeland Security to issue a directive “requiring federal agencies to block the delivery to employees’ computers of all Internet ads containing executable code.”

      “Malware is increasingly delivered through code embedded in seemingly innocuous advertisements online,” Wyden wrote. “Individuals do not even need to click on ads to get infected: this malicious software, including ransomware, is delivered without any interaction by the user.”

    • Weekend code warriors prepare to clash in Codewarz

      If you didn’t have any weekend plans yet—or maybe even if you did—and you’re interested in scratching your programming itch, there’s something to add to your calendar. Codewarz, a programming competition that presents participants with 24 coding challenges, is running its first live event starting at 1pm Eastern on November 18 and ending at 9pm on November 20.

      This is not a hacking competition—it’s strictly coding. Participants can use their language of choice as long as it’s one of the 15 supported by the event: the various flavors of C, Python, Node.js, Scala, PHP, Go, Ruby, and even BASH. (Sorry, no one has asked them to support ADA or Eiffel yet.) There’s no compiling required, either. Each submitted solution is run in an interpreted sandbox on a Linux machine for evaluation and scoring. And the challenges run the gamut from beginner (things like text parsing, math and basic networking) to advanced (more advanced parsing and math, hashing, cryptography, and forensics challenges).

    • Amazon Key flaw makes entering your home undetected a possibility
    • ​Google Home and Amazon Echo hit by big bad Bluetooth flaws
    • Amazon security camera could be remotely disabled by rogue couriers

      However, researchers from Rhino Security Labs found attacking the camera’s Wi-Fi with a distributed denial of service attack, which sends thousands of information requests to the device, allowed them to freeze the camera. It would then continue to show the last frame broadcast, rather than going offline or alerting the user it had stopped working.

    • Pentagon contractor leaves social media spy archive wide open on Amazon

      A Pentagon contractor left a vast archive of social-media posts on a publicly accessible Amazon account in what appears to be a military-sponsored intelligence-gathering operation that targeted people in the US and other parts of the world.

      The three cloud-based storage buckets contained at least 1.8 billion scraped online posts spanning eight years, researchers from security firm UpGuard’s Cyber Risk Team said in a blog post published Friday. The cache included many posts that appeared to be benign, and in many cases those involved from people in the US, a finding that raises privacy and civil-liberties questions. Facebook was one of the sites that originally hosted the scraped content. Other venues included soccer discussion groups and video game forums. Topics in the scraped content were extremely wide ranging and included Arabic language posts mocking ISIS and Pashto language comments made on the official Facebook page of Pakistani politician Imran Khan.

    • Pirated Microsoft Software Enabled NSA Hack says Kaspersky

      Earlier reports accused Kaspersky’s antivirus software which was running on the NSA worker’s home computer to be the reason behind the Russian spies to access the machine and steal important documents which belonged to NSA hacking unit, Equation Group.

    • Iconic hacker booted from conferences after sexual misconduct claims surface

      John Draper, a legendary figure in the world of pre-digital phone hacking known as “phreaking,” has been publicly accused of inappropriate sexual behavior going back nearly two decades.

      According to a new Friday report by BuzzFeed News, Draper, who is also known as “Captain Crunch,” acted inappropriately with six adult men and minors between 1999 and 2007 during so-called “energy” exercises, which sometimes resulted in private invitations to his hotel room. There, Draper allegedly made unwanted sexual advances.

      As a result of the new revelations, Draper, 74, is now no longer welcome at Defcon. Michael Farnum, the founder of HOU.SEC.CON, told Ars on Friday afternoon that Draper, who had been scheduled to speak in April 2018, was disinvited.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Strange Twists in the Hariri Mystery

      The strange case of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his surprise resignation, delivered in Saudi Arabia, has developed international overtones with rumors about his possible kidnapping by the Saudis and France extending an invitation for him to come to Paris before possibly returning to Lebanon.

    • Russian military cites game screenshot as “evidence” of US ISIS support

      In now-deleted social media images, the Russian Ministry of Defense used what is almost certainly a screenshot from a mobile game as part of its supposed evidence that the United States military was supporting ISIS troops in Syria.

      The posts, which went up on Facebook and Twitter Tuesday morning, included pictures that the text described as “irrefutable evidence” of “direct cooperation and support provided by the US-led coalition to the ISIS terrorists.” But as Kings College research associate Elliot Higgins noted on Twitter one of those pictures matches precisely with images found in an online trailer for AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron, a little-known mobile game from Byte Conveyor Studios. A warning from that trailer that the video was “Development footage / This is a work in progress / All content subject to change” was only partially cropped out of the Ministry of Defense posts, helping highlight the original source.

    • US Navy: Penis in sky drawn by jet trail was ‘unacceptable’

      US Navy officials have said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that one of their pilots used a jet’s contrail to draw a penis in the sky.

      The phallic outline over Okanogan County in the western US state of Washington provoked much mirth online.

      But commanders at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island did not see the funny side and have ordered an inquiry.

      A spokesman for the airbase confirmed that the aircraft involved was one of its Boeing EA-18G Growlers.

    • Saudi Arabia Pursues Cash Settlements as Crackdown Expands

      Authorities in Saudi Arabia are widening a corruption probe that has reached the upper echelons of the royal family and entangled prominent businessmen who are now being asked to surrender assets in exchange for their freedom, according to two people familiar with the matter.

      At least two dozen military officers, including multiple commanders, recently have been rounded up in connection to the Saudi government’s sweeping corruption investigation, according to two senior advisers to the Saudi government. Several prominent businessmen also were taken in by Saudi authorities in recent days.

      It isn’t clear if those people are all accused of wrongdoing, or whether some of them have been called in as witnesses. But their detainment signals an intensifying high-stakes campaign spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

    • NO ONE MAN SHOULD BE ABLE TO TRIGGER NUCLEAR WAR

      Amidst the rising clamor in the US over groping and goosing, America’s Congress is beginning to fret about President Donald Trump’s shaky finger being on the nation’s nuclear button.

      The air force officer that dutifully trails the president carries the electronic launch codes in a black satchel that could ignite a world war that would largely destroy our planet. This is rather more serious than groping and pinching.

      The inexperienced Trump has talked himself into a corner over North Korea. He thought bombastic threats and a side deal with China could force the stubborn North Koreans to junk their nuclear weapons. Anyone with knowledge of North Asia could have told him this plan would not work.

    • We Supported Their Dictators, Led the Failed ‘War on Drugs’ and Now Deny Them Refuge

      President Donald Trump has tied his executive order giving Congress six months to “fix” DACA to constructing a wall between the US and Mexico as well as a rapid and massive deportation of unaccompanied children and families entering the US without a visa.

      Trump claims this will stop Central American and other undocumented immigrants from entering the United States. These policies might make it more difficult, but they will not stop the flow of migration because the United States is not the pull factor of migration. Violence in Central American countries is the push factor today, just as it was in the late 20th century.

      For much of the 20th century, the US has made strategic decisions that have brought great harm to Central Americans — siding with dictators in the 1980s as our Cold War proxy to “fight communism,” and siding with corrupt national governments in the 21st century to “fight drug traffickers.”

    • Thank an Anti-War Veteran

      Repeat a lie often enough, the conventional Nazi propaganda wisdom ran, and it will become an accepted truth.

      This last Veterans Day weekend, I couldn’t watch a sporting event, listen to a car radio, or even go shopping at the local grocery store without hearing a Great American Lie repeated over and over.

      Sports announcers, radio talk-show hosts, commercials, and even a recorded voice blasted into the aisles of the HyVeee supermarket told me again and again that I owed my great American “freedom” to veterans and current enlistees of the U.S. military – in other words, to the Pentagon.

      We are free to attend football and basketball games, I was told, because of our military veterans, thanks to the U.S. military.

    • Is the Trump Administration Planning a First Strike on North Korea?

      Ever since the Trump administration began a few months ago to threaten a first strike against North Korea over its continued missile tests, the question of whether it is seriously ready to wage war has loomed over other crises in US foreign policy.

      The news media have avoided any serious effort to answer that question, for an obvious reason: The administration has an overriding interest in convincing the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un that Trump would indeed order a first strike if the regime continues to test nuclear weapons and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Therefore, most media have shied away from digging too deeply into the distinction between an actual policy of a first strike and a political ruse intended to put pressure on Pyongyang.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Signs of U.K. Misconduct in Assange Case

      A British court proceeding on a freedom of information request regarding how the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dealt with the case of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has revealed that CPS deleted relevant emails from the account of a now-retired CPS lawyer, Paul Close.

      However, one email that wasn’t destroyed shows the CPS lawyer advising Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny not to interview Assange in London, a decision that has helped keep Assange stuck for more than five years in Ecuador’s London embassy where he had been granted asylum. Finally, in late 2016, after Swedish prosecutors did question Assange at the embassy, they dropped sex abuse allegations against him, but he still faces possible arrest in the U.K. as well as potential extradition to the U.S., where officials have denounced him for releasing classified material.

      Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who has worked on WikiLeaks disclosures as a media partner since 2009, has made freedom of information requests in several countries regarding the Assange case. On Monday, I spoke with Estelle Dehon, a lawyer for Maurizi and Assange.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Converting natural gas to hydrogen without any carbon emissions

      The boom in natural gas production has been essential to the drop in carbon emissions in the US, as methane, the primary component of natural gas, releases more energy for each carbon atom when burned than other fossil fuels. But there’s still a carbon atom in each molecule of methane, so switching to natural gas will eventually lead to diminishing returns when it comes to emissions reductions. To keep our climate moderate, we’ll eventually need to move off natural gas, as well.

      But two new papers out this week suggest we could use natural gas without burning it. They detail efficient methods of converting methane to hydrogen in ways that let us capture much or all of the carbon left over. The hydrogen could then be burned or converted to electricity in a fuel cell—including mobile fuel cells that power cars. The supply obtained from methane could also be integrated with hydrogen from other sources.

    • Bayou Bridge Pipeline Opponents File to Intervene in Hearing for Private Security Firm in Louisiana

      A broad base of advocacy groups opposed to Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline continue to pressure officials in Louisiana to deny the remaining permissions the company needs to build the pipeline.

      The groups are also trying to stop TigerSwan LLC, one of the security firms that ETP worked with in North Dakota, from obtaining a permit to operate in Louisiana.

      ETP, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, intends to build a 162-mile pipeline across southern Louisiana. If built, the Bayou Bridge will be the last leg, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana.

  • Finance
    • What Does Tesla’s Automated Truck Mean for Truckers?

      Not surprisingly, the Teamsters are skeptical. “It’s not just job loss,” Sam Loesche, a legislative representative for the Teamsters, told WIRED in September. “It’s also what happens to the working conditions of the person who remains in the cab. How do we protect the livelihood of the driver who may be pushed to operate on a 24-hour continual basis because the company is claiming he’s in the back of a cab?” The union, which represents almost 600,000 truck drivers, is also concerned that that lower demand for actual, human workers could mean lower wages overall.

    • With so much behind-the-scenes Samsung drama, NBC may make a TV series

      Real-life Samsung has long been run by the Lee family, and the Lee family has long been involved in some very public issues. Current Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee has been in the position since 1987, when his father (company founder Lee Byung-chul) passed away. Lee Kun-hee was convicted of bribery in 1996 and of tax evasion and breach of trust in 2009, but in both cases he was never arrested and never served jail time. Later, his criminal record was erased through presidential pardons.

    • Covert Cryptocurrency Miners Quickly Become A Major Problem

      As websites increasingly struggle to keep the lights on in the age of ad blockers, a growing number of sites have increasingly turned to bitcoin miners like Coinhive. Such miners covertly use visitor CPU cycles to mind cryptocurrency while a user is visiting a website, and actively market themselves as a creative alternative to the traditional advertising model. And while this is certainly a creative revenue generator, these miners are increasingly being foisted upon consumers without informing them or providing an opt out. Given the miners consume user CPU cycles and a modest amount of power — that’s a problem.

    • Bitcoin is hitting new highs—here’s why it might not be a bubble

      In early September, one Bitcoin was worth almost $5,000. Then the Chinese government cracked down on cryptocurrency investments, and Bitcoin’s value plunged 40 percent in a matter of days, reaching a low below $3,000.

      But Bitcoin bounced back. By early November, one Bitcoin was worth almost $8,000. Then last week, a controversial effort to expand the Bitcoin network’s capacity failed. Within days, Bitcoin’s price had plunged 25 percent, while the value of a rival network called Bitcoin Cash doubled.

    • Bitcoin breaks $8,000 barrier amid speculation over spin-off

      Bitcoin’s value is regularly volatile but despite several steep falls this year it has now surged tenfold from around $800 at the beginning of 2017 to more than $8,000 in the early hours of Friday morning.

    • Corporate Power, E-Commerce, and the World Trade Organization

      Today, the biggest corporations are also seeking to lock in rights and handcuff public interest regulation through trade agreements, including the WTO. But today, the five biggest corporations are all from one sector: technology; and are all from one country: the United States. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, with support from other companies and the governments of Japan, Canada, and the EU, are seeking to rewrite the rules of the digital economy of the future by obtaining within the WTO a mandate to negotiate binding rules under the guise of “e-commerce.”

    • Poverty in the U.S.? Yes — and it’s a digital rights issue

      In the United States, just like anywhere else, it’s the people in marginalized and oppressed groups who suffer the most acute violations of digital rights, while the wealthy and privileged are protected against those same risks. Access Now is calling on Philip Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, to investigate this digital divide during his official country visit to the U.S. in December.

      There are 45 million people, including one in five children, living in poverty in the U.S., according to the government’s own figures. The true number may be even larger, since the U.S. defines poverty solely by using an individual’s or family’s yearly income, ignoring other factors in play.

      To inform the Special Rapporteur’s investigation, we provide evidence to show that violating the digital rights of marginalized people can contribute to impoverishment and can exacerbate poverty’s impact. Our submission is listed here alongside others on the U.N. website.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Republicans in Congress Think You’re an Idiot

      At a time when we desperately need to rebuild America, Republicans have ignored real, pressing unmet public needs to shovel more money to the rich and corporations. If this bill becomes law, it will force immediate cuts across the board, including a $25 billion cut to Medicare. As soon as they finish raiding the Treasury for the big corporations and the wealthy, Republicans will start railing about deficits and push for more cuts in everything from education to Head Start. That isn’t just corrupt. It is criminal.

    • Trump lies 9 times a day on average lately

      Over the last 35 days, Trump has been even more dishonest than usual, upping his daily average to 9 lies every 24 hours. Thanks to the extra effort he’s put into misleading the country on a diversity of topics in recent weeks, he’s likely to reach “peak liar” status by January 20. “That puts the president on track to reach 1,999 claims by the end of his first year in office, though he obviously would easily exceed 2,000 if he maintained the pace of the past month,” the Post notes.

    • Trump’s USDA: Industry Insiders, Swamp Dwellers and Know-Nothings

      To be perfectly honest, most of us would be hard-pressed to have a handle on the range of the myriad of functions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We would likely get the part about meat and poultry inspections, and maybe the fact that the agency oversees the food stamp program, but otherwise we would be pretty unclear about the scope of the agency’s work. As Michael Lewis reports in the December issue of Vanity Fair, most of what the USDA does “has little to do with agriculture,” as it spends only a “small fraction” of its $164 billion budget (2016) on farmers.

      Among other things, the USDA “runs 193 million acres of natural forest and grasslands [and] It is charged with inspecting almost all the animals people eat.” The agency runs a “massive science program; a bank with $220 billion in assets; plus a large fleet of aircraft for firefighting,” There’s more; it finances and manages numerous programs in rural America, “including the free school lunch for kids living near the poverty line.”

      A Vanity Fair USDA Organizational Chart has the Secretary and Deputy Secretary up top, and seven Undersecretaries: National Resources and Environment; Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; Rural Development; Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; Food Safety; Research, Education and Economics (Science); and, Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

    • Roy Moore’s Wife Says ‘He Will Not Step Down’

      Since last week, Moore has been engulfed by accusations of sexual misconduct toward women in their teens when he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s. Several of his accusers have allowed their identities to be made public.

      One said Moore tried to initiate a sexual encounter with her when she was 14. Another said Moore assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old waitress after he offered to drive her home. Five others said Moore pursued romantic relationships with them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18.

      “I have not found any reason not to believe them. … They risked a whole lot to come forward,” Payne said of the accusers.

    • In Pitch-Perfect Retort, New Zealand PM Told Trump: ‘No One Marched When I Was Elected’

      U.S. President Donald Trump and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a group photo last week with fellow APEC leaders in Da Nang, Vietnam. (Photo: EPA)

      New Zealand’s progressive new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern strongly rejected President Donald Trump’s assessment of her recent rise to power, according to her account of their first in-person meeting at the East Asia Summit last week.

      After Trump said Ardern’s win had “upset” many New Zealanders, the Labor Party leader remarked that “nobody marched” in response to her victory, as millions did all over the globe when Trump was inaugurated in January.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns

      Twitter’s “blue checkmark” verification program is meant to authenticate the identities of high-profile users. But it’s also come to be seen as an endorsement or mark of approval from Twitter, sparking outrage when the checkmarks were bestowed on white nationalists like Richard Spencer or Charlottesville, Va., “Unite the Right” rally organizer Jason Kessler.

    • Falling for the joke: the risk of using Twitter as a news source

      Parody accounts are not entitled to the Twitter verification mark, which is supposed to help users understand whether accounts are genuine or not. But this policy can create confusion with the inconsistent way it is applied. The official WikiLeaks account on Twitter is verified, for example, while Julian Assange’s personal account remains without the blue mark.

    • Facebook users are complaining that they can’t delete their posts anymore
    • Jim Killock reacted to Prince William’s comments suggesting that anonymity online is dangerous

      “Anonymity online can be very important, for instance for whistleblowers, journalists and people seeking to read banned information where facts and opinions are censored.

      “Without anonymity there would be no Paradise Papers. I’m sure Prince William did not mean to suggest that we should undermine the right to know about the excesses of the super rich and the corrupt, but that needs to be understood when we think about how and when anonymity is necessary.”

    • Film censorship

      This is a completely pointless step, because in the age of the internet banning a film from releasing in cinemas doesn’t stop anyone from watching it. People will just watch it on the internet. People will also watch it on pirated DVD’s.

    • ‘Rape is a rampant issue’; taboo drama Verna battles the censors in Pakistan

      In recent years, Pakistan has seen a huge resurgence of its film industry, which has emerged from the shadow of Bollywood to find its own identity, one at the forefront of the battle between a growing conservatism in the country and an emboldened youth hungry for change. There’s a notable trend towards female-led narratives, which are not only setting new standards in storytelling, but also challenging taboos around the treatment of women in society.

    • Supreme Court decision maintains judicial censorship of Brazilian blog

      A decision by the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil (STF for its acronym in Portuguese) maintained the censorship of the blog of carioca journalist Marcelo Auler. Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes denied the continuation of a complaint filed by the journalist, who requested an injunction to suspend a sentence that prevents the publication of two of his reports.

    • Laurier university accused of censorship after TA reprimanded for playing gender pronoun debate clip

      Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University, is speaking out after the school accused her of violating their policies of trans-phobia for playing a TVO segment featuring featuring polarizing University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson.

    • Facebook is still struggling with the difference between hate speech and censorship

      On Nov. 11, thousands of people marched in the streets of Warsaw, Poland, to celebrate the country’s Independence Day. The march attracted racist and neo-fascist groups as well as individuals from all over Europe emboldened by the global rise of the far right. International news was flooded with images of the more menacing attendees: young men bearing signs that proclaimed white supremacy, engulfed in a sea of red flares and smoke.

    • Court Denies Government’s Demasking Demands In Inauguration Protest Case

      Nine months after the DOJ’s Facebook search warrants targeting Trump inauguration protesters were approved, the DC District court has finally issued a ruling restricting how much the government can actually obtain.

      The original warrants were broad, seeking communications from every Facebook user who had interacted with DisruptJ20′s Facebook page. If these hadn’t been challenged, the government would have had access to the entire contents of more than 6,000 Facebook users’ accounts. The warrant also came with an indefinite gag order, something the DOJ dropped on the eve of oral arguments, perhaps sensing it wouldn’t be allowed to keep it.

    • Sheriff Thinks He Can Use Bogus Disorderly Conduct Charges To Shut Down Speech He Doesn’t Like

      It is highly doubtful the Sheriff has “received numerous calls” about a window decal. Even given the sorry state of Americans’ understanding of the First Amendment, most people would realize a sweary decal is not a law enforcement issue. More likely, the Sheriff or one of his deputies spotted it and took a photo or, at best, a concerned citizen sent it to the apparently pro-Trump Sheriff in hopes that he would abuse the law to shut down protected speech. (If so, well played, citizen. Everyone loves an American who believes in less rights for people they don’t agree with.)

      Next, the “discussion” proposed by the Sheriff is a bait-and-switch. Unlike most bait-and-switch purveyors, Sheriff Nehls is too excited about prosecution to allow the bait to do its work. By pitching it as a voluntary interaction, Nehls covers his ass on official oppression. But he immediately uncovers it by referring to a prosecutor just dying to punish protected expression with a bogus disorderly conduct charge.

    • Taipei to probe censorship of ROC flag

      The Taipei City Government said it would investigate after users of Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand (MOD) service recently complained that Republic of China (ROC) national flags had been censored in a documentary on the Taipei Summer Universiade shown on the service.

      The “behind the scenes” documentary film was commissioned by the city government’s Department of Information and Tourism at a cost of NT$5.88 million (US$195,342) and was shown on the National Geographic Channel through MOD.

    • The Solution to YouTube’s Payments Problem Is a Brand-New Cryptocurrency

      He’s not alone. Several high-profile YouTubers, including Philip DeFranco, have called out YouTube’s rampant demonetization problem.

    • YouTube Adpocalypse Gets Blockchain Solution
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Wireless Industry Lobbies To Ban States From Protecting Your Privacy, Net Neutrality

      In the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to gut modest FCC consumer privacy protections and net neutrality rules, telecom lobbyists are working overtime trying to stop states from filling the void. In the wake of the FCC’s wholesale dismantling of consumer protections, states like California have tried to pass their own laws protecting your broadband privacy rights online, only to find the efforts scuttled by AT&T, Verizon and Comcast lobbyists, who’ve been more than happy to spread all manner of disinformation as to what the rules did or didn’t do.

      Worried that states might actually stand up for consumers in the wake of the looming attack on net neutrality, both Verizon and Comcast have been lobbying the FCC to ban states from protecting your privacy and net neutrality. The two companies were also joined this week by the wireless industry’s biggest lobbying and policy organization, the CTIA

    • Defense Department Spied On Social Media, Left All Its Collected Data Exposed To Anyone

      There are two big WTFs in this story. First, the Defense Departments Central Command (Centcom) was collecting tons of data on social media posts… and then the bigger one, they somehow left all the data they collected open on an Amazon AWS server. This was discovered — as so many examples of careless data exposure on Amazon servers — by Chris Vickery and UpGuard, who have their own post about the mess. You may recall Vickery from such previous stories as when the GOP left personal data on 200 million voters on an open Amazon server. Or when Verizon left private data available on millions of customers. Or when a terrorist watch list was left (you guessed it) on an open server. Or when he discovered that Hollywood studios were leaving their own screeners available on an open server. In short, this is what Vickery seems particularly good at: finding large organizations leaving sensitive data exposed on a server.

    • Surveillance Fans Angry Journalist Used Metadata, Contact Chaining To Out Comey’s Secret Twitter Account

      Earlier this year, journalist Ashley Feinberg outed then-FBI Director James Comey’s secret Twitter account, using nothing more than the “harmless” metadata people like James Comey have said no one needs to worry about. The secret account was sniffed out through something the Intelligence Community likes to call “contact chaining.” The path ran through Comey’s children’s Instagram accounts and one conspicuous follower of Comey’s previously-secret account: Lawfare writer, surveillance apologist, and personal friend of Comey’s, Benjamin Wittes.

      For some reason, months after the fact, Wittes has decided the route to unmasking Comey’s Twitter account was more like stalking than journalism. Wittes objected to the “use” of Comey’s children — the seemingly-unrelated contacts who Feinberg chained together to reach her conclusion. This was weird because, as Marcy Wheeler points out, Comey seemed to be impressed by the journalist’s work. Even weirder is the fact Wittes (and former IC attorney/Lawfare editor Susan Hennessey) didn’t see the obvious parallels between Feinberg’s detective work and the FBI’s own use of metadata, contact chaining, and working its way towards targets through vast amounts of unrelated data.

    • Most Senate Intelligence Committee Members Are Fine With Domestic Surveillance By The NSA

      The Senate Intelligence Committee has released its report [PDF] on its Section 702 reauthorization plan. Rather than adopt any serious reforms — like those proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden — the SIC plans to move ahead with its non-reform bill, one that’s actually weaker than the watered-down offering from the House.

      The bill remains pretty much as bad as it was when it was first introduced. It still allows the NSA to start up its “about” collection again, although it does require approval from the FISA court first and contains a safety valve for introduction of legislation forbidding this collection. (I guess Wyden’s reform bill doesn’t count.)

      Other than that, it’s still just bad news, especially on the Fourth Amendment front, as it allows both the collection of wholly domestic communications and backdoor searches of NSA data stores. The upshot of the report is this: eleven senators are perfectly fine with domestic surveillance.

    • The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act Restricts Congress, Not Surveillance

      The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017—legislation meant to extend government surveillance powers—squanders several opportunities for meaningful reform and, astonishingly, manages to push civil liberties backwards. The bill is a gift to the intelligence community, restricting surveillance reforms, not surveillance itself.

      The bill (S. 2010) was introduced October 25 by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) as an attempt to reauthorize Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. That law authorizes surveillance that ensnares the communications of countless Americans, and it is the justification used by agencies like the FBI to search through those collected American communications without first obtaining a warrant. Section 702 will expire at the end of this year unless Congress reauthorizes it.

      Other proposed legislation in the House and Senate has used Section 702’s sunset as a moment to move surveillance reform forward, demanding at least minor protections to how 702-collected American communications are accessed. In contrast, Senator Burr’s bill uses Section 702’s sunset as an opportunity codify some of the intelligence community’s more contentious practices while also neglecting the refined conversations on surveillance happening in Congress today.

      Here is a breakdown of the bill.

    • Senators propose ‘USA Liberty Act’ to reauthorize NSA surveillance

      Even with that, there are critics saying it doesn’t go far enough. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says that most importantly, it doesn’t stop the NSA from collecting data on innocent people.

    • Senate bill would impose new privacy limits on accessing NSA’s surveillance data

      A pair of senators on Friday released their bipartisan proposal to renew a powerful surveillance authority for collecting foreign intelligence on U.S. soil, but with a new brake on the government’s ability to access the data.

      The bill from Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) would require government agencies to obtain a warrant before reviewing communications to or from Americans harvested by the National Security Agency under the surveillance authority known informally as Section 702.

    • NSA Leaker Still Possibly Working At Agency

      The former CIA director Michael Morell has admitted that the leaker involved in the NSA Shadow Brokers leak might still be at work in the agency as, 15 months after the leak first occurred, they are still uncertain of what was stolen and whether there is more to come. Piers Wilson, Head of Product Management at Huntsman Security commented below.

    • The Vanishing State of Privacy

      “The reason that we are subject now to more surveillance than there was in the Soviet Union is that digital technology made it possible,” he says. “And the first disaster of digital technology was proprietary software that people would install and run on their own computers, and they wouldn’t know what it was doing.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • They confessed to minor crimes. Then City Hall billed them $122K in ‘prosecution fees’

      Garcia, 41, a longtime desert resident, had been snared by the lowest level of the eastern Coachella Valley’s criminal justice system, where homeowners who commit some of the smallest crimes can be billed for the cost of their own prosecution. [...] Garcia signed a plea agreement [...]

    • Burmese Military Accused of Widescale Rape Against Rohingya

      Human Rights Watch has accused the Burmese military of committing widespread rape against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims. Human Rights Watch spoke to 52 Rohingya women and girls who fled to Bangladesh. Twenty-nine of them said they were raped. Some of the rape victims agreed to speak on camera.

    • ‘Tolerance of Violence in Homes Is the Necessary Precursor to Public Violence’

      After the Sutherland Springs, Texas, mass shooting, media picked up the familiar threads on gun violence and mental health, but some also took up the less commonly explored—though established—connections between mass shootings and domestic violence.

      And not just whether those with records of domestic violence, as the Texas shooter had, should be able to buy guns, but the bigger problem of how domestic violence is portrayed—you might say “dismissed,” including by media—as a private problem, rather than a societal one.

      We talked about this last June, after the mass murder at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Writer and activist Soraya Chemaly directs the Women’s Media Center Speech Project and is organizer of the Safety and Free Speech Coalition. She had just written about domestic violence and the Orlando shooting for Rolling Stone.

    • ‘Only God can save us’: Yemeni children starve as aid is held at border

      Abdulaziz al-Husseinya lies skeletal and appears lifeless in a hospital in Yemen’s western port city of Hodeidah. At the age of nine, he weighs less than one and a half stone, and is one of hundreds of thousands of children in the country suffering from acute malnutrition.

      Seven million people are on on the brink of famine in war-torn Yemen, which was already in the grip of the world’s worst cholera outbreak when coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia tightened its blockade on the country last week, stemming vital aid flows.

      Al-Thawra hospital, where Abdulaziz is being treated, is reeling under the pressure of more than two years of conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-allied Houthi rebels. Its corridors are packed, with patients now coming from five surrounding governorates to wait elbow-to-elbow for treatment.

      Less than 45% of the country’s medical facilities are still operating – most have closed due to fighting or a lack of funds, or have been bombed by coalition airstrikes. As a result, Al-Thawra is treating some 2,500 people a day, compared to 700 before the conflict escalated in March 2015.

    • If NYPD cops want to snoop on your phone, they need a warrant, judge rules

      A New York state judge has concluded that a powerful police surveillance tool known as a stingray, a device that spoofs legitimate mobile phone towers, performs a “search” and therefore requires a warrant under most circumstances.

      As a New York State Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn ruled earlier this month in an attempted murder case, New York Police Department officers should have sought a standard, probable cause-driven warrant before using the invasive device.

      The Empire State court joins others nationwide in reaching this conclusion. In September, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals also found that stingrays normally require a warrant, as did a federal judge in Oakland, California, back in August.

      According to The New York Times, which first reported the case on Wednesday, People v. Gordon is believed to be the first stingray-related case connected to the country’s largest city police force.

    • Harvey Weinstein had secret hitlist of names to quash sex scandal

      The Observer has gained access to a secret hitlist of almost 100 prominent individuals targeted by Harvey Weinstein in an extraordinary attempt to discover what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him and whether they were intending to go public.

      The previously undisclosed list contains a total of 91 actors, publicists, producers, financiers and others working in the film industry, all of whom Weinstein allegedly identified as part of an extraordinary strategy to prevent accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him.

      The names, apparently drawn up by Weinstein himself, were distributed to a team hired by the film producer to suppress claims that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women.

      The document was compiled in early 2017, around nine months before the storm that blew up on 5 October when the New York Times published a series of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein.

      Individuals named on the list were to be targeted by investigators who would covertly extract and accumulate information from those who might know of claims or who might come forward with allegations against the film producer. Feedback was then to be relayed to Weinstein and his lawyers.

    • As Powerful Men Fall, Renewed Focus on Trump’s Many Accusers and His Disgusting Admission

      As the floodgates have certainly opened in positive ways over recent weeks in terms of women feeling more empowered and secure in speaking publicly about the men—often those in positions of power—who have sexually assaulted or harassed them over the years, the wave of revelations have also brought re-newed focus on the previous and numerous accusations levied against the nation’s most powerful man: President Donald J. Trump.

    • Christian Fundamentalist Pastor Has a Major Meltdown Defending Roy Moore

      “Did you stop beating your wife, yes or no? Did you stop beating your wife, yes or no? Did you stop beating your wife? Answer, yes or no!”

      The brain of Rev. Flip Benham, leader of the extremist Christian fundamentalist group “Operation Save America,” based in North Carolina, seemed to be stuck on repeat, and he couldn’t stop berating a reporter in Alabama with the same nonsensical question. Or, as right-wing commenters like to say, he was triggered.

    • Confronting Zero Tolerance in the Workplace

      Bosses are in love with zero tolerance policies. One arbitrator calls them “the last refuge of weak managers.”

      Zero tolerance policies authorize employers to discharge workers who commit specified infractions without consideration of the surrounding circumstances, length of service, or the employee’s lack of prior discipline.

    • Walking While Black

      The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office issues hundreds of pedestrian citations a year, drawing on an array of 28 separate statutes governing how people get around on foot in Florida’s most populous city. There is, of course, the straightforward jaywalking statute, barring people from crossing against a red light. But in Jacksonville, pedestrians can also be ticketed for crossing against a yellow light, for “failing to cross a street at a right angle,” for not walking on the left side of a road when there are no sidewalks, or alternatively for not walking on a sidewalk when one is available.

    • How We Calculated the Risks of Walking While Black

      A Florida Times-Union/ProPublica analysis showed that law enforcement in Duval County, Florida, gives black people a higher proportion of pedestrian tickets than does any other large county in the state. Black pedestrians are nearly three times as likely to receive a ticket as nonblack pedestrians. Our analysis also showed that residents in the three poorest ZIP codes in Jacksonville (Duval County’s largest city) were nearly six times as likely to receive a ticket as were residents of the city’s 34 other ZIP codes.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Ignored By Big Telecom, Detroit’s Marginalized Communities Are Building Their Own Internet

      Take Detroit, where 40 percent of the population has no access to the internet—of any kind, not only high speed—at home, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Seventy percent of school-aged children in the city are among those who have no [I]nternet access at home. Detroit has one of the most severe digital divides in the country, the FCC says.

    • All signs point to December vote to kill net neutrality rules, reports say

      The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on whether to overturn its own net neutrality rules next month.

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will unveil his final proposal next week, setting up a vote at the commission’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting on December 14, according to reports from Bloomberg and Reuters. The FCC hasn’t publicly confirmed the December vote, but Bloomberg and Reuters say the timeline was confirmed by people familiar with Pai’s plans.

    • FCC Moves To Gut Rules Protecting Broadband Users Telcos No Longer Want

      As AT&T and Verizon shift their focus from fixed-line broadband to the more sexy world of Millennial advertising (often quite poorly), they’ve effectively decided to hang up on millions of unwanted DSL users they refuse to upgrade and no longer want. This has often involved imposing relentless rate hikes on service speeds straight out of 2003, or in many cases simply refusing to repair these lines. They’ve also convinced state after state that if they gut consumer protections keeping these lines intact, better, faster broadband connections will miraculously spring from the sidewalks.

      AT&T and Verizon argue that state and federal guidelines on this front are just outdated regulations preventing them from building the next-generation networks of tomorrow. Fiber is more reliable and wireless is more flexible, they argue, making older lines irrelevant. That, however, ignores these companies’ refusal to actually fully deploy fiber, the fact that pricey & capped wireless isn’t a suitable replacement for unlimited DSL, that these lines were taxpayer subsidized, or that many of these DSL and POTS (plain old telephone service) services are still very much in use by the elderly and under-served.

    • Sorry, poor people: The FCC is coming after your broadband plans

      Poor people may soon find it more difficult to purchase subsidized broadband plans, and many of them could even be forced to find new carriers. That’s thanks to changes pushed through today by the Federal Communications Commission’s Republican majority.

      The FCC voted 3-2 to scale back the federal Lifeline program that lets poor people use a $9.25 monthly household subsidy to buy Internet or phone service. The FCC proposed a new spending cap that potentially prevents people who qualify for the subsidies from actually receiving them. The FCC is also taking steps to prevent resellers—telecom providers that don’t operate their own network infrastructure—from offering Lifeline-subsidized plans.

    • Comcast wants to get bigger, again, has begun talks with 21st Century Fox

      Comcast and Verizon have each, separately, approached 21st Century Fox about buying part of the company, according to several news reports.

      Comcast already owns NBCUniversal and numerous regional sports networks. Adding part of 21st Century Fox would give Comcast even more programming to pair with the nation’s largest cable broadband and TV network.

      21st Century Fox owns Fox Broadcasting Company as well as various cable networks, broadcast stations, and film producers and distributors. 21st Century Fox also owns 39 percent of Sky, a European broadcaster.

  • DRM
    • Offering Good Legal Options Works: Interest In Netflix Outpaces Pirate Options In Brazil

      If you were to have asked anyone in the film industry or the MPAA about the country of Brazil within the past decade, it’s quite likely that they would have thrown their hands into the air and told you what a detestable hotbed of piracy and copyright infringement the nation was. And, hey, they would have been right. The simple fact of the matter is that there are some countries where the downloading and streaming of films and television is more common than others. The obvious next question to ask for any business interested in reversing this trend would be: why? The answer always seemed obvious to me: there is a customer demand that the legitimate options are not fulfilling. Many in film and television instead decried a lack of strict copyright enforcement and everybody wanting everything for free, instead.

    • Intel Planning To End Legacy BIOS Support By 2020

      By 2020 they are said to be “removing legacy BIOS support from client and data center platforms.” Based on the timing, it’s then looking like for Intel Tiger Lake or Sapphire Rapids where they may cut off the legacy BIOS support.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Good Ruling: Court Affirms Fox’s Victory In Trademark Suit From Empire Distribution Over Its Hit Show ‘Empire’

        In far too many trademark disputes, including those that actually reach the courthouse, there is far too little in the way of nuance when it comes to ruling. While I’ve long complained about a lack of focus on some of the higher-level concepts within trademark law, such as how the overall focus should be on public confusion and the simple fact that the category designations within the USPTO are far too broad, there is typically not enough recognition in the real minutia within the law as well.

    • Copyrights
      • Legal to share more than 3000 movies listed on IMDB?

        A month ago, I blogged about my work to automatically check the copyright status of IMDB entries, and try to count the number of movies listed in IMDB that is legal to distribute on the Internet. I have continued to look for good data sources, and identified a few more. The code used to extract information from various data sources is available in a git repository, currently available from github.

      • Judge Halts Copyright Troll’s Lawsuit Against A Now-Deceased Elderly Man With Dementia And An IP Address

        Stories about copyright trolls issuing questionable settlement demands and lawsuits using laughably flimsy evidence with no regard to mitigating circumstances are somewhat common around here. The most egregious cases range from trolls sending threat letters to the elderly to flat out suing the innocent. This sort of thing is essentially inherent in a business model that closely apes an extortion ring, and here’s another quintessential example of that.

        It all started when Venice PI sued a man for being part of a torrent swarm offering the movie Once Upon a Time in Venice. The judge in the case has put the proceedings on hold, noting rather harshly that Venice PI’s evidence sucks, and that the man in question had severe enough dementia that his family says he couldn’t even have operated a computer as described in the lawsuit and, at age 91, has died.

      • Studies Presented At WIPO To Better Understand Limitations To Copyright

        With no consensus on conducting normative work at the World Intellectual Property Organization on the limitations to copyright for certain actors such as persons with disabilities, educational institutions, and museums, the committee on copyright had agreed on several studies so the issues are better understood. This week, several of those studies were presented to the committee and generated discussion.

        The 35th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) took place from 13-17 November. Intellectual Property Watch will publish a report on the final outcome of the meeting shortly.

      • How did the free sharing of scientific knowledge and culture become the worst crime our justice systems could think of?

        Sci-Hub is starting to get judgments and censorship applied against it. It’s noteworthy that not even murder or genocide is considered cause for such Internet censorship as is now being applied to Sci-Hub. How and when did the free sharing of scientific knowledge become the worst conceivable crime?

      • Ares Kodi Project Calls it Quits After Hollywood Cease & Desist

        The Ares Project, the group behind the hugely popular Ares Wizard and Kodi repository, has thrown in the towel. Like several other projects this week, Ares was threatened by the MPA-led anti-piracy coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. Speaking with TorrentFreak, its operator warns that those behind similar projects should exercise caution.

23,000 Posts

Saturday 18th of November 2017 08:41:52 PM

Leaving 22 behind

Summary: 23,000 blog posts milestone reached in 11 years

THE SITE TECHRIGHTS recently turned 11 (earlier this month) and today it turns a new page. We’re in the 23,000+ posts region and still growing in terms of visitorship, too. We have always been 100% financially independent and intend to always remain so. To help us be heard please spread the overall message (verbally or links); that’s the best support we could ask for.

BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

Saturday 18th of November 2017 08:20:57 PM

Just in time for pie/cake day

Summary: The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple

THIS past autumn we started a Wiki page about BlackBerry because BlackBerry made it clear that it had become somewhat of a parasite; some in the mainstream media go as far as alleging that BlackBerry is still operating in “troll” mode — something which is only likely to exacerbate in years to come.

When BlackBerry adopted Android we were hoping it would move away from patent aggression and/or passage of patents to dubious entities. BlackBerry’s patent strategist is now out (maybe he got kicked out), but his legacy remains. Based on this days-old press release and early coverage from a BlackBerry news site, there’s another patent deal that smells familiar (similar to previous deals):

BlackBerry continues to sign new patent licensing deals and the latest to be announced is a strategic licensing agreement with Teletry. As part of the agreement between Teletry and BlackBerry, Teletry will have the right to sublicense a broad range of BlackBerry patents to a majority of global smartphone manufacturers.

Based on later coverage from broader scope news sites (e.g. [1, 2]), “BlackBerry has entered into a strategic patent licensing deal with Teletry. As per the agreement, Teletry can sub-license a host of BlackBerry patents to global smartphone manufacturers. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed yet.”

One can imagine that BlackBerry will receive a modest bucket of money and many of the patents in question cover software. BlackBerry has got almost nothing left but patents; other companies too have nothing better to tell/talk about with their shareholders (bragging about patents in one’s press releases).

It’s not only sad; it’s very dangerous because BlackBerry’s patents are likely to be passed in bulk to some trolls some time in the near future. Nokia is already doing this.

Two months ago we said that Apple is the next BlackBerry because they follow similar trajectories. Wait and watch what happens in the coming decade or so.

When it comes to patent news, Apple is currently mentioned in relation to the ITC action against it. Well, don’t expect ITC to ever embargo anything from Apple (Apple is American like the ITC), but nonetheless the prospect is worth entertaining. Here is how an Apple advocacy site put it four days ago:

The U.S. International Trade Commission has declared that it has launched an investigation of many of Apple’s present and past products that use Screen Sharing and AirPlay Mirroring, after complaints from a company and its licensing subsidiary that develops cross-platform remote access solutions.

Soon thereafter even the bigger publishers wrote about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], mostly based on reports like this one from Reuters:

The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Tuesday it had launched an investigation into allegations of patent infringement by Apple Inc on various devices.

That sounds like BlackBerry under a decade ago. When BlackBerry had huge turnover many patent trolls and small firms were hounding it for a share of the profits. Now it’s Apple, but as Apple diminishes it will become less attractive a target and quickly become a targetter, i.e. a dying company whose last remaining ‘asset’ is a ‘warchest’ of ‘innovation’ to ‘monetise’ (to use the bizarre terminology of the patent ‘industry’).

EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify ‘Stupid Patents’ (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

Saturday 18th of November 2017 07:42:03 PM

Summary: In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus ‘inventors’ whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all

“Judge Finds ‘Stupid Patent’ Web Story is Protected Speech”; that’s the headline of a new report (found via Slashdot, which has a summary and comments). For those who forgot, the EFF has been sued or threatened with lawsuits for running series which merely criticise or bash particular patents — clearly an act of free speech. The judge too saw it that way:

An Australian court can’t make a California-based digital rights watchdog take down a web article that mocks a company’s patent as “stupid,” a federal judge ruled Friday.

San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation sued Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd., or GEMSA, in April, claiming the Australian firm exploited its home country’s weaker free speech protections to secure an unconstitutional injunction against EFF.

Kurt Opsahl, EFF’s deputy executive director and general counsel, hailed the ruling as a victory for free speech.

This wasn’t the first and maybe not the last legal action, either. Imagine a world where one is not allowed to criticise particular patents. Not too long ago (just before the weekend) it was said in “Stupid Patent Data of the Month: the Devil in the Details” that the EFF along with CCIA make use of particular tools that we often mention in relation to patent reform. To quote the EFF:

Bad patents shouldn’t be used to stifle competition. A process to challenge bad patents when they improperly issue is important to keeping consumer costs down and encouraging new innovation. But according to a recent post on a patent blog, post-grant procedures at the Patent Office regularly get it “wrong,” and improperly invalidate patents. We took a deep dive into the data being relied upon by patent lobbyists to show that contrary to their arguments, the data they rely on undermines their arguments and conflicts with the claims they’re making.

The Patent Office has several procedures to determine whether an issued patent was improperly granted to a party that does not meet the legal standard for patentability of an invention. The most significant of these processes is called inter partes review, and is essential to reining in overly broad and bogus patents. The process helps prevent patent trolling by providing a target with a low-cost avenue for defense, so it is harder for trolls to extract a nuisance-value settlement simply because litigating is expensive. The process is, for many reasons, disliked by some patent owners. Congress is taking a new look at this process right now as a result of patent owners’ latest attempts to insulate their patents from review.

An incorrect claim about the inter partes review (IPR) and other procedures like IPR at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has been circulating, and was recently repeated in written comments at a congressional hearing by Philip Johnson, former head of intellectual property at Johnson & Johnson. Josh Malone and Steve Brachmann, writing for a patent blog called “IPWatchdog,” are the source of this error. In their article, cited in the comments to Congress, they claim that the PTAB is issuing decisions contrary to district courts at a very high rate.

We took a closer look at the data they use, and found that the rate is disagreement is actually quite small: about 7%, not the 76% claimed by Malone and Brachmann. How did they get it so wrong? To explain, we’ll have to get into the nuts and bolts of how such an analysis can be run.

[...]

EFF, along with CCIA, ran the same Docket Navigator search Malone and Brachmann ran for patents found “not invalid” and “unpatentable or not unpatentable,” generating 273 results, and a search for patents found “unpatentable” and “not invalid,” generating 208 results (our analysis includes a few results that weren’t yet available when Malone and Brachmann ran their search). We looked into each of 208 results that Docket Navigator returned for patents found unpatentable and not invalid. Our analysis shows that the “200” number, and consequently the rate at which the Patent Office is supposedly “wrong” based on a comparison to times a court supposedly got it “right” is well off the mark.

[...]

We’ve used both Docket Navigator and Lex Machina in our analyses on numerous occasions, and even briefs we submit to the court. Both services provide extremely valuable information about the state of patent litigation and policy. But its usefulness is diminished where the data they present are not understood. As always, the devil is in the details.

Lex Machina has done a lot and given an invaluable service to those of us who pursue a saner patent policy. The EFF too, especially in recent years, contributed a lot to patent reform. Its briefs in support of the reformist cause are just some among other actions undertaken by the EFF. It’s hardly surprising that blogs of patent maximalists so routinely bash the EFF and various extremists go as far as suing the EFF.

The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

Saturday 18th of November 2017 06:35:13 PM

Well done, Australia

Summary: Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism

Rebuttals to the latest attacks on IP Australia are necessary. They’re under attack* for cementing if not extending the ban on software patents. Even though Australia has, for a long time in fact, merely limited software patents, it has just banned software patents in a more explicit way. This should be very big news, but we hardly saw any press coverage about it (in spite of the language being English) and this new interview with the Director General of IP Australia mentions none of that either. What it does, however, mention is the motivation for some of the latest changes in lieu with recommendations from the Australian Productivity Commission (PC).

Rather than the outcomes of the judicial process with regard to IP, recent focus has been on improving access to the judicial system to pursue IP issues. The Australian Productivity Commission (PC) recently made international comparisons suggesting that Australia has robust IP enforcement arrangements, but that more can be done to improve the ability of rights holders to utilise Australia’s enforcement infrastructure, in particular for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). We have recently seen both the Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia make efforts to improve accessibility and efficiency.

IP Australia is also committed to helping SMEs to understand that alternative methods of dispute resolution are available outside of the courts. We have recently launched an IP Mediation Referral Service, and we are working with the insurance sector to explore possibilities for trade mark defense insurance. It is early days for these initiatives and we continue to look for ways to assist in the enforcement area.

Mediation is already better; in the case of software, copyright is already enough.
_____
* Shelston IP has just paid to repost its lies in yet another Web site which targets the patent microcosm.

EPO ‘Business’ From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

Saturday 18th of November 2017 12:43:58 AM

Issuing lots of garbage patents is not a long-term strategy but akin to organisational suicide and immesurable harm to all existing EPs

Summary: Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus ‘expensive’ staff — see above), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)

THE EPO‘s management had bet the farm on UPC and it wasn’t just unethical and reckless; it was terrible for everyone.

We already know who UPC was for. It was for few multinational giants and their litigators — firms such as Bristows.

Bristows staff (“AmeriKat”) which was accused of "brown-nosing" Colin Birss (after he had ruled to the benefit of patent trolls) is doing it again today and quoted from within her previous post (quote from the European Judges Forum): “death is a certain change of status, a passage to a better status. I believe so, and I believe the UPC will live with Orpheus … and all the others that had lived a life of honor, and have died of an unjust sentence.”

Another quote from that speech: “Therefore, it is clear to me that we do not need the UPC, since everything is dealt with in the Court of Milan. I would suggest to pack up and go home.”

Yes, things are very grim for the UPC. Even insiders say so and Bristows staff goes through the effort of translating/publishing that.

Read the latest comment on this (about how “EPO itself considers that it is only obliged to be bound by “G” decisions”):

While reference has been made to establihshed case law of the EPO, it is clear from numerous decisions that the EPO itself considers that it is only obliged to be bound by “G” decisions. In many decisions it has been pointed out, seemingly mainly to UK authorised representatives, that the EPO relies on a legal code (the EPC) and, unlike Anglo-Saxon legal practice, is not necessarily bound by precedents because non-”G” decisions are not “case law” as per UK practice.

See for example T 0154/04: para 2.

2. …. the legal system of the European Patent Convention gives room for evolution of the jurisprudence (which is thus not “case law” in the strict Anglo-Saxon meaning of the term) and leaves it to the discretion of the boards whether to give reasons in any decision deviating from other decisions or to refer a point of law to the Enlarged Board.

G 0003/08 : reasons:

7.3.1 Development of the law is an essential aspect of its application, …. That is especially true of Anglo-Saxon law, where a decision on an individual case has far greater implications as a precedent than judgments in continental civil law.

T0910/06

2.8 To the extent that the absence in the decision under appeal of any reference to the “established case law” … is seen in itself by the appellant as a “substantial procedural violation” it must be recalled that unlike some Anglo-Saxon legal systems which are precedent driven, the instances of the European Patent Organisation work within a codified system of law, i.e. the European Patent Convention and its implementing regulations, and are constrained by case law only in the case of decisions handed down by the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

Benoît Battistelli has basically, and quite blatantly, attacked the authority of these technical boards. At what cost?

Well, we already know that (and earlier on wrote about) the EPO prioritises US corporations, not European ones. To make matters worse, the EPO is consulting the legal ‘industry’ (firms such as Bristows and their front groups) rather than scientists. Hours ago the EPO published this: (warning: epo.org link)

This year’s meeting of the US Bar-EPO Liaison Council, a forum to facilitate informal exchanges with US applicants, took place at the EPO’s Munich headquarters on 15 November. Consisting of representatives of IP special-interest groups and IP sections of State Bar associations, the Council provides the EPO and US Bar representatives with an excellent opportunity to discuss contemporary issues in the patent system and to address questions of mutual interest. For the EPO, it is also a valuable opportunity to present recent developments at the EPO and gather feedback from US users, currently the EPO’s largest origin of patent applications.

[...]

Feedback from US Bar members revealed that the meeting had helped them deepen their understanding of European patent practice and they welcomed the possibility of another such meeting in 2018.

Notice who’s in attendance. No wonder the EPO is nowadays just reduced to shameless UPC lobbying. No wonder the EPO has seen the number of patent applications declining this past year. “EPO Jobs” said a few hours ago that “The @EPOorg is reducing a number of fees. Head over to the President’s Blog to read all about it…”

Well, as we explained before, Benoît Battistelli may be trying to cook the books. Lower cost means that more applications might be filed (albeit bringing less income). Gaming the numbers? Either way, the writings are on the wall. The value of EPs has gone down considerably, patent quality is nowhere near what it used to be, and earlier today someone told us this:

I don’t see how the EPO is going to find recruits under that new contract form.

The EPO only recruits examiners fresh from the University. They don’t want anything else and the pay for people with experience is not attractive anyway, especially in Munich where the industry is also recruiting engineers and scientists. But for someone fresh from the University, the first job will determine the rest of your career. An employer will typically look at your past 5 years experience and not at your diplomas any more. So if you start your career with patents, it will be very difficult to do anything else afterwards.

But in patents, there are only two jobs: patent examiner and patent attorney. The EPO is basically the only provider of patent examiner jobs in Europe, so if they fire you after 5 years, that road is closed. Patent attorneys cannot absorb a significant number of recruits either. They never did, they are not going to change their policy when the office starts laying off people in significant numbers after 5 years. So, basically, after 5 years you are out of a job with no perspective.

Besides I don’t understand the need for the new policy. The EPO can already fire people at will, they even did so for a judge and some staff representatives.

Suffice to say, this is a recipe for disaster. There’s no substitute to the EPO in the form of UPC, there’s no imminent redemption for the appeal boards, and if things go along the same trajectory, patent backlog (queue) will have run out next year, rendering many examiners redundant. Short-term contracts serve to indicate that EPO management already has this expectation. The EPO is shrinking and growing irrelevant. Battistelli stole all the golden eggs (and many bonuses).

Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

Friday 17th of November 2017 10:32:41 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • 5 New & Powerful Dell Linux Machines You Can Buy Right Now

      The land of powerful PCs and workstations isn’t barren anymore when we talk about Linux-powered machines; even all of the world’s top 500 supercomputers now run Linux.

      Dell has joined hands with Canonical Inc. to give Linux-powered machines a push in the market. They have launched five new Canonical-certified workstations running Ubuntu Linux out-of-the-box as a part of the Dell Precision series. An advantage of buying these canonical-certified machines is that the users won’t have to worry about incompatibility with Linux.

    • How to set up a Pixelbook for programming

      The beauty of Chrome OS is that most of the “state” of your system is in the cloud, attached to your Google Account, but if you have any local documents those will be gone. This is because Developer Mode basically destroys the physically secure design of Chrome OS. Now you’re in Linux land, and local security is your job, not Google’s.

      Every time you boot up now, you’ll have the option to press Space bar and wipe the system again and return to the safety of vanilla Chrome OS. Press Ctrl-D to continue into the unknown.

  • Kernel Space
    • Broadcom Hurricane 2 & Allwinner R40 Supported By Linux 4.15

      More ARM platform upstreaming has taken place for the Linux 4.15 kernel development cycle among other ARM hardware improvements.

    • Intel Coffee Lake & Cannonlake Thermal Support In Linux 4.15

      While Intel Coffee Lake hardware is shipping already, a few bits of tardy kernel code for these “8th Gen Core” CPUs is only hitting the Linux 4.15 kernel. The Intel DRM driver is most notably enabling Coffee Lake graphics by default in 4.15, but there’s also some thermal code now landing among other changes now happening.

      Zhang Rui sent in the thermal updates for Linux 4.15 on Thursday and they include late additions for Coffee Lake but at the same time the relevant additions for Cannonlake that will be shipping in 2018 as the next-gen Intel CPUs.

    • AMDGPU DC Pull Request Submitted For Linux 4.15 Kernel – 132,395 Lines Of Code

      One day after submitting the main DRM feature pull request for Linux 4.15, David Airlie of Red Hat has submitted the secondary pull request that would feature the long-awaited introduction of AMDGPU DC into the mainline kernel.

    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • R600 Gallium3D Shader Image Support Lands, Other R600g Patches Pending

        As a follow-up to OpenGL 4.2 Support Could Soon Land For AMD Cayman GPUs On R600g, the patches have landed in Mesa 17.4-dev Git! Plus other R600g patches are on the mailing list for review.

        These shader image support patches for R600g expose OpenGL’s ARB_shader_image_size and ARB_shader_image_load_store for Radeon HD 5000/6000 series. In the process, this ends up taking Radeon HD 6900 “Cayman” GPUs to having OpenGL 4.2 compliance from 4.1 with the shader image support having been the last blocker. Other GPUs on R600g remain at OpenGL 3.3 due to lacking FP64 support, as outlined more extensively in that previous article.

      • GeForce GTX 900 Series Re-Clocking Patches Updated By Karol Herbst

        Frequent Nouveau open-source NVIDIA driver contributor Karol Herbst has posted his latest patch series in working towards GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell 2″ graphics processor re-clocking.

      • 25 More AMDGPU DC Patches, Mostly Focused On Raven DCN

        DCN in this context is for current the DCN 1.0 Raven Ridge family of display engines. The just-launched Vega+Zen APUs feature a new display engine and that’s what this DCN code is for, which is also under a separate Kconfig tunable from the rest of AMDGPU DC.

    • Benchmarks
      • Linux File-System Benchmarks On The Intel Optane 900P SSD

        Earlier this week I presented out initial Linux benchmarks of the Intel Optane 900P SSD with this 3D XPoint memory U.2 solid-state drive delivering incredible performance figures. Those tests were done with EXT4 while in this article are more tests with other mainline Linux file-systems and also testing some of the different mount options.

      • Some reading

        I’ve complained previously about disliking benchmarking. More generally, I’m not really a fan of performance analysis. I always feel like I get stuck at coming up with an approach to “it’s going slower, why” beyond the basics. I watched a video of Brendan Gregg’s talk from kernel recipes, and ended up going down the black hole1 of reading his well written blog. He does a fantastic job of explaining performance analysis concepts as well as the practical tools to do the analysis. He wrote a book several years ago and I happily ordered it. The book explains how to apply the USE method to performance problems across the system. This was helpful to me because it provides a way to generate a list of things to check and how to check them. It addresses the “stuck” feeling I get when dealing with performance problems. The book also provides a good high level overview of operating systems concepts. I’m always looking for references for people who are interested in kernels but don’t know where to start and I think this book could fill a certain niche. Even if this book has been out for several years now, I was very excited to discover it.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Kubuntu 17.10 review – Hello darkness my old friend

        This must be one of the worst Kubuntu releases I’ve tried in a long time. Part of the fault lies with the parent distro, and the heartless switch to Gnome, which just shows that the passion to making Ubuntu an important desktop player is gone. This is just inertia and apathy. Still, there’s so much wrong with Kubuntu on its own that I feel like a total fool for investing my time in this effort. And it also proves that there is only one good release for every three, showing that distro teams are overstretched roughly by 300%. The whole fast-release bullshit is just the modern-era agile-crap nonsense. It helps no one. Shitty products serve no purpose. Being fast for the sake of it is like running head first into an industrial blender to have your outstretched arms finely chopped by spinning blades.

        Kubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark makes me sad. Makes me angry. Zesty was one of the finest distros ever created. This is one of the worst. That makes no sense. How can it be? Where’s the modicum of care and diligence to ensure this kind of stuff does not happen? Application crashes, kernel crashes, media bugs, weird artifacts. Horrible.

        My suggestion is not to upgrade for now. And even then, the foundation of your sanity is shaken. Come the upgrade, you do not know what will happen. You’re hostage to arbitrary code decisions. There’s no peace and stability in the Linux desktop. You will always have to dread the update process, not knowing what will break next. That is the essence of amateurism. And I’m right there, advocating Plasma and Kubuntu like the biggest of fools in this universe. Anyway, for the sake of public sacrifice, I’ll also check 17.10 in-vivo upgrades on other machines, but my expectations are low. Aardvark gets 4/10. Don’t bother for now, give it six months for the bugs to be fixed before a new release erases the slate and the cycle of depression starts again.

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Sees Some New KF5 Ports, Other Apps Dropped

        The beta of KDE Applications 17.12 is now available ahead of next month’s official debut for this quarterly update to the collection of official KDE programs.

        As previously covered, 17.12 is the point where only Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 apps will be included and any programs depending upon the older Qt4/KDE4 components will be dropped.

      • Applications 17.12 Pre-Beta available for testing with KDE neon Developer Stable branch edition

        Please join us in testing 17.12 pre-beta of KDE applications!

      • Akademy 2018 – Vienna, Austria – 11-17 August

        Vienna Calling! This is not only a song by the famous austrian singer Falco, but could also the motto for next years Akademy.

        In 2018 Akademy will be held at the University of Technology (TU Wien) in Vienna, Austria, from Saturday 11th to Friday 17th August.

        The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

        Akademy 2018 is being organized together with Fachschaft Informatik (FSINF). Apart from representing and counseling computer science students, they engage in diverse political topics e.g. FOSS, Privacy and social justice.

      • CI for Windows installer and macOS bundle generation: KDE Binary Factory

        For some time now the KDE community has had a separate Continuous Integration system running which repeatedly generates Windows installers and macOS app bundles (DMG) for a specific subset of KDE projects.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME’s Calendar & TODO Applications Are Looking Better For v3.28

        Adding to the growing list of changes for GNOME 3.28 are improvements to the Calendar and To Do applications by Georges Stavracas.

        Stavracas has been reworking the month view of GNOME Calendar and it’s looking much better, some applications for Calendar via libdazzle, and more.

  • Distributions
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Software taking over, but hardware still has a role: Linux expert

        Matthias Eckermann (below, right), director of product management for SUSE Linux Enterprise at the the Nuremberg-based company, said in response to queries from iTWire that software-defined infrastructure would bring about a change in existing business processes, and allow new business processes to be implemented.

        But he said this did not necessarily mean that hardware businesses were staring down the barrel at extinction.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • How to Get Started With the Ubuntu Linux Distro

            The Linux operating system has evolved from a niche audience to widespread popularity since its creation in the mid 1990s, and with good reason. Once upon a time, that installation process was a challenge, even for those who had plenty of experience with such tasks. The modern day Linux, however, has come a very long way. To that end, the installation of most Linux distributions is about as easy as installing an application. If you can install Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, you can install Linux.

            Here, we’ll walk you through the process of installing Ubuntu Linux 17.04, which is widely considered one of the most user-friendly distributions. (A distribution is a variation of Linux, and there are hundreds and hundreds to choose from.)

          • An ‘Ubuntu Unity Remix’ Might Be on the Way…

            A new Ubuntu flavor that uses the Unity 7 desktop by default is under discussion. The plans have already won backing from a former Unity developer.

          • Ubuntu News: Get Firefox Quantum Update Now; Ubuntu 18.04 New Icon Theme Confirmed

            Earlier this week, Mozilla earned big praises in the tech world for launching its next-generation Firefox Quantum 57.0 web browser. The browser claims to be faster and better than market leader Google Chrome.

            Now, Firefox Quantum is available for all supported Ubuntu versions from the official repositories. The Firefox Quantum Update is also now available.

          • New Icon Theme Confirmed for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            ‘Suru’ is (apparently) going to be the default icon theme in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. That’s Suru, the rebooted community icon theme and not Suru, the Canonical-created icon theme that shipped on the Ubuntu Phone (and was created by Matthieu James, who recently left Canonical).

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Source Networking Days: Think Globally, Collaborate Locally

    Something that we’ve learned at The Linux Foundation over the years is that there is just no substitute for periodic, in-person, face-to-face collaboration around the open source technologies that are rapidly changing our world. It’s no different for the open networking projects I work with as end users and their ecosystem partners grapple with the challenges and opportunities of unifying various open source components and finding solutions to accelerate network transformation. This fall, we decided to take The Linux Foundation networking projects (OpenDaylight, ONAP, OPNFV, and others) on the road to Europe and Japan by working with local site hosts and network operators to host Open Source Networking Days in Paris, Milan, Stockholm, London, Tel Aviv, and Yokohama.

  • The Open-Source Driving Simulator That Trains Autonomous Vehicles

    Self-driving cars are set to revolutionize transport systems the world over. If the hype is to be believed, entirely autonomous vehicles are about to hit the open road.

    The truth is more complex. The most advanced self-driving technologies work only in an extremely limited set of environments and weather conditions. And while most new cars will have some form of driver assistance in the coming years, autonomous cars that drive in all conditions without human oversight are still many years away.

    One of the main problems is that it is hard to train vehicles to cope in all situations. And the most challenging situations are often the rarest. There is a huge variety of tricky circumstances that drivers rarely come across: a child running into the road, a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the street, an accident immediately ahead, and so on.

  • Events
    • Fun with Le Potato

      At Linux Plumbers, I ended up with a Le Potato SBC. I hadn’t really had time to actually boot it up until now. They support a couple of distributions which seem to work fine if you flash them on. I mostly like SBCs for having actual hardware to test on so my interest tends to be how easily can I get my own kernel running.

      Most of the support is not upstream right now but it’s headed there. The good folks at BayLibre have been working on getting the kernel support upstream and have a tree available for use until then.

    • PyConf Hyderabad 2017

      In the beginning of October, I attended a new PyCon in India, PyConf Hyderabad (no worries, they are working on the name for the next year). I was super excited about this conference, the main reason is being able to meet more Python developers from India. We are a large country, and we certainly need more local conferences

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox Quantum Now Rolling Out to All Ubuntu Linux Users, Update Now

        It didn’t take long, and just two days after its official launch, the Mozilla Firefox Quantum web browser (version 57.0) landed today in the stable software repositories of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr).

        Firefox 57.0 a.k.a. Firefox Quantum is Mozilla’s latest and greatest web browser, offering speeds twice as fast as of previous releases, thanks to the implementation of an all-new Photon browsing engine that’s capable of leveraging the full potential of your personal computer, as well as a brand-new interface.

      • First Basilisk version released!

        This is the first public version of the Basilisk web browser, building on the new platform in development: UXP (code-named Möbius).

      • Pale Moon Project Rolls Out The Basilisk Browser Project

        The developers behind the Pale Moon web-browser that’s been a long standing fork of Firefox have rolled out their first public beta release of their new “Basilisk” browser technology.

        Basilisk is their new development platform based on their (Gecko-forked) Goanna layout engine and the Unified UXL Platform (UXP) that is a fork of the Mozilla code-base pre-Servo/Rust… Basically for those not liking the direction of Firefox with v57 rolling out the Quantum changes, etc.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • CMS
    • WordPress 4.9: This one’s for you, developers!

      WordPress 4.9 has debuted, and this time the world’s most popular content management system has given developers plenty to like.

      Some of the changes are arguably overdue: syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing and cutting custom HTML are neither scarce nor innovative. They’ll be welcomed arrival will likely be welcomed anyway, as will newly-granular roles and permissions for developers. The new release has also added version 4.2.6 of MediaElement.js, an upgrade that WordPress.org’s release notes stated has removed dependency on jQuery, improves accessibility, modernizes the UI, and fixes many bugs.”

    • New projects on Hosted Weblate
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Cilk Plus Is Being Dropped From GCC

      Intel deprecated Cilk Plus multi-threading support with GCC 7 and now for GCC 8 they are looking to abandon this support entirely.

      Cilk Plus only had full support introduced in GCC 5 while now for the GCC 8 release early next year it’s looking like it will be dropped entirely.

  • Licensing/Legal
  • Programming/Development
    • 5 open source fonts ideal for programming

      What is the best programming font? First, you need to consider that not all fonts are created equally. When choosing a font for casual reading, the reader expects the letters to smoothly flow into one another, giving an easy and enjoyable experience. A single character for a standard font is akin to puzzle piece designed to carefully mesh with every other part of the overall typeface.

      When writing code, however, your font requirements are typically more functional in nature. This is why most programmers prefer to use monospaced fonts with fixed-width letters, when given the option. Selecting a font that has distinguishable numbers and punctuation, is aesthetically pleasing, and has a copyright license that meets your needs is also important.

    • The power of open source: Why GitLab’s move to a Developer Certificate of Origin benefits the developer community

      Over the past few years, open source software has transformed the way enterprises operate and ship code. In an era where companies are striving to deliver the next best application, enterprises are turning to the sea of open source contributors to create projects faster and more effectively than ever before. For instance, 65 percent of companies surveyed in The Black Duck Future of Open Source Survey reveal they are contributing to open source projects – with 59 percent doing so to gain a competitive edge. As open source continues to have a positive influence on software development, it’s important for developers to continue to participate in and contribute to open source projects.

    • What Is Teletype For Atom? How To Code With Fellow Developers In Real Time?

      In a short period of three years, GitHub’s open source code editor has become one of the most popular options around. In our list of top text editors for Linux, Atom was featured at #2. From time to time, GitHub keeps adding new features to this tool to make it even better. Just recently, with the help of Facebook, GitHub turned Atom into a full-fledged IDE.

      As GitHub is known to host some of the world’s biggest open source collaborative projects, it makes perfect sense to add the collaborative coding ability to Atom. To make this possible, “Teletype for Atom” has just been announced.

Leftovers
  • Twitter: Our blue check marks aren’t just about “verification”

    A Twitter rules update rolled out on Wednesday to address the site’s “verification” system, and it attached a new set of standards to any user whose account receives a “blue check mark.”

    Twitter’s “verification” system is used to confirm accounts of celebrities and other accounts of “public interest.” However, the feature has long straddled a blurry line between identity confirmation and “elite” user status, especially since verified accounts receive heightened visibility and perks such as content filters. That issue returned to the headlines last week when Twitter gave a blue check mark to white nationalist Jason Kessler. Kessler is best known as an organizer of the Unite The Right white-supremacist rally, but before then, he had racked up a significant record of online hate propagation, particularly with anti-Semitic rhetoric about “cultural Marxism.”

  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • Google investigators find hackers swipe nearly 250,000 passwords a week

      Hackers are constantly trying to break into Google accounts, so Google researchers spent a year tracing how hackers steal passwords and expose them on the internet’s black market.

      To gather hard evidence about the tools hackers use to swipe passwords, Google collaborated with University of California Berkeley cybersecurity experts to track activity on some of these markets. On Thursday, they published their results.

    • Time Will Tell if the New Vulnerabilities Equities Process Is a Step Forward for Transparency

      The White House has released a new and apparently improved Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP), showing signs that there will be more transparency into the government’s knowledge and use of zero day vulnerabilities. In recent years, the U.S. intelligence community has faced questions about whether it “stockpiles” vulnerabilities rather than disclosing them to affected companies or organizations, and this scrutiny has only ramped up after groups like the Shadow Brokers have leaked powerful government exploits. According to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce, the form of yesterday’s release and the revised policy itself are intended to highlight the government’s commitment to transparency because it’s “the right thing to do.”

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Quad9 Secure DNS Service Embeds IBM Security Intelligence
    • New “Quad9” DNS service blocks malicious domains for everyone

      The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA)—an organization founded by law enforcement and research organizations to help reduce cyber-crime—has partnered with IBM and Packet Clearing House to launch a free public Domain Name Service system. That system is intended to block domains associated with botnets, phishing attacks, and other malicious Internet hosts—primarily targeted at organizations that don’t run their own DNS blacklisting and whitelisting services. Called Quad9 (after the 9.9.9.9 Internet Protocol address the service has obtained), the service works like any other public DNS server (such as Google’s), except that it won’t return name resolutions for sites that are identified via threat feeds the service aggregates daily.

    • The Internet of Shit is so manifestly insecure that people are staying away from it in droves
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • [Ubuntu] Security Team Weekly Summary: November 16, 2017
    • Hacking Blockchain with Smart Contracts to Control a Botnet

      Blockchain has been hailed by some in the technology industry as a potential method to help improve cyber security. However, security researcher Majid Malaika warns that Blockchain can potentially be abused to enable a new form of botnet that would be very difficult to take down.

      Malaika detailed his Blockchain-powered botnet in a session at the SecTor security conference on Nov. 15. The overall attack method has been dubbed “Botract” by Malaika, as it abuses inherent functionality in the smart contracts that help to enable Blockchain.

    • What Can The Philosophy of Unix Teach Us About Security?
    • Kaspersky blames NSA hack on infected Microsoft software

      Embattled computer security firm Kaspersky Lab said Thursday that malware-infected Microsoft Office software and not its own was to blame for the hacking theft of top-secret US intelligence materials.

      Adding tantalizing new details to the cyber-espionage mystery that has rocked the US intelligence community, Kaspersky also said there was a China link to the hack.

    • Investigation Report for the September 2014 Equation malware detection incident in the US

      In early October, a story was published by the Wall Street Journal alleging Kaspersky Lab software was used to siphon classified data from an NSA employee’s home computer system. Given that Kaspersky Lab has been at the forefront of fighting cyberespionage and cybercriminal activities on the Internet for over 20 years now, these allegations were treated very seriously. To assist any independent investigators and all the people who have been asking us questions whether those allegations were true, we decided to conduct an internal investigation to attempt to answer a few questions we had related to the article and some others that followed it:

    • Kaspersky: Clumsy NSA leak snoop’s PC was packed with malware

      Kaspersky Lab, the US government’s least favorite computer security outfit, has published its full technical report into claims Russian intelligence used its antivirus tools to steal NSA secrets.

      Last month, anonymous sources alleged that in 2015, an NSA engineer took home a big bunch of the agency’s cyber-weapons to work on them on his home Windows PC, which was running the Russian biz’s antimalware software – kind of a compliment when you think about it. The classified exploit code and associated documents on the personal system were then slurped by Kremlin spies via his copy of Kaspersky antivirus, it was claimed.

  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Why Everyone Should Do What WikiLeaks Did

      By far the best thing about the WikiLeaks-Don Jr. controversy has been watching the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC who spent a year and a half priming everyone for President Hillary now saying, “Ha! WikiLeaks claims they’re a legitimate news organization, and yet here they are, advancing an agenda!”
      WikiLeaks has an agenda. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t exist. I have an agenda, too. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t write. And I’ll tell you right now that if I had the ear of the US president’s son, I would most certainly use it to advance my agenda.

    • Free Press Group Ready to Cut Off WikiLeaks

      In the heat of the presidential election campaign last year, Xeni Jardin, a journalist and free speech advocate, developed a sickening feeling about WikiLeaks.

      Jardin had been a supporter of the radical transparency group since at least 2010, when it published hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and State Department documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. In 2012, Jardin was a founding member of the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit established as a censorship-proof conduit for donations to WikiLeaks after PayPal and U.S. credit card companies imposed a financial blockade on the site.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Ageing Satellites Put Crucial Sea Ice Climate Record at Risk

      The final probe in the series, the unlaunched F-20, was dismantled last year after Congress stopped funding the programme.

    • The U.S. is now the only country not part of Paris climate agreement after Syria signs on

      “As if it wasn’t already crystal clear, every single other country in the world is moving forward together to tackle the climate crisis, while Donald Trump has isolated the United States on the world stage in an embarrassing and dangerous position,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune told EcoWatch, in response to Syria’s move.

    • New Zealand’s new leader: We must be ready for ‘climate refugees’

      “We need to acknowledge that we are, unless we make dramatic changes, at the front of seeing refugees as a result of climate change,” Arden told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview, her first since taking office last Thursday.

    • Keystone pipeline shut down after spilling 5,000 barrels of oil in South Dakota

      The Keystone oil pipeline spilled more than 5,000 barrels of oil on Thursday before workers took it offline, a large spill that comes days before operators hope to secure a key permit for a sister project.

      A TransCanada crew shut down the Keystone pipeline at 6 a.m. Thursday morning after detecting an oil leak along the line, the company said in a statement. The leak was detected along a stretch of pipeline about 35 miles south of a pumping station in Marshall County, South Dakota.

      TransCanada estimates the pipeline leaked 5,000 barrels of oil, or about 210,000 gallons, before going offline. The company said it shut off the pipeline within 15 minutes of discovering the leak, and it’s working with state regulators and the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to assess the situation.

    • We Are Still In: Local US Reps Stand for Climate Action in Bonn

      A US Climate Action Center has been set up for delegates in Bonn, representing the climate change priorities of several thousand US cities, states, tribes and businesses. Corporate giants Mars, Walmart and Citi are expected to push for action on climate change. The center is in lieu of an official US presence—for the first time, the US government won’t have a pavilion at the annual UN climate summit.

    • STUDY: 95% of plastic in the sea comes from 10 rivers

      Top ten most polluted lakes

      Yangtze River, Yellow Sea, Asia
      Indus River, Arabian Sea, Asia
      Yellow River (Huang He), Yellow Sea, Asia
      Hai River, Yellow Sea, Asia
      Nile, Mediterranean Sea, Africa
      Meghna/Bramaputra/Ganges, Bay of Bengal, Asia
      Pearl River (Zhujiang), South China Sea, Asia
      Amur River (Heilong Jiang), Sea of Okhotsk, Asia
      Niger River, Gulf of Guinea, Africa
      Mekong River, South China Sea, Asia
      Plastic is an integral component of modern society, but this “miracle material” has a downside.

    • The Big Game killing field: Sickening bloodlust of trophy hunters who kill endangered animals for sport exposed

      A trophy hunter poses with pride beside the young elephant he has just killed. Philip Glass shows no remorse and even boasts: “God says we have dominion over the animals . That means we can do what we choose with them.”

      He is so convinced of his divine right to shoot big game, he also agreed to be filmed hunting a lion and hippo in South Africa for shocking new film Trophy.

    • UK and Canada lead global alliance against coal

      The UK and Canada have launched a global alliance of 20 countries committed to phasing out coal for energy production.

      Members including France, Finland and Mexico, say they will end the use of coal before 2030.

      Ministers hope to have 50 countries signed up by the time of the next major UN conference in Poland next year.

      However some important coal consuming nations, including China, the US and Germany have not joined the group.

      Reducing global coal use is a formidable challenge, as the fuel produces around 40% of the world’s electricity at present.

  • Finance
    • Spinning E-Commerce as Rust Belt’s Salvation

      Times are tough in Middle America, but the New York Times (10/22/17) says there’s hope on the horizon—conveniently packaged in the economic boom of e-commerce. The paper’s reporting, unfortunately, avoids confronting the insecurity inherent in relying on retail conglomerates for long-term work.

    • ‘There’s All Kinds of People Who Have Their Snouts in the Trough Here’

      Establishment media cover poverty sometimes, sometimes in a compassionate and compelling way. And they cover wealth and the rich, sometimes, sometimes in a thoughtful and critical way. When the discussion called for is about the relationship between the two, the limits of media’s spotlight approach are salient. Such a case may be presented by the Paradise Papers, a trove of some 13 million documents leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, that describes various tax-hiding and avoidance schemes used by politicians and celebrities, along with corporations.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Experts Question Role of Data Mining Firms in Kenya’s Annulled Election

      Owned in part by the influential Mercer family, U.S.-based billionaires and political donors, Cambridge Analytica compiles demographic information to build vast databases of voter profiles. It then delivers personalized advertisements to key voters in an attempt to sway them.

    • Worker describes experience in Russian troll [sic] factory

      Vitaly Bespalov, 26, told NBC News that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in St. Petersburg, Russia, employed hundreds of workers around the clock to produce inflammatory political propaganda during the time of the election.

    • As the Russiagate Investigation Builds Momentum, Trump’s Allies Attack the CIA

      Page’s testimony, all 200-plus pages of it, is popcorn-worthy entertainment, with him denying, obfuscating, and prevaricating under intense questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the HPSCI.

    • It looks like Jeff Sessions committed perjury
    • Minutes

      But George Papadopoulos’s guilty plea indicates that there were attempts in the Trump campaign to arrange a meeting with Putin, and that Sessions was aware of them. As CNN reports this morning, “The chairman of Trump’s national security team, then Alabama Senator and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, shut down the idea of a Putin meeting at the March 31, 2016, gathering, according to the source. His reaction was confirmed with another source who had discussed Sessions’s role.”

    • A Minneapolis Socialist Thanks the Local Paper for Not Endorsing Her

      Ginger Jentzen, an anti-establishment candidate for City Council, makes a critique of local media part of her campaign.

    • Donna Brazile wanted to replace Clinton with Joe Biden as Democratic nominee: Report

      Brazile first made headlines on Thursday after she published an op-ed in which she said Clinton’s campaign had exerted total control over the DNC since as early as August 2015, and that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was hardly treated fairly.

    • Elizabeth Warren: “Yes” The Democratic Primary Was Rigged For Clinton
    • Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC
    • Revealed: Ukip whistleblowers raised fears about Breitbart influence on Brexit
    • The Trump Administration Wants to Sell a Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to Big Oil
    • Why Trump’s Executive Order Is Targeting the Environment
    • Trump move stirs debate over Utah monuments

      On one side, Native American groups and environmentalists expressed anger and are ready to sue the U.S. government. On the other, conservative-leaning residents welcomed the decision, seeing it as a reversal of government overreach and a boost for traditional [sic] industries like drilling, mining and grazing.

    • Trump judge nominee, 36, who has never tried a case, wins approval of Senate panel

      Brett J. Talley, President Trump’s nominee to be a federal judge in Alabama, has never tried a case, was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Assn.’s judicial rating committee, has practiced law for only three years and, as a blogger last year, displayed a degree of partisanship unusual for a judicial nominee, denouncing “Hillary Rotten Clinton” and pledging support for the National Rifle Assn.

      On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote, approved him for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

    • Another Special Counsel? The right way forward to investigate the real scandal of the US Presidential election

      To understand their importance it is necessary to go the recent article by Joe Lauria – in my opinion the single most important article anyone has written about Russiagate, and one which the Huffington Post disgracefully has sought to suppress – and a further article by Mike Whitney, which goes over the same ground though in rather more detail, and which is based on (as it admits) on Joe Lauria’s article.

      Many things that are actually said about investigations are simply not true. By way of example, it is very rare for motive to be a good or reliable guide to establishing the perpetrator of a crime.

      However “follow the money” is one of those things which is commonly said about investigations which in the great majority of cases is actually true. In this case the money does not point either to Moscow or to Donald Trump; it points to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

    • Kushner working with temporary security clearance in the White House
    • It Is Time to Impeach the President

      “Given the magnitude of this constitutional crisis, there’s no reason to delay,” Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen said this week, as he and a group of colleagues announced five articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.

      The Tennessee Democrat, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, explained: “There are already sufficient facts in the public record that warrant the start of impeachment proceedings in Congress.”

      Cohen is correct in this assessment. And he is correct when he says, “The train of injuries to our Constitution must be brought to an end.”

    • Alabama Senate poll: Jones opens up lead over Moore

      Democrat Doug Jones has opened up an eight-point lead in the US Senate race in Alabama amid multiple sexual abuse allegations against Republican Roy Moore, according to a new Fox News poll released Thursday.
      Jones leads Moore by 50 to 42% among likely voters in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions when he became US attorney general, now less than a month away.

    • The Pathological Refusal to Report the Simple Truth About Presidential Lying

      It is a truism to say that everyone lies to someone. Since public officials entrusted with power in our democracy are no exception to this human trait—as historical research documents—it should be exceedingly acceptable to point out that all politicians, from your local city council right up to the White House, lie as well. The Framers afforded the press special constitutional protection in large part to ensure that such lies would not reach the public unchallenged.

      Tragically, one of the most honest rhetorical tools that journalists have in the fight for truth has been struck from the lingua franca of US journalists. Within the stilted framework of mainstream news “objectivity,” the simple act of calling out “lies” or “lying” by a politician—especially a president—is now taboo. It imputes impossible-to-determine motives to those accused, the thinking goes, so the use of these words to identify a documented falsehood is now considered controversial, partisan, inflammatory, unfair.

      Last fall, NPR editorial director Michael Oreskes constructed his own Orwellian logic to defend his news organization’s refusal to use “liar,” asserting that the word constitutes “an angry tone” of “editorializing” that “confirms opinions” (FAIR.org, 3/1/17). In January, Maggie Haberman, one of the New York Times’ preeminent political reporters, said much the same, claiming that her job was “showing when something untrue is said. Our job is not to say ‘lied.’”

    • Cards Against Humanity’s Trolling Of Trump’s Border Wall Shows How The Internet Has Removed Gatekeepers

      I suppose because too many of my fellow citizens in America have devolved into hyper-partisan rage-beacons, I have to issue the following stupid caveat that I shouldn’t have to issue at all: this post is not a commentary on Trump’s border wall policy. Great. I’m sure that will keep our comments free and clear of anyone insisting otherwise. With that being said, a common topic we discuss here is how one of the chief benefits of the internet is how it has removed gatekeepers that have long stood in the way of new businesses, or have governed how established businesses do their business. Typically, we have focused on the former, detailing how the internet has allowed for new players in everything from the entertainment industry to products that would have previously existed solely at the pleasure of brick and mortar retail stores.

    • Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels

      President Trump and his son-in-law bet that the young Saudi crown prince could execute a plan to reshape the Mideast, but the scheme quickly unraveled revealing a dangerous amateur hour, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    • William Hartung on Nuclear Overkill, Karen Orenstein on Climate Disconnect

      The opinion column in Scientific American headlined “The Caveman and the Bomb” conveys, just a little more colorfully, the sense one got from the Senate hearing on the process involved in the use of a nuclear weapon. Put simply, folks are scared that Donald Trump may not understand the difference between threats to “rain fire and fury” on the people of North Korea and the devastating reality of nuclear war. But while we’re talking about the dangers of Trump having his hand on the figurative button, we should also be asking why we maintain a world-ending arsenal at all. We’ll hear from William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, about what drives nuclear-weapons production.

    • Guardian, NYT Paint Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator as Roguish, Visionary ‘Reformer’

      Two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a brutal crackdown on his political opponents, arresting dozens of high-ranking relatives, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, and seeing eight of his political rivals die in a convenient helicopter crash. The “consolidation of power” by the de facto Saudi ruler comes as his government ramps up its siege of Yemen and gets even closer to its US sponsor, thanks to a Trump’s dopey love affair with—and direct assistance of—the regime.

      The cynical plan has been met, in some media quarters, with condemnation, but for many in the Western press, Mohammed’s self-serving power grab is the action of a bold “reformer,” a roguish bad boy doing the messy but essential work of “reforming” the kingdom—the “anti-corruption” pretext of the purge largely repeated without qualification.

      [...]

      The article painted the “consolidation of power” by Mohammed as an inevitability with broad support—using the dubious “reform” narrative without irony. With Guardian editors again painting Mohammed as a populist hero by insisting he “upended” “previously untouchable ultra-elite,” one is left to wonder why they don’t consider the absolute-monarch-in-waiting—who just bought a $590 million yacht—part of the “ultra elite.” It’s a curious framing that reeks more of PR than journalism.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Block Porn or Be Blocked, Indonesia Warns Google, Twitter

      Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and a host of companies have been put on notice by Indonesian Communications Minister Rudiantara, who warned that “all platforms” now face serious consequences if they don’t adhere to government requests to block content.

    • Roy Moore’s Threat Letter To Sue The Press Is An Artform In Bad Lawyering

      By now it’s become something of a pattern over the past few months, after many of the recent accusations come out about sexual harassment, abuse (or worse), lawyers representing the powerful men accused of such horrible acts threaten or promise to sue, often on incredibly flimsy reasons. In most cases, no such lawsuits will ever be filed. This is, in part, because the accusers know they have no case and in part because they know that if the case gets that far, going through discovery is likely to backfire big time. But, of course, for decades people have (often falsely) believed that in place of a real basis for making a legal threat, pure bluster will suffice.

      The bluster in these letters is often impressive, but we have a new entrant that I think may quickly shoot to the top of the list. Roy Moore, of course, was the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, which would lead you to believe he knows a lot of good lawyers. And, yet, somehow, he ended up with Trenton Garmon. Garmon made some news earlier this week when he went on CNN with Don Lemon and called him “Don Lemon Squeezy Keep It Easy” But then he followed it up by sending one of the most profoundly ridiculous threat letters we’ve ever seen to the Alabama Media Group, the publisher of al.com, which has been reporting on Moore. You can click the link, or see it embedded below. It’s fairly astounding. Beyond the poor grammar and the typos, it makes no sense.

    • Censorship of music: who gets to sing in Belarus?

      While the particular reasons for banning a musical show in Belarus change from event to event, the possibility of concerts taking place unchangeably depends on the authorities.

      The official motivation of concerts’ cancellation often refers to extremism, the “low quality of lyrics,” or logistical obstacles such as overlaps with other events. Although excuses vary, there exists a clear pattern: Belarusian authorities attempt to restrain musicians for social and political reasons.

    • Russian Duma Approves Bill Restricting Foreign Journalists

      In other media news, the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament has approved legislation to require foreign journalists to register as foreign agents and declare details about their funding and finances. Amnesty International described the vote as a serious blow to press freedom in Russia. The vote comes shortly after the United States forced the international Russian broadcaster RT to register as foreign agents.

    • Bisexual student criticized radical Islam. Guess what happened next …

      MacDonald, who has since transferred out of UT San Antonio to study at another college, said the affair is indicative of a larger problem.

    • Meet the sheriff who threatened to arrest someone for anti-Trump sticker on their car

      “I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck as it is often seen along FM 359,” he wrote on Facebook. “If you know who owns this truck or it is yours, I would like to discuss it with you. Our Prosecutor has informed us she would accept Disorderly Conduct charges regarding it, but I feel we could come to an agreement regarding a modification to it.”

      The easily-offended Nehls, himself reportedly considering a run for political office, has a problem: the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to upset the delicate feelings of public officials like him and president Trump — even if the words are naughty.

    • China Denies Claims Of Online Information Censorship
    • China calls for ‘orderly’ internet in half-baked effort to defend online censorship
    • China named world’s worst abuser of internet freedom again

      The key point: Chinese officials, some of who have warned for years of “hostile foreign forces” using the internet to subvert China, believe they have found the solution to managing the political risks from the internet while harnessing its economic and technological power. The interference in the U.S. presidential election process by Russia, a “hostile foreign force” to America, only strengthens their resolve.

    • Court Rules Platforms Can Defend Users’ Free Speech Rights, But Fails to Follow Through on Protections for Anonymous Speech

      A decision by a California appeals court on Monday recognized that online platforms can fight for their users’ First Amendment rights, though the decision also potentially makes it easier to unmask anonymous online speakers.

      Yelp v. Superior Court grew out of a defamation case brought in 2016 by an accountant who claims that an anonymous Yelp reviewer defamed him and his business. When the accountant subpoenaed Yelp for the identity of the reviewer, Yelp refused and asked the trial court to toss the subpoena on grounds that the First Amendment protected the reviewer’s anonymity.

    • How North Koreans bypass media censorship

      Kim recently told delegates in Germany about his work, speaking at a site intricately linked with the history of political persecution: Berlin’s Hohenschönhausen Memorial, a former Soviet secret police prison and later remand center for the East German secret police, the Stasi.

      A site “with walls and fences,” just like his native North Korea, 56-year-old Kim told the audience.

    • Censorship blues

      Two reports unhappily complement each other. In “Anti-coup elements in the crosshairs”, Thai authorities boast “that many [with dissenting opinions] have already been detained”, solidly confirming the Freedom House report that Thailand’s internet freedom of speech has been downgraded to “not free”.

      The ruling politicians making up a rule of law to force their agenda on the nation plainly do not want and are not willing to allow Thai citizens to understand or even be aware of matters of great importance to the Thai nation, the sole reason for such censorship against free speech being to enforce ignorance on the censored topics so that lawful opinion is untested, unchecked, unsubstantiated, and hence worthless.

    • EU anti-fake news authority prepares mass censorship

      The European Union (EU) is launching the construction of an authority to monitor and censor so-called fake news. It is setting up a High-Level Expert Group on the issue and soliciting criticisms of fake news by media professionals and the public to decide what powers to give to this EU body, which is to begin operation next spring. An examination of the EU’s announcement shows that it is preparing mass state censorship aimed not at false information, but at news reports or political views that encourage popular opposition to the European ruling class.

    • Professor Says Threats Of Retaliation By China Stopped Publication Of His Book Revealing Chinese Influence In Australia

      It’s a little hard to see how an entire nation might sue successfully for defamation, but that’s not the point. Once again, the mere threat of litigation was enough to cause someone — in this case a publisher — to self-censor. Interestingly, the ABC News article notes that the Australian government is expected to unveil soon new legislation to counter foreign interference in the country, which suggests that it is becoming a serious problem. We can expect more such attempts to censor overseas sources of information it doesn’t like from the increasingly self-confident and intransigent China.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • What the Founders Would Say About Cellphone Surveillance

      On Nov. 29, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in an important case called Carpenter v. United States. Although the question in the case may feel very modern — whether government agents can obtain the location data generated by cellphones without a warrant — history can tell us a lot about how the court should answer that question.

      The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” The amendment arose from the Founders’ concern that the newly constituted federal government would try to expand its powers and undermine rights that were guaranteed to Americans by the common law and their state constitutions. Based on experience, they knew that equipping government officers with unfettered discretion to search and seize would be a formidable means of oppressing “the people.”

      Prior to the American Revolution, British subjects in the colonies and in England had lived with threats posed by “general warrants.” Unlike contemporary search warrants — which require probable cause, judicial approval, and limits on the place to be searched and the things to be seized — general warrants gave government agents license to search wherever they pleased, no matter their reasons, with impunity. And because the king’s ministers could issue general warrants on their own authority, these devices also opened the door to unchecked executive power.

      This, of course, was a recipe for abuse.

    • FBI Acts Like It’s Still 1960 With Its Report On ‘Black Identity Extremists’

      We already knew Jeff Sessions was a throwback. The new head of the DOJ rolled back civil rights investigations by the agency while calling for harsher penalties and longer jail terms for drug-related crimes, while re-opening the door for asset forfeiture abuse with his rollback of Obama-era policy changes.

      But it’s more than just the new old-school DOJ. The FBI is just as regressive. Under its new DOJ leadership, the FBI (inadvertently) published some speculative Blue Lives Matter fanfic [PDF] — an “Intelligence Assessment” entitled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Police Officers.”

      There’s no hedging in the title, despite what the word “likely” usually insinuates. According to the FBI, this means there’s an 80-95% chance it believes its own spin.

    • European Court Ruling Could Recognize Mass Surveillance Violates Human Rights

      The European Court of Human Rights last week held a hearing in a challenge to the United Kingdom’s mass surveillance practices, brought by the ACLU, Privacy International, Liberty, and seven other human rights organizations from around the world.

      The case challenges practices, revealed by Edward Snowden, that breach the rights to privacy and freedom of expression, which are guaranteed not only under U.S. domestic law, but also under international human rights law.

    • EFF Urges DHS to Abandon Social Media Surveillance and Automated “Extreme Vetting” of Immigrants

      EFF is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to end its programs of social media surveillance and automated “extreme vetting” of immigrants. Together, these programs have created a privacy-invading integrated system to harvest, preserve, and data-mine immigrants’ social media information, including use of algorithms that sift through posts using vague criteria to help determine who to admit or deport.

      EFF today joined a letter from the Brennan Center for Justice, Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology, and more than 50 other groups urging DHS to immediately abandon its self-described “Extreme Vetting Initiative.”Also, EFF’s Peter Eckersley joined a letter from more than 50 technology experts opposing this program. This follows EFF’s participation last month in comments from the Center for Democracy & Technology and dozens of other advocacy groups urging DHS to stop retaining immigrants’ social media information in a government record-keeping system called “Alien Files” (A-files).

    • Here’s How People Can Read Your Deleted WhatsApp Messages — Curse This Flaw
    • No boundaries: Exfiltration of personal data by session-replay scripts

      You may know that most websites have third-party analytics scripts that record which pages you visit and the searches you make. But lately, more and more sites use “session replay” scripts. These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers. Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.

    • The Brutal Fight to Mine Your Data and Sell It to Your Boss
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Young people are confusing flirting with abuse
    • Feminist Denial Of Biological Sex Difs: A Big Scoop Of Govt.-Funded Fairy Tale On “Mean Girls”
    • Alabama task force performs drug raid, man dies. Officials take his home, split the proceeds.

      Yes, they took the family home. The police did apparently fine some cocaine and about $18,000 in cash in the house. But they never proved the family had anything to do with the drugs, or that the home was bought with drugs. They didn’t need to. They needed only to allege the most spurious of connections, and finding the drugs and the house was more than enough. The family hired an attorney with their life insurance money to try to keep the house. They lost. Then this happened:

    • Those Mangled Bikes

      However, until we are honest about Islam — until we stop pretending it is “a religion of peace,” which is it the antithesis of — we will not be able to do anything about it.

    • Britain blasted for ‘discriminating AGAINST Christians fleeing Islamic State’ in Syria [Ed: Hate-spewing media pretends that only people whose religion is Christianity can be trusted]

      Of 8,136 given shelter in the UK in 2015 and 2016, only 70 were Christians. A mere 22 were Yazadis, a religious group that combines Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

    • Online protests as Iranian Zoroastrian councillor suspended
    • Uber, Lyft ban right-wing activist after anti-Islamic tweets
    • Uber, Lyft ban far-right commentator after anti-Muslim tweets

      She also wrote she was taking legal action against Uber after a driver reportedly named Mohammed allegedly wouldn’t take her to her hotel after he overheard her talking about the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.

    • Bangladeshi Man Convicted Of Raping Elderly Nun In Bengal
    • Muslims decry ‘double standard’ after attacks

      Having to denounce an act committed in the name of their faith is a double standard, say Muslim leaders, who reluctantly step into that role even as other groups aren’t asked to do the same.

    • Philippines’ Duterte to Trump: ‘Lay off’ human rights when we meet
    • Men: The Imprisoned Rape Victims Who Don’t Matter

      Simply put: I am for defending the rights of all people who have them violated. Whether they are male or female is immaterial. If you’re human and your rights are violated, you’re of concern to me.

    • Indonesia delivers supplies to villages after Papua rebels’ threat to Freeport

      More recently, Freeport, the world’s largest publicly listed copper producer, has been grappling with labour problems at Grasberg and a mine rights dispute with Indonesia.

    • Indonesia Ruling Lifts Blasphemy Prosecution Threat to Religious Minorities

      All Indonesians must obtain a national ID card at age 17 and are required to apply for official documents including birth, marriage, and death certificates. For decades, the religious identity category of national ID cards and their implicit blasphemy prosecution threat for officially unrecognized religions have led some members of those communities to avoid applying for ID cards, depriving themselves of essential state services. Some local governments have imposed even more onerous discriminatory rules restricting religious minorities’ access to ID cards. In June, representatives of the Ahmadiyah community in Manislor district in West Java’s Kuningan regency filed a formal complaint against a local government requirement that they renounce their faith to obtain a national ID card.

    • Some Indonesians Fear Country’s Religious Intolerance Is Growing

      He said, people should not be fooled by politicians who say Muslims can only vote for Muslim candidates. Hard-line Muslim groups accused Ahok of blasphemy, of insulting Islam. And he was put on trial during the campaign.

    • One in five Indonesian students support Islamic caliphate: survey

      Nearly 20 percent of high school and university students in Indonesia support the establishment of a caliphate in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country over the current secular government, a new survey showed this week.

    • British woman arrested for drug trafficking in Egypt

      Family members told the Sun that Miss Plummer, 33, signed a 38-page statement in Arabic thinking it would lead to her release, but instead she has been kept in a cell with 25 other women for nearly a month.

      They also say they have been told she could face up to 25 years in prison, or even the death penalty.

    • Egyptian lawyer says it’s a national duty to rape girls who wear revealing clothing like ripped jeans

      The comments come after the Egyptian capital of Cairo was last month branded the “most dangerous” megacity for women in the first international poll which looked at how women fare in cities with over ten million people. Women’s rights campaigners in the city say this stems from deeply entrenched centuries-old traditions of discrimination there and women having limited access to good healthcare, education, and finance.

    • DNAinfo and Gothamist Are Shut Down After Vote to Unionize

      A week ago, reporters and editors in the combined newsroom of DNAinfo and Gothamist, two of New York City’s leading digital purveyors of local news, celebrated victory in their vote to join a union.

      On Thursday, they lost their jobs, as Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who owned the sites, shut them down

    • Locals claim six youths and a cleric were instigators

      Alamgir and Julfikar also reportedly used the loudspeakers of the mosques to spread hateful messages.

    • Arabian nightmares: How women from Punjab end up in ‘Gulf of slavery’

      It’s like someone died. But Gurbaksh Kaur — crying intermittently as relatives hug her — insists it’s her second birth. She returned from Saudi Arabia on November 4 after three months of “torture” while working for a family there. She’s crying because the fate of her daughter, Reena, 21, wasn’t known till two days ago.

    • The troubling spread of plea-bargaining from America to the world

      Mr Banks is not alone in pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit. Of the 149 Americans absolved of crimes in 2015, 65 had pleaded guilty. The Innocence Project, an organisation that uses DNA evidence to re-examine convictions, has proven the innocence of 300-odd people, most of them convicted for rape and murder. At least 30 had pleaded guilty. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, a collaboration between several law schools, a quarter of Americans cleared of murder between 1989 and 2012 had confessed. But such figures only hint at the scale of the problem. Often, plea bargains are conditional on giving up the right to challenge a conviction later. And exoneration efforts focus on serious crimes, where sentences are long and there is more likely to be forensic evidence.

    • Islamist Rally Cripples Life in Pakistani Capital

      Charged protesters are demanding the federal government immediately remove Law Minister Zahid Hamid for allegedly pushing a constitutional amendment favoring Pakistan’s persecuted Ahmadi religious minority.

    • Remembering Operation Torch on its 75th anniversary
    • Religious code of conduct adopted at German university after complaints about Muslim students

      The University of Hamburg has imposed a new religious code of conduct for its students. It reportedly comes after numerous complaints about Muslim students praying loudly in the library and crowding the bathrooms to wash their feet.

    • Woman Murdered by Boyfriend for Refusing to Convert to Islam and Marry
    • New Turkish marriage law prompts fears of child weddings

      Turkey has passed a new law to allow Islamic muftis to conduct civil marriage ceremonies, a move which liberal critics say undermines Turkey’s secular constitution and opens the door for child marriages.

    • French politicians protest over Muslim street prayers in Paris

      About 100 French politicians have marched on a street in a Paris suburb in protest at Muslims holding Friday prayers in public.

    • Black men sentenced to more time for committing the exact same crime as a white person, study finds

      Black men who commit the same crimes as white men receive federal prison sentences that are, on average, nearly 20 percent longer, according to a new report on sentencing disparities from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC).

      These disparities were observed “after controlling for a wide variety of sentencing factors,” including age, education, citizenship, weapon possession and prior criminal history.

    • Georgia Is Fighting to Keep Its Laws Secret — Unless You Pay

      For more than three decades, the state of Georgia has charged anyone who wants to see its official state law hundreds of dollars for that privilege. Now the state is suing the non-profit website that purchased a copy of that official compilation and put it on the internet for the public to see.

      The problem with all of this? Knowing the law is a right, not a privilege.

    • Racist Sheriffs Are Reapplying to Be Part of Trump’s Deportation Force

      The federal program that delegates immigration enforcement duties to local police is about to expand to as many as 24 additional jurisdictions across the country. The program, known as 287(g), deputizes state and local police to carry out federal immigration enforcement orders. After several years of decline, these arrangements are growing again under the Trump Administration.

      Sixty jurisdictions in 18 states have existing agreements under 287(g). This week Immigration and Customs Enforcement began the process of reviewing applications for 24 more jurisdictions, most of which have troubling civil rights records.

    • ACLU Poll Finds Americans Reject Trump’s Tough-on-Crime Approach

      In a rejection of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough-on-crime approach, a new ACLU poll finds that a large majority of Americans believe the criminal justice system is unjust and needs to be significantly reformed.

      Nine out of 10 Americans from across the political spectrum told our pollster that our criminal justice system needs fixing. This is an astounding number, but the results are even more impressive when you drill down into them. They show that criminal justice reform is a political issue the American people care about.

    • Federal Prison Illegally Bans Christian Head Scarves for Visitors Like Me

      Yes, some Christian women cover their heads for religious reasons. No, you can’t discriminate against them for it.

      See that woman in the photo to the right?

      That’s me, Audra Ragland, wearing one of my many head coverings. As a Christian, I’ve come to believe that Scripture requires me to cover my head in public to show my submission to, and reverence for, God. I wear my head covering everywhere.

      Last year, however, when I tried to visit my brother in the United States Penitentiary Atlanta, a prison officer demanded I remove my headscarf before entering the visitation area. According to the officer, the headscarf would have been allowed if I were Muslim or Jewish but, he claimed, the prison did not recognize “Christian head covering.”

    • Too Old and Too Sick to Execute? No Such Thing in Ohio.

      Ohio’s bungled execution of an elderly man shows that the death penalty is broken and barbaric.

      The famous appellate judge Richard Posner once wrote, “A civilized society locks up [criminals] until age makes them harmless, but it does not keep them in prison until they die.” The state of Ohio apparently hasn’t heard of Judge Posner, as they went one step further and tried to execute an elderly Alva Campbell and failed.

      Ohio’s lethal injection team spent more than 30 minutes poking Alva Campbell’s decrepit body in search of any decent vein into which they could inject their lethal cocktail to no avail. They finally relented — but only temporarily.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Why Are People Celebrating Al Franken’s Incomprehensible Speech About The Internet?

      Last week, Karl wrote a post about Senator Al Franken’s keynote speech at the Open Markets Institute — a group that has been getting plenty of attention of late for arguing that big tech companies are too big and too powerful. Karl’s post focused on Franken’s weird argument that “net neutrality” should apply to edge companies like Google and Facebook, which made no sense. But what’s more troubling to me is that Franken’s whole speech was bordering on incomprehensible. This is disappointing, as I tend to think that Franken is pretty thoughtful and careful as a Senator (even when I disagree with him at a policy level — such as with his support of PIPA).

      The speech seems to basically be Franken throwing off random quips that attack just how big internet companies are, which is certainly red meat for the Open Markets crowd. And I don’t deny that there are some very serious questions to be asked about the size and power of companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and the like… but Franken’s speech was not that. But because it has a few quotable lines and is attacking everyone’s favorite punching bags, it’s being hailed by sites like Wired as “the speech big tech has been dreading.” If this is the speech that big tech has been dreading, they’ve been worrying about nothing.

    • FCC Plans December Vote to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

      Pai plans to seek a vote in December, said two people who asked not to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public. As the head of a Republican majority, he is likely to win a vote on whatever he proposes.

    • The FCC’s Latest Moves Could Worsen the Digital Divide
    • FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low income communities

      The FCC voted in a 3-2 split along party lines favoring Republicans to reform [sic] the program during the agency’s monthly open meeting.

    • Google will stop letting sites use AMP format to bait and switch readers
    • Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: ‘The system is failing’

      The spread of misinformation and propaganda online has exploded partly because of the way the advertising systems of large digital platforms such as Google or Facebook have been designed to hold people’s attention.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • New Proposal At WIPO On Exceptions To Broadcasting Rights

        The document says it follows the same kinds of limitations and exceptions as countries already provide in their national legislation in the context of copyright in literary and artistic works, and the protection of related rights.

      • Center For Justice Wants Court to Unveil Copyright Trolling Secrets

        Center for Justice, a Washington non-profit organization, has asked a federal court to unseal several documents that may provide more insight into the financial agreements between filmmakers, lawyers and piracy tracking outfits. The so-called copyright trolling operations may, in fact, be well-coordinated “illegal settlement factories” that prey on people with limited financial resources.

      • Kodi Addon Developers Quit Following Threats From MPA, Netflix, Amazon

        Two Kodi addon developers, both of whom distributed addons via the popular Colussus addon repository, have been told to cease and desist their activities. A letter delivered to one, apparently by hand in the UK, reveals that the MPA/MPAA led Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which counts Netflix and Amazon among its members, is behind the action.

      • 65 out of the top 100 most-cited scientific papers are behind a paywall, with a weighted average cost of $32.33/each

        Noting that “the web was built specifically to share research papers amongst scientists,” Josh Nicholson and Alberto Pepe report on the dismal state of the web for accessing the most-cited scientific papers across the literature — 65 of the top 100 most-cited papers being behind paywalls.

Today’s EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

Friday 17th of November 2017 09:50:00 AM

Their goal is to have more European companies sued (lawyers profit from it)

“The day that the software sector forms a clear front against software patents, as pharma does for a unitary patent system… will be the day our cause comes close to winning.” —Pieter Hintjens (he died last year)

Summary: The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants

WE HAVE often shown that EPO benefits US interests more than European interests because large multinational corporations take precedence/priority over local European companies. Moreover, the EPO often contracts US-based companies, e.g. for PR/reputation laundering. What is even the point calling it EPO? The only “European” thing about it is the staff. We said that years ago.

“What is even the point calling it EPO? The only “European” thing about it is the staff.”Yesterday, the EPO published (warning: epo.org link) this news [sic] that reinforces the view regarding detachment from science and technology. The EPO listens not to industry or actual engineers; it does not even listen to European ones. It often feels like the EPO is working for US lobbies (IPO and AIPLA, which are aggressively in favour software patents [1, 2]) and in the EPO’s own words:

The EPO and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO – a US association of patent attorneys mainly in industry) have a long standing relationship. IPO is, together with the AIPLA, the American counterpart for Trilateral and IP5 industry meetings.

What an inappropriate meeting. Longtime readers of ours probably know the true nature of IPO and AIPLA; they are not friends/allies but foes/enemies of science and technology. They only serve themselves. What motivates the EPO to meet them? As a reminder, the number of US applications for European Patents collapsed in the past year. Battistelli tries to cook the books by lowering fees now (game the numbers) and maybe he’s trying to get these trends reversed. Whatever the motivation, it’s rather infuriating because it in no way serves the underlying goals of the EPO (as per the EPC). It’s a disservice not only to Europe but to innovation worldwide.

“It’s a disservice not only to Europe but to innovation worldwide.”And speaking of toxic front groups, watch what CIPA has just posted. CIPA is a dangerous cult which lobbies governments for the UPC and thereby attacks British and European interests. Its UPC advocacy is only one among many nefarious activities and now it quotes this: ““We have been trying to move to something like a Unified Patent Court for 45 years and now is the time to get it done,” Kevin Mooney, Chair of the Drafting Cttee for the Rules of the UPC, tells #CIPALS2017″ (yes, that’s a lobbying event of CIPA).

Team UPC’s Bristows has also just posted something about the European Judges Forum, which turned into UPC lobbying in the form/embodiment of Alexander Ramsay. To quote IP Kat (where CIPA is now among those in charge):

This, the 12th year of the conference, saw 35 judges of 15 nations (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom) pull together. They were joined by 31 European lawyers and seven officers of the EPO. This year, the forum debated SEP and FRAND, discretion on injunctive relief under the UPC, case law on damages and an update on the UPC from Alexander Ramsay. The focus of the forum was a mock trial decided by judges from the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and Germany.

Be sure to read the first comment there, as it’s complaining that UPC “pleading from vested interests, parties with “an Agenda” is enough to make one puke” (the author of this post is an integral part of Team UPC). Here is the full comment:

as to the usefulness of the UPC, here is what I posted, earlier today, to the Kluwer blog:

When it comes to the UPC, the level of pleading from vested interests, parties with “an Agenda” is enough to make one puke.
I started in the patent profession before the EPO, in the days prior to the Protocol on Art 69 EPC, when Germany decided scope of protection one way, and England in a very different way.
Since then, there has been ever greater harmonisation throughout EPC-land, and a huge gain in legal certainty. Not because of any pan-European court but because of enlightened performance at the EPO (until recently), and comradely behaviour from the patent judges in the leading EU jurisdictions. Judges are only human. They want their clear and logical thinking to be adopted by their brother and sister judges in the other jurisdictions. Bear in mind that these other jurisdictions have very different procedural law. But they come together regularly, to debate and minimise their differences, which are steadily diminishing (see the latest Decision by the UK Supreme Court, to aligh itself with mainland Europe).
This rivalry between different procedures and different legal interpretations is what improves the clarity of the law of infringement in the whole of Europe. If you doubt me, observe how rivalry between the various Technical Boards in EPO DG3 has produced a body of caselaw, in the White Book of Established Caselaw, that is unassailable in its logic and so has swept the world. For the most recent example, see the current IPKat interview with the Head of the Patent Office in Australia.
The proponents of the UPC should be ashamed of themselves, sacrificing all this legal certainty and harmonisation at the behest of the multi-national corporate interests, the bulk users of the EPO patent grant service, to rid themselves of the attentions of troublesome SME patent owners. And we were doing quite well enough recently, with engineering disputes litigated in Germany and pharma litigation concentrated in London, and no need to litigate everywhere in order to resolve the dispute.
As Robin Jacob has said “We can learn from the Americans. Watch what they do, and don’t then make the same mistakes”. Introducing this UPC is to make the same mistake as the Americans. And note, for the same reason.
Germany, the home of the SME engineering manufacturer is, with its Constitutional doubts, is belatedly seeing the light. Better late than never.

Europe continues to be besieged by a very small group of people who secretly put together the UPCA, held secret/exclusionary events to advocate the UPC, and lobbied/corrupted politicians to ram it all down Europe’s throat (even if by showing up at 1AM — past midnight that is — to covertly vote in favour and then deny public access to what actually happened that night).

“It’s not even alarmist, that’s just the reality of it, however bluntly we sometimes put it because most of the media is complicit (cooperative with the coup for short-term gain).”The whole thing, as described above, represents serious corruption at the very heart of Europe. It’s systemic/organised corruption and the sooner we recognise it, the better we can tackle it. We didn’t spend the past decade antagnosing the UPC (it wasn’t always known as “UPC”) for no reason at all. It’s not even alarmist, that’s just the reality of it, however bluntly we sometimes put it because most of the media is complicit (cooperative with the coup for short-term gain).

Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

Thursday 16th of November 2017 10:27:55 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Landmark study links Tory austerity to 120,000 deaths

      The Conservatives have been accused of “economic murder” for austerity policies which a new study suggests have caused 120,000 deaths.

      The paper found that there were 45,000 more deaths in the first four years of Tory-led efficiencies than would have been expected if funding had stayed at pre-election levels.

      On this trajectory that could rise to nearly 200,000 excess deaths by the end of 2020, even with the extra funding that has been earmarked for public sector services this year.

      Real terms funding for health and social care fell under the Conservative-led Coalition Government in 2010, and the researchers conclude this “may have produced” the substantial increase in deaths.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • After yesterday’s mass shooting Trump tweeted condolences to wrong victims

      Trump must’ve gotten an old memo, and apparently has a short memory to boot. The people of Sutherland Springs, TX – 26 of them – were massacred by a gunman on November 5, not yesterday.

    • Russian Foreign Ministry Accuses America Of Supporting ISIS With Video Game Footage

      The history of governments attempting to demonstrate either their own military prowess or the dastardly actions of others — usually America — is long and storied. South Korea used footage from war games to show off weapons I guess it must not have, Egypt attempted to pass off game footage as Russian airstrikes against ISIL/ISIS/whatever they’re supposed to be called, and North Korea attempted to show off its nuclear capability by pinching some Modern Warfare 3 footage. Even Russia has tried its hand at this, attempting to show that America was arming Ukrainian rebels with Stinger missiles with some stills from the game Battlefield 3. That any of these countries thought they would get away with these fakes is nearly as funny as their having not considered how much international egg they’d have on their faces once they were found out.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Special Report from the Occupied Forest: Meet Activists Fighting Europe’s Largest Open-Pit Coal Mine

      Reporting from COP23 in Bonn, Germany, Democracy Now! travels to the nearby blockade of the Hambach coal mine, the largest open-pit coal mine in Europe. Activists say the mine extracts an extremely dirty form of coal called lignite, also known as brown coal, which causes the highest CO2 emissions of any type of coal when burned. For more than five years, they have been fighting to shut down the mine and to save the remaining forest from being cut down to make way for the expanding project. Only 10 percent of the ancient forest remains.

    • African Activist Slams Trump for Reversing Ban on Elephant Trophies from Hunts in Zimbabwe & Zambia

      The Trump administration will allow American trophy hunters to import the bodies of elephants they kill in Zimbabwe and Zambia, reversing a ban put in place by President Obama. The Interior Department’s rule change comes even though African elephants are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The policy could affect President Trump’s two adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr., who are longtime trophy hunters who have repeatedly posed for photos with dead animals they killed in Africa. A 2012 picture of Donald Trump Jr. in Zimbabwe shows him standing in front of the corpse of an African elephant, holding a knife in one hand and a severed tail in the other. We speak with Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian environmental activist and director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation.

    • US to lift ban on elephant hunting trophy imports

      The Trump administration will allow American hunters to import elephant trophies to the US, reversing an Obama-era 2014 ban, US media report.
      A federal government agency said imports could resume on Friday for elephants that are legally hunted only in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

      The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said hunting fees could aid conservation of the endangered animals.

      Experts say that populations of African elephants are plummeting.

  • Finance
    • SoftBank Plans Up to $25 Billion in Saudi Investments

      SoftBank aims to deploy up to $15 billion in a new city called Neom that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to build on the Red Sea coast, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The Japanese company’s Vision Fund also plans investments of as much as $10 billion in state-controlled Saudi Electricity Co. as part of efforts to diversify the utility into renewables and solar energy, the people said. SoftBank also will have some of its portfolio companies open offices in Neom, they said.

    • Tencent Rises After Posting Fastest Revenue Growth in 7 Years

      By getting WeChat onto almost a billion smartphones in China, Tencent has leveraged the instant message service into an entertainment and gaming platform that is driving advertising sales. Although the Shenzhen-based company remains largely absent overseas, it’s built a 12 percent stake in Snapchat-owner Snap Inc. and is exploring new sources of growth in the cloud, financial services, movies and music.

    • We should all be working a four-day week. Here’s why

      Imagine there was a single policy that would slash unemployment and underemployment, tackle health conditions ranging from mental distress to high blood pressure, increase productivity, help the environment, improve family lives, encourage men to do more household tasks, and make people happier. It sounds fantastical, but it exists, and it’s overdue: the introduction of a four-day week.

      The liberation of workers from excessive work was one of the pioneering demands of the labour movement. From the ashes of the civil war, American trade unionism rallied behind an eight-hour day, “a movement which ran with express speed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from New England to California”, as Karl Marx put it. In 1890 hundreds of thousands thronged into Hyde Park in a historic protest for the same demand. It is a cause that urgently needs reclaiming.

    • Republican Sen. Ron Johnson comes out against tax bill

      Johnson also told The Wall Street Journal that he is not able to vote for the bill as it’s currently written.
      “If they can pass it without me, let them,” Johnson told the WSJ. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”
      Johnson has previously expressed concerns about how small businesses are treated in the Senate bill, but he had not formally announced his opposition until Wednesday.

    • US Stock-market Bubble Is About To Burst

      Instead, the Trumpists decide to give the wealthy a huge tax break permanently, ordinary people a short-term tax-break mostly but some will get an increase in taxes, and to reduce the increase in the debt they will cut out another leg from under ObamaCare causing still larger increases in premiums and loss of insurance which people need and appreciate.

    • ‘Why aren’t the other hands up?’ A top Trump adviser’s startling response to CEOs not doing what he’d expect

      President Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, looked out from the stage at a sea of CEOs and top executives in the audience Tuesday for the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting. As Cohn sat comfortably onstage, a Journal editor asked the crowd to raise their hands if their company plans to invest more if the tax reform bill passes.

      Very few hands went up.

      Cohn looked surprised. “Why aren’t the other hands up?” he said.

    • Trump and his family could save more than $1 billion under House tax bill

      President Donald Trump has insisted, for months, that the Republican tax plan he supports won’t benefit him.

      “It’s not good for me. Believe me,” he said at a Sept. 27 event in Indiana to sell the plan. “My plan is for the working people, and my plan is for jobs. I don’t benefit,” he also said that day.

      And earlier this month, according to NBC News, Trump told a group of Democratic senators in a phone call, “My accountant called me and said ‘you’re going to get killed in this bill.’”

    • U.K. Orders Urgent Brexit Traffic Plans as Border Tailbacks Loom
    • Mashable Agrees to Sell to Ziff Davis for Around $50 Million

      One-time digital media darling Mashable has agreed to sell itself to trade publisher Ziff Davis for around $50 million, according to people familiar with the matter, a fraction of the site’s valuation less than two years ago.

      The price is approximately one-fifth of the company’s $250 million valuation based on its last investment round in March 2016.

      It is a troubling sign for the broader outlook for digital publishers, particularly those that have embraced the “pivot to video” strategy in an effort to lure more lucrative video ad sales.

    • UK government set to reverse plan on specific Brexit date

      The UK government is on the verge of giving up on its plan to put a specific date for Brexit into domestic law, after facing a rebellion of pro-EU MPs from within prime minister Theresa May’s Conservative party.

      The government had proposed that March 29 2019 — at 11pm London time — be inserted into the EU withdrawal bill, which sets out the legal framework for Brexit. But pro-EU MPs, including more than a dozen Conservatives, opposed the idea, saying it would remove the government’s ability to extend talks with Brussels.

      On Thursday David Lidington, the justice secretary, said there had been “various constructive suggestions” on the issue, and the government would “listen to ideas”. It was the clearest hint yet that the government would climb down on the measure, which is due to be voted on next month.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Rot Inside the Republican Party

      Exhibit A of right-wing decay is Rupert Murdoch, who, more than any single individual, has plotted the course of the GOP for the past 20 years.

    • We Knew Julian Assange Hated Clinton. We Didn’t Know He Was Secretly Advising Trump.

      “The allegations that we have colluded with Trump, or any other candidate for that matter, or with Russia, are just groundless and false,” the staffers wrote then. “We were not publishing with a goal to get any specific candidate elected.”

      It is not surprising that Brown felt personally betrayed by Assange, since, as he explained on Facebook Tuesday night, “I went to prison because of my support for WikiLeaks.” Specifically, Brown said, the charges against him were related to his role in “operations to identify and punish members of the government and members of private companies that had been exposed by Anonymous hackers of my acquaintance, via email hacks, as having conspired to go after Assange, to go after WikiLeaks.”

      That sort of activism, dedicated to making public secret wrongdoing, Brown argued, is very different from “colluding with an authoritarian presidential campaign backed by actual Nazis while publicly denying it.”

      “Plainly,” he observed with bitterness, “the prospect of a Clinton in the White House was such an unimaginable nightmare scenario that all normal standards of truth and morality became moot and it became necessary to get people like Sebastian Gorka into the White House to establish order.”

      Before his private messages to Trump Jr. were leaked, Assange himself had categorically denied that he or WikiLeaks had been attacking Hillary Clinton to help elect Donald Trump. “This is not due to a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election,” he wrote in a statement released on November 8 as Americans went to the polls.

      Even though Assange had by then transformed the WikiLeaks Twitter feed into a vehicle for smearing Clinton, he insisted that his work was journalistic in nature. “The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks — an organization that has a staff and organizational mission far beyond myself,” Assange wrote. “Millions of Americans have pored over the leaks and passed on their citations to each other and to us,” he added. “It is an open model of journalism that gatekeepers are uncomfortable with, but which is perfectly harmonious with the First Amendment.”

    • Texas sheriff is on the hunt for driver with profane anti-Trump window sticker

      A sheriff in Texas is looking for a truck bearing a profanity-laced anti-Trump sticker and said authorities are considering charging its owner with disorderly conduct — a threat that immediately raised alarm among free speech advocates.

      Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls posted a photo of the truck Wednesday on Facebook after, he said, he’d received several complaints about the display from unhappy people in the Houston-area county.

      A graphic on the rear window of the GMC Sierra reads: “F‑‑K TRUMP AND F‑‑K YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM.” (The profanity is spelled out on the sticker.)

    • The most respected Supreme Court reporter of her generation slams media “objectivity”

      “The opposite of objectivity isn’t partisanship, or needn’t be,” Linda Greenhouse writes in her new book Just a Journalist: On the Press, Life, and the Spaces Between. “Rather, it is judgment, the hard work of sorting out the false claims from the true and discarding or at least labeling the false.”

    • Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It

      In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.

      [...]

      I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.

      I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

      How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?

      I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.

    • BBC accused of ‘clear manipulation’ and ‘selective editing’ over interview with John McDonnell [AUDIO]

      People who listened to Thursday morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4 heard Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell set out his five budget priorities. But they noticed a gap between what McDonnell said on the show and how the show reported it on Twitter.

    • More Women Accuse Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore of Sexual Misconduct

      Two more women have come forward to accuse Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct or making sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers. This brings the total number of women to nine. One woman said, “I’ve known for over 20 years that he was a predator, that he preyed upon girls in the mall. It’s common knowledge.” As Moore’s approval ratings continue to fall, Republican Party leaders met Wednesday to discuss what to do about the growing crisis.

    • Judiciary Sens: Kushner was contacted about WikiLeaks, Russia ahead of election

      Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday disclosed that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner received an email about WikiLeaks in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

      The two senators sent a letter to Kushner’s lawyer Thursday demanding additional documents from Trump’s son-in-law as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation of Russia’s election interference. In the letter, Grassley and Feinstein say Kushner received an email about WikiLeaks in September 2016 that he passed on to an official within President Trump’s campaign, in addition to communication about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.”

    • Cambodia top court dissolves main opposition CNRP party

      Cambodia’s Supreme Court has dissolved the country’s main opposition party, leaving the government with no significant competitor ahead of elections next year.
      The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is accused of plotting to topple the government – charges it denies, and describes as politically motivated.
      More than 100 party members are now banned from politics for five years.
      Cambodia’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has ruled for 32 years.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • This is why everyone is upset about Twitter’s blue check mark verification policy
    • Now universities police speech off campus

      In the old days, universities tended to deal with the ‘problem’ of controversial meetings on campus by simply banning them. Then legislation was passed in 1986 to protect free speech on campus, and this rightly made such outright bans more difficult. However, as anyone familiar with campus debates in recent years will be aware, the problem of censorship at universities hasn’t gone away. It simply takes a new form. One form is universities micromanaging what their students and staff say on and also off campus. Consider events over the past year involving Sheffield University.

    • The Honest Ads Act: Censorship or Security?

      On October 19, the bill proposed by Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, and later supported by Republican Senator John McCain, attempts to regulate online ads in a way that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has done with TV, radio and print for generations. The FCC stated that the internet is “a unique and evolving mode of mass communication and political speech that is distinct from other media in a manner that warrants a restrained regulatory approach.”

    • China cyber watchdog rejects censorship critics, says internet must be ‘orderly’

      China’s top cyber authority on Thursday rejected a recent report ranking it last out of 65 countries for press freedom, saying the internet must be “orderly” and the international community should join it in addressing fake news and other cyber issues.

    • China downplays criticism of its internet rights squeeze

      China has slammed a report criticising its tightening laws on internet censorship and control.

      The country’s government lashed out following a report that ranked it among the worst countries in the world for internet freedom.

      The country’s cyber security authority is apparently unhappy with the fact it was recently ranked as the worst country for online freedom of speech.

      According to Reuters, the country believes that the internet must be organised in an “orderly” fashion and that the international community needs to do more to tackle cyber security.

    • Ninth Circuit Lets Us See Its Glassdoor Ruling, And It’s Terrible

      Well, I was wrong: last week I lamented that we might never know how the Ninth Circuit ruled on Glassdoor’s attempt to quash a federal grand jury subpoena served upon it demanding it identify users. Turns out, now we do know: two days after the post ran the court publicly released its decision refusing to quash the subpoena. It’s a decision that doubles-down on everything wrong with the original district court decision that also refused to quash it, only now with handy-dandy Ninth Circuit precedential weight.

      Like the original ruling, it clings to the Supreme Court’s decision in Branzburg v. Hayes, a case where the Supreme Court explored the ability of anyone to resist a grand jury subpoena. But in doing so it manages to ignore other, more recent, Supreme Court precedents that should have led to the opposite result.

    • Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar: ‘S Durga’ was without censorship, ‘Nude’ not a complete film

      The controversial dropping of the two movies from the festival’s Indian Panorama section has resulted in the head of jury Sujoy Ghosh resigning from his position. The Congress has also accused the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of trying to “interfere with jury decisions”.

    • IFFI 2017: Nude is not a complete film, doesn’t have censor certificate says Goa CM Manohar Parrikar

      Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar stood by the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry’s decision to exclude director Ravi Jadhav’s Nude and Sanal Sasidharan’s S Durga from being screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2017.

    • EU anti-“fake news” authority prepares mass censorship

      The European Union (EU) is launching the construction of an authority to monitor and censor so-called “fake news.” It is setting up a High-Level Expert Group on the issue and soliciting criticisms of “fake news” by media professionals and the public to decide what powers to give to this EU body, which is to begin operation next spring.

      An examination of the EU’s announcement shows that it is preparing mass state censorship aimed not at false information, but at news reports or political views that encourage popular opposition to the European ruling class.

      The term “fake news” is taken from the campaign in the United States promoting unsubstantiated accusations that Donald Trump’s victory was attributable to Russian manipulation of the 2016 US presidential elections that publicized material harmful to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. This campaign has developed into ever more aggressive demands for censorship of the Internet to prevent the expression of critical views and social protests.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS TURNING PROTESTERS INTO FELONS

      “It’s crazy, a few windows got smashed,” 23-year-old Olivia Alsip said, two months after her arrest on felony riot charges. “Why are 214 people looking at ten years in prison?”

      Alsip only knew one other person at the protest march that day. The political science graduate student from the University of Chicago had met her partner in November, when the two had joined the camps at Standing Rock opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. When they heard about calls to protest Donald J. Trump’s inauguration in D.C. on January 20th under the banner “Disrupt J20,” they felt they had to be there. “I identify as an anarchist, and I’ve been an activist for women’s and queer rights since the 8th grade,” Alsip told me over the phone from Chicago.

      [...]

      Anarchists and anti-fascist activists across the country have responded to Trump’s ascendancy, and particularly the attendant emboldening of white supremacists, with confrontational protest. Rivers of digital ink were spilled approving and denouncing the meme-friendly punch delivered to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, as well as the militant demonstrations that prevented far right troll Milo Yiannopoulos from waxing hateful at UC Berkeley. But while scattered vandalism and punching (a neo-Nazi) were deemed headline-grabbing militancy, the media relegated the most extreme incidents involving anarchists and antifascists—namely, recent treatment of them—to footnotes.

    • US: Trial begins for first group of J20 defendants

      A trial that could send independent journalist Alexei Wood and six others to prison for decades started on Wednesday.

      When Wood, 37, travelled from his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, to Washington, DC, to cover the anti-fascist bloc demonstration against the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, he did not imagine he would wind up with a slew of felonies.

      But on that day, Wood, who livestreamed the march on his Facebook page, was kettled and arrested by police with more than 230 others, including protesters, bystanders, legal observers and medics.

      “I feel righteous in my innocence,” he told Al Jazeera the day before the trial, “but a lot is riding on it: the future of journalism and protesting.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • AT&T Lawyers Investigating Whether Trump Had Undue Influence On DOJ Merger Review

      Given the Trump administration’s rubber stamping of every mono/duopolist desire (killing net neutrality, broadband privacy rules, media consolidation limits), most expected the AT&T Time Warner merger to see approval without much fuss. After all, while the problems caused by vertical integration deals like Comcast NBC Universal are very real, it didn’t seem likely that an administration running rough shod over consumer protections would give much of a damn. Especially given that Trump DOJ antitrust boss Makan Delrahim had already been on record stating he saw no problems whatsoever with the deal.

      That’s why leaked reports that the DOJ was suddenly considering blocking the deal came as such a surprise. Said reports indicated that the DOJ was considering a lawsuit to thwart the deal unless AT&T was willing to divest either CNN-owner Turner broadcasting, or DirecTV — which AT&T acquired last year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Swedish Data Authority Investigates Piracy Settlement Letters

        Letters being sent out to Internet account holders in Sweden accusing them of copyright infringement are under investigation by Sweden’s Data Protection Authority. Since the letters demand a cash payment, they could be considered a debt collection measure. If that’s indeed the case, they must comply with strict legislation.

The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

Thursday 16th of November 2017 10:38:26 AM

The shock is probably years behind as this was foreseen/expected by many insiders

Summary: The EPO’s dictatorial management is destroying everything that’s left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)

THE EPO is racing to the bottom. It’s rushing to the very bottom of patent quality, just like in China — a recipe for plenty of litigation and trolls (threat of litigation alone can help extract ‘protection’ money).

SUEPO’s response to the EPO’s latest changes (effective weeks from now) was covered yesterday based on internal communications. These are changes which would definitely breed corruption, as we explained yesterday (as far as we are aware, we were the first to cover this).

WIPR wrote a puff piece with only quotes/comments from the patent microcosm, but the following is at least airing the response of SUEPO. To quote some portions:

In an internal memo, the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) described the move as “Kafkaesque”.

The outgoing EPO president Benoît Battistelli entered the proposal alongside the EPO’s director of human resources Elodie Bergot at the Budget and Finance Committee’s meeting on 24 October.

SUEPO revealed that the proposal was met with criticism from the budget and finance committee, particularly from representatives for Italy, the UK, Poland, and Germany.

According to SUEPO, Battistelli took issue with the criticism, intimating that “it was his prerogative to govern until the last day of his mandate”.

Battistelli is understood to have argued that the proposal had “no financial implications” and therefore he was free to push it through to the administrative council in December without the consent of the budget and finance committee.

SUEPO said that there is a “serious risk that this plan will blow up”.

[...]

The memo stated: “There will be no professional pride, no incentive to invest in quality, no stimulus to bind the employee to the EPO and keep him/her loyal and immune from temptation.”

“With a precarious future, there will be a temptation to squirrel away as much cash as possible for the post-EPO life. Some will do so honourably, others perhaps less so. Employees have access to highly confidential, sensitive industrial secrets worth hundreds of millions of euro.”

Imagine all the erroneously-granted patents and what they would cause. Innocent parties (people/firms) would be hurt. To make matters worse, Team Battistelli and Team UPC try to make it easy for trolls/aggressors to sue a lot of nations/firms in one fell swoop. They crafted the UPCA behind closed doors and are now spreading lies in a desperate effort to ratify their evil scheme as law. It is an insult to European democracy and it also corrupts European media, academia, and the rule of law.

As we explained yesterday, corruption of academia by the EPO is the latest phase. They want people with fancy titles like “professor” to say that the UPC would be good, knowing that there’s always someone out there willing to sell out.

As expected, Team UPC is all over this. Kluwer Patent Blog did this puff piece yesterday. This is probably Bristows or Pors writing anonymously (“Kluwer UPC News blogger”), in essence pushing Battistelli-generated UPC lies and anticipating backlash (hence the anonymity). Watch the comments. As one person put it: “Bearing in mind that EPO et al. will soon have to submit their comments in the German constitutional complaint proceedings, the timing and purpose of this “study” is all too obvious. Expect more along these lines in the coming weeks.”

“The full impact of the Unitary Patent system has nót been investigated,” it says. How corrupt does the EPO think it can get in an effort to force the UPC upon Europe? How much lying and even falsification is Team UPC willing to resort to? Bristows LLP’s Gregory Bacon’s blog post has just appeared in Lexology (same name, same text), which means that Bristows is now even PAYING to publish its ‘articles’ that push UPC lies, based on a ‘report’ that the EPO was PAYING academics to produce!

They are corrupting academia now. It’s appalling. To repeat: Bristows pays for just a copy of its blog (which lacks an audience) to be pushed into news feeds, spreading UPC lies which were paid for at the expense of EPO stakeholders (who are being lied to by Battistelli).

Who does one report such corruption to? Is there no ethical breach here? Should we contact the respective universities or alert the German court?

The EPO is nowadays isolating itself from everyone. Yesterday it mentioned professional representatives, but professional representatives associated with the EPO — just like EPO staff — have gotten fed up with the EPO and Battistelli’s culture.

Don’t expect to see anything about Battistelli in IP Kat. It has made it pretty clear that names cannot be mentioned and as one person put it yesterday: “I take it that comments about the comment moderation system are automatically eliminated….”

Obviously. By “eliminated” s/he means “censored” (which is why we try to preserve copies of comments which do appear and are relevant).

EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

Thursday 16th of November 2017 10:00:12 AM


Source

Summary: Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. “computer-implemented inventions” (or “CII”), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope

TO say that the EPO operates as though it’s above the law would be an understatement. We have covered many dozens of examples to that effect.

Our original gripe/complaint about the EPO was solely about software patents in Europe. This actually started under Battistelli’s predecessor, more so after her “as such” debacle, but here we are almost a decade later and the EPO continues to disregard the rules. It just refers to software patents as “CII” in order to give the impression that algorithms are “inventions”.

Yesterday, the EPO’s buddies at IAM published this article which was immediately thereafter copied across from IAM to its new “partner” site. Jacobacci & Partners’ Andrea Perronance repeated the term “CII” (they don’t even want to say “software”, so they say “computer” instead) and here is the core of it. It came into effect a fortnight ago:

The European Patent Office Guidelines 2017 were recently published on the European Patent Office (EPO) website. They entered into force on November 1 2017.

Like the previous edition, this year’s guidelines include substantial, extensive and comprehensive improvements with regard to guidance on the eligibility of computer-implemented inventions (CII) parts. These parts have been discussed with the European Patent Institute (epi), in particular with the CII sub-committee of the European Patent Practice Committee.

The changes appear mainly in Parts F-IV and G-VII of the European Patent Convention Guidelines (the Patent Cooperation Treaty Guidelines are also available) and deal with the presentation of information eligibility and patentability. There is also a substantial revision of one example of eligible/non-eligible, patentable/non-patentable subject matter in CII, as asked and suggested by epi (see relevant article in epi Information 1/2017).

Why is this still even up for debate and why is the European Patent Institute there and not any software developers? It says a lot about the underlying intentions. It has nothing whatsoever to do with science or innovation. It’s just about cash for the EPO and the patent ‘industry’. This is just wrong.

Incidentally, the same site also published this take on patents in Denmark, courtesy of Accura Advokatpartnerselskab’s Morten Bruus and Christoffer Ege Andersen. Software patents are banned in Denmark, as can be expected (they’re banned in just about every European nation, as least in principle). But there are tricks around that. Remember that the DKPTO’s chief until 1.5 months ago was Battistelli’s protector, who immediately entered the private sector after he had allegedly been pushed out (maybe for conflict of interest) and turned out to have lied about retirement.

Anyway, from the relevant sections:

To what extent can inventions covering software be patented?

In general, software as such is not patentable (Section 1(2) of the Patents Act). However, it is possible to patent software as part of a patent whose subject matter is a process. Further, software is patentable if it has the potential to bring about, when run on a computer, a further technical effect that goes beyond the normal physical interactions between the program and the computer.

To what extent can inventions covering business methods be patented?

In general, business methods as such are not patentable (Section 1(2) of the Patents Act). That said, business methods can be patented as part of a patent whose subject matter is a process. However, jurisprudence shows that it is difficult to invent business methods that essentially differ from known methods, which is why patents are rarely granted for business methods.

To what extent can inventions relating to stem cells be patented?

Stem cells that have an inherent ability to create human life (so-called ‘totipotent stem cells’) cannot be patented, whereas pluripotent and multipotent stem cells can be patented, as they cannot create human life.

That last part is a reminder of the fact that, just as EPs got invalidated in bulk for being inappropriately granted (on organisms), one day EPs on software too may get invalidated in bulk. We are waiting for that day.

That same site also mentioned former French colony Tunisia, whose special arrangement with the EPO we published in full a couple of months back. Marks & Clerk, writing in Lexology, say this:

From 1 December 2017, it will become possible to validate European patents in Tunisia.

Until now, patent protection in Tunisia could only be obtained as a national patent filed directly or by national phase entry from a PCT application. From December, applicants wishing to file in Tunisia will be able to do so via a European patent application.

Who would that be useful for if not few of Battistelli’s French friends? No disrespect for Tunisia, but it’s hardly known for EPs, let alone patents in general. Such validation agreements make the EPO look feeble and pathetic. Battistelli and his cronies have already traveled to sign such deals in countries with not a single EP! What’s the point?

Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

Thursday 16th of November 2017 06:58:23 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Navigating the Open Source Landscape

    Traditionally, the telecom industry was driven by large standards bodies such as 3GPP, ATIS (Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions), the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), which defined standards for everything in telecom right down to the telephone poles. These standards bodies have had dedicated individuals from across the industry working together for years to develop industry standards that are comprehensive to meet stringent requirements across many use cases.

  • ETSI Open Source MANO Group Unveils Release 3.0

    ETSI Open Source MANO group (ETSI OSM) announces the general availability of OSM Release THREE, keeping the pace of a release every 6 months. This release includes a large set of new capabilities as well as numerous enhancements in terms of scalability, performance, resiliency, security and user experience that facilitate its adoption in production environments.

    “OSM Release THREE provides a highly functional and reliable component for NFV Orchestration that enables all industry players to accelerate their deployment plans, with no need to change their target architectures for NFV infrastructure or OSS transformation.” declares Francisco-Javier Ramón, chairman of ETSI OSM group.

  • Euro telco standards wonks publish third iteration of open source orchestrator

    The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has published the third release of OSM, its open source management and orchestration (MANO) stack for network function virtualisation.

  • SDxCentral Releases 2017 Open Source in Networking Report

    Networking has been transformed with the advent of SDN (software-defined networking) and NFV (network functions virtualizations). What has traditionally been a closed and proprietary environment dominated by a few vendors has opened up to innovation and a much more rapid pace of development than in past decades.

  • Why and How to Set an Open Source Strategy

    Open source projects are generally started as a way to scratch one’s itch — and frankly that’s one of its greatest attributes. Getting code down provides a tangible method to express an idea, showcase a need, and solve a problem. It avoids over thinking and getting a project stuck in analysis-paralysis, letting the project pragmatically solve the problem at hand.

    Next, a project starts to scale up and gets many varied users and contributions, with plenty of opinions along the way. That leads to the next big challenge — how does a project start to build a strategic vision? In this article, I’ll describe how to walk through, measure, and define strategies collaboratively, in a community.

    Strategy may seem like a buzzword of the corporate world rather something that an open source community would embrace, so I suggest stripping away the negative actions that are sometimes associated with this word (e.g., staff reductions, discontinuations, office closures). Strategy done right isn’t a tool to justify unfortunate actions but to help show focus and where each community member can contribute.

  • Pentagon spreads the open source

    The US military is set to charge ahead into open source next year after an amendment to the National Defense Authorisation Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

    The amendment introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and co-sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will mean that the Pentagon will be going open source.

  • Open Banking Starts With Opening Bank Culture
  • Banks are increasingly turning to open source projects. Here’s why.
  • Embracing Open Source will help enterprises stay ahead of the AI game

    Kingsley Wood, Director, Infrastructure Business Group, Asia Pacific – Red Hat, said, “The interesting thing about the open source approach is that many people from the community can contribute a lot of fresh ideas, which can help identify problems quicker.”

  • MNCs & product cos are leading the open source movement in India

    engaluru: Contributing code to the open source world is regarded increasingly as a badge of honour. Yet, Indian IT services companies lag in embracing the open source code culture, shows data from open source code repository GitHub.

    Among GitHub’s 75,000 engineers from India, IT services & ITES (IT enabled services) companies have the highest numbers on the platform, but most of the open source contributions were made by employees working for technology product companies and MNCs in India.

    GitHub is a platform where developers host and review codes, manage projects, and even build open source software along with other community members. Open source, which refers to software whose source code (the medium in which programmers create and modify software) is freely available on the internet, has become a major trend in software development today. It stands in contrast to proprietary commercial software whose source code is usually a closely guarded secret.

  • Events
    • Linux Developer Conference Brazil

      Last weekend I attended the first Linux Developer Conference Brazil at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp). It was an event focused on the upstream development of low level components related to Linux, such as gcc, systemtap and the Linux kernel itself. The event was organized by a few contributors of some of these upstream projects, like the kernel, and was sponsored by companies that work directly with it (among them were openSUSE and Collabora).

    • Talking at Kieler LinuxTage 2017 in Kiel, Germany

      Compared to other events, it’s a tiny happening with something between fifty and hundred people or so. I was presenting on how I think GNOME pushes the envelope regarding making secure operating systems (slides, videos to follow). I was giving three examples of how GNOME achieves its goal of priding a secure OS without compromising on usability. In fact, I claimed that the most successful security solutions must not involve the user. That sounds a bit counter intuitive to people in the infosec world, because we’re trying to protect the user, surely they must be involved in the process. But we better not do that. This is not to say that we shouldn’t allow the user to change preferences regarding how the solutions behave, but rather that it should work without intervention. My talk was fairly good attended, I think, and we had a great discussion. I tend to like the discussion bit better than the actual presentation, because I see it as an indicator for how much the people care. I couldn’t attend many other presentations, because I would only attend the second day. That’s why I couldn’t meet with Jim :-/

    • Talking at PET-CON 2017.2 in Hamburg, Germany

      A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to talk at the 7th Privacy Enhancing Techniques Conference (PET-CON 2017.2) in Hamburg, Germany. It’s a teeny tiny academic event with a dozen or so experts in the field of privacy.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

        The Mozilla Foundation has officially launched a radical rewrite of its browser, a major cross-platform effort to regain relevance in a world that seems to have forgotten Firefox. The much-rewritten browser claims to be 30 per cent faster with half the memory load, although this comes at the cost of compatibility, as Scott Gilbertson found here.

        The proof’s in the pudding, and this pudding doesn’t feel like the old Firefox behemoth at all. It’s long overdue.

        “Firefox is 13 years old – and very few applications have been around for 13 years without accruing technical debt,” Nick Nguyen, Mozilla’s VP of technology told us.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • Azul Systems Affirms Commitment to Open Source Embedded Java

      Azul will Provide Continued Support for Embedded builds of OpenJDK on x86, Arm and PowerPC Processors

    • How to create better documentation with a kanban board

      If you’re working on documentation, a website, or other user-facing content, it’s helpful to know what users expect to find—both the information they want and how the information is organized and structured. After all, great content isn’t very useful if people can’t find what they’re looking for.

      Card sorting is a simple and effective way to gather input from users about what they expect from menu interfaces and pages. The simplest implementation is to label a stack of index cards with the sections you plan to include in your website or documentation and ask users to sort the cards in the way they would look for the information. Variations include letting people write their own menu headers or content elements.

    • Uber Open-Sources Its AI Programming Language, Encourages Autonomous Car Development

      Uber’s self-driving car ambitions have been an open secret surrounding the company for some time now. If the ride share company’s ambitions are met, someday when you hail a ride using its app it’ll be an autonomous car that shows instead of a human looking to supplement his income. The company has been actively recruiting engineering talent toward its autonomous car program – even running into some legal trouble with Google along the way over accusations of poaching talent and technology.

    • 25 Pitfalls When Learning to Program
    • DevOps: How to avoid project death by hand-off

      There’s a notion in DevOps that our work begins when we understand the strategic business goals that we’re trying to meet, then we deliver on them. This is typically a two-step process where one team creates goals, then hands them off to another team to implement them.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Open Source or Open Standards? (Yes!) The Future has Arrived

      Once upon a time – oh, say fifteen years ago – the terms open standards and open source software (OSS) were often used interchangeably. Not because they were the same thing, but because many people didn’t really know what either really was, let alone the differences between them. That was unfortunate, because at that time the two had little in common, and were developed for very different purposes.

      Recently, many people (especially OSS developers) have begun referring to the software they develop as “a standard.” This time around they’re a lot closer to being right.

      So, what’s going on here? And is it a good thing?

Leftovers
  • Twitter explains how users can lose their verified status

    Twitter warned users Wednesday that they can lose “verified” status on its platform, releasing a set of rules for keeping the “blue checkmark” that verifies their identity.

    The social media giant, in an update on the help center portion of its website, explained how users can lose the blue check marks denoting that their profiles are verified. The violations include misleading users on Twitter, as well as promoting hate and harassing others, among other types of behavior that violate Twitter’s rules.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • University could lose millions from “unethical” research backed by Peter Thiel

      In August, Kaiser Health News reported that Thiel and other conservative investors had contributed $7 million for the live-but-weakened herpes virus vaccine, developed by the late SIU researcher William Halford. The investments came after Halford and his private company, Rational Vaccines, had begun conducting small clinical trials in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. With the off-shore location, Rational Vaccines’ trial skirted federal regulations and standard safety protocols for human trials, including having approval and oversight from an institutional review board (IRB).

      Experts were quick to call the unapproved trial “patently unethical,” and researchers rejected the data from publication, calling the handling of safety issues “reckless.” The government of St. Kitts opened an investigation into the trial and reported that health authorities there had been kept in the dark.

  • Security
    • Survey of bug bounty hunters shows who pans for pwns

      Asking the crowd for help in fixing security problems is going mainstream. Microsoft, Facebook, and other tech giants have offered “bug bounties”—cash rewards or other prizes and recognition—to individuals discovering vulnerabilities in their products for years. (Ars even made it onto Google’s security wall of fame in 2014 for reporting a Google search bug, though we didn’t get a cash payout.)

    • Mother-Son Duo Fools iPhone X Face ID Like It’s No Big Deal

      Uploaded by Attaullah Malik on YouTube, the 41-second clip shows his 10-year-old son unlocking Face ID on an iPhone X which was configured to accept the mother’s face.

    • Watch a 10-Year-Old’s Face Unlock His Mom’s iPhone X

      Malik offered to let Ammar look at his phone instead, but the boy picked up his mother’s, not knowing which was which. And a split second after he looked at it, the phone unlocked.

    • This 10-year-old was able to unlock his mom’s iPhone using Face ID

      Although Apple says Face ID is more secure than Touch ID, this raises questions about the possibility of false positives not only happening with twins and siblings around the same age, but with people of different sexes and significantly different ages. It is possible that the son’s age played a role as Apple has said that the “undeveloped facial features” in those under the age of 13 could cause issues with Face ID.

    • How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air? And don’t say ‘regular patches’

      At least some commercial aircraft are vulnerable to wireless hacking, a US Department of Homeland Security official has admitted.

      A plane was compromised as it sat on the tarmac at a New Jersey airport by a team of boffins from the worlds of government, industry and academia, we’re told. During the hack – the details of which are classified – experts accessed systems on the Boeing 757 via radio-frequency communications.

      “We got the airplane on September 19, 2016. Two days later, I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative, penetration,” said Robert Hickey, aviation program manager within the cyber-security division of the DHS’s science and technology directorate, while speaking at the CyberSat Summit in Virginia earlier this month.

    • Google researcher discovers 14 Linux USB vulnerabilities
    • How a cloud-based Kali Linux system helps with pen testing

      More substantial and more security minded businesses often also perform regular penetration tests to identify vulnerabilities in their systems that go beyond the reach of standard vulnerability scanners.

      When it comes to penetration testing, Offensive Security’s Kali Linux is one of the most widely used tool sets in the industry. It is a free, Debian-based Linux distribution that contains hundreds of specific penetration testing tools.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security Jobs Are Hot: Get Trained and Get Noticed

      The demand for security professionals is real. On Dice.com, 15 percent of the more than 75K jobs are security positions. “Every year in the U.S., 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled, and employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cyber-security related roles, according to cyber security data tool CyberSeek” (Forbes). We know that there is a fast-increasing need for security specialists, but that the interest level is low.

    • security things in Linux v4.14
    • Schneier: It’s Time to Regulate IoT to Improve Cyber-Security

      The time has come for the U.S. government and other governments around the world, to start regulating Internet of Things (IoT) security, according to Bruce Schneier, CTO of IBM’s Resilient Systems.

      Schneier delivered his message during a keynote address at the SecTor security conference here. He noted that today everything is basically a computer, whether it’s a car, a watch, a phone or a television. IoT today has several parts including sensors that collect data, computing power to figure out what to do with the collected data and then actuators that affect the real world.

    • Shady Anti-Spyware Developer Loses Lawsuit Against Competitor Who Flagged Its Software As Malicious

      Enigma Software makes Spyhunter, a malware-fighting program with a very questionable reputation. But the company isn’t known so much for containing threats as it’s known for issuing threats. It sued a review site for having the audacity to suggest its pay-to-clean anti-spyware software wasn’t a good fit for most users… or really any users at all.

      Bleeping Computer found itself served with a defamation lawsuit for making fact-based claims (with links to supporting evidence) about Enigma’s dubious product, dubious customer service tactics (like the always-popular “auto-renew”), and dubious lawsuits. Somehow, this dubious lawsuit managed to survive a motion to dismiss. Fortunately, Bleeping Computer was propped up by Malwarebytes’ developers, who tossed $5,000 into Bleeping Computer’s legal defense fund.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • U.S.-Backed, Saudi-Led Coalition Bombs Airport in Yemen’s Capital

      In Yemen, the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombed the main airport in the capital Sana’a Tuesday, damaging the runway and destroying navigation equipment. The attack came after Saudi Arabia shut air, land and sea routes into Yemen, drawing warnings from the United Nations that the clampdown could worsen Yemen’s massive cholera epidemic and set off the largest famine the world has seen in decades, with millions of victims. Tuesday’s attack drew condemnation from Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who tweeted, “The US/Saudi coalition took out the Sanaa airport last night. Now no humanitarian relief by air. This is barbaric.”

    • Zimbabwe’s Mugabe ‘under house arrest’ after army takeover

      Zimbabwe’s military has placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest in the capital Harare, South African President Jacob Zuma says.

      Mr Mugabe told Mr Zuma in a phone call that he was fine, the South African leader’s office said.

      Troops are patrolling the capital, Harare, after they seized state TV and said they were targeting “criminals”.

    • ‘Tis The Season To Fail To Catch Contraband And Explosive Devices At TSA Checkpoints

      Just in time for the travel season to kick in, the TSA is operating at peak efficiency. Streamlining travelers’ pre-boarding procedures this year — just like every year preceding it — will be the agency’s inability to keep dangerous items from making their way onboard.

      Two years ago, the TSA’s Inspector General discovered it could sneak contraband — including explosive devices — past the agency’s pizza box recruits 95% of the time. A follow-up audit two years later was just as unimpressive. The IG’s “Red Team” audit team called it quits after sneaking 17 of 18 forbidden items past TSA screeners. At 94.4%, it’s hard to tell whether this is the TSA’s idea of improvement or just the result of a smaller sample size. (The first audit team made 70 smuggling attempts, succeeding 67 times.) Theoretically, given enough attempts, the TSA may have been able to push this number much closer to 100%.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • A Radioactive Cloud Wafts Over Europe, With Russia as Chief Suspect
    • Harvey-scale rains could hit Texas 18x more often by the end of the century

      Hurricanes strike the US with regularity, but there’s nothing on record that is at all like Hurricane Harvey’s pummeling of Houston. Understanding the risk of that kind of wind and rainfall happening again is critical if we intend to rebuild infrastructure that’s going to survive to its expected expiration date. But freakish storms like Harvey make risk calculations challenging. These storms have no historic precedent, so we have no idea how often they occur; and the underlying probability of these events is shifting as our planet grows warmer.

    • ‘This Is an Emergency’: 1 Million African Americans Live Near Oil, Gas Facilities

      A new analysis concludes what many in African-American communities have long experienced: Low-income, black Americans are disproportionately exposed to toxic air pollution from the fossil fuel industry.

      More than 1 million African Americans live within a half-mile of oil and natural gas wells, processing, transmission and storage facilities (not including oil refineries), and 6.7 million live in counties with refineries, potentially exposing them to an elevated risk of cancer due to toxic air emissions, according to the study.

      When the authors looked at proximity to refineries, they found that about 40 percent of all people living in counties with refineries in Michigan, Louisiana and Pennsylvania are African American, and 54 percent in Tennessee are.

      In three other states—Oklahoma, Ohio and West Virginia—they found that about one in five African-American residents statewide lives within a half-mile of an oil or gas facility.

    • Some state-level policies really do curb energy sector emissions

      Researchers studying state-level climate policy in the US confirm what high school teachers already know: if you make an assignment voluntary and offer no incentives for completing it, no one’s gonna do it.

      In an assessment of 17 climate and energy policies enacted by US states between 1990 and 2014, researchers from Emory University found that mandatory policies usually had a positive effect on emissions reduction while voluntary policies always had negligible or no effect.

      What may be more interesting, however, is to look at which policies worked best. Such an analysis has growing practical implications. This year, the Trump administration reversed many of the Obama administration’s federal emissions-reducing guidelines, rules, and regulations, meaning states that want to curb emissions are left to their own devices. Legislators who are serious about crafting good environmental policy would do well to look at what has worked for others before making proposals.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • AG Sessions Faces Perjury Claims Ahead of Congressional Testimony

      This comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is heading to Capitol Hill today to testify before a congressional hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Some Democratic lawmakers have accused Sessions of committing perjury for previously telling Congress that he was not aware of any Trump campaign official talking to the Russians. Sessions’s remark contradicts the statements of two former Trump campaign aides, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who have admitted they had contacts with Russians during the campaign. Meanwhile, Sessions has asked officials to look into whether a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the Clinton Foundation and an Obama-era deal to sell a uranium company to Russia.

    • Senate panel approves Trump Homeland Security pick
    • It’s not just Russia: Covert online tactics influenced votes in 18 countries in last year

      Elections and referendums in at least 18 countries over the past 12 months have been influenced by carefully planned “manipulation and disinformation tactics”, new research suggests.

    • Governments in 30 countries are paying ‘keyboard armies’ to spread propaganda, report says

      It found governments including Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were using “paid pro-government commentators” to shape opinions online, often to give the impression of grassroots support for government policies.

    • New Report – Freedom on the Net 2017: Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy

      Governments around the world are dramatically increasing their efforts to manipulate information on social media, threatening the notion of the internet as a liberating technology, according to Freedom on the Net 2017, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of online freedom, released today by Freedom House.

    • Hey, Mark Zuckerberg: My Democracy Isn’t Your Laboratory

      My country, Serbia, has become an unwilling laboratory for Facebook’s experiments on user behavior — and the independent, nonprofit investigative journalism organization where I am the editor in chief is one of the unfortunate lab rats.

      Last month, I noticed that our stories had stopped appearing on Facebook as usual. I was stunned. Our largest single source of traffic, accounting for more than half of our monthly page views, had been crippled.

      Surely, I thought, it was a glitch. It wasn’t.

    • Oklahoma Democrats win state Senate seat in red-district special election

      Democrats in Oklahoma picked up a key state Senate seat in a Tuesday special election, marking the fourth seat Democrats have gained in special elections in the state this year.

      The Tulsa World reports Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman won a close race over Republican Brian O’Hara in Oklahoma’s Senate District 37. The race was held to fill the seat of Republican Dan Newberry, who was leaving the state Senate.

      Ikley-Freeman, a 26-year-old lesbian, defeated O’Hara by 31 votes.

    • Koch Brothers Said to Back Time Inc. Deal Talks With Meredith
    • Trump Adds to Washington’s ‘Swamp’

      President Trump’s vow to “drain the swamp” was just one more empty promise as he adds to the muck with military contractors in key Pentagon jobs and other industry lobbyists at regulatory posts, says Jonathan Marshall.

    • Trump’s Debasement of Civilization

      Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment was surely a campaign gaffe, but she wasn’t wrong about Donald Trump’s exploitation of white grievances and other ugly attitudes, writes Lawrence Davidson.

    • Lawmaker Seeks Records of Lobbyist Contacts with Agriculture Official

      A House Democrat demanded on Tuesday that a former pesticide lobbyist who was appointed to the Department of Agriculture by the Trump administration release all emails she has exchanged with lobbyists or other representatives from her former industry.

    • GOP senators from NC come out against Trump EPA nominee

      North Carolina’s two Republican senators said Wednesday they oppose President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency, putting his nomination at serious risk.

      Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis issued statements saying they will vote against Michael L. Dourson to serve as head of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

    • Trump Judicial Nominee Brett Talley Appears to Have Defended “the First KKK” in Message Board Post

      Brett Talley, the Alabama lawyer Donald Trump has nominated to be a federal district judge, is a 36-year-old ghosthunter who has never tried a case and who failed to disclose to the Senate that he is married to the chief of staff to the White House counsel. He also seems to have written 16,381 posts—more than 3½ per day—on the University of Alabama fan message board TideFans.com. As BuzzFeed has reported, a user who is almost certainly Talley posted for years under the handle BamainBoston. (BuzzFeed managed to identify him because BamainBoston wrote a message headlined “Washington Post Did A Feature On Me,” linking to a 2014 Ben Terris profile of Talley. BuzzFeed reported that a “Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on Talley’s behalf.”)

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • New EU law prescribes website blocking in the name of “consumer protection”

      According to the new rules, national consumer protection authorities can order any unspecified third party to block access to websites without requiring judicial authorisation.

      [...]

      Tragically, the Parliament’s negotiator, MEP Olga Sehnalová from the Czech Social Democrats (S&D group), agreed to a compromise that adopted the Council’s proposal on website blocking.

    • Get ready for a whole lot more site blocking in the EU, thanks to a new consumer protection [sic] law

      Here’s the important bit, though, in Article 9(4), which covers minimum enforcement powers

    • European Union just decided to block websites without due process “For Consumer Protection”

      In a new bill just passed by the European Parliament, the European Union decided to give Internet censorship powers to each state’s consumer protection agency, completely without judicial oversight or a court order. These are the agencies typically dealing with defective electrical products or dangerous chemicals.

    • The Pirate Bay & 1337x Must Be Blocked, Austrian Supreme Court Rules

      After a prolonged battle through every stage of the Austrian legal system, the Supreme Court has now ruled that local ISPs must prevent their subscribers from accessing The Pirate Bay. The case, filed by a collecting society representing around 3,000 artists, also involves top 10 torrent site 1337x and long defunct index h33t.to.

    • 20 Years of Protecting Intermediaries: Legacy of ‘Zeran’ Remains a Critical Protection for Freedom of Expression Online

      At the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), we are proud to be ardent defenders of §230. Even before §230 was enacted in 1996, we recognized that all speech on the Internet relies upon intermediaries, like ISPs, web hosts, search engines, and social media companies. Most of the time, it relies on more than one. Because of this, we know that intermediaries must be protected from liability for the speech of their users if the Internet is to live up to its promise, as articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in ACLU v. Reno, of enabling “any person … [to] become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox“ and hosting “content … as diverse as human thought.”

      As we hoped—and based in large measure on the strength of the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Zeran—§230 has proven to be one of the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet. In the past two decades, we’ve filed well over 20 legal briefs in support of §230, probably more than on any other issue, in response to attempts to undermine or sneak around the statute. Thankfully, most of these attempts were unsuccessful. In most cases, the facts were ugly—Zeran included. We had to convince judges to look beyond the individual facts and instead focus on the broader implications: that forcing intermediaries to become censors would jeopardize the Internet’s promise of giving a voice to all and supporting more robust public discourse than ever before possible.

    • Appeals Court’s Disturbing Ruling Jeopardizes Protections for Anonymous Speakers

      A federal appeals court has issued an alarming ruling that significantly erodes the Constitution’s protections for anonymous speakers—and simultaneously hands law enforcement a near unlimited power to unmask them.

      The Ninth Circuit’s decision in U.S. v. Glassdoor, Inc. is a significant setback for the First Amendment. The ability to speak anonymously online without fear of being identified is essential because it allows people to express controversial or unpopular views. Strong legal protections for anonymous speakers are needed so that they are not harassed, ridiculed, or silenced merely for expressing their opinions.

    • California Appeals Court Issues A Ruling That Manages To Both Protect And Undermine Online Speech

      Earlier this year I wrote about Yelp’s appeal in Montagna v. Nunis. This was a case where a plaintiff had subpoenaed Yelp to unmask one of its users and Yelp tried to resist the subpoena. In that case, not only had the lower court refused to quash the subpoena, but it sanctioned Yelp for having tried to quash it. Per the court, Yelp had no right to try to assert the First Amendment rights of its users as a basis for resisting a subpoena. As we said in the amicus brief I filed for the Copia Institute in Yelp’s appeal of the ruling, if the lower court were right it would be bad news for anonymous speakers, because if platforms could not resist unfounded subpoenas then users would lose an important line of defense against all the unfounded subpoenas seeking to unmask them for no legitimate reason.

    • Africa’s largest TV platform has a growing free speech and censorship problem

      Africa’s largest television platform has pulled a talk show after it asked questions about police brutality and media freedom in Zambia.

      Radio and television promos for Talk With Kwangu were pulled off air after they featured a sound bite from the wife of Zambia’s opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, the Mast newspaper reported. The show, hosted by journalist Kwangu Liwewe, airs on M-Net’s Zambezi Magic channel in six southern African countries.

    • Rozcomnadzor’s Corruption Scandal Doesn’t Prevent The Russian Government From Empowering It To Ignore Due Process

      Reading our coverage of Rozcomnadzor, the Russian government agency tasked with keeping the internet clean of piracy, you would know that the agency has a laughably bad track record for pretty much everything. Even as ranking members of the agency have been embroiled in a corruption scandal in which they bilked Russian taxpayers by creating fake employees, the statistics out on Rozcomnadzor’s ability to carry out its stated mission — blocking sites used for piracy on the internet — are horrendous. Put simply, the agency has managed to take down 4,000 “pirate” sites through legal cluster bombs that have inflicted 41,000 sites worth of collateral damage. Any honest look at those kinds of numbers would lead a sincere government to seriously consider whether such an agency was worthy of existence at all.

    • Letter to the Editor: “On learning, student activism, and censorship”

      I am receiving messages from my family warning me not to speak up. They know all too well about the unspoken systems of white retaliation that exist in the “real world” and are afraid that I may lose school scholarships, career opportunities, or be hurt.

    • MYANMAR: HOW ART HAS SURPASSED CENSORSHIP LAWS

      With censorship so prominent in Myanmar, it is vital that artists from this country are especially applauded for their works and the challenges they faced to simply offer their perspectives. Below are a few spotlight artists that went beyond censorship limitations to share their work with the world.

    • Freedom Of Expression – Paper Looks At ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ In Latin American Context

      It’s hard to escape the watchful eye of the internet – it will follow you through life. But if something put on the internet about you is wrong, misrepresents you or even endangers you, should you have a right to remove it from the internet? A new paper from the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, DC looks at the European Union ‘right to be forgotten online’ rule and considers its applicability in Latin America.

      [...]

      According to Inter-American Dialogue, “The authors conclude with four recommendations: (1) that governments in the Americas face these questions head-on; (2) that courts and authorities throughout the hemisphere work to apply the existing and hard-fought inter-American standards protecting the freedom of expression; (3) that a transatlantic dialogue be initiated to discuss the right to be forgotten online; and (4) that governments search for alternative legal and technological mechanisms to protect privacy so as to limit the tensions while taking into account the very real concerns that the right to be forgotten attempts to address.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Shadow Brokers cause ongoing headache for NSA
    • Russian Hackers Aren’t the NSA’s Biggest Problem

      It’s hard to say which is more disturbing: Reports that hackers have obtained some of the National Security Agency’s most classified cybertools and are auctioning them off on the internet — or that, 15 months into its investigation, the agency still doesn’t know if it’s dealing with an outside hack, a leak or both.

      In short, the agency is reeling. What the NSA needs most of all — aside from finding out how the hackers, suspected to be a Russian group known as the Shadow Brokers, got the material — is a change in culture. Fortunately, there are precedents for a security agency seeking to restore its reputation and credibility: the actions taken by the FBI and CIA after the moles Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, respectively, were exposed in 2001 and 1994.

    • An NSA Breach and the New Hobbesian War on Our Privacy

      Since the former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures began showing up in the Washington Post and the Guardian, the political debate over the American surveillance state has been stuck in the 20th century.

      The public has feared a secretive, all-seeing eye, a vast bureaucracy that could peer into our online lives and track the numbers our smartphones dialed. Privacy as we knew it was dead. The era of Big Brother was here.

      President Barack Obama responded to the Snowden leaks by commissioning a blue-ribbon panel that ended up concluding the way the National Security Agency did business often trampled on legitimate civil liberties concerns. The government did not need to store our metadata, or the numbers, times and dates of our phone calls.

    • First Ever En Banc FISA Court Review Gives Plaintiffs Standing To Challenge Surveillance Program Secrecy

      One more thing we can give Ed Snowden credit for: the possibility we may be seeing even more public access to FISA court opinions and other FISA docs in the future. [h/t Mike Scarcella]

      There’s still a long way to go procedurally, but this latest ruling from the FISA court will allow a First Amendment lawsuit by the ACLU and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic to move forward. Being granted the standing to actually challenge government surveillance is a rarity. The cover of national security darkness has prevented many plaintiffs from being able to allege harm, but the Snowden leaks have provided many public entities the information they need to shore up these allegations.

    • Latest DOJ WTFness: Encryption Is Like A Locked House That Won’t Let Its Owners Back Inside

      Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein continues his push for law enforcement-friendly broken encryption. The ultimate goal is the same but the arguments just keep getting worse. Trying to pitch worthless encryption (i.e., encryption easily compromised in response to government demands) as “responsible” encryption is only the beginning of Rosenstein’s logical fallacies.

      After a month-plus of bad analogies and false equivalents, Rosenstein has managed to top himself. The path to Rosenstein’s slaughtering of a metaphor runs through such highlights as the DAG claiming device encryption is solely motivated by profits and that this is the first time in history law enforcement hasn’t had access to all forms of evidence. It’s an intellectually dishonest campaign against encryption, propelled by the incredibly incorrect belief that the Fourth Amendment was written to provide the government with access, rather than to protect citizens from their government.

    • ‘Leaker’ behind massive NSA breach possibly still working at agency

      Around mid-2016 the United States National Security Agency (NSA) was breached – and it has been revealed the ‘leaker’ might still be at play.

      The breach was reported as ‘catastrophic’ and even more damaging than Edward Snowden’s massive data leak.

      Since August 2016, a group called the Shadow Brokers has been releasing information on NSA cyberweapons.

    • Netflix Knows Some Very Strange Things About Public Viewing Habits

      Yes, Netflix is paying attention to when, where, and how people consume TV and movies, and has actually started studying how their habits are changing.

    • Netflix finds that people who stream steamy scenes on the train aren’t usually embarrassed about it

      Of the 37,056 people Netflix polled globally between August and September, 67 percent revealed themselves to be public bingers. Most of them, 77 percent, upon noticing snoopers, refused to turn off their show or film and just casually continued watching.

    • When Bingeing Goes Public, Private Behaviors are Exposed and Social Norms are Shelved

      The survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey from August 24 – September 7, 2017 and based on 37,056 responses. The sample was balanced by age and gender and representative of an adult online population who watch movies and TV shows via streaming services in public settings in The United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

    • First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical ‘Big Brother’

      The patch sends the date and time of pill ingestion and the patient’s activity level via Bluetooth to a cellphone app. The app allows patients to add their mood and the hours they have rested, then transmits the information to a database that physicians and others who have patients’ permission can access.

    • Safety alert: see how easy it is for almost anyone to hack [sic] your child’s connected toys

      Watch our video below to see just how easy it is for anyone to take over the voice control of a popular connected toy, and speak directly to your child through it. And we’re not talking professional hackers [sic]. It’s easy enough for almost anyone to do.

    • Trump administation to release rules on disclosure of cybersecurity flaws: NSA

      The Trump administration is expected to publicly release on 15 November its rules for deciding whether to disclose cybersecurity flaws or keep them secret, a national security official told Reuters.

    • EFF’s Street-Level Surveillance Project Dissects Police Technology

      Step onto any city street and you may find yourself subject to numerous forms of police surveillance—many imperceptible to the human eye.

      A cruiser equipped with automated license plate readers (also known as ALPRs) may have just logged where you parked your car. A cell-site simulator may be capturing your cell-phone data incidentally while detectives track a suspect nearby. That speck in the sky may be a drone capturing video of your commute. Police might use face recognition technology to identify you in security camera footage.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • At Guantánamo, a Death Penalty Case Without a Death Penalty Lawyer

      The Guantánamo military commissions, the scheme created by the government to try 9/11 and other detainees, have devolved into an unacceptable and alarming assault on defense lawyers attempting to provide fair representation to their clients.

      A new letter, drafted by the ACLU and joined by 150 death penalty lawyers and law professors, registers the capital defense community’s outrage over the legal breakdown, which clearly violates federal and international law.

    • An Arkansas Town Agrees to Criminal Justice Reform to Ensure That the Poor Are Not Jailed

      For years, the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, home to about 30,000 people, had a practice of jailing people who could not afford to pay court costs incurred from bounced checks. Thousands of Arkansans were locked up—sometimes after bouncing checks in small amounts—when they could not pay crushing fees, fines, and other costs that compounded their debt by as much as 10 times the original amount.

    • Edward S. Herman: Master of Dissent (1925–2017)

      One of the greatest and sweetest media critics ever, Edward S. Herman, has passed away. Ed was the main author of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, written with Noam Chomsky—the 1980s masterwork that exposed how elite US media typically function as propaganda organs for US empire and militarism.

      In 1984, when I was part of a lawyers’ delegation monitoring an “election” in death squad-run El Salvador, I remember a gaggle of progressive attorneys at the Salvador Sheraton tussling with each other to get their hands on a shipment of hot-off-the-press copies of Demonstration Elections, Ed’s devastating book (with Frank Brodhead) on the US “staging” elections as PR shows to prop up repressive puppet regimes, from the Dominican Republic to Vietnam to Salvador.

    • Who Has Your Back in Colombia? Our Third-Annual Report Shows Progress

      Fundación Karisma in cooperation with EFF has released its third-annual ¿Dónde Estan Mis Datos? report, the Colombian version of EFF’s Who Has Your Back. And this year’s report has some good news.

      According to the Colombian Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, broadband Internet penetration in Colombia is well over 50% and growing fast. Like users around the world, Colombians put their most private data, including their online relationships, political, artistic and personal discussions, and even their minute-by-minute movements online. And all of that data necessarily has to go through one of a handful of ISPs. But without transparency from those ISPs, how can Colombians trust that their data is being treated with respect?

    • EU citizens keep immigration rights in UK, court rules

      EU nationals who become British citizens do not lose the right to bring a foreign-born spouse to the UK, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

      London’s High Court referred the case of an Algerian man, who lived in the UK with his wife, but who British authorities were trying to deport.

      His wife had dual Spanish and British nationality, which gave the man a “derived” residence right, judges said.

    • Black worker says Tesla factory was a “hotbed for racist behavior”

      Tesla’s factory in Fremont is a “hotbed for racist behavior,” according to a legal complaint filed in California’s Alameda County Superior Court on Monday and reported by Bloomberg.

      Marcus Vaughn is an African-American who worked on Tesla’s factory floor from April to October of this year. Vaughn charges that workers and managers on the factory floor routinely used the n-word within his earshot. When he complained to the human resources department, Vaughn says, he was fired for “not having a positive attitude.”

      According to Bloomberg, Vaughn is seeking to be the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of more than 100 black Tesla workers.

      The lawsuit was filed by Lawrence Organ, the same civil rights lawyer who sued on behalf of three other black Tesla workers for racial discrimination last month. Those men also said they routinely heard people on the factory floor using racial epithets. A third lawsuit, alleging similar facts, was filed in March.

    • DOJ: Civil Asset Forfeiture Is A Good Thing That Only Harms All Those Criminals We Never Arrest

      Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has taken a brief vacation from his “Responsible Encryption World Tour” to defend the merits of something equally questionable: civil asset forfeiture.

      [...]

      From there, Rosenstein says the expected stuff: civil asset forfeiture is just a way of crippling criminal enterprises, despite it being predicated on one-sided accusations about the allegedly illegitimate origin of seized property and tied to a judicial process that discourages citizens from attempting to reclaim their possessions.

      The opening paragraph also makes it appear as though civil asset forfeiture is often used to return unlawfully obtained assets to victims of crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. While this occasionally happens in criminal forfeiture cases, the lack of criminal charges in civil forfeiture cases makes it extremely unlikely there will be any “victims” to “return” seized assets to.

    • North Carolina Is Trying to Destroy the State’s Only Farmworkers Union. We’re Suing.

      North Carolina passed a law making it all but impossible for the state’s only farmworkers union to operate effectively.

      Dolores Huerta, the legendary civil rights icon and farmworker activist, had it right: “Organized labor is a necessary part of democracy.” Day in and day out, unions struggle to make sure that farmworkers have a voice in in their workplace and in their communities, but they face enormous obstacles.

      Farmworkers, most of whom are people of color and many of whom are in this country on temporary visas, have long been excluded from federal and state labor laws. That means they don’t enjoy many of the key protections under the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and numerous state minimum wage, workers’ compensation, and youth employment laws. As a result, they face high risks to their health and safety, substandard living conditions, and abuse and exploitation by their employers.

      Now North Carolina has mounted a direct assault on the state’s only farmworkers union, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), which works tirelessly to protect those workers. A new state law, sponsored and supported by legislators who have a financial interest in suppressing farmworker organizing, would make it all but impossible for the union to operate effectively in the state. Together with a coalition of civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the North Carolina Justice Center, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the law violates farmworkers’ constitutional and civil rights. We have also asked the court for a preliminary injunction, which would suspend the law’s operation during the course of the litigation.

    • A Heartfelt Thank You to Edward Herman

      It is with great sadness that we report the death of the brilliant and prolific Edward Herman…he was 92. He gave us a great chapter for our latest book, Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a ‘Post-Truth’ World— “Still Manufacturing Consent: the Propaganda Model at Thirty.” He takes on critics of the Propaganda Model and argues how it continues to stand the test of time. Grateful that we got to work with him this past spring through late June during his writing of the chapter, which may be his last published work (done after his work on Fake News/Russia for Monthly Review).

      He was incredibly kind in our exchanges. When I reached out to him last spring to talk about the upcoming 30-year anniversary of his book with Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent), he was a bit reluctant as he had two other chapter-length projects in the hopper (yes, into his 90s), but said he really wanted to do the retrospective on the Propaganda Model for Project Censored. He eventually wrote back and said…”I’ll do it.” We were delighted that he agreed.

    • NYT’s Campus Free Speech Coverage Focuses 7-to-1 on Plight of Right

      Over the past 18 months, the New York Times has dedicated 21 columns and articles to the subject of conservatives’ free speech on campus, while only three covered the silencing of college liberals or leftists. A review of Times articles, columns, op-eds and reports shows a clear emphasis on documenting and condemning perceived suppression of conservative voices at American universities, while rarely mentioning harassment campaigns against leftist professors and/or the criminalization of leftist causes such as the pro-Palestinian BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement.

    • Cards Against Humanity buys piece of the U.S. border so Trump can’t build his wall
    • DOJ Still Demanding Identity Of Twitter Users Because Someone They Shouldn’t Have Arrested Tweeted A Smiley Emoji

      Last month, I had two blog posts about a particularly insane lawsuit being pushed by the Justice Department against a computer security researcher, Justin Shafer. As we explained, the arrest and prosecution of Shafer appeared to be the result of a truly ridiculous vendetta against Shafer by the FBI because Shafer got angry over a previous (and totally misguided) decision to raid his home, after he properly disclosed security problems involving some dental practice software. It seems clear that Shafer never should have been arrested (and never should have had the FBI raid his house three times over just a few months). Of course, what first brought the case to my attention was an even more ridiculous part of the story, in which the DOJ had sent a subpoena to Twitter demanding basically all info on five Twitter users — even though two of them don’t hide their identity — because Shafer tweeted a smiley emoji at them.

    • Why Google should be afraid of a Missouri Republican’s Google probe

      The Republican attorney general of Missouri has launched an investigation into Google’s business practices. Josh Hawley wants to know how Google handles user data. And he plans to look into whether Google is using its dominance in the search business to harm companies in other markets where Google competes.

      “There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind,” Hawley said in a Monday statement.

    • Texas Shooting Shows Once Again That Animal Cruelty and Human Cruelty Are Strongly Linked

      What do Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Devin Kelley the Texas church killer and a host of other killers have in common? They tortured animals and delighted in the pain they inflicted.

      Dahmer, who murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991 tortured frogs and cats and decapitated dogs. He mounted their heads on sticks including his own puppy. Mass murderer Ted Bundy watched as his father tortured animals and then did the same.

      “The “Boston Strangler” Albert DeSalvo trapped dogs and cats in wooden crates and shot them with a bow and arrow, reports the New York Post. “John Wayne Gacy, who murdered 33 men and boys in his suburban Chicago home, tortured turkeys by throwing balloons filled with gasoline and then igniting the birds.”

    • U.N. Warns European Union over Dire Conditions in Libyan Migrant Camps

      In Libya, human rights monitors who toured the country’s migrant detention camps say nearly 20,000 people are enduring “horrific conditions.” This is United Nations spokesperson Jeremy Laurence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC’s latest gift to telcos could leave Americans with worse Internet access

      The Federal Communications Commission will vote Thursday on a plan that, according to Chairman Ajit Pai, will strip away regulations that prevent telcos from upgrading their networks.

      But in doing so, the Republican-controlled FCC plans to eliminate a requirement that telcos provide Americans with service at least as good as the old copper networks that provide phone service and DSL Internet. The requirement relates to phone service but has an impact on broadband because the two services use the same networks.

      As carriers like AT&T and Verizon turn off copper networks throughout much of the country, many people fear that the networks won’t be replaced with fiber or something of similar quality. That’s why the FCC in 2014 created a “functional test” for carriers that seek permission to abandon copper networks. In short, carriers have to prove that the replacement service is just as good and provides the same capabilities as what’s being discontinued.

    • AT&T Promises Your Broadband Will Suck Less…But Only If It Gets Another Massive Tax Cut

      One of the reasons for the U.S.’ pricey and mediocre broadband is our historical habit of throwing oodles of tax breaks and subsidies for fiber optic networks at giant ISPs, then letting them tap dance over and around those obligations when it comes time to deliver. Verizon, for example, has gobbled up millions in subsidies and tax breaks from cities and states up and down the Eastern seaboard for fiber optic networks it fails to fully deploy. Given the stranglehold large ISPs have on federal and state regulators and lawmakers, efforts to hold these companies accountable for any of this have been decidedly mixed.

    • Pressure grows on FCC to kill state consumer protection laws

      The broadband industry is stepping up its attack on states that dare to impose privacy or net neutrality rules on Internet service providers.

      Mobile industry lobby group CTIA urged the Federal Communications Commission to preempt state laws on privacy and net neutrality in a recent meeting and filing. Comcast and Verizon had already asked the FCC to preempt such laws; CTIA represents AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile USA, Sprint, and other mobile companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • ‘Damaging’ Provisions On IP And Health Dropped From TPP Agreement, MSF Says

      Trade ministers negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States have dropped many problematic provisions related to intellectual property and health, Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) reported today. Also removed from the agreement appears to be the investor-state dispute settlement provisions, according to a source.

      “Ministers from the eleven countries assessing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal have suspended many of the damaging provisions that would have restricted access to medicines and vaccines, a victory for millions of people who rely on affordable medicines worldwide,” MSF said in a press release.

    • Trademarks
      • City Of Portland Still Jerking Around Local Businesses Over Trademark Of Famous City Sign

        The last time we checked in with the city of Portland, it was attempting to navigate some perilous waters regarding a trademark the city has on a famous city sign. Beer-maker Pabst, which I am to understand somehow won a blue ribbon a long time ago, built a logo for a concert series it wanted to promote in Portland that served as an homage to the famous sign, which includes an outline of the state and a stag leaping across the top of it. Because of this, the city saw fit to send a cease and desist notice to Pabst, despite beer not generally being a competitor for a city’s tourism business. When everyone pointed this out to the city, it decided to not pursue any legal action. But the city continued to threaten local businesses with its trademark, including Vintage Roadside, which sells a “Made In Portland” series of photos on Etsy, some of which included the famous sign. Vintage Roadside decided to sue the city to have the trademark declared invalid, prompting Portland officials to issue a covenant not to sue to avoid any ruling on the matter.

        You might have thought that this series of slapdowns would have deterred Portland officials from this bullying course of action, but you’d be wrong. Portland attempted to expand the trademark it has for the sign into the alcohol designation, thinking that it could license the image to beermakers and make some coin. Unfortunately for the city, a local brewery already has a trademark for the sign for the beer business.

    • Copyrights
      • ResearchGate Restricts Access to Nearly 2 Million Articles

        The dispute with ResearchGate is just the latest in a series of actions by academic publishers against websites and social networks that make copyrighted academic articles freely available to users. In 2013, Elsevier sent another paper-sharing site, Academia.edu, around 2,800 take-down notices in a single month. And earlier this week, a US judge issued an injunction that allows ACS to demand that Internet service providers block access to pirate site Sci-Hub, which hosts more than 60 million research articles.

      • Publishers push ResearchGate harder in copyright battle
      • TPP Texts Show Suspended IP Provisions

        Trade ministers negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement have released the list of provisions they have suspended, including a range of articles related to intellectual property rights, such as patentable subject matter, test data protection, biologics, copyright terms of protection, and technological protection measures.

        Ministers from the 11 countries issued a statement and the list of suspended provisions, after concluding their latest negotiations in the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Da Nang, Vietnam earlier this week.

        The ministerial statement and list of provisions are available here. The TPP is now named the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

      • US Copyright Office: Re-Registration Required For Claiming Liability Exemptions

        The United States Copyright Office has issued a reminder to all online service providers and agents that they must renew their registration with the office by end of year in order to claim liability limitations from copyright infringing content.

      • US, Canadian & Mexican Law Professors, Academics And Policy Experts: NAFTA Must Include Fair Use, Safe Harbors

        Today, over seventy international copyright law experts called for NAFTA and other trade negotiators to support a set of balanced copyright principles. The experts urge trade negotiators to support policies like fair use, safe harbor provisions, and other exceptions and limitations that permit and encourage access to knowledge, flourishing creativity, and innovation. Signatories include preeminent intellectual property professors and experts from law schools, think tanks, and public interest organizations in the US, Canada, and Mexico, as well as Argentina, Australia, China, Ireland, and Switzerland.

      • Copyright Exceptions For Libraries Widespread, Study At WIPO Shows, But Disharmony Persists

        Nobody among members of the World Intellectual Property Organization disputes the importance of the public services provided by libraries and archives. However, positions are different when it comes to providing exceptions to copyright to those entities so they can continue to dispense their services, in particular in the digital age. An updated study presented today in a WIPO committee shows that most countries have exceptions relating to libraries, but termed in very different ways, and are hesitant on how to deal with digital technologies.

Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

Wednesday 15th of November 2017 04:02:55 PM

Examiners can come and go, with doors revolving ahead and behind them


Reference: Revolving door (politics)

Summary: Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination

EARLIER today we wrote about how the EPO moved on to corrupting academia, not just the media. And Bristows repeats the lies today. Team UPC loves it! Lies are OK to them as long as they’re good for their bottom line. A few hours ago EPO boosted LSE’s Antoine Dechezlepretre, who helped the EPO and Team UPC disseminate these lies.

Bristows we had very low expectations from (they would even fabricate/falsify things when that suits them), but now that the EPO bribes the media for puff pieces and does similar things with universities we must pause and think what the EPO has become. It’s a real threat to democracy, to society, and to science. The EPO is no longer harmful just to the EPO and to industry. It’s also toxic to academia, to media, and to the reputation of Europe.

Novagraaf’s Robert Balsters almost drank the Kool-Aid. Earlier today he perpetuated the myth that UPC is just a matter of time (delay). It’ll never happen though. Perhaps even he and his firm (Balsters) have come to realise this. “First Brexit,” he wrote, “then the UK and German general elections and now a case pending in the German Federal Constitutional Court have delayed the implementation date of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC). Is this Europe-wide right ever going to come into being?”

Probably not. An additional issue (that he has not mentioned) is the EPO crisis, as well as the underlying points raised in the constitutional complaint. These are sometimes overlapping. One cannot discuss the UPC without relating to the EPO crisis, which is a very profound crisis. It’s not just a “social” conflict but also a technical problem, which itself causes much of this “social” conflict.

As it turns out, many unskilled examiners are being hired on the cheap and much of the work is being passed to unproven algorithms which have, provably, not yielded good results. EPO insiders already speak about (anonymously, for obvious reasons).

As alluded to earlier today, things are about to get worse in a couple of months or even 6-7 weeks. As an insider explained to me a few hours ago: “Ms Bergot announced her intention to have 100% (yes, you read right: ONE HUNDRED percent) of time-limited contracts for newcomers starting from 1st January 2018 !!! [] Many unanswered questions remain, such as – What will be the impact on the ability to recruit highly educated employees from all member states (knowing that the competition to attract the best ones is now global)? [] What will be the pressure on the new employees, for their performance? [] What will be the impact on the quality of their work? [] What will be the financial impact, particularly on the pension fund if there is a high turnover? [] How is the Office going to minimize the risk of corruption, which is precisely what permanent employment with advantageous working packages is supposed to prevent?”

As it turns out, WIPR is already covering this and it has solicited comments about this from the patent microcosm: (EIP, Bird & Bird etc.)

Benoît Battistelli, the president of the European Patent Office (EPO), has proposed an employment plan to recruit staff on renewable contracts of five years.

During a budget and finance commitee meeting in October in Munich, Battistelli and Elodie Bergot, principal director of human resources, added a motion to discuss permanent employment at the EPO to the agenda document.

A spokesperson for the EPO said that the office is in a “unique situation” with 97% of its staff hired on a permanent basis.

[...]

David Brinck, partner at EIP, said: the reputation of the EPO is founded on the quality and experience of its patent examiners.

“It must be a concern that moving to fixed-term contracts would hamper the recruitment of high-quality examiners and also potentially result in a high turnover of examiners with the position of EPO examiner eventually being seen as a CV filler rather than a worthy vocation in itself.”

Wouter Pors, partner at Bird & Bird, added that the EPO needs stability to be able to fill the current gaps.

“Given the uncertainty that employees have experienced in recent years, this is not the right moment to introduce flexibility. It is unlikely that highly educated professionals will give up their current employment for a future at the EPO which may be perceived as uncertain,” he cautioned.

Pors pretends to already know that Campinos will Fix Everything at the EPO. “Pors believes that perhaps in a year from now,” it says, “when the new management has restored trust among the EPO employees, a plan like this could be introduced successfully.”

He said the same about UPC (always “real soon” or “next year”), but failing even as a UPC propagandist [1, 2, 3] there’s little reason to trust anything he says. The entire plan is terrifying because it means that examination will be assigned to machines and operators with insufficient background (to judge or assist these machines). This is all wrong and a hallmark of the EPO’s disregard for academia (except when the EPO can pay it for some propaganda).

Meanwhile, over at IP Kat, these ‘machines’ continue to be discussed, using buzzwords such as AI (which is vastly overrated and nothing new):

“AI renders knowledge workers redundant.”

We’ll see this headline a few more times over the coming years. But it’s not always realistic about the outcomes. Patent search is very amenable to moving many tasks to AI implementations. one well, it should free examiners up to spend more time on examinations, if costs are to be kept at the current level, or to reduce costs for users, if examiner workload is to be kept constant. Both seem like positive outcomes.

“Curious that IPkat is interested in EPO again,” the next comment said. “Merpel should however know EPO examiners are not allowed to comment on the Office.”

Well, except anonymously.

“EPO management isn’t falling into an old pattern of seeking salvation in fashionable tech they fail to understand,” said the next comment. To quote:

In my humble experience, little separates AI from NI (Natural Idiocy). It’s true that there have been impressive improvements in some fields, like image recognition and automated translation, but even in those fields those improvements have only been achieved by force-feeding computers with phenomenal amounts of information, and I doubt that such an investment is yet economical or even possible in such a specialised field as patent searching. In any case, it still remains very much a matter of GIGO (garbage in – garbage out) and, AFAIK, in low tech fields like mechanics, the EPO databases are still quite corrupted by crappy OCR scans of old prior art (which can still be very much relevant in those fields: I’ve known cases where the killer prior art was over a century old).

I’m also slightly perplexed by the assumption that AI is put to better use in search than in examination: maybe AI would be less subject to hindsight bias than a human examiner when applying the Problem-Solution Approach, or determining whether something could be “directly and unambiguously derived” from a disclosure, don’t you think?

Anyway, before starting to wonder whether android examiners would dream of electric mousetraps, perhaps we should employ a dose of realism and ask ourselves whether EPO management isn’t falling into an old pattern of seeking salvation in fashionable tech they fail to understand, underestimating the challenges to implement it, and spending valuable resources into external consultancies in exchange of underwhelming results…

On the EPO, said the next comment, certain practices “are liable to render the patent office not fit for purpose.”

It also said that “EPO management is falling into the trap of pressing ahead with unproven technology without fully appreciating the possible implications.”

Here is the full comment:

It seems that you and I are in agreement. If you re-read my comment, it is clear that I only placed “off limits” those practices that are liable to render the patent office not fit for purpose.

I am in no way suggesting that investing in new technologies or adopting new ways of working is a bad thing. Instead, what I am saying is that all modernisation / efficiency drives must not render the EPO no longer fit for purpose.

On this point, I am afraid that I share Kant’s concerns that “the purpose of semi-automatic search is to de-skill the task of patent searching so as to enable the highly skilled and experienced examiners to be replaced by unskilled workers on short term contracts”. I would be delighted to be proved wrong. However, even if there is no diabolical plot behind the reforms are being, I suspect that Glad to be out of the madhouse is correct to wonder whether the EPO management is falling into the trap of pressing ahead with unproven technology without fully appreciating the possible implications.

The next comment had to be posted twice because it did not get through the first time (due to length):

The old EPOQUE databases have long since reached their design limits.
They have improved on that, but some limits will remain.
ANSERA is based on modern database structure, which is much more flexible.
ANSERA was and is therefore ncessary.

Re. search approach: EPOQUE with INTERNAL and XFULL is very classification oriented.
In ANSERA, classification symbol limitations often do not work, or are even working faultily.

Re. question 7: this is a perception bias. Newcomers still do get training in EPOQUE. But….
- tools training for newcomers has reduced from 7 weeks to 2 weeks, and encompasses more tools than before.
The correct teaching is left to the tutor. Who has to meet high preocution values, and has NOT received training how to train.
so newcomers get to lock themselves up and have to find something relevant.
Understanding the classification systematic isn’t easy, and prone to errors, leading to searches in irrelevant fields. If done correctly, your documents would all be highly relevant.
With ANSERA you get a google effect: many seemingly relevant documents, but very hard to filter down to the most relevant ones. Just like google gives some 20 relevant result pages. So you’d have to scroll through MANY more documents to see all relevant ones. Which ANSERA is rather unsuitable for, and transfering large amounts to the better document tool is still impractical.
So people look at the top 70 documents or so, according to some random evaluation algorithm.

And because finding documents loosely relevant is easy with ANSERA, non-engineers think it is the better tool. A real engineer gets frustrated, because getting the relevant documents out of the heap of close fields is impossible. But if you got the mention of how to use classification symbol searches only once within a haystack of other information in a new environment, retrieving this how-to when you need to is not something your brain will remember, so you pick some documents out of the large stack, and miss THE relevant classification symbol completely.
And since Quality Nominees get only 2 hours to do this check, including understanding the application, evaluating if the cited documents have been evaluated correctly (X/Y; technical features), checking clarity issues, …, no time remains to read up on the seach strategy, or even do a quick and dirty search in the correct classification symbol. And without better documents, there is no reason to mark a low quality search in the quality recording tool.

To recap: ANSERA itself is a wonderful tool. If the broken features get repaired.
They are making great progress.
But neither ANSERA itself nor EPOQUE are automated.

The useability of the automated pre-search (of which one element uses ANSERA) is extremely dependent on field and the specfic application you want to search. It made progress, then they had new versions which ais, for my field, a setback. Other fields improved.

Re question 5: I presume sometime external users of EPOQUE/INTERNAL/XFULL will also get access to ANSERA. But that access is very limited to patent offices, or the cut-down version EspaceNet offers.

The latest comment says this:

Fair comments. My experiences are reflected in your analysis. The new system is a bit of a black box which gives me results – but are they the best? In areas where classification systems are necessary and searching means looking at a lot of similar documents, finding small details isn’t easy.. Details of gear boxes which have gears, springs, fixed gears, internal gears etc. generate very general terms which may be closely located within almost every document. Finding the right conglomeration isn’t easy with a simple full text search for terms.
A difficulty is that the Epoque system still gives very good results and probably better than Ansera – for the moment.

Having already seen IP Kat nuking all comments (about 40 of them), we do try to keep a record of them. A lot of these are coming from EPO insiders, who are otherwise difficult to hear from (they are afraid of getting caught by the regime of terror at Eponia).

Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

Wednesday 15th of November 2017 03:01:16 PM

Because Shelston IP does not care what actual software developers want

Summary: The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal ‘industry’ is unhappy (as expected)

THE decision to more officially ban software patents in Australia is not news. We wrote quite a few articles about that earlier in the year. As Kluwer Patent Blog put it this morning: “The purpose of the Bill is to implement the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on Australia’s IP Arrangements.”

The article neglects to say that Australia is cracking down on software patents (software is not being mentioned at all by the author) and instead says that “Australia’s Government introduces draft legislation to abolish innovation patents” (which sounds rather misleading, as can often be expected from sites such as Kluwer Patent Blog). To quote:

The Productivity Commission recommended that Australia abolish the innovation patents regime, the principal reasons being that such patents have a lower inventive step than that of a standard patent and inhibited rather than assisted innovation from small business enterprises. The Government has agreed with this conclusion, noting that neither small business enterprises nor the Australian community at large benefited from it.

Part 4 of the draft Bill contains amendments to commence the abolition of the innovation patent system by preventing the filing of new applications, subject to certain exceptions. For example, existing rights before the commencement of the abolishing Act will remain unaffected, including the right to file divisional applications and convert standard patent applications to innovation patent applications where the patent date and priority date for each claim are before the abolishing Act’s commencement date.

What’s even worse than this is a paid ‘article’ from Shelston IP’s Matthew Ward. It came out a few hours ago and like their previous interventions (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) all we see here is Shelston IP still attacking patent sanity. To quote:

This is directly at odds with a recent resolution by the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) favoring patent-eligibility of computer software inventions.

AIPPI is a lobby of greedy radicals and Australia has already conducted some surveys that revealed disdain for software patents. Why does Shelston IP insist on looking like an enemy of Australia’s software industry?

Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

Wednesday 15th of November 2017 12:36:49 PM

It’s not like the Patent Office desperately needs more money (there’s excess)


Reference: United States Patent and Trademark Office at Wikipedia

Summary: In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)

LAST week the US government dealt with a serious issue we had been writing about for a number of months. CCIA, as it turns out, submitted a letter to the House Judiciary Subcommittee On IP [sic] and yesterday wrote this post:

Yesterday, we submitted a letter for the record to the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. This letter, written in response to testimony submitted for the Subcommittee’s hearing on Sovereign Immunity and IP, provides the details of our analysis of the patents which Josh Malone and Phil Johnson identified as showing a disagreement on validity between the PTAB and federal courts. In contrast to their allegation of 200 patents, the real figure is far lower. Of the 3,056 patents reviewed by the PTAB which were also at issue in litigation in federal district courts, there are 43 cases (just over 1%) in which the PTAB and a district court have disagreed with one another.

[...]

Conclusion

The data, when correctly understood, shows that the PTAB only rarely disagrees with the federal courts when both review the validity of the same patent. The data also shows that the two venues only rarely review the validity of the same patent. We believe the Subcommittee’s work will benefit from this understanding of the extreme infrequency with which the PTAB and a district court reach different conclusions.

Additionally, based on information that William New wrote about, “US Congress Members Signal Move To Block Allergan Patent Deal With Tribe” (Mohawk).

To quote the part which is not behind paywall:

Members of a US congressional subcommittee on intellectual property held a hearing last week that appeared aimed at finding ways to stop companies from “renting” the sovereignty of Native American tribes in order to avoid a process that can lead to the invalidation of patents. Elected officials called a deal between Allergan pharmaceutical company and a northeastern tribe a “sham” and a “mockery”, and signalled the start of the legislative procedure to prevent such deals.

Notice the use of the words “sham” and “mockery”. There’s also “scam” — a popular term in various blogs and comments. A Federal judge called it a “sham”.

One might expect the USPTO to heed the warning and make PTAB even stronger, but instead, based on this post from Patently-O and another one from New’s publication, the USPTO reduces access to PTAB by means of fee hikes.

New wrote:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today issued changes to some patent fees, including increases in certain areas, including the cost of using the inter partes review process. Following feedback from users, the office went with some proposed increases, while keeping others at existing levels despite proposals to increase them, it said.

In the interests of patent quality, the USPTO ought to make PTAB even more affordable, not less accessible (more expensive). Here is the full press release:

USPTO Finalizes Revised Patent Fee Schedule

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today issued a final rule, “Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees during Fiscal Year 2017” to set or adjust certain patent fees, as authorized by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). The revised fee schedule is projected to recover the aggregate estimated cost of the USPTO’s patent operations, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) operations, and administrative services. The additional fee collections will support the USPTO’s progress toward its strategic goals like pendency and backlog reduction, patent quality enhancements, technology modernization, staffing optimization, and financial sustainability.

In response to feedback from patent stakeholders, the USPTO altered several of the fee proposals presented in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). The key differences between the NPRM and the final rule are:

  • In response to stakeholder concerns, the USPTO reduced both plant and design issue fees from the levels proposed in the NPRM. Still, the large entity plant issue fee increases to $800 (+$40) and the large entity design issue fee increases to $700 (+$140). Plant and design patents do not pay maintenance fees, and the majority of plant and design applicants are eligible for small and micro entity fee reductions, which remain available.
  • Stakeholder feedback suggested that increased appeal fees could discourage patent holders’ access to increasingly important USPTO appeal services. In response, the USPTO elected to maintain the existing Notice of Appeal fee at $800 instead of increasing it to $1,000 as proposed in the NPRM. Likewise, the fee for Forwarding an Appeal to the Board increases to $2,240 (+$240) instead of $2,500 as proposed in the NPRM. The revised fees still do not fully recover costs, but taken together should allow continued progress on reducing the backlog of ex parte appeals.  Since the 2013 patent fee rulemaking, ex parte appeal fees have enabled the PTAB to hire more judges and greatly reduce the appeals backlog, from nearly 27,000 in 2012 to just over 13,000 at the end of FY 2017. Additional appeals fee revenue will support further backlog and pendency reductions.
  • Increases to the PTAB AIA trial fees are aimed at better aligning these fees with the USPTO’s costs and aiding the PTAB to continue to meet required AIA deadlines. The Office’s costs for Inter Partes Review requests are consistently outpacing the fees collected for this service.  These fee adjustments seek to more closely align fees and costs. Trial fees and associated costs still remain significantly less than court proceedings for most stakeholders.
    • Inter Partes Review Request Fee – up to 20 Claims increases to $15,500 (+$6,500)
    • Inter Partes Review Post-Institution Fee – Up to 15 Claims increases to $15,000 (+$1,000)

Other fee changes proposed in the NPRM remain the same.

For the full list of the patent fees that are changing and more information on fee setting and adjusting at the USPTO, please visit http://www.uspto.gov/about-us/performance-and-planning/fee-setting-and-adjusting.

PTAB is important and the cost of petition matters, especially to small companies which are being targeted by trolls and have limited budget. PTAB defends them from patent trolls and software patents without having to go through courts and appeals, which can add up to hundreds of thousands if not over a million dollars in fees (no matter the outcome).

IAM says that according to Google’s Suzanne Michel, “from [a] tech perspective IPRs have been very effective at reducing a lot of litigation” (direct quote from IAM but not Suzanne Michel). She is right.

United for Patent Reform‏ also quotes a report/opinion piece (HTIA’s John Thorne) which we mentioned a week ago: “PTAB and IPR have provided a relatively inexpensive & rapid way for @uspto to take a second & impartial look at the work of examiners & strike down patents that should have never issued in the first place…”

Hence our stubborn defense of PTAB.

Yesterday, IAM noted or highlighted yet another case of PTAB being used to thwart dubious patents, even if the petitioner is a large company (PTAB bashers like to obsess over such points).

The world’s largest oil and gas company Saudi Aramco has filed an inter partes review (IPR) against a Korean petrochemical business in what is a highly unusual move by one of the energy majors.

The Saudi national oil giant, which produces 12.5 million barrels per day, has brought the IPR against SK Innovation, which started life as the Korea Oil Company before morphing into a broad-based energy and chemicals business. The patent in question, number 9,023,979, relates to a method of preparing epoxide/CO2 polycarbonates and was issued in 2015.

It’s not clear what has prompted the review – there is no ongoing patent litigation between the two companies, which might mean that it is related to licensing negotiations that have broken down and Saudi Aramco has brought the IPR in order to gain some leverage in the talks.

[...]

Halliburton is among the most active of these, with 36 IPRs including 32 this year, mostly against its rival Schlumberger. Baker Hughes meanwhile has been involved in 27 IPRs either as petitioner or patent owner.

This should not be mistaken for the Supreme Court case regarding Oil States, but it certainly seems similar in certain aspects.

Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and ‘Independent’ Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

Wednesday 15th of November 2017 11:36:54 AM

They do, however, complain about their loss of independence

Summary: The EPO’s troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences

THE EPO, wrongly and arrogantly assuming that the UPC will materialise, is already making judges inside the EPO redundant or subservient. Even in defiance of the EPC. This is extremely serious as it’s a removal of oversight.

Several years ago we said that the EPO had done that (in late 2014) in order to gag those who speak about patent quality and can do so without fear of retribution. “Quality [of patents at the EPO] has dropped drastically the last 3 or 4 years,” one person wrote yesterday*. Ever since then, for obvious reasons, we have seen no dissenting judges (except retired ones). They self-censor, just like staff representatives do (consciously or subconsciously). EPO insiders already know what it means for EPO management to send judges to Haar (a symbolic act) and then try to invite chairs to actually celebrate this. Thankfully, most chairs are snubbing and declining this invitation.

Deep inside, EPO staff representatives don’t really believe much will change when Battistelli leaves. They just give Campinos the benefit of the doubt and act diplomatically. To quote a key paragraph (and the only one which contains new information of any kind in this article):

A source close to SUEPO said that as Campinos did not reject the numerous points issued against the current administration of the EPO, he is clearly aware of the contentions. However, the source added that what Campinos will actually do is still up for discussion, “since his answer is rather (to say the least) very vague”.

SUEPO links to this, so apparently it agrees.

Benoît Battistelli has caused a notable decrease in the number applications for EPs. He knows this, so right now he’s trying to cook/bake/fake the numbers by reducing costs — an old trick which this person fell for (and then got retweeted by the EPO).

Next time the EPO announces ‘results’ be sure to remember the decline in fees. It’s strategic. It’s designed to mask the decline in so-called ‘demand’. Regarding patent quality, one person said yesterday: “In practice there is no comparison of quality differences being made, as far as I know.”**
________
* With context added:

You’re a bit harsh. Of course it is not off-limits for EPO to consider changing their practices.

Or would you want them to still use index cards and miles of bound volumes of old applications?

There’s nothing wrong with improving efficiency. They can consider, and test, and evualuate all they want and only keep the good stuff.

I do agree that this should not reduce quality. And with the current EPO management that is indeed a worry. Quality has dropped drastically the last 3 or 4 years.

EPC article 1: A system of law, common to the Contracting States for the grant of patents for invention is established by this Convention.

For the grant of patents, not for their refusal! For the grant of patents, not neccessarily for the grant of high quality patents!

Quality should be assured by a constantly vigilant AC, alas, that is lacking.

** This comment alludes to the new system and the old system:

Back at Merpel’s questions…
1. Don’t know. And I’ve done the training…

Seriously, it is another technique and maybe it does work but it works in parallel with all my experience and doesn’t easily combine with it. It’s a bit like speaking Spanish for years and then one day being told that you would be better in Flemish. Why? Nobody really explains and you have no time to learn it. So you just ignore it. If you only learn Flemish and never learn Spanish (and they stop any Spanish classes), stats will always show Flemish is more popular except with the old fossils.

In practice there is no comparison of quality differences being made, as far as I know.

The EPO is Now Corrupting Academia, Wasting Stakeholders’ Money Lying to Stakeholders About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

Wednesday 15th of November 2017 11:00:41 AM

Summary: The Unified Patent Court/Unitary Patent (UPC) is a dying project and the EPO, seeing that it is going nowhere fast, has resorted to new tactics and these tactics cost a lot of money (at the expense of those who are being lied to)

NOT a day goes by without some EPO scandal (large or small). It’s like watching the ‘action’ on the deck of the Titanic while worrying for the fate of helpless passengers aboard.

“Those so-called ‘studies’ published by the EPO are mendacious speak totally worthless…”
      –AnonymousYesterday, as noted by Benjamin Henrion (FFII), the EPO wrote: “New report finds that the #UnitaryPatent could significantly enhance technology transfer in the EU. Other findings here…”

I’ve asked them: “New report or new lies?”

Henrion responded by saying “enhance “patent litigation” in the EU.”

Because it has nothing to do with “technology transfer” — whatever exactly that means (it usually gets used as a euphemism for “licensing”, amicable of coerced for).

“they actually do the opposite by suppressing permanent employment for new recruits from 1st January 2018 at the EPO. The impact on patent quality will be huge. But still, Battistelli prefers burning money by producing pro-UPC lies!”
      –AnonymousFunnily enough, the EPO has once again linked to localhost:8080 in its official news feed (RSS) — an issue which they only fixed later in the day and several days too late. Are any competent workers left at the EPO? They appear to have misconfigured their software. Did some key IT staff leave? Either way, the ‘news’ at hand (warning: epo.org link) says the report was “carried out by a team of economists from the EPO, the University of Colorado Boulder and the London School of Economics…”

They did that for a fee, or with direct support from the EPO. The chief economist of the EPO seems like an old French mate of Battistelli and we have repeatedly caught him lying about the UPC.

What we see here is the EPO basically wasting a lot of money. It’s paying to produce pro-UPC lies and frame these as scholarly. Stakeholders’ money well spent? Of course not! And worse — it corrupts academia just like the EPO corrupts European media.

“Those so-called ‘studies’ published by the EPO are mendacious speak totally worthless,” one insider wrote. The “EPO should invest in patent quality,” s/he continued, “but they actually do the opposite by suppressing permanent employment for new recruits from 1st January 2018 at the EPO. The impact on patent quality will be huge. But still, Battistelli prefers burning money by producing pro-UPC lies!”

“What we see here is the EPO basically wasting a lot of money.”Shame on WIPR for being a mouthpiece for the EPO on this. As far as we can tell, it’s the only publication (so far) that amplified the above. Knowing a little about WIPR inside affairs, I am not at all surprised by this. The publisher actively tried to suppress if not spike some articles that revealed the ugly truths about the EPO.

See the comments on the corresponding tweet. EPO insiders have beaten me to it, seeing that WIPR is even quoting Benoît Battistelli directly from the press release (it can be found here). It’s almost as though journalism is dead and investigation/fact-checking is actively discouraged. Money (income) is in lying for the EPO now that Battistelli feeds some ‘parrots’ off his palm. He does not use his own money but EPO budget. He scatters it to the wind while lowering everyone’s salary but his own (and his cronies’). If Eponia was really a country, Battistelli would be accused of treason.

“If Eponia was really a country, Battistelli would be accused of treason.”Yesterday the EPO also wrote: “Negotiation is the preferred way to solve potential infringement issues; litigation is regarded as a last resort.”

Not if the UPC ever got its way and brought patent trolls to Europe. It would be totally chaotic and chaos of the kind that prosecutors earn a lot of money from (at technologists’ expense).

Links 15/11/2017: Fedora 27 Released, Linux Mint Has New Betas

Wednesday 15th of November 2017 05:21:37 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Munich has putsch against Linux [Ed: does not quote any of the other side's arguments; Microsoft played dirty to cause this. It has been well documented.]

    Once the open sauce poster-boy Munich city council’s administrative and personnel committee has decided to purge Linux from its desk-top and invite Windows 10 to return by 2020.

    [...]

    She said the cost of the migration will not be made public until November 23, but today about 40 percent of 30,000 users already have Windows machines.

  • My Adventure Migrating Back To Windows

    I have had linux as my primary OS for about a decade now, and primarily use Ubuntu. But with the latest release I have decided to migrate back to an OS I generally dislike, Windows 10.

  • Top 10 Linux Tools

    One of the benefits to using Linux on the desktop is that there’s no shortage of tools available for it. To further illustrate this point, I’m going to share what I consider to be the top 10 Linux tools.

    This collection of Linux tools helps us in two distinct ways. It serves as an introduction to newer users that there are tools to do just about anything on Linux. Also, it reminds those of us who have used Linux for a number of years that the tools for just about any task is indeed, available.

  • Desktop
    • Take Linux and Run With It

      “How do you run an operating system?” may seem like a simple question, since most of us are accustomed to turning on our computers and seeing our system spin up. However, this common model is only one way of running an operating system. As one of Linux’s greatest strengths is versatility, Linux offers the most methods and environments for running it.

      To unleash the full power of Linux, and maybe even find a use for it you hadn’t thought of, consider some less conventional ways of running it — specifically, ones that don’t even require installation on a computer’s hard drive.

    • Samsung ditches Windows, shows Linux running on Galaxy Note 8 over DeX

      Samsung is now planning to deliver a full-fledged operating system over Samsung DeX with Linux, instead of Windows. While initially, Samsung’s DeX was supposed to run Windows 10 desktop in a virtual environment, the company is now leaning on Linux to offer a desktop experience.

    • Samsung demos Linux running on a Galaxy Note8 smartphone

      It has been known for some time that Samsung has been experimenting with the idea of running Linux distributions through its DeX platform on its Galaxy smartphones. The idea, being quite simple, is basically there to allow the user to use their device for multiple purposes, one of these being a replacement for the traditional desktop.

    • Samsung Demonstrates Ubuntu 16 Running Natively On DeX

      Samsung Electronics is entertaining the idea of bringing the full-fledged Linux operating system to the Samsung DeX platform, and these efforts were highlighted in a recent concept demo video published on YouTube by Samsung Newsroom, showcasing Samsung DeX running the Ubuntu 16 Linux distribution. Assuming that this feature will be implemented, it may place the DeX docking station on the radars of more potential customers as the product could grow in popularity especially amongst Linux users.

    • Dell Rolling Out More Developer-Focused Systems Preloaded With Ubuntu

      Canonical has announced that Dell is rolling out five new systems pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux. These systems are catering towards developers and come from all-in-one computers to new laptop models.

      Canonical just posted about five new Dell systems with Ubuntu pre-installed. Details are light as the Dell.com web-site is still reflecting these devices with Windows 10 on some of the pages and no mentions of these new models yet on the other general Dell Linux areas.

    • New Dell Precision Machines Available With Ubuntu Pre-Installed

      We are excited to announce the availability of 5 new Dell Precision computers that come pre-installed with Ubuntu. These are systems developed by and for developers, and are available in form factors ranging from sleek ultrabooks to powerful workstations. Here’s a quick runthrough of the latest offerings!

  • Server
    • Linux Now Powers 100% of the World’s Top 500 Supercomputers

      Linux now powers 100% of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers. That’s according to the latest stats out from supercomputer hawks TOP500, who post a biannual list of the world’s most powerful commercially available computer systems. Linux has long dominated the TOP500 list, powering the majority of the machines that make it.

    • Linux Now Powers ALL TOP500 Supercomputers In The World | TOP500 List 2017
    • China Now Has More Supercomputers Than Any Other Country

      China now has more of the world’s most powerful computer systems than any other country, replacing the U.S as the dominant nation on the list of the planet’s 500 fastest supercomputers.

    • China Overtakes US in Latest Top 500 Supercomputer List

      China now claims 202 systems within the Top 500, while the United States — once the dominant player — tumbles to second place with 143 systems represented on the list.

      Only a few months ago, the US had 169 systems within the Top 500 compared to China’s 160.

    • IT disaster recovery: Sysadmins vs. natural disasters

      In terms of natural disasters, 2017 has been one heck of a year. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria brought destruction to Houston, Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Caribbean. On top of that, wildfires burned out homes and businesses in the West.

      It’d be easy to respond with yet another finger-wagging article about preparing for disasters—and surely it’s all good advice—but that doesn’t help a network administrator cope with the soggy mess. Most of those well-meant suggestions also assume that the powers that be are cheerfully willing to invest money in implementing them.

    • Linux totally dominates supercomputers

      Linux rules supercomputing. This day has been coming since 1998, when Linux first appeared on the TOP500 Supercomputer list. Today, it finally happened: All 500 of the world’s fastest supercomputers are running Linux.

      The last two non-Linux systems, a pair of Chinese IBM POWER computers running AIX, dropped off the November 2017 TOP500 Supercomputer list.

      Overall, China now leads the supercomputing race with 202 computers to the US’ 144. China also leads the US in aggregate performance. China’s supercomputers represent 35.4 percent of the Top500′s flops, while the US trails with 29.6 percent. With an anti-science regime in charge of the government, America will only continue to see its technological lead decline.

  • Kernel Space
    • XFS For Linux 4.15 Brings “Great Scads of New Stuff”
    • RISC-V Hopes To Get In Linux 4.15, OpenRISC Adds SMP Support
    • ACPI & Power Management Updates For Linux 4.15
    • Linux 4.15 Is Off To A Busy Start
    • AMD Stoney Ridge Audio Supported By Linux 4.15

      The sound driver changes have been submitted for the Linux 4.15 kernel and includes finally supporting AMD Stoney Ridge hardware.

      Takashi Iwai of SUSE today sent in the sound updates for the Linux 4.15 kernel window. The noteworthy mentions are a new AC97 bus implementation and AMD Stoney platform support. There was also some hardening work of USB audio drivers, cleanups to the Intel ASoC platform code, and a variety of other low-level changes.

    • Linux Foundation
      • ​Kubernetes vendors agree on standardization

        Everyone and their uncle has decided to use Kubernetes for cloud container management. Even Kubernetes’ former rivals, Docker Swarm and Mesosphere, have thrown in the towel. Mesosphere came over in early October and Docker added Kubernetes support later the same month. There was only question: Would all these Kubernetes implementations work together? Thanks to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the answer is yes.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Marek Has Been Taking To AMDGPU LLVM Optimizations

        Well known AMD open-source driver developer Marek Olšák has ruthlessly been optimizing the Radeon Mesa driver stack for years. With RadeonSI getting fine-tuned and already largely outperforming the AMDGPU-PRO OpenGL driver and most of the big ticket improvements complete, it appears his latest focus is on further optimizing the AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end.

        This AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end is what’s used by RadeonSI but is also leveraged by the RADV Vulkan driver, among other potential use-cases. Lately Marek has been filing patches for optimizing the instructions generated during the shader compilation process.

      • FFmpeg Expands Its NVDEC CUDA-Accelerated Video Decoding

        A few days back I wrote about FFmpeg picking up NVDEC-accelerated H.264 video decoding and since then more FFmpeg improvements have landed.

        As mentioned in the earlier article, NVDEC is the newer NVIDIA video decoding interface that is succeeding their Linux-specific VDPAU in favor of the cross-platform, CUDA-based NVIDIA Video Codec SDK. There’s also NVENC on the video encode side, while the recent FFmpeg work has been focused on the NVDEC GPU-based video decoding.

      • Intel Batch Buffer Logger Updated For Mesa

        Intel’s Kevin Rogovin has been working on a “BatchBuffer Logger” for the Intel graphics driver that offers some useful possibilities for assisting in debugging/analyzing problems or performance penalties facing game/application developers.

        The BatchBuffer Logger is designed to allow correlating API calls to data that in turn is added to a batch buffer for execution by the Intel graphics processor. The logger additionally keeps precise track of the GPU state and can report various metrics associated with each API call.

      • OpenGL 4.2 Support Could Soon Land For AMD Cayman GPUs On R600g

        David Airlie is looking to land OpenGL image support in the R600 Gallium3D driver that would be enabled for Radeon HD 5000 “Evergreen” GPUs and newer. For the HD 6900 “Cayman” GPUs, this would be the last step taking it to exposing OpenGL 4.2 compliance.

      • mesa 17.3.0-rc4

        The fourth release candidate for Mesa 17.3.0 is now available.

        As per the issue tracker [1] we still have a number of outstanding bugs blocking the release.

      • Mesa 17.3-RC4 Released, Handful Of Blocker Bugs Still Left

        Emil Velikov of Collabora has just announced the fourth weekly release candidate of the upcoming Mesa 17.3.

        The development cycle for 17.3 is going into overtime with no 17.3.0 stable release yet ready due to open blocker bugs. As of this morning there are still eight open blocker bugs against the 17.3 release tracker. The open issues involve Intel GPU hangs with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DiRT Rally, some Intel OpenGL/Vulkan test case failures, a performance regression for i965, and some other Intel issues.

      • VESA Pushes Out DisplayID 2.0 As The Successor To EDID For Monitors & Electronics

        DisplayID 2.0 is now official as the VESA standard to succeed the long-used Extended Display Identification Data “EDID” by TVs, monitors, and other consumer electronics.

        DisplayID 2.0 is designed to fill the needs of modern hardware with 4K+ resolutions, High Dynamic Range, Adaptive-Sync, AR/VR, and other use-cases not conceived when EDID first premiered in the 90′s as part of the DDC standard. Over EDID and E-EDID, DisplayID switches to using a variable length data structure and makes other fundamental design differences compared to these older identification standards.

      • Stereoscopy/3D Protocol Being Worked On For Wayland

        Collabora consultant Emmanuel Gil Peyrot has sent out a series of patches proposing a new (unstable) protocol for Wayland in dealing with stereoscopic layouts for 3D TV support but could be used in the future for VR HMDs, etc.

      • RADV Will Now Enable “Sisched” For The Talos Principle, Boosting Frame Rates

        The RADV Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver will now enable the sisched optimization automatically when running The Talos Principle in order to boost performance.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Announcing KTechLab 0.40.0

        KTechLab, the IDE for microcontrollers and electronics, has reached a new milestone: its latest release, 0.40.0, does not depend on KDE3 and Qt3, but on KDE4 and Qt4. This means that KTechLab can be compiled and run on current operating systems.

        In the new, KDE4 and Qt4 based release, practically all features of the previous version are kept. Circuits, including PIC microcontrollers can be simulated, the programs running on PICs can be edited in C, ASM format, or graphically, by using Flowcode, and these programs can be easily prepared for programming real PICs. The only feature which has been removed is DCOP integration, which is not available in KDE4, and should be replaced with D-Bus integration.

      • KTechLab Microcontroller/Electronics IDE Ported To KDE4/Qt4
      • Qt WebGL: Cinematic Experience

        Following the previous blog posts related to the Qt WebGL plug-in development updates, we have some features to show.

      • KDevelop 5.2 released

        A little more than half a year after the release of KDevelop 5.1, we are happy to announce the availability of KDevelop 5.2 today. Below is a summary of the significant changes — you can find some additional information in the beta announcement.

        We plan to do a 5.2.1 stabilization release soon, should any major issues show up.

      • KDevelop 5.2 Released With New Analyzers, Better C++ / PHP / Python Support

        KDevelop 5.2 is now available as the newest feature release for this KDE-focused, multi-language integrated development environment.

        Building off the new “Analyzers” menu of KDevelop 5.1, the 5.2 release adds a Heaptrack analyzer for heap memory profiling of C/C++ applications and also integrates cppcheck for static analyzing of C++ code-bases.

      • meg@akademy2017

        It’s been a while since my last post over here. After being drained with a lot of work on the very first edition of QtCon Brasil, we all had to take some rest to recharge our batteries and get ready for some new crazinesses.

        This post is a short summary of the talk I presented at Akademy 2017, in the quite sunny Almería in Spain. Akademy is always a fascinating experience and it’s actually like being at home, meeting old friends and getting recurrently astonished by all awesomeness coming out of KDE community :).

        My talk was about architecting Qt mobile applications (slides here | video here). The talk started with a brief report on our Qt mobile development experiences at IFBa in the last two years and then I explained how we’ve been using lean QML-based architectures and code generators to leverage the productivity and provide flexible and reusable solutions for Qt mobile applications.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Igalia is Hiring

        Igalia is hiring web browser developers. If you think you’re a good candidate for one of these jobs, you’ll want to fill out the online application accompanying one of the postings. We’d love to hear from you.

        We’re especially interested in hiring a browser graphics developer. We realize that not many graphics experts also have experience in web browser development, so it’s OK if you haven’t worked with web browsers before. Low-level Linux graphics experience is the more important qualification for this role.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Antergos 17.11 – the Antagonist

        Antergos shares the same roots with Manjaro. Both these distributions are in the Top 5 of Distrowatch list. However, my feelings from these operating systems are very different.
        I liked Manjaro very much, and I felt disappointed by Antergos.

        To certain extent, the disappointment was due to GNOME 3 desktop environment being used by default. I still dislike it, and it goes against my workflow. But there are some very Antergos-specific “features” that made me frown. Just to name a few: absence of office software in the default distribution, problem with software installation, huge memory usage.

        Manjaro and Antergos. Such close brothers, so much difference.

    • New Releases
      • KaOS 2017.11

        Just days after Plasma 5.11.3, KDE Applications 17.08.3 and Frameworks 5.40.0 where announced can you already see these on this new release. Highlights of Plasma 5.11.3 include making sure passwords are stored for all users when kwallet is disabled, sync xwayland DPI font to wayland dpi, notifications optionally stores missed and expired notifications in a history, the new Plasma Vault offers strong encryption features presented in a user-friendly way, Window title logic has been unified between X and Wayland windows, default X font DPI to 96 on wayland. All built on Qt 5.9.2.

        This release introduces Elisa as the default music player. KaOS users have chosen this option during a recent poll. It has been a few years, but the Juk music player is finally ported to kf5, thus available again in the KaOS repositories.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 17.10 Radeon Performance: Stock vs. X-Swat Updates vs. Oibaf PPA vs. Pkppa vs. Padoka PPA

            There are several Launchpad PPA options for Ubuntu users wanting to update their Mesa-based drivers. For those curious about the state of these different third-party repositories, here are a few words on them and benchmarks.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Review – For The Record

            So who is the target user base for Ubuntu 17.10? As much as I’d like to say newbies, I simply can’t do that. The help tool is very newbie friendly and would do well to have a variation on other GNOME-based distros. But GNOME 3 itself, even with Ubuntu development tweaks, is simply not going to win over someone used to a traditional menu layout.

            That said, I can say that while I still dislike the handling of GNOME extensions, indicators and other desktop elements, Ubuntu 17.10 is lightning fast, stable and has the basics in place to get the job done for most people used to a Linux desktop.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 18.3 beta due for release this week

              The final release of the Linux Mint 18 series, Linux Mint 18.3, is due to see its beta release sometime this week. The final release will follow in tow a week or so after the beta. Ever since July, we’ve been tracking the changes that are due for Mint 18.3 “Sylvia”, however, the team behind the distribution have announced several last minute changes so it’s worth going over those now.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Cinnamon & MATE Beta Officially Out, Here’s What’s New

              Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and running the Linux 4.10 kernel, Linux Mint 18.3 continues the long-term support (LTS) of the Linux Mint 18 series, which will receive updates and security patches until 2021. Both the Cinnamon and MATE editions have been released today with updated software and many new features.

              The Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Beta edition features the latest Cinnamon 3.6 desktop environment, which comes with support for GNOME Online Accounts, libinput support as a replacement for the Synaptics touchpad driver, a much-improved on-screen keyboard, as well as a revamped configurator for Cinnamon spices.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” MATE – BETA Release

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

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Cinnamon – BETA Release

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

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • How becoming open and agile led to customer success

    A few years ago, I worked as a service manager at Basefarm, a European managed services provider. I was part of a team supporting customers with infrastructure and managed services.

    One of our customers was TV4, the largest commercial TV company in Sweden. As part of our agreement, the four engineers in our team would dedicate 400 hours per month to TV4. The client expressed a simple but irritating problem: They always seemed waiting for us to implement the changes they wanted.

  • Juniper Builds Turn-Key Telco Cloud with Contrail, Red Hat OpenStack

    Tier 1 service providers, including AT&T, are already using Juniper Networks’ Contrail Networking in their telco clouds. Based on its experience with these operators, the vendor is now offering a turn key telco cloud system based on its Contrail software-defined networking (SDN) and built on Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution.

    “We realized that what service providers need is a turn key solution that takes best-of-breed products and takes an easy path to build a telco cloud,” said Pratik Roychowdhury, senior director of product management for Contrail at Juniper.

  • ETSI Open Source MANO announces Release THREE

    ETSI Open Source MANO group (ETSI OSM) announces the general availability of OSM Release THREE, keeping the pace of a release every 6 months. This release includes a large set of new capabilities as well as numerous enhancements in terms of scalability, performance, resiliency, security and user experience that facilitate its adoption in production environments.

  • ETSI debuts Release Three of Open Source MANO

    ETSI Open Source has made Open Source Mano (OSM) Release THREE generally available, illustrating the organization’s efforts to get out a new release every six months to help service providers and businesses with their NFV orchestration transitions.

    Featuring a new role-based access control, OSM Release THREE enables users from different service providers to access the OSM system with the appropriate set of privileges. It facilitates the adoption of complex operation workflows without compromising the security of the network or its operations.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google: Chrome is backing away from public key pinning, and here’s why

        Google has announced plans to deprecate Chrome support for HTTP public key pinning (HPKP), an IETF standard that Google engineers wrote to improve web security but now consider harmful.

        HPKP, as described in IETF 7469, was designed to reduce the risk of a compromised Certificate Authority misissuing digital certificates for a site, allowing an attacker to perform a man-in-the-middle attack on encrypted Transport Layer Security (TLS) connections.

    • Mozilla
      • Fast. For good. Launching the new Firefox into the World

        Thirteen years ago, we marked the launch of Firefox 1.0 with a crowdfunded New York Times ad. It listed the names of every single person who contributed — hundreds of people. And it opened a lot of eyes. Why? It showed what committed individuals willing to put their actions and dollars behind a cause they believe in can make happen. In this case, it was launching Firefox, a web browser brought to market by Mozilla, the not-for-profit organization committed to making the internet open and accessible to everyone. And Firefox represented more than just a new and improved browser. It stood for an independent alternative to the corporately controlled Internet Explorer from Microsoft, and a way for people to take back control of their online experience.

      • Introducing the New Firefox: Firefox Quantum

        It’s by far the biggest update we’ve had since we launched Firefox 1.0 in 2004, it’s just flat out better in every way. If you go and install it right now, you’ll immediately notice the difference, accompanied by a feeling of mild euphoria. If you’re curious about what we did, read on.

      • Firefox’s faster, slicker, slimmer Quantum edition now out

        Mozilla is working on a major overhaul of its Firefox browser, and, with the general release of Firefox 57 today, has reached a major milestone. The version of the browser coming out today has a sleek new interface and, under the hood, major performance enhancements, with Mozilla claiming that it’s as much as twice as fast as it was a year ago. Not only should it be faster to load and render pages, but its user interface should remain quick and responsive even under heavy load with hundreds of tabs.

      • Firefox 57 “Quantum” Is Here, And It’s Awesome

        Firefox 57 is here. It introduces a new look, sees legacy add-ons dropped, and gives the core rendering engine a big old speed boost.

      • Firefox Features Google as Default Search Provider in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan

        Firefox Quantum was released today. It’s the fastest Firefox yet built on a completely overhauled engine and a beautiful new design. As part of our focus on user experience and performance in Firefox Quantum, Google will also become our new default search provider in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

        Firefox default search providers in other regions are Yandex in Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan; Baidu in China; and Google in the rest of the world. Firefox has more choice in search providers than any other browser with more than 60 search providers pre-installed across more than 90 languages.

      • Firefox 57 Takes Quantum Leap Forward in Speed and Looks
      • Firefox Quantum 57 Is Here To Kill Google Chrome: Download For Windows, Mac, Linux
  • SaaS/Back End
  • CMS
    • Q&A: New CEO bets on open source future for Acquia CMS

      There are a lot of reasons. First of all, there’s a very good fit with Mike. That’s not just a good fit between him and me, but also to our culture and personality and how we think about different things, like the importance of cloud and open source. I also felt Mike was really well-prepared to lead our business. Mike has 25 years [of] experience with software as a service, enterprise content management and content governance. Mike has worked with small companies, as well as larger companies.

      At HP Enterprise and Micro Focus [acquired by HPE], Mike was responsible for managing more than 30 SaaS products. Acquia is evolving its product strategy to go beyond Drupal and the cloud to become a multiproduct company with Acquia Digital Asset Manager and Acquia Journey. So, our own transformation as a company is going from a single-product company to a multiproduct company. Mike is uniquely qualified to help us with that, based on his experience.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Open Yet Closed

      In the early days of Free Software, it was a safe assumption that anyone using a computer had coding skills of some sort — even if only for shell scripts. As a consequence, many advocates of Free Software, despite a strong focus on user freedoms, had a high tolerance for software that made source available under free terms without providing binaries.

      That was considered undesirable, but as long as the source code could be used it was not disqualifying. Many other ways evolved to ensure that the software was somehow impractical to deploy without a commercial relationship with a particular vendor, even if the letter of the rules around Free Software was met.

      This tolerance for “open but closed” models continued into the new Open Source movement. As long as code was being liberated under open source licenses, many felt the greater good was being served despite obstacles erected in service of business models.

      But times have changed. Random code liberation is still desirable, but the source of the greatest value to the greatest number is the collaboration and collective innovation open source unlocks. While abstract “open” was tolerated in the 20th century, only “open for collaboration” satisfies the open source communities of the 21st century. Be it “open core”, “scareware”, “delayed open”, “source only for clients”, “patent royalties required” or one of the many other games entrepreneurs play, meeting the letter of the OSD or FSD without actually allowing collaboration is now deprecated.

  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
    • The Pentagon is set to make a big push toward open source software next year

      Nestled hundreds of pages into the proposed bill to fund the Department of Defense sits a small, unassuming section. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 is the engine that powers the Pentagon, turning legislative will into tangible cash for whatever Congress can fit inside. Thanks to an amendment introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds of (R-SD) and co-sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), this year the NDAA could institute a big change: should the bill pass in its present form, the Pentagon will be going open source.

      “Open source” is the industry term for using publicly accessible code, published for all to see and read. It’s contrasted with “closed source” or “proprietary” code, which a company guards closely as a trade secret. Open source, by its nature, is a shared tool, much more like creative commons than copyright. One big advantage is that, often, the agreements to run open-source software are much more relaxed than those behind proprietary code, and come without licensing fees. The license to run a copy of Adobe Photoshop for a year is $348; the similar open-source GNU Image Manipulation Program is free.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Should we still doubt about the legality of Copyleft?

      The concept of Copyleft emerged from the libertarian activism of the free software movement, which brought together programmers from all over the world, in the context of the explosion of new technologies, Internet and the spreading of intangible property.

      Copyleft is a concept invented by Don Hopkins and popularized by Richard Stallman in the 1980s, with the GNU project whose main objective was to promote the free share of ideas and information and to encourage the inventiveness.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • This Arduino-Powered “Time Machine” Glove Freezes Things Like A Boss

        Did you ever think about stopping things just by waving your hand? Well, probably, many times after getting some Hollywood adrenaline.

        A YouTuber named MadGyver might have thought the same more often than most of us. So, as a part of his new hack, he turned his gym glove into an Arduino-controlled time stopping glove that makes things ‘appear’ to come to a halt within a fraction of a second.

  • Programming/Development
    • Happy 60th birthday, Fortran

      The Fortran compiler, introduced in April 1957, was the first optimizing compiler, and it paved the way for many technical computing applications over the years. What Cobol did for business computing, Fortran did for scientific computing.

      Fortran may be approaching retirement age, but that doesn’t mean it’s about to stop working. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first Fortran (then styled “FORTRAN,” for “FORmula TRANslation”) release.

      Even if you can’t write a single line of it, you use Fortran every day: Operational weather forecast models are still largely written in Fortran, for example. Its focus on mathematical performance makes Fortran a common language in many high-performance computing applications, including computational fluid dynamics and computational chemistry. Although Fortran may not have the same popular appeal as newer languages, those languages owe much to the pioneering work of the Fortran development team.

    • Google Contest Exposes Students to Open Source Coding

      Google is opening its eighth-annual Code-in Nov. 28. The challenge calls on pre-university students aged 13 to 17 to complete coding tasks on open source projects, with the aim of exposing teenagers to open source software development.

      To date, some 4,500 students have participated in the GCI contest, completing more than 23,000 tasks. For this year’s Code-in, 25 organizations are proving mentoring for participants, including Ubuntu, Drupal, Wikimedia and JBoss. Projects range from machine translation to games to medical records systems.

    • Why pair writing helps improve documentation

      Pair writing is when two writers work in real time, on the same piece of text, in the same room. This approach improves document quality, speeds up writing, and allows writers to learn from each other. The idea of pair writing is borrowed from pair programming.

Leftovers
  • Not every article needs a picture

    Adults do not need pictures to help them read. I understand that not putting photos on top of every single article might seem like a big undertaking at first, but once a few braves sites take it up, others will quickly follow suit. Putting a generic photo of a cell phone on top of an article about cell phones is insulting. To be clear: I am not an iconoclast. Including images in a story can be a nice addition; the problem is that this has now become a mandatory practice. Not every article should require a picture.

  • DevOps, Agile, and continuous delivery: What IT leaders need to know

    Enterprises across the globe have implemented the Agile methodology of software development and reaped its benefits in terms of smaller development times. Agile has also helped streamline processes in multilevel software development teams. And the methodology builds in feedback loops and drives the pace of innovation. Over time, DevOps and continuous delivery have emerged as more wholesome and upgraded approaches of managing the software development life cycle (SDLC) with a view to improve speed to market, reduce errors, and enhance quality. In this guide, we will talk more about Agile, how it grew, and how it extended into DevOps and, ultimately, continuous development.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Led Company That Jacked Up Insulin Prices

      The Canadian research team that developed insulin as a breakthrough treatment for diabetes back in 1923 sold the patent for just $3, essentially giving its intellectual property away for the greater good.

      Nowadays, the companies that manufacture this crucial medicine raise the price on a regular basis in order to maximize profits. One of those companies is Eli Lilly and Co., where Alex Azar II, the man that President Trump has selected to run the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently worked as a top executive.

      During Azar’s eight-year tenure as president and vice president of Eli Lilly’s operations in the United States, the pharmaceutical giant raised the price of Humalog, a fast-acting form of insulin, from $2,657 per year to $9,172. That’s a 345 percent price increase for a drug that millions of patients depend on, according to Peter Maybarduk, the director of the Access to Medicines Program at the watchdog group Public Citizen.

    • Trump Nominates Former Drug Company Executive as HHS Secretary

      President Trump has nominated Alex Azar, a former top executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. The post has been vacant since the resignation of Tom Price. Public Citizen’s Robert Weissman criticized the nomination, saying, “Tom Price supported Big Pharma in the U.S. Congress. Now apparently Trump has decided to cut out the middleman and let a pharmaceutical executive literally run the federal department that protects the health of all Americans.”

    • Big Pharma’s Pushers: the Corporate Roots of the Opioid Crisis

      Sitting in a small cafe in a small town in western Massachusetts, Jordan talks about his problems with opioids. He was a construction worker, but an accident at his work site sent him to a hospital and into the arms of prescription painkillers. Jordan’s doctor did not properly instruct him about the dangers of these pills, which he used to kill the pain that ran down his leg. When the prescription ran out, Jordan found he craved the pills. “I used up my savings buying them on the black market,” he told me. When his own money ran out, Jordan got involved in petty theft. He went to prison for a short stint. The lack of proper care for his addiction in the prison allowed him to spiral into more dangerous drugs, which led to his near-death. Now released, Jordan struggles to make his way in the world.

      With us is Mary, another recovering addict who entered the world of prescription drugs after she had a car accident a few years ago. Her shoulders and neck hurt badly and so Mary’s doctor gave her a prescription for fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Mary used a fentanyl patch, which allowed the drug to slowly seep into her body through her skin. It was inevitable, Mary told me, that she became addicted to the drug. The pain went away, but the longing for the opioid continued. Mary, like Jordan, is in a de-addiction programme. It is an uphill climb, but Mary is confident. She is a bright person, whose eyes tell a story of great hope behind the fog of her addiction.

    • By legalizing GMOs, we are erasing Ubuntu

      On October 8, 2017, exactly 55 years after Uganda attained its independence, parliament passed the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill into law.

      It now awaits the president’s assent to start working. We are some 45 years into the internet age if Wikipedia information is anything to go by. In the past, we had the Stone Age, Iron Age, Bronze Age, steam age, machine age/industrial age, nuclear age, etc.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The Ever-Expanding ‘War on Terror’

      In the shadows, the U.S. special operations war on “terrorists” keeps on expanding around the globe, now reaching into Africa where few detectable American “interests” exist, writes Jonathan Marshall.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • UK Gov’t Destroys Key Emails From Julian Assange Case, Shrugs About It

      I guess it all depends on when you ask the question. The second statement could be true pre- or post-email deletion, but probably more likely to be true after the scrubbing. But it’s a bit rich to ask everyone to believe these are simultaneously true — that the contents are unknown but also unlikely to be significant.

      The chance something “significant” may have been deleted remains high. And it will always remain so because the absence of emails means the absence of contradictory evidence. The UK is still interested in Assange and Wikileaks, even though it hasn’t pressed the issue of extradition in quite some time. This is CPS’s excuse for the mass deletion: the communications were related to extradition proceedings that ended in 2012 and contain nothing relevant to ongoing Assange-related government activity. According to CPS, this deletion was per policy.

      [...]

      The ending of an investigation or prosecution shouldn’t trigger a countdown clock that expires this quickly, especially when governments are almost always able to withhold documents while investigations and prosecutions are still ongoing. Generally speaking, government agencies are the only ones that can say definitively when investigations end, leaving document requesters to figure this out through trial and error.

      In this case, Maurizi will be continuing her FOI lawsuit against the CPS, but with some of the targeted documents already deleted, there’s little to be gained.

    • ‘The Atlantic’ Commits Malpractice, Selectively Edits To Smear WikiLeaks

      The author of the Atlantic article, Julia Ioffe, put a period rather than a comma at the end of the text about not wanting to appear pro-Trump or pro-Russia, and completely omitted WikiLeaks’ statement following the comma that it considers those allegations slanderous. This completely changes the way the interaction is perceived.

      This is malpractice. Putting an ellipsis (…) and then omitting the rest of the sentence would have been sleazy and disingenuous enough, because you’re leaving out crucial information but at least communicating to the reader that there is more to the sentence you’ve left out, but replacing the comma with a period obviously communicates to the reader that there is no more to the sentence. If you exclude important information while communicating that you have not, you are blatantly lying to your readers.

      There is a big difference between “because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source” and “because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source, which the Clinton campaign is constantly slandering us with.” Those are not the same sentence. At all. Different meanings, different implications. One makes WikiLeaks look like it’s trying to hide a pro-Trump, pro-Russian agenda from the public, and the other conveys the exact opposite impression as WikiLeaks actively works to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns. This is a big deal.

      [...]

      What Ioffe’s tweets tell us is that she had full copies of the DMs, since she knew that there were more pages missing from the single tweet by Don Jr. that she had read. The deceitful omission that is the subject of this article was clarified in the first Don Jr. tweet she replied to. She read it, she analyzed it enough to figure out what was missing, but she said nothing about the fact that there were a lot more words in the sentence that she selectively edited out to convey the exact opposite of its meaning.

      I’m no detective, but it sure looks like this was a willful omission on Ioffe’s part made deliberately with the intention of damaging WikiLeaks’ reputation. I have been attempting to contact Ioffe, whose other work for the Atlantic includes such titles as “The History of Russian Involvement in America’s Race Wars” and “The Russians Are Glad Trump Detests the New Sanctions”; I will update this article if she has anything she’d like to say.

      Also worth noting is Ioffe’s omission of the fact that we’ve known since July that WikiLeaks had contacted Donald Trump Jr., as well as the fact that Julian Assange’s internet was cut at the time some of the Don Jr. messages were sent, meaning they may have been sent by someone else with access to the WikiLeaks account.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Solar Companies Are Scrambling to Find a Critical Raw Material

      Prices of polysilicon, the main component of photovoltaic cells, spiked as much as 35 percent in the past four months after environmental regulators in China shut down several factories.

    • More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries issue ‘warning to humanity’

      William Ripple of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, who started the campaign, said that he came across the 1992 warning last February, and noticed that this year happened to mark the 25th anniversary.

    • The Ongoing Misery of Puerto Rico

      There are a lot of labor issues going on. People are losing their jobs, businesses are closing, people are not getting paid for days they work. Some businesses have paid their workers even if they could not come in, but those are exceptional cases.

      There has been an inaccurate counting of deaths. The official number is 55 right now but every day you hear of situations where people are dying and whether they are attributed to the storm or not is a matter of great controversy. So many health and mental health issues are connected to the storm. The nursing homes are without air conditioning. There are four confirmed deaths from leptospirosis but we suspect there are a lot more.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook is killing Messenger Day and consolidating it with Facebook as Stories

      Previously, disappearing posts on Messenger Day and Facebook Stories existed separately. Now, Facebook Stories will be synced across both platforms, although camera filters will still remain separate. Along with this change, Facebook is also killing private ephemeral messaging feature Direct. Going forward, all replies to Stories as well as Facebook Camera messages will be directed through Messenger.

    • Facebook fact checkers say efforts are little more good PR

      “I don’t feel like it’s working at all. The fake information is still going viral and spreading rapidly,” The Guardian quoted one anonymous source as saying. “It’s really difficult to hold [Facebook] accountable. They think of us as doing their work for them. They have a big problem, and they are leaning on other organizations to clean up after them.”

    • ‘Way too little, way too late’: Facebook’s factcheckers say effort is failing

      Several fact checkers who work for independent news organizations and partner with Facebook told the Guardian that they feared their relationships with the technology corporation, some of which are paid, have created a conflict of interest, making it harder for the news outlets to scrutinize and criticize Facebook’s role in spreading misinformation.

    • Trump Jr. Messaged With WikiLeaks During, After Campaign

      Donald Trump Jr.’s release of the messages came hours after The Atlantic magazine, which obtained the string of messages, first reported them. As he released them, he appeared to downplay the exchanges, saying on his Twitter account, “Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic!”

    • Wikileaks’ “Secret Correspondence“ with Don Trump Jr. published

      These conversations took place through Twitter DM and would have been accepted by Jr. Trump, and could have been blocked at any time. The timing of various tweets, matched with other events, certainly carries the appearance of a bi-directional relationship.

    • The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks

      Just before the stroke of midnight on September 20, 2016, at the height of last year’s presidential election, the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent a private direct message to Donald Trump Jr., the Republican nominee’s oldest son and campaign surrogate. “A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch,” WikiLeaks wrote. “The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?” (The site, which has since become a joint project with Mother Jones, was founded by Rob Glaser, a tech entrepreneur, and was funded by Progress for USA Political Action Committee.)

      The next morning, about 12 hours later, Trump Jr. responded to WikiLeaks. “Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around,” he wrote on September 21, 2016. “Thanks.”

      [...]

      The messages were turned over to Congress as part of that body’s various ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. American intelligence services have accused the Kremlin of engaging in a deliberate effort to boost President Donald Trump’s chances while bringing down his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. That effort—and the president’s response to it—has spawned multiple congressional investigations, and a special counsel inquiry that has led to the indictment of Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, for financial crimes.

    • Kansas is embracing an entirely unique brand of secrecy

      Among a list of items cited by the newspaper is the Kansas legislature’s refusal to list the names of the individuals who sponsor legislation, making it difficult for constituents to track whether their elected representatives are trying to push bills that are contrary to their beliefs or their economic interests. The Republican-controlled state house recently voted down an attempt to force the disclosure of legislation’s authors. The state legislature also routinely refuses to even disclose who voted for legislation within its different committees, according to the Star.

    • Why hide in the shadows, Kansas? State government is shrouded in secrecy

      The stories reveal a concerted and disturbing effort by officials at all levels of Kansas government to keep the public’s business secret.

    • Why America’s Future Could Look Like This

      “There is no such thing as tax reduction, only tax burden shifting. When you reduce taxes on the richest Americans, those less rich will pay the difference.”

    • Votes in 18 nations ‘hacked’ in last year

      Elections in 18 separate nations were influenced by online disinformation campaigns last year, suggests research.

      Independent watchdog Freedom House looked at how online discourse was influenced by governments, bots and paid opinion formers.

      In total, 30 governments were actively engaged in using social media to stifle dissent, said the report.

    • Sessions: ‘no reason to doubt’ Roy Moore’s accusers

      U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Tuesday he “has no reason to doubt” five women who have accused U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct with them when they were in their teens.

    • Media Who Went to Bat for Shut-Out Critics Should Also Stand Up for Targeted Copwatchers

      In September, the LA Times ran a two-part series on the tax and other benefits the Disney corporation managed to extract in Anaheim, California (9/24/17), and its efforts to influence city council elections (9/26/17). In a particularly hamfisted retaliatory move, Disney (though it didn’t call for any actual corrections) barred LA Times reporters from advance press screenings for its movies.

      Journalists took umbrage: The Washington Post‘s Alyssa Rosenberg (11/6/17) said she’d boycott the screenings until Disney backed down. The New York Times agreed, issuing a statement saying, “A powerful company punishing a news organization for a story they do not like” is a “dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest.” The National Society of Film Critics and others disqualified Disney from awards (Variety, 11/7/17).

      This week, citing “productive discussions” with LA Times leadership, Disney rescinded the ban. “Journalistic solidarity,” claimed the Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple (11/7/17), served notice to Disney and “all prospective bullies: We media types sometimes do live up to the glorious principles that we mouth at panel discussions.”

      It was indeed a commendable action. So. Maybe now they’ve got this solidarity thing going, with the glorious principles and the concern about the powerful punishing people for stories they don’t like, corporate media could stretch the idea enough to see where solidarity is needed on issues perhaps even more pressing than whether you got your Thor: Ragnorok review before opening night or a day after.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • 11 top tools to assess, implement, and maintain GDPR compliance

      The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in May 2018, which means that any organization doing business in or with the EU has six months from this writing to comply with the strict new privacy law. The GDPR applies to any organization holding or processing personal data of E.U. citizens, and the penalties for noncompliance can be stiff: up to €20 million (about $24 million) or 4 percent of annual global turnover, whichever is greater. Organizations must be able to identify, protect, and manage all personally identifiable information (PII) of EU residents even if those organizations are not based in the EU.

    • Texas National Guard Latest Agency To Be Discovered Operating Flying Cell Tower Spoofers

      These aren’t the first DRT boxes to be exposed via public records requests. Law enforcement agencies in Chicago and Los Angeles are also deploying these surveillance devices — with minimal oversight and no public discussion prior to deployment. The same goes for the US Marshals Service, which has been flying its DRT boxes for a few years now with zero transparency or public oversight.
      The same goes for the National Guard in Texas. There doesn’t seem to be any supporting documentation suggesting any public consultation in any form before acquisition and deployment. Not only that, but there’s nothing in the documents obtained that clarifies what legal authority permits National Guard use of flying cell tower spoofers.

    • No snooping on American citizens without a court order

      To hear U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, tell it, NSA stands for “No Strings Attached” when it comes to the way the federal agency sweeps up and examines the most private data of American citizens.

      Poe raised the issue, with some emotion, on Tuesday during the House committee hearing held to question U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. How the National Security Agency can so casually root around in the personal data of Americans who have done no wrong was beyond him.

    • Canadians Are Worried About NSA Spying But Don’t Understand How It Happens

      Four years after NSA contractor Ed Snowden exposed the US government’s massive internet spying apparatus (and incidentally revealed the “five eyes” global surveillance partnership that includes Canada), Canadians are more concerned about their digital privacy than ever before.

      But, according to a new report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which manages the .ca top-level domain, the vast majority simply do not understand the risks of being exposed to NSA surveillance, despite their concern. This, to say the least, is concerning.

    • NSA’s Hackers Were Themselves Hacked In Major Cybersecurity Breach

      And let’s talk now about an extraordinary security breach at the NSA. A group known as The Shadow Brokers have stolen sophisticated tools the agency uses to penetrate computer networks. In other words, the NSA’s own hackers have been hacked, it appears. This all began last year, and it looks like The Shadow Brokers have tried to sell some of the NSA’s cyberweapons. Matthew Olsen worked at the NSA as general counsel. He was later director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He’s in our studio this morning. Thanks for coming in.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • George H.W. Bush Accused of Child Sexual Assault

      Meanwhile, a sixth woman has come forward to accuse former President George H.W. Bush of groping her. Roslyn Corrigan says she was 16 years old when Bush grabbed her buttocks as she stood next to him for a photograph during a public event at a CIA office in Texas.

    • The Pentagon paid $370,000 to rent an MRI for Guantánamo. It doesn’t work.

      There’s a problem with a mobile MRI unit being leased by the Pentagon for $370,000 to scan a suspected terrorist’s brain as a prelude to his death-penalty trial, a prosecutor announced in court Tuesday.

      Army Col. John Wells disclosed the issue during pretrial hearings in the case against Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 52, a Saudi man awaiting a death-penalty trial as the suspected architect of the Oct. 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.

      Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the trial judge, ordered the forensic scan in 2015. Wells told Spath that the magnetic resonance imaging equipment “is not functional and operational,” and requires maintenance.

      The equipment has been parked for about a month outside the base’s Navy hospital.

    • Family of man who dies after Taser incident gets $5.5 million verdict

      The parents of a 39-year-old who died in a Christmas Eve confrontation with the Los Angeles Police Department in 2014 was awarded $5.5 million by a federal jury on Monday, KPCC radio reports.

      KPCC reports that LAPD officers “hit the man with their batons and fists, pepper sprayed and restrained him.” An officer also stunned the man with a Taser six times in a row. He suffered a heart attack an hour later and died after two days.

      The coroner’s report blamed an enlarged heart, cocaine use, and “police restraint with use of Taser.”

    • City officials should listen to young people in debate over new police academy

      In the last six years, more than 160 young people under the age of 17 have been shot to death in Chicago. More than 1,550 others have been wounded in shootings.

      Isn’t it time grown-ups started listening to what young people have to say about stopping the gun violence?

      If anyone took the time to ask them, they would say unequivocally, “Invest in our future, not our incarceration.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Monkey Selfie Photographer Says He’s Now Going To Sue Wikipedia

        Thought the monkey selfie saga was over? I’m beginning to think that it will never, ever, be over. If you’re unfamliar with the story, there are too many twists and turns to recount here, but just go down the rabbit hole (monkey hole?) of our monkey selfie tag. Last we’d heard, PETA and photographer David Slater were trying to settle PETA’s totally insane lawsuit — but were trying to do so in an immensely troubling way, where the initial district court ruling saying, clearly, that monkeys don’t get a copyright would get deleted. Not everyone was comfortable with this settlement and some concerns have been brought before the court. As of writing this, the court seems to be sitting on the matter.

      • Microsoft Sued Over ‘Baseless’ Piracy Threats

        Microsoft and the BSA are accusing Rhode Island-based company Hanna Instruments of pirating software. Despite facing threats of millions of dollars in damages the company maintains its innocence, backed up by license keys and purchase receipts. The BSA’s lawyers are not convinced, however, so Hanna have decided to take the matter to court.

      • Hollywood Studios Force ISPs to Block Popcorn Time & Subtitle Sites

        The Oslo District Court has issued a judgment ordering 14 Internet service providers to block subscriber access to a range of websites offering and used by three Popcorn Time application variants. The ban, obtained by six major Hollywood studios, includes a pair of subtitle sites and extends to YTS, YIFY, and EZTV branded domains.

Patents Roundup: Packet Intelligence, B.E. Technology, Violin, and Square

Tuesday 14th of November 2017 10:26:56 AM

Summary: The latest stories and warnings about software patents in the United States

IN another defeat for software patents, Erise has just declared “big victory against patent troll” and to quote the only report we’ve found about it (so far): “Packet Intelligence owns U.S. Patent No. 6,651,099, which is named “Method and Apparatus for Monitoring Traffic on a Network.” The company used this patent to prosecute patent applications against 275 issued patents…”

We have been hearing many stories like this recently. Patent trolls, equipped with software patents, quickly perish in courts. If not the first time, then the second time (higher court). Sometimes the patents get invalided before they even reach any court at all. The patent trolls’ lobby, which includes Watchtroll, has just been moaning about software patents being rightly invalidated by PTAB. Here we have Watchtroll defending a troll. saying that the “Memphis, TN-based B.E. Technology, L.L.C., filed a suit alleging claims of patent infringement against Google in the Western District of Tennessee, asserting claims from two patents owned by the company.”

Guess what happened. PTAB trashed it all. Good riddance, no matter who initiated the case and how wealthy the defendant is (Watchtroll obsesses over the wealth amassed by Google in order to create sympathy for the troll). The last paragraph has nothing to do with the story at all. That’s just Watchtroll trying to influence a SCOTUS case and solicit lobbying. To quote: “All of this may soon change after the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC on November 27th. The case will decide whether the PTAB acts in violation of the U.S. Constitution by extinguishing private property rights in a non-Article III forum without a jury. Whether the Supreme Court decides that the PTAB acts in violation of the Constitution, many patent owners hope the Supreme Court will at a minimum acknowledge that the PTAB works consistently to the detriment of patent owners in favor of efficient infringers.”

Anyone who has watched this long enough (the subject of this case and SCOTUS) can easily tell that Justices will defend PTAB, maybe even unanimously. But Watchtroll would cling onto anything at this stage. The patent microcosm has grown so feeble in recent years and Watchtroll just attacks judges and officials more often than it actually covers something exclusively. It’s an embarrassment for a lobbying body.

In other news, yesterday we learned about a bankrupt company, Violin, stating: “We are filing for 45 patents.”

So suddenly they have money? And what for? Trolling the NVMe market? One can imagine where this is going…

To quote the article:

“There are no precise dates we can give,” he said. “We are filing for 45 patents.

“We’ve got our own SSD technology and we will not abandon leadership in IOPS and latency.”

The word “technology” rather than gear or software is often suggestive of paperwork. We shall see what they do next, but it doesn’t look too promising. Patents are expensive to pursue and they already ran out of cash; are patents really their priority?

Another item that caught our eye in yesterday’s news is this report about a financial surveillance firm known as Square. It seems to have not much left to it momentum-wise, so now it’s hoarding software patents:

Since the payments company was founded in 2009, Square has filed 712 patent applications and obtained 221 patents. But between July 2016 and June 2017 alone, the company filed 144 patent applications and obtained 80 of those patents.

“We believe that a good IP program is targeted at fostering innovation all around and not at stifling creativity or competition,” they said. That’s just marketing talk. People don’t end up spending millions of dollars on patents for “fostering innovation all around,” they either use these patents or sell them. So will Square sue bigger firms that have a much larger share in this market (e.g. Apple, Samsung, Google)? That remains to be seen…

Speaking of finance, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP’s Michelle Tyde and Jason D. Gardner have just published this article titled “Becoming a Unicorn Fintech by Shoring Up Intellectual Property”

Aside from the fact that they are saying “Intellectual Property” and promoting — by mention — evil Black Duck, the positive thing is that they break it down to meaningful items: “IP assets, such as patents, technical know-how (including software and other technology), trade secrets, copyrights, licenses, trademarks, and data, are assessed by sophisticated purchasers and investors…”

Those are very different things. Lumping it all together under “IP” is undesirable as that leads to misjudgment. Here is the part about Free/Open Source software:

Many software engineers and developers use open source software or incorporate such software into their work in developing products or technology. But the use or incorporation of such open source software by a fintech company can lead to ownership, licensing, and compliance issues for a buyer. In particular, some open source licenses require any user modifying and distributing the open source software to make its source code generally available to other users and to license its software to third parties under the same terms as the open source license. Buyers usually want representation and warranty that no open source or similar software has been incorporated into any of their software or products as they want to be able to exclusively use the fintech company’s technology. Thus, open source issues could become a deal killer.

When has that actually happened? When did alleged violation of the GPL, for example, undermine a company’s takeover/VC? This is more FUD than anything…

Either way, to their credit, they do not promote the illusion that software patents are worth pursuing. Because they aren’t.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

'Turbo Boost Max 3.0' and Mesa 17.2.4

  • Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Support For Skylake Fixed With Linux 4.15
    The platform-drivers-x86 updates have been sent in for Linux 4.15 and include a range of improvements for Intel hardware support. One of the bigger items is support for Skylake CPUs with Turbo Boost Max 3.0.
  • Mesa 17.2.4 Graphics Stack Lands for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Ubuntu 17.10 Gamers
    Canonical's Timo Aaltonen reports on the availability of the Mesa 17.2.4 open-source graphics drivers stack on the X-SWAT updates PPA for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Ubuntu 17.10 systems. Ubuntu systems have always lagged behind the development of the Mesa 3D Graphics Library, the Linux graphics stack containing open-source drivers for Intel, AMD Radeon, and Nvidia GPUs, but they usually catch up with it through a specially crafted PPA (Personal Package Archive) repository that can be easily installed by users.

OSS Leftovers

  • The Future of Marketing Technology Is Headed for an Open-Source Revolution
  • Edging Closer – ODS Sydney
    Despite the fact that OpenStack’s mission statement has not fundamentally changed since the inception of the project in 2010, we have found many different interpretations of the technology through the years. One of them was that OpenStack would be an all-inclusive anything-as-a-service, in a striking parallel to the many different definitions the “cloud” assumed at the time. At the OpenStack Developer Summit in Sydney, we found a project that is returning to its roots: scalable Infrastructure-as-a-Service. It turns out, that resonates well with its user base.
  • Firefox Quantum Now Available on openSUSE Tumbleweed, Linux 4.14 Coming Soon
    Users of the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling operating system can now update their computers to the latest and greatest Firefox Quantum web browser.
  • Short Delay with WordPress 4.9
    You may have heard WordPress 4.9 is out. While this seems a good improvement over 4.8, it has a new editor that uses codemirror.  So what’s the problem? Well, inside codemirror is jshint and this has that idiotic no evil license. I think this was added in by WordPress, not codemirror itself. So basically WordPress 4.9 has a file, or actually a tiny part of a file that is non-free.  I’ll now have to delay the update of WordPress to hack that piece out, which probably means removing the javascript linter. Not ideal but that’s the way things go.

Red Hat and Fedora Leftovers