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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 43 min 3 sec ago

Courts Are Losing Patience for Gilstrap’s Unbridled Support of Patent Trolls

5 hours 33 min ago

He’s no better than Randall Rader, a facilitator of trolls (discharged with dishonor, so to speak)


Photo from Reuters

Summary: The man whose court has become a trolling ‘factory’ is being refuted (but not reprimanded) by the CAFC, which certainly can see that something is amiss and serves to discredit the system as a whole

THE media does not usually name judges (personifying cases). But Gilstrap is a special case; he himself has become the story due to outrageous rulings on patents (and more recently copyrights, too). The judge whom prominent politicians have dubbed “reprehensible” keeps ignoring the Supreme Court [1, 2]. He has single-handedly decided that the litigation ‘industry’ in his town is more important than the law itself.

What will people think of the legal system, having read about the tales of Gilstrap? It’s almost as though he is proudly biased; he boasts about it and openly invites patent trolls to his court (for favourable treatment). If he continues to make complete and utter mockery of the law, how long will it take before higher courts intervene at a more personal level/capacity?

Well, towards the end of this week the patent microcosm’s media took note of one such development; “Federal Circuit rejects Gilstrap’s test for patent venue,” said the headline. Here is the opening paragraph (much of the rest is behind a paywall):

The Federal Circuit has reversed an Eastern District of Texas refusal to transfer the Cray case, and rejected Judge Gilstrap’s test for determining patent venue. This includes the appeals court stating there must be a physical, geographical location in the district from which the business of the defendant is carried out

Almost simultaneously the other site of the patent microcosm reaffirmed the view that Gilstrap is obviously rigging the system:

As a general matter, Judge Gilstrap’s interpretation appears fairly broad, and on writ of mandamus, the Federal Circuit has rejected Gisltrap’s analysis and directed that he transfer the case to a more appropriate venue.

Why is he tolerated after all he has done? The era of patent trolls in the US may be ending, but Trump’s nomination (USPTO Director) gives reasons for concern and judges like Gilstrap somehow maintain their job, in the face of growing controversy and outrage. Here is another new article to that effect (about patent venue):

Judge Leonard Stark of the District of Delaware has issues two rulings on motions to transfer that provide guidance for Hatch-Waxman and other patent litigation. This included ruling “regular and established place of business” requires a physical place of business in the district

The EFF has already commented on this. Yesterday Vera Ranieri wrote about Gilstrap , noting that this latest appeal/reversal is good news for those of us who work hard to stop software patents and patent trolls (overlapping issues). To quote some of the relevant parts:

In a closely watched case, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued an order that should see many more patent cases leaving the Eastern District of Texas. The order in In re Cray, together with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, should make it much more difficult for patent owners to pick and choose among various courts in the country. In particular, it should drastically limit the ability of patent trolls to file in their preferred venue: the Eastern District of Texas.

“Venue” is a legal doctrine that relates to where cases can be heard. Prior to 1990, the Supreme Court had long held that in patent cases, the statute found at 28 U.S.C. § 1400 controlled where a patent case could be filed. This statute says that venue in patent cases is proper either (1) where the defendant “resides” or (2) where the defendant has “committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.” However, in 1990 in a case called VE Holding, the Federal Circuit held that a small technical amendment to another statute—28 U.S.C. § 1391—abrogated this long line of cases. VE Holding, together with another case called Beverly Hills Fan, essentially meant that companies that sold products nationwide could be hailed into any court in the country on charges of patent infringement, regardless of how tenuous the connection to that forum.

[...]

One decision, Raytheon Co. v. Cray, Inc., written by Judge Gilstrap (a judge who at one point had ~25% of all patent cases in the entire country before him) appeared to take a broad view of what it meant to have a “regular and established place of business.” Judge Gilstrap held that “a fixed physical location in the district is not a prerequisite to proper venue.” More concerningly, Judge Gilstrap announced his own four-factor “test” that created greater possibilities that venue would be proper in the Eastern District.

The Federal Circuit has now rejected both that test and Judge Gilstrap’s finding that a physical location in the district is not necessary. The Federal Circuit specifically noted that the venue statute “cannot be read to refer merely to a virtual space or to electronic communications from one person to another.” Importantly, the Federal Circuit also held that it is not enough that an employee may live in the district. What is important is whether the alleged infringer has itself (as opposed to the employee) established a place of business in the district. The Federal Circuit did stress, however, that every case should be judged on its own facts. Based on the facts of Cray’s relationship to the district, the Federal Circuit ordered Judge Gilstrap to transfer the case out of the Eastern District.

What will it take for Gilstrap to accept that he is wrong to put the financial interests of litigators ahead of the law itself? What will compel those in charge to consider his dismissal (for making his mission as a judge akin to that of the disgraced CAFC judge, Randall Rader)? How are people expected to respect the patent system when rules are not being honoured even by these judges?

Update: Just an hour before publishing this article the CCIA’s Josh Landau wrote about this too. He mentioned the judge:

Yesterday afternoon, the Federal Circuit overturned the Eastern District of Texas’s test for venue. Even after TC Heartland, patent trolls were trying to keep defendants in the Eastern District of Texas. And in the first order issued by Judge Gilstrap, in a case called Raytheon v. Cray, it seemed like he was going to cooperate.

In Cray’s request to overturn Judge Gilstrap’s decision, the Federal Circuit ruled that Judge Gilstrap had abused his discretion in refusing to transfer the lawsuit out of the Eastern District. The Federal Circuit then established three key factors in analyzing the “regular and established place of business.” Their factors are based on the text of the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400, and the history of its development, a history that establishes that it was intended to restrict the availability of venue in patent cases.

The upshot? Having a website generally accessible in a district or a telecommuting employee isn’t enough to create venue. And that stems directly from the text of the statute – a district where “the defendant has … a regular and established place of business”.

Intellectual Ventures, GNU/Linux/Android/FOSS Patents, and the Ascent of European Patent Trolls

6 hours 17 min ago

Summary: The existing status of GNU/Linux in a world full of patent trolls, which not only target OEMs from Asia — typically in the US — but are also dragging them into Europe, aided by the EPO’s ‘patent bubble’

THE FREE/LIBRE software world is thriving. It’s spreading everywhere. But that does not mean that users of such software are protected from frivolous lawsuits, especially in countries where software patents exist. Developers too are occasionally being threatened or sued; we have given examples where projects got shut down due to these actions.

Readers might rightly wonder why we haven’t said a single thing about Red Hat’s latest press release; we instead included about a dozen stories in our daily links under the Red Hat section (not much new there, just reiteration of a promise from a decade and a half ago). We are more concerned about real, existing, potent threats to software.

According to today’s blog post from IAM, Microsoft’s patent troll Nathan Myhrvold now dominates the world’s largest troll, Intellectual Ventures. IAM is a fan of his and this is what it wrote:

Intellectual Ventures founder Greg Gorder has left the firm, becoming the latest of the quartet of its founders to step away from the business, following Peter Detkin and Ed Jung. According to his bio, which remains on the IV website, Gorder left earlier this month and will now “focus on his family’s philanthropic activities”.

Detkin stood down as vice chairman in January 2015, although he has continued to devote part of his time to IV-related work. Earlier this year he became a senior adviser to Sherpa Technology Group, the consulting business that was established by former VP of IP at IBM and IP Hall of Fame member Kevin Rivette. Jung also took on a new role at the start of the year, becoming CEO of Xinova, the innovation business that was spun out of IV in 2016.

“Intellectual property is the next software,” Myhrvold once said. It means that to him it’s all about patents. This Microsoft-connected patent troll is already suing quite a few companies that distribute BSD and/or GNU/Linux. It’s not a matter of “if” or “when”. The battle began years ago, but Intellectual Ventures operates through various shells. One of those is Dominion Harbor, which is publicly defaming me and smearing the EFF. To them, there’s much money at stake.

“HTC took some of these patents for defensive purposes after Apple and Microsoft had sued or blackmailed.”As is widely known by now (it’s in our daily links also), Google is taking over a large portion of HTC and IAM notes that “HTC does have around 2,000 US patents including third-party assets from the likes of HP, NEC and Nokia. It is now clear that those patents will stay in the Taiwanese company’s possession.”

HTC took some of these patents for defensive purposes after Apple and Microsoft had sued or blackmailed. HTC was Apple’s first Android target (before Apple moved on to Samsung, the largest Android OEM at the time).

Samsung’s home base, South Korea, still seems to have very low tolerance for patent parasites/trolls (and the likes of them). IAM says that the new antitrust boss (KFTC) will be tough on those who seek to restrict competition using patents:

Over the past few years, South Korea’s antitrust regulator has been one of the toughest on issues of intellectual property. Now, the leader of the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) says the body is about to start an inquest focused on how patents affect competition in the Internet of Things (IoT) or 5G space.

KFTC chairman Kim Sang-jo mentioned the role of patents in IoT during an appearance Monday at which he outlined five priorities for competition policy. 5G communications, digital broadcasting and connected devices were named as fields in which the KFTC plans to study the market for “monopolistic and oligopolistic situations”. Apparently the watchdog will establish a “monitoring network for prevention of patent rights abuse”; it is not clear what that means, but if it leads to investigations of specific patent owners, it will make waves given the commission’s history of dealing out major fines.

Germany, on the other hand, goes the other way, with the EPO being a prominent symptom of it. German companies, in a country where trolling has become a fast-growing epidemic, are stockpiling patents and Florian Müller expects those companies to become trolls before these patents expire. To quote what he wrote the other day:

Meet the patent trolls of the 2030s: Bosch, Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW

our days before the 67th International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt will end, I’d like to offer a bold prediction: unless a miracle of the kind I can’t imagine happens, Germany’s automotive industry (car manufacturers as well as suppliers) will suffer a fate similar to that of the smartphone divisions of the likes of Nokia and Ericsson, ultimately resulting in “trollification” by the 2030s.

As Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted last month, 52% of all patent filings related to self-driving cars belong to German companies, with Bosch alone (which is number one and followed by Audi and Continental)holding three times as many patents in that field as Google and Apple or Tesla not having any significant patent holdings in that field yet. Besides Bosch, Audi, and Continental, three other German companies are among the top 10 patent holders in this field: BMW, Volkswagen, and Daimler.

Patent filings related to self-driving cars are picking up speed, so the landscape will almost certainly change in some ways in the coming years, but not entirely.

Müller can see these writings on the wall. We could not agree more; the situation at the EPO is untenable and patent grants in Germany are disproportionately high (almost an order of magnitude more than the UK’s). We certainly hope that EPO workers are paying attention to these trends; every patent grant can cause to an innocent engineer an equal (or greater) amount of agony than that inflicted by Battistelli. We’ll say more about patent trolls in our next post.

Shelston IP Blames “Well-Organised and Appropriately-Connected Open Source Lobby” for Ban on Software Patents

6 hours 51 min ago

Summary: The activism is working and foes of programmers are feeling the pressure, for software patents are being more explicitly banned in some countries

THANKFULLY enough, New Zealand’s software industry (i.e. developers) managed to keep software patents away. The same is true, to some degree, in Australia (we wrote some articles about that a few weeks ago). We have covered the subject very closely for many years and it last intensified again a couple of years ago when Shelston IP et el — basically a bunch of self-serving liars (lying about the software industry) — reared their ugly heads again [1, 2, 3, 4]. No doubt they will keep on trying again and again until they get their way (if ever).

“It is now blaming FOSS — by name — for the de facto software patents ban (loopholes notwithstanding).”A couple of days ago Shelston IP had another go at it. It is now blaming FOSS — by name — for the de facto software patents ban (loopholes notwithstanding). The whole thing was “largely due to a well-organised and appropriately-connected open source lobby – however, the change of Government and its amenability to such campaigning cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor.”

Last year we wrote a lot of articles about the Productivity Commission of Australia, whose suggestions were more officially adopted only weeks ago, in defiance of pressure from law firms (whose agenda is altogether different; they’re patent maximalists).

Writing from Australia, here is what Shelston IP said about New Zealand:

With few exceptions, most of the reforms listed above are apolitical in the sense that they would likely have eventuated irrespective of which party held the balance of power at the time. That said, some of the specific detail of the various reforms may have had a slightly partisan political flavour to it – for instance, the issue of software patents in the lead-up to the new Patents Act 2013. Originally, when the exposure draft of the new legislation was published (2004), the Labour-led coalition of the time proposed no software-specific restrictions as to whether it was patentable. However, by 2010, the National-led Government had purported to impose not only an “as such” restriction – but, further, to align more with the English courts (exemplified in the Aerotel decision) than with the European system. New Zealand’s change in position over these six years was largely due to a well-organised and appropriately-connected open source lobby – however, the change of Government and its amenability to such campaigning cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor.

Unfortunately, in New Zealand and elsewhere, one cannot be too nice, courteous or polite; the only way to keep software patents away is to starve companies like Shelston IP which keep meddling in policy (and demonise/lie about people who are actually affected by those policies, e.g. software developers).

The EPO’s Latest Lies About the UPC and SMEs Unraveled, Long-Term Plan Described as Daunting

7 hours 58 min ago

Battistelli sets up Europe for patent trolls and abuse

Summary: The vision of Battistelli and the latest lies (about SMEs) are being criticised anonymously — for fear of retaliation — as Europe braces for impact with patent trolls from all around the world

THE EPO has sunk to new lows this week, at least as far as lying is concerned. As we said last night, one must now assume that everything the EPO’s management says is a lie. It’s almost always the case (and we’re barely exaggerating).

Look at the EPO’s Twitter account. When they don’t post ‘template’ promotions (e.g. of some upcoming event or section of the site) they just carry on with the usual nonsense. Earlier today the EPO wrote: “The very first guide for obtaining, maintaining and managing Unitary Patents is out: http://bit.ly/2xuHsjV pic.twitter.com/Wl4xuQjUWC

“Remember that EPO examiners are smart people. They are very well educated and they obviously know all the above. They know when they’re being lied to by the management and are conscious when the management lies in their name/on their behalf.”So I responded: “Why put out a guide for a system that does not exist and probably will never exist?”

Later on they wrote: “See if and where a patent has been granted, if it is valid, if there is still time to challenge it, etc. All here: http://bit.ly/2uVaOpR”

They also wrote: “Want to know more about the opposition procedure at the EPO? This course will help…”

I told them that “Battistelli [had] narrowed [the] oppositions window, attacked the appeal board/s, forced examiners to issue many bogus patents” (as leaks serve to reaffirm).

“It’s getting very frustrating to work as a patent examiner, no matter the level of compensation (salary).”Remember that EPO examiners are smart people. They are very well educated and they obviously know all the above. They know when they’re being lied to by the management and are conscious when the management lies in their name/on their behalf. They are not happy about it, they try to join the union (in spite of retaliation risks), and they occasionally reach out to the press (what’s left of it that’s not paid by Battistelli to keep silent or issue PR pieces). It’s getting very frustrating to work as a patent examiner, no matter the level of compensation (salary). It’s not as rewarding as it used to be. “Producing stronger patents (or being able to produce them) is also a matter of professional pride for the examiners,” somebody explained a month ago.

Earlier today in IP Kat we saw two good comments from what might be existing or former examiners. The first comment says almost exactly what we have been warning about for years, alluding to a long message from “Proof of the Pudding” (which had been suppressed, apparently algorithmically, until it was broken into parts).

“It is a frightening thought,” said this comment,” but the more one looks at the situation, one can discover what the hidden agenda of the actual president of the EPO could have been, now was: transform the EPO in an examination-light office, reduce the boards of appeal to nothing, and push the UPC at any rate.”

Yes, this is exactly what we have said over the years. Here is the comment in full (buried down in a comments section that’s weeks old):

Proof of the Pudding’s picture is scary, but it cannot be dismissed.

It is a frightening thought, but the more one looks at the situation, one can discover what the hidden agenda of the actual president of the EPO could have been, now was: transform the EPO in an examination-light office, reduce the boards of appeal to nothing, and push the UPC at any rate.

One does not have been scholar of the ENA (the posh stable where the president comes from) to guess who will benefit from this.

As far as the UPC is concerned, the SMEs have always been used as fig leaf to push the project through for the benefit of any other players than the SMEs. That even the Commission once thought to introduce a litigation insurance says a lot. The stance about SMEs is repeated with the regularity of a Tibetan prayer mill turning in the wind.

As SMEs benefit from a fee reduction when filing European applications, it would be interesting to see if the EPO is prepared to publish statistics about the number of filings by SMEs in member states of the EPC in general, and from SMEs in the EU in particular, and then from the countries having ratified the UPC. I take bets that the number is barely worth mentioning, otherwise those figures would have been already published.

The official filing figures at the EPO are clear in themselves, even abundantly clear: filings coming from EU states are barely above a third of all filings. The first beneficiaries are easy to find: all non EPC member states.

Another figure which would be interesting: how many EP are validated in all EU member states? How many are validated in all EPC member states?

That at the last conference on the UPC in Munich, the organisers managed to find a SME which reaves about the UPC is a good marketing coup. It is certainly not representative of the real situation of SMEs.

The UPC is a perfect example of lobbying at its best, when one sees who will be the beneficiaries of the whole system: litigation lawyers (some of them having written themselves the Rules of Procedure of the UPC) and large companies acting internationally and with deep pockets.

It might be more expensive to litigate in each and every EU or EPC country, but at least it was a barrier for stopping some bullies. And if it was worth it, the litigants had enough money to fight were the market share was worth it. How many cases of this kind?

With the UPC, no reason to refrain, in one go all are caught. In the long run the number of diverging decisions between EPC member states have gone down and will continue to go down, so why do we absolutely need an instance like the UPC?

But is looks so social to apparently care for the smaller and poorer among us….

Propaganda/echo chamber ‘events’ (or ‘forums’) are taken note of, too. The EPO organises quite a few of these nowadays (Margot Fröhlinger is doing another one in a few days in Canada), sometimes helped by IAM (which did this in the US, sponsored by the EPO’s PR agency) and Managing IP (it last did this earlier this month in major cities in Europe).

It’s just gross. As the above notes: “That at the last conference on the UPC in Munich, the organisers managed to find a SME which reaves about the UPC is a good marketing coup. It is certainly not representative of the real situation of SMEs.”

“It’s like politicians who attempt to pass laws by speaking about “terrorism”, “the children”, or “piracy” (they allude to copyright).”See how they’re distorting the record?

No matter if SMEs oppose the UPC (the European Digital SME Alliance too has made it very clear) and the EPO covertly offered fast lanes to large corporations, the EPO persists with this lie that the UPC is “for SMEs” (or something along those lines). It’s like politicians who attempt to pass laws by speaking about “terrorism”, “the children”, or “piracy” (they allude to copyright).

The EPO has lied about it again (as above) and later pushed a so-called ‘study’ with lots of EPO promotion of it (five times yesterday alone).

As the following new comment (received earlier today) puts it, the paper labels trolls “SMEs” and conveniently cherry-picks:

The choice of SME in the EPO paper is quite telling as well. Most of them are known in the industry as patent trolls. Just check a few of their patents application and see what their contribution to the art really is.

That, of course, is a direct consequence of the EPO choosing the SME with the larger number of patents for their case studies. Normal SME only patent what they really intent to manufacture and sell, which amounts to a relatively small number of patents. When a small company applies for dozens of patents each year, it usually means that their main business is litigation.

Going back to IP Kat, the next comment skewers the EPO ‘study’ and takes note of the incredibly low sample size:

A study about the benefits for SMEs of the patent system, and hence also the benefits they can gain by using the UPC, has been published today by the EPO:

http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponet.nsf/0/FF76F6F0783153B7C12581A2004DA0D2/$File/epo_sme_case_studies_2017_en.pdf

It looks at 12(sic) cases of successful SMEs spread all over Europe.

If a drug manufacturer would file a demand for approval supported by just showing 12 positive cases, among a total of unknown cases, and without any negative cases, no approval would be obtained, as the result is not statistically proven and the benefits of the drug have not been demonstrated. One should not be mesmerised by this apparent string of success.

To be fair, the Spanish SME which was raving about the UPC at the last UPC conference in Munich is among the 12.

The figures relating to all the filings by SMEs compared to the overall figures of filings should be urgently published by the EPO! Negative cases should also be examined as there certainly are some.

The number of cases in which SMEs have been harassed by large companies, is much more difficult to apprehend, but this figure would also be useful.

Only then, the stance about the usefulness of the patent system for SMEs will have been correctly established.

What has been done here is just blending out the full breadth of the problems faced by SMEs attempting to use the patent system, or in other words, blow smoke in the eyes and pull the leg of the inattentive reader. One wonders why?

In a conference held in 2015 at the German Patent Office, Bavarian SMEs made clear what they thought of the UPC: a nightmare, whereby the fee reduction and the help with translations costs are not worth the bother. This result can certainly be extrapolated to the whole of Germany, if not to the whole of the EU, and everybody can draw its own conclusion.

So this is the EPO in 2017.

So anti-scientific that it should be offensive to science itself.

Moreover, the EPO is offensive to human rights and labour rights. As someone explained to us today:

In 2018, the EPO will also cut another 2 public holidays for its Munich staff: corpus christi and whit monday. Both are bank holidays in Bavaria and the Munich branch of the EPO has always been closed on these days. So shops, banks, everything is closed in Munich, but not the EPO.

Nothing shall stand in the way of “production”; the trolls are relying on hastily-granted patents for them to abuse for many decades to come (even after Battistelli is no longer alive to see these consequences).

In an Effort to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), EPO and the Liar in Chief Spread the Famous Lie About SMEs

Thursday 21st of September 2017 11:23:42 PM

Rule of thumb: everything that the EPO says nowadays is a deliberate lie.

Summary: The EPO wants people to hear just a bunch of lies rather than the simple truth, courtesy of the people whom the EPO proclaims it represents

THE EPO offers nepotism and fast lanes to large corporations. It panics when the public finds out about it and constantly lies about the matter, stating that it protects SMEs, small inventors and so on. The European Digital SME Alliance has already refuted some of these lies, but that wasn’t enough to make the lies stop.

As a matter of priority, even though it’s past midnight right now, we’ve decided to compose a quick rebuttal/response to today’s EPO lies (disguised as ‘study’, as usual). What a nerve these people have. They are lying so much to the European public, with Battistelli taking the lead, as usual.

“hat a nerve these people have. They are lying so much to the European public, with Battistelli taking the lead, as usual.”The latest lie was promoted in Twitter in the late afternoon. I responded by stating that the “first EPO announcement in more than a month spreads a lie, the famous “SME”-themed lie [in which the EPO] makes up more “SME”-themed lies in order to sell the [other] lie that UPC is good for SMEs. See last paragraph.”

Yes, I used the word “lie” quite a lot. It’s as simple as this. They lied deliberately.

The official ‘news’ item (epo.org link), which quotes the ‘king’, as usual (self glorification), ends like this:

They also highlight the benefits that SMEs can expect from the planned Unitary Patent. These include savings in time and money, as well as increased legal certainty across the EU market.

That’s a lie. Even insiders know that it’s a lie and yet later in the day (earlier tonight) the Liar in Chief, Battistelli, promoted (epo.org link) the same Big Lie that SMEs want the UPC (it would kill them). From his closing paragraph:

As we look to the future of SMEs and patents, the case studies underline the significant role that the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court are set to play in IP strategies. Many of the SMEs featured talk about how the cost-effectiveness of the Unitary Patent and the jurisdiction of the Court will help them expand into other European markets, previously unconsidered by those same companies. Potential savings of up to 70%, a simplified application process with the EPO acting as a one-stop-shop and greater legal certainty will all prove attractive features of the UP and UPC. So, whether they use the Unitary Patent or the classical European patent, or a combination of both, the future holds a wealth of opportunities for SMEs to make the most of patents. It is our hope that these case studies will help increase understanding of how IP can play a fundamental role in the success of SMEs.

That’s a lie again. It’s a lie that the EPO promoted in another tweet that said: “This publication gives you full access to twelve case studies on the benefits of IP for #SMEs http://bit.ly/SMEstudies2017 #IPforSMEs”

They even came up with a hastag for it: #IPforSMEs

It links to this page (epo.org link), which gives the veneer of a ‘study’ to something that’s a lie to the very core.

“So don’t expect the UPC any time soon (or ever). As for SMEs, they are unambiguously against it (see the above position paper from the European Digital SME Alliance).”First of all, the UPC isn’t happening. The UPC Preparatory Committee has in fact just officially admitted that their plan is derailed (no schedule) due to the situation in Germany. Team UPC wrote about it some hours ago. The best spin they could come up with was this: “The Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has today published a short update, in which it notes that the pending case in the German Federal Constitutional Court will cause delay to Germany’s ratification of the UPC Agreement (UPCA) and the Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) and concludes that it is currently difficult to predict any timeline for the start of the new system.”

So don’t expect the UPC any time soon (or ever). As for SMEs, they are unambiguously against it (see the above position paper from the European Digital SME Alliance). Even observers in the field know damn well that the UPC would be an SME killer. There were several comments to that effect in IP Kat on Thursday (today). Well, after the site stopped covering the scandals we rely on comments there; the authors/Kats (who now include CIPA) certainly won’t say anything negative about the UPC.

“What will happen if the UPC and the TBA come to totally different views with respect of the validity of a UP?” (Unitary Patent)

That’s what the first comment (relating to the earlier ones) said:

Thanks to Proof of the pudding for his interesting contribution on the law applicable for infringement.

I have a further question with respect to validity, which is also to be decided by the UPC.

What will happen if the UPC and the TBA come to totally different views with respect of the validity of a UP? In other words, in case of conflict between decisions of the UPC and the TBA.

At the latest conference on the UPC in Munich, Sir Jacob made it clear that for him the UPC will be the leading court in Europe. In other words, the UPC decisions should prevail. By doing so he forgets that there are also other non-EU member states at the EPO. And they also deserve some respect.

One example: it is abundantly clear that the boards of appeal of the EPO have taken a strict stance in respect of added subject-matter. What if the UPC waters down the requirements? This thought is not abstruse when one looks at certain national decisions in this respect.

The UP being a patent to be granted by the EPO, the examining and opposition divisions are bound to follow the case law of the boards of appeal, and especially that of the enlarged board. The strict stance will be maintained be it only for this reason.

If the UPC is more lenient in the matter, which is to be expected, the only way to have a patent scrutinised strictly on this point is to file an opposition at the EPO. Otherwise it might become difficult to have a strict view on the matter. That proprietors prefer a more lenient way is obvious, but the opponents will want exactly the opposite.

At the recent INGRES Conference reported in another blog on IPKat, Mr Hoying made an interesting comment. According to his view, “Art. 54(3) EPC [is] a big problem which leads to multiple patents for the same invention (and – via divisionals – unacceptable uncertainty of third parties). Why can EPO and Dutch courts not read “the content of European patent application” broader? The skilled person should always read (when reading for Art. 54(3) EPC purposes) with the common general knowledge and consider each combination with the common general knowledge as disclosed”.

This is to me a clear attempt to water down the requirement for novelty which is goes like an Ariadne thread through all decisions of the enlarged board, novelty, added subject-matter, priority, divisional applications and disclaimers.

If the UPC follows this line, then we can say good bye to certainty in this matter. Is this really want is good for the users of the system? For US companies yes, as they have never understood the problem, for European companies, and especially EU and SMEs among them, certainly not.

In any case, the uncertainty will remain. And to me, this is not good for business, unless it has deep pockets.

By the way, at the latest conference on the UPC in Munich, Sir Jacob made it also very clear what he thought of opposition divisions and the boards of appeal: an opposition is playing waiting for Godot! This is not very kind, to say the least.

To me, the problems with the UPC are not only when it comes to infringement as exemplified by Proof of the pudding, but also when it comes to validity.

Then, in reply to it, someone recalled Battistelli’s attack on TBA and said: “I would say that the EPO Boards of Appeal are history at least as a judicial or quasi-judicial instance.”

To quote the whole comment:

I would say that the EPO Boards of Appeal are history at least as a judicial or quasi-judicial instance. They may potter on for a while in Haar but their glory days are over.

The independence has been so far eroded despite or perhaps as a result of the fig-lesf reform in 2016 so that they can no longer be seriously considered as an independent judicial instance. The “President” of the Boards of Appeal cannot even appoint his deputy without the approval of the President of the EPO (nota bene: the EPO President and not the Admin Council has the final say here). The President of the EPO also has the final say over the promotion of Board members.

The plan of the EU manadarins seems to be to replace the EPO Boards of Appeal by the UPC. That much is clear from Jacob’s comments.

The next one said this:

The Boards of Appeal are likely not to survive the upcoming decisions of the German constitutional court, be it only because the Enlarged Board itself in a recent and disastrous disciplinary case stated it was under the influence of the President of the office.

This entirely changes the situation which prevailed for decades, when earlier decisions rightly concluded that the members of the Boards were judges in all but name.

As the next and final comment put it, “revocation actions at the UPC are likely to be an order of magnitude more expensive.”

It explained how the UPC would crush SMEs — something we have said repeatedly for years.

Here is the full comment:

Hmmmn. If that is true, then we could be looking at a very dark future indeed.

Oppositions at the EPO could hardly be described as a “low-cost” exercise. However, on any realistic assessment, revocation actions at the UPC are likely to be an order of magnitude more expensive.

It is therefore all too easy to envisage disastrous consequences for SMEs (and the public) across Europe if the UPC becomes the only forum for revoking European patents. That is, if the cost of knocking out a “bad” patent that has been asserted against you becomes prohibitively expensive, and the market for litigation insurance has (predictably) failed to materialise, how do you stop the “trolls”?

There is another factor could make this a “perfect storm” that could devastate important areas of industry across Europe, especially those that are largely populated by SMEs. That is, we need to consider that the management of the EPO has, in recent years, engaged upon a drive to grant as many patents as possible. It is clear to anyone who has been paying attention that this drive has involved a “light touch” approach to examination… thus greatly increasing the likelihood that patents will have been granted with overly-broad claims, or perhaps even no valid claims at all.

So, we could end upon with more “bad” patents and the prospect of hugely increased costs for knocking out such patents. Who would that benefit, I wonder?

Whilst I am very reluctant to believe in conspiracies, even I have to admit that the actions of the current EPO management (grant rate forced ever upwards, Boards of Appeal hobbled, chances of the opposition procedure surviving the constitutional complaints in Germany correspondingly decreased…) all seem to be tailor-made to benefit only a certain section of the patent ecosystem. We shall just have to wait and see whether this is the result of accident or design.

The last paragraph (above) is key. It spares us the need to once again explain why UPC would be an SME killer, contrary to what the EPO claimed 5 times today (new page, news item, blog post and 2 tweets).

It will actually be news when the EPO stops spreading lies.

Links 21/9/2017: Red Hat’s Open Source Patent Promise; Qt 5.6.3, Kali Linux 2017.2 Release

Thursday 21st of September 2017 10:21:12 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
    • The ISS just got its own Linux supercomputer

      A year-long project to determine how high-performance computers can perform in space has just cleared a major hurdle — successfully booting up on the International Space Station (ISS).

      This experiment conducted by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NASA aims to run a commercial off-the-shelf high-performance computer in the harsh conditions of space for one year — roughly the amount of time it will take to travel to Mars.

    • Kubernetes Snaps: The Quick Version

      When we built the Canonical Distribution of Kubernetes (CDK), one of our goals was to provide snap packages for the various Kubernetes clients and services: kubectl, kube-apiserver, kubelet, etc.

      While we mainly built the snaps for use in CDK, they are freely available to use for other purposes as well. Let’s have a quick look at how to install and configure the Kubernetes snaps directly.

    • Kubernetes is Transforming Operations in the Enterprise

      At many organizations, managing containerized applications at scale is the order of the day (or soon will be). And few open source projects are having the impact in this arena that Kubernetes is.

      Above all, Kubernetes is ushering in “operations transformation” and helping organizations make the transition to cloud-native computing, says Craig McLuckie co-founder and CEO of Heptio and a co-founder of Kubernetes at Google, in a recent free webinar, ‘Getting to Know Kubernetes.’ Kubernetes was created at Google, which donated the open source project to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

    • Kubernetes gains momentum as big-name vendors flock to Cloud Native Computing Foundation

      Like a train gaining speed as it leaves the station, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is quickly gathering momentum, attracting some of the biggest names in tech. In the last month and a half alone AWS, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware and Pivotal have all joined.

      It’s not every day you see this group of companies agree on anything, but as Kubernetes has developed into an essential industry tool, each of these companies sees it as a necessity to join the CNCF and support its mission. This is partly driven by customer demand and partly by the desire to simply have a say in how Kubernetes and other related cloud-native technologies are developed.

    • The Cloud-Native Architecture: One Stack, Many Options

      As the chief technology officer of a company specialized in cloud native storage, I have a first hand view of the massive transformation happening right now in enterprise IT. In short, two things are happening in parallel right now that make it radically simpler to build, deploy and run sophisticated applications.

      The first is the move to the cloud. This topic has been discussed so much that I won’t try to add anything new. We all know it’s happening, and we all know that its impact is huge.

    • Sysadmin 101: Leveling Up

      I hope this description of levels in systems administration has been helpful as you plan your own career. When it comes to gaining experience, nothing quite beats making your own mistakes and having to recover from them yourself. At the same time, it sure is a lot easier to invite battle-hardened senior sysadmins to beers and learn from their war stories. I hope this series in Sysadmin 101 fundamentals has been helpful for those of you new to the sysadmin trenches, and also I hope it helps save you from having to learn from your own mistakes as you move forward in your career.

  • Desktop
    • TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 13 Review: a Powerful Ultrabook Running TUXEDO Xubuntu

      There is no doubt that the TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 13 is not a powerful ultrabook, providing good value for the money. And having it shipped with a Linux OS pre-installed makes your Linux journey a breeze if you’re just getting started with exploring the wonderful world of Open Source software and GNU/Linux technologies.

      There are a few issues that caught our attention during our testing, and you should be aware of them before buying this laptop. For example, the LCD screen leaks light, which is most visible on a dark background and when watching movies. Also, the display is only be tilted back to about 120 degrees, which might be inconvenient for the owner.

      The laptop doesn’t heat up that much, and we find the backlit keyboard with the Tux logo on the Super key a plus when buying a TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 13. Of course, if you don’t need all this power, you can always buy any other laptop out there and install your favorite Linux OS on it, but it’s not guaranteed that everything will work out of the box like on TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 13.

    • Chromebook Owners Will Soon Be Able to Monitor CPU and RAM Usage in Real-Time

      Chromium evangelist François Beaufort announced today that Google’s Chrome OS engineers have managed to implement a new feature that will let Chromebook owners monitor the CPU usage, RAM, and zRam statistics in real-time.

      The feature was implemented in the Chrome Canary experimental channel and can be easily enabled by opening the Google Chrome web browser and accessing the chrome://flags/#sys-internals flag. There you’ll be able to monitor your Chromebook’s hardware and see what’s eating your memory or CPU during heavy workloads, all in real-time.

      “Chrome OS users can monitor in real-time their CPU usage, memory and zRam statistics thanks to the new internal page chrome://sys-internals in the latest Canary,” said François Beaufort in a Google+ post. “For that, enable the experimental chrome://flags/#sys-internals flag, restart Chrome, and enjoy watching real-time resource consumption.”

    • Free Software Install Fests on October 2

      The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) will conduct ‘Free Software Install Fests’ on October 2 as part of Software Freedom Day celebrations.

      The latest version of IT@School GNU/Linux will be installed free of cost in computers at the festival.

  • Intel
    • Intel Preps Their First Batch Of Graphics Changes For Linux 4.15

      The first batch of drm-intel-next changes are ready to be queued in DRM-Next as feature work for eventually merging to mainline come the Linux 4.15 merge window.

    • Announcing Intel® Clear Containers 3.0!

      The Clear Containers team has been working on the next generation of Clear Containers and today that work culminates in the release of Clear Containers 3.0!

      Today’s release presents a generational and architectural shift to utilize virtcontainers, a modular and hypervisor agnostic library for hardware virtualized containers. Clear Containers 3.0 is written in Go language and boasts an OCI* compatible runtime implementation (cc-runtime ) that works both on top of virtcontainers, and as a platform for deployment.

    • Intel Unleashes Clear Containers 3.0, Written In Go

      Clear Containers 3.0 as Intel’s latest Linux container tech is now written in the Go programming language rather than C. They are also now making use of virtcontainers as a modular and hypervisor agnostic library for hardware-virtualized containers. Clear Containers 3.0 also adds support for a virtio-blk storage back-end and other improvements for security and performance.

  • Kernel Space
    • Graphics Stack
      • Valve Is Collaborating On GPUVis For Tuning Radeon Linux VR Performance

        One of the many interesting talks at yesterday’s XDC2017 conference was Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais talking about GPUVis.

      • GPUVis, an open source Linux GPU profiler similar to GPUView

        It seems Valve have been busy. GPUVis is a Linux GPU profiler similar to GPUView on Windows. It’s supposed to help track down Linux gpu and application performance issues.

      • NVIDIA 384.90 Linux Driver Brings Fixes, Quadro P5200 Support

        One day after releasing updated GeForce Linux legacy drivers, NVIDIA is now out with an update to their long-lived 384 branch.

        The NVIDIA 384 Linux series is the current latest series for their proprietary driver. Coming out today is the 384.90 update that is primarily comprised of bug fixes but also includes Quadro P5200 support.

      • NVIDIA Continues Prepping The Linux Desktop Stack For HDR Display Support

        Besides working on the new Unix device memory allocator project, they have also been engaged with upstream open-source Linux developers over preparing the Linux desktop for HDR display support.

        Alex Goins of the NVIDIA Linux team presented on their HDR ambitions for the Linux desktop and the work they are still doing for prepping the X.Org stack for dealing with these next-generation computer displays. This is a project they have also been looking at for more than one year: NVIDIA Is Working Towards HDR Display Support For Linux, But The Desktop Isn’t Ready.

      • The State Of The VC4 Driver Stack, Early Work On VC5

        ric Anholt of Broadcom just finished presenting at XDC2017 Mountain View on the state of the VC4 driver stack most notably used by the Raspberry Pi devices. Additionally, he also shared about his early work on the VC5 driver for next-generation Broadcom graphics.

      • Intel’s Linux Driver & Mesa Have Hit Amazing Milestones This Year

        Kaveh Nasri, the manager of Intel’s Mesa driver team within the Open-Source Technology Center since 2011, spoke this morning at XDC2017 about the accomplishments of his team and more broadly the Mesa community. Particularly over the past year there has been amazing milestones accomplished for this open-source driver stack.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Qt 5.6.3 Released

        I am pleased to inform that Qt 5.6.3 has been released today. As always with a patch release Qt 5.6.3 does not bring any new features, just error corrections. For details of the bug fixes in Qt 5.6.3, please check the change logs for each module.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • PlayStation 4 controller support for Fedora Linux

        GNOME developer Bastien Nocera has implemented enhancements to the Bluetooth stack of the Fedora Linux operating system, reported Softpedia.

        The improvements are set to enhance the use of PlayStation 3 DualShock controllers in the GNOME desktop environment.

        The controller is now easier to connect to a PC, but still requires an initial connection via USB.

      • Nifty GNOME Global Menu Extension Is ‘Discontinued For the Moment’

        The developer behind the popular Global App Menu GNOME extension has announced it is “discontinued for the moment”.

        Explaining the reasons for his decision on Github, Lester Carballo cites the shift to Wayland (the extension doesn’t work in Wayland for a whole spaghetti heap of technical and ideological reasons) as being the primate motivator to move on.

        Canonical also has no plans to support the unity-gtk-module under Wayland (a crucial component that this extension, and similar app menu implementations, rely on).

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Kali Linux 2017.2 Release

        We are happy to announce the release of Kali Linux 2017.2, available now for your downloading pleasure. This release is a roll-up of all updates and fixes since our 2017.1 release in April. In tangible terms, if you were to install Kali from your 2017.1 ISO, after logging in to the desktop and running ‘apt update && apt full-upgrade’, you would be faced with something similiar to this daunting message:

      • Kali Linux 2017.2 Released With New Hacking Tools — Download ISO And Torrent Files Here
      • Kali Linux 2017.2 Security OS Released With New Hacking Tools – Download Now!!!
      • Kali Linux 2017.2 Ethical Hacking & Pentesting OS Introduces New Security Tools

        Offensive Security announced the release and general availability of the Kali Linux 2017.2 installation images for their advanced penetration testing and ethical hacking GNU/Linux distribution.

        Kali Linux is the successor of the well-known Debian/Ubuntu-based BackTrack ethical hacking and penetration testing distro, and it follows a rolling release model where the user installs once and receives updates forever, or at least until he decides to reinstall.

        If that’s the case, the Kali Linux 2017.2 installation mediums are now available for download, and they include a bunch of general performance improvements and bugfixes, along with new security tools. The new images include all the updates pushed through the official channels since April’s release of Kali Linux 2017.1.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat expands its pioneering patent promise to the open source community

        Open source software business Red Hat this morning announced a big expansion of its patent promise, its commitment to not assert its patents against free and open source software which it launched in 2002. The expansion of the promise means that it now extends to all of Red Hat’s patents and so offers further defensive cover to the open source community.

        Red Hat claims that the new promise is significantly broader than the original agreement with the new version covering more than 99% of open source software compared with 35% for the original. The new promise also specifically covers permissive licences which, in recent years, have over taken copyleft licences as the most popular type of open source agreement.

      • Red Hat’s Patent Promise covers permissively-licensed code, offering broad protection for open innovation

        Red Hat announced on Thursday a significant revision of its Patent Promise, helping to protect open innovation. That promise, originating in 2002, was based on Red Hat’s intention not to enforce its patents against free and open source software.

        The expanded Patent Promise, while consistent with Red Hat’s prior positions, breaks new ground in expanding the amount of software covered and otherwise clarifying the scope of the promise. Red Hat believes its updated Patent Promise represents the broadest commitment to protecting the open source software community to date.

      • Red Hat Announces Broad Expansion to Open Source Patent Promise [Ed: Red Hat should toss out all the software patents, in case of takeover]

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced a significant revision of its Patent Promise. That promise, originating in 2002, was based on Red Hat’s intention not to enforce its patents against free and open source software. The new version significantly expands and extends Red Hat’s promise, helping to protect open innovation.

        In its original Patent Promise, Red Hat explained that its patent portfolio was intended to discourage patent aggression against free and open source software. The expanded version published today reaffirms this intention and extends the zone of non-enforcement. It applies to all of Red Hat’s patents, and all software licensed under well-recognized open source licenses.

        The expanded Patent Promise, while consistent with Red Hat’s prior positions, breaks new ground in expanding the amount of software covered and otherwise clarifying the scope of the promise. Red Hat believes its updated Patent Promise represents the broadest commitment to protecting the open source software community to date.

      • How 10,000 people helped us rediscover our purpose [Ed: Red Hat openwashing again]
      • Ansible, or Not Ansible?: Interview with Director of Ansible Community
      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • PipeWire aims to do for video what PulseAudio did for sound

          An ambitious new project from GNOME is aiming to do for video what PulseAudio did for sound.

          It’s called PipeWire and it aims to improve the handling of audio and video on Linux to such an extent that it become a ‘core building block for the future of Linux application development’.

          PipeWire has been designed form the ground up to modernize the way video and audio processing is handled on Linux, with particular focus on supporting Wayland and Flatpak.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) Is Now Powered by Linux Kernel 4.13, GCC 7.2

            As of today, the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system is powered by the latest Linux 4.13 kernel, which arrived in the stable repositories along with GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 7.2.

            So there you have it, Canonical kept on its promise to rebase the Ubuntu 17.10 release on the Linux 4.13 kernel series, and with today’s repo sync, the previous Linux 4.12 kernel, which is now EOL (End-of-Life) upstream, were replaced by a 4.13.0-11 kernel that’s apparently based on Linux kernel 4.13.1. Ubuntu 17.10 is also using the latest GCC 7.2 compiler and Mesa 17.2.1 graphics stack by default.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Open source-based business lessons from a seasoned CEO

    The default now is to build from open and in the open. So that’s a positive. The downside is that by open source being the default, we may be getting a little lazy. If you remember back 5-10 years, open sourcing was a big deal, and it forced a level of rigor that may have led, in some cases, to founders and early investors taking better approaches to building their company—for example, shifting towards SaaS wherever possible, in part because of the ability to demonstrate clear value versus their own open source.

  • Open source strategies bring benefits, but don’t rush in

    When organizations adopt open source strategies, they rarely intend to dive into the source code. That would require hiring internal miracle workers — an expensive proposition. Instead, they contract for support, usually with a vendor that’s a primary contributor to the open source project.

    Often, but not always, this is the company that has many of the original open source project contributors on staff, and continues to make the most commits back to the code base. Sometimes, like with big data analytics, this gets competitive, resulting in several downstream distributions — each from a different vendor.

  • The Symphony Software Foundation: Bringing Open Source To Wall Street

    Whenever banks merge, they typically bring along their overlapping, proprietary software platforms as luggage.

    “In most cases, they don’t merge … because it’s a massive business and technological endeavor,” Gabriele Columbro, 35, the executive director of the Symphony Software Foundation, told Benzinga.

    “Rather than undertaking massive consolidation projects, open source gives you a way to leapfrog it.”

    It’s one area in the financial services universe in which the nonprofit arm of the messaging platform Symphony Communications is working to bring wider adoption of open source software.

  • Unix to GitHub: 10 Key Events in Free and Open Source Software History
  • Engineer Spotlight: Brian Gerkey of Open Robotics Talks ROS and Robotics

    This year marks the 10th anniversary of the inception of the Robotic Operating System (ROS) — an open source robotics platform being used around the world in research, industrial, and recreational settings. The premise of ROS is simple: to simplify and standardize robotic programming, enabling faster development of robotic systems through the spirit of open source collaboration.

    On September 21st and 22nd, the Open Robotics (formerly the Open Source Robotics Foundation) will convene for the fifth time for ROSCon 2017. Delegates ranging from students, researchers, industry representatives, and hobbyists/enthusiasts will meet, discuss, and present on a range of topics related to the development of ROS. Even though ROSCon is still a relatively young event, every year it has continued to grow in both number of attendees and sponsors.

  • Ericsson CTO: Open source is good but fragmentation, not so much

    Open source, just like standards, can be a good thing as long as there aren’t too many of them, because that can result in fragmentation and too many resources being spread across too many groups, according to Ericsson Group CTO Erik Ekudden.

    “We can’t spread ourselves too thin, so we are focusing of course on open source as it’s relevant to network platforms”—and that includes everything from the cloud side to management and control, he told FierceWirelessTech on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA).

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
  • IBM
  • Databases
    • Keeping up with advances in open source database administration

      The world of open source databases is rapidly evolving. It seems like every day brings a new release of an open source technology that might make a database administrator’s life easier, if only he or she knew about it.

      Fortunately, there are many ways to stay on top of what’s going on with open source database technology. One such way is the Percona Live Open Source Database Conference, taking place next week in Dublin, Ireland. We’ve covered Percona Live before, and invite you to take a look back at some of our previous stories. From IoT to big data to working with the cloud, there’s plenty to keep up with. Here are a look at a couple of the sessions you might enjoy, as described by the speakers.

    • PostgreSQL 10 RC1 Released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces today that the first release candidate of version 10 is available for download. As a release candidate, 10 RC 1 should be identical to the final release of the new version. It contains fixes for all known issues found during testing, so users should test and report any issues that they find.

    • PostgreSQL 10 Release Candidate 1 Arrives

      PostgreSQL 10 has been queuing up improvements to declarative partitioning, logical replication support, an improved parallel query system, SCRAM authentication, performance speed-ups, hash indexes are now WAL, extended statistics, new integrity checking tools, smart connection handling, and many other promising improvements. Our earlier performance tests of Postgre 10 during its beta phase showed some speed-ups over PostgreSQL 9.

    • Pivotal Greenplum Analytic Database Adds Multicloud Support

      Pivotal’s latest release of its Greenplum analytic database includes multicloud support and, for the first time, is based entirely on open source code.

      In 2015, the company open sourced the core of Pivotal Greenplum as the Greenplum Database project. “This is the first commercially available release that we are shipping with the open source project truly at its core,” said Elisabeth Hendrickson, VP of data research and development at Pivotal.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Public Services/Government
    • City of Rennes to tackle IT vendor lock-in

      Rennes, France’s eleventh largest city, aims to get rid of IT vendor lock-in. To begin with, the city will switch to Zimbra, an open source-based collaboration and email solution. Next year, it will commence a feasibility study into other free and open source software applications, including office productivity tools.

    • Thin Edge Of The Wedge
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Open source licensing: What every technologist should know

      If you’re a software developer today, you know how to use open source software, but do you know how and why open source licensing started? A little background will help you understand how and why the licenses work the way they do.

    • A New Era for Free Software Non-Profits

      The US Internal Revenue Service has ushered in a new and much more favorable treatment for free software projects seeking to have 501c3 tax exempt non-profit organizations of their own. After years of suffering from a specially prejudicial environment at IRS, free software projects—particularly new projects starting out and seeking organizational identity and the ability to solicit and receive tax-deductible contributions for the first time—can now do so much more easily, and with confident expectation of fast, favorable review. For lawyers and others counseling free software projects, this is without question “game-changing.”

      At SFLC, we have ridden all the ups and downs of the US tax law’s interaction with free software non-profits. When I formed SFLC—which in addition to being a 501c3 tax-deductible organization under US federal tax law is also a non-profit educational corporation under NY State law—in 2005, we acquired our federal 501c3 determination in less than 70 days. Over our first several years of operation, we shepherded several of our clients through the so-called “1023 process,” named after the form on which one applies for 501c3 determination, as well as creating several 501c3-determined “condominium” or “conservancy” arrangements, to allow multiple free software projects to share one tax-deductible legal identity.

      But by the middle of the Obama Administration’s first term, our ability to get new 501c3 determinations from the IRS largely ceased. The Service’s Exempt Organizations Division began scrutinizing certain classes of 1023’s particularly closely, forming task forces to centralize review of—and, seemingly, to prevent success of—these classes of application. In our practice on behalf of free software projects seeking legal organization and tax exemption, we began to deal with unremitting Service pushback against our clients’ applications. Sometimes, the determination to refuse our clients’ applications seemed to indicate a fixed political prejudice against their work; more than once we were asked by IRS examiners “What if your software is used by terrorists?”

    • The Faces of Open Source: Harald Welte

      Harald is the original GPL enforcer. He reached out to companies and brought the GPL to court for the first time, way back in the early 2000s. His activities, initially seen as controversial, ultimately led to much greater and improved dialogue between companies and the community-at-large, not least because it cast the GPL as a solid, simple legal document, with terms that a court could rule on.

      One of Harald’s most noticeable characteristics is his calm, measured, and carefully considered approach to matters. His passion for free software is genuine, but he is not driven by passion alone. He has clear, thoughtful arguments for issues that he engages with, and he often provides insight in an accessible manner. While he is far too modest to use the term, Harald is a thought-leader in open source, and this is one of the interviews I was most excited to shoot.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • The Four Layers of Programming Skills

      When learning how to code for the first time, there’s a common misconception that learning how to code is primarily about learning the syntax of a programming language. That is, learning how the special symbols, keywords, and characters must be written in the right order for the language to run without errors.

      However, focusing only on knowledge of syntax is a bit like practicing to write a novel by only studying grammar and spelling. Grammar and spelling are needed to write a novel, but there are many other layers of skills that are needed in order to write an original, creative novel.

      [...]

      This is the layer that is most often focused on in the early learning phase. Syntax skills essentially means how to read and write a programming language using the rules for how different characters must be used for the code to actually work.

    • Beignet OpenCL Now Supports LLVM 5.0

      For those making use of Beignet for Intel graphics OpenCL acceleration on Linux, it finally has added support for LLVM 5.0.

      Beignet doesn’t tend to support new LLVM versions early but rather a bit notorious for their tardiness in supporting new LLVM releases. LLVM 5.0 has been out for two weeks, so Beignet Git has moved on to adding support for LLVM 5.

      There were Beignet changes to libocl and GBE for enabling the LLVM 5.0 support.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • On Heels of Progressive Wave, Rhode Island Expands Sick Leave to 100,000 Workers

      Rhode Island’s General Assembly voted 59 to 11 to pass a bill on Tuesday guaranteeing sick days to over 100,000 workers, joining the state Senate, which passed the legislation along a 25 to seven vote. The bill now goes to Gov. Gina Raimondo, who is expected to sign it.

      The new law will guarantee workers at large firms five earned sick days by 2020; workers at businesses with 17 or fewer employees will be allowed to have three unpaid sick days a year. Overall, around 90 percent of the state’s workforce will have access to paid sick days.

      The passage of the law is the culmination of a yearlong effort by the Rhode Island Earned Sick Days Campaign, made up of more than a dozen groups, including the Service Employees International Union, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, and the Working Families Party, an organization founded in New York that has since spread its issue activism and electoral work to many other states.

      Over the last year of elections, WFP helped lay the groundwork for the passage of paid sick days by backing candidates supporting the issue in 10 legislative races. In seven of those races, its candidates won.

      Part of WFP’s challenge is how it chooses to engage in electoral politics. In New York, there is a fusion party system, in which groups other than the main parties can develop their own ballot line based on endorsements, which is the system WFP has used to create an independent voice in New York politics. Under that scenario, the same candidate can run on both the Democratic line and the WFP line, meaning people can vote for the WFP candidate without the fear of contributing to the victory of the opposing Republican.

    • Trump’s Failure to Tackle Opioid Crisis Is Costing Lives, House Democrats Say

      It’s been nearly six months since President Donald Trump issued an executive order forming a commission to combat the nation’s opioid crisis — which he described on August 10 as “a national emergency” — and almost two months since the White House panel issued interim recommendations for dealing with the epidemic. But Trump has made a habit of failing to follow-up on his executive orders, and his administration has yet to officially declare the crisis a national emergency. In fact, there’s no evidence that his administration has moved on nearly any of the of the commission’s recommendations.

      Now, members of Congress are saying the inaction is costing lives.

      In a letter to the president, 51 House Democrats led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., urged the administration to declare a national emergency and act on one critical recommendation: ensuring that naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, gets into the hands of every law enforcement officer in the United States.

    • Maine Won’t Let Nurse Practitioners Perform Early Abortions, and It’s Harming Our Patients — So I’m Suing

      I’m a nurse practitioner who has sent away patients in desperate situations even though I can provide abortion care safely.

      From the time I was in college, I knew two things: I wanted to be a nurse practitioner, and I wanted to be an abortion provider. As the stepdaughter of a Maine abortion provider, and then a patient advocate at a Maine abortion clinic, I’d seen firsthand the importance of high-quality, comprehensive reproductive health care. I saw the challenges and protestors, too, but that didn’t deter me—I couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling career.

      Today, I’m proud to say that I am a practicing nurse practitioner and that I had the gratifying experience of providing safe, compassionate abortion care while living in California. And now that I’m back in Maine, I provide my patients at Maine Family Planning with a range of reproductive health services, including inserting intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) and performing colposcopies, which involve very similar skills as first-trimester abortion care.

    • Outlets That Scolded Sanders Over Deficits Uniformly Silent on $700B Pentagon Handout

      Where did all the concern over deficits go? After two years of the media lamenting, worrying and feigning outrage over the cost of Bernie Sanders’ two big-budget items—free college and single-payer healthcare—the same outlets are uniformly silent, days after the largest military budget increase in history.

      Monday, the Senate voted to increase military spending by a whopping $81 billion, from $619 billion to $700 billion–an increase of over 13 percent. (The House passed its own $696 billion Pentagon budget in July—Politico, 7/14/17.) The reaction thus far to this unprecedented handout to military contractors and weapons makers has been one big yawn.

      No write-ups worrying about the cost increase in the Washington Post or Vox or NPR. No op-eds expressing concern for “deficits” in the New York Times, Boston Globe or US News. No news segments on Fox News or CNN on the “unaffordable” increase in government spending. All the outlets that spent considerable column inches and airtime stressing over Sanders’ social programs are suddenly indifferent to “how we will afford” this latest military giveaway. The US government votes 89–9 to add $81 billion extra to the balance sheet—the equivalent of the government creating three new Justice Departments, four more NASAs, seven Treasury Departments, ten EPAs or 546 National Endowments for the the Arts—and there’s zero discussion as to “how we will pay for it.”

    • Head of Health Insurance Giant Aetna Slams Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan As “Lousy”

      The head of Aetna, the health insurance giant, not only slammed the gains being made in the push for universal Medicare, but also mocked its proponents as misguided. But in the process, Mark Bertolini got basic facts wrong about single-payer health care.

      Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, the third-largest health insurance company in the U.S., rejected the Medicare for All proposal released last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and a group of 16 Senate Democrats. He at times used disparaging comments and outright falsehoods about neighboring countries’ national health systems to criticize the plan.

      Bertolini, speaking at the Strategic Investor Initiative conference in New York on Tuesday in response to a question from The Intercept, said that the Sanders single-payer bill does “nothing to fix the underlying cost structure” of the health care system. “So if we refinance a lousy product, what do we get? A lousy result,” Bertolini said.

    • Why Lisa Murkowski Is So Unlikely To Flip Her Vote On Repealing Obamacare

      The last-ditch Senate Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has zeroed in on a single target: Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who cast one of three decisive no votes in July.

      Her colleagues Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine have been written off as no votes by the bill’s backers. If Murkowski joins them and votes no again, the bill, which cuts federal health-care spending and devolves power to the states, falls short of the 50 votes it needs.

      Murkowski has given no indication that she has re-thought her opposition, and on Tuesday, Alaska’s governor, Bill Walker, announced he was against the new bill. Later that day, while speaking with reporters, Murkowski quoted Walker’s statement, adding that she is not yet announcing her own position.

      If all that isn’t enough to give an indication of how she’ll vote this time around, take a look at a conversation she had with a class of high school interns just last month. Murkowski, who tends to hold her cards close to her vest, didn’t announce her decision last time before the vote, either. But that doesn’t mean she hadn’t made up her mind.

      In the Q&A with her outgoing interns, she allowed each to ask her a question. The back and forth was recorded and posted to YouTube. As of this writing, it has been viewed 523 times, and was referenced in a profile of Murkowski written in August by Jennifer Bendery of HuffPost.

      [...]

      Collins, for her part, is deeply disturbed that the Congressional Budget Office won’t be fully analyzing the bill. When The Intercept told her the CBO wouldn’t be studying its effect on the number of uninsured or the cost of premiums, she laughed. “Really? It will be interesting to see what they do have if they don’t have those two, because that’s pretty major,” she said. “That’s problematic. It’s part of the problem with short-circuiting the process.”

    • Latest GOP Plan ‘Is Even Worse for Women’s Health Than Previous Repeal Bills’

      The bill, coauthored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would eliminate Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates requiring all Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty, and all large employers to offer insurance plans. It would also end cost-sharing subsidies for insurers and tax credits that help Americans afford coverage.

      Further, the plan would halt Medicaid expansion, and restructure the distribution of federal funding so that states receive block grants, or lump sums to allocate as they see fit. As Anna North at Vox notes, “its program of block grants would create new ways for the federal government to restrict abortion coverage.”

    • Senate Republicans Scramble to Secure Votes for Last-Ditch Effort to Repeal Affordable Care Act

      Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill lobbying Republican senators to support the latest healthcare plan, known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, named after its main architects, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has to be done by September 30, when a deadline allowing the Senate to pass the legislation by a simple majority expires. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the bill would cause many millions of people to lose coverage, gut Medicaid, eliminate or weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions and increase out-of-pocket healthcare costs to individuals, all while showering tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans. The New York Times editorial board wrote on Tuesday, “It is hard to overstate the cruelty of the Graham-Cassidy bill.” We speak with Alice Ollstein, a politics reporter at Talking Points Memo focusing on healthcare. Her recent piece is titled “Where Things Stand with the Senate’s Last-Ditch Obamacare Repeal Push.”

    • Panel Brings Out Key Public Interest Issues In Gene Editing Technology

      The still-emerging breakthrough CRISPR gene editing tool has the potential to transform the field and do enormous good for humankind. But let’s make sure we understand it better and ensure the public interest before launching into using it too widely. Meanwhile, companies and researchers are actively licensing the technology. That was a message of a set of panellists working close to CRISPR’s development, speaking at a recent event in Washington, DC.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Witnesses yell ‘he can’t hear you’ as cop shoots deaf man

      Oklahoma City police officers who opened fire on a man in front of his home as he approached them holding a metal pipe didn’t hear witnesses yelling that he was deaf, a department official said Wednesday.

      Magdiel Sanchez, 35, wasn’t obeying the officers’ commands before one shot him with a gun and the other with a Taser on Tuesday night, police Capt. Bo Mathews said at a news conference. He said witnesses were yelling “he can’t hear you” before the officers fired, but they didn’t hear them.

    • PBS’ ‘Vietnam War’ Tells Some Truths

      When PBS announced that it was broadcasting a 10-part, 18-hour series, entitled “The Vietnam War,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. As a network news correspondent who covered the war for five years through many of its bloodiest chapters, I have had mixed feelings about some of the other attempts to recount and explain the war.

      Many of the previous efforts were colored by the political pressures of the moment, especially from policymakers and journalists who had career stakes in how assessments of the failed war would make them look. So, with some trepidation, I watched the entire 10-part series and read the companion book by writer Geoffrey C. Ward over the past week. To my pleasant surprise, I found many reasons to applaud the effort and my criticisms were relatively minor.

      In my view, the PBS series, directed by Ken Burns and Lynne Novick, represents the most honest and thorough account available to the general public. Over those 18 hours, the series reveals so much duplicity and mendacity that this real history makes even the most cynical movies about the war, such as “Apocalypse Now,” and “The Deer Hunter,” look tame by comparison.

    • America’s NSA Spied On And Knew About India’s Secret Sagarika Ballistic Missile Back In 2005!

      In the world of covert intelligence gathering, no one is no one’s friend. What else explains America’s NSA spying on India’s nuclear and missile program in 2005, when the relations between the two countries were warming up?

    • US spies had info on India’s nuclear missiles years before launch – NSA leaks

      The NSA may have known about India’s nuclear-capable Sagarika and Dhanush missiles as early as 2005, newly released documents from the trove obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal.

      US spies also likely possessed “significant intelligence” about the bombs in service in India during that period.

      Those revelations come from the batch of 294 articles published by The Intercept last week, and traced back to the from National Security Agency’s Signal Intelligence Directorate internal newsletter, SIDtoday.

    • NYT Lets Think Tank Funded by Gov’t and Arms Industry Claim Huge US Military Budget Isn’t Huge Enough

      The New York Times (9/18/17) gave an enormous platform to a hawkish think tank that is funded by the US government and by top weapons corporations, letting it absurdly claim, without any pushback, that the gargantuan US military—by far the largest in the world—has been “underfunded.”

      On September 18, the Senate voted overwhelmingly (89 to eight) to pass an enormous, record-breaking $700 billion Pentagon bill, giving far-right President Donald Trump even more money for war than he had requested.

      Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg effectively helped to sell the bill in an extremely sympathetic article, headlined “Senate Passes $700 Billion Pentagon Bill, More Money Than Trump Sought.”

      Stolberg’s story also doubled as a kind of puff piece for hyper-hawkish Sen. John McCain, whom it lionized as an intrepid hero boldly taking the lead on the Pentagon legislation.

      The Times report all but openly applauded the bill, describing it as “a rare act of bipartisanship” that “sets forth a muscular vision of America as a global power.”

    • Trump, a Boorish Interventionist

      My political positions have very frequently been countercurrent. When American liberals were calling for Donald Trump’s head at the outset of his presidency, when Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi were preaching all-out obstructionism to thwart his policies, I was urging progressives to lay down their pitchforks and try to deal constructively with the new administration for the good of the nation.

    • Bernie Sanders: Saudi Arabia Is “Not an Ally” and the U.S. Should “Rethink” Its Approach to Iran

      Saudi Arabia is “not an ally of the United States,” according to Bernie Sanders, the independent senator and former Democratic presidential hopeful.

      Sanders broke with the bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill in an exclusive interview with The Intercept. The United States has long considered Saudi Arabia to be a loyal friend, supporter, and partner in the so-called war on terror.

      Sanders issued a scathing denunciation of the Gulf kingdom, which has recently embarked on a new round of domestic repression.

      “I consider [Saudi Arabia] to be an undemocratic country that has supported terrorism around the world, it has funded terrorism. … They are not an ally of the United States.”

      The Vermont senator accused the “incredibly anti-democratic” Saudis of “continuing to fund madrasas” and spreading “an extremely radical Wahhabi doctrine in many countries around the world.”

      “They are fomenting a lot of hatred,” he added. In June, Sanders joined 46 other senators in voting to try and block the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition backed by the U.S. has been bombing Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen since 2015 and is accused of killing thousands of Yemeni civilians.

    • Who Will Pay for Huge Pentagon Budget Increase?

      This week, the United States Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of increasing military spending by $700 billion, pouring even more money into by far the most expensive military in the world and exceeding military funding from any time during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. The U.S. Military budget is larger than the next nine most expensive countries combined, and this new budget now makes it ten countries.

      Though both political parties are abrasive toward spending on social programs, from expanding the social safety net through policies like single payer healthcare, to boosting welfare, medicare, and social security, military spending receives little resistance, even in the wake of a massive accounting error at the Pentagon in which trillions of dollars are still unaccounted for. The spending increases continue a trend of enormous military spending set under the Obama Administration, in which the United States’ military budget was the highest its been since World War II.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Chelsea Manning: Harvard Told Me “Sean Spicer Has Something to Contribute to American Policy”

      Shortly after Harvard publicly rescinded whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s visiting fellowship, the dean of her would-be school called her personally to break the news.

      According to Manning, Douglas Elmendorf, the dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, began by reading what she later learned was a statement the school had already posted online. But as Manning pressed for more of an explanation, and noted some of the other controversial fellows at the school, he told her simply that “Sean Spicer has something to contribute to American policy,” and “you can’t really bring that to the table.”

      Manning relayed her story during an interview with the Nantucket Project on Sunday, two days after Harvard took away her fellowship.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • The Paris Agreement Dispute Is a Distraction. The Real Battle Is Playing Out in the EPA.

      For anyone who’s been following the fate of the United States’ involvement in the Paris agreement, the main question surrounding it recently has been pretty clear: Will he or won’t he?

      Conflicting reports over the weekend — sparked by a vague Wall Street Journal story on Saturday — alleged that the Trump administration was reconsidering its June decision to withdraw from the landmark climate deal. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster denied it, only to be upstaged Sunday morning by Secretary of State and former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, whose department would theoretically oversee either a renegotiation or a withdrawal. On this week’s Face the Nation, Tillerson said that President Donald Trump was “open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue.”

      In what’s being taken as a for-now final word on the matter, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn emphasized Monday that the U.S. will leave the agreement “unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country,” doubling down on the line the administration has held since its initial withdrawal announcement.

    • An Electric Bus Just Broke the World Record for Distance Traveled on a Single Charge

      When California-based automaker Proterra took one of their all-electric Catalyst E2 Max busses to the Navistar Proving Grounds in Indiana, the vehicle managed to cover 1,772.2 kilometers (1,101.2 miles) before its battery pack ran out of power, breaking the record for the longest distance travelled by an electric vehicle on a single charge.

      The 40-foot bus was outfitted with a 660 kWh battery pack for the trial — the equivalent of 11 Chevy Bolts — and according to the company, it could be back at full capacity in just an hour using Proterra’s high-speed charging system.

    • Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico in total blackout as storm batters island

      Puerto Rico is without electricity, officials have said, after Hurricane Maria’s strong winds and flooding knocked out the US territory’s power service.

      Island residents endured a day of punishing winds and life-threatening flooding on Wednesday from the category 4 storm, which was the third hurricane to pummel the Caribbean in as many weeks.

  • Finance
    • Brexit means…progressive alliances, or ‘corporate absolutism’?

      The snap election in June tested to the limit the resolve by a progressive alliance of centre left parties to work together to defeat the Conservatives. The damage done to the Green Party’s electoral prospects resulted from a simplistic mistranslation of the progressive alliance as a tactical voting exercise; one that played to the benefit of Labour without reciprocal gains for the Greens.

      As a Labour supporter, I pushed hard for a local progressive alliance in Cornwall, and I share the dismay felt by many local Greens. In Cornwall, they stood down in three constituencies in the hope that local Labour would follow their example. They did not. What we got was the official line that ‘it is not Labour policy to pursue a progressive alliance’.

      Yet I remain hopeful. The political bargaining over marginal constituencies to remove the Tories may bear fruit next time round. Meanwhile there are other possibilities that progressives can explore, which side-step tribal politics; specifically, to turn instead to a ‘45-degree politics’ that involve centre-left parties looking outwards not upwards. To develop strong lateral networks with campaign and community groups as a counterbalance to the vertical structures of party control. But to what end?

      Currently in Cornwall and elsewhere, the focus has been on electoral reform and this is starting to gather a head of steam. While we did not break the Tory stranglehold in Cornwall, we have raised a much stronger awareness about our broken and outdated election system and the need to replace it with Proportional Representation.

    • Damaged by Hurricanes and “Vulture” Capitalism, Caribbean Islands Plead for Debt Relief

      Last week, just days after Hurricane Irma thrashed through the Caribbean with record-high winds, the Catholic bishop of the island nation of Dominica sent a letter to the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Bishop Gabriel Malzaire pleaded with the IMF to temporarily delay debt payments from Antigua and Barbuda and other islands left in ruins by the storm.

      “The few dozen small Island States across the world, for example, have neither the size nor developmental history to have been major contributors to current climate change,” Malzaire wrote on behalf of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, the Caribbean conference of Catholic Bishops. “Yet these small Island States are the most easily devastated by rising seas and harsher storms.”

    • More Republicans Now Support Free College Than Oppose It, Poll Finds

      Bernie Sanders’s plan to make tuition free at all public colleges and universities is becoming a mainstream position in the Democratic Party.

      But the plan has appeal far beyond the Democratic faithful.

      A Morning Consult poll conducted in mid-September finds that a plurality of self-identified Republicans now agree with a “proposal to make four-year public colleges and universities tuition-free,” as the question is worded.

      Forty-seven percent of Republican respondents say they strongly or somewhat support the proposal, while 45 percent say they strongly or somewhat oppose it. Seven percent say they don’t know or have no opinion.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • How Merkel’s Win May Hide Rising Discontent

      The citizens of Germany will head to the polls this Sunday, in the last of a series of elections in major European countries this year. Before the voting began, there were fears that populist, anti-system parties could actually win in some cases, in the wake of the victory of last year’s Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. That hasn’t happened, as Marine Le Pen of the National Front was defeated in a run-off in France, and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party failed to break through in Holland.

    • Prosecutors Want Anthony Weiner to Serve About 2 Years in Prison
    • At Least Three Wealthy Trump Officials Used Private Jets For Government Work

      Three of President Trump’s agency heads have been using private jets for government travel, BuzzFeed News has confirmed, following days of news reports and ethical questions about the administration’s private jet use.

      A spokesperson for Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration, told BuzzFeed News Thursday that the former wrestling CEO has used private jets since she’s been in her post.

      “What I can pass along is that Administrator McMahon utilizes both commercial and private air services in accordance with all federal regulations and guidelines relating to travel for government officials,” Carol Wilkerson, spokesperson for McMahon, said in a statement.

    • What The World Thinks Of Trump
    • The scale of repression over Catalonia is exposing the crisis of the Spanish state

      On Wednesday Mariano Rajoy lost control of the narrative on the Catalan question. Appearing before the press after a series of raids and arrests designed to halt a unilateral referendum on independence planned for 1 October, the Spanish Prime Minister trotted out the government’s well-worn arguments in defence of the constitution and the “rights of all Spaniards”.

      However, Rajoy’s professed defence of the rule of law is increasingly at odds with reality on the ground. Over recent weeks, judges in Spain have used startlingly loose interpretations of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the referendum’s illegality to issue orders that violate many of the rights they’re charged with upholding. Local police across Catalonia have seized posters and banners related to the 1 October vote, and the Spanish Civil Guard has searched a number of newspaper offices for incriminating materials. These aren’t signs of a state that’s confident in its authority.

    • Spain’s attempt to block Catalonia’s referendum is a violation of our basic rights
    • Catalonia’s de facto independence

      It is hard to be an internationalist in the age of nationalism. It is hard to believe in individual rights in times when group rights are supposed to prevail. It is hard to believe in citizenship when all that seems to count is nationality. It is hard, in short, to be cosmopolitan in an age of parochialism and identity politics.

      And it is also hard, on the eve of a referendum/mobilisation due to take place on October 1 in Catalonia, to stay calm and moderate when facing a confrontation of two narratives that carry with them at least in part, some of the cleavages separating the two logics mentioned above.

    • China cannot ‘choke off’ Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations, says former governor Chris Patten
    • Seeking to Ban Mosques and Deport All Migrants, Right-Wing Party Is Set to Enter German Parliament

      In Germany’s upcoming federal elections on September 24, the extremist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) political party is expected to become the first openly far-right party to enter the German national parliament since the end of World War II.

      The AfD party is polling in third place at 11 percent of the prospective national vote behind the center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) with 23 percent and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservative Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) with 36 percent. In Germany, a political party must attain at least 5 percent of the national vote to seat its members in the Bundestag, the lower chamber of the German parliament. Since its founding in 2013, the AfD has entered 13 out of 16 German state parliaments, known as Landtage, and it collectively holds 9 percent of the seats.

    • Facebook to share Russia-linked ads with U.S. Congress

      Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Thursday it plans to share with U.S. congressional investigators some 3,000 political ads that it says Russia-based operatives ran on Facebook in the months before and after last year’s U.S. presidential election.

      Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who has been under pressure to do more to prevent the use of Facebook for election manipulation, said in a live broadcast on Facebook that he supported the investigation by the U.S. Congress.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Meet Shadowsocks, the underground tool that China’s coders use to blast through the Great Firewall

      But the Great Firewall has since grown more powerful. Nowadays, even if you have a proxy server in Australia, the Great Firewall can identify and block traffic it doesn’t like from that server. It still knows you are requesting packets from Google—you’re just using a bit of an odd route for it. That’s where Shadowsocks comes in. It creates an encrypted connection between the Shadowsocks client on your local computer and the one running on your proxy server, using an open-source internet protocol called SOCKS5.

    • Alt-Right Twitter App Developers Sue Google After Gab.Ai App Is Kicked Out Of The Play Store

      Google’s decision to boot a controversial social media app from its Play store has resulted in a lawsuit. And it’s a very strange lawsuit — one that attempts to turn inconsistent moderation efforts into anti-trust allegations against Google.

      Some background information is necessary. Some of this can be gleaned from the complaint [PDF], which was put together by Marc Randazza (of First Amendment fame), Ron Coleman (key to the Slants’ Supreme Court trademark win), and Jordan Rushie (who has participated in/fought against copyright trolling efforts). Given the litigation credentials behind the filing, it’s surprising there’s not more to the complaint.

      But first, the background:

    • Saudi Arabia lifts ban on messaging apps like Skype and Snapchat
    • Lesotho govt accused of media censorship

      The Government of Lesotho has been under heavy criticism for shutting down a private radio station that is seen to be anti-government.

      But the government has defended its decision citing the current security volatility as the sole purpose of its drastic action on Moafrika FM.

      Pictures of the chief editor of Moafrika FM, Candy Ramainoane, being wrestled to the ground began circulating on social media recently.

    • ‘Snowflakes fall everywhere’: when ‘censorship‘ comes from the right

      Last week, the University of California, Berkeley, spent $600,000 (£443,000) on security to ensure that Ben Shapiro, a conservative writer, could speak on the campus without being disrupted. Also this month, Charles Murray, whose research is blasted by many as racist, appeared at Harvard University. Security was tight there, and some protested outside, but Mr Murray spoke without incident.

      In both cases, the universities rejected requests by some that the appearances be called off. In both cases, the speakers praised the universities for the way that they handled the events.

      The appearances don’t quite fit the narrative – widely in play after Mr Murray was shouted down at Middlebury College in the spring – that it’s impossible for controversial conservative speakers to appear on campuses these days, and that colleges won’t protect the right to free speech. Indeed, since the Murray incident at Middlebury, he has given speeches at several institutions – such as Columbia and Indiana Universities – with protests outside and heavy security but no disruptions. And when some students tried to disrupt his talk at Villanova University, campus police intervened, removed those disrupting, and the talk went on.

    • Berkeley launches website explaining free speech, denouncing ‘de facto censorship’

      Chancellor Christ is saying exactly the right things and Berkeley’s free speech site is too. Of course, it would be great if none of this was necessary because students already understood and valued free speech, but that’s clearly not where we are. In addition, the fact that Ben Shapiro’s speech was not canceled or shouted down suggests the school seems to be moving in a good direction. Of course, the real test is yet to come.

    • Academic journals defy Chinese censorship in case for integrity

      In recent years, China has been notorious for censoring the internet from the public and removing anything that doesn’t laud the Communist Party of China.

      Cambridge University Press, the oldest publishing house in the world, had initially complied with Chinese authorities by removing academic articles that the government didn’t want accessed by its public. On Aug. 18, CUP confirmed that the publisher was contacted by a Chinese import agency to block certain articles from The China Quarterly, an academic journal published by CUP.

    • New uni standards needed to counter Chinese censorship bids
    • Turkish Authorities Top For Twitter Censorship [Infographic]
    • Censorship: Facebook bans Rohingya group’s posts
    • Facebook bans Rohingya group’s posts as minority faces ‘ethnic cleansing’
    • M-103 talk turns to prosecution, censorship
    • .cat Domain a Casualty in Catalonian Independence Crackdown

      On October 1, a referendum will be held on whether Catalonia, an autonomous region of the northeast of Spain, should declare itself to be an independent country. The Spanish government has ruled the referendum illegal, and is taking action on a number of fronts to shut it down and to censor communications promoting it. One of its latest moves in this campaign was a Tuesday police raid of the offices of puntCAT, the domain registry that operates the .cat top-level domain, resulting in the seizure of computers, the arrest of its head of IT for sedition, and the deletion of domains promoting the October 1 referendum, such as refoct1.cat (that website is now available at an alternate URL).

      The .cat top-level domain was one of the earliest new top-level domains approved by ICANN in 2004, and is operated by a non-governmental, non-profit organization for the promotion of Catalan language and culture. Despite the seizure of computers at the puntCAT offices, because the operations of the domain registry are handled by an external provider, .cat domains not connected with the October 1 referendum (including eff.cat, EFF’s little-known Catalan language website) have not been affected.

    • Insanity: Theresa May Says Internet Companies Need To Remove ‘Extremist’ Content Within 2 Hours

      It’s fairly stunning just how much people believe that it’s easy for companies to moderate content online. Take, for example, this random dude who assumes its perfectly reasonable for Facebook, Google and Twitter to “manually review all content” on their platforms (and since Google is a search engine, I imagine this means basically all public web content that can be found via its search engine). This is, unfortunately, a complete failure of basic comprehension about the scale of these platforms and how much content flows through them.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Taser Wants to Build an Army of Smartphone Informants
    • Lidar tells distance, radar tells velocity, this new sensor aims to do both

      Silicon Valley is crawling with startups looking for a piece of the emerging self-driving car business. One of those startups, Aeva, just came out of stealth mode with a big write-up in The New York Times. Its breakthrough: building a single sensor that can determine both the position and velocity of surrounding objects.

      Most experts say that the best self-driving cars need a trifecta of sensors: cameras, lidar, and radar. They need all three sensor types because each performs a different function. Cameras can tell you what objects look like but not how far away they are or how fast they’re moving. Lidar measures distance, while radar provides a precise estimate of velocity.

    • Released Snowden Doc Shows NSA Thwarting Electronic Dead Drops By Using Email Metadata

      The latest batch of Snowden docs published at The Intercept cover a lot of ground. The internal informational sheets from the Signals Intelligence Directorate include info on a host of surveillance programs that haven’t been revealed by previous document dumps. Nor do they discuss the programs in full. As such, some of the information is limited.

      One of those published last week mentions the NSA’s targeting of internet cafes in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries using a program called MASTERSHAKE. Using MASTERSHAKE, analysts were apparently able to drill down location info to which target was sitting in which chair at the cafes under surveillance.

      Further down the page [PDF], past this brief mention of a program discussed more fully elsewhere, there’s another interesting tidbit. Apparently, the NSA can suss out electronic dead drops using harvested metadata. (h/t Electrospaces)

    • Are you being watched? FinFisher government spy tool found hiding as WhatsApp and Skype
    • Distrustful US allies force spy agency to back down in encryption row

      An international group of cryptography experts has forced the U.S. National Security Agency to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close U.S. allies.

      In interviews and emails seen by Reuters, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them.

      The NSA has now agreed to drop all but the most powerful versions of the techniques – those least likely to be vulnerable to hacks – to address the concerns.

    • NSA Employees Routinely Undermined ‘Non-Attributable’ Web Access With Personal Web Use

      Another large batch of Snowden docs have been released by The Intercept. The new documents are part of the site’s “SID (Signals Intelligence Directorate) Today” collection, a sort of interoffice newsletter featuring discussions of intelligence-gathering efforts the agency has engaged in, as well as more mundane office business.

      The one discussed in this Intercept post details some careless opsec by Intelligence Community (IC) employees. Like anyone in any office anywhere, IC employees use their office computers to send personal email, shop online, and fritter away the downtime with some web surfing.

      That’s where they’re running into problems. This SID Today document [PDF] deals with the IC’s personal use of company computers — namely, the “attribution” problem that develops when outside websites are accessed using IP addresses that can be traced back to the NSA and other IC components.

    • Another Chinese Developer Arrested For Selling VPN Access

      Reports coming out of China indicate that another citizen has been caught up in the country’s VPN dragnet. The software developer reportedly set up a VPN for his own use but sensing demand, sold access to the service to third parties. Despite making just $164 from his business, he was arrested and detained for three days.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Insidious management speak has infected the land, from our boardrooms to our school halls

      And as I became more attuned to this ridiculous, insidious corporate cant, I realised it wasn’t confined to large businesses. Politicians loved it to. I noticed Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, was particularly fond of empty language like “outcome-focused models” and “bringing fresh ideas to the table”. I discovered government department brimming with business balderdash – like The Department for Exiting the European Union, which describes itself as aiming to “organise ourselves flexibly to deliver our objectives efficiently and effectively”.

    • I’m an immigration and human rights lawyer – and my chambers just won a case that could land Amber Rudd in prison

      On Sunday night, Samim Bigzad walked through the arrivals hall at London Heathrow, dropped his bag and ran into the arms of his friends. This was no ordinary end to a long flight. Rather, it was just one leg of a journey that saw Samim thrust into the centre of British politics and the debate about how the government should protect asylum seekers.

      It also placed Samim at the centre of a growing constitutional crisis that could land the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, in court for contempt – and ultimately, in prison.

      Samim’s case is remarkable. The Home Secretary authorised his removal to Afghanistan, sending him on a journey of over 4,000 miles to Kabul, via Istanbul. This journey occurred in breach of three High Court orders made by three different judges.

      Every mile of Samim’s journey was unlawful. It was only after four hours of legal argument in the Court of Appeal on Saturday afternoon that confirmation was received that Samim would be returned to the UK. Another 4,000 miles later and Samim arrived safely at Heathrow on Sunday evening.

    • Stingray surveillance ends with cop shooter getting 33 years in prison

      Last month, a federal judge in Oakland, California, ruled that police must generally have a warrant before they use a cell-site simulator to locate a criminal suspect. However, the same judge also ruled that, in this particular case, a warrant was not needed, and so the evidence obtained from it could stand.

      That ruling in United States v. Ellis effectively ended the case of the three remaining men charged with racketeering and the attempted murder of an Oakland police officer in 2013. A fourth defendant, Damien McDaniel, who had previously pleaded guilty in April 2017, was sentenced to 33 years in prison on Wednesday.

      According to prosecutors, McDaniel and two other co-defendants, Deante Kincaid (aka “Tay Tay”) and Joseph Pennymon (aka “Junkie”) also took similar plea deals last month. That leaves Purvis Ellis as the sole defendant left in the case—he is expected to plead guilty at a Thursday hearing.

    • Why Do Border Deaths Persist When the Number of Border Crossings Is Falling?

      In July, a sweltering tractor trailer ride in Texas became the latest harrowing example of the perils of crossing the U.S. border illegally. From the hospital, one survivor told authorities that he had paid smugglers to get him across the Rio Grande and then cram him on a northbound truck with what he guessed were nearly 100 people. The survivor managed to keep breathing in the pitch black trailer without food or water. But when the doors were opened in a San Antonio Walmart parking lot, eight migrants were dead, their bodies “lying on the floor like meat,” the truck’s driver subsequently said. Another two expired later.

      Those 10 deaths are among the 255 known migrant fatalities recorded by the International Organization for Migration in the first eight months of 2017. That’s up from 240 in the same period last year. Experts aren’t certain what’s causing the recent increase; verifying numbers is inherently difficult when it comes to an endeavor whose very mission is to avoid detection by the authorities.

    • After Charlottesville, The American Far Right Is Tearing Itself Apart

      When white nationalist Richard Spencer coined the term “alt-right” nearly a decade ago, his movement was marginal, impotent, and striving for respectability. The phrase was a useful euphemism for his genocidal ideology, a palatable alternative to “the Ku Klux Klan” or “the American Nazi Party” to go with his suit, tie, and military undercut.

      In the years to follow, as trolling culture grew online and began to adopt the symbols and lexicon of white supremacy — first ironically, then less so — “alt-right” proved a conveniently ambiguous label for the sanitized neo-Nazi movement’s new prankster fellow travelers. The online trolls who flocked to the “alt-right” liked to play footsie with racist extremism, then laugh at anyone who took it seriously. Like their cryptic “Kek” flags and Pepe the Frog memes, the “alt-right” label signaled an allegiance to white nationalism without fully committing to it. It was so malleable, in fact, that during the 2016 election, it expanded to include just about anyone on the right who considered themselves “anti-establishment,” including many of Donald Trump’s rank-and-file supporters.

    • The Fight to Kill Texas’ Anti-Immigrant Law SB4 Is Not Over, But We Have the Constitution on Our Side

      Texas continues to push the false narrative that SB4 is about public safety despite police opposition to the law.

      The fight to kill SB4, Texas’ unconstitutional anti-immigrant law, is not over yet.

      Following a defeat in federal court where key provisions of SB4 were declared unconstitutional just two days before it was to go into effect, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott filed an emergency motion at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking that SB4 be allowed to go into effect, claiming that the decision to block it “makes Texas communities less safe.”

      Let’s be clear: Enforcing SB4 is not about safety.

    • St. Louis Police’s Chants of ‘Whose Streets? Our Streets!’ Once Again Reveal the Warped Mindset Infecting Too Many Departments

      The streets do not belong to the police. They belong to the community. The time for police reform is now.

      The antagonistic “us versus them” culture that plagues many police departments with regard to their interactions with communities of color was on full, disturbing display this week in St. Louis. In response to protests by community members over the acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a group of St. Louis police officers provocatively chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

      That’s right — in one of the nation’s most racially segregated cities, where zip codes separated by only a few miles can mean an 18-year difference in life expectancy — a police department entrusted to serve the community aggressively claimed ownership over public streets while mocking protestors expressing the community’s pain and frustration. They did so by co-opting a chant that emanated from the very communities of color long marginalized and victimized by this country’s criminal, economic, and political systems. And adding insult to injury, they did so less than a 10-minute drive from where Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC Sued For Ignoring FOIA Request Investigating Fraudulent Net Neutrality Comments

      or months now we’ve noted how somebody is intentionally filling the FCC’s net neutrality comment proceeding with bot-generated bogus comments supporting the agency’s plan to kill net neutrality protections. Despite these fake comments being easily identifiable, the FCC has made it abundantly clear it intends to do absolutely nothing about it. Similarly, the FCC has told me it refuses to do anything about the fact that someone is using my name to file comments like this one falsely claiming I support killing net neutrality rules (you may have noticed I don’t).

      While nobody has identified who is polluting the FCC comment system with fake support, it should be fairly obvious who this effort benefits. By undermining the legitimacy of the public FCC comment proceeding (the one opportunity for transparent, public dialogue on this subject), it’s easier for ISPs and the FCC to downplay the massive public opposition to killing popular net neutrality rules. After all, most analysis has shown that once you remove form, bot and other automated comments from the proceeding, the vast, vast majority of consumers oppose what the FCC and Trump administration are up to.

    • Ajit Pai’s plan to lower broadband standards is “crazy,” FCC Democrat says

      The Federal Communications Commission chairman’s proposal that could lower the country’s broadband standard is “crazy” and does nothing to solve the United States’ broadband accessibility problems, a Democratic FCC commissioner said yesterday.

      The FCC is “proposing to lower US broadband standard from 25 to 10Mbps,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted. “This is crazy. Lowering standards doesn’t solve our broadband problems.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • 3D Printing Patent Landscape

      he field of 3D printing has been growing rapidly for years. It has applications in many areas of life and the economy, such as healthcare, aerospace, and parts replacement. 3D printing also reshapes supply chains and democratizes manufacturing. Fueled by this growth, 3D printing-related patent filings are trending upward.

      The graph and table below show the growth of issued 3D printing-related patents since 1995 (in blue) and of published patent applications since 2001 (in magenta). Patent applications are not made public at the time of filing—they are usually published 18 months after filing—so the graph shows only published applications. Also, counting 3D printing-related patents is not an exact science. Depending on the patent title, a patent covering 3D printing technology may not be picked up in a keyword search, and searches can also include false positives, for example, products made by additive processes that are not typically viewed as 3D printing technologies. The U.S. Patent Office recently developed a new standard classification system for identifying patents related to 3D printing, which should help to identify new patents going forward.

    • Trademarks
      • “Comic-Con” trademark may have to activate superpowers to survive attack

        The future survival of the trademarked term “Comic-Con” is at stake.

        The trademark is facing its potential doom because of the legal fallout from the producers of the San Diego Comic-Con flexing their IP muscles. They sued a competing “Comic-Con” convention for using the unhyphenated form of their trademarked term “Comic-Con” without paying licensing fees. But their suit has raised questions about the legitimacy of the trademark—in particular whether the trademark has become too generic and, hence, a victim to its own pop-culture popularity.

    • Copyrights
      • EU Buried Its Own $400,000 Study Showing Unauthorized Downloads Have Almost No Effect On Sales

        One of the problems in the debate about the impact of unauthorized downloads on the copyright industry is the paucity of large-scale, rigorous data. That makes it easy for the industry to demand government policies that are not supported by any evidence they are needed or will work.

      • With Court Ruling, Fan Subtitles Officially Copyright Infringement In Sweden

        Several years ago, in an unfortunate display of police bending the knee to the copyright industries, Swedish law enforcement raided the offices of Undertexter, a site chiefly dedicated to fan translations for subtitles of films. While these fan translations have been handcuffed to film piracy — mostly through the messaging efforts of film and television content producers — the raid registered as an extreme escalation in the battle on subtitles. Most folks have a hard time understanding why such action was taken, with most fan translations only being useful due to the content makers underserving parts of the earth that speak a variety of languages. These fan translations mostly open up those markets for makers of movies and television who have otherwise chosen not to translate their work into the relevant languages.

      • Furie-ous creator of Pepe the Frog determined to use copyright to get his green creation back

        Can the author of a comic character oppose what he believes to be a distortion of the character’s meaning?

        Katfriend Nedim Malovic (Sandart & Partners) reports on the heated debate surrounding Matt Furie’s Pepe the Frog.

        [...]

        The Pepe the Frog case is one to watch: it raises issues of character protection, but also prompts a discussion around the thin moral rights regime in US copyright law. Finally, it calls for consideration – once again – of the interplay between copyright protection, fair use, and freedom of expression.”

      • Windstream Gives Up Preemptive Fight Over ISP’s Piracy Liability

        U.S. Internet provider Windstream has given up on its preemptive “piracy liability” case against BMG and Rightscorp. The ISP hoped to get legal clarity after it was accused of direct and contributory copyright infringement, but after an initial setback and subsequent appeal, it has now dropped the case.

East Asia’s Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

Thursday 21st of September 2017 08:42:48 AM

From manufacturing to merely taxing manufacturers?

Summary: The high cost of China’s new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China

THE unit once owned by Google (now Lenovo) — namely Motorola‘s mobile business — is in the news again. IAM says that the judge who oversaw Microsoft’s patent war on Linux (Android/Motorola) is upset that Britain now enables patent trolls to operate in London (we wrote a lot about this decision at the time). Huawei, a Chinese giant and leading Android OEM, was attacked by Ericsson’s patent troll. As IAM puts it:

US district court judge James Robart has taken aim at the decision handed down by Justice Colin Birss in the high profile London High Court SEP/FRAND case of Unwired Planet v Huawei, decided earlier this year. Speaking at the annual IPO meeting in San Francisco yesterday, Robart – who handed down the famous Microsoft v Motorola decision in 2013 and sits in the Western District of Washington – said that Birss was wrong to offer specific royalty rates for the technology in question, rather than offering a range, and stated that he did not expect the judgment to be particularly influential in US courthouses.

[...]

Robart’s claim that the Unwired decision wouldn’t have much influence over US courts has previously been made by former Chief Judge for the Federal Circuit Paul Michel who told this blog after the London ruling was handed down that the US legal system was traditionally inward looking and so rarely paid much heed to overseas cases. Of course, judges around the world often disagree on key areas of patent law – the Supreme Court’s rulings in several patent eligibility cases has meant that the US is out-of-step with many jurisdictions in sectors like medical diagnostics – but Robart’s comments highlight the degree to which the law in FRAND licensing remains unsettled.

This decision ought to have been a wake-up call for Huawei, Lenovo (now holding Motorola’s ‘assets’), and China in general. Patent maximalism harms them everywhere. IAM also wrote about this collapse of a Chinese company that wrongly relies on patents rather than production. To quote:

Sanan Optoelectronics failed to take over Osram after having its bold $8.2 billion bid rebuffed late last year. But the Chinese LED maker has turned to the patent market to shore up its IP position, most recently buying a pair of portfolios from Sony. As increased scrutiny from regulators in both Europe and the United States threatens to scuttle Chinese firms’ more audacious M&A endeavours, there is still significant scope for them to acquire IP in smaller-scale deals.

[...]

A USPTO database search turned up just one previous example of Sony transferring patents to a Chinese entity. In 2015, it assigned six imaging-related assets to Hikvision, a video surveillance company whose controlling shareholder is a state-owned enterprise. So it appears to be a relatively rare occurance. Throughout this year and going back to 2015, Sony has steadily transferred LED-related assets to JOLED, an entity which was formed to combine the OLED functions of Sony, Panasonic and Japan Display in 2014. The Sanan sale perhaps shows that Sony has identified assets in the technology area which are not needed by its spun-out business but can find willing buyers on the open market.

As we said here many times before, this strategy of China’s patent gold rush (with government support/backing/financing) is going to be self-destructive. China is, indeed, becoming a patent trolls hub (self harm). IAM wrote about it the other day in relation to Samsung coming under fire. Shortly beforehand, Florian Müller wrote about the Apple v Samsung design patent case — a case which was discussed some days ago:

About a month and a half ago, Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California held that Samsung had not waived its “article of manufacture” argument in the first Apple v. Samsung case. That was another step forward for Samsung in its quest to get the damages award reduced. But prior to ordering a new trial on design patent damages, Judge Koh ordered briefing on various questions to be resolved first.

Last week, the parties filed their answers to the court’s questions (Apple, Samsung). Samsung argues that Apple has the burden of proof and that the only way the damages question could be resolved without a new trial would be for the court to find an evidentiary failure on Apple’s part. Apple refers the court to the Solicitor General’s Supreme Court brief. According to Apple, after a prima facie showing regarding the article of manufacture that infringes a design patent, the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that a component of that product is the appropriate basis for a disgorgement of infringer’s profits. While I tend to consider Samsung’s proposition better policy, I have no idea to what extent Judge Koh may be influenced by the DoJ’s Supreme Court brief.

Design patents were certainly on the line after the case had been escalated to the Supreme Court and then sent back down to lower courts. As one publication put it the other day:

The U.S. Supreme Court furthered a legal dispute last year as it sent a patent law case involving the two biggest smartphone makers, Apple and Samsung, back to lower courts. Intellectual property experts are now looking to those courts to better define an “article of manufacture” and determine how to place value on individual features in a complex device.

This case seems like it has lasted forever (so far). The only party happy about it is the patent ‘industry’, which is wasting time bickering over patents instead of creating something.

USPTO Starts Discriminating Against Poor People, and Does So Even When They Rightly Point Out Errors

Thursday 21st of September 2017 07:59:03 AM

Forget these photo-ops, he doesn’t work “for the children” (patent indoctrination starts early)


Source: USPTO’s Leadership blog

Summary: Even though the burden of proof ought to be on one who grants a monopoly, the legal costs are being offloaded onto those who challenge an erroneously-granted monopoly (even if the court sides with the challenger)

YESTERDAY we wrote about a bogus Google patent making its way through the system. The Polish challenger could not afford legal advice and therefore it seems likely that Google will get its way. Such is the nature of the system today and it seems to have just gotten worse. As one firm put it a few days ago (emphasis below is ours):

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently began making applicants who challenge agency rulings on trademarks and patents in district court pay the attorney fees and expenses of the agency, regardless of the case’s outcome. This was supported by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for trademarks in 2015, and more recently by a panel of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for patents in Nantkwest, Inc v Matal (June 23 2017). However, the Federal Circuit appears to be having second thoughts, as in August 2017 it vacated the Nantkwest panel decision of its own accord and ordered a rehearing by the full court.

This is really bad. So it’s going to get a lot harder for anyone other than large corporations to point out errors in examination. In addition to this, there’s now a big lobby (led by trolls and parasites) against PTAB, which has made challenges more affordable.

Whose system is this and what is it for? It was supposed to correctly issue patents and revoke/reject applications where triviality/prior art, for instance, could be demonstrated/shown.

The USPTO grants patents which certainly look like parody sometimes. Consider this example of a patent, spotted by Dennis Crouch the other day. Notice the length:

Thought pioneer Dan Abelow fits within an interesting designation. So far in 2017, his U.S. Patent Application No. 2012/0069131 – mysteriously titled “Reality Alternate” – is the Most-Oft examiner cited U.S. prior art reference. The document – now patented as U.S. Patent No. 9,183,560 – covers a method of providing “a portal for a user … to be present simultaneously in two or more different non-fictional alternate realities that are distinct from a non-fictional physical reality of the user.” [Here, I’m looking at Examiner citations rather than those submitted by Applicants]

[...]

In addition to being written in a way that draws diverse connections (helpful for obviousness conclusions), the reference is also 750 pages long! (The patentee paid an extra $4,000+ in filing costs for the extra page length). One of the best patent attorneys in the country – David Feigenbaum – filed this case and helped push it through to issuance.

What has become of this system? If it openly discriminates against those who are without deep pockets, then certainly it will promote the perception of protectionism (for the rich) rather than innovation.

Ambrose Chan Enters Document Security Systems (DSS), a Partly Patent Troll Entity

Thursday 21st of September 2017 07:26:50 AM

De-storying the destructive strategy of destroying one’s competitors (by litigation).

Summary: The Board of Directors of DSS enlists a man from Singapore, whose lack of technical background suggests that the company is still more of a bully than an innovator

Serial litigator DSS is at it again, hiring non-technical people as its real business collapses. For background, read this 2012 article about DSS (comparing it to Vringo, a patent troll).

According to this press release and form (8-K), DSS turns to Singapore, which harbours some patent trolls (not just tax evaders, having become one of the top 5 places for people to pursue tax havens in), and hires this man:

While Chan does not appear to have much of a background in technology or intellectual property, his comments when appointed as a board member suggest that his focus is on the operating part of DSS’s business….

[...]

Today’s incarnation of DSS is the product of the first known merger between an NPE (Lexington Technology Group) and an operating business. Ronaldi, who led the previous standalone patent licensing business, took over as chief of the merged entity in 2013.

It’s true that DSS may still have some products, but those are gradually going away as the company turns to serial litigation (“NPE” is a euphemism for patent troll). Earlier this year it filed lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas.

Meanwhile, over at IP Kat there’s this new puff piece about IPOS, Singapore’s patent office.

UPC Threatens to Weaponise Software Patents in Countries That Forbade These

Thursday 21st of September 2017 06:38:19 AM

Summary: The reality of software patents in Europe and what a Unified Patent Court (UPC) would mean for these if it ever became a reality

“Having to inspect the patent database before writing a single line of code, that’s not what I call Happy Programmer’s Day,” Benjamin Henrion wrote the other day, adding that “it does not change much to the fact that the EPO and al [sic] still forces you to read their invention garbage.”

The EU rejects software patents, but the EPO flagrantly disobeys the rules, instructions, common sense etc.

Henrion took note of this new article from an EPO-friendly site, relaying the words of “Francisco Mingorance [who is] executive secretary of IP Europe, a lobby group representing European technology companies and research institutes.”

“Open standards and Francisco Mingorance do not go well in the same sentence,” Henrion wrote. “We now await a communication from the European Commission on FRAND licensing this autumn,” he added. FRAND is a euphemism for patent traps inside standards.

To say the least, Mingorance is an enemy of programming. He used to work for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a pro-FRAND, anti-FOSS, pro-software patents lobby (and the whole bundle of Microsoft lobbying).

At the moment, the main concern we have is that Unitary Patent lobbying threatens to bring software patents to more countries, even countries which explicitly disallow software patents. We wrote many articles about that before.

There’s one particular comment in IP Kat which reinforces our views about the UPC. The comment is very long so its author was prevented from posting it (or rather having it published) — to the point of stating: “It would be nice to see comments appearing a little sooner on this thread. There is still a lot to discuss (including the points made in comments that I posted over 9 hours ago!).”

Here is the comment in full, posted in fragments as follows (with emphasis added):

OK, so my later comment from yesterday eventually appears, but not the earlier, more substantive one. I shall try again (in two parts).

Part 1:
Wow, not even a deliberate, glaring error in my first comment from yesterday can provoke a response! Either no one cares or no one is watching who has a thorough understanding of EU law.

As decided by the CJEU in C-274/11, “it must be concluded that the competences conferred by Article 118 TFEU fall within an area of shared competences for the purpose of Article 4(2) TFEU and are, in consequence, non-exclusive for the purpose of the first paragraph of Article 20(1) TEU”.

Thus, the hypothetical arguments based upon Article 118 TFEU and “traditional” EPs don’t work… meaning that more subtle arguments need to be deployed if incompatibilities between the UPCA and EU law are going to stand up.

OK, so my shorter comment makes it through quickly but my longer, more substantive comment still does not appear. I shall assume that the problem is length and not content and will therefore have another go, breaking down my comments even further.

[...]

For me, the major issue with the Unitary Patent Package has still got to be the (impermissible) retroactive application of new / different law to pre-existing cases. The fact that the UPC would (in theory) be free to apply the infringement law of the UPCA to “traditional” EPs in fact makes the effects of retroactivity a lot worse.

To illustrate, consider a pending EP that has the same claims for enough EU Member States to qualify (in theory) for unitary effect. Which law of infringement would you say will be applied (e.g. in the UK) to the claims of that EP, once granted? To me, it seems that there are, in fact, multiple choices.

(1) In this scenario, a request for unitary effect is filed after the patent is granted.

The law of infringement applied by the UPC (the only litigation forum for the “unitary” patent) will then be dictated by Articles 5 and 7 of the UP Regulation. For the sake of simplicity, we shall assume that the patent proprietor has no residence or place of business in the Participating Member States, meaning that the UPC will apply German national law for the purposes of determining infringement.

(2) In this scenario: unitary effect is not requested; no opt-out is filed; and the “traditional” EP patent (the UK validation, plus a handful of other validations) is litigated at the UPC.

Which law of infringement will the UPC apply to the “traditional” EP? Whilst this is a tricky question to answer, we can apply some common sense to work out the most likely result.

Firstly, the UPC will not be bound to apply the same national law as under scenario 1. This is because the UP regulation does not apply to “traditional” EPs.

Secondly, in all likelihood, the UPC will apply a single law… as otherwise there would be no benefit to using a supposedly “unified” court!

Thirdly, Article 24 UPCA provides a hierarchy of laws. With no overarching EU law to consider (as the UP Regulation is irrelevant to “traditional” EPs), the next stop for the UPC will be the UPCA itself (Article 24(1)(b) UPCA).

Thus, in all likelihood, the UPC will apply the infringement law of the UPCA (Articles 24 to 30 UPCA) to all validations of “traditional” EPs that are litigated in that forum.

(3) In this scenario: unitary effect is not requested; no opt-out is filed; and the UK validation of the “traditional” EP patent is litigated at the UK High Court.

Here the answer is simple. The UK High Court will apply UK national law for the purposes of determining infringement. There is simply no basis under UK law for the court to do anything else… not least because the provisions of the UPCA have not been incorporated into UK law (instead, a few “tweaks” have been made that only partially align UK law with the UPCA provisions on infringement).

(4) In this scenario: unitary effect is not requested; an opt-out is filed; and the UK validation of the “traditional” EP patent is litigated at the UK High Court.

Here, the same answer applies as under option 3, namely UK national law will be applied for the purposes of determining infringement.

So, for a single, pending EP, there are actually three possible choices of law of infringement (namely German national law, UPCA law or UK national law) that will be applied in respect of a single territory (the UK). More worryingly, the choice of law will be dictated by post-filing actions of the proprietor, ie whether or not unitary effect is requested, whether or not an opt-out is filed (and, if so, whether or not it is later withdrawn) and/or which litigation venue is selected (from the UPC or national courts).

Remember, national laws of infringement have not been fully harmonised with one another across the Participating Member States, nor have they been fully harmonised with the infringement provisions of the UPCA. Thus, it will make a difference to the outcome which law of infringement is selected.

So, the UPCA coming into force will bring the advent of what I like to call “Schrödinger’s patents”, which are pending EPs whose precise effect upon third parties cannot be fully pinned down until they are actually granted and litigated (at a specific forum). As will be evident from the above, until the proprietor has made final, irreversible choices with regard to all three of unitary effect, opt-out and litigation forum, uncertainties will remain as to the law of infringement that will be applied.

Bringing such “Schrödinger’s patents” to life seems to me to be irreconcilable with the principle of legal certainty, and no doubt countless other provisions and principles of EU law (especially fundamental principles relating to the rule of law). But why has this issue attracted so little attention?

It is about time that this changed, I would say. It would be horrible to “sleepwalk” into a nightmare scenario that might become impossible to wake up from.

We certainly hope that patent examiners understand why British software companies, for instance, dread the UPC and oppose it.

Some more EPO articles are on the way. The big series about Battistelli will start quite soon, culminating some time ahead of the quarterly meeting of the Administrative Council.

The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO’s Participation in Those

Thursday 21st of September 2017 05:54:48 AM

They got CETA, but they won’t get UPC

Summary: Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law

THE EPO is quiet. So is SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, whose Web site has not been updated for a while. On the UPC front, however, spin continues. Left unchallenged, some people out there might even believe it. Team UPC extravagantly lies, exaggerates, and places too much emphasis on perceived positives. Everything else is discarded, ignored, or ridiculed.

As we noted earlier this week, there’s UPC propaganda coming to Canada pretty soon. We can’t help but wonder, why would anyone actually pay to be lied to by Team Battistelli about the UPC in Montreal (Canada)? Maybe to make contacts/connections? A few days ago CIPO wrote: “Only 2 days left to register to the #Montreal roadshow with @EPOorg on Unitary #Patent & Unified Patent Court!”

That’s just basically Battistelli’s right-hand liar. She’ll be spreading the usual lies there. They will have the audience believe that the UPC is coming very soon. Bristows is doing the same thing this week, with staff pretty much repeating themselves regarding Scotland (never mind the reality of Brexit).

IAM’s chief editor also did his thing earlier this week. The UK-based IAM is perfectly happy that the EPO’s declining patent quality (which IAM helps Battistelli deny) brings its beloved patent trolls to Europe. Joff Wild speaks of the UPC again, joined by the term “BigTech” with the usual whipping boy being “Google”. Here are some portions:

And that brings me to patents. As everyone in the IP market knows, over recent year Europe has emerged as a much more important part of the equation for patent owners seeking to assert their rights. For multiple reasons – including the perceived quality of EPO-granted assets, speed to get a decision, the relatively low cost of litigating, the expertise of courts and, crucially, the availability of injunctions – the worsening environment for rights holders in the US is driving more companies to try courts in Germany, the UK and other European jurisdictions. Should the Unified Patent Court ever become a reality that process is likely to accelerate.

[...]

Where that leaves lobbying efforts that seek to water down or eliminate the UPC injunction regime, for example, remains to be seen. My guess is that as long as BigTech identifiably campaigns as BigTech it is unlikely to get much traction. Instead, what it needs are examples of small European companies falling foul of abusive patent litigants – the kinds of stories that it has always been possible to dig out in the US. The problem is that in Europe these are tough to find – precisely because the system is not troll-friendly. Getting around that may be a challenge that even the expertise of Silicon Valley’s best paid public relations advisers and lobbyists will struggle to meet.

Again, notice the term “BigTech”. The patent trolls’ sites (or patent maximalists) are openly demonising technology companies, e.g. those that protect PTAB. It makes it abundantly clear that they, the patent radicals, are against technology. We shall revisit the subject later this week.

The matter of fact is, UPC is a failed project. Even some insiders are willing to admit it now. The Boards of Appeal (BoA) need to stay and regulate patent quality, just like PTAB does at the USPTO. After Battistelli sent BoA judges to exile (as punishment, or simply to warn them) the EPO has the nerve to talk as if everything is fine and dandy. Earlier this week it wrote: “Oral proceedings at the new Boards of Appeal site are planned to start on 9 October” (but without independence for judges).

With Jesper Kongstad leaving in just over a week (end of this month), it remains to be seen if BoA has a future. If the UPC fails, which seems increasingly likely, many hirings will be needed for BoA (not UPC). Can the new (actually old) building in Haar facilitate growth? The only new building is in Rijswijk and Dutch media wrote about it some days ago. If there is something interesting in this Dutch article, it would be worth knowing. We try to keep abreast of the facts ahead of the ‘grand’ opening.

For those who are wondering where the UPC stands, not much has changed since we last wrote about it. Yesterday IP Kat summarised it as follows: “It has been confirmed that the complainant who filed the constitutional complaint against the ratification of the UPC Agreement in Germany was the attorney Ingve Stjerna. Stjerna has long been a vocal critic of the Unified Patent Court, and the complaint reflects some of his earlier criticisms.”

Looking at some of the latest comments at IP Kat, people now debate whether the UPC is “an EU institution” (it most certainly is) and therefore the UPC (which explicitly requires “UK” amid Brexit) is dead by definition.

Here is a comment about that, relaying the question to the CJEU:

If it is not an EU institution, then I do not understand why in the the preamble of the UPCA the following is said:

RECALLING the primacy of Union law, which includes the TEU, the TFEU, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the general principles of Union law as
developed by the Court of Justice of the European Union, and in particular the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal and a fair and public hearing within a
reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal, the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and secondary Union law;

Furthermore Art 1 of the UPCA states: The Unified Patent Court shall be a court common to the Contracting Member States and thus subject to the same obligations under Union law as any national court of the Contracting Member States.

If I understand well, the TEU and TFEU should thus be clearly applicable. Or did I miss something?

Divisions of the UPC can bring forward prejudicial questions to the CJEU, but the the text governing the UPCA cannot be submitted to the CJEU. I fail to understand the logic behind such a position.

Could somebody explain.

They then went off on a CJEU tangent.

One person said about the UPC, “how can the provisions of that Agreement be used to “harmonise” patent law” (they can’t).

Here’s the comment in full:

It’s not that hard to understand, given the limits of the jurisdiction of the CJEU.

In essence, the CJEU can only review the legality of EU Treaties and the (legislative) acts of EU bodies. The UPCA is not an EU Treaty or legislative act, as it is instead an international agreement (that just so happens to be exclusively between EU Member States).

However, this is not to say that the CJEU will have no teeth when it comes to the effects of the UPCA. That is, pursuant to Article 258 or 259 TFEU, the CJEU will be able to assess whether the Member States that are party to the UPCA are fulfilling their obligations under the EU Treaties. Unfortunately for the public, however, such actions can only be commenced either by the Commission or another Member State.

This effectively means that a challenge by Spain (under Article 259 TFEU) might be the only hope of sorting out whether the actions of the UPC (or the Participating Member States) are compliant with EU law.

It remains to be seen which grounds could be raised by Spain under Article 259 TFEU. However, Article 118 (attributing the European Union with exclusivity regarding the creation of uniform IP rights) is an interesting possibility.

In C-146/13, the CJEU held that:
Notwithstanding the fact that the contested regulation contains no list of the acts against which an EPUE provides protection, that protection remains uniform in so far as, regardless of the precise extent of the substantive protection conferred by an EPUE by virtue of the national law which is applicable, under Article 7 of the contested regulation, that protection will apply, for that EPUE, in the territory of all the participating Member States in which that patent has unitary effect”.

In other words, the CJEU held that Art. 118 TFEU was not contravened because EU law (the UP Regulation) has been used to achieve (partial) harmonisation, through the designation of a single, national law.

However, this would appear to mean that failure of the UPC to apply a single, national law (as determined under Art. 7 of the UP Regulation) would therefore not only contravene the Member States’ obligations under the UP Regulation but also their obligations under Art. 118 TFEU.

This puts an interesting “spin” on the law of infringement to be used under the UPP, doesn’t it?

For a start, it would appear that the UPC would only be able to refer to the infringement provisions in the UPCA to the extent that those provisions are fully incorporated into the national law selected under Arts. 5(3) and 7 of the UP Regulation. This means that the UPC, as well as all patent attorneys, will need to become experts on the extent to which this is true in each of the relevant Member States… and also what the significance might be of seemingly contradictory / non-identical provisions in national laws.

On the other hand, it would also seem to force the UPC to issue judgements for “traditional” (not opted out) EPs on a country-by-country basis. This is because the UP Regulation does not contain any provisions on the law to be applied to “traditional” EPs… meaning that there is no basis under EU law for the law of infringement for those EPs to be “harmonised”. Also, attempts by the Member States to “go it alone” with harmonisation of the law with respect to such EPs may well contravene the provisions of Art. 118 TFEU.

To put it another way, as the UPCA is not part of EU law, how can the provisions of that Agreement be used to “harmonise” patent law (for UPs or not opted out EPs) within the EU without infringing Art. 118 TFEU?

Spain was then brought up too. “Spain could think about a further challenge the legality of Regulation 1257/2012,” said the following comment.

Alternatively, Spain could think about a further challenge the legality of Regulation 1257/2012.

As previously mentioned, the impermissible, retroactive effect of Article 5(3) might be one ground for such a challenge. This is because that Article applies new / different laws (of infringement) to pre-existing patents and patent applications, as well as to acts committed prior to entry into force of the UPP. That hardly seems compliant with the principle of legitimate expectations!

Another, very interesting possibility might be alleged contravention of Article 18 TFEU (“any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited”) by Article 5(3) of the UP Regulation.

Understanding this ground requires a little thought.

Firstly, Art. 5(3) states that the applicable law of infringement is determined by Art. 7. Secondly, the primary factor to be considered under Art. 7(1)(a) is residence / place of business. For many individual and corporate applicants, their residence / place of business will be the same as (ie equivalent to, or a surrogate for) their nationality.

Thus, the UP Regulation requires the selection of a single, national law based upon a criterion that, for many applicants, will be a surrogate for their nationality.

The final step is to realise that the national laws of infringement are not harmonised. Thus, inventors / applicants that have identical claims, but that have different nationalities, would have different laws of infringement applied to those claims (and hence potentially different results from litigation).

It really is hard to understand how this could possibly be compliant with Article 18 TFEU!

The next comment said:

If it is an EU institution why would it need its own dedicated Protocol on Privileges and Immunities ?
Surely it would be covered by the EU PPI ?

Regarding the situation in Germany and the CJEU, one person said that “here we are back to the other complaints before the German Constitutional Court.”

We are ahead of interesting times, and it might be possible that the CJEU considers the UPCA not in accordance with EU law. In view of the sometimes political nature of the CJEU’s decisions, I doubt that it would blow up the whole system, but it could severely harm it.

In the same vein, there is a further question which could be tricky as well. If an opposition is launched against a UP, can the opposition division be composed of nationals of non EU member states?

This becomes particularly critical if the EP has only been validated as a UP.

One could consider that since the EPO regains competence by virtue of an opposition, then the composition of the OD is irrelevant.

On the other hand, one could also consider that having become, at least in some member states of the EPC which are also members of the UPC, an asset according to EU law, its fate can only be decided by nationals of member states of the EU.

If the patent is revoked, then there is no revision possible. And here we are back to the other complaints before the German Constitutional Court.

This question was raised at the latest conference on the UPC in July in Munich, and has up to now not received a reply.

More on CJEU:

“the sometimes political nature of the CJEU decisions”? Are you suggesting that the CJEU might not demonstrate complete independence from the executives of the Member States and/or the executive arms of the EU?

If there is a (perception of) lack of independence, then perhaps it is high time that someone took a close look at the conditions of appointment of the judges of the CJEU, in order to see how well the CJEU fares regarding internationally recognised “best practice” for achieving judicial independence.

Speaking of “political decisions,” the next comment talked about Spain again:

I do not want to claim that all decisions of the CJEU are more of political than strictly judicial nature. It is a minority of decisions, but the manner in which the CJEU has dismissed the second complaint of Spain against the UPC is an example to me of more political decisions.

Any reason not to consider Spain’s complaint were good to dismiss the claims. Some of the questions were however quite specific.

In decisions on the correct application of directives it is certainly not politic. Plenty of those have been published and commented on this blog.

The bottom line is, for those lacking the time or background to read all the above, there are multiple aspects and levels that act as barriers to UPC, ranging from central to pertinent (e.g. Spain, UK, Germany and even Poland). Don’t be misled by EPO staff whose job is to lie about the UPC. No doubt the Canadian press (and maybe European press as well) will soon publish some lies about the UPC. The EPO has a sick habit of paying the media for puff pieces, including patently untrue statements.

The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

Thursday 21st of September 2017 04:40:18 AM

“They “trust me”. Dumb fucks”

–Mark Zuckerberg, President and Founder of Facebook (source)

Summary: Yet another major player walks away from Facebook’s code because of software patents

THE history of Facebook when it comes to patents is anything but relieving.

Facebook’s dirty patent games have in fact just driven away another company. We didn’t write much about this controversy until recently (relegated to our daily links), but now that the cautionary tale grows wings we decided it’s worth a mention. Last night there was another new example of this, with Gitlab being the latest to walk away. As The Register put it:

Using GraphQL, an increasingly popular query language for grabbing data, may someday infringe upon pending Facebook patents, making the technology inherently problematic for corporate usage.

In an analysis posted to Medium and in a related discussion in the GraphQL repo on GitHub, attorney and developer Dennis Walsh observed that Facebook’s GraphQL specification doesn’t include a patent license. In other words: using GraphQL in your software may lead to your code infringing a Facebook-held patent on the technology in future.

“The patents (as of a few weeks ago) were granted but not issued,” said Walsh in an email to The Register today. ”Damages can start before issuance but litigation cannot. But post-issuance, the threat is very real. My reading of two GraphQL granted applications and the GraphQL spec is that any properly implemented GraphQL server infringes.”

What’s pleasing to see here is that fairly large companies, not just individual developers, are willing to throw away code because of patent clauses. Spectators should take that for a sign that software patents have no room in software development. There’s a price to be paid for clinging onto them.

Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

Thursday 21st of September 2017 04:01:43 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • 5 fundamental differences between Windows 10 and Linux

    This comparison really only scratches the surface. And don’t get me wrong, there are areas where Windows 10 bests Linux (few, but they do exist). In the end, however, the choice is yours. Chances are you’ll be making the choice based on which platform will allow you get more work done and do so with a certain level of efficiency and reliability. I would highly recommend, to anyone, if Linux can enable you to get your work done…give it a go and see if you don’t find it more dependable and predictable.

  • Desktop
    • Manchester police still relies on Windows XP

      England’s second biggest police force has revealed that more than one in five of its computers were still running Windows XP as of July.
      Greater Manchester Police told the BBC that 1,518 of its PCs ran the ageing operating system, representing 20.3% of all the office computers it used.
      Microsoft ended nearly all support for the operating system in 2014. Experts say its use could pose a hacking risk.
      The figure was disclosed as part of a wider Freedom of Information request.
      “Even if security vulnerabilities are identified in XP, Microsoft won’t distribute patches in the same way it does for later releases of Windows,” said Dr Steven Murdoch, a cyber-security expert at University College London.

    • Pixelbook leak: Google’s new high-end Chromebook expected October 4

      According to Droid Life, on October 4, Google will release the first new retail version of the Chromebook Pixel since 2015, the Pixelbook.

      The Chomebook Pixel was the Rolls-Royce of Chromebooks. It was faster, more powerful, and came with a better display than any other laptop in its day. Google, however, decided that, while the company would still release new Pixels for in-house use, it wouldn’t sell them.

      Thanks to Chromebook Pixel fans, Google has elected to start selling this luxury Chromebook again.

    • Linux: Come for the Kernel, Stay for the Popcorn

      Linux offers so much for users to sink their teeth into that even among desktop and more casual users, it’s easy to get caught up in the tradecraft. It’s only too tempting to put your system’s technical capabilities to the test by trying out a new program or practicing a new command. As with any other interest, though, Linux is not much fun unless you can revel in it with fellow fans and enjoy the camaraderie.

      Here’s a short tour of some of the major cultural hallmarks of the vibrant Linux world, and some of the hubs where you can witness and indulge in the Linux life.

  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Kernel 4.12 Reached End of Life, Users Are Urged to Move to Linux 4.13

      Greg Kroah-Hartman published on Wednesday new maintenance updates for various of the supported Linux kernel branches that he maintains, including the Linux 4.12 series, which appears to have reached end of life.

    • Linux 4.9.51
    • Linux 4.13.3
    • Linux 4.12.14
    • Linux Weather Forecast

      This page is an attempt to track ongoing developments in the Linux development community that have a good chance of appearing in a mainline kernel and/or major distributions sometime in the near future. Your “chief meteorologist” is Jonathan Corbet, Executive Editor at LWN.net. If you have suggestions on improving the forecast (and particularly if you have a project or patchset that you think should be tracked), please add your comments below.

    • Graphics Stack
      • A New DRM Driver Is Coming For Linux 4.15

        TVE200 is a new Direct Rendering Manager driver being queued for Linux 4.15.

        The TVE200 DRM driver is for the Faraday Tech TVE200 “TV encoder” block. This mini driver was written by Linus Walleij of Linaro.

      • XDC2017 Kicks Off With X.Org, Wayland & Graphics Talks

        The X.Org Developers Conference kicked off a short time ago at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. But even if you are not at the event, there is a livestream.

      • Mesa Sees An Initial Meson Build System Port

        A few months ago was a vibrant discussion about a Meson proposal for libdrm/Mesa while today the initial patches were posted in bringing a possible Meson build system port for Mesa.

      • NVIDIA Offers Update On Their Proposed Unix Device Memory Allocation Library

        James Jones of NVIDIA presented this morning at XDC2017 with their annual update on a new Unix device memory allocation library. As a reminder, this library originated from NVIDIA’s concerns over the Generic Buffer Manager (GBM) currently used by Wayland compositors not being suitable for use with their driver’s architecture and then the other driver developers not being interested in switching to EGLStreams, NVIDIA’s original push for supporting Wayland.

      • NVIDIA Legacy Linux Drivers Updated With Newer Kernel Support

        NVIDIA has issued new releases of its two legacy drivers for Linux.

        The NVIDIA 340.104 driver is now available for older Tesla architecture graphics processors while the NVIDIA 304.137 is out for the GeForce 6 and GeForce 7 generations.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Call for design: Artful Banner for Kubuntu.org website

        Kubuntu 17.10 — code-named Artful Aardvark — will be released on October 19th, 2017. We need a new banner for the website, and invite artists and designers to submit designs to us based on the Plasma wallpaper and perhaps the mascot design.

      • Randa 2017 Report – Marble Maps

        Just came back home yesterday from Randa Meetings 2017. This year, even though my major motive for the sprint was to use Qt 5.8’s Qt Speech module instead of custom Java for text-to-speech during navigation, that could not be achieved because of a bug which made the routes not appear in the app in the first place. And this bug is reproducible both by using latest code, and old-enough code, and is even there in the prod app in the Google Play Store itself. So, although most of my time had gone in deep-diving on the issue, unfortunately I was not able to find the root-cause to it eventually. I will need to pick up on that in the coming weeks again when I get time, to get it fixed.

      • Kube in Randa

        I’ve spent the last few days with fellow KDE hackers in beautiful Randa in the Swiss Mountains.
        It’s an annual event that focuses on a specific topic every year, and this time accessibility was up, so Michael and me made our way up here to improve Kube in that direction (and to enjoy the scenic surroundings of course).

      • KMyMoney’s Łukasz Wojniłowicz in Randa

        Please read the following guest post from Łukasz who joined me last week in Randa to work on KMyMoney.

      • Randa 2017 – Databases are back to KMyMoney

        On the morning of Day 5 we chased and fixed a problem that was introduced a long time ago but never caused any trouble. The code goes back into the KDE3 version of KMyMoney and was caused by some changes inside Qt5. The fix prevents a crash when saving a transaction which opens an additional dialog to gather more information (e.g. price information). With the help of other devs here in Randa, we were able to drill down the problem and update the code to work on KF5/Qt5 keeping the existing functionality.

      • Randa 2017 – Days 3 and 4

        On Day 3, we started out at 7:02 as usual with the team responsible for breakfast meeting in the kitchen.

        KMyMoney wise, we worked some more on keyboard navigation and porting to KF5. The dialog to open a database and the logic around it have been rewritten/fixed, so that it is now possible to collect the information from the user and proceed with opening. The database I have on file for testing does not open though due to another problem which I still need to investigate.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Usability testing for early-stage software prototypes

        In this article, Ciarrai Cunneen and I describe how to do a paper-based usability test, using an early redesign of the GNOME Settings app as an example. The updated Settings features in GNOME 3.26, released on September 13.

        When writing open source software, we often obsess about making our logic elegant and concise, coming up with clever ways to execute tasks and demonstrate ideas. But we sometimes forget a key fact: Software is not useful if it is not easy to use.

        To make sure our programs can be used by our intended audience, we need usability testing. Usability is basically asking the question, “Can people easily use this thing?” or “Can real people use the software to do real tasks in a reasonable amount of time?” Usability is crucial to the creative process of building anything user-based. If real people can’t use our software, then all the hard work of creating it is pointless.

        [...]

        In early 2016, GNOME decided to make a major UI update to its Settings application. This visual refresh shifts from an icon-based menu to drop-down lists and adds important changes to several individual Settings panels. The GNOME design team wanted to test these early-stage design changes to see how easily real people could navigate the new GNOME Settings application. Previously, GNOME relied on traditional usability tests, where users explore the software’s UI directly. But this wouldn’t work, since the software updates hadn’t been completed.

      • GNOME Foundation partners with Purism to support its efforts to build the Librem 5 smartphone

        The GNOME Foundation has provided their endorsement and support of Purism’s efforts to build the Librem 5, which if successful will be the world’s first free and open smartphone with end-to-end encryption and enhanced user protections. The Librem 5 is a hardware platform the Foundation is interested in advancing as a GNOME/GTK phone device. The GNOME Foundation is committed to partnering with Purism to create hackfests, tools, emulators, and build awareness that surround moving GNOME/GTK onto the Librem 5 phone.

        As part of the collaboration, if the campaign is successful the GNOME Foundation plans to enhance GNOME shell and general performance of the system with Purism to enable features on the Librem 5.

      • Now GNOME Foundation Wants to Support Purism’s Privacy-Focused Linux Smartphone

        GNOME Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the popular GNOME desktop environment designed for Linux-based operating systems, announced on Wednesday that they plan on supporting Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone.

        The announcement comes only a week after KDE unveiled their plans to work with Purism on an implementation of their Plasma Mobile interface into the security- and privacy-focused Librem 5 Linux smartphone, and now GNOME is interested in advancing the Librem 5 hardware platform as a GNOME/GTK+ phone device.

        “Having a Free/Libre and Open Source software stack on a mobile device is a dream-come-true for so many people, and Purism has the proven team to make this happen. We are very pleased to see Purism and the Librem 5 hardware be built to support GNOME,” said Neil McGovern, Executive Director, GNOME Foundation.

      • GNOME Joins The Librem 5 Party, Still Needs To Raise One Million More Dollars

        One week after announcing KDE cooperation on the proposed Librem 5 smartphone with plans to get Plasma Mobile on the device if successful, the GNOME Foundation has sent out their official endorsement of Purism’s smartphone dream.

        Purism had been planning to use GNOME from the start for their GNU/Linux-powered privacy-minded smartphone while as of today they have the official backing of the GNOME Foundation.

      • GNOME partners with Purism on Librem 5 Linux-based privacy-focused smartphone

        The Librem 5 smartphone by Purism has a long and difficult road ahead of it. Competing against the likes of Apple and Google on the mobile market has proven to be a death sentence for many platforms — including Microsoft with its failed Windows 10 Mobile. With that said, I am rooting for Purism and its Pure OS, as the world would benefit from a device that uses Linux and focuses on both privacy and security. Such an alternative to iPhone and Android would be a breath of fresh air.

        Luckily, Purism has found itself a new partner on this project — one of the most important organizations in the Linux community — The GNOME Foundation. Yes, the maker of the absolute best desktop environment is offering to assist with the Librem 5 — if it is successfully crowdfunded, that is. To date, it is only about 33-percent funded, although there is still more than a month to go.

      • GNOME Foundation Gives its Backing to Purism’s Linux Phone

        The GNOME Foundation has today given its backing to Purism’s ambition of building a free, open-source smartphone with user privacy and encryption as a central feature.

  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • A Quick Review Of PCLinuxOS

        Sometimes while I review distros I come across some cool distros that many persons don’t know about. PCLinuxOS is one of them. A user-friendly, stable and quite cool in features and app selection are the things that made me love this distro.

    • Slackware Family
      • liveslak 1.1.9 and new ISO images

        The ‘liveslak‘ scripts used to create the ISO images for Slackware Live Edition have been stamped with a new version, 1.1.9. The updates are significant enough to warrant an ‘official’ update and new ISO images.

        The latest set of Slackware Live Edition ISOs are based on liveslak 1.1.9 and Slackware-current dated “Tue Sep 19 20:49:07 UTC 2017“. Just in time (I was already creating ISOS based on -current “Mon Sep 18 19:15:03 UTC 2017“) I noticed that Patrick downgraded the freetype package in Slackware, and I re-generated all of the ISO images to incorporate the latest freetype package – because that one is working and the previous one had serious issues.

        If you already use a Slackware Live USB stick that you do not want to re-format, you should use the “-r” parameter to the “iso2usb.sh” script. The “-r” or refresh parameter allows you to refresh the liveslak files on your USB stick without touching your custom content.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Free software log (July and August 2017)

        August was DebConf, which included a ton of Policy work thanks to Sean Whitton’s energy and encouragement. During DebConf, we incorporated work from Hideki Yamane to convert Policy to reStructuredText, which has already made it far easier to maintain. (Thanks also to David Bremner for a lot of proofreading of the result.) We also did a massive bug triage and closed a ton of older bugs on which there had been no forward progress for many years.

        After DebConf, as expected, we flushed out various bugs in the reStructuredText conversion and build infrastructure. I fixed a variety of build and packaging issues and started doing some more formatting cleanup, including moving some footnotes to make the resulting document more readable.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, August 2017

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #125

        16 package reviews have been added, 99 have been updated and 92 have been removed in this week, adding to our knowledge about identified issues.

      • Derivatives
        • There’s Now a Windows 10 Installer for the Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distribution

          The Q4OS development team is pleased to inform us today about the immediate availability for download of a Windows installer for their Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution, Q4OS, allowing users to create a dual-boot environment on their PCs.

          For those not familiar to Q4OS, it’s an open-source and free Linux distro based on the popular Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), which resembles the look and feel of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop environment.

          Created with an emphasis on Windows users who want to migrate to a free, open-source, and more secure operating system, Q4OS now lets them install the distribution alongside Microsoft Windows in an easy manner, without having to do any modifications to your personal computer or install any other apps.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu GNOME Shell in Artful: Day 13

            Now that GNOME 3.26 is released, available in Ubuntu artful, and final GNOME Shell UI is confirmed, it’s time to adapt our default user experience to it. Let’s discuss how we worked with dash to dock upstream on the transparency feature. For more background on our current transition to GNOME Shell in artful, you can refer back to our decisions regarding our default session experience as discussed in my blog post.

          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 19 Sep 2017
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter 519

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #519 for the weeks of September 5 – 18, 2017, and the full version is available here.

          • Ubuntu Desktop default application survey results

            Canonical has released the results of its default applications survey for the 18.04 long-term support release of Ubuntu.

            The results of the previous survey – for Ubuntu 17.10, dubbed Artful Aardvark – yielded great suggestions, many of which have made their way into the beta version of the operating system.

            For Ubuntu 18.04, over 15,000 responses were processed by the Ubuntu Desktop team.

            “The team is now hard at work evaluating many of the suggested applications,” said Canonical.

          • Ubuntu Dock Now Has Dynamic Transparency

            Ubuntu devs have listened to our gripe on the jarring contrast between GNOME 3.26′s transparent top bar and the Ubuntu Dock.

          • Ubuntu Dock Features Adaptive Transparency on Ubuntu 17.10, Here’s How It Works

            Ubuntu contributor Didier Roche continues his development on the look and feel of the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, and today he announced that Ubuntu Dock is getting adaptive transparency.

            Canonical confirmed that Ubuntu 17.10 would come with the GNOME 3.26 desktop environment by default, though the default session has suffered numerous modifications compared to the vanilla one to make things easier for those using the Unity interface on Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

            Most probably, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users won’t upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10, but we’re sure Ubuntu 17.04 users will because it’ll reach end of life in about four months from the moment of writing, sometime in January 2018. Therefore, Canonical wants to make their Unity to GNOME transition as painless as possible.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Information Released

              Linux Mint Project Leader Clement Lefebvre, otherwise known as “Clem” released a blog post on Sept. 18, giving some information about the upcoming release of Linux Mint 18.3, dubbed “Sylvia.”

              In his blog post Lefebvre gave some ideas to some of the pieces of software and changes that will be coming, such as the inclusion of the popular system restoration tool Timeshift.

              For those of you who haven’t used Timeshift, it’s an application that creates snapshots of your system, and then restores them later, similar to Windows System Restore, or Mac OS’s Time Machine.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Architecting the future with abstractions and metadata

    The modern data center is built on abstractions, with Docker, Kubernetes, and OpenShift leading the way.

  • SRT open-source video project adds transfer, multiplexing features that can reduce streaming costs

    The SRT Alliance, an open-source initiative focused on developing methods for low-latency video streaming, has released version 1.3 of the SRT video transport protocol.

    This version supports encrypted fast file transfer of VOD files and the multiplexing of streams within the same network port.

    Founded by streaming video providers Haivision and Wowza, the SRT Alliance is focused on developing an open source alternative to proprietary technologies.

  • Redox OS 0.3.3 Released, Lowers RAM Usage

    The Rust-written Redox operating system is out with a new feature release.

    Redox OS 0.3.3 is the operating system’s new version and its primary benefit is much lower memory use. Redox OS 0.3.3 is now using just about 480MB of RAM rather than around 1.3GB.

  • Events
    • Watch the Keynote Videos from Open Source Summit in Los Angeles

      If you weren’t able to attend Open Source Summit North America 2017 in Los Angeles, don’t worry! We’ve rounded up the following keynote presentations so you can hear from the experts about the growing impact of open source software.

    • uniprof: Transparent Unikernel for Performance Profiling and Debugging

      Unikernels are small and fast and give Docker a run for its money, while at the same time still giving stronger features of isolation, says Florian Schmidt, a researcher at NEC Europe, who has developed uniprof, a unikernel performance profiler that can also be used for debugging. Schmidt explained more in his presentation at Xen Summit in Budapest in July.

      Most developers think that unikernels are hard to create and debug. This is not entirely true: Unikernels are a single linked binary that come with a shared address space, which mean you can use gdb. That said, developers do lack tools, such as effective profilers, that would help create and maintain unikernels.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Fast track Apache Spark

      These tips highlight Spark’s ability to deliver serious gains in productivity despite limited user computing capability. There is definitely an ideal Spark setup for each organization’s particular needs. One or all of the following will most likely be necessary once there is buy-in from stakeholders to create a robust analytics system: expanding to a cluster setup, building a data warehouse, and utilizing an infrastructure team. My hope is that this post has given you some tips to make it easier to create a proof-of-concept with Spark that justifies stakeholder investment, and that it has provided some pointers if you decide that a bare bones Spark setup is best for you.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Marketing activities so far in 2017: Mike Saunders

      Thanks to donations to The Document Foundation, along with valued contributions from our community, we maintain a small team working on various aspects of LibreOffice including documentation, user interface design, quality assurance, release engineering and marketing. Together with Italo Vignoli, I help with the latter, and today I’ll summarise some of the achievements so far in 2017.

  • CMS
    • Magento’s Open Source Release

      On 14th September 2017, Magento released “Open Source” (Magento 2.1.9) which seeks to improve and upgrade current Magento software.

      According to the Magento team, the new release contains 40 security fixes and enhancements.

  • Education
    • 7 Things You Should Know About… Open Source Projects in Education

      Halfway through the semester, Dr. Margaret Broadwater was excited by the progress her students were making in her course Open Source Software Development. Working with open source software projects and development communities gave her students hands-on experience with software development practices, technology frameworks, data structures, and product development. Students also completed installation exercises for open source projects from both developers’ and users’ perspectives, followed by finding and patching bugs in the software. Broadwater knew that her students were learning more than just how to work their way around code. In talking with students she emphasized that open source code was the heart of applications that had become ubiquitous in business and education, including Chrome and Firefox, and was the driver for software like the Apache web server, Fedora Linux, and OpenSSL. Moreover, open source had gained purchase in use by companies, organizations, and government agencies and was thus something they would need to know once they entered the workplace as software devel- opers and engineers. Broadwater knew that by working on open source projects in depth, her students were also learning about the ethos of building code in a community of developers—and, indeed, were becoming part of that community.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • LibrePlanet 2018: Let’s talk about Freedom. Embedded.

      The call for sessions is open now, until November 2nd, 2017. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open. Pre-order a LibrePlanet 10th anniversary t-shirt when you register to attend!

      Do you want to discuss or teach others about a topic relevant to the free software community? You’ve got until Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 at 10:00 EDT (14:00 UTC) to submit your session proposals.

      LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts and everyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For the past nine years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who are at the beginning of their free software journeys. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

    • LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, CFP and registration open now

      The call for proposals is open now, until November 2, 2017. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open.

      LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts and anyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For the past nine years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who are at the beginning of their free software journeys. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

    • dot-zed extractor
    • FSFE Newsletter – September 2017

      To push our demand, the FSFE launched a new campaign last week: “Public Money Public Code”. The campaign explains the benefits of releasing publicly funded Software under free licences with a short inspiring video and an open letter to sign. Furthermore, the campaign and the open letter will be used in the coming months until the European Parliament election in 2019 to highlight good and bad examples of publicly funded software development and its potential reuse.

    • Free Software Foundation Europe Leads Call For Taxpayer-Funded Software To Be Licensed For Free Re-use

      Considered objectively, it’s hard to think of any good reasons why code that is paid for by the public should not be released publicly as a matter of course. The good news is that this “public money, public code” argument is precisely the approach that open access advocates have used with considerable success in the field of academic publishing, so there’s hope it might gain some traction in the world of software too.

    • New FSF membership benefit: LibreOffice certification

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced that the opportunity to apply for LibreOffice certification for migrations and trainings is now available to FSF Associate Members.

      LibreOffice is a free software project of The Document Foundation (TDF), a non-profit based in Germany. An office suite, LibreOffice encompasses word processing, and programs for the creation and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, databases, diagrams and drawings, and mathematical formulae. It uses the ISO standard OpenDocument file format (ODF).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • LipidFinder: An Open-Source Python Workflow for Novel Lipid Discovery

      Obtaining precise, high-quality lipidomic (or metabolomic) datasets comes with its challenges. One factor that I am sure comes to mind is the ability to minimize, or even better, eliminate those large numbers of artefacts that could otherwise hinder your mass spectrometry data analysis, to ensure accurate interpretation.

    • The Github threat

      The Github application belongs to a single entity, Github Inc, a US company which manage it alone. So, a unique company under US legislation manages the access to most of Free Software application code sources, which may be a problem with groups using it when a code source is no longer available, for political or technical reason.

    • Stack Overflow gives an even closer look at developer salaries

      Today, Stack Overflow announced a slightly more useful application for that same data, with the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator. Tell it where you live, how much experience and education you have, and what kind of developer you are, and it will tell you the salary range you should expect to make in five national markets (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany) and a handful of cities (New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin).

    • IBM open-sources a microservices-friendly Java app server

      A few weeks ago, Nginx released its multilanguage microservices-friendly app server, but without Java support at launch. Now IBM has a beta build of its own microservices-friendly app server for Java applications: the open source Open Liberty, which implements IBM’s version of Java EE and MicroProfile microservices implementation.

      Open Liberty will provide a runtime supporting Java microservices that can be quickly updated and moved among different cloud environments. When combined with the Eclipse OpenJ9 Java Virtual Machine, OpenLiberty will provide a full Java stack, IBM said. (OpenJ9 had been IBM’s J9 JVM, which it contributed to the Eclipse Foundation that now manages Java EE.)

    • The Future of HHVM

      Several months ago, PHP officially announced the end-of-life for PHP5.

      The HHVM team is happy about the direction PHP has taken with PHP7, and we’re proud of the role we’ve played in pushing the language and runtime to where they are today. Since the PHP community is finally saying goodbye to PHP5, we’ve decided to do so as well.

    • The Ten Essentials for Good API Documentation
Leftovers
  • Science
    • An introduction to machine learning today

      Machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) mean different things to different people, but the newest approaches have one thing in common: They are based on the idea that a program’s output should be created mostly automatically from a high-dimensional and possibly huge dataset, with minimal or no intervention or guidance from a human. Open source tools are used in a variety of machine learning and artificial intelligence projects. In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the state of machine learning today.

      In the past, AI programs usually were explicitly programmed to perform tasks. In most cases, the machine’s “learning” consisted of adjusting a few parameters, guiding the fixed implementation to add facts to a collection of other facts (a knowledge database), then (efficiently) searching the knowledge database for a solution to a problem, in the form of a path of many small steps from one known solution to the next. In some cases, the database wouldn’t need to or couldn’t be explicitly stored and therefore had to be rebuilt.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Media ‘Extremes’ on Healthcare: Universal Coverage or Taking Healthcare From Millions

      For many years, corporate media have largely ignored a single-payer system as a possible solution to the United States healthcare crises (FAIR.org, 3/6/09). This silent treatment, however, is increasingly hard to justify now that the most popular politician in the country has forced the issue into the mainstream of the Democratic Party.

      Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill now has 16 cosponsors, up from zero when he introduced a similar bill in 2013. Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, a record 119 of 194 Democrats are cosponsors of HR676, John Conyers’ single-payer legislation. The math is simple enough: 135 of 242 Democrats in Congress (and counting) are on the record as supporting the federal government assuming responsibility for the costs of healthcare.

      Unable to continue ignoring the policy, corporate media have, with predictable uniformity, undermined it as utopian nonsense. The typical elite narrative since Sanders’ bill was announced last Wednesday has been to amplify the same kind of scare tactics that have been injected into the national discourse for decades (at a considerable expense) by the for-profit health industry, the American Medical Association (AMA) and right-wing think tanks.

    • See jerkface bacteria hiding in tumors and gobbling chemotherapy drugs
    • Single Payer, the Democratic Party and the Non Profit Industrial Complex

      It’s not just the likes of Sierra Club taking $25 million from Chesapeake Energy and backing natural gas expansion or Sierra Club aligning itself with Clorox to greenwash the company. Or nominally anti-corruption groups like Transparency International in the United States and Canada getting taken over by corporate lobbyists and law firms.

      It’s more the public interest careerists who want to be players. And to be a player means to cut deals. And to cut deals means to cut out the grassroots activists, who are less likely to want to cut deals.

    • So Much for States’ Rights — GOP Senator Wants to Ban State Single Payer In New Health Care Bill

      Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy plans to use the most recent effort to repeal and replace portions of the Affordable Care Act to push an amendment that would bar states from enacting their own single-payer systems, he told reporters on Monday.

      When asked by The Intercept on Tuesday about the status of his legislation, Kennedy said that the bill’s co-sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., told him that the measure already bans single payer, but that he was welcome to offer his amendment either way.

      “I don’t think states should have the authority to take money from the American taxpayer and set up a single-payer system,” Kennedy said. “Now some people think that that’s inconsistent with the idea of flexibility. But that’s what the United States Congress is for. I very much believe in flexibility, and I know the governors want flexibility. But it’s our job to make sure that that money is properly spent.”

    • Without opioids, our collective life expectancy would be 2.5 mos longer

      In a startling announcement, authorities in New York and New Jersey reported Monday that they had confiscated a whopping 122 kilograms (nearly 270 pounds) of opioids worth more than $30 million in a pair of recent busts. One of the seizures yielded 64 kilograms (more than 140 pounds) of the extremely potent fentanyl opioid. That batch alone is enough to provide lethal doses of opioids to 32 million people.

    • Covering All People With Single Payer, Says GOP Senator, Is Not Money ‘Properly Spent’

      Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced his intention Tuesday to introduce four amendments to the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one of which would forbid states from using the law’s block grants to provide residents with a state-run single payer healthcare system—provoking some to question his commitment to the perennial Republican issue of “states’ rights.”

    • Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers

      At a time when the United States is in the grip of an opioid epidemic, many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications.

      The reason, experts say: Opioid drugs are generally cheap while safer alternatives are often more expensive.

  • Security
    • WordPress 4.8.2 Security and Maintenance Release

      WordPress 4.8.2 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

    • Attack on CCleaner Highlights the Importance of Securing Downloads and Maintaining User Trust

      Some of the most worrying kinds of attacks are ones that exploit users’ trust in the systems and softwares they use every day. Yesterday, Cisco’s Talos security team uncovered just that kind of attack in the computer cleanup software CCleaner. Download servers at Avast, the company that owns CCleaner, had been compromised to distribute malware inside CCleaner 5.33 updates for at least a month. Avast estimates that over 2 million users downloaded the affected update. Even worse, CCleaner’s popularity with journalists and human rights activists means that particularly vulnerable users are almost certainly among that number. Avast has advised CCleaner Windows users to update their software immediately.

      This is often called a “supply chain” attack, referring to all the steps software takes to get from its developers to its users. As more and more users get better at bread-and-butter personal security like enabling two-factor authentication and detecting phishing, malicious hackers are forced to stop targeting users and move “up” the supply chain to the companies and developers that make software. This means that developers need to get in the practice of “distrusting” their own infrastructure to ensure safer software releases with reproducible builds, allowing third parties to double-check whether released binary and source packages correspond. The goal should be to secure internal development and release infrastructure to that point that no hijacking, even from a malicious actor inside the company, can slip through unnoticed.

    • Apache bug leaks contents of server memory for all to see—Patch now

      There’s a bug in the widely used Apache Web Server that causes servers to leak pieces of arbitrary memory in a way that could expose passwords or other secrets, a freelance journalist has disclosed.

      The vulnerability can be triggered by querying a server with what’s known as an OPTIONS request. Like the better-known GET and POST requests, OPTIONS is a type of HTTP method that allows users to determine which HTTP requests are supported by the server. Normally, a server will respond with GET, POST, OPTIONS, and any other supported methods. Under certain conditions, however, responses from Apache Web Server include the data stored in computer memory. Patches are available here and here.

    • The Pirate Bay Takes Heat for Testing Monero Mining

      Cryptocurrencies usually are mined with CPU power initially, she told LinuxInsider. Users then find ways to speed up the hashing before going to GPU. They build specialized hardware and field programmable gate array (FPGA) chips to carry out the hashing function in order to mine much faster.

      [...]

      The notion that The Pirate Bay effectively would borrow resources from its own users is not the problem, suggested Jessica Groopman, principal analyst at Tractica.

    • Safer but not immune: Cloud lessons from the Equifax breach
    • Warning: If you are using this Kodi repository, you could be in danger

      Kodi is quite possibly the best media center software of all time. If you are looking to watch videos or listen to music, the open source solution provides an excellent overall experience. Thanks to its support for “addons,” it has the potential to become better all the time. You see, developers can easily add new functionality by writing an addon for the platform. And yes, some addons can be used for piracy, but not all of them are. These addons, such as Exodus and Covenant, are normally added using a repository, which hosts them.

      [...]

      We do not know 100 percent if the person that re-registered the metalkettle name on GitHub is planning anything evil, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

    • Infrared signals in surveillance cameras let malware jump network air gaps

      The malware prototype could be a crucial ingredient for attacks that target some of the world’s most sensitive networks. Militaries, energy producers, and other critical infrastructure providers frequently disconnect such networks from the Internet as a precaution. In the event malware is installed, there is no way for it to make contact with attacker-controlled servers that receive stolen data or issue new commands. Such airgaps are one of the most basic measures for securing highly sensitive information and networks.

      The proof-of-concept malware uses connected surveillance cameras to bridge such airgaps. Instead of trying to use the Internet to reach attacker-controlled servers, the malware weaves passwords, cryptographic keys, and other types of data into infrared signals and uses a camera’s built-in infrared lights to transmit them. A nearby attacker then records the signals with a video camera and later decodes embedded secrets. The same nearby attackers can embed data into infrared signals and beam them to an infected camera, where they’re intercepted and decoded by the network malware. The covert channel works best when attackers have a direct line of sight to the video camera, but non-line-of-sight communication is also possible in some cases.

    • Turning Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in iOS 11′s Control Center Doesn’t Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth [Ed: Proprietary software means you cannot trust it and anything you think it does it likely won't]

      Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them on your smartphone has long been standard, common sense, advice. Unfortunately, with the iPhone’s new operating system iOS 11, turning them off is not as easy as it used to be.

      Now, when you toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off from the iPhone’s Control Center—the somewhat confusing menu that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the phone—it actually doesn’t completely turn them off. While that might sound like a bug, that’s actually what Apple intended in the new operating system. But security researchers warn that users might not realize this and, as a consequence, could leave Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on without noticing.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Afghanistan Again?
    • Trump Apparently Wants a Massive Military Parade. ‘What’s Next, Portraits of Dear Leader Everywhere?’

      Citing France’s Bastille Day celebration in July—a “dramatic show of pageantry” featuring thousands of French troops and dozens of military jets—U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday suggested that he would like the United States to put on a massive display of “military might” on Independence Day, a proposal commentators immediately portrayed as evidence of Trump’s affinity for authoritarian displays of force.

    • Starve Them to Death: Wall Street Journal’s Solution to North Korea
    • An Escalating North Korea Crisis

      With President Trump demeaning North Korea’s leader as “Rocket Man” and threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea, tensions over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear missile program grow worse, as Dennis J Bernstein reports.

      [...]

      On August 21, the joint US/South Korean war games took place, but they were scaled down a little bit. So, instead of the usual 25,000 US troops, there were 17,500 US troops. That is not an insignificant de-escalation. In response to the war games, the North Koreans fired three short-range missiles.

      A little while later the US conducted new war games with Japan; And North Korea, to express its displeasure, fired an ICBM, which flew over Hokkaido and landed in the ocean. The US retaliated by bringing in B-1 bombers that were doing decapitation runs. This is exactly the kind of strategic asset deployment that the North Koreans consider to be a red line.

      In response to that, they detonated what they claim is an H-bomb on September 3. Later reports said that it was 6.3 on the Richter scale, somewhere between 100 and 150 kilotons, making it ten to fifteen times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. They claimed that this was the perfect test, that it was adjustable and that they were also capable of launching an electromagnetic pulse.

      So, if we look back, we can see a tit-for-tat process. In game theory, this is the only procedure that has been shown to result in de-escalation between two parties who are in conflict and who do not have accurate information.

    • Dealing with North Korean Missiles

      The real purpose of North Korea’s two recent missile tests over Japan is to cause a rupture in relations among the US, China, Japan, and South Korea. Rather than attack Japan, which would galvanize the US-Japan security treaty, these missiles provoke debate in Japan—about US reliability, Japan’s constitutional limitations on taking defensive or offensive action against a threat, and choices of weapons systems (including everything from missile defense to nuclear weapons). All these issues have implications for Japan’s relations with South Korea and China, both of which would strongly protest a major military buildup by Japan and undermine trilateral cooperation in dealing with North Korea.

    • Trump’s War on the North Korean People

      Amid renewed talk by the Trump administration of a military option against North Korea, one salient fact goes unnoticed. The United States is already at war with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the formal name for North Korea). It is doing so through non-military means, with the aim of inducing economic collapse. In a sense, the policy is a continuation of the Obama administration’s ‘strategic patience’ on steroids, in that it couples a refusal to engage in diplomacy with the piling on of sanctions that constitute collective punishment of the entire North Korean population.

      We are told that UN Security Council resolution 2375, passed on September 11, was “watered down” so as to obtain Chinese and Russian agreement. In relative terms, this is true, in that the original draft as submitted by the United States called for extreme measures such as a total oil embargo. However, Western media give the impression that the resolution as passed is mild or mainly symbolic. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism

      President Trump’s U.N. speech showed that despite his America First rhetoric, his policies are virtually the same as the neocon strategies of George W. Bush and liberal interventionism of Barack Obama, says Robert Parry.

    • The Greatest Threat Facing America

      The greatest threat facing America is not “radical Islamic terrorism.” Nor is it North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, eliciting American UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s propagandistic charge that Kim Jong-un is ”begging for war.“ Nor is America’s greatest threat Muslim immigrants’ believed to be intent on gaining power and establishing Sharia law. Nor is it hordes of “criminally-disposed” Mexicans, whose “invading” presence is assumed to require more deportation officers and a border wall. Neither is it “inner city crime.” Nor is it about Black Lives Matter people, who are seen by many as a threat to established white status quo order.

      [...]

      Before running for president, Donald Trump was not guided by law and order in his business dealings. He faced lawsuits for refusing to rent apartments to black persons in his buildings. (See “ ‘No Vacancies’ for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, and Was First Accused of Bias,” By Jonathan Mahler and Steve Eder, The New York Times, Aug. 27, 2016) He became a one-man vigilante committee, taking out ads in New York City papers, claiming five black and Latino Harlem teenagers were guilty of assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park and calling for reestablishing the death penalty. The teens spent several years in jail, and were finally released and awarded $41 million dollars after a serial rapist confessed to the crime and no DNA evidence had connected them to it. (See “Trump continues to blast Central Park Five long after they were exonerated: ‘They admitted they were guilty,’ “ By David Boroff, New York Daily News, Oct. 7, 2016) Trump says he is about protecting American workers, yet, as reported, “At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work.” (“USA TODAY exclusive: Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills: among those who say billionaire didn’t pay: dishwashers, painter, waiters,“ By Steve Reilly, USATODAY, June 9, 2016).

    • A Captured American ISIS Fighter Could Undermine the Whole War

      An American citizen fighting for the so-called Islamic State is currently in the U.S. military’s custody. If Donald Trump decides to keep him there, it could spark a far-reaching legal challenge that could have a catastrophic effect on the entire war against ISIS, leading national security lawyers say.

      The unnamed American, whom the Pentagon says surrendered to U.S.-allied forces battling ISIS in Syria around Sept. 12, is currently held by the military as an enemy combatant. Multiple officials told The Daily Beast that the Trump administration has yet to decide whether that will be his long-term fate.

      Neither the Defense Department nor the Justice Department would comment Monday on active deliberations concerning whether the American will face criminal charges in the United States or remain a military detainee. “The disposition for any detainee is ultimately determined by what best supports the national security of the United States and of our allies and partners, consistent with domestic and international law,” said the Pentagon’s detentions spokesman, Maj. Ben Sakrisson.

    • US’ NSA Knew About India’s Secret Missile Projects: Edward Snowden’s Documents
    • US Knew About India’s Secret Missile Programmes in 2005: Leaked Documents
    • From Edward Snowden trove: US had data on Indian nuclear missiles in 2005
    • The Empire’s Hustle: Why Anti-Trumpism Doesn’t Include Anti-War

      Libertarian U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared from the Senate floor last week in anticipation of the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018:

      “I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared and unconstitutional war…What we have today is basically unlimited war, anywhere, anytime, any place upon the globe.”

      With these words, Paul became one of the few voices to oppose the obscenity that is known as U.S. war policy. But only two other senators joined him: Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). But there is a wrinkle here: Paul is not concerned with the size of the military budget. He’s pointing his finger at the continuation of the Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF) of 2001, which was the “legal” basis for the U.S. global “war on terror.” He wants Congress to re-assess this legislation that has prompted endless wars abroad.

      After Paul’s amendment to the NDAA was defeated, the Senate went on to approve it with a vote of 89-9 Monday in what the New York Times correctly identified as a bi-partisan effort, to authorize a military budget of $696 billion—an increase in the military budget of almost $75 billion and well over the $54 billion that Pres. Donald Trump had originally proposed.

    • Trump Uses UN Podium to threaten Nuclear Annihilation

      President Donald Trump raised the possibility of launching high-stakes US military operations in three corners of the world on Tuesday, at his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

      The president targeted North Korea, Iran and Venezuela–which he termed as “rogue regimes,” from the UN podium, in a speech reminiscent of George W. Bush’s pre-Iraq War “Axis of Evil” State of the Union.

      Trump’s harshest rhetoric was reserved for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

      “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he said.

      Pyongyang has recently conducted intercontinental ballistic missile tests over Japan, including one last week. On September 3, the North Korean military also conducted a hydrogen bomb test. The United Nations Security Council responded by voting to impose harsh economic sanctions on North Korea.

      South Korean officials have reacted to the tests by outlining an “aggressive response,” if Pyongyang is preparing a “missile or nuclear” attack on Seoul.

      While the plan would target “North Korean leadership,” it makes no invocation of the sort of wholesale destruction promised by Trump on Tuesday. Last month, Trump responded to North Korean missile tests by promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

    • Rand Paul: Unconstitutional Saudi War in Yemen Is Not in Our Interest and Congress Should Vote

      Last week, on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) called out US participation in the Saudi war in Yemen.

    • Donald Trump Used the United Nations to Threaten a Massive Violation of International Law

      The United States has never cared much about international law. But most U.S. presidents had at least made an effort to pretend that they did. Based on President Donald Trump’s speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, this is yet another American tradition that he’s discarding.

      [...]

      To clarify the legal significance of Trump’s words, here’s a quick explanation of the rules that purportedly govern the U.S.’s use of force.

      The U.S. was one of the original 26 signatories to the U.N. Charter in June 1945. The U.S. Constitution states that “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” The U.N. Charter is a treaty, so it therefore is the “supreme law” of the U.S.

      Chapter I, Article 2 of the charter states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Governments turn tables by suing public records requesters

      Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests — taxpayers, government watchdogs and journalists who must then pursue the records in court at their own expense.

    • At Harvard, Chelsea Manning Lost Her Fellowship. At Fordham, a Former CIA Torture Proponent Kept His.

      It took less than 48 hours for Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government to revoke its fellowship invitation to whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The announcement that Manning would be a visiting fellow at the school’s Institute of Politics had been met with resistance from current and former denizens of the national security state — a former CIA director resigned his position as a fellow, and President Donald Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo withdrew from a planned speech at the school.

      About 200 miles south of Cambridge, Massachusetts, an inverse but much quieter debate unfolded after a top CIA veteran was named to an elite university fellowship. This much, however, resembled the row at Harvard: The security state is poised to win out in this showdown, too.

      On September 4, former CIA Director John Brennan began a two-year stint as a “distinguished fellow for global security” at Fordham University’s Center on National Security at Fordham Law, in New York. Brennan, a 1977 Fordham graduate, will participate in discussions at the school, make himself available to students during office hours, and sit in on classes in advance of teaching his own in the future.

      Some in the Fordham community — including faculty and alumni who were involved in activism against awarding Brennan a 2012 honorary doctorate of humane letters from the school — believe naming the former top spy to a fellowship sends the wrong message, especially given Brennan’s record of support for controversial policies.

      “By making him a fellow, Fordham is clearly endorsing the human rights violations committed under Brennan by the CIA through illegal torture and missile strikes,” said Sapphira Lurie, who graduated from Fordham this year. “Brennan’s status as a public figure is a result of severe violations of human rights.” Lurie noted that the administration has, in the past, distanced itself from Brennan’s actions at the CIA, but questioned whether his record outside of the CIA merited accolades from the university: “Why else would they be giving him an honorary degree and a position as a fellow?”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • We’re building roads to withstand last century’s climate

      Does it make sense to build something that will almost certainly end up wrecked before its useful lifetime is over? In most contexts, the answer is clearly “no,” since doing so is a waste of money and resources. But lots of people seem to have a blind spot when it comes to planning ahead for climate change. North Carolina, for example, went through a protracted debate over whether it should allow people to build on sites that were likely to be under water. And the Trump administration recently cancelled rules that were intended to prevent infrastructure from being built where the ocean would rise to meet it.

    • “Potentially catastrophic” Hurricane Maria set to strike Puerto Rico

      Only one Category 5 hurricane has ever made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. That was the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane that crossed the island with sustained winds of 160mph and caused more than 300 deaths on the island. Later, that storm would become the second-deadliest hurricane in the history of the continental United States, with 2,500 deaths in Florida.

      Now, Hurricane Maria seems likely to become the second Category 5 to hit Puerto Rico. As of 5pm ET, the storm is intensifying, with 165mph sustained winds. Critically, the storm’s central pressure is also falling, and it is down to 916 millibars as of Tuesday evening. At that central pressure, Maria would rank among the 10 most-intense landfalling hurricanes in the Atlantic basin in the last 150 years.

      In response to the threat to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, warnings from the National Hurricane Center have become increasingly dire during the last 48 hours. In a Tuesday evening public advisory, forecasters warned of Maria’s “potentially catastrophic” winds, rainfall, and storm surge. They urged that final preparations be rushed to completion.

    • ‘Devastating’: Thousands Evacuate as Mexico Struck By Yet Another Massive Earthquake

      On the anniversary of the horrific 1985 earthquake that killed at least 5,000 people, Mexico City on Tuesday was rocked by yet another powerful quake that destroyed buildings and forced thousands to pour into the streets for safety.

      The U.S. Geological Survey placed the quake’s preliminary magnitude at 7.1, and local outlets are reporting that several people have been killed.

    • Trump’s Response to Climate-Related Disasters: Open America’s “Crown Jewels” to Oil Drilling

      You would have thought that after being battered by two devastating hurricanes in recent weeks, which experts believe were fuelled by warmer seas caused by climate change, even the most die-hard climate denier would think again.

      But you would be wrong.

      You would have thought that as the cost of rebuilding after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey mounts, with an estimated bill of $150 billion so far, that politicians would press to move away from a fossil fuel economy.

      But you would be wrong again. In fact the opposite is happening.

      Instead of pushing for clean technology and to end our oil addiction, the Trump Administration is quietly pushing to open up one of America’s great last wilderness areas, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil drilling.

    • Hurricane Maria hits Virgin Islands and bears down on Puerto Rico

      Hurricane Maria is edging towards Puerto Rico as the devastating storm continues its north-westerly path across the Caribbean.
      The eye wall of the storm has now reached the outlying island of Vieques, the US National Hurricane Center says.
      The category five hurricane earlier hit St Croix in the US Virgin Islands.
      Dominica was badly hit on Monday night and aerial footage shows flattened houses. Details are scant as communications are down.
      The storm briefly weakened to a four but is now again packing top sustained winds of 280km/h (175mph).

    • Hurricane Maria – live updates: Category 4 storm hits Puerto Rico after battering British Virgin Islands and Dominica
    • Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico
    • Our hurricane-hit islands deserve aid. The rules that block it are wrong

      In a manner reminiscent of Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams, dark clouds of despair and destruction hover yet again over the Caribbean with the passage of Hurricane Maria.

      The most recent version of our recurring ecological nightmare included Hurricane Harvey followed by Hurricane Irma, the latter setting a new record of three consecutive days as a category 5 storm with maximum wind speeds of 185mph, and leaving a trail of devastation British foreign secretary Boris Johnson described as “absolutely hellish”.

      Maria’s full fury is yet to be revealed but social media posts from Dominica’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, and acting high commissioner for Dominica to the UK, Janet Charles, early on Tuesday morning described the destruction, the latter posting on Facebook: “Dominica has been brutalised by the hurricane. Please let the world know. We need help!” Communications with Dominica have since been lost.

    • Trump admin wants to allow seismic study of Alaska refuge for oil drilling

      The US Department of the Interior (DOI) is moving to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, which could reverse 30 years of conservation efforts in the far north of the 49th state. According to a document obtained by The Washington Post that was written in mid-August, the DOI requested that the US Fish and Wildlife Service update a 1980s provision to allow new seismic exploration in the Alaska refuge.

    • Fresh Hope Raised of Global Warming Limit

      Scientists in the UK have good news for the 195 nations that pledged to limit global warming to well below 2°C: it can be done. The ideal limit of no more than 1.5°C above the average temperatures for most of human history is possible.

      All it requires is an immediate reduction in the combustion of fossil fuels − a reduction that will continue for the next 40 years, until the world is driven only by renewable energy.

    • Koch Brothers Fuel the GOP’s War on Climate Science

      Now, in the wake of these two unprecedented storms, a third massive hurricane is bearing down on islands already reeling from Irma’s ferocity. Overnight, Hurricane Maria strengthened to a dangerous Category 3 hurricane, and is expected to make a direct hit on Puerto Rico as an even more dangerous Category 4 storm. Puerto Rico sustained serious damage from Irma but was spared the worst of the storm, and it is therefore harboring many who fled the devastation of neighboring islands, and those evacuees are now in harm’s way yet again.

      On The Real News, we have been speaking to leading climate scientists about the clear links between climate change and the ferocity of these storms. In one such interview, which we published on September 7, renowned climate scientist Michael Mann had this to say about the links between climate change and hurricane intensity.

    • Hurricane Maria knocks out power to island of Puerto Rico
    • Still a lethal Category 4 storm, Hurricane Maria pummeling Puerto Rico

      A ferocious Hurricane Maria bore down on Puerto Rico early Wednesday as the island girded for an entire day of vicious winds that are expected to devastate the nation.

      As of 5 a.m, the center of the storm was 50 miles southeast of San Juan – but winds overnight had already pummeled Puerto Rico, toppling trees and sparking flash-flood warnings in the nation’s capital.

      With sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, Maria weakened slightly, enough to make it a still-lethal Category 4 storm.

    • A Proterra electric bus just drove 1,100 miles on a single charge
    • Nikola Motor Company and Bosch team up on long-haul fuel cell truck
    • Setback for group seeking “hockey stick” climate scientists’ e-mails

      Those prone to rejecting the conclusions of climate science sometimes fixate on weird things. For years, there has been a concerted effort to prove that a specific paleoclimate record—often referred to as “the hockey stick” because of the sharp rise at the end—was somehow fraudulent. It doesn’t seem to matter that many other researchers have replicated and advanced those findings. These people seem to feel that all of climate science would come crashing down if you could just dig up a golden e-mail that reveals a dastardly scheme.

      The original record was partly the work of Michael E. Mann, now at Penn State, and he has been hounded ever since. There have been a number of attempts to get universities to turn over his e-mails over the years. But last year, an effort targeting one of Mann’s colleagues in Arizona seemed to have finally found success.

  • Finance
    • California Regulators Require Auto Insurers to Adjust Rates

      California regulators said they have required Nationwide and USAA to adjust their auto insurance rates as a result of a report by ProPublica and Consumer Reports that many minority neighborhoods were paying more than white areas with the same risk.

      The regulators said their review confirmed our finding that linked the pricing disparities to incorrect applications of a provision in California law. The statute allows insurers to cluster neighboring zip codes together into a single rating territory.

    • Can China help fix Venezuela?

      The Chinese government has said little about the dire situation in Venezuela, while few other outside actors – including nearby Latin American neighbours – have called attention to China’s role in it.

      This oversight is both puzzling and misguided, given China’s high-profile economic and diplomatic partnership with Venezuela. The lapse is rooted in China’s foreign policy principle of noninterference in other countries’ domestic politics, its own undemocratic political system, and its claims of fostering win-win relationships with other developing countries. All of these factors have combined to create a deafening silence regarding Beijing’s role in addressing what is, in the end, a crisis of democratic governance in Caracas.

      It is long past time to ask whether there is more that Beijing can and should do to help set Venezuela on a more sustainable path, both out of principle and China’s own practical national interest. Ultimately, China’s involvement in and response to Venezuela’s multilayered turmoil underscore a range of broader economic and diplomatic challenges that Beijing faces in its relations with other resource-rich, crisis-wracked developing countries around the world.

    • Facebook still booking most Australian revenue in Ireland, US

      Facebook has told a standing committee of the Australian Senate that it booked a vast majority of its Australian income for 2016 outside the country.

    • Uber Faces Widespread Asia Bribery Allegations Amid U.S. Criminal Probe

      Attorneys are focused on suspicious activity in at least five Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea. For instance, Uber’s law firm is reviewing a web of financial arrangements tied to the Malaysian government that may have influenced lawmakers there, the people said.

    • Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan

      This past June, Florida’s top education agency delivered a failing grade to the Orange Park Performing Arts Academy in suburban Jacksonville for the second year in a row. It designated the charter school for kindergarten through fifth grade as the worst public school in Clay County, and one of the lowest performing in the state.

      Two-thirds of the academy’s students failed the state exams last year, and only a third of them were making any academic progress at all. The school had had four principals in three years, and teacher turnover was high, too.

      “My fourth grader was learning stuff that my second grader was learning — it shouldn’t be that way,” said Tanya Bullard, who moved her three daughters from the arts academy this past summer to a traditional public school. “The school has completely failed me and my children.”

    • This Year’s Poverty Data Look a Lot Different When You Break Them Down by Race

      Yesterday’s Census release of data on income, poverty, and health insurance demonstrated two things: There are policies that work for people who are struggling, and there is still a lot of work left to do—especially for people of color in America.

    • The real saboteurs are the Tory fantasists backing hard Brexit

      In a startling announcement, authorities in New York and New Jersey reported Monday that they had confiscated a whopping 122 kilograms (nearly 270 pounds) of opioids worth more than $30 million in a pair of recent busts. One of the seizures yielded 64 kilograms (more than 140 pounds) of the extremely potent fentanyl opioid. That batch alone is enough to provide lethal doses of opioids to 32 million people.

      “The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking. It’s not only killing a record number of people in New York City, but the city is used as a hub of regional distribution for a lethal substance that is taking thousands of lives throughout the Northeast,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, said in a statement.

    • Condemned to Repeat It History as Rerun

      People on social media red with ire rage about the double-standard applied to both the left anti-fascist protestors, the antifa anarchists, and the white supremacist marchers. Numberless voices rant about how the police protected the free speech of the white supremacists, but actively cracked down on anti-fascists. Now the government is moving to label antifa groups as domestic terrorists while doing nothing to apply the same tag to violent fascist racists. Some fairly argue that antifa are not the same as the majority of anti-fascist protesters. The former are violent, the latter peaceful. But the violence of antifa will be used to brand the entire progressive left with the stigma of domestic terrorism. The right will largely be left alone.

      But this is nothing new. Capitalists and fascists have always had a symbiotic relationship. Before World War Two, historians blame insufficiently strident capitalist politicians like UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for “appeasing” the Nazis, as though they miscalculated the threat of fascism. What is forgotten is that they appeased the Nazis on purpose. Western capitalists rebuilt the German military and funded the rise of National Socialism after World War One. After all, the real threat to capitalism is communism, not fascism. As prolific and fearless author Michael Parenti writes, “fascism is nothing more than a final solution to the class struggle, the totalistic submergence and exploitation of democratic forces for the benefit and profit of higher financial circles.”

    • Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Trump-Republican Tax Plan
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Is Facilitating a Paid Informant Program Part of Journalism’s Job?

      The practice of encouraging people to provide incriminating information for money, however, raises questions. The Justice Department’s inspector general released a report last year that called into question the Drug Enforcement Agency’s use of paid informants, because “poor oversight” led to “an unacceptably increased potential for waste, fraud and abuse.” Lawyers and advocates against the drug war told the Washington Post (9/30/16) that “paying informants creates incentives to lie or fabricate evidence.”

      With those concerns being raised about a federal agency, which can be audited, what kind of protections or protocols do local, private nonprofits use when they dangle money in front of us in exchange for crime tips?

    • Francoist Clampdown in Catalonia

      I have received an email appeal from the Candidaturas de Unidad Popular in Barcelona to say that their party HQ is under siege by the Guardia Civil and that its leaders are resisting arrest.

      There is a peculiar reluctance in the British and other European mainstream media to state the truth about the very real Francoist origins of the Spanish government. The current government of Spain are the direct political heirs of Franco and that many of their ministers have personal and family connections to his rule. Rajoy, Spain’s current Prime Minister, started his political career in 1981 by joining the People’s Alliance, a party founded in 1979 and led by 7 of Franco’s ministers to carry on the Francoist legacy. The People’s Alliance became the major component in the now governing People’s Party. It is a directly Francoist party.

    • Forced Takeover of Catalan Government Institutions by Spanish Police

      I just got of the phone with Josep Maria Sole Sabaté, my friend and a leading Catalan historian and public intellectual. He was nothing short of breathless as he described the helicopters flying overhead stated flatly that he was in the the midst of a coup being carried out by the Spanish State.

      He wanted to get in touch with me and others “out there” because he was not sure how much longer free communication would be available to him and other out in the street protesting against he Spanish central government’s arrest of members of the Catalan Autonomous government.

    • How Netanyahu’s Son Became the Poster Boy for White Supremacists

      It depicts an Illuminati-like figure and a reptilian creature controlling the world through money and dark arts. Alongside them are a cabal of conspirators, their faces altered to show Netanyahu’s main opponents. They include George Soros, a Holocaust survivor who has invested billions in pro-democracy movements, and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister turned government critic.

      This is not Yair’s first troubling outburst. Last month he emulated US President Donald Trump in decrying demonstrators who opposed a rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left a woman dead.

    • John Kelly Is All Of Us
    • Resisting Trumpism

      New studies show that fascism and populism in government were successful when relied on their ability to keep support by mixing coercion and demagoguery. But they also succeed when the opposition was divided and the population became apathetic and politically disengaged. Trump fomented such divisions after Charlottesville by distributing blame for violence between the Nazis and the “Antifa” movement, and was echoed by others who sought to depict anti-fascism as just another form of totalitarianism. These politicised reactions are not surprising, but they present a genuine challenge: to what extent successful resistance to these governments requires coalitions of political parties, labour movements, and other mass organisations.

    • At U.N., Trump Hides Behind ‘Sovereignty’ to Shield His Administration From Scrutiny

      Trump mentioned “sovereignty” 21 times at the UN today. Here’s what he was getting at.

      This morning, in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump deployed a transparent and familiar tactic to justify a shameful record: an appeal to national sovereignty over human rights.

      In his address, Trump mentioned “sovereignty” 21 times. That’s in contrast to a single reference to “human rights.” The United Nations, he stated, “was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security and promote their prosperity.” That may be, but it’s far from the full picture.

      The U.N., and other international institutions that the United States helped build after the horrors of World War II, recognized that without justice and fundamental human rights, there can be no peace or security. As a result, the 1945 charter of the United Nations is actually more rigorous in its requirements that “human rights and fundamental freedoms” be protected and defended than it is in its defense of national sovereignty. Indeed, it explicitly assigned to the General Assembly the responsibility of “assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out those rights in clear terms just a few years later.

    • Media’s Instinct to Rehabilitate the Powerful Has Not Changed Under Trump

      When Stephen Colbert introduced a surprise guest at the end of his Emmys opening monologue on Sunday night, the audience didn’t seem to expect to see former Trump administration press secretary Sean Spicer. The Late Night host shocked most of the crowd—Veep actress Anna Chlumsky was particularly amazed—with the selection of one of comedy’s favorite targets of the last year.

    • On Anthony Barnett’s ‘Lure of Greatness’

      In the era of Brexit and Trump, if another world is possible, what should it look like? Jeremy Fox finds much to praise in Barnett’s timely new study – but also interrogates the book’s interpretations of nationalism and neoliberalism.

    • How to read Donald Trump

      The organizers of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville last month knew just what they were doing when they decided to carry torches on their nocturnal march to protest the dethroning of a statue of Robert E. Lee. That brandishing of fire in the night was meant to evoke memories of terror, of past parades of hate and aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and Adolf Hitler’s Freikorps in Germany.

      The organizers wanted to issue a warning to those watching: that past violence, perpetrated in defense of the “blood and soil” of the white race, would once again be harnessed and deployed in Donald Trump’s America. Indeed, the very next day, that fatal August 12th, those nationalist fanatics unleashed an orgy of brutality that led to the deaths of three people and the injuring of many more.

      Millions around America and the world were horrified and revolted by that parade of torches. In my case, however, they also brought to mind deeply personal memories of other fires that had burned darkly so many decades before, far from the United States or Nazi Europe. As I watched footage of that rally, I couldn’t help remembering the bonfires that lit up my own country, Chile, in the aftermath of General Augusto Pinochet’s September 11th coup in 1973 – that “first 9/11,” which, with the active support of Washington and the CIA, had overthrown the popularly elected government of Salvador Allende.

      We faced the task of finding the words for, the look of, a new reality.

    • Being anti-Trump won’t win in 2020. What will?

      Anti-Trumpers harbour grief and anger about their defeat – this they couple with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Trump’s sins. But Democrats have provided no clear idea of how to move forward.

    • Germany’s right-wing AfD Party poised for major gains on election day

      A little over a year ago, few people gave Germany’s controversial, right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party any chance of making a dent in German national elections. In recent months, the party suffered through several embarrassing internal spats and saw its polling numbers sink amid growing support for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

      But AfD is now poised to become Germany’s third largest political party after Sunday’s elections. Opinion polls show the AfD scoring as much as 12 percent of the vote on Election Day, allowing it to send dozens of lawmakers to national Parliament – or Bundestag – and potentially disrupting German politics.

      If the predictions hold, it will be the first time since the end of World War II that a far-right party has attracted enough votes to enter Germany’s Parliament. And the strong showing means the AfD will be the biggest opposition party if Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) continues its governing coalition with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

    • Unwanted ads on Breitbart lead to massive click fraud revelations, Uber claims

      Uber has sued an advertising firm, Fetch Media, over allegations that the British firm and its Japanese parent company, Dentsu, fraudulently billed Uber tens of millions of dollars for various fake online ads.

      According to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday afternoon in federal court in San Francisco, Uber first realized that something was wrong when, earlier this year, the company began receiving complaints that its ads were appearing on Breitbart, a well-known conservative news website. Uber had specifically requested that its ads not appear on Breitbart at all.

      However, when Uber looked into the matter, “the publisher-reported name of the websites and mobile applications where Uber advertisements supposedly appeared did not match the actual URL accessed. For example, one publisher retained by Fetch reported clicks on Uber ads as coming from placements such as ‘Magic_Puzzles’ and ‘Snooker_Champion.’”

    • They said Melania Trump was the face of success. She made them take down billboards with her face.
    • Spanish police storm Catalan government buildings to stop independence referendum
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Senators hear emotional testimony on controversial sex-trafficking bill

      The legislation would alter Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects web publishers from being sued for content posted by third parties on their sites.

    • Is There A Single Online Service Not Put At Risk By SESTA?

      Earlier today, I wrote up a list of the many problems with SESTA and how it will be abused. Over and over again, we’ve seen defenders of the bill — almost none of whom have much, if any, experience in managing services on the internet — insist that the bill is “narrowly targeted” and wouldn’t create any problems at all for smaller internet services. However, with the way the bill is worded, that seems unlikely. As stated in the last post, by opening up sites to facing both lawsuits from state Attorneys General and civil lawsuits, SESTA puts almost any site that offers services to the public at risk. The problematic language in the bill is that this is the “standard” for liability…

    • Senator Blumenthal Happy That SESTA Will Kill Small Internet Companies

      So, earlier today the Senate Commerce Committee held a two and a half hour hearing about SESTA — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017. The panelists were evenly split, with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Yiota Souras from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children being in support of the bill, and Professor Eric Goldman and Abigail Slater from the Internet Association worrying about the impacts of SESTA (notably, both highlighted that they’re not against all changes to CDA 230, they just want to be quite careful and are worried about the language in this bill). I was actually somewhat surprised that the hearing wasn’t as bad as it could have been. There certainly was some grandstanding, and some insistence that because SESTA says it will go after sex trafficking, it obviously will — but many Senators did seem willing to listen to concerns about the bill and how it’s written. Much attention was paid to the sketchy “knowledge” standard in the bill, which we wrote about this morning. And that’s good — but there was a fair bit of nonsense spewed as well.

    • Russian Sketch-Comedy Caved to State Censorship, Says Former Writer

      A former editor and actor in Russia’s leading humor television show revealed in a Sept. 11 Youtube interview that the show’s content passes through several rounds of censors before being broadcasted.

      Since it first aired in the Soviet Union, the KVN comedy game show has been broadcast on state-run Channel 1, Russia’s most popular TV network, whose shares are divided between the Russian government and businessmen loyal to the Kremlin.

      In an interview on the Youtube channel Wanna Banana, award-winning comedian Dmitry Kolchin described numerous instances when the show’s content was cut or filtered by Channel One editors.

    • Author of key Internet freedom law opposes new sex trafficking bill

      The United States Senate is moving toward passage of a bill that would—for the first time—water down a landmark 1996 law that shields website operators from lawsuits and state prosecution for user-generated content. And one of the authors of that 1996 law, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), argued Tuesday that this would be a mistake.

      The Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act now has 28 co-sponsors, and the breadth of that support was evident at a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. The legislation would allow state attorneys general to prosecute websites that are used to promote sex trafficking—something that’s currently barred by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It would also allow private lawsuits against sites that host sex trafficking ads.

    • Censorship, social media and Saudi Arabia

      Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms in Middle Eastern countries, especially in Saudi Arabia with more than seven million users a day.

      However, they are not being allowed to see the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel on Snapchat.

      It is blocked by Snapchat because the Saudi government said the channel’s content violates the cybercrime laws.

      It is the latest measure announced by Saudi leaders after they cut diplomatic ties with Qatar n June 5 and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on it along with few neighbouring states.

    • Saudi Arabia To Unblock Internet Calling Applications
    • ORG response to calls for automated takedowns of online extremist content

      “Internet companies have a role to play in removing illegal content from their platforms but we need to recognise the limitations of relying on automated takedowns. Mistakes will inevitably be made – by removing the wrong content and by missing extremist material.

      “Given the global reach of these companies, automated takedowns will have a wide-reaching effect on the content we see, although not necessarily on the spread of extremist ideas as terrorists will switch to using other platforms.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Government Drops Facebook Search Warrant Gag Order At Eleventh Hour

      Details from the case are limited, but the warrant appears to target protesters arrested during Trump’s inauguration. Nearly eight months after having the gag orders challenged, the government has decided to let Facebook inform users affected by the government’s demand for 90 days of Facebook activity from three accounts. But there’s no victory here for Facebook, because it appears the government is merely seeking to avoid losing the case and having gag order-unfriendly precedent established in a district where it does a whole lot of secretive work.

    • The NSA’s Weird Interest In File Sharing Programs

      Another large Snowden document dump from The Intercept uncovers many more off-brand uses of NSA surveillance tools. The pile of documents come from the NSA’s “SID (Signals Intelligence Directorate) Today” files, of which there are apparently thousands of available pages. The documents released late last week show that if it happened online, the NSA was looking at it.

    • Over 40,000 mobile phone ID users in Portugal

      Portugal’s Chave Móvel Digital (Digital Mobile Key) is now used by more than 40,000 citizens, reports the Agency for Administrative Modernisation (AMA). This authentication method for eGovernment services, combining a PIN code and a one-time security number sent by SMS or email, was introduced by AMA in 2014.

    • CYBERCOM and NSA leadership needs to evolve and that may mean a leadership split

      President Donald Trump already announced that U.S. Cyber Command will split off from the National Security Agency and become a full-fledged combatant command, but the matter of leadership is still to be determined.

    • What Cybercom’s independence means
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Middlebury College Policy Rewards Censorship And Makes Violent Threats Effective [Ed: GOP-aligned media continues to malign education, usually under the "college" flag]
    • Women who had relationships with police spies criticise inquiry

      Women who were deceived into sexual relationships with undercover police officers have called for an urgent meeting with the home secretary over fears the official public inquiry lacks openness and fails to recognise claims of institutional sexism within the Metropolitan police.

      In an open letter to Amber Rudd, 13 women who had relationships with men they did not know were undercover officers criticise delays and raise concerns over the suitability of the new chair of the undercover policing inquiry, Sir John Mitting QC.

    • No easy answers for ending forced labour in India

      The current targets and indicators proposed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation as of 8 March 2017 for the realisation of SDG 8.7 are wholly inadequate. In particular, the implementation of laws should be monitored (as indicators) rather than the mere ratification of international conventions or adoption of laws. Similarly, alongside measuring the number of prosecutions of traffickers, it is essential to monitor or report on the budgetary allocation and expenditure on assistance to exploited people (bonded labourers, trafficked persons, etc.). In order to draw up an appropriate baseline, the government of India is urged to take advantage of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018 to set out relevant data about the way in which Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being respected in India.

    • Let Jeffrey Sterling Go

      Risen’s book was published soon after Sterling filed a racial discrimination suit against the CIA, arguing that he was denied an overseas assignment because, as his supervisor told him at the time, he would attract attention “as a big black guy speaking Farsi.” Sterling’s suit was dismissed on national security grounds (“We’d love to defend ourselves, but to do that we’d have to release classified information”) by the hanging judge who would later oversee Sterling’s conviction and send him to prison.

      After the book was published, the CIA argued that Sterling was Risen’s source, claiming that Sterling was seeking revenge against the Agency for having his suit dismissed. Prosecutors pointed to metadata indicating that Sterling and Risen had had a handful of phone conversations over the course of 18 months, and that Sterling was probably giving Risen classified information. That’s it. No proof. There were no recordings, no emails, no witnesses, no in-person meetings, no nothing. Just the CIA telling Sterling’s jury, “Take our word for it.”

      Sterling left for prison at Colorado’s FCI Englewood in mid-2015. The BOP has a regulation that prisoners will be assigned to prisons within 500 miles of their homes. It’s supposed to be an effort to keep families intact. But Sterling was sent to a prison nearly 900 miles from home. The BOP said – again, disingenuously – that it was a bed space issue.

      The BOP set out from the very beginning of Sterling’s sentence to make it as difficult as possible. A year ago, Sterling suffered a heart attack in prison that went undiagnosed and then untreated until activists petitioned Colorado Democratic senator Michael Bennett to inquire about his health. Sterling was denied medication until further activism forced some action. In April, he was sent to solitary confinement for several days for “standing too closely” to a corrections officer, an unprovoked outrage that was later dismissed by more senior prison officials.

    • Keith Tharpe’s Scheduled Execution Tests Our Nation’s Tolerance for the Death Penalty’s Racial Bias

      Only a unanimous jury can convict and impose a death sentence in Georgia, and the law has long recognized that misconduct by a single juror requires reversal. The juror’s stunning admission of racially biased views, including his view of the defendant, should have led to a hearing and a new trial. Instead, Tharpe faces possible execution next Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

      In what threatens to be a grave miscarriage of justice, no court has ever considered the testimony about this misconduct. The federal courts must act now under the law’s constitutional promise of equality and fairness and reopen his case so that his claim of racial bias can finally be heard.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • T-Mobile’s unlimited plan will soon let you use 50GB before slowdowns

      T-Mobile USA will soon let subscribers to its unlimited data plans use at least 50GB of data each month before risking slowdowns in congested areas.

      All four major nationwide carriers slow down their heaviest data users when they connect to congested cell towers. But while Verizon Wireless and AT&T set the potential throttle point at 22GB, and Sprint at 23GB, T-Mobile is already letting customers use at least 32GB a month before risking slowdowns.

    • Sign the open letter: European businesses concerned about US changes to net neutrality

      Josh from Fight for the Future writes, “The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is threatening to rollback its net neutrality protections, which help make the Internet a place of equal opportunity and international innovation.”

      “If these rules are repealed, major US Internet service providers will become gatekeepers of the country’s digital economy, and will be in a position to harm or destroy global businesses. For example, US ISPs would gain powers to block your sites and apps, or force your businesses to pay expensive “prioritization” fees just to reach customers online.

    • Stand Up for Net Neutrality: Help Paperstorm the FCC

      Ajit Pai, current Chairman of the FCC, put it bluntly: “We need to fire up the weed whacker” and remove rules like net neutrality, he said recently.

      To keep net neutrality (and a healthy internet) intact, Mozilla is deploying Paperstorm, our activism website developed alongside design studio Moniker.

  • DRM
    • HP Brings Back Obnoxious DRM That Cripples Competing Printer Cartridges

      Around a year ago, HP was roundly and justly ridiculed for launching a DRM time bomb — or a software update designed specifically to disable competing printer cartridges starting on a set date. As a result, HP Printer owners using third-party cartridges woke up one day to warnings about a “cartridge problem,” or errors stating, “one or more cartridges are missing or damaged,” or that the user was using an “older generation cartridge.” The EFF was quick to lambast the practice in a letter to HP, noting that HP abused its security update mechanism to trick its customers and actively erode product functionality.

      HP only made matters worse for itself by claiming at the time that it was only looking out for the safety and security of its customers, while patting itself on the back for being pro-active about addressing a problem it caused — only after a massive consumer backlash occurred.

    • EFF quits W3C over decision to accept EME as Web standard

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has resigned from the World Wide Web Consortium after the latter announced it was accepting the published Encrypted Media Extensions as a Web standard.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Court Allows San Diego Comic-Con’s Suit Against The Salt Lake City Comic Con To Move Forward

        A few months ago, we alerted our readers that a trademark dispute between the San Diego Comic-Con and a company producing a Salt Lake City Comic Con, originally filed in 2014, was still going on. In fact, the district court hearing the case just recently ruled on several motions from both parties, including motions for judicial notice (essentially having the court affirm basic facts about the case), motions to exclude expert testimony, and motions for summary judgement. On the face of it, the news is mostly bad for the Salt Lake City convention, with nearly every ruling coming down against it. However, digging into the ruling itself, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

        As for the bad news, it seems to be mostly of the Salt Lake City Comic Con’s own making, or the making of its legal team. The court points out that the defendant’s lawyers motion and defenses are all over the place, in some places arguing for generecide — or that “comic con” has become a generic term — while in others arguing that “comic con” is generic ab initio — or that the term was generic even prior to San Diego Comic-Con’s initial use of it. It’s an important distinction for a couple of reasons, including that the defenses SLC has stated it will make revolve around genericide, yet much of the evidence in the motions in this ruling revolve around generic ab initio and, more importantly, the 9th Circuit doesn’t have any precedent or acknowledgement of generic ad initio as a matter of law, and this district court is governed by 9th Circuit precedent.

    • Copyrights
      • Pepe the Frog’s Creator Goes Legally Nuclear Against the Alt-Right

        Update: Several people who received legal threats from Matt Furie say they will fight back. Read our update—The Great Meme War II: Amid Lawsuit Threats, the Alt-Right Says Pepe Belongs to Them.

        Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie has made good on his threat to “aggressively enforce his intellectual property.”

        The artist’s lawyers have taken legal action against the alt-right. They have served cease and desist orders to several alt-right personalities and websites including Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the r/the_Donald subreddit. In addition, they have issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests to Reddit and Amazon, notifying them that use of Pepe by the alt-right on their platforms is copyright infringement. The message is to the alt-right is clear—stop using Pepe the Frog or prepare for legal consequences.

      • Man who made “Pepe” wants his frog back, and he’ll use copyright to get it

        Matt Furie created the cartoon character Pepe the Frog in 2005 as a kind of peaceful stoner animal for his comic “Boys Club.” By 2008, the frog had become a meme at 4chan. In the 2016 election cycle, though, Pepe became something completely different—an ever-meme of the alt-right. The Anti-Defamation League characterizes Pepe as a hate symbol and has catalogued some of the most viciously racist and anti-semitic examples.

        Now Furie wants his comic frog back. After years of letting it slide, Furie has lawyered up and sent demand letters to several alt-right personalities, including white supremacist Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the subreddit “The_Donald.”

      • Publishers’ Legal Action Advances Against Sci-Hub

        On Friday (September 22), a hearing for ACS’s case against Sci-Hub will take place at a federal trial court in Virginia. The society filed a default judgement request on September 1, asking the court to order the site to cease illegal distribution of its material and pay $4.8 million in damages.

      • Stream Ripping Piracy Goes From Bad to Worse, Music Industry Reports

        New data not only reveals that stream ripping remains the music industry’s main piracy threat, but it’s growing too. IFPI’s latest music consumer insight report shows that more than a third of all Internet subscribers use stream rippers to access unlicensed music.

When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

Wednesday 20th of September 2017 05:34:41 PM

Summary: In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private ‘property’ (in defiance of critics)

Google lost its way; it lost its way on patents too. Google is not only pursuing software patents but it is also trying to privatise the public domain. As we had covered this twice already [1, 2] we decided to explore where things stand.

It turns out that the person who first brought up the subject is currently pursuing ways to “find legal help for defending ANS coding,” according to him.

“Google is not only pursuing software patents but it is also trying to privatise the public domain.”“I have seen your Techrights article mentioning my ANS Goolge patent situation,” he told us. “There is also another ongoing patent attempt which is nearly granted by USPTO (second Notice of Allowance), also for basic obvious possibility.

“This defense requires a serious legal help, I have no chance to afford. I have tried asking EFF and EFFE, but there was nearly no response (I wouldn’t be surprised if they were supported by Google, like in the Barry Lynn sandal).”

We have decided that the least we can do is raise this subject again (mention it publicly) and name the culprit/s in hope that bad PR alone would discourage him/them from proceeding. Failing that, we shall escalate with patent offices or whatnot.

“We have decided that the least we can do is raise this subject again (mention it publicly) and name the culprit/s in hope that bad PR alone would discourage him/them from proceeding.”It was all over the media in Poland, we have been told, but as usual, “Google does not comment.”

I have this experience too.

As it turned out, the so-called ‘inventor’ has fled Google. His name is Alex Converse and people have already noticed that he left. From a comment:

According to his LinkedIn profile he is no longer with Google https://www.linkedin.com/in/al… [linkedin.com]

And another right after that:

The engineer may no longer work for Google, but it is Google that is paying and pushing forward said patent. This shows Google patent team acting out with scum-like behaviour.

If higher levels of management are aware of what is going on and they choose not to drop this from patent submission, then they too are likely showing scum-like behaviour

“If Google would admit the mistake,” told us the complainer, “it should be accompanied with some declaration of reparation, emphasizing pathology of software patents and need to fight it…

“Prior art or not, public domain or not, this is a software patent that must never be granted.”“While it seems there is no hurry with Google, the first attempt got second “Notice of Allowance” a month ago. It covers ANS with the most basic statistical modeling (Markov) — what was mentioned in my paper, and much earlier there was other implementation, now it is widely used in CRAM DNA compressor.”

As is typical/usual, when one lives in a country not so wealthy, challenging a company like Google in or outside the patent system is far too expensive. It means that, unless there’s public scrutiny, those with deeper pockets will get their way.

We shall keep an eye on this and find out if Google (or Mr. Converse) is still willing to go further with this. Prior art or not, public domain or not, this is a software patent that must never be granted.

Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry’s Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

Wednesday 20th of September 2017 04:46:37 PM

He’ll be biking his scooter somewhere else

Summary: The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving

DURING the weekend we wrote about BlackBerry becoming more like a patent troll. It was far from the first time we dabbled in this subject; we had been covering that for years.

BlackBerry’s patent deal was still in the news on Monday, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This non-story (press release) simply refused to die.

But then, the following day, IAM said that the man behind this strategy was leaving. To quote:

Mark Kokes has left BlackBerry and is no longer its senior vice president of intellectual property, licensing & standards, IAM has learned. In a sudden move, Kokes departed in mid-August and is not thought to have taken another position. For its part, BlackBerry does not seem to have appointed a direct replacement. In a recent press release announcing that Timex had entered into a patent-based agreement with the company, reaction from BlackBerry came from senior director of intellectual property licensing, Jerald Gnuschke.

Kokes is the third big name corporate IP departure in the space of just a month, following Allen Lo’s move from Google to Facebook and Brian Hinman’s decision to leave Philips.

A non-lawyer with an engineering background, as well as the holder of six granted patents, Kokes joined BlackBerry in June 2014 from InterTrust. After a year spent largely on strategic planning and internal reorganisation, including building a transactions team from scratch, he made his first big splash in June 2015, when BlackBerry announced a royalty-bearing licence deal with Cisco. Others with Canon and International Game Technology followed soon afterwards, as did the company’s first forays into the courts – with a suit launched against Avaya in Texas in July 2016, followed by others against the likes of Nokia and BLU. On the sales side, meanwhile, patents were transferred to Centerbridge Partners and Chinese mobile company Oppo, among others.

Might BlackBerry be wise enough to change strategy after the departure of Kokes? We certainly hope so.

WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook’s Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

Wednesday 20th of September 2017 04:27:21 PM

“Yeah, I’m going to fuck them in the ear”

–Mark Zuckerberg, President and Founder of Facebook (source)

Summary: React is being dumped following Facebook’s attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents

HAVING spent years covering Facebook’s patent strategy, we recently came to see its troubling licensing issue resurfacing again in the media (it’s actually fairly old news, but Apache’s intervention brought that back from the dead). There’s a lot more about it in our daily links; we considered that mostly a software issue rather than a patents issue.

This week, however, things got a little ‘hotter’ for Facebook because one of the main project that disseminated React said that it would cease doing that. In a sense, Facebook is killing its own projects/products with software patents. The subject was covered not only by WordPress and its founder but also by technical media yesterday and the day before that.

As US media put it:

Facebook is in the middle of a fraught battle. No, it’s not over the pernicious tide of fake news surging onto our newsfeeds, nor is it about privacy issues on the platform. Rather, it pertains to how the social media giant deals with the open source community, the code it releases to the world, and one cool piece of software called React.

Put simply, React is a JavaScript library that makes it easier for developers to write sophisticated front-ends. It was built by an engineer at Facebook, and in 2013, Facebook released it to the developer community under an open-source license. This isn’t unusual; tech companies release open source software all the time.

Facebook used a license derived from the popular BSD license, which is used by other popular open source projects. But here’s the problem: Facebook also threw in a few other clauses, which many developers and companies are finding to be problematic.

British media put it like this:

Automattic, the developer of the popular content management system WordPress, has decided to stop using Facebook’s React.js library, citing legal concerns.

WordPress’ founding developer Matt Mullenweg explains the decision by noting that Automattic has used React since 2015, when it put the code to work in the “Calypso” update that emerged in 2016. At the time, WordPress’ legal people felt there was no problem with React and developers liked it so much they planned to use it again in another big update called Gutenberg.

[...]

“Automattic still has no issue with the patents clause,” he writes, “but the long-term consistency with core is worth more than a short-term hit to Automattic’s business from a rewrite. Core WordPress updates go out to over a quarter of all websites, having them all inherit the patents clause isn’t something I’m comfortable with.”

A Microsoft propaganda site, as one might expect, blames “Open Source”, but actually it’s the fault of software patents (not “Open Source Licensing”). David Ramel’s spin does not merit much attention.

Facebook will find out the hard way that the community has little or no tolerance for these patent traps. Software developers loathe software patents.

Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

Wednesday 20th of September 2017 01:03:12 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Seven things about Linux you may not have known so far

    One of the coolest parts about using Linux is the knowledge you gain over time. Each day, you’re likely to come across a new utility or maybe just an unfamiliar flag that does something helpful. These bits and pieces aren’t always life-changing, but they are the building blocks for expertise.

    Even experts don’t know that all, though. No matter how much experience you might have, there is always more to learn, so we’ve put together this list of seven things about Linux you may not have known.

  • Desktop
    • Black screen of death after Win10 update? Microsoft blames HP

      Microsoft is pointing the finger of blame at HP’s factory image for black screens of death appearing after a Windows Update.

      Scores of PC owners took to the HP forums last week to report that Windows 10 updates released September 12 were slowing down the login process. Users stated that once they downloaded the updates and entered their username and password, they only saw black screens for about five to 10 minutes.

      The forum members said that clean installs or disabling a service called “app readiness”, which “gets apps ready for use the first time a user signs in to this PC and when adding new apps” seemed to fix the delay.

      Today, a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register: “We’re working to resolve this as soon as possible” and referred affected customers to a new support post.

  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation President uses Apple OS

      Jim Zemlin, President of the Linux Foundation, appears to have hit levels of fail unprecedented in the open saucy world.

      At the Open Source Summit 2017 not only did Zemlin do the usual comedy “this is the year of the Linux desktop” speech he did it using a comedy laptop with a joke operating system designed for those who know nothing about computers.

    • Linux 4.14 ‘getting very core new functionality’ says Linus Torvalds

      Linus Torvalds has unsentimentally loosed release candidate one of Linux 4.14 a day before the 26th anniversary of the Linux-0.01 release, and told penguinistas to expect a few big changes this time around.

      “This has been an ‘interesting’ merge window,” Torvalds wrote on the Linux Kernel Mailing List. “It’s not actually all that unusual in size – I think it’s shaping to be a pretty regular release after 4.13 that was smallish. But unlike 4.13 it also wasn’t a completely smooth merge window, and honestly, I _really_ didn’t want to wait for any possible straggling pull requests.”

      Hence the Saturday release, instead of his usual Sunday.

      Torvalds also says this merge window included “some unusual activity.”

    • First Linux 4.14 release adds “very core” features, arrives in time for kernel’s 26th birthday

      Linus Torvalds has announced the first release candidate (rc) for Linux 4.14, the next long term stable release of the Linux kernel.

      This release introduces several new core memory management features, a host of device driver updates, and changes to documentation, architecture, filesystems, networking and tooling.

      It’s the first of a likely seven release candidates before the new kernel reaches stable release around November.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux Kernel 4.14, the Next LTS Release

      A day early than expected, Linux creator Linus Torvalds cautiously kicked off the development of the Linux 4.14 kernel series, which looks to be the next LTS (Long Term Support) branch, with the first Release Candidate (RC) milestone.

      That’s right, two weeks after the release of Linux kernel 4.13, which is currently the most stable and advanced kernel series, being adopted by more and more GNU/Linux distributions each day, the first RC development snapshot of Linux kernel 4.14 is ready for public testing, officially closing the merge window. And it looks like some core new functionality will be implemented in this release.

    • Linux Foundation wants to promote sustainable open source development with new initiatives

      During last week’s Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles, the Linux Foundation announced a series of projects designed to promote sustainability and growth in open source development.

      We wrote last week about their “Open Source Guides for the Enterprise,” which will see a series of guides by professionals from many different organizations released over the next few months.

      Following that, the foundation announced the Community Health Analytics for Open Source Software, or CHAOSS, project. With CHAOSS, the Linux Foundation wants to provide a platform for measuring and analyzing open source projects.

      The foundation also announced that it has granted a CII security badge to 100 projects through a voluntary process for open source projects to prove their security measures stack up professionally.

    • Early Linux 4.14 Kernel Benchmarks Are Looking Promising

      I’ve begun running some Linux 4.14-rc1 kernel benchmarks and in some areas there appears to be nice gains with this in-development kernel.

      If you are behind on your Phoronix reading and don’t know about all of the changes coming for this next kernel release — which will also be an LTS kernel — see our Linux 4.14 feature overview that was published this past weekend.

      Here are just some very early benchmarks while more are on the way.

    • Linux Foundation LFCE Georgi Yadkov Shares His Certification Journey

      The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems. One of the most important offerings is its Linux Certification Program. The program is designed to give you a way to differentiate yourself in a job market that’s hungry for your skills.

      How well does the certification prepare you for the real world? To illustrate that, The Linux Foundation is highlighting some of those who have recently passed the certification examinations. These testimonials should help you decide if either the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer certification is right for you. In this article, recently certified engineer Georgi Yadkov shares his experience.

    • Graphics Stack
    • Benchmarks
      • EPYC Linux performance from AMD

        Phoronix have been hard at work testing out AMD’s new server chip, specifically the 2.2/2.7/3.2GHz EPYC 7601 with 32 physical cores. The frequency numbers now have a third member which is the top frequency all 32 cores can hit simultaneously, for this processor that would be 2.7GHz. Benchmarking server processors is somewhat different from testing consumer CPUs, gaming performance is not as important as dealing with specific productivity applications. Phoronix started their testing of EPYC, in both NUMA and non-NUMA configurations, comparing against several Xeon models and the performance delta is quite impressive, sometimes leaving even a system with dual Xeon Gold 6138′s in the dust. They also followed up with a look at how EPYC compares to Opteron, AMD’s last server offerings. The evolution is something to behold.

      • Opteron vs. EPYC Benchmarks & Performance-Per-Watt: How AMD Server Performance Evolved Over 10 Years

        By now you have likely seen our initial AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks. If you haven’t, check them out, EPYC does really deliver on being competitive with current Intel hardware in the highly threaded space. If you have been curious to see some power numbers on EPYC, here they are from the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server. Making things more interesting are some comparison benchmarks showing how the AMD EPYC performance compares to AMD Opteron processors from about ten years ago.

      • Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 Works As A Linux-Friendly Threadripper Motherboard

        For the past few weeks that I have been testing the AMD Threadripper 1950X on Linux, I have been using the Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard. Overall, it’s been a pleasant experience and is running fine under Linux. Here’s a quick summary.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma Mobile in Randa(aaaaaaaa)

        Last week I had a chance to attend the Randa meetings 2017, my plan was to work on the Plasma Mobile during the sprint, improve the state of current images.

      • Progress On KDE Plasma Mobile From Randa 2017

        KDE contributor Bhushan Shah has shared some highlights of Plasma Mobile progress made from this year’s Randa Meetings in Switzerland.

        At this annual KDE developer event in the Swiss mountains, some of the Plasma Mobile advancements worked on or reviewed included:

        - Plasma Mobile images are now being assembled by the KDE Neon build system rather than the Plasma Mobile CI.

      • Calligra Suite does not suit me

        It pains me to say so, but the split from KOffice to Calligra has given this program only a temporary infusion of hope, and looking back at my 2013 trial, it’s not made any progress since. On the contrary. Calligra Suite is slow, difficult to use, and it comes with less than ideal file format support. My conclusion here is much the same regarding different Linux software, be it distros or desktop environments. 90% of it just shouldn’t exist, and the effort must be focused on just one or two select programs with the highest quality and chance of making it big. The infinite forking doesn’t do anyone any good.

        Calligra Suite has the potential, but it’s far, far from realizing it, and the world of Plasma has left it behind. The interface split is bad, too much equity is taken by a confusing maze of options, the performance is dreadful, the stability flaky, and the rest does not scale or compare against LibreOffice, let alone Microsoft Office. I wish my findings were different, but it cannot be. Ah well. Like so many other flowers of the open-source world, this one must wilt. I’ll keep an eye, but I doubt there is ever going to be enough focus or love to make Calligra into a serious competitor. Dedoimedo’s sad prose out.

      • Plasma 5.11 beta available in unofficial PPA for testing on Artful

        Adventurous users and developers running the Artful development release can now also test the beta version of Plasma 5.11. This is experimental and can possibly kill kittens!

      • Kubuntu: Writing Japanese (Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana) Easily

        On Kubuntu system, we can write Japanese easily using Fcitx-Mozc tool! This awesome tool eases you with word-suggestions popup on-the-fly, with ability to switch between Kanji-Hiragana-Katakana-ASCII as simple as one click. It’s very well integrated to the whole screens inside KDE Plasma desktop, enables you to write Japanese in Firefox browser, LibreOffice, Kate text editor, and even Konsole terminal.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.26 Released! Check Out the New Features

        GNOME 3.26 is the latest version of GNOME 3 released six months after the last stable release GNOME 3.24. The release, code-named “Manchester”, is the 33rd stable release of the free, open-source desktop.

  • Distributions
    • Top Linux Distros for Media Creation

      I find it interesting how many existing Linux users don’t realize there are specialized distributions just for media creation. These distributions come with a bundle of special media-centric applications, a real-time kernel and other tweaks provided by default.

      This article will provide a tour of these top Linux distros for media creation. I’m confident that even if you’ve heard of some of these distros, you might not be aware of what makes them unique when compared to a standard desktop Linux distribution.

    • Arch Family
      • Arch Arch and away! What’s with the Arch warriors?

        If you choose to begin your Linux adventures with Arch Linux after trying Ubuntu for a month, you’re probably doing it wrong. If there’s a solid reason why you think Arch is for you; awesome! Do it. You will learn new things. A lot of new things. But hey, what’s the point in learning what arch-chroot does if you can’t figure out what sudo is or what wpa_supplicant does?

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Ethical Hacking Distro Parrot Security Gets ZFS Support, It’s Based on Debian 10

        Parrot Security OS, the security-oriented GNU/Linux distribution designed with IoT (Internet of Things) security, ethical hacking, and cloud-based penetration testing in mind, has been updated recently to version 3.8.

      • Debian Policy call for participation — September 2017
      • Mini-DebConf 2017 Debian Conference to Take Place November 23-26 in Cambridge UK

        Debian developer and leader of the debian-cd project Steve McIntyre announced the official dates and schedule of this year’s Mini-DebConf conference for Debian developers and users.

        The Mini-DebConf 2017 conference will take place for four days, from Thursday, November 23 until Sunday, November 26, and it will be hosted at Arm’s office in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Arm is Steve McIntyre’s employer and the industry’s leading supplier of microprocessors for embedded and IoT devices.

        “I’m organizing another mini-DebConf in Cambridge this year. Again, my employer Arm is going to host the conference for four days in November,” said Steve McIntyre in the mailing list announcement. “I’m also hoping to find sponsors again to cover some other costs for the conference for things like food – please contact me if you can help!”

      • Derivatives
        • Tails 3.2 release candidate has been released for testing

          The LiveUSB Linux distribution, Tails (the amnesic incognito live system), has received a new release candidate for the upcoming 3.2 update that’s due out on the 26th of this month. The update comes with some big under-the-hood changes to the system which should improve hardware support and the email experience.

          If you’ve ever decided to try Tails on newer hardware, you may have had some driver issues; with this release, Tails ships with the Linux 4.12.12 kernel which is one of the latest. With it, users will get a better hardware experience; for example, the NVIDIA Maxwell series of graphics cards are now supported.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Can Artful Aardvark Regain Ubuntu’s Popularity on the Desktop?

            The upcoming Artful Aardvark release marks Ubuntu’s return to GNOME as its desktop environment. After seven years, Unity will be abandoned, along with plans for a single desktop for all devices and the replacement of the X window system with Mir.

            According to Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, these changes are being made in the hopes of making profitable Canonical, Ubuntu’s governing company, and to allow Canonical to focus on its server and OpenStack business. However, to desktop users, the more pressing issue is whether these changes can help Ubuntu regain its domination of the desktop.

          • Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC Are the Most Popular Apps Among Ubuntu Users

            Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland attended this year’s UbuCon Europe conference for Ubuntu users and developers in Paris, France, where he revealed the results of the Ubuntu desktop survey and the apps that users want to see by default in future Ubuntu releases.

          • Results of the Ubuntu Desktop Applications Survey

            I had the distinct honor to deliver the closing keynote of the UbuCon Europe conference in Paris a few weeks ago. First off — what a beautiful conference and venue! Kudos to the organizers who really put together a truly remarkable event. And many thanks to the gentleman (Elias?) who brought me a bottle of his family’s favorite champagne, as a gift on Day 2 I should give more talks in France!

          • Mir support for Wayland

            I’ve seen some confusion about how Mir is supporting Wayland clients on the Phoronix forums . What we are doing is teaching the Mir server library to talk Wayland in addition to its original client-server protocol. That’s analogous to me learning to speak another language (such as Dutch).

            This is not anything like XMir or XWayland. Those are both implementations of an X11 server as a client of a Mir or Wayland. (Xmir is a client of a Mir server or and XWayland is a client of a Wayland server.) They both introduce a third process that acts as a “translator” between the client and server.

          • Mir 1.0 Still Planned For Ubuntu 17.10, Wayland Support Focus

            Following our reporting of Mir picking up initial support for Wayland clients, Mir developer Alan Griffiths at Canonical has further clarified the Wayland client support. It also appears they are still planning to get Mir 1.0 released in time for Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Webinar: OpenStack Pike is here, what’s new?

            Sign up for our new webinar about the Canonical OpenStack Pike release. Join us to learn about the new features and how to upgrade from Ocata to Pike using OpenStack Charms.

          • Bright Computing Announces Support for Ubuntu

            right Computing, a global leader in cluster and cloud infrastructure automation software, today announced the general availability of Bright Cluster Manager 8.0 with Ubuntu.

            With this integration, organizations can run Bright Cluster Manager Version 8.0 on top of Ubuntu, to easily build, provision, monitor and manage Ubuntu high performance clusters from a single point of control, in both on-premises and cloud-based environments.

          • BlueBorne Vulnerability Is Patched in All Supported Ubuntu Releases, Update Now

            Canonical released today new kernel updates for all of its supported Ubuntu Linux releases, patching recently discovered security vulnerabilities, including the infamous BlueBorne that exposes billions of Bluetooth devices.

            The BlueBorne vulnerability (CVE-2017-1000251) appears to affect all supported Ubuntu versions, including Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) up to 16.04.3, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) up to 14.04.5, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) up to 12.04.5.

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
    • postmarketOS: An Ultimate Linux Distro For Your Smartphones Is Coming

      One of the key strengths of Linux-based operating systems is their ability to run on a variety of hardware, ranging from a decade old computers to the latest generation Intel chips. The kernel developers work day and night to keep our devices breathing running. In the past, we have also prepared a list of Linux distributions that are best suited for older computers with limited hardware requirements.

      This brings us to the question — Why aren’t tons of Linux operating system options available for mobile devices? The mobile ecosystem is chiefly dominated by Android and iOS, with Android enjoying a presence on a wide range of devices. But, on the fronts of updates, even Android fails to deliver. Very often the top-of-the-line flagship devices are deprived of the latest updates just after 2-3 years. To solve this question, postmarketOS has appeared on the horizon.

    • Linux friendly IoT gateway runs on 3.5-inch Bay Trail SBC

      While the MB-80580 SBC lists SATA II, the gateway indicates SATA III. Also, the gateway datasheet notes that the RS232 ports can all be redirected to RS232/422/485. Software includes Windows IoT Core and Server, as well as Yocto, Ubuntu Snappy Core, and CentOS Linux distributions.

    • Rugged panel PC scales up to a 19-inch touchscreen

      The fanless, IP65-rated WinSystems “PPC65B-1x” panel PC runs Linux or Win 10 on a quad-core Atom E3845, and offers 10.4 to 19-inch resistive touchscreens.

    • Portable Android SDR player supports DRM and DAB

      Titus SDR’s Android-based “Titus II” Software Defined Radio receiver has a 7-inch touchscreen, a WiFi hotspot, and support for FM, AM, DRM, DAB, and DAB+.

      Titus SDR is prepping an Android-based wideband digital RF receiver with Software Defined Radio (SDR) capabilities and a hi-fi amplifier. Built around a 7-inch Android tablet, the portable, battery-powered Titus II is billed as the world’s first consumer SDR digital receiver, “bringing true multi-standard radio reception with DRM (AM & VHF bands), DAB(+) and core data applications.”

    • 5 Raspberry Pi Alternatives to Build Your Own Small Computer

      A single board computer (SBC) is a complete computer built on a single circuit board. These tiny PCs were designed to be low cost and energy efficient. As such, SBCs proved to be popular with hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts and educational institutions.

      Upon the release of the Raspberry Pi, SBCs gained far greater attention. The Raspberry Pi was initially designed to teach basic computer science. The first-generation Raspberry Pi was released in 2012 and quickly surpassed expectations. It has since gone on to become the best-selling British computer of all time with over eleven million units sold.

      Despite its popularity, the Raspberry Pi family of computers are not the only SBCs on the market. In fact there are a number of manufacturers making SBCs at lower price points and with more powerful hardware. If you’re looking for a Raspberry Pi alternative, consider the SBCs below.

    • AMD Zen Temperature Monitoring On Linux Is Working With Hwmon-Next

      If you want CPU temperature monitoring to work under Linux for your Ryzen / Threadripper / EPYC processor(s), it’s working on hwmon-next.

      The temperature monitoring support didn’t make it for Linux 4.14 but being published earlier this month were finally patches for Zen temperature monitoring by extending the k10temp Linux driver.

    • Fanless Skylake computer offers four PCI and PCIe slots

      Adlink’s MVP-6010 and MVP-6020 embedded computers run Linux or Windows on Intel 6th Gen CPUs, and offer 4x PCI/PCIe slots, 6x USB ports, and 4x COM ports.

      If Adlink’s new MVP-6010/6020 Series looks familiar, that’s because it’s a modified version of the recent MVP-5000 and last year’s MVP-6000 industrial PCs. The top half appears to be identical, with the same ports, layout, and Intel 6th Gen Core “Skylake” TE series processors. Like the MVP-6000, it adds a PCI and PCIe expansion unit on the bottom, but whereas the MVP-6000 had two slots, the MVP-6010 and MVP-6020 have four.

    • Android
Free Software/Open Source
  • Open source – we need better pathways so inclusion can flourish

    Running a conference with a really strong cohort of diversity scholars this week, with a broad range of skills and backgrounds, really made me think. We had Ian Skerrett, VP of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, and Abby Kearns, executive director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation at the event. Both are keen to improve diversity in their communities. But how are we going to create better and more welcoming pathways for a more diverse range of entrants?

    I asked both Ian and Abby what other roles there were outside writing code. They both gave solid answers about different roles and opportunities. One stock answer in open source is of course Write Documentation!

  • Cloudera Joins Eclipse Foundation Open Source IoT Community
  • Keybase launches fully encrypted Slack-like communications tool — and it’s free

    Keybase added to its encrypted tool kit today when it launched Keybase Teams, an open source, Slack-like communications tool with end-to-end encryption. Desktop and mobile versions are available for download now.

    It may seem like competing with Slack, the enormously popular enterprise communications tool would be a fool’s errand for Keybase. But by making it fully encrypted, open source and free, even for teams as large as 500 people, it could be attractive to cost- and security-conscious teams who are at all worried about anyone snooping on their communications.

  • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Communication and Collaboration

    Today’s system administrators are wise to arm themselves with specialized technical skillsets, but sysadmins interact with people at least as much as they deal with systems, software, and security. Strong communication capabilities, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills are therefore not to be underestimated.

  • Demand for Open Source Skills on the Rise

    Hiring managers from 280 global businesses, along with 1,800 open source professionals participated in the July study by The Linux Foundation and tech career firm Dice.

    That’s good news if you have open source skills; indeed, 86 percent of professionals say open source has advanced their careers. The not-so-good news is 89 percent of hiring managers are finding it difficult to find this type of talent, which is in line with last year’s finding of 87 percent. The specific areas hiring managers say open source talent is in short supply are developers (73 percent), DevOps (60 percent) and SysAdmins (53 percent).

  • How a town uses an open source tool for collaboration and managing large files

    The internationally renowned ski resort village of Megève, France, uses open source to manage increasing volumes of data while also making it more easily accessible. Located in the French Alps, Megève welcomes more than 80,000 visitors annually as the host of multiple concerts, cultural, and sporting events, including the Tour de France. With more than 300 employees, the city’s IT department manages more than 220 workstations, 40 virtual servers, and 60 switches connected to its network.

    Sharing and collaborating on digital files is vital to all aspects of daily work in Megève. Many city departments must share files securely with external partners, particularly the communication department, which produces a great amount of content for tourists. This material includes large files such as models, final proofs, and photo libraries, which must be exchanged with designers, printers, and other partners. Similarly, architect firms working on calls for town planning projects routinely transfer files such as 3D plans, which can exceed 40+GB in size.

  • Google Code-in 2017 lets students win prizes while learning about open source

    Open source is changing the world, and it is important that children get educated on the subject as early as possible. Its a competitive workforce out there, and students need to be prepared. Of course, learning about open source doesn’t have to be a chore — gaining knowledge can sometimes be fun too.

    Google does a lot for the open source community — far more than just contributing code. Actually, the search giant hosts two very important education-focused open source events — “Google Code-in” for younger teen students and “Google Summer of Code” for University-level learners. Today, the company announces the 8th annual edition of the former — Google Code-in 2017. Not only can these teens gain experience by working on an open source project, but they can also win prizes!

  • Open source tool aims to deliver more efficient web development

    Websites are essential for businesses in the modern world, which puts web development teams under pressure to deliver results.

    Open source tool specialist DRUD Tech is launching a new tool called ddev which is designed to do away with the complicated steps and disparate components of website development.

    Using a simple interface, ddev manages many complex technologies, including industry standard components like MySQL, NGINX, and PHP, with the ability to extend to include Redis, Apache Solr, memcache, Varnish, and more. For experienced development teams this means ddev can eliminate unnecessary delays, errors, and inefficiencies common throughout the traditional development to deployment and hosting lifecycle.

  • Banks are turning to open source for blockchain, says Google engineer

    Banks have historically developed all software in-house and maintained a fierce secrecy around their code, but more recently they’ve embraced open-source. They’re likely to use open source for one of the most hotly tipped technologies out there – blockchain.

  • Innersource: How to leverage open source in the enterprise

    Companies of varying sizes across many industries are implementing innersource programs to drive greater levels of development collaboration and reuse. They ultimately seek to increase innovation; reduce time to market; grow, retain, and attract talent; and of course, delight their customers.

    In this article, I’ll introduce innersource and some of its key facets and examine some of the problems that it can help solve. I’ll also discuss some components of an innersource program, including metrics.

  • Events
    • Diversity Empowerment Summit Features Stories from Individual Persistence to Industry-wide Change

      Last week at The Linux Foundation’s first Diversity Empowerment Summit we heard from so many amazing speakers about how they are working to improve diversity in the tech industry.

      Leaders from companies including Comcast, DreamWorks, IBM, Rancher Labs, Red Hat and many others recounted their own personal struggles to fit in and advance as women and minorities in tech. And they gave us sage advice and practical tips on what women, minorities, and their allies can do to facilitate inclusion and culture change in open source and the broader tech community.

    • Open Source Summit: Day 1 in 5 minutes

      As you can see in the video below, the first day of the Open Source Summit was quite educational. My day was filled with clouds, containers, community building, flavors of Linux, and Linus Torvalds.

    • Reflection on trip to Kiel

      On Sunday, I flew home from my trip to Kiel, Germany. I was there for the Kieler Open Source und LinuxTage, September 15 and 16. It was a great conference! I wanted to share a few details while they are still fresh in my mind:

      I gave a plenary keynote presentation about FreeDOS! I’ll admit I was a little concerned that people wouldn’t find “DOS” an interesting topic in 2017, but everyone was really engaged. I got a lot of questions—so many that we had to wrap up before I could answer all the questions.

  • Databases
    • A quick tour of MySQL 8.0 roles

      This year at the Percona Live Open Source Database Conference in Dublin, I’ll be discussing a new feature introduced in MySQL 8.0: roles. This is a new security and administrative feature that allows database administrators to simplify user management and increases the security of multi-user environments.

      In database administration, users are granted privileges to access schemas, tables, or columns, depending on the business needs. When many different users require authorization for different sets of privileges, administrators have to repeat the process of granting privileges several times. This is both tedious and error-prone. Using roles, administrators can define sets of privileges for a user category, and then the user authorization becomes a single statement operation.

      Roles have been on the MySQL community’s wish list for a long time. I remember several third-party solutions that tried to implement roles as a hack on top of the existing privileges granting system. I created my own solution many years ago when I had to administer a large set of users with different levels of access. Since then, anytime a new project promised to ease the roles problem, I gave it a try. None of them truly delivered a secure solution, until now.

    • MyDiamo Expands Open Source Database Encryption Offerings to Include PostgreSQL
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • SPARC M8 Processors Launched

      While Oracle recently let go of some of their SPARC team, today marks the launch of the SPARC M8.

      The initial SPARC M8 line-up includes the T8-1, T8-2, T8-4. M8-8, and SuperCluster M8-8 servers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • RcppClassic 0.9.7

      A rather boring and otherwise uneventful release 0.9.7 of RcppClassic is now at CRAN. This package provides a maintained version of the otherwise deprecated first Rcpp API; no new projects should use it.

    • Facebook’s HHVM To Focus More On Hack, No Longer Focusing On PHP7 Compatibility

      Some interesting remarks today by Facebook’s HHVM/Hack language team as they plot their future agenda.

      First up, the HHVM 3.24 release due out in early 2018 will be their last release to commit to supporting PHP5. PHP5-specific features after that release may end up being dropped.

      Along with dropping PHP5 support, HHVM developers will no longer be focusing on PHP7 compatibility.

    • IBM’s Eclipse OpenJ9 Is A Promising Open-Source JVM

      For those that missed the news over the weekend, IBM has open-sourced its in-house JVM and contributed it to the Eclipse Foundation. Eclipse OpenJ9 is this new, full-featured, enterprise-ready open-source Java Virtual Machine.

    • Some Early Tests Of The Eclipse OpenJ9 Java Virtual Machine

      With IBM’s newly open-sourced J9 Java Virtual Machine as the Eclipse OpenJ9, I’ve run some quick benchmarks to get an idea how its performance is comparing to the de facto Java Virtual Machine, Hotspot.

    • SCons 3.0 Released

      For those that haven’t jumped fully on the Meson build system bandwagon, the SCons 3.0 software construction utility is now available.

    • Small Glowing Thing

      Quite a while ago I obtained an Adafruit NeoPixel Stick. It was cheap enough to be an impulse buy but it took me some time to get around to actually doing something with it.

      I’ve been wanting to play a little more with the ATtiny range of microcontrollers so these things seemed to go together nicely. It turns out that getting an ATtiny programmed is actually rather simple using an Arduino as an ISP programmer. I’ve written up some notes on the procedure at the 57North Hacklab wiki.

    • Clang-Refactor Tool Lands In Clang Codebase

      The clang-refactor tool is now living within the LLVM Clang SVN/Git codebase.

Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Vox Hedges Headline in Fit of Single-Payer Skepticism

      Vox.com, which brands itself as both a news source and an “explainer” of news, constructs many of its headlines around the word “why.” These include opinion essays (e.g., “Why Now Is Such a Strange Era in American Political History,” 9/6/17) or interviews (“A Veteran GOP Strategist Explains Why Conservative Elites Put Up With Trump’s Lies and Corruption,” 3/22/17). The headline style assures the reader that they can turn to Vox to understand the reasons behind current affairs.

      Vox’s lead story on Wednesday (9/13/17) used the same structure, with a curious (and clunky) twist: “Bernie Sanders Explains Why He Thinks Everything Short of Medicare-for-All Is Failure.” The unnecessary addition of “he thinks” to the formula sacrifices elegance for an extra layer of skepticism.

    • Attorneys General in 37 States Urge Insurance Industry to Do More to Curb Opioid Epidemic

      Attorneys general for 37 states sent a letter Monday to the health insurance industry’s main trade group, urging its members to reconsider coverage policies that may be fueling the opioid crisis.

      The letter is part of an ongoing investigation by the state officials into the causes of the opioid epidemic and the parties that are most responsible. The group is also focusing on the marketing and sales practices of drug makers and the role of drug distributors.

      On Sunday, ProPublica and The New York Times reported that many insurance companies limit access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications. The safer drugs are more expensive.

    • Blowing the whistle on the meat industry

      Consumers have been exposed to meat contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria because of poor hygiene practices and ineffective regulations in some UK abattoirs, according to a whistleblower meat inspector.

      After 20 years of working in abattoirs – inspecting animal carcasses for disease and making sure safety and hygiene rules are followed – he has decided to speak out. Regular hygiene lapses, coupled with poor regulation, could lead to dirty meat getting into the food chain and endangering human health, he believes. Previously unpublished official reports obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism back up many of his claims.

    • Access To Generic Reproductive Health Supplies Decades Behind Medicines?

      Despite a massive worldwide push to improve access to contraceptives, generic manufacturers say they’re not yet getting a good share of the pie.

    • Breaking – WHO Issues Alarming Report On Coming Shortage Of Antibiotics

      A new report issued today by the World Health Organization shows a “serious lack” of new antibiotics in development, even as resistance to existing antibiotics are on the rise. The head of the WHO said the report shows an “urgent need” for investment into research and development. In addition, a second report today from WHO on prioritisation of pathogens for R&D into new antibiotics.

      The 48-page report, “Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” is available here, according to WHO.

      Most drugs currently in the pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions, the report found. It “identifies 51 new antibiotics and biologicals in clinical development to treaty priority antibiotic pathogens, as well as tuberculosis and the sometimes deadly diarrhoeal infection Clostridium difficile,” the release said.

      [...]

      The report makes several references to patents. The study did not cover vaccines.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Monday
    • Here’s an Open Source Alternative to CCleaner
    • Software Has a Serious Supply-Chain Security Problem

      The warnings consumers hear from information security pros tend to focus on trust: Don’t click web links or attachments from an untrusted sender. Only install applications from a trusted source or from a trusted app store. But lately, devious hackers have been targeting their attacks further up the software supply chain, sneaking malware into downloads from even trusted vendors, long before you ever click to install.

      On Monday, Cisco’s Talos security research division revealed that hackers sabotaged the ultra-popular, free computer-cleanup tool CCleaner for at least the last month, inserting a backdoor into updates to the application that landed in millions of personal computers. That attack betrayed basic consumer trust in CCleaner-developer Avast, and software firms more broadly, by lacing a legitimate program with malware—one distributed by a security company, no less.

    • CCleaner Compromised to Distribute Malware for Almost a Month

      Version 5.33 of the CCleaner app offered for download between August 15 and September 12 was modified to include the Floxif malware, according to a report published by Cisco Talos a few minutes ago.

      Floxif is a malware downloader that gathers information about infected systems and sends it back to its C&C server. The malware also had the ability to download and run other binaries, but at the time of writing, there is no evidence that Floxif downloaded additional second-stage payloads on infected hosts.

    • From equanimity to Equifax [Ed: It’s NOT “about open-source software quality” but about Equifax not patching its software for >2 months]
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • The 2017 Linux Security Summit

      The past Thursday and Friday was the 2017 Linux Security Summit, and once again I think it was a great success. A round of thanks to James Morris for leading the effort, the program committee for selecting a solid set of talks (we saw a big increase in submissions this year), the presenters, the attendees, the Linux Foundation, and our sponsor – thank you all!

      Unfortunately we don’t have recordings of the talks, but I’ve included my notes on each of the presentations below. I’ve also included links to the slides, but not all of the slides were available at the time of writing; check the LSS 2017 slide archive for updates.

    • Key Considerations for Software Updates for Embedded Linux and IoT

      The Mirai botnet attack that enslaved poorly secured connected embedded devices is yet another tangible example of the importance of security before bringing your embedded devices online. A new strain of Mirai has caused network outages to about a million Deutsche Telekom customers due to poorly secured routers. Many of these embedded devices run a variant of embedded Linux; typically, the distribution size is around 16MB today.

      Unfortunately, the Linux kernel, although very widely used, is far from immune to critical security vulnerabilities as well. In fact, in a presentation at Linux Security Summit 2016, Kees Cook highlighted two examples of critical security vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel: one being present in kernel versions from 2.6.1 all the way to 3.15, the other from 3.4 to 3.14. He also showed that a myriad of high severity vulnerabilities are continuously being found and addressed—more than 30 in his data set.

    • APNIC-sponsored proposal could vastly improve DNS resilience against DDoS
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77

      Stanislav Petrov was on duty at a Russian nuclear early warning centre in 1983 when computers wrongly detected incoming missiles from the US.

      He took the decision that they were a false alarm and did not report them to his superiors.

    • Soviet air defense officer who saved the world dies at age 77

      Former Soviet Air Defense Colonel Stanislav Petrov, the man known for preventing an accidental nuclear launch by the Soviet Union at the height of Cold War tensions, has passed away. Karl Schumacher, a German political activist who first met Petrov in 1998 and helped him visit Germany a year later, published news of Petrov’s death after learning from Petrov’s son that he had died in May. Petrov was 77.

      Petrov’s story has since been recounted several times by historians, including briefly in William Taubman’s recent biography of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Gorbachev: His Life and Times. Ars also wrote about Petrov in our 2015 feature on Exercise Able Archer. On the night of September 26, 1983, Petrov was watch officer in charge of the Soviet Union’s recently completed US-KS nuclear launch warning satellite network, known as “Oko” (Russian for “eye”). To provide instant warning of an American nuclear attack, the system was supposed to catch the flare of launching missiles as they rose.

    • Fake Arguments for Killing Iran-Nuke Deal

      Opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), always has been filled with disingenuous arguments. This reflects the fundamental illogic of the opponents’ position: if the agreement were to be junked, this would mean removing a panoply of restrictions on Iran and re-opening now-closed avenues to a nuclear weapon for the very country that the opponents constantly contend is a serious threat.

      [...]

      If a nuclear weapon is somewhere in Iran’s future, it won’t be because of such supposed and ridiculously unrealistic Iranian thinking but rather because the bargain that prevents an Iranian nuke will have been overturned by a U.S. administration reneging on U.S. commitments and destroying the JCPOA.

    • The U.S. Military Can’t Keep Track of Which Missions It’s Fueling in Yemen War

      The United States has come under increasing scrutiny for what seems like unconditional support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition waging a brutal air war in Yemen. One of the key measures of that support has been refueling operations: U.S. tankers fill up planes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other coalition members, which go on to drop bombs in Yemen. Those bombs have killed at least 3,200 civilians and leveled hospitals and markets, leading to accusations that the U.S. is facilitating war crimes.

      But U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, now admits that it doesn’t even know how much fuel it offloads for Saudi Arabia and its partners — directly contradicting information about refueling operations that it previously released. Responding to questions from The Intercept, CENTCOM now says that it lumps together refueling data for the coalition with data for U.S. planes in the area, joint U.S.-Emirati missions, and possibly other operations. Even this pooled data has unexplained discrepancies.

    • The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free

      One of the most controversial proposals put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign was a pledge to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Critics from both parties howled that the pie-in-the-sky idea would bankrupt the country. Where, after all, would the money come from?

      Those concerns were brushed aside on Monday night, as the Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual increase in military spending, enough to have fully satisfied Sanders’ campaign promise. Instead, the Senate handed President Trump far more than the $54 billion he asked for. The lavish spending package gives Trump a major legislative victory, allowing him to boast about fulfilling his promise of a “great rebuilding of the armed services.”

      The bill would set the U.S.’s annual military budget at around $700 billion, putting it within range of matching the spending level at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • How the UN Covers for US Aggression

      President Trump opened his big United Nations week … and his famous mouth … with a predictable plug for one of his properties and some playful glad-handing with French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump also scolded the U.N.’s unwieldy scrum for “not living up to its potential.” He made a passing reference to the U.N.’s wasteful use of American money. And he called for “reform” of the much-maligned international forum.

    • Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong: Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

      This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

      I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

      What could he possibly mean?

      “Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin?

      [...]

      The US Central Intelligence Agency had been coordinating “covert” attacks against the shoreline of North Vietnam for months (OPLAN 34-A). Finally, in early August of 1964, a mid-level NV naval officer may have been responsible for ordering NV patrol boats to chase the USS Maddox out into international waters, as a result of it’s believed role in supporting these attacks (which was actually the case; the Maddox had an unusual and special NSA surveillance unit on board, and was also engaged in what were labeled “DeSoto Patrols,” moving into and out of territorial waters claimed by the Government of North Vietnam.) Among other things, these US attacks were designed to test and gain information about North Vietnamese radar and air defenses.

    • ‘Genocidal’ Trump Blasted for Threatening to ‘Totally Destroy North Korea’

      For what he said—and also for what he refused to mention—President Donald Trump was lampooned by progressive critics as he delivered his first ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday morning.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • The CIA Wins: Harvard, Chelsea Manning and Visiting Fellowships

      It all began with an announcement, made public on the website of the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Chelsea Manning would be joining a curious array of Visiting Fellows, including Mr Disaster, Robby Mook, and Sean Bumbling Spicer. (Manning, Spicer and Mook has a curious ring to it, the name, perhaps, of an error-prone debt recovery agency.)

      Mook will have something to tell members of the Kennedy School, being credited with directing one of the worst electoral campaigns in US electoral history. His fanatical insistence on statistical determinations had its own role to play in sinking Hillary Clinton, the person who hired him to get elected.

    • WikiLeaks releases ‘Spy Files: Russia’ detailing shadowy mass surveillance programme
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Beyond Harvey and Irma

      Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn’t even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois, and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

      Think of this as the new face of homeland security: containing the damage to America’s seacoasts, forests, and other vulnerable areas caused by extreme weather events made all the more frequent and destructive thanks to climate change. This is a “war” that won’t have a name — not yet, not in the Trump era, but it will be no less real for that. “The firepower of the federal government” was being trained on Harvey, as William Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in a blunt expression of this warlike approach. But don’t expect any of the military officials involved in such efforts to identify climate change as the source of their new strategic orientation, not while Commander in Chief Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office refusing to acknowledge the reality of global warming or its role in heightening the intensity of major storms; not while he continues to stock his administration, top to bottom, with climate-change deniers.

    • British tabloid told to admit its climate coverage was inaccurate

      Early this year, a British tabloid ran a hyperbolic article on climate change, claiming that world leaders had been “duped” by climate data that had been manipulated. It wasn’t unusual for the outlet or the article’s author to make badly misleading claims about climate research, and our own investigation into the underlying disagreement showed that the piece actually boiled down to a dispute about how best to archive data. These sorts of misrepresentations happen dozens of times a year.

      But something unusual did eventually happen as a response to the article in the Mail on Sunday: a UK press watchdog determined that the article breached the Editor’s Code of Conduct. Mail on Sunday was subsequently ordered to prominently display the inaccuracies above the article itself.

    • ‘Climate Change Is Making These Facilities Even More Dangerous’

      The story of devastating weather events like hurricanes is many stories, really. There’s no need to compete; they’re all critical. But there is something about the oil industry spurring climate disruption, lobbying against preventative or preparatory measures, and then adding to its harmful impact with their methods of operation. As Texas continues to reel under the effects of Harvey, it’s been noted that besides massive flooding, some communities were also faced with dangerous chemicals released into the air by refineries and petrochemical plants.

      How did that happen, and what can prevent it from happening again? Our next guest has been investigating that. Shaye Wolf is climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity. She joins us now by phone from Oakland. Welcome to CounterSpin, Shaye Wolf.

    • ‘Heaven Help Those in Dominica Tonight’: Category 5 Maria Makes Landfall

      Hurricane Maria was ugraded to a powerful Category 5 and “potentially catastrophic” storm Monday evening, with sustained winds over 160 mph, just before it slammed into the independent Caribbean island of Dominica as it carved a terrifying path similar (though not exact) to Hurricane Irma less than ten days ago.

    • Quiet energy revolution underway in Japan as dozens of towns go off the grid

      northern Japanese city’s efforts to rebuild its electric power system after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami mark a quiet shift away from the country’s old utility model toward self-reliant, local generation and transmission.

      After losing three-quarters of its homes and 1,100 people in the March 2011 temblor and tsunami, the city of Higashi Matsushima turned to the Japanese government’s “National Resilience Program,” with 3.72 trillion yen ($33.32 billion) in funding for this fiscal year, to rebuild.

  • Finance
    • UN Assembly Tackles Role Of Technology And Innovation In Sustainable Development

      Governments and the private sector must work more closely together in the area of technology and innovation to make the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality by 2030, government and major tech company officials said at today’s UN high-level event in New York. Today’s development problems won’t be solved with yesterday’s solutions but by all stakeholders – governments, civil society, youth, businesses and academia – working together, said General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák. Everyone must have “fair access to technologies and innovations” and to training, he said.

      [...]

      People will be expected to relearn, but it’s not clear what jobs will be out there, said Ashish Thakkar, founder of the Mara Group and chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. Both men agreed that AI should be a basic human right, whether as SDG number 18 (there are currently 17) or as an embedded part of the other 17 goals.

    • What Are Bitcoins?

      Bitcoin is a digital currency or electronic cash the relies on peer to peer technology for completing transactions. Since peer to peer technology is used as the major network, bitcoins provide a community like managed economy. This is to mean, bitcoins eliminate the centralized authority way of managing currency and promotes community management of currency. Most Also of the software related to bitcoin mining and managing of bitcoin digital cash is open source.

    • Robots ‘could take 4m UK private sector jobs within 10 years’

      Four million jobs in the British private sector could be replaced by robots in the next decade, according to business leaders asked about the future of automation and artificial intelligence.

      The potential impact amounts to 15% of the current workforce in the sector and emerged in a poll conducted by YouGov for the Royal Society of Arts, whose chief executive, Matthew Taylor, has been advising Downing Street on the future of modern work.

      Jobs in finance and accounting, transport and distribution and in media, marketing and advertising are most likely to be automated in the next decade, the research says.

    • Boris’ attack on young people is part of Brexit’s ‘traitor’ narrative

      That was the moment the culture war became real. That was the moment we realised how deeply the Brexit project was changing what it was to be British. This was the politicisation of the idea of only ever being one thing. It was an explicit demand, from the prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to conform – to prove your allegiance.

      It’s an old idea, probably even a basic human impulse. It allows us to simplify life into manageable categories, to define people as being in the in-group or the out-group. It is the monkey part of our brain shouting in our ear.

      In modern British politics its most recent advocate was Norman Tebbit. Younger readers will be lucky enough to have never heard of him, but he still haunts the House of Lords, a ghoulish unreconstructed old right winger whose ideas are suddenly much more alive than we could ever have predicted a couple of years ago. “A large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “Which side do they cheer for?”

      Anyone with a passing acquaintance of British Asian communities will know that the test refutes itself. It has within it the undermining of its own premise. Many Asian Brits support their country of heritage in the cricket and England in the football. Their identity is mixed. It is fluid. Tebbit could never understand this, just like he could never understand how an Olympic medallist like Leo Manzano would celebrate by running with an American and a Mexican flag together. These feelings are beyond the limits of his imagination.

    • Authorities Close In On Pro-Charter School Nonprofit For Illicit Campaign Contributions

      A New York-based education reform nonprofit funneled nearly $2.5 million to a related group in Massachusetts, according to new disclosures unearthed as part of a legal settlement.

      The Massachusetts operation, called Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy, a pro-charter group, was hit with a record $426,500 fine for failing to disclose its donors related to a 2016 Massachusetts ballot campaign — a race that became the most expensive ballot measure in state history.

      FESA is a 501(c)(4) offshoot of the New York-based Families for Excellent Schools, a 501(c)(3). That connection raises the stakes for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has jurisdiction over Families for Excellent Schools in New York and has made clean campaigns a centerpiece of his agenda.

      In exchange for their tax-exempt status, federal law bars 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in political activity, and some are calling on Schneiderman to investigate why Families for Excellent Schools made a multimillion-dollar contribution, now that the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance has acted.

      “This group spent $2.5 million on a Massachusetts ballot initiative. That is a screaming siren, a flashing red light,” says Michael Kink, executive director of the union-backed Strong Economy For All Coalition in New York. “I think it’s something the AG absolutely should look into. A number of other groups are aware of this potential violation, and we’re talking to each other. A substantive investigation is clearly needed.”

      A spokesperson for Schneiderman’s office declined The Intercept’s request for comment.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Moderators say Facebook didn’t prepare them to catch Russian propaganda

      The company relies on contractors who might screen thousands of ad components daily

    • A CASUALTY OF TRUMP’S WAR WITH CNN IS BACK IN THE GAME

      Earlier this summer, after he and two other investigative journalists were forced to resign from CNN following the retraction of an article about Trump consigliere Anthony Scaramucci, Thomas Frank considered leaving journalism altogether. The drama surrounding the Mooch story had seized the public’s attention, and Frank suspected that in the immediate future, no news outlet would want to touch him with a 10-foot pole. After his defenestration, he spent a lot of time looking at job postings for things in the realm of public-policy analysis. Think tanks seemed like a good option. Even lobbying wasn’t looking so bad.

      But within a few weeks, it became clear that the fallout from L’Affaire Scaramucci hadn’t turned Frank into a journalistic pariah. The story as it has unfolded is murkier, having as much to do with the idiosyncrasies of CNN’s journalistic culture—and its ongoing troubles with the president—as any error that may have been committed.

      Frank now has a new job covering national security and counterintelligence for BuzzFeed, which he landed after applying through a link he saw on Facebook. He will start on October 2 as the Web site’s first full-time reporter on that beat. In particular, Frank will focus on the very story that his former colleagues at CNN’s investigative unit have reportedly been told to lay off of—the various probes investigating the Trump team’s potential role in Russia’s alleged 2016 election interference.

    • The Trumps Say They’re Opening Hotels in Dallas, Nashville and Elsewhere. We Couldn’t Find Evidence of Them.

      Earlier this summer, the Trump Organization announced big plans to open a line of hotels across the country. The new brand, American IDEA, would be modestly priced and patriotically themed. “The product is very hometown and fits in every hometown in the United States,” Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger said during a presentation at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the same place where Donald Trump had announced his presidential campaign two years earlier.

      American IDEA would be part of a wider rollout with another higher-end hotel line, Scion, that the Trumps had already unveiled. Progress on the hotels would be swift, Danziger said.

      The Trump Organization had said it signed deals for Scion hotels in Nashville, Dallas, Cincinnati, Austin and New York. At various times, company officials have cited anywhere from 10 to 39 impending deals.

    • Sean Spicer Is Honored Because — As Bush Officials Have Shown — D.C. Elites Always Thrive

      Sean Spicer’s playful, glamorous appearance at last night’s Emmy Awards and being honored as a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School (the honorific which the CIA vetoed for Chelsea Manning) has prompted a mix of shock and indignation. Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote: “Harvard fellowships, Emmy appearances, huge speaking fees: there’s just gonna be no penalty for working in Trump’s White House, huh?” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie added: “The degree to which Sean Spicer has faced no consequences is a glimpse into the post-Trump future.”

      There should be nothing whatsoever surprising about any of this, as it is the logical and necessary outcome of the self-serving template of immunity which D.C. elites have erected for themselves. The Bush administration was filled with high-level officials who did not just lie from podiums, but did so in service of actual war crimes. They invaded and destroyed a country of 26 million people based on blatant falsehoods and relentless propaganda. They instituted a worldwide torture regime by issuing decrees that purported to redefine what that term meant. They spied on the communications of American citizens without the warrants required by law. They kidnapped innocent people from foreign soil and sent them to be tortured in the dungeons of the world’s worst regimes, and rounded up Muslims on domestic soil with no charges. They imprisoned Muslim journalists for years without a whiff of due process. And they generally embraced and implemented the fundamental tenets of authoritarianism by explicitly positioning the president and his White House above the law.

    • A Sense of Proportion

      The Establishment is fast losing its grip on the loyalty of the populace. That decline in the respect of the population for their masters has coincided with the rise of the importance of the internet and social media, and the corresponding decline in consumption of traditional print and broadcast news and current affairs media. It is a little more complicated than simple cause and effect – at precisely the same period the income gap in western society has opened out massively, and the palliative protections of the masses, particularly trade unions, have been rendered impotent. But the overall impact is that respect of the people for their “betters” is vanishing. Indeed, very few people would accept anybody in the political class as their “better” today.

      [...]

      Today we have Hanna Flint in the Guardian apparently traumatised by a teacher asking her when she was 13 if her mum, Caroline Flint, would vote for the war in Iraq. Again I am sorry if that upset Hanna. No child should be upset. But there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children a very great deal more traumatised by having close family members blown to pieces in the Iraq conflict, thanks to the hardened and nasty right wing piece of work that is Caroline Flint. I imagine their trauma is rather worse. There are plenty of Iraqi children who got maimed themselves. There are plenty of Iraqi children who, unlike Hanna, never got the chance to grow up at all, thanks to Hanna’s warmongering mum. I am sorry for your childhood pain, Hanna, I really am. I hate to see any child unhappy. But forgive me if you are not first in line for my sympathy.

    • President Trump’s Mass Movement

      President Trump is building a mass movement – or a cult of personality – based on the alienation that millions of Americans feel toward the economic/political system, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

      In the Sept. 10 issue of the New York Times, there are two opinion pieces that have to do with Donald Trump and his supporters. One is entitled “The Trump Fever Never Breaks” and the other is “President Trump’s War on Science.” As we will see, the two pieces actually address different aspects of a single evolving phenomenon. However, we will examine each in turn and tie them together as we go.

    • Vincent Fort Angered Democratic Elites When He Endorsed Bernie Sanders. Can He Be Atlanta’s Next Mayor?

      On a recent Saturday afternoon in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood, Vincent Fort was out working the voters. As the populist wing of the Democratic Party has surged in recent months, it has created an unusual problem for a politician like Fort. Accustomed to being on the outer edge of the party, he now sounds like pretty much everybody else.

      Or, as he puts it to one voter, everybody else now sounds like him.

      “They want to deal with gentrification and all that,” he says of his opponents, “but they haven’t done it until the epiphany of the last six months.”

    • Theresa May expects Boris Johnson to remain as Foreign Secretary after Brexit speech

      Theresa May is expecting Boris Johnson to remain in her Cabinet as Foreign Secretary, Downing Street has said.

      The statement was made after Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions that he might be on the verge of quitting and denied the Cabinet is split over Brexit, insisting: “We are a nest of singing birds.”

      Mrs May has called a special meeting of Cabinet at Number 10 on Thursday to discuss her crunch Brexit speech in Italy the following day, which a Downing Street source said would be “a significant moment” in the process of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Shockingly, NY Times Columnist Is Totally Clueless About The Internet

      It’s fairly stunning just how often the NY Times Opinion pages are just… wrong. Nick Kristof, one of the most well known of the NYT’s columnists, has spent years, talking about stopping sex trafficking — but with a history of being fast and loose with facts, and showing either little regard for verifying what he’s saying, or a poor understanding of the consequences of what he says. I would hope that everyone reading this supports stopping illegal and coerced sex trafficking. But doing so shouldn’t allow making up facts and ignoring how certain superficial actions might make the problems worse. Kristof, in particular, has been targeting Backpage.com for at least five years — but has been caught vastly exaggerating claims about the site to the point of potentially misstating facts entirely (such as claiming Backpage existed before it actually did, and that it operated in cities where it did not). Kristof also has a history of being laughably credulous when someone comes along with a good story about sex trafficking, even when it’s mostly made up. He’s been accused of having a bit of a savior complex.
      And that’s on display with his recent, extraordinarily confused piece attacking Google for not supporting SESTA — the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.” As we’ve explained in great detail, SESTA (despite its name) is unlikely to stop any sex trafficking and likely would make the problem worse. That’s because the whole point of SESTA is to undermine CDA 230, the part of the law that creates incentives for tech companies to work with authorities and to help them track down sex trafficking on their sites. What the bill would do is make websites owners now both civilly and criminally liable for knowledge of any sex trafficking activity on their sites — meaning that any proactive efforts by them to monitor their websites may be seen as “knowledge,” thus making them liable. The new incentives will be not to help out at all — not to monitor and not to search.

    • Live Blog: Senate Commerce Committee Discusses SESTA
    • The Wrong Answer to a Serious Problem

      Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, thank you for the opportunity to testify today as one of the authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As has been testified to by numerous experts over the years, Section 230 was a necessary step to bring our legal system into the 21st Century, it has provided the legal foundation for the growth of the Internet as a massive job creator and platform for free speech around the world and I strongly believe it should be kept intact.

      When I wrote Section 230 more than 20 years ago it was in recognition of the fact that the Internet was going to change the way we do business, the way we interact with each other, and frankly, virtually every other corner of our lives and our society. We understood that no amount of legislation and political bloviating could stop that change, but we could influence how it came about. Would we have an Internet dominated by private networks with all the worst impulses of human beings going on in impenetrable dark corners, or would it be a platform, open to the world, where such impulses would be exposed to the light, and the law.

      This is why we made it crystal clear that nothing in the statute protects against violation of federal criminal law, and more importantly, nothing in the statute protects individuals from the full force of the law when they commit, and leave evidence of, their crimes online.

    • Facebook’s war on free will

      In reality, Facebook is a tangle of rules and procedures for sorting information, rules devised by the corporation for the ultimate benefit of the corporation. Facebook is always surveilling users, always auditing them, using them as lab rats in its behavioural experiments. While it creates the impression that it offers choice, in truth Facebook paternalistically nudges users in the direction it deems best for them, which also happens to be the direction that gets them thoroughly addicted. It’s a phoniness that is most obvious in the compressed, historic career of Facebook’s mastermind.

    • Twitter rival Gab faces domain loss over extremist content

      It’s not easy to host extremist right-wing content on the modern Internet. Gab, a small Twitter rival that bills itself as a bastion of free speech, has received word from its Australian domain registrar that it has five days to find a new registrar, or its domain will be canceled.

      The story begins last month, when the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer got a similar message from its domain registrar, GoDaddy. The editor of the Daily Stormer had written an article mocking Heather Heyer, who died in protest-related violence in Charlottesville. The Daily Stormer wound up losing its domain name, and two key people associated with the site—editor Andrew Anglin and webmaster Andrew Auernheimer—switched to Gab as their primary way of communicating with the public.

      Hosting Anglin and Aurenheimer—as well as other right-wing figures like Internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos—has created headaches for Gab. Days after Anglin became active on Gab, Google kicked Gab out of the Android app store, citing its lax moderation policies.

    • Censorship in media needs to f— off

      If a college paper goes years without addressing the absurdity of censorship in media, is it really a college paper?

      Thankfully, there is a remedy – these here words.

      First, to clear up the term “censorship,” this particular article will address the suppression of profanity, the blanketing of bad words, the flushing of potty mouths, etc.

    • The Senate Is Close To Undermining The Internet By Pretending To ‘Protect’ The Children

      Protecting children from harm is a laudable goal. But, as we’ve noted for many years, grandstanding politicians have a fairly long history of doing a lot of really dangerous stuff by insisting it needs to be done “for the children.” That doesn’t mean that all “for the children” laws are bad, but they do deserve scrutiny, especially when they appear to be reactive to news events, and rushed out with little understanding or discussion. And that’s a big part of our concern with SESTA — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — a “for the children” bill. With a name like that, it’s difficult to oppose, because we’re all in favor of stopping sex trafficking. But if you actually look at the bill with any understanding of how the internet works, you quickly realize that it will be tremendously counterproductive and would likely do a lot more to harm trafficking victims by making it much more risky for internet services to moderate their own sites, and to cooperate with law enforcement in nabbing sex traffickers using their platforms.

    • Pirate Bay Founder Is Offering Anonymous Hosting to Fight Government Censorship

      The north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia is celebrating an unofficial referendum for its independence on October 1, and the Spanish government is doing anything in its power to stop it—including censoring the internet.

      The Spanish government has seized the official domains of the referendum: referendum.cat and ref1oct.cat, and activists say it’s also using other techniques like manipulating the Domain Name System—the phonebook of the internet—to prevent people from accessing referendum-related sites. Meanwhile, Pirate Bay co-founder and long-time anti-censorship activist Peter Sunde is offering to keep information about the referendum online.

    • Ed Herbst: The genesis of ANC censorship – the Death of a Dream
    • Al Jazeera attacks Snap for ‘censoring’ content in Saudi Arabia
    • Snap faces its first censorship challenge, removes Al Jazeera’s Discover channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia
    • Snap blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia to “comply with local laws”
    • Snapchat removed Al Jazeera’s channel from its app after pressure from the Saudi Arabian government
    • Snapchat Removes Al Jazeera Channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Snapchat takes down Al Jazeera’s channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Danger of Censorship Outweighs ‘Damage’ of Ugly Expression
    • Newseum Asked to Rescind Free Speech Award to Apple CEO Tim Cook
    • Tim Cook Could Have His ‘Free Expression Award’ Taken From Him Because Of Chinese Censorship
    • Netizen Report: Online Supporters of Myanmar’s Rohingya Face Censorship, Legal Threats

      Violence in northwest Myanmar has dominated headlines in recent weeks. More than 100,000 people from the ethnic minority Rohingya group have been displaced from their homes due to clearing operations of the Myanmar military, in response to attacks by a pro-Rohingya insurgent group. Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who are mostly Muslim, are crossing into Bangladesh to escape the fighting.

      There is plenty of coverage of the situation by various media, ranging from mainstream wire services to independent Rohingya-run outlets like Rohingya Blogger. But it is still difficult to obtain accurate information about the conflict, as journalists both from the region and from abroad have been struggling to gain access to the conflict areas, and local media have a history of being punished for — and barred from — covering the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, has even accused various media of circulating “fake news” on the topic. Her government has established a Facebook page, known as the ‘Information Committee’, that claims to offer verified information about the conflict.

    • The twisted words of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

      After three weeks of ethnic cleansing, mass murders, atrocities and all nature of civil rights’ abuses against the Rohingya people of Myanmar — a chapter that has seen nearly 400,000 of the persecuted Muslim minority flee through newly laid fields of landmines to seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, Aung Sang Suu Kyi has ordained to speak to offer words of excuse to a shocked international community that stands in disbelief at her regime’s actions. This woman, who piously accepted a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for the civil rights abuses inflicted upon her and her political party by Myanmar’s junta and general, has become the apologist-in-chief for her own abusive, vile, violent – and elected – junta.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • There’s no crisis of free speech. Milo’s campus crusade is rank hypocrisy

      If you’re curious as to what a basket of deplorables looks like in real life, perhaps you should head over to Berkeley next week, where Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and friends will gather for a “festival of free expression” at the University of California campus. Maybe they’ll oblige by arriving in a hot air balloon, to render the metaphor entirely literal.

      The fact is, they may not arrive at all: Yiannopoulos, who is helping stage the series of events, has made a point of selecting “everyone who has been prevented from speaking at Berkeley in the last 12 months”. But “prevented” should be taken with a pinch of salt. Anti-immigrant firebrand Coulter, for example, decided of her own accord to cancel an appearance in April after the authorities allocated her a time slot designed to minimise the likelihood of a disturbance. “It’s a sad day for free speech,” she lamented, apparently without irony. This time around, the university administration has complained that deadlines for booking venues have been missed and fees remain unpaid. Yiannopoulos calls it a “coordinated bureaucratic mission to silence conservative voices”. Is it possible that the organisers would like nothing more than for Berkeley to insist on reasonable measures to ensure order, before flouncing off and crying censorship? Surely not.

    • Me, my data and I: Decode and the future of the personal data economy

      It’s no secret that personal data has become the key commodity of the online business world. The Internet giants – Facebook, Google, etc. – all provide their services “free”, but make money from the detailed profiles they create of our activity as we use social networks and move around the Web. Since we don’t have any choice in whether to allow this if we want to access the services, most people simple accept the practice as an inevitable if regrettable fact of digital life.

      But the consequences of doing so are serious. It means most of our activities online are tracked and stored – principally by companies, but also by governments that can draw on that data, using both front and back door access. It means that information about our supposed interests and preferences is fed back into the services to shape the content we see, and the ads that are displayed. It also means that intimate knowledge gleaned from the data can be used to manipulate us in subtle ways. But does it have to be like this? A project funded by the European Union called Decode (DEcentralised Citizen Owned Data Ecosystems) is exploring that question, in the hope that the answer is “no”:

    • Security Education: What’s New on Surveillance Self-Defense

      Since 2014, our digital security guide, Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD), has taught thousands of Internet users how to protect themselves from surveillance, with practical tutorials and advice on the best tools and expert-approved best practices. After hearing growing concerns among activists following the 2016 US presidential election, we pledged to build, update, and expand SSD and our other security education materials to better advise people, both within and outside the United States, on how to protect their online digital privacy and security.

    • Google’s Heather Adkins thinks everybody is going to get hacked and you need to be ready
    • Google’s Heather Adkins Talks NSA & Cyber Security Threats

      Google Manager of Information Security Heather Adkins said that she sees the United States National Security Agency as a general security threat while speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 on Monday. Ms. Adkins was asked whether she would label the NSA as a “state-sponsored threat” in the same vein that the likes of Russia and China are viewed, to which she responded positively. Google’s security chief suggested that the NSA itself isn’t a security threat so much as the software tools and techniques it develops are, likely referencing an April incident which saw a range of hacking tools supposedly created by the federal agency being leaked online. That same software was reportedly later used for enabling a global ransomware attack known as “WannaCry” which infected numerous computers around the planet and compromised a broad range of systems, including some that are critical in nature like hospital software.

    • A Google security chief considers the NSA a state-sponsored threat

      Today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 Google’s Manager of Information Security Heather Adkins sat down for a fireside chat. Among the varying topics discussed, she spoke about what’s like to have the NSA tap the company’s lines and how she views state sponsored threats.

      Moderator and TechCrunch Senior Editor Frederic Lardinois asked Adkins if she thinks of the NSA as a state-sponsored threat in the same way as China and Russia. She confirmed, yes, she considers the US’ National Security Agency in that way. Does she worry about the NSA? Yes, she does and it’s good to worry about them because if they can attack, other organizations can attack too.

      She goes on to say that she thinks less about individual threats and rather focuses on the techniques and the surface available to be attacked.

    • Take Cybersecurity Away From Spies – For Everyone’s Sake

      Until 1994, GCHQ, the British signals intelligence agency, didn’t officially exist. Now, it has emerged out of the shadows to take a very public role at the heart of British cybersecurity.

      Public accountability for intelligence services is crucial to any democracy but, as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack showed, there are inevitable conflicts of interest between the role of intelligence services and network safety.

    • EFF, ACLU Sue Government Over Warrantless Electronic Searches At The Border

      If all goes well, we might have the US border join the rest of the United States in recognizing citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court’s Riley decision made it clear law enforcement needed to obtain warrants before searching people’s cellphones. Unfortunately, the so-called “border exception” — upheld by at least one court — says securing the border is more important than recognizing people’s rights.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Release: Portland Concludes Investigation into Uber’s use of Greyball

      By its own admission, Uber used Greyball to avoid regulation by PBOT enforcement officers in December 2014. These officers remained tagged by the Greyball program until the beginning of the first 120-day pilot period in April 2015.

    • The German schoolboy jailed for writing to the BBC

      They took saliva samples from the licked envelopes to identify blood groups which they cross-checked with doctor’s records. They traced fingerprints on the paper, sourced the ink and collated an extensive archive of handwriting samples.

      It was his handwriting that caught out Borchardt.

    • The Cybercrime Convention’s New Protocol Needs to Uphold Human Rights

      As part of an ongoing attempt to help law enforcement obtain data across international borders, the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention— finalized in the weeks following 9/11, and ratified by the United States and over 50 countries around the world—is back on the global lawmaking agenda. This time, the Council’s Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) has initiated a process to draft a second additional protocol to the Convention—a new text which could allow direct foreign law enforcement access to data stored in other countries’ territories. EFF has joined EDRi and a number of other organizations in a letter to the Council of Europe, highlighting some anticipated concerns with the upcoming process and seeking to ensure civil society concerns are considered in the new protocol. This new protocol needs to preserve the Council of Europe’s stated aim to uphold human rights, and not undermine privacy, and the integrity of our communication networks.

    • EFF to Court: The First Amendment Protects the Right to Record First Responders

      The First Amendment protects the right of members of the public to record first responders addressing medical emergencies, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed in the federal trial court for the Northern District of Texas. The case, Adelman v. DART, concerns the arrest of a Dallas freelance press photographer for criminal trespass after he took photos of a man receiving emergency treatment in a public area.

      EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use electronic devices to record and share photos and videos. This often includes newsworthy recordings of on-duty police officers and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel interacting with members of the public. These recordings have informed the public’s understanding of emergencies and first responder misconduct.

    • Jeremy Corbyn blocks formation of key counter-terrorism watchdog

      The UK parliament’s influential intelligence and security watchdog has not met once during this summer’s string of deadly attacks, because Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has failed to put forward any candidates to sit on the committee, Middle East Eye can reveal.

    • Asylum-Seeker Says He’s Being Deported Because ICE Mishandled Evidence of Anti-Gay Attack

      On January 17, 2016, Sadat Ibrahim, a gay man from Accra, Ghana, arrived at the San Ysidro U.S. border checkpoint between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, pleading for help. He asked for asylum, telling immigration officials that he had fled home after he was ambushed and attacked by an anti-gay group.

      Homosexuality is illegal in Ghana, punishable by up to three years in jail, and vigilante gangs often terrorize gay people. According to testimony Ibrahim gave to an asylum officer, one of his friends had been beaten by an anti-gay gang in August 2015 and was forced to give up the names of gay acquaintances, including Ibrahim. Another friend texted Ibrahim to warn him, and he immediately went home to collect his belongings and leave the area. But as he was packing, gang members forced themselves into his apartment and attacked him. Ibrahim says he was stabbed in his left arm and only just managed to escape by hailing down a nearby taxicab.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Yet Another Report Says The Rate Of TV Cord Cutting Is Worse Than Anybody Thought

      For years the traditional cable and broadcast industry has gone to comedic lengths to deny that cord cutting (getting rid of traditional cable TV) is real. First, we were told repeatedly that the phenomenon wasn’t happening at all. Next, the industry acknowledged that sure — a handful of people were ditching cable, but it didn’t matter because the people doing so were losers living in their mom’s basement. Then, we were told that cord cutting was real, but was only a minor phenomenon that would go away once Millennials started procreating.

      Of course none of these talking points were true, but they helped cement a common belief among older cable and broadcast executives that the transformative shift to streaming video could be easily solved by doubling down on bad ideas. More price increases, more advertisements stuffed into each minute, more hubris, and more denial. Intentional blindness to justify the milking of a dying cash cow — instead of adapting.

    • Yes, You Can Believe In Internet Freedom Without Being A Shill

      You may have noticed lately that there’s an increasing (and increasingly coordinated) effort to paint today’s biggest and most successful companies as some kind of systemic social threat that needs to be reined in. As veteran tech journalist John Battelle put it, tech companies frequently are assumed these days to be Public Enemy No. 1, and those of us who defend the digital world in which we now find ourselves are presumptively marked as shills for corporate tech interests.

      But a deeper historical understanding of how we got to today’s internet shows that the leading NGOs and nonprofit advocacy organizations that defend today’s internet-freedom framework actually predate the very existence of their presumed corporate masters.

      To get taste a of the current policy debate surrounding Google and other internet companies, consider the movie I Am Jane Doe, which documents the legal battle waged by anti-sex-trafficking groups and trafficking victims against the website Backpage.com. The film, which premiered this February with a congressional screening, also tracks a two-year investigation and report by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations into the site’s symbiotic relationship with traffickers.

    • “Fake” net neutrality comments at heart of lawsuit filed against FCC

      The Federal Communications Commission has ignored a public records request for information that might shed light on the legitimacy of comments on Chairman Ajit Pai’s anti-net neutrality plan, according to a lawsuit filed against the FCC.

      Freelance writer Jason Prechtel filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request on June 4 asking the FCC for data related to bulk comment uploads, which may contain comments falsely attributed to people without their knowledge. But while the FCC acknowledged receiving his FoIA request, it did not approve or deny the request within the legally allotted timeframe, Prechtel wrote in a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

  • DRM
    • HTML5 DRM finally makes it as an official W3C Recommendation

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C’s members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Resigns From W3C Over Encrypted Media Extensions DRM

      [...] The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium, over the wishes of a sizeable group of objectors — and every person who uses the web. The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members, articulating several benefits that EME offered over the DRM that HTML5 had made impossible.

    • An open letter to the W3C Director, CEO, team and membership

      Despite the support of W3C members from many sectors, the leadership of the W3C rejected this compromise. The W3C leadership countered with proposals — like the chartering of a nonbinding discussion group on the policy questions that was not scheduled to report in until long after the EME ship had sailed — that would have still left researchers, governments, archives, security experts unprotected.

      The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium, over the wishes of a sizeable group of objectors — and every person who uses the web. The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members, articulating several benefits that EME offered over the DRM that HTML5 had made impossible.

      But those very benefits (such as improvements to accessibility and privacy) depend on the public being able to exercise rights they lose under DRM law — which meant that without the compromise the Director was overriding, none of those benefits could be realized, either. That rejection prompted the first appeal against the Director in W3C history.

      [...]

      We will renew our work to battle the media companies that fail to adapt videos for accessibility purposes, even though the W3C squandered the perfect moment to exact a promise to protect those who are doing that work for them.

    • World Wide Web Consortium abandons consensus, standardizes DRM with 58.4% support, EFF resigns

      In July, the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium overruled dozens of members’ objections to publishing a DRM standard without a compromise to protect accessibility, security research, archiving, and competition.

    • EFF quits W3C over decision to accept EME as Web standard

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has resigned from the World Wide Web Consortium after the latter announced it was accepting the published Encrypted Media Extensions as a Web standard.

    • Christopher Allan Webber: DRM will unravel the Web

      I’m a web standards author and I participate in the W3C. I am co-editor of the ActivityPub protocol, participate in a few other community groups and working groups, and I consider it an honor to have been able to participate in the W3C process. What I am going to write here though represents me and my feelings alone. In a sense though, that makes this even more painful. This is a blogpost I don’t have time to write, but here I am writing it; I am emotionally forced to push forward on this topic. The W3C has allowed DRM to move forward on the web through the EME specification (which is, to paraphrase Danny O’Brien from the EFF, a “DRM shaped hole where nothing else but DRM fits”). This threatens to unravel the web as we know it. How could this happen? How did we get here?

      Like many of my generation, I grew up on the web, both as a citizen of this world and as a developer. “Web development”, in one way or another, has principally been my work for my adult life, and how I have learned to be a programmer. The web is an enormous, astounding effort of many, many participants. Of course, Tim Berners-Lee is credited for much of it, and deserves much of this credit. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tim on a couple of occasions; when you meet Tim it’s clear how deeply he cares about the web. Tim speaks quickly, as though he can’t wait to get out the ideas that are so important to him, to try to help you understand how wonderful and exciting this system it is that we can build together. Then, as soon as he’s done talking, he returns to his computer and gets to hacking on whatever software he’s building to advance the web. You don’t see this dedication to “keep your hands dirty” in the gears of the system very often, and it’s a trait I admire. So it’s very hard to reconcile that vision of Tim with someone who would intentionally unravel their own work… yet by allowing the W3C to approve DRM/EME, I believe that’s what has happened.

    • W3C DRM appeal fails, votes kept secret

      Earlier this summer, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — the organization responsible for defining the standards that make up the Web — decided to embrace DRM (aka “EME”) as a web standard. I wasn’t happy about this. I don’t know many who were.

      Shortly after that, the W3C agreed to talk with me about the issue. During that discussion, I encouraged the W3C to increase their level of transparency going forward — and if there is an appeal of their DRM decision, to make that process completely open and visible to the public (including how individual members of the W3C vote on the issue).

      The appeal happened and has officially ended. I immediately reached out to the W3C to gather some details. What I found out was highly concerning. I’ll include the most interesting bits below, as un-edited as possible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Ukraine Faces Call for US Trade Sanctions over Online Piracy

        The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups are unhappy with how Ukraine is handling online piracy. The country has become a safe haven for many pirate sites, they say. In a recommendation to the US Government the copyright holder groups recommend suspending or withdrawing several trade benefits until the situation improves.

      • Inside the MPAA, Netflix & Amazon Global Anti-Piracy Alliance

        Back in June, MPAA, Amazon, Netflix, CBS, HBO, BBC, Sky, Bell Canada, CBS, Hulu, Lionsgate, Foxtel, Village Roadshow, and many more, revealed the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a brand new initiative to tackle piracy on a global scale. Today, TorrentFreak can reveal the deal behind this massive operation.

Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

Monday 18th of September 2017 01:10:06 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Linux Foundation head proclaims year of Linux desktop – from a Mac

      In what could well take the award for the most hypocritical tech statement of the year, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin last week announced that 2017 was the year of the Linux desktop – while using a macOS machine for his presentation.

      Zemlin’s statement was made during his keynote at the Open Source Summit 2017 that took place in Los Angeles from 11 to 14 September.

    • We’re giving away a Linux-ready laptop from ZaReason

      For the first time ever, Opensource.com is partnering with ZaReason to give away an UltraLap 5330 laptop with Linux pre-installed!

      Since 2007, ZaReason has assembled, shipped, and supported hardware specifically designed for Linux, and the UltraLap 5330 is no exception—the 3.6-lb laptop ships with the Linux distribution of your choice and boasts the following hardware specs:

  • Server
    • 7 tips for Linux cluster admins to help keep auditors happy

      The beauty of building extra-large Linux clusters is it’s easy. Hadoop, OpenStack, hypervisor, and high-performance computing (HPC) installers enable you to build on commodity hardware and deal with node failure reasonably simply. Learning and managing Linux administration on a small scale involves basic day-to-day tasks; however, when planning and scaling production to several thousand node clusters, it can take over your life, including your weekends and holidays.

  • Kernel Space
    • MIPS Changes Submitted For Linux 4.14: NI 169445, Omega2+, MT7628A Support

      There are many MIPS updates to find with the in-development Linux 4.14 kernel.

    • Linux 4.14 Dropping In-Tree Firmware

      Linux 4.14 is getting rid of its in-kernel firmware/ tree.

      For years now most everyone has been relying upon the external Linux-Firmware.Git tree for managing the firmware binaries needed by the Linux kernel device drivers. But prior to that was the in-tree firmware/ destination.

    • The DRM Changes For The Linux 4.14 Kernel

      With the Linux 4.14 merge window period combined with the fact of the DRM pull request having been submitted early this cycle, I didn’t have a chance to provide a recap of the Direct Rendering Manager changes for 4.14. Here’s that overview for those not in tune with the many individual articles that had been written about the different Linux 4.14 graphics driver changes.

    • Linux 4.14 Gets A Driver For PWM-Controlled Vibrators

      Dmitry Torokhov has sent in a second helping of input updates for the Linux 4.14 merge window that is closing this weekend.

    • Linux 4.14-rc1

      Yes, I realize this is a day early, and yes, I realize that if I had
      waited until tomorrow, I would also have hit the 26th anniversary of
      the Linux-0.01 release, but neither of those undeniable facts made me
      want to wait with closing the mege window.

      This has been an “interesting” merge window. It’s not actually all
      that unusual in size – I think it’s shaping to be a pretty regular
      release after 4.13 that was smallish. But unlike 4.13 it also wasn’t a
      completely smooth merge window, and honestly, I _really_ didn’t want
      to wait for any possible straggling pull requests.

      Don’t get me wrong – things don’t look bad, but I hate it when I find
      issues during the merge window that I feel should have been noticed
      before the code made it to me, and it happened a few times this
      release.

    • Linux 4.14-rc1 Released A Day Early
    • Kernel prepatch 4.14-rc1
    • The Exciting New Features Of The Linux 4.14 Kernel: Zstd, Vega Hugepages, AMD SME, New Drivers
    • Graphics Stack
      • The state of open source accelerated graphics on ARM devices

        I’ve been meaning to write about the state of accelerated open source graphics options for a while now to give an update on a blog post I wrote over 5 years ago in January 2012, before the Raspberry Pi even existed! Reading back through that post it was pretty dark times for any form of GUI on ARM devices but with the massive changes in ARM devices and the massive change in SBCs (Single Board Computers) heralded by things like the Raspberry Pi have things improved at all? The answer is generally yes!

      • The Graphics Talks Of The 2017 Open-Source Summit NA

        This week the Linux Foundation hosted their annual Open-Source Summit 2017 North America. There were two graphics talks this year led by Collabora developers.

        The slides for many of the talks from the 2017 Open-Source Summit NA can be found via the schedule page if hovering over a track.

        I’ve already covered some of the interesting ones like the Clear Linux GCC/GLIBC optimization approach while there were also just two Linux graphics talks of interest this year.

      • Experimental Nouveau Reclocking Patches Updated, Including For Maxwell GPUs

        Karol Herbst has sent out 29 updated patches on Friday for a major rework to the Nouveau clock related code for re-clocking and related functionality. This includes a “hacky workaround” for getting re-clocking to function on GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell 2″ GPUs.

        The 29 patches by this independent Nouveau contributor work on restoring clocks after a system suspend, fixed reclocking when entering suspend, initial support for thermal throttling and to trigger reclocking on temperature changes, the “hacky workaround” for Maxwell2 reclocking, a new debugfs file for changing the boost mode, and other related work.

      • [Old] The beginning of the end of the RadeonHD driver

        Soon it will be a decade since we started the RadeonHD driver, where we pushed ATI to a point of no return, got a proper C coded graphics driver and freely accessible documentation out. We all know just what happened to this in the end, and i will make a rather complete write-up spanning multiple blog entries over the following months. But while i was digging out backed up home directories for information, i came across this…

      • mesa 17.2.1
      • Mesa 17.2.1 Released With Restored RADV Vulkan RX Vega Support

        As anticipated, Mesa 17.2.1 is now available for those wanting to use the latest stable point release of Mesa3D for the best, stable open-source 3D graphics user experience on Linux and other operating systems.

      • RadeonSI OoO Rasterization Lands In Mesa 17.3 For RX Vega & VI GPUs

        The RadeonSI out-of-order rasterization support for RX Vega “GFX9″ and Volcanic Islands GPUs has now landed in Mesa 17.3-devel Git.

        The out-of-order rasterization support should be able to boost the performance of these newer graphics cards in some Linux games. The support is enabled by default for now on Vega/VI GPUs while can be disabled with R600_DEBUG=nooutoforder.

      • Mir Now Has Initial Support For Wayland Clients

        Quietly being added to the Mir display stack a week ago was initial support for Wayland clients.

        Natively supporting Wayland clients within Mir has been a new goal for the remaining Mir developers at Canonical now that the original Mir plans were abandoned when Canonical did away with their grand vision for Unity 8. Mir is still being maintained at Canonical for some IoT use-cases while they hope some open-source projects will still decide to make use of their technology. With now at least having native Wayland client support, they stand some chance of Mir being useful to other groups.

    • Benchmarks
      • Linux RAID Performance On NVMe M.2 SSDs With EXT4, Btrfs, F2FS

        To little surprise, when starting things off with a SQLite database insertion test, EXT4 on RAID0 with the NVMe drives was the fastest but not much faster than the standalone MP500 on EXT4. F2FS was also competing very well with EXT4. Btrfs was the slowest file-system, due to its copy-on-write nature that by default it doesn’t tend to be as performant with database type workloads. Interestingly, using F2FS with RAID1 caused a significant performance regression. At least in all the configurations except Btrfs, using the Corsair MP500 NVMe drives were a big upgrade over the Samsung 850 PRO.

  • Applications
    • Fake A Hollywood Hacker Screen in Linux Terminal

      You might have heard this dialogue in almost every Hollywood movie that shows a hacking scene. There will be a dark terminal with ascii text, diagrams and hex code changing continuously and a hacker who is hitting the keyboards as if he/she is typing an angry forum response.

      But that’s Hollywood! Hackers break into a network system in minutes whereas it takes months of research to actually do that. But I’ll put the Hollywood hacking criticism aside for the moment.

    • 3 text editor alternatives to Emacs and Vim

      Before you start reaching for those implements of mayhem, Emacs and Vim fans, understand that this article isn’t about putting the boot to your favorite editor. I’m a professed Emacs guy, but one who also likes Vim. A lot.

      That said, I realize that Emacs and Vim aren’t for everyone. It might be that the silliness of the so-called Editor war has turned some people off. Or maybe they just want an editor that is less demanding and has a more modern sheen.

    • Open-Source Alduin RSS Reader for Linux

      RSS readers are useful if you want to get latest updates from website(s). Alduin is a free and open-source RSS feed reader available for Linux and Windows, built using modern technologies like: Electron, React, TypeScript and Less, it has easy to use user-interface and suitable for all types of users. It has native system notification support, and additionally it supports podcast feeds too.
      Using the Alduin RSS interface is fairly simple, just click on the plus shaped button, and it will pull new articles from that given feed url, you can delete already added feed sources, lock the side menu in place.

    • SelekTOR: A Frontend GUI For Tor Browser (Bypass Country Restriction)

      Tor is a free software designed to make communication anonymous. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back (Warning: still possible). Tor’s use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

      SelecTOR is a frontend GUI for the Tor application. It is free for Linux and open-source based on Java released under license GNU GPL-2, it acts as a Tor launcher and exit node chooser for browsers that support system proxying using PAC files. It can be used for security and anonymization purposes or to bypass some firewall. Simplifies the process of selecting Tor exit nodes and manages selective URL pattern based on routing via system proxying.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Librem 5 Crosses $400k In Funding After Plasma Mobile Announcement

        Since announcing earlier this week that KDE is working on Plasma Mobile support for the Librem 5, Purism has managed to raise over $100k more towards their goal of building a free software GNU/Linux smartphone, but remain around 1.1 million dollars short of their goal.

        The announcement of Plasma Mobile support — while still planning to support GNOME on their device and it not being known yet if KDE/GNOME will be the default on the phone — managed to gain a number of new supporters with crossing the $400k crowdfunding threshold this weekend.

      • David Revoy teaches Krita course at local university in Paris
      • Randa Report Part 2

        And now for the serious part: in my last blog post, I talked about achieving our main goal for this year’s Randa meetings – we successfully ported the entire Kontact away from the obsoleted KDateTime class. Since we finished this on Thursday, there was still enough time left to start working on something new and exciting.

        Volker and Frederik went on to work on a KWin plugin to simulate various kinds of color blindness which will help developers to see how visually impaired users see their software, I did a bit more code clean-up after the porting and a bit of code-review.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Mageia 6

        Mageia 6 is very nice. While not much different from many of the other modern distributions, it comes with enough polish and extra features to make it worth checking out. The Welcome to Mageia application and Control Center make the distribution very friendly for new Linux users. Similarly, the ease of enabling non-free and tainted packages also makes it a good choice for anyone looking to quickly set up a fully functional system. While I cannot personally attest to their usefulness, users switching from Windows might find the various importing tools helpful for making their transition to Linux. If you are looking for a new distribution to try out, or want to take your first foray into the world of Linux, give Mageia 6 a try, you will not be disappointed.

    • Arch Family
      • BlackArch Linux A Pentesting Linux Distribution

        ​When it comes to penetration testing, the best way to go is Linux. Distros like Kali and Parrot are quite popular. Today we’re going to look at another awesome penetration testing distro known as Blackarch. Blackarch Linux is an Arch Linux-based penetration testing distribution for penetration testers and security researchers. The Blackarch comes with a tools repository that contains over 1800 tools with new ones being added quite frequently. Let us take a brief look at this Linux distro.

      • ArchLabs Linux “Mínimo” 2017.09 Released — Get A Fresh And Lightweight Linux Experience

        ArchLabs is a comparatively newer and lesser popular Linux distro as compared to other Arch Linux derivatives like Manjaro or Antergos. It came into existence when Crunchbang’s development was ceased and some fans decided to take inspiration from Bunsenlabs, which was itself a community-organized successor to Crunchbang, and create an Arch Linux based distribution named ArchLabs.

        ArchLabs, in early September 2017, decided to shift their focus of ArchLabs Mínimo, aka MSE-6, as their main release. It’s a stripped down, Openbox-based version of ArchLabs R2D2. For those who don’t know, MSE-6 are tiny repair droids seen in Star Wars.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Free Software Efforts (2017W37)

        I have updated txtorcon (a Twisted-based asynchronous Tor control protocol implementation used by ooniprobe, magic-wormhole and tahoe-lafs) to its latest upstream version. I’ve also added two new binary packages that are built by the txtorcon source package: python3-txtorcon and python-txtorcon-doc for Python 3 support and generated HTML documentation respectively.

      • Debian LTS work, August 2017

        I was assigned 15 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 1 hour from July. I only worked 10 hours, so I will carry over 6 hours to the next month.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Adds Support for GNOME’s JHBuild Tool to Its Snapcraft Snappy Creator

            Canonical’s Sergio Schvezov released a new update to the Snapcraft tool that application developers can use to package their apps as Snaps for easy distribution on Ubuntu and other Snappy-capable GNU/Linux distros.

            Snapcraft 2.34 has been released this week and it’s now available in the main repositories of various Ubuntu Linux releases that support the Snappy technologies, bringing a new plugin to support GNOME’s JHBuild tool for building the entire GNOME desktop environment or select packages from the version control system.

          • Wavebox, the Powerful Email Client, Is Now Available as a Snap on Ubuntu Linux

            If you’ve ever dreamed of having a central hub for all your web communication tools, you should know that the powerful Wavebox web app is now available for installation on Ubuntu Linux systems as a Snap.

            That’s right, Wavebox was finally ported to Canonical’s Snappy technologies that let application developers package their apps as Snaps to make their distribution easy across multiple GNU/Linux operating systems. And now, it looks Wavebox arrive in the Snappy Store and can be installed on Ubuntu and other supported distros.

          • Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

            In fact, ROS is not actually an operating system at all – it’s a set of software frameworks, or a software development kit, to be installed into an operating system like Ubuntu.

            As Mike Bell, executive vice president of internet of things and devices at Canonical, explains in an exclusive interview: “It’s a bit confusing because it’s called Robot Operating System, but the reason is because if you’re developing robot applications, you don’t need to worry about the fact that it’s running on Ubuntu.

          • GNOME 3.26 is Available on Ubuntu Artful!

            GNOME is a modern desktop user interface which is free software available for GNU/Linux, with mobile-like style and many applications. GNOME is well-known for its file manager, Nautilus, and its audio player, Rhythmbox. The 3.26 is the current stable version of GNOME released at 13 September 2017.

          • [Video] Checking out Ubuntu 17.10 beta 1 Gnome
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • To reduce costs, schools and colleges ready to use open source free software

    Many teachers and faculty of schools and colleges across the city are willing to use open source computer software for learning. This is because various interactive applications on these software, based on subject-wise learning, can help students. They will also help bring the cost of education down, eliminate the need for licencing and put an end to piracy.

  • Mumbai teachers learn benefits of open source software

    Free software activist groups from across the city came together at the Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla on Saturday to celebrate Software Freedom Day (SFD) along with 100 school teachers, in order to educate them about the importance of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), a software that is owned socially and not by a specific proprietor.

    Proprietary software programmes like Windows, Photoshop, Corel or Tally, that have registration and application fees, can be replaced by FOSS, which is allegedly better and cheaper than the proprietary ones. Apart from this, the activists also focused on the privacy aspect that is lost in these software. The activists spoke to the teachers about open source software and its benefits.

  • How To Get An Open Source/Linux Job? — 9 Things To Keep In Mind

    Open source is becoming the new norm in the technology industry. All the major technology companies are busy using open source technologies and sharing their code on GitHub to help the developers use their quality code. This has resulted in a mutual benefit.

    Open source technologies like Android, Docker, Linux, etc., have dominated different markets and helped in creating more opportunities for the open source professionals. Highlighting the same, The Linux Foundation, in partnership with the careers website Dice, has released the results of the latest Open Source Jobs Survey and Report

  • Documentation needs usability, too
  • The Realities of Being a FOSS Maintainer
  • The Demand for Open-Source Professionals Soars

    While the majority of organizations anticipate hiring more open-source professionals over the next six months, an even greater number are struggling to recruit qualified candidates for their open positions, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice. The accompanying report, “Open-Source Jobs Report: Employers Prioritize Hiring Open-Source Professionals With Latest Skills,” paints an optimistic picture for open source as a career pursuit: Employers are scrambling to fill open positions to enhance the DevOps and app development capabilities in their company. They’re especially eager to hire a candidate who has certifications, and, if not, they’re often willing to help pay for the cost of getting certifications. Meanwhile, open-source pros are constantly getting recruiting calls, leading most of them to believe that it would be easy to find another job. “As open source becomes increasingly relevant and more companies globally leverage the technology in their stacks, demand for professionals with open-source experience will only intensify,” said Michael Durney, president and CEO of DHI Group, which owns Dice. “Successful employers recognize that open-source professionals will look at things beyond just the compensation, and will, for instance, express the opportunity to work on challenging projects during the recruiting process. Those firms [that] foster a spirit of teamwork and promote paths for professionals to advance their careers within the organization will attract highly skilled, passionate tech talent and, in turn, propel innovation forward for the future.” More than 280 global hiring managers and 1,800 open-source professionals took part in the research.

  • Events
    • LinuxChix Meet up experience!

      Today I got an opportunity to celebrate Linux’s 26th anniversary (17th September 1991) with the LinuxChix India team (http://india.linuxchix.org/).

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google Chrome will block autoplay video starting January 2018

        Google is taking on the irritating trend of auto-playing Web videos with its Chrome browser. Starting in Chrome 64, which is currently earmarked for a January 2018 release, auto-play will only be allowed when the video in question is muted or when a “user has indicated an interest in the media.”

        The latter applies if the site has been added to the home screen on mobile or if the user has frequently played media on the site on desktop. Google also says auto-play will be allowed if the user has “tapped or clicked somewhere on the site during the browsing session.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeBSD 10.4-RC1 Now Available

      The first RC build of the 10.4-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

      Installation images are available for:

      o amd64 GENERIC
      o i386 GENERIC
      o ia64 GENERIC
      o powerpc GENERIC
      o powerpc64 GENERIC64
      o sparc64 GENERIC
      o armv6 BEAGLEBONE
      o armv6 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
      o armv6 GUMSTIX
      o armv6 PANDABOARD
      o armv6 RPI-B
      o armv6 WANDBOARD

    • Every Nintendo Switch appears to contain a hidden copy of NES Golf [Ed: The Switch, some claim, runs FreeBSD]

      Turns out, this is somehow weirder. Your Nintendo Switch may already have a fully playable NES game just sitting inside of it.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU lightning 2.1.1 released!

      GNU lightning is a library to aid in making portable programs that compile assembly code at run time.

    • Gnuastro 0.4 released

      I am happy to announce that the fourth release of Gnuastro now available.

      GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro) is an official GNU package consisting of various command-line programs and library functions for the manipulation and analysis of astronomical data. All the programs share the same basic command-line user interface for the comfort of both the users and developers.

    • GNU libffcall 2.0 is released

      libffcall version 2.0 is released.

    • Introducing Jitter, an efficient language Virtual Machine generator

      During the last few months of this long silence I’ve been busy working on a new project. Of course it is free software, and I plan to propose it soon as an official GNU project.

    • Unifont 10.0.06 Released

      Unifont 10.0.06 is now available. This version has many glyph improvements, most of which were contributed by David Corbett. This version also has make files with Mike Gilbert’s modifications to allow parallel make, and corrects a bug in unifontpic for generation of the large Unifont graphic images. See the ChangeLog for further details.

    • Announcing Guix-HPC

      Today, Inria, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), and the Utrecht Bioinformatics Center (UBC) are announcing a joint effort to consolidate GNU Guix for reproducible scientific workflows in high-performance computing (HPC). The three research institutes have been using Guix and contributing to it. The new effort, dubbed Guix-HPC, hopes to extend Guix functionality to better address the needs of HPC users, as well as augmenting its package collection.

      Guix was not initially designed with HPC in mind. However, we believe it has many good properties both for flexible software deployment on clusters, and as a foundation for reproducible scientific workflows. The Guix-HPC blog will regularly feature articles with HPC “howtos” and stories about our achievements. We are thrilled by the opportunities this new effort offers!

    • GNU Remotecontrol: Newsletter – September 2017
    • GNUHealthCon 2017 and Social Medicine Awards nominations

      GNUHealthCon 2017 (www.gnuhealthcon.org) is coming up this November in Las Palmas ! We are very excited, and working hard on the preparations so we can make it a success again.

      On Saturday night (Nov 25th), we will celebrate the GNU Health Social Medicine Awards 2017 ceremony. Besides having a great time with our colleagues from around the world, we will announce the winners of the Social Medicine Awards. The awards are a way to recognize the work of individuals and organizations that fight for social justice and freedom in this world, and a source of inspiration for all of us.

    • GNU Health 3.2.3 patchset released
    • Texinfo 6.5 released

      We have released version 6.5 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation format.

  • Programming/Development
    • Python explosion blamed on pandas

      Not content to bait developers by declaring that Python is the fastest-growing major programming language, coding community site Stack Overflow has revealed the reason for its metastasis.

      Coming a day after Programmer Day, which falls on the 256th day of the year – except January 7: – the explanatory post by data scientist David Robinson could be flagged as an off-by-one error.

      But his case for the rise and rise of Python is no less plausible for its tardiness. Programmers love pandas.

      Not the black-and-white bamboo eaters, but the Python data science library. “Pandas is by a large margin the tag most visited by Python developers, which isn’t surprising after we saw its earlier growth,” Robinson explained.

    • Devs unknowingly use “malicious” modules snuck into official Python repository

      The official repository for the widely used Python programming language has been tainted with modified code packages, a computer security authority in Slovakia warned. The authority also said the packages have been downloaded by unwitting developers who incorporated them into software over the past three months.

      Multiple code packages were uploaded to the Python Package Index, often abbreviated as PyPI, and were subsequently incorporated into software multiple times from June through this month, Slovakia’s National Security Authority said in an advisory published Thursday. The unidentified people who made available the code packages gave them names that closely resembled those used for packages found in the standard Python library. The packages contained the exact same code as the upstream libraries except for an installation script, which was changed to include a “malicious (but relatively benign) code.”

Leftovers
  • Science
    • New evidence of Viking warrior women might not be what it seems

      At first, the scientific paper seemed like scientific confirmation of a long-cherished myth about Vikings. DNA and geochemistry experts re-examined the famous Swedish grave of a high-ranking Viking warrior and discovered that the person buried alongside swords, armor, and two sacrificial horses was genetically female. In a paper published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Uppsala University archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson and her team announced that they had, at last, proven that there were warrior women among the Vikings.

      The claim seemed to fit the evidence. Male Vikings were frequently buried with swords, and the sword was undoubtedly associated with the battle-scarred ideal of masculinity in Viking culture. If we assume that men buried with swords are warriors, then a woman buried with one was probably a warrior, too. Analysis of the stable isotopes in her tooth enamel suggested this woman had traveled widely, just like a warrior would have. On top of all that, Hedenstierna-Jonson and her colleagues pointed out the many references to women fighting in Old Norse poetry and myth. The bloodthirsty Valkyries are an all-female gang of magical creatures who come to every battle and decide who will fall. The recent paper in American Journal of Physical Anthropology was simply our first scientific evidence that there were real-life women fighting alongside the men.

  • Hardware
    • How long should a $999 iPhone last?
    • [Older] R.I.P. SPARC and Solaris [iophk: "Larry doing favors for Bill at his own expense"]

      According to comments on thelayoff.com, “SPARC people are out.” “The entire SPARC core team has been let go as of Friday. It’s gone. No more SPARC. You can’t have a SPARC w/o a team to develop the core.”

  • Health/Nutrition
    • ‘Single Payer Is a Rational Health-Care System’: An Exclusive Interview With Bernie Sanders on His ‘Medicare for All’ Plan

      The senator from Vermont explains why there is now so much interest in bold reform of America’s health-care system.

    • Democratic leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer plan

      Democratic support for a single-payer health-care system has grown by bounds this year, attracting more lawmaker endorsements than any time in the past. But one group is conspicuously not on board: party leaders.

    • ATF Ran Illegal Mixed-Money Slush Fund For Years With Zero Oversight, Auditing, Or Punishment

      The ATF isn’t restrained by oversight. It’s hardly restrained at all. It’s made a business of fake stash house sting operations, where downtrodden suckers looking for cash are persuaded to rob a ficitonal stash house of its fictional drugs. The problem is the government then bases its charges on the amount of nonexistent drugs sting victims were told the fake stash house contained. In no sting operation was the “amount” of drugs lower than 5 kilograms — the amount needed to trigger a 20-year minimum sentence.

      Why is the ATF involved? Because every sting operation involves fictional armed guards, necessitating the use of illegally-obtained weapons by sting victims. Bang. More charges with lengthy minimum sentences.

    • The Push for a Medicare-for-All Plan

      Sen. Bernie Sanders has unveiled a new single-payer healthcare plan which would provide all Americans with government-sponsored health coverage. Sanders’s plan, supported by some 16 Democrats in the Senate, calls for an overhaul of the healthcare system with what would essentially be a tweaked and revitalized version of Medicare-for-all.

    • Dr. Mona’s work exposing problems with Flint water earns award, $250,000
    • A year later, Dakota Access pipeline protests changed people
    • International Water Study Will Pay Flint Residents to Participate
    • Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic, studies show

      Researchers believe the majority of the contamination comes from microfibres and single-use plastics such as water bottles, items that comprise the majority of plastic waste. Up to 12.7m tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year, equivalent to dumping one garbage truck of plastic per minute into the world’s oceans, according to the United Nations.

    • Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers

      At a time when the United States is in the grip of an opioid epidemic, many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications.

      The reason, experts say: Opioid drugs are generally cheap while safer alternatives are often more expensive.

      Drugmakers, pharmaceutical distributors, pharmacies and doctors have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, but the role that insurers — and the pharmacy benefit managers that run their drug plans — have played in the opioid crisis has received less attention. That may be changing, however. The New York State attorney general’s office sent letters last week to the three largest pharmacy benefit managers — CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx — asking how they were addressing the crisis.

    • Why Are Drug Prices So High? We’re Curious, Too

      This much is clear: The public is angry about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Surveys have shown that high drug prices rank near the top of consumers’ health care concerns.

      What’s not as clear is exactly why prices have been rising, and who is to blame.

      For the last four months, The New York Times and ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization, have teamed up to answer these questions, and to shed light on the games that are being played to keep prices high, often without consumers’ knowledge or consent. Katie reports from the health desk at The Times, and Charles is a senior reporter at ProPublica.

      Our reporting journey has turned up some counterintuitive stories, like how insurance companies sometimes require patients to take brand-name drugs — and refuse to cover generic alternatives — even when that means patients have to pay more out of pocket.

  • Security
    • Don’t blame open-source software for poor security practices

      The Equifax breach is a good reminder of why organizations need to remain vigilant about properly maintaining and updating their software, especially when security vulnerabilities have been disclosed. In an ideal world, software would update itself the moment a security patch is released. WordPress, for example, offers automatic updates in an effort to promote better security, and to streamline the update experience overall. It would be interesting to consider automatic security updates for Drupal (just for patch releases, not for minor or major releases).

      In absence of automatic updates, I would encourage users to work with PaaS companies that keep not only your infrastructure secure, but also your Drupal application code. Too many organizations underestimate the effort and expertise it takes to do it themselves.

      At Acquia, we provide customers with automatic security patching of both the infrastructure and Drupal code. We monitor our customers’ sites for intrusion attempts, DDoS attacks, and other suspicious activity. If you prefer to do the security patching yourself, we offer continuous integration or continuous delivery tools that enable you to get security patches into production in minutes rather than weeks or months. We take pride in assisting our customers to keep their sites current with the latest patches and upgrades; it’s good for our customers and helps dispel the myth that open-source software is more susceptible to security breaches.

    • Don’t blame open-source software for poor security practices

      Equifax was hacked because the firm failed to patch a well-known Apache Struts flaw that was disclosed months earlier in March.

    • Northern Exposure: Data on 600K Alaskan Voters is Leaked

      Researchers have discovered the personal details of over half a million US voters exposed to the public internet, once again thanks to a misconfigured database.

    • Google purges malicious Android apps with millions of downloads
  • Defence/Aggression
    • FACT CHECK: Is the photo, widely shared as that of Rohingya Muslims charred to death, authentic?

      The picture used by The Times Headline is that from a 2010 Fuel Truck disaster that happened in Congo and is NOT of Rohingya Muslims.

    • Why no country wants Rohingya, why it’s so difficult to deport them

      India had condemned “terrorist attacks in… Rakhine, wherein several members of the Myanmar security forces lost their lives”; Myanmar, in turn, condemned the Amarnath yatra attack, and “various acts of terror perpetrated by terrorists from across the borders”.

    • Pakistan is fuelling unrest in Myanmar’s backyard

      The international community has questioned Myanmar for the Rohingya crisis but has forgotten the bloody contribution of Pakistan-based jihadist groups to this catastrophe

    • Thousands of non-Muslims evacuated as violence flares in northwest Myanmar

      Fighting involving the military and hundreds of Rohingya across northwestern Rakhine continued on Saturday with the fiercest clashes taking place near the major town of Maungdaw, according to residents and the government.

    • Angela Merkel tells asylum seekers not to take holidays in their country of origin

      “Taking holidays in the country in which you are being persecuted is not on,” she said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, adding that it could be a reason to re-examine an asylum case.

    • Terror Warning: Britain home to 35,000 Islamist fanatics, says security chief

      European Union’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove singled out the UK as having more radicalised [sic] muslims than any other country in Europe.

    • ISIS Central Planned Attacks in London a Year Before Borough Market Assault
    • Terror attacks caused by “misinterpretation” of Quran by mosques, claims Scots Muslim issued with fatwa

      Paigham Mustafa, 58, was accused of spreading “Satanic thoughts” in a fatwa issued by 15 imams in Glasgow after he published a series of articles questioning mosque teachings, which he says are based on the Hadith and Sunna, later Islamic texts, written after the Koran, which he claims are “replete with violence, misogyny and terror”.

    • Profiteering in War: the Case Against Mercenaries

      Opening the August 30 New York Times, I was surprised (and personally appalled) to find Erik Prince on the opinion page with his own by-lined article (“Contractors, Not Troops, Will Save Afghanistan”). While Prince is entitled to his opinion, it seemed to me his former role as head of Blackwater should have denied him the privilege of expressing it from the vaulted platform of the NYT.

      Taking issue with the Prince op-ed, I maintain that the U.S. military should never hire mercenaries, whether directly or through Blackwater-type firms since contract soldiers have a vested interest in prolonging a war. Their private employers, investors, and lobbyists have a similar interest in advocating pro-war policies in the halls of Congress.

      Enriched by a succession of lucrative government security contracts and serving for years as a CIA lackey, Prince’s security company Blackwater earned opprobrium for its high-handed aggressiveness in Iraq as it escorted government VIPs around Baghdad and beyond. Repeated abuses of Iraqi pedestrians and motorists came to a head when four Blackwater employees opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad in 2007, killing 17 and wounding 20. Prince defended his security force but sold the company in 2010.

    • The Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange
    • Nigerian Parents Give Girls to Boko Haram as Bombers, Army Says

      Parents in the northeast of Nigeria are giving their daughters to Boko Haram terrorists for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions, the country’s military said.

    • Imam in Northern Region allegedly beats wife to death

      Worried residents who spoke to Ultimate News on condition of anonymity said Afa Tijani married a second wife and strained relationship with the deceased who had aggressively objected and tried to block the second marriage.

    • Jihadi mob attacked Ramganj Police station in Jaipur. Curfew imposed. 1 died, several injured.

      Mosque microphones were used to incite the violence as reported.

    • Swedish Library Outlaws Factual Book on Migration, Offers Hitler’s Mein Kampf

      A Swedish library has landed in hot water for freely offering Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to its readership, while stopping books that question Sweden’s established view of immigration. This has evoked troubling hints at censorship in a country that takes pride in its openness.

    • What’s on the Mind of a Muslim ‘Refugee’?

      “One day we good Muslims will conquer their infidel lands.” I asked why he was receiving “infidel” money for living. “It’s just halal,” he answered. “They ['infidels'] are too easy to fool.”

    • When Islamic ‘occupation of Europe’ becomes a reality

      Op-ed: If Western European countries fail to wake up soon, they may find out within several decades—or maybe even by the end of the century—that the Muslims have become a majority in the population. The jihadists’ terror attacks in the continent are just the beginning.

    • Swedish Migration Board Staff Bedeviled By Death Threats From Angry Applicants

      Being a clerk at Sweden’s Migration Board is anything but a cakewalk due to vast workloads and occupational hazards. For instance, some of the asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected choose to track down the Migration Board employees responsible.

    • Why Sweden has more fatal shootings per capita than Norway and Germany

      “I think that tougher new laws, like automatically charging a person carrying a firearm, is the right way to go.”

    • Lidl Terrorism

      To create an effective blast, you need some sort of pressure vessel containing the explosive. There is no sign of this in the photos of the Parsons Green bomb and plainly there was no “blast” as such from the condition of the bucket. Some kind of fire event was rather created. If the police are arresting the right people, it is teenagers from social care backgrounds who did this. That is of a piece with what we know of so many recent attacks, where psychiatric health appears to be the cause of an interest in nihilist ideologies – as opposed to the other way round.

      We are entering a phase where we can expect the deep unpopularity of the government to worsen. Real wages continue to fall, and that is going to continue. Despite this and the massive mountain of personal debt, the Bank of England seems determined to raise interest rates in the next few months, which will put an even larger squeeze on the living standards of the poor. In particular, an increase in interest rates will not just cause the struggling and overly indebted to have higher repayments, in the Tory buy to let economy it will feed directly into higher rents.

      The government therefore needs an alternative narrative to distract the bulk of the population from their increasing penury. The Tory government will continue to use the Brexit negotiations, not to obtain the best outcome for the UK, but in order to manipulate events to highlight the issue of immigration and seek to further scapegoat immigrants as the cause of popular economic hardship. But they will also undoubtedly try to play up the “security” narrative. Expect more legislation to restrict civil liberties, and particularly expect amber Rudd to spearhead a coordinated media campaign to promote major censorship of the internet. That is the next major fight where we will have to stand up to the Tories.

    • UK to supply Qatar with Eurofighter jets in billion-dollar arms deal

      The British government and defence giant BAE Systems have agreed a major new deal to supply Qatar with Eurofighter Typhoon jets, despite fears of regional instability.

      British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon signed a letter of intent with Qatar on Sunday that will see BAE Systems provide 24 Typhoon jets and support capabilities worth billions of dollars.

      The move has shocked observers as it comes only three months after UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on Qatar to do more to clamp down on the funding of militant groups.

      The wealthy Gulf state is at the heart of a regional dispute over the funding of terrorism, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt have since June imposed sanctions on Qatar, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with Iran, arch-foe of the Gulf Arab states – allegations Doha denies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Chelsea Manning Has a Lot to Teach. Harvard Doesn’t Agree.

      On Wednesday, Harvard’s Kennedy School announced that Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst and whistle-blower, would be a visiting fellow this fall. The reaction was swift: A day later, Michael Morell, a former acting director of the C.I.A. and also a visiting fellow at the school, resigned from his own fellowship in protest. His resignation was quickly followed by the current director of the C.I.A., Mike Pompeo, canceling a speech scheduled at the school. In a statement, Mr. Pompeo unilaterally declared Ms. Manning a “traitor.”

      On Friday morning, the school folded, disinviting Ms. Manning in a cowardly act that does immense disservice to its students and the public debate around government secrecy.

    • Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning

      Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has shown that it is no profile in courage by withdrawing a visiting fellowship that had been awarded to Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in prison for revealing U.S. war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Harvard Caves to CIA Pressure, Revokes Chelsea Manning Title

      Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government revoked Chelsea Manning’s status as a “visiting fellow” on Friday, despite insisting the title was not intended as an honor. Extending the title “was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” the school’s dean, Douglas W. Elmendorf, wrote in a statement.

      On Sept. 13, Harvard University extended an invitation to Manning to speak to students in a short lecture series, igniting an unexpected firestorm. Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, leaked thousands of diplomatic cables revealing details about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Although her title is revoked, Manning is still invited to speak to students at Harvard.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Interior Dept recommends reducing Bears Ears, other protected land: report

      The report, sent to the White House by the Department of the Interior in August, recommends scaling back the two national monuments as well as reopening hundreds of thousands of miles of protected oceans to commercial fishing.

    • Harvey and Irma aren’t natural disasters. They’re climate change disasters

      Make no mistake: These storms weren’t natural. A warmer, more violent atmosphere — heated up by our collective desire to ignore the fact that we live on a planet where such devastation is possible — juiced Harvey and Irma’s destruction.

    • Hurricanes Wreak Havoc Far Longer Than You Realize

      Houston didn’t just flood because of a lot of rain; it flooded because it let people build neighborhoods in known flood zones.

      [...]

      We listen to our weathermen when the storms are a few days away, but not our scientists and engineers when they tell us that planning for disasters takes years and money.

    • Indonesia Warns of Growing Risk of Wild Fires

      He also explained that at least 538 hot spots with a medium to high confidence level were located, although the current numbers could be higher.

      In that regard, he pointed out that the greatest number of outbreaks were detected in the provinces of West Kalimantan and Papua, with 193 and 143, respectively.

    • Barriers, Water-features, Trees Used to Protect Europe’s Landmark Sites
    • An update on Hurricane Jose and the next threat behind it

      Despite the comings and goings of two major hurricanes that affected the United States during the last month—Harvey and Irma—we remain in the midst of a very active Atlantic hurricane season that may not be done with us yet. Not only must the US East Coast keep an eye on Hurricane Jose as it finally begins moving forward, but another threat lurks behind it.

      This post will review the three active Atlantic storms, and their potential effects on the Caribbean islands and the United States during the coming days and weeks.

    • How Washington Made Harvey Worse

      Nearly two decades before the storm’s historic assault on homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast of Texas this week, the National Wildlife Federation released a groundbreaking report about the United States government’s dysfunctional flood insurance program, demonstrating how it was making catastrophes worse by encouraging Americans to build and rebuild in flood-prone areas. The report, titled “Higher Ground,” crunched federal data to show that just 2 percent of the program’s insured properties were receiving 40 percent of its damage claims. The most egregious example was a home that had flooded 16 times in 18 years, netting its owners more than $800,000 even though it was valued at less than $115,000.

    • Something is changing the sex of Costa Rican crocodiles

      After probing and peering at the genitalia of nearly 500 crocodiles in Palo Verde, Murray and his colleagues found something odd: The sex ratio was way out of whack, with males outnumbering females four to one among hatchling crocs. What’s more, the animals’ tissues were tainted with a synthetic steroid, which the researchers suspect was causing them to switch sex.

    • How mood-altering drugs are ending up in Great Lakes fish

      Antidepressant drugs, making their way through an increasing number of people’s bodies, getting excreted in small amounts into their toilets, and moving through the wastewater treatment process to lakes and rivers, are being found in multiple Great Lakes fish species’ brains, new research by the University of Buffalo has found.

    • Warning Letter to Harvey and Irma Survivors From Katrina Survivor

      Our hearts go out to you as you try to return to and fix your homes and lives. Based on our experiences, here are a few things you should watch out for as you rebuild your communities.

      One. Rents are going to skyrocket and waves of evictions are likely. With so many houses damaged and so many highly paid contractors coming into your region whose companies will pay anything to house them, landlords are going to start evicting people to make way for higher paying occupants. Work with local organizations to enact a moratorium on evictions and a freeze on rents to allow working and low income people to come home and have a place to stay.

      [...]

      Eleven. Don’t allow those in power to forget about the people whose voices are never heard. People in nursing homes, people in hospitals, the elderly, the disabled, children, the working poor, renters, people of color, immigrants and prisoners. There is no need to be a voice for the voiceless, because all these people have voices, they are just not listened to. Help lift their voices and their stories up because the voices of business and industry and people with money and connections will do just fine. It is our other sisters and brothers who are always pushed to the back of the line. Stand with them as they struggle to reclaim their rightful place.

  • Finance
    • Trump Administration Stayed Rule Targeting Ending the Wage Gap

      “Pay discrimination by gender is already illegal. But when employees, employers, and enforcement agencies do not know that discrimination is happening, they can’t fix it.”

    • How Corporate Capitalism Looted Democracy

      Democrats not only colluded with Republicans in the robbery—some may now be willing to allow corporations to evade hundreds of billions they owe in back taxes.

    • India likely to be 3rd largest economy by 2028: HSBC report

      India is likely to overtake Japan and Germany to become the third largest economy in the next 10 years but needs to be consistent in reforms and focus more on the social sector, British brokerage HSBC has said.

    • Frustrated EU fears Britain is ‘heading for the Brexit rocks’

      And now there is the unwelcome reappearance on the Brexit battlefield of Boris Johnson, with his insistence that the UK will succeed “mightily” as a low-regulation economy, no longer paying into the EU budget after March 2019. Speaking to the Observer, the leader of the socialist bloc, Gianni Pittella, fumed: “Boris Johnson is embarrassing his country once again by repeating the lies of the Leave campaign. He is jeopardising the Brexit negotiations by threatening to turn the UK into a low-regulation economy. And he insults the intelligence of the British people with his tub-thumping jingoism. It is more in keeping with Trump Tower than Whitehall.”

    • Alphabet might be about to invest $1 billion in Lyft

      Last week, my colleague Tim Lee explained why Lyft is going to be like Android, licensing and partnering with others rather than doing everything in-house. On Friday, Reuters reported on a notable deal that adds more weight to that analysis.

    • Here’s a real-life, slimy example of Uber’s regulator-evading software

      Portland, Oregon, was one of the cities we mentioned where Uber employed the so-called “Greyball” tool. The city has now released a scathing report detailing that Uber evaded picking up 16 local officials for a ride before April 2015, when the service finally won approval by Portland regulators.

      The Greyball software employs a dozen data points on a new user in a given market, including whether a rider’s Uber app is opened repeatedly in or around municipal offices, which credit card is linked to the account, and any publicly available information about the new user on social media. If the data suggests the new user is a regulator in a market where Uber is not permitted, the company would present that user with false information about where Uber rides are. This includes showing ghost cars or no cars in the area.

    • Gary Cohn Is Giving Goldman Sachs Everything It Ever Wanted From the Trump Administration
    • Use of ‘£350million per week’ figure to describe UK’s financial contributions to the EU
    • Boris’s nasty politics would hurt the Tories and Britain

      I used to have a lot of time for Boris Johnson. Sometimes whole days, in fact: from 8am until 8pm, I’d ring and text and email him, politely urging him to tell me what he planned to write his exquisitely expensive Telegraph column about, and when he’d deign to send it to me. It was, as others who’ve had the joy of calling him a colleague can attest, maddening. But he always filed, in the end.

      I don’t claim that working acquaintance with Boris gives me any unique insight into his soul. In fact, familiarity only makes his real character more obscure. My overall impression of a man famous for being talkative and flamboyant is that the real Boris Johnson, the man concealed beneath onionskin layers of artifice and performance, can be quite guarded and even a bit shy.

    • The Observer view on Boris Johnson’s analysis of Britain’s ills

      Mr Johnson succeeds in blaming almost every British ill – from uninspiring training to our dilapidated infrastructure – all or in part on the failing efforts of a Brussels elite to create a federal superstate. Incredibly, he writes that once free of the EU, Britain will be able to organise, plan, build the homes and infrastructure we need, give our children skills and – bingo! – we will become glorious and rich. None of this is allegedly possible as an EU member. The new alchemy will be simplifying regulations and cutting taxes, doing trade deals as “Global Britain”, alongside boosting wages and productivity.

      This, in the language of those gilded Etonians Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, is bilge and balderdash. It is true, as Johnson observes, that Britain is failing on many fronts, but to lay the blame, extending even to low wages, on unnamed EU regulations is fantastical. The blame needs to be firmly pinned on the policy framework – weak regulation, low taxation, minimal public intervention and unwillingness to invest in public infrastructure and services – which he champions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Jemele Hill and the politicisation of everything

      What’s striking, though, is that this ever exploded in the first place. How did we get to the position where one of the major political battles of the week is between a PC sports commentator and the commander-in-chief? All of American culture seems to be being drawn into this battle of the snowflakes – where ‘white supremacists’ and ‘libtards’ spend their days trading epithets until someone gets sacked.

    • The Equal Protection Challenge to Winner Take All: A Legal Guide

      Today, the non-profit that I founded, EqualCitizens.US, announced it would crowdfund support for two lawsuits to challenge the way votes are allocated in the Electoral College. All but two states allocate their vote according to a winner-take-all system, in which the winner of the popular vote gets all the electoral votes for that state. We believe winner-take-all violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and we intend, through EqualVotes.US, to build a case (and a campaign) to get the Supreme Court to agree.

    • Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?

      Donald Trump is testing the institution of the presidency unlike any of his 43 predecessors. We have never had a president so ill-informed about the nature of his office, so openly mendacious, so self-destructive, or so brazen in his abusive attacks on the courts, the press, Congress (including members of his own party), and even senior officials within his own administration. Trump is a Frankenstein’s monster of past presidents’ worst attributes: Andrew Jackson’s rage; Millard Fillmore’s bigotry; James Buchanan’s incompetence and spite; Theodore Roosevelt’s self-aggrandizement; Richard Nixon’s paranoia, insecurity, and indifference to law; and Bill Clinton’s lack of self-control and reflexive dishonesty.

    • DC eyes tighter regulations on Facebook and Google as concern grows

      Every time a television station sells a political ad, a record is entered into a public file saying who bought the advertisement and how much money they spent.

      In contrast, when Facebook or Google sells a political ad, there is no public record of that sale. That situation is of growing concern to politicians and legislators in Washington as digital advertising becomes an increasingly central part of American political campaigns. During the 2016 election, over $1.4bn was spent in online advertising, which represented a 789 percent increase over the 2012 election.

    • Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election

      Facebook is under fire after revealing that a Russian group tied to the Kremlin bought political ads on its platform during the 2016 elections.

    • Rolling Stone, Once a Counterculture Bible, Will Be Put Up for Sale

      The sale plans were devised by Mr. Wenner’s 27-year-old son, Gus, who has aggressively pared down the assets of Rolling Stone’s parent company, Wenner Media, in response to financial pressures. The Wenners recently sold the company’s other two magazines, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal. And last year, they sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a music technology company based in Singapore.

    • Everything we thought we knew about Devo’s “Whip It” was wrong

      While it would certainly be consistent with Devo’s methods to include a knowing double entendre, they are adamantly ambivalent about the common misunderstanding, which both goosed the song’s popularity and made it ever more clear that the masses would never quite get what the band were trying to do. “We wrote it as a ‘you can do it, Dale Carnegie’ pep talk for President Carter,” says Mark. “We were afraid that Republicans were going to get in there [in 1980], and they sounded very nasty at the time. They were running this guy, Ronald Reagan, that seemed like a total—he seemed like he didn’t even have a brain. We were like, ‘How could that be our president? That’s impossible, that they choose him to run for president.’ [...]

    • Donald Trump’s highly abnormal presidency: the week of Sept. 11
    • It’s Not Donald Trump’s Presidency That’s Highly Abnormal. It’s Trump

      People keep making apologies for Trump, that’s he’s not a politician, that he lacks experience, or that he just speaks his mind. Those are true but they are just the window-dressing of the problem. Trump’s absolutely nuts. No one in their right mind would plan on “winging it” or not having a plan to run something as complex as the government of the USA. Trump doesn’t have a plan at all, or if he does make one up, he changes it by breakfast time. He does all kinds of things that make no sense even to supporters, like depopulating the Department of State, banning one or another classes of people from USA not based on reason just who they are, building a wall that can’t be built at great expense for no purpose that anyone can see, and threatening dire consequences repeatedly and backing off. He trumpeted that Obama had no plan or that Obama was weak but Trump has less of a plan and is weaker.

    • Why ‘Juggalos’ are marching on DC

      “On paper, it sounds just plain ridiculous that a group of men and women who like a particular kind of music are being considered gang members, but it’s no laughing matter when you realize how many people’s lives are being destroyed by this gang designation.”

    • Why Merkel and Co want to keep politics ‘boring’

      However, the claim that the election process is boring is only half the truth. Yes, Merkel has a comfortable lead over the Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He is her main rival, though his party has been in coalition with Merkel over the past four years. But the elephant in the room is the anti-establishment AfD. This party, which is running on a largely authoritarian, anti-Islamic ticket, and which has opened itself up to many right-wing fringe groups, is back on the political stage after having done badly in some recent local elections. Many are now asking how strong AfD will become — or how strong Merkel really is, which amounts to the same question.

    • Stop being afraid of more government. It’s exactly what we need.

      Seeing the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and of wildfires out West, one cannot help but think about the crucial role that government plays in our lives. But while we accept, even celebrate, the role of government in the wake of such disasters, we are largely blind to the need for government to mitigate these kinds of crises in the first place.

      Ever since President Ronald Reagan, much of the United States has embraced an ideological framework claiming that government is the source of our problems. Reagan famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

    • PM’s Father Endorsed “Restored Honour” For Convicted Paedophile

      Benedikt Sveinsson, the father of Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, provided a recommendation letter of “restored honour” for Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson, a man convicted of having raped his stepdaughter almost daily for 12 years. This information was kept hidden from the general public, despite repeated requests from the media, until a parliamentary committee ruled that the Ministry of Justice was legally obliged to disclose this information. The Prime Minister was aware of his father’s actions since at least last July, but said nothing.

      Stundin reports that Hjalti was convicted of rape in 2004, but last August was granted “restored honour”, a legal procedure which effectively clears the criminal record of someone who has served a sentence for a serious crime and seeks to gain a position that a criminal conviction would normally prevent them from getting. In order to get restored honour, however, amongst the requirements is a letter of recommendation.

      Initially the Ministry of Justice refused to disclose who had recommended Hjalti receive restored honour, but after concerted pressure – including a parliamentary committee ruling that the Ministry had gone beyond the bounds of the law to keep the information secret – the Ministry relented. It was today revealed that Benedikt, who has long been a friend of Hjalti’s and reportedly visited him in prison, had provided a letter of recommendation for Hjalti.

    • Analysis: How Iceland’s Government Fell Apart

      Late last night, Iceland’s coalition government – led by the Independence Party and supported by Bright Future and the Reform Party – collapsed when Bright Future opted to leave the coalition. Today, Iceland is facing the prospect of early elections, less than a year from our last round of early elections in October 2016, which were themselves sparked by a scandal that made international headlines.

      Making sense of the chaos means taking a look at the key elements and players involved in this government crisis.

    • How a convicted pedophile brought down Iceland’s government

      In 2004, Hjalti Sigurjon Hauksson was imprisoned for raping his stepdaughter nearly every day for 12 years, starting when she was just 5. Thirteen years later, his crime has helped bring down Iceland’s government.

      The story involves Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his father, Benedikt Sveinsson.

      Here’s what happened: Several months ago, Sveinsson drafted a letter of recommendation for Hauksson, arguing that he should have his “honor restored.” In Iceland, convicts can have certain civil rights restored by submitting letters of recommendation extolling good character. Hauksson and another convicted pedophile, Robert Downey (formerly named Robert Arni Hreidarsson), received full pardons over the summer.

    • The Guardian view on deportation: contempt of court and of decency

      Three judges have now told the Home Office it was wrong to deport an asylum seeker back to Afghanistan – where he says armed men are looking for him already – and that it should return him to the UK at once. By not doing so, the Home Office has shown its contempt not only for decency, but for British law. Samim Bigzad believes he is a target for the Taliban because he worked in construction for the Afghan government and US companies. His asylum claim was rejected, but his lawyers applied for a judicial review. A high court judge ruled that he should not be removed while the process was under way. That order arrived when he had already been put on the second leg of the flight. He was not removed immediately and it took off shortly afterwards.

      Then a second high court judge has ruled that the home secretary is in prima facie contempt of court and must secure his return. A third – rejecting the government’s request to set aside that ruling – has reiterated that he should be brought back at once. It now appears that the Home Office may be arranging his imminent return, although it said in a statement that it was correct to deport him and is continuing to pursue legal action. It was wrong to send him to Kabul and it should have complied earlier.

    • America’s Slow-Motion Military Coup

      In a democracy, no one should be comforted to hear that generals have imposed discipline on an elected head of state. That was never supposed to happen in the United States. Now it has.

      Among the most enduring political images of the 20th century was the military junta. It was a group of grim-faced officers—usually three—who rose to control a state. The junta would tolerate civilian institutions that agreed to remain subservient, but in the end enforced its own will. As recently as a few decades ago, military juntas ruled important countries including Chile, Argentina, Turkey, and Greece.

      These days the junta system is making a comeback in, of all places, Washington. Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men: General James Mattis, the secretary of defense; General John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff; and General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser. They do not put on their ribbons to review military parades or dispatch death squads to kill opponents, as members of old-style juntas did. Yet their emergence reflects a new stage in the erosion of our political norms and the militarization of our foreign policy. Another veil is dropping.

    • Kobach and Windmills

      “‘Vote early and vote often,’ the advice openly displayed on the election banners in one of our northern cities.”— William Porcher Miles, 1858, Speech in the House of Representatives

      A number of you have written asking if Wikipedia is wrong. They cannot believe that Kris Kobach, the man whose awesome educational background is described in Wikipedia, is the same man who spends his time attacking 21st Century windmills. Those asking the question should remember that Don Quixote de la Mancha, too, was an educated man, who saw in windmills foes to overcome. For Don Quikobach de la Kansas, the windmill has been replaced by the electoral system.

      Don Quikobach graduated with highest honors as an undergraduate from Harvard, went on to Oxford where he earned an MA and PhD in politics, and from there, went on to Yale Law School. His post graduate career is proof that, as one university president said of college graduates, although they had graduated, you could never be sure they were educated men. Don Quikobach is proof of the pudding. His academic credentials notwithstanding, his life is filled with windmills that serve as his opponents and he is the hero of all who, like him, focus on those perceived enemies.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • MEP accused of trying to suppress cartoons critical of bloc and Merkel

      They said that critical cartoons about German Chancellor Angela Merkel were apparently discarded on the basis that she is currently facing a re-election battle. The exhibition takes place after Sunday’s election.

    • Malaysia blocked Steam because of a single game, those trying to play it will need a VPN
    • Free Speech for the Right? A Primer on Key Legal Questions and Principles

      The rise in national attention to the “alt-right” and fascist-white supremacist protesters has raised questions about the parameters of free speech in America. When can free speech be limited, if ever? What are the implications of attempting to limit controversial speech? And what precedents has the Supreme Court set regarding free speech? I address these questions below via an exploration of historical Supreme Court cases, which show that there’s no legal pretext for a blanket ban on far-right protests.

      There are numerous precedents related to the topic of controversial speech. One major case is Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), in which a KKK member, Clarence Brandenburg, spoke at a rally about the possible need for “revengeance” against people of color as related to government initiatives taken in support of minority groups. Brandenburg was convicted under state law and sentenced to 10 years in prison for advocating violence, in violation of a state statute prohibiting support for “crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform.” But in overruling the state conviction, the Supreme Court ruled that government could only restrict incendiary speech if there was an “imminent” violent action is incited by that speech.

    • Twitter rival Gab sues Google over app store rejection

      Gab, a Twitter rival popular with the Breitbart crowd, is suing Google. The lawsuit, filed in Pennsylvania federal court on Thursday, argues that Google violated antitrust laws when it rejected Gab’s app from its Android app store.

      Gab says Google rejected Gab to help its business partner Twitter. Google and Twitter signed a data-sharing deal in 2015, and Gab argues the deal gave Google a financial stake in Twitter’s success. The deal “makes the Google search engine immeasurably more valuable,” Gab writes in its lawsuit. As a result of the deal, “the two companies’ user bases have essentially been merged.”

    • [Older] Crisis hits the world’s biggest football league amid political censorship scandal [VIDEO]

      The world’s biggest football league is currently in crisis because of a political censorship scandal.

    • Censorship and free speech based on fear not fairness — can I say that?
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Equifax announces “retirement” of the IT execs who presided over the mass-doxing of America

      One week after announcing the worst breach in American history, and days after it was revealed that the breach had been caused by simple negligence, Equifax has announced the “retirement” of its Chief Information Officer, David Webb, and Chief Security Officer, Susan Mauldin, though “the company’s review of the facts is still ongoing.”

    • Athens Makeshift Μosques Under Police Surveillance – Report

      The Greek daily says that authorities are concerned due to evidence that certain imams and followers have expressed views applauding the so-called Islamic State for the terrorist attacks it has orchestrated in different parts of Europe.

    • ISPs can keep sharing your browsing history after California no-vote

      California state lawmakers ended their legislative session yesterday without enacting privacy protections for broadband customers after the proposed rule drew opposition from Internet service providers and advertisers.

      “By failing to pass A.B. 375, the legislature demonstrated that they put the profits of Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast over the privacy rights of their constituents,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said today.

      The California legislation would have required ISPs to obtain customers’ permission before they use, share, or sell the customers’ Web browsing and application usage histories. The data is valuable for serving personalized advertisements to Internet users. But the bill was shelved before reaching a final vote.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Playdate Generation Goes To College
    • West Papua petition vote to go to UN

      Free West Papua campaigners have drawn attention to the 42 people they’ve said have been tortured and the two people who had been arrested in the Indonesian province as a direct consequence of the petition.

    • Turkey’s Genocide Denial: Four Narratives

      Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians perished. The Turkish state does not have just one policy or rhetoric concerning it. One could argue that there are four main narratives in Turkey concerning the genocide.

    • Environmental justice overlooked in Dakota pipeline saga, legal expert says

      If that weren’t enough, Kronk Warner writes, tribes opposed to the pipeline might challenge it based on international law. The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the United States has signed, provides guidance meant to preserve “indigenous self-determination,” she writes, including restitution or compensation “for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.”

    • Shailene Woodley says she was strip searched after Dakota pipeline arrest

      Woodley originally pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. But she accepted a plea deal earlier this year in which she pleaded guilty in exchange for one-year probation.

    • Christian children ‘forced to recite Islamic prayers’ in order to receive food in Sudan refugee camps

      Christian children at refugee camps in Sudan are not receiving food unless they say Islamic prayers, according to reports received by sources close to the leading Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

    • Finland Named World’s Largest Jihad Exporter Per Capita

      Klor also claimed that the risk of radicalization of Muslims is far greater in wealthy societies compared with the poor ones. According to Klor, high GDP and high living standards directly correlate with a high proportion of Daesh recruits in non-Muslim countries. This phenomenon wholly applies to Finland, which in recent decades has been repeatedly ranked as one of the world’s best countries to live in.

    • Flint airport stabbing suspect won’t get access to addresses of witnesses

      A judge has denied a request from the man accused of stabbing an on-duty Flint Bishop Airport police officer in the neck to see the addresses of those who may testify against him.

    • The Golden Age of Private Prisons

      Either way, Deutsche Bank has discovered at least two crisis-proof investments. In a recent analyst report, the bank said it was bullish about the prospects for a pair of U.S. companies for which it recently issued “buy” recommendations. These companies are CoreCivic (CXW) and GEO Group, the two largest operators of private prisons in the United States.

    • Punjabi woman sold in Saudi Arabia as ‘slave’, travel agent booked

      He said his wife left India on July 23 and was employed with a Saudi family, adding that after reaching there Paramjit was told that she would not get any salary as she had been purchased by the family.

    • Crowd ‘cheer like they’re at a beach party’ as Saudi blogger is lashed 50 times

      She wrote: ‘This crowd is not a beach party, it’s how moderate Muslims act when they flog someone for expressing his own opinions.’

    • Nothing ‘moderate’ about Malaysia

      The constitution may in theory protect freedom of religion but it certainly doesn’t protect freedom from religion. Consequently, several states have strong apostasy laws that threaten “rehabilitation” and prison time for any Muslim who tries to leave the religion.

    • Open letter: hijab in the classroom
    • Muslim college student who lied about Trump supporter subway attack pleads guilty

      She must go through six months of counseling and complete three days of community service.

      If Seweid fulfills the terms of her deal, the top charge against her will be tossed and she’ll be left with just a violation.

    • Why is the US government keen on detaining and deporting Singaporean political asylee Amos Yee?
    • Elders ‘ban’ musical gatherings in Landi Kotal

      The organisers warned that the houses of those either holding musical gatherings or in possession of musical instruments would be burnt, the sources claimed.

    • In Indonesia, 3 Muslim Girls Fight for Their Right to Play Heavy Metal

      “They said that if we produce an album, they would burn it, and some people threatened to decapitate us,” Ms. Eusi said.

    • ‘Fed up with fantasies for male teenagers’: fixing the depiction of women in games

      “I was fed up with power fantasies for male teenagers,” says Stark, one half of Noosa-based family studio Disparity Games. “We wanted something different.”

    • Disturbing reality of child marriage in Australia revealed
    • Local Islamic leader refuses to shake hands with Norwegian female minister on TV (VIDEO)
    • Swiss feel threatened by Islam, according to survey

      In addition, 81 % favoured banning salafism, and 83% would like a system that requires imams to get official authorisation before they can preach in Switzerland. 80% would also like rules that require muslim leaders in Switzerland to recognise equality between men and women and the principle of the separation of the state and religion.

    • Submit a Public Comment: Do NOT Allow ICE to Destroy Records of Sexual Abuse and Death of People in Custody

      We have until September 15 to send public comments to the National Archives and Records Administration demanding they retract permission for ICE to destroy these records.

    • The Deal Prosecutors Offer When They Have No Cards Left to Play

      When DNA evidence exonerated two men convicted in a 1987 murder, one took his chances on a retrial to overturn his conviction. The other accepted a special deal and left prison immediately—as a convicted killer.

    • Pedro Hernandez Was Cleared of Shooting Charges

      Nine people, including the victim, said he didn’t commit the crime.

    • Watch: Aggressive cop pulls gun on motorcyclist and bullies him for no good reason
    • LA deputies’ private body cams raise transparency questions

      Whatever the number, not a single frame of any video from these cameras has ever made it into the public domain.

    • The Google Memo: The Economist On Nothing

      But also important were themes that often got overlooked: reason, open discussion, and classical liberalism.

    • Public Enemy

      More than two hundred potential jurors were excused from the trial.

    • Vermont State Police Rewrite Press Rules To Withhold As Much Information As Possible

      Various authority figures have attempted to define journalism, usually excluding their critics. A recent post here covered a police chief who decided he could determine a journalist’s credibility based almost solely on their web presence. Trimming down the definition of “journalist” allows government officials to limit their accountability by treating only certain outlets as credible.

    • Rejecting Trump Agenda, Immigrant Protections Bill Passes in California

      Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the California Values Act, passed by lawmakers Saturday, which would make the state a “sanctuary state” with new protections for undocumented immigrants.

      The 27-11 vote, along party lines, was reached after lengthy negotiations. But immigrant rights groups applauded the final bill, noting that it represented a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda, including the Justice Department’s threats to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities.

      “This was a hard-fought effort but the end product was worth the fight,” said Jennie Pasquarella, Immigrants’ Rights Director with the ACLU of California. “With SB 54, California will meaningfully improve state law to keep families together and communities whole—and not a moment too soon as the Trump administration continues its draconian and indiscriminate crackdown on immigrants.”

    • Examining the “Ten Truths about Jihad”

      So if there was an irreconcilable contradiction between the messages of two “revelations” in the Koran, then the most recent “revelation” abrogated (superseded) the earlier one and was now the one to be followed. Consequently, a “revelation” made in the Medinan period would supersede a similar, earlier “revelation” made in the Meccan period. Both verses remain in the Koran because they are considered the words of Allah, but it is the most recent “revelation” that now carries the doctrinal authority.

    • Burkas are political symbols not Islamic ones, Muslim scholar says

      Dr Manea says the veiled garment was not worn by women outside of Nejd until Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi regime came to power in the late 1970s.

    • Inside Assad’s prisons: Horrors facing female inmates in Syrian jails revealed
    • “They are bringing shame on the family, that b**** is going to die”: How innocent kiss led to honour killing of Banaz Mahmod

      Banaz Mahmod was raped, tortured and strangled with a length of plastic cord at her parents’ home in a brutal honour killing after her family felt she had “shamed” them by divorcing her arranged marriage husband and choosing her own partner.

    • What we can learn from France’s failed deradicalization center

      Political, rushed center cost the country 2.5 million euro and did not deradicalize a single individual

      [...]

      “Obviously, trying to counter-radicalize these individuals exclusively through the frontal confrontation with democratic values is ineffective,” he says, “what we have to do, I believe, is to work where the sources of the problem are and on prevention efforts.’’

      As these young citizens have rejected the country in which they live, Dantinne believes it is unlikely that they will, for example, listen to an Imam hired by the State:

      ‘’In the prison context, for example, what happens when these youths are confronted to moderate Imams? They do not even want to be in contact with them, because they see them as representatives of the State and are the symbol of a rogue Islam.’’

    • Ironic anti-Prevent report proves just how direly we need the counter-terrorism strategy

      While this is just a glimpse into Baig’s history of courting views typically taken by Islamists, his most recent report on Channel 4, one which the Deputy Editor of the channel Nevine Mabro called “fantastic” before viewers began picking it apart, easily takes the cake. In it, he interviews a number of young Muslim women who we are told are going to “fight back by rejecting stereotypes.” While the entire production of the report is absurd, with the interviewees standing in a boxing ring and striking punching bags and tyres, the most appalling aspect is perhaps Channel 4’s collection of what they assume to be ‘progressive’ female Muslim voices.

    • Scandal-Plagued Sheriff David Clarke Would Make a Bad Trump Administration Even Worse

      It is clear by now that, if Clarke gets any White House post, the threat this administration poses to the Bill of Rights will increase.

    • Shaun King on Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and White Supremacy

      The role that Trump has played in fanning the flames of this violent hatred became a major discussion in the world of professional sports over the past week after comments from a popular ESPN host, Jemele Hill. In several tweets, she criticized Trump and bluntly labeled him a “white supremacist.” Her comment spurred calls for her to be fired and on Friday, the president himself tweeted: “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!” His press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said Hill’s comments were a fireable offense, saying ESPN “should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard.” The First Amendment implications of the president and his administration publicly attacking the free and constitutionally protected speech of a member of the news media are vast. Hill’s comments and the president’s response come amid a political debate consuming the world of professional sports about athletes engaging in protest.

    • Cyprus ‘selling’ EU citizenship to super rich of Russia and Ukraine

      Billionaire Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian elites accused of corruption are among hundreds of people who have acquired EU passports under controversial “golden visa” schemes, the Guardian has learnt.

      The government of Cyprus has raised more than €4bn since 2013 by providing citizenship to the super rich, granting them the right to live and work throughout Europe in exchange for cash investment. More than 400 passports are understood to have been issued through this scheme last year alone.

      Prior to 2013, Cypriot citizenship was granted on a discretionary basis by ministers, in a less formal version of the current arrangement.

      A leaked list of the names of hundreds of those who have benefited from these schemes, seen by the Guardian, includes prominent businesspeople and individuals with considerable political influence.

    • White House Pushes Stricter Travel Ban, Pointing to London Attack

      While no information has been released about the nationalities of two suspects in Friday’s subway bombing in London, national security advisor H.R. McMaster indicated Sunday that the Trump administration is eager to use the attack to bolster its argument for a ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries.

      Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning, McMaster said the White House is examining “how to protect the American people better, how to ensure that we know who these people are who are moving.”

    • Will Judge Overturn Arpaio Pardon?

      When Donald Trump plunged a dagger through the hearts of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s victims and all justice-loving people by pardoning the racist serial lawbreaker, many threw up their hands in resignation. The president’s constitutional pardon power is absolute, they thought.

      Not so, argue lawyers and legal scholars in two proposed amicus briefs filed in US District Court in Arizona. They contend the Arpaio pardon is unconstitutional.

    • Egypt: Torture Epidemic May Be Crime Against Humanity

      Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, and sometimes rape, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

      Widespread and systematic torture by the security forces probably amounts to a crime against humanity, according to the 63-page report, “‘We Do Unreasonable Things Here’: Torture and National Security in al-Sisi’s Egypt.” Prosecutors typically ignore complaints from detainees about ill-treatment and sometimes threaten them with torture, creating an environment of almost total impunity, Human Rights Watch said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Unlimited Data Customers Report Fewer Network Problems Than Capped Users

      Back in 2011, you might recall that AT&T and Verizon stopped offering users unlimited wireless data plans. Taking advantage of a lack of competition at the time, the duo worked in concert to shove users toward confusing, metered plans that imposed a usage cap, then socked users with overage fees upward of $15 per gigabyte. When users refused to migrate to these plans, both companies spent years making life as difficult as possible for these subscribers, AT&T going so far as to block users from accessing Facetime until they switched to these more expensive, metered plans (but who needs net neutrality rules, right?).

    • Sept 26-27: The Internet descends on Washington

      The FCC is set on killing net neutrality. But Congress is key. They can stop the FCC and block the bigger threat: ISP-backed bills that would end net neutrality forever. We’re organizing Internet users to meet with members of Congress—in DC, or locally—and we’re helping to cover travel costs. Are you in?

    • 8,500 Verizon customers disconnected because of “substantial” data use

      Verizon is disconnecting another 8,500 rural customers from its wireless network, saying that roaming charges have made certain customer accounts unprofitable for the carrier.

      The 8,500 customers have 19,000 lines and live in 13 states (Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin), a Verizon Wireless spokesperson told Ars today. They received notices of disconnection this month and will lose access to Verizon service on October 17.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Kodi ‘Trademark Troll’ Has Interesting Views on Co-Opting Other People’s Work

        Last week, the developers of Kodi revealed that Geoff Gavora, someone unconnected with the project, had registered the Kodi trademark in Canada. Surprisingly, it appears that Gavora’s Kodi business involves the promotion and distribution of addons that are banned by Kodi itself for supplying infringing content. But that isn’t the only thing interesting about this entrepreneur.

    • Copyrights
      • Music Industry Is Painting A Target On YouTube Ripping Sites, Despite Their Many Non-Infringing Uses

        Concentrated attacks on technology tools that can sometimes, but not always, be used for nefarious purposes have quite a long history, from Google and Wikipedia, to suing online sites like Craigslist over how users use the service. Even torrent technology itself, having become a four-letter-word that the content industry has managed to tether to copyright infringement, is nothing more than a tool with plenty of legitimate uses.

      • Call to Action: Write to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on the upcoming copyright vote

        On October 10, an important committee in the European Parliament will vote on future copyright law. It hangs in the balance, and ordinary people like you and I contacting Members of the European Parliament can really make a difference, like you’ll remember we did with ACTA five years ago and won. You don’t have to contact your representative; such a thing only exists in the US and UK. Rather, you should write a friendly mail to all of them.

Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

Sunday 17th of September 2017 09:57:14 PM

Boris Teksler keeps hopping from one troll to another


Credit: Japanese media

Summary: Patent trolls are still being watched — as they ought to be — even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits

THIS coming week we intend to start publishing a long series about the EPO. We therefore lack time to thoroughly write about each and every single patent thing in the US. This post is a quick outline of patent trolls of interest, all of which are based in the US.

We start this with McKool Smith, a law firm that’s notorious for helping patent trolls. We have mentioned it a lot over the years and this new post says that it got caught in a violation, this time when it represented Eolas (also covered here many times before). To quote:

This one is fun for me, since I teach civil procedure, patents, and ethics, and have written about prosecution bars way too much.

Prosecution bars are used when a court concludes that, although the usual rule is that lawyers will abide by provisions in a protective order that say “don’t use information disclosed in this suit for any other purpose,” there’s a risk that a lawyer will, perhaps even inadvertently, misuse the opposing party’s information disclosed in discovery because of work the lawyer does for his client. Here, in a case Eolas (represented by McKool) filed for its client against Amazon (and others), it seems that as part of the protective order, McKool agreed that its lawyers were in such a position — they were prosecuting patents for Eolas in similar technologies, presumably, to what was involved in the suit — and so the protective order provided that no McKool lawyer who received certain categories of confidential information from Amazon would prosecute patents for Eolas in those fields, for a time.

And there is the issue: how long? The protective order stated (in part — I’d want to see the entire thing to really understand this), that the bar expired “one (1) year following the entry of a final non-appealable judgment…”

Eolas lost at trial, and the Federal Circuit affirmed and entered judgment on July 22, 2013.

If the one year date runs from there — which I so far think it does — then it expired on July 22, 2014. And it was only after that date that McKool lawyers allegedly violated the prosecution bar.

In other news, this time about Conversant (used to be known as MOSAID, weaponised and emboldened by Microsoft), this is what IAM wrote a few days ago:

Patent pools in the wireless space have not enjoyed much success but the recent news that Lenovo, Verizon and Conversant have signed up as licensors in Via’s LTE pool suggests that, at the very least, this licensing collective for fourth generation mobile technology needs to be taken seriously. The three new members join a list of patent owners that already includes AT&T, China Mobile Communications Corporation, Google and NTT DOCOMO.

[...]

Teksler, who left his position as CEO of Unwired Planet in 2016 after it was acquired by Optis UP and was an adviser to Via prior to joining Conversant, identified increased transparency and predictability in the licensing process as one motivation for joining the LTE pool. He also claimed that, “historically, pools worked well with various audio and video standards and it is time that they were made to work again”.

Boris Teksler’s move was mentioned here before. What this article fails to say is that Conversant is a patent troll — one of the worst of its kind.

Next up we have Leigh Rothschild. On September 11th, a rather special day in the US, Leigh Rothschild, who is a patent troll we wrote about before, sued yet another real (producing) company called GoSpotCheck. It’s a small company from Denver. To quote the report from 3 days ago:

GoSpotCheck this week got a nod usually bestowed on tech giants like Oracle and Apple.

The distinction? All three have been sued by Leigh Rothschild.

In a federal court case filed this week, Rothschild, via his company Rothschild Digital Confirmation, claims that GoSpotCheck, which makes software used by field reps, violated a 2008 patent for attaching a timestamp and location data to an image.

GoSpotCheck “has directly infringed” Rothschild’s patent, the lawsuit alleges, and “will continue to do so unless enjoined by this court.” Rothschild says the company “has suffered monetary damages and is entitled to a monetary judgment” as a result.

GoSpotCheck CEO Matt Talbot said he had no knowledge of Rothschild’s patent, and called the complaint baseless.

Last but not least, the EFF is taking on/challenging more patent trolls, having recently defeated others. Here the introduction to the latest target:

Since 1992, Fairytale Brownies has sold delicious brownies based on a secret family recipe. It’s a small business founded by two childhood friends who were quick to see the potential of the Internet and registered the domain www.brownies.com in 1995. Fairytale Brownies became an e-commerce website before the first dot-com boom and has remained in business ever since.

But earlier this year, Fairytale Brownies received a surprising letter. The letter said its e-commerce website infringes U.S. Patent No. 9,373,261 (“the ’261 patent”). The ’261 patent is owned by Electronic Communication Technologies, LLC (“ECT”), a company that was previously known as Eclipse IP. We have written about it many times before.

What is the technology claimed by the patent?

Generally, ECT states that it patented “unique solutions to minimize hacker’s impacts when mimicking order confirmations and shipment notification emails.” From what we can tell, it claims to have invented sending an automated email in response to an online order, that contains personally identifiable information (“PII”). ECT claims that including PII allows customers to know that the email is not a “phishing” email or “part of an email fraud system,” and as a consequence customers will know to trust the links in the email.

Alice will probably squash this one easily. All it takes is money (which the EFF has). Will it put an end to this racket?

Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

Sunday 17th of September 2017 08:54:05 PM

Watch the men behind the curtain

Summary: The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat

THE company which claims that it “loves Linux”, Microsoft, unsurprisingly (given its track record on this) attacks GNU/Linux. It is still promoting software patents in India even though the rules are clearly preventing this. It is not allowed.

“…Microsoft, unsurprisingly (given its track record on this) attacks GNU/Linux.”How do we know?

See this report from a few days ago: “GNLU Centre for IPR in collaboration with GNLU-Microsoft chair on IPR and policy research, is organising a panel discussion on ‘Protecting software’s through Patents: Current Challenges and Future Solutions’ on 7th October, 2017 at Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.”

Why would Microsoft organise a discussion on “Protecting software’s [sic] through Patents” in country that does not permit such patents?

“Why would Microsoft organise a discussion on “Protecting software’s [sic] through Patents” in country that does not permit such patents?”The matter of fact is, Microsoft is still an enemy of GNU/Linux, yet certain people choose not to see it.

Where is Microsoft when it comes to OIN? Non-aggression is not something Microsoft can commit to. As Simon Phipps keeps stating, he would not believe Microsoft unless or until it decides to join OIN. But that too would not be sufficient because we already know that Microsoft operates through trolls, too.

OIN made the headlines (again) a few days ago. But it required some digging to find (none of the major Linux news sites picked this).

According to the press release, JD.com Joins the Open Invention Network (OIN) ‘Community’, but OIN is not against software patents and it certainly cannot stop patent trolls, even by its very own admission, making itself susceptible to loopholes. To quote from the press release:

“The retail space is undergoing a significant sea change — perhaps the largest in its history — as consumers worldwide continue to accelerate their purchasing via online retailers. To meet this growing demand, sophisticated e-commerce platforms today are built on Linux and adjacent open source technologies,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “We greatly appreciate JD.com’s leadership in joining OIN and supporting patent non-aggression.”

OIN is still IBM-led (to some degree) and as we noted in our previous post, IBM lobbies for software patents. To patent aggressors, patent law firms and patent trolls that’s just extra business. Lawyers profit from both sides (plaintiff and defendant). To real companies that champion development/production these lawsuits are nothing but a money drain (lawyers’ gain). To OIN? Well, the greater the fear and uncertainty over patent lawsuits, the more money it will harvest. It just cares about its own relevance, i.e. it benefits from threat.

“Where is Microsoft when it comes to OIN?”Earlier this year we published many articles about Microsoft siccing trolls on its competition while offering ‘protection’ (or indemnification) from these trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. A few days ago we also saw Finjan, a Microsoft-connected patent troll, suing some more companies while attempting to dodge PTAB, which we wrote a lot about earlier today (two articles about PTAB, published earlier today, explain the relation to software patents). Finjan even issued this press release about it to say (about its software patents):

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNJN), a cybersecurity company, and its subsidiary Finjan, Inc. today provide an update on four separate, but related matters including a summary judgment, IPR proceedings, Germany trial and an oral argument against Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (Blue Coat).

[...]

Second, in post-grant proceedings before the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the PTAB denied two additional Blue Coat petitions for Inter Partes Review (IPR), namely, IPR2017- 00996, which challenged the validity of U.S. Patent No. 9,141,786 (the “’786 Patent”) and IPR2017-00997, which challenged the validity of Finjan’s U.S. Patent No. 9,219,755 (the “’755 Patent”), and instituted trial on IPR2017-00995, which challenges the validity of U.S. Patent No. 9,189,621 (the “’621 Patent”). Notwithstanding institution, Finjan remains confident that the ’621 Patent will survive IPR. To-date only 20% of IPRs have been instituted against Finjan’s patents and, more impressively, after institution, 99% of Finjan’s claims remain intact.

Incidentally, a former adviser of Finjan is unhappy to see them turning to what he called “patent blackmail”. He wrote this a few days ago, right after reading our articles about it.

“Earlier this year we published many article’s about Microsoft siccing trolls on its competition while offering ‘protection’ (or indemnification) from these trolls.”Obviously, Microsoft wants to be seen as a friend of Linux, but all of Microsoft’s competitors seem to be sued by Finjan these days. Almost everybody except Microsoft (which used to lend a hand to this troll). Classy.

Incidentally, the USPTO is nowadays distributing its data in Microsoft OOXML format (which Microsoft famously corrupted ISO for). As Patently-O put it some days ago:

Beginning this week, the USPTO has transitioned its Private Pair system to include text versions of its office action rejections as well as notices of allowances (actual XML and DOCX versions). It is a straightforward step to move these documents into a searchable database available for public consumption.

I’ll note here that the XML/DOCX files are quite nice and, although not well tagged, will make it easy for patent attorneys to cut & paste from the OA in their responses or client emails. The system also includes a new mechanism for submitting documents to the PTO.

The bottom line is, Microsoft has long leveraged software patents to undermine the competition. None of that has changed, it just takes a little more effort to track or trace back to the source.

“The bottom line is, Microsoft has long leveraged software patents to undermine the competition.”We began this post by highlighting what Microsoft had just gone in India and Watchtroll too, only four days ago, did something similar, ascribing the term “IP integrity” to “software patents”. To quote:

Open source software can provide significant benefits to an organization—it can decrease product development time, distribute development across a community, and attract developers to your organization—but some organizations shy away due to perceived risks and disadvantages around intellectual property (IP). Too many people fear that once they’ve incorporated open source into their products or open sourced their own code they’ve surrendered control over their most valuable assets, or even worse, left themselves vulnerable to litigation with no defensive weapons to counter the threat.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Utilizing open source doesn’t have to be an either-or decision. It’s possible to simultaneously support an open source program while maintaining an active IP program. A smart organization can avail themselves of the ease of use and constant updating of code that open source provides, they can identify aspects of their software to open source which are of interest to a broader development community or that encourage adoption of their platform, and they can protect those aspects of their software which are unique to their business or provide a competitive advantage through various IP protections.

“As long as Microsoft so stubbornly pursues software patents, as it has done for well over a decade, it cannot be friends with GNU/Linux.”In reality, the Free software community/ies would rightly shun companies/people for bringing software patents. Just watch what is happening to Facebook and React these days (the latest development is, WordPress dumped React over it, as noted in our daily links).

Free software and software patents cannot co-exist. As long as Microsoft so stubbornly pursues software patents, as it has done for well over a decade, it cannot be friends with GNU/Linux.

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