Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Techrights

Syndicate content
Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

Patents Are Turning BlackBerry and Nokia, Which Used Android, Into Anti-Android Fronts That Tax Android OEMs

Saturday 14th of October 2017 09:53:36 AM

When patents are treated like an ‘insurance’ plan for the moment business runs dry

Summary: The Canadian BlackBerry has sued BLU in the US only to compel it to pay ‘protection’ money; Nokia’s patents are being scattered to trolls, which are doing something similar (without risking litigation themselves)

MR. Kokes has left BlackBerry, but his ugly and (self-)destructive legacy remains. It probably won’t be long before BlackBerry’s bankruptcy (maybe a couple of years). What would happen to the company’s trove of patents then? BlackBerry has a very large number of patents. Would these be sold to trolls? BlackBerry’s rise and fall were pretty fast (in relative terms), which means that many patents remain that aren’t expired and can potentially do a lot of damage.

Currently, things are not rosy. It has been pretty grim for a number of years. BlackBerry already operates a bit like a troll. The patent microcosm crafts many misleading terms by which to refer to such behaviour, so the term “troll” is only occasionally used in relation to BlackBerry (some of the mainstream media did this years ago). If only the public knew better what BlackBerry had been reduced to…

“BlackBerry already operates a bit like a troll.”When patent litigation/settlement is being framed as “licensing” and then “technology transfer” (see this new example) it’s difficult to trust the mainstream media. Days ago there were many articles to that effect, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. They were all about BlackBerry and BLU, but the headlines were mostly misleading. The outcome of the trial makes one wonder if the BlackBerry “licensing” campaign is nothing but a cover for blackmail; in other words, maybe the true story is that BlackBerry threatens litigation and when there’s settlement it’s touted as an amicable agreement instead (Microsoft does its blackmail this way). Remember that
BlackBerry uses patents against Android OEMs and even takes litigation down to Texas (BlackBerry is based in Canada).

“BlackBerry is a lost cause. It’s just a pile of patents now.”Here is what Indian media wrote, what Canadian media wrote, and what Android sites wrote yesterday [1, 2]. These mostly repeat the same euphemisms as the press release [1, 2], which went along the lines of “BlackBerry (BBRY) Announces Patent License Agreement with BLU Products”. To quote: “BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY) and BLU Products announced today they have entered into a patent license agreement. This will result in settlement of all existing patent litigation between the two companies and withdrawal of pending actions in the United States. The financial structure of the agreement includes on-going payments from BLU Products to BlackBerry. Additional terms of the agreement are confidential.”

They keep it secret, as usual. This secrecy is intended to help BlackBerry leverage better negotiation power in ‘protection’ money (or “settlement” as they euphemistically call it).

“This secrecy is intended to help BlackBerry leverage better negotiation power in ‘protection’ money (or “settlement” as they euphemistically call it)”BlackBerry is a lost cause. It’s just a pile of patents now. A better coverage said “Here’s How BlackBerry Plans to End Its Patent Dispute With This Google Android Phone Maker” or “BlackBerry details patent deal with Android maker BLU” (Reuters).

Reuters actually wrote not one but two articles about this [1, 2], emphasising the role of Android in the grand scheme of things:

BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) said on Thursday it signed a new license agreement with BLU Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-end Android phones, that would end patent disputes between the two companies.

Canada’s BlackBerry filed lawsuits against BLU in 2016, as part of the handset-maker-turned-software-company’s move to make cash off a bunch of technology patents it had collected in its heyday.

Does BlackBerry intend to use this to demand money from many more Android OEMs? “They still own QNX,” one person told me. “It’s a very impressive RTOS.”

“Does BlackBerry intend to use this to demand money from many more Android OEMs?”But it’s competing with Linux and Android.

We are saddened to see not only BlackBerry being reduced to this but also Nokia. Look what Microsoft has turned Nokia into (intentionally, in order to attack rivals). It is connected to MPEG-LA, as explained in
this new report. Apple is being sued by proxy after settling with Nokia:

New patent-holder grabs Nokia patents, sues over Apple iPhones

A patent-holding company that stands to win 12.5 cents for every iPhone sold has filed a new lawsuit (PDF) against Apple.

Ironworks Patents LLC is a patent-enforcement company formed earlier this year, with no apparent business other than filing lawsuits over patents. It’s a business model that’s now decades old, and companies that engage in it are often derided as “patent trolls.”

Yet Ironworks isn’t your everyday patent enforcer. The company has inherited a patent portfolio belonging to MobileMedia Ideas LLC, which has already proven its value. MobileMedia Ideas was a kind of “corporate troll,” majority-owned by a patent pool called MPEG-LA. Minority stakes in MobileMedia were owned by Sony and Nokia, who also provided patents that could be used in lawsuits against other tech companies.

How long before these patents are also used against Android OEMs (if it’s not happening already)? Remember that Microsoft has already passed some of Nokia’s patents to this notorious patent troll.

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Rotting Like the European Patent Office

Saturday 14th of October 2017 08:59:09 AM

A system which would work only for parasites

Summary: The Unitary Patent litigation pipe dreams (or prosecution/trolling fast lane), which Battistelli’s EPO long relied on, turn out to be the road to nowhere

THE purpose of patent offices is to assess the eligibility of applicants’ inventions and decide whether to grant a monopoly on some device or compound (usually not just a mere idea). The purpose of patents isn’t just to cushion the litigation ‘industry’. Everyone knows that.

“The purpose of patents isn’t just to cushion the litigation ‘industry’.”A few days ago a popular US-based blog wrote about patent trial misconduct in the US. We have been covering many examples like this; it’s a timely reminder to those who have blind faith in patent justice. Sometimes only the lawyers win (legal fees). Another failed patent lawsuit in Germany was also reported just before the weekend [1, 2]. It turns out there was no infringement and moreover:

Although ResMed’s products do not infringe, ResMed will continue its challenge of the validity of the German utility model before the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO).

Will GPTO and EPO take note? Don’t let patent ‘SLAPP’ like the above happen. Don’t allow spurious litigation, irrespective of the eligibility of a patent (which is still a subject of controversy here). Germany is already being flooded with nuisance (or ‘SLAPP’) litigation and the UPC promised to make things even worse for a lot of companies. SMEs would be hurt the most (cost of litigation).

Thankfully, the UPC is stuck. Just before the weekend, in fact, Mark Engelman published this article (behind paywall) titled, “Is the door closing on the Unified Patent?”

From what’s not behind paywall:

A cloud continues to loom over the implementation of the Unified Patent Convention…

Engelman must be one among many who now realise that timing matters (momentum) and time is running out.

Two days ago this Team UPC blog bemoaned the situation in Ireland. To quote the conclusion/concluding part:

Ireland is one of the few member states of the UP system where a referendum is held as part of the ratification formalities. In Denmark a referendum was held on 25 May 2014. 62.5% of the Danish voters approved joining the UPC. So far, 14 member states have ratified the UPCA. If the UK and Germany ratify as well, the system will start. The UK may complete the ratification process later this year, but in Germany this depends on the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court about the complaint that has been filed against ratification.

It links to this article from the Irish media; it says that the “referendums on the establishment of a Unified Patent Court” have been canceled. Rightly so in fact, for the UPC is a dead project. Here is the relevant bit:

There are a number of referendums omitted from the list.

These include the promised referendums on the establishment of a Unified Patent Court, changes to how the Ceann Comhairle is elected and also a vote on the public ownership of Irish Water.

It is worth noting that the above Team UPC blog no longer names the authors like it used to. Notice how a lot of pro-UPC lobbying is nowadays being published anonymously by UPC boosters. Unitary Patent lies (expectations/predictions that repeatedly turn out to be false) make them look bad. Bristows has said nothing about the subject for weeks (which is very atypical). The above post was promoted by UPC proponents who have dedicated accounts for this purpose, e.g. “UPCtracker” (they’re still hoping), but with no English-speaking countries in the UPC there will be no Unitary Patent (because English is an official language). Expect not much to happen on this front any time before next year.

Lying and Faking Now a Standard Procedure at the European Patent Office

Saturday 14th of October 2017 08:43:16 AM


Reference: Diesel emissions scandal

Summary: The European Patent Organisation (EPO) under the leadership (or chairmanship) of Christoph Ernst continues to relay lies from Battistelli’s Office, SUEPO rejects these, the Office lies about SMEs, prioritises Microsoft (again), and probably buys fake Twitter “followers”

THE PAST week was eventful at the EPO because of the relatively secretive meeting of national delegates, who expectedly fulfilled Battistelli’s wishes of French succession. We prefer not to comment any further on that. We sincerely hope that Campinos will surprise his critics and put things back on track, i.e. improve patent quality, bring back the dismissed staff representatives, reinstate the judge from the appeals boards and maybe improve the opposition/appeal process (to improve patent quality). Campinos looks like a decent person and we hope he can grasp the feelings in the minds and hearts of EPO staff. Leadership must do that.

“We sincerely hope that Campinos will surprise his critics and put things back on track, i.e. improve patent quality, bring back the dismissed staff representatives, reinstate the judge from the appeals boards and maybe improve the opposition/appeal process (to improve patent quality).”Yesterday we wrote about the EPO's lies regarding patent quality (intentional lies, measuring the wrong things intentionally). It’s almost as though Christoph Ernst does not care enough about this problem, which SUEPO is again stressing (see what it wrote yesterday in this update). EPO staff is very smart; it’s very difficult to fool these people. They know firsthand about the decline in patent quality and they can also see that assessment tools for quality — as used by Battistelli — are scientifically unsound. It’s insulting to their intelligence. Kieren McCarthy from The Register has criticised these repeatedly. The only ones eager to deny it or refrain from commenting on the matter are the patent microcosm. A few courageous exceptions like Dr. Thorsten Bausch should be commended for breaking that silence.

There are other EPO lies that we cannot help but notice every day this month. This tweet from yesterday, for example, said this: “Share your thoughts on Twitter about the benefits of a strong IP portfolio. Use this hashtag: #IPforSMEs Details: bit.ly/SMEstudies2017 pic.twitter.com/ztioBUZotJ” (the EPO has been posting things like these every day for about a fortnight).

“The EPO totally lacks integrity.”They even came up with that stupid hashtag, #IPforSMEs (remember that the EPO actively DISCRIMINATES against SMEs, based on leaks which show that this was centrally planned). Companies such as Microsoft receive preferential treatment and yesterday the EPO promoted Microsoft’s proprietary formats. “How to file in DOCX format? Find out during this interactive workshop,” it said. As we mentioned/noted the other day, this is just one among many examples of the strong relationship between the EPO and Microsoft, a company with a history of corruption (including, quite notably, in Munich these days). For those who don’t know, Microsoft gives “gifts” to the Mayor of Munich and hires a firm to do fake “consulting” and help undermine GNU/Linux (LiMux). Microsoft has tried hard to undermine LiMux for many years (without success).

Much of this is only to be expected from the Office that became accustomed to lying and faking (e.g. ‘evidence’ against staff, performance, and even Twitter following; notice how the proportion of fake Twitter followers of the EPO has grown. Compare earlier this year to the latest).

“These are already-debunked claims (lies) from the EPO, but in Latin America it’s apparently credible enough to be worth citing.”The EPO totally lacks integrity. Yesterday the EPO also retweeted this thing about SMEs. It just links to the EPO as ‘evidence’. These are already-debunked claims (lies) from the EPO, but in Latin America it’s apparently credible enough to be worth citing.

Yesterday the EPO went further than painting patents as an “SME” thing; it painted these as academic or “university”, failing to explain that patents are assigned (not “owned” as the EPO put it). Moreover, when public money supports universities (as is often the case) patents as such should be verboten. They privatise something which should be given back to the public free of barbwire.

Links 13/10/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.5, pfSense 2.4, Final Stages of Ubuntu 17.10

Friday 13th of October 2017 04:25:55 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Olimex ships open spec Linux laptop and tips new COM format

      Olimex has launched its open source, Alwinner A64 based Teres-A64 laptop kit for $284, and unveiled a SOM204 form factor that will debut on an A20 COM.

      Back in February, Bulgaria-based Olimex, which is known for its open spec OLinuXino SBCs like the Allwinner A64 based A64-OLinuXino, announced an open source laptop kit based on the same quad-core, Cortex-A53 SoC called the Teres-1. The Ubuntu Mate-supported laptop kit took longer than expected, but it’s finally here as the Teres-A64, selling for 240 Euros ($284) instead of 225 Euros.

    • Olimex Teres DIY open source laptop kit now available for $284

      The Olimex Teres I is a small laptop designed to run open source software… and which features open source hardware as well. We reported on the Teres I when the hardware design was finalized earlier this year. Now the laptop is available for purchase for 240 Euros (about $284).

    • Microsoft Fixes Windows Blue Screen Error After Patch Tuesday Update

      As a part of their monthly routine, Microsoft released the Patch Tuesday update on October 10. But other than the necessary security patches and bug fixes, it also brought BSODs to some Windows users.

  • Server
    • 5 traits of good systems architecture

      Two books helped me come to some sort of understanding about the art of being an architect. I read them a long time ago, but I still dip into them from time to time: 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know, by Richard Monson-Haefel; and Beautiful Architecture: Leading Thinkers Reveal the Hidden Beauty in Software Design, by Diomidis Spinellis and Georgios Gousios.

      What’s interesting about them is that they both have multiple points of view expressed in them: some contradictory—even within each book. And this rather reflects the fact that I believe that being a systems architect is an art or a discipline. Different practitioners will have different views about it. You can talk about computer science being a hard science, and there are parts of it that are, but much of software engineering (lower case intentional) goes beyond that.

      The same, I think, is even more true for systems architecture: you may be able to grok what it is once you know it, but it’s very difficult to point to something—even a set of principles—and say, “that is systems architecture.” Sometimes, the easiest way to define something is by defining what it’s not: e.g., search for “I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

    • Kubernetes the not so easy way

      The simplest method to deploy and operate Kubernetes on Ubuntu is with conjure-up. Whether the substrate is a public cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP, etc) private virtualized environments (VMware) or bare metal, conjure-up will allow you to quickly deploy a fully functional, production-grade Kubernetes.

    • Puppet and Google Partner on Cloud On-Ramp
  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • S10E32 – Possessive Open Chicken

      This week we’ve been playing Wifiwars, discuss what happened at the Ubuntu Rally in New York, serve up some command line lurve and go over your feedback.

  • Kernel Space
    • Four new stable kernels

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of the 4.13.6, 4.9.55, 4.4.92, and 3.18.75 stable kernels. As usual, they contain fixes throughout the tree, so users should upgrade.

    • Linux 4.13.6

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.6 kernel.

    • Linux 4.9.55
    • Linux 4.4.92
    • Linux 3.18.75
    • Etnaviv Landing Performance Counters For Linux 4.15

      Lucas Stach has sent in the Etnaviv DRM driver changes to DRM-Next for the Linux 4.15 kernel. This is one of the bigger pull requests for this reverse-engineered, open-source Vivante graphics driver.

      This community-driven Vivante graphics driver continues to become more capable and feature complete with each kernel cycle. For Linux 4.15 the new work includes landing GPU performance counter support, which is important for developers in being able to analyze/tune the performance. They’ve been reverse engineering the Vivante performance counters for a while and now it’s ready to go for Linux 4.15. There are experimental patches currently for libdrm in making use of the new API.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Mesa 17.3 Will Be Branching Soon For Releasing In Mid-November

        Feature development for Mesa 17.3 will be over soon in order to get this quarterly update to Mesa3D shipping next month.

        Release manager Emil Velikov is planning to issue the feature freeze and first release candidate next Friday, 20 October. That will mark the deadline for getting major features/improvements into Mesa 17.3, after which point it will be reserved for bug fixes.

      • xorg-server 1.19.5

        One regression fix since 1.19.4 (mea culpa), and fixes for CVEs 2017- 12176 through 2017-12187. C is a terrible language, please stop writing code in it.

      • X.Org Server 1.19.5 Released To Fix Another Handful Of Security Vulnerabilities

        Ouch, so basically a lot of potential for buffer overflows. Sadly, this is not the first time we have seen a big batch of X.Org Security vulnerabilities and security researchers in the past have generally characterized X.Org security as even worse than it looks.

      • Intel Is Prepping A Final Batch Of Feature Changes For Linux 4.15 DRM

        Intel has been sending in feature updates for their Direct Rendering Manager driver of new material that will debut in Linux 4.15. A third and final feature update is expected next week for DRM-Next.

    • Benchmarks
      • 7-Way Linux Distribution Comparison On The Intel Core i7 8700K

        Our latest benchmarking of Intel’s 8th Gen Core “Coffee Lake” processors entailed seeing how well the i7-8700K performs on a variety of modern Linux distributions. Tested for this comparison was Ubuntu 17.10, Antergos 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Clear Linux, Debian Testing, Solus 3, and Fedora 26.

        With these seven GNU/Linux distributions they were tested out-of-the-box following a clean install on the i7-8700K setup. Some highlights from these distributions include:

        The Arch-based Antergos 17.10 rolling distribution has Linux 4.13.5, GNOME Shell, Mesa 17.2.2, GCC 7.2.0, and EXT4 by default.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Here’s 10 Best Linux Desktop Environments

      A desktop environment is a suite of tools which make it easier for you to use your computer. Linux users have a choice of many different desktop environments, all with their own styles and strengths. Here, we’ve created a list of the 10 best linux desktop environments.

    • Dedoimedo interviews: Xfce team

      Hi, I’m Sean! I’m an Xfce core developer, Xubuntu Technical Lead, and long-time Linux user. I love solving problems … and maintaining a desktop environment means there’s no shortage of those.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma 5.11 Release Party in Heidelberg
      • My first patch on Kate: Signals&Slots
      • KDE Neon 5.11 Linux Distro Released With Latest Plasma Release

        couple of days ago, the much awaited Plasma 5.11 desktop was released by KDE developers. The major features of this release were better notifications, redesigned settings app, improved task manager, and new Vault app. Soon after this release, KDE Neon developers also shipped their brand new release, i.e., KDE Neon 5.11.

        On a side note, we recently published our list of most beautiful Linux distributions, which features KDE Neon at #5. Do check it out.

      • KDE Powers up the Qt World Summit

        We also wanted to make it easy for visitors to power up their devices, so we placed plugs and USB charging stations all over our booth. Our visitors came, sat, chatted, re-charged their bodies, minds and devices, while at the same time finding out why KDE is the driving force behind many a software project. This turned out to be winning idea. A lot of people came by the “Power up!” space, and the buzz gave us the chance to demonstrate exactly how KDE could also power up their software and hardware projects. Many still perceive KDE exclusively as the creator of a desktop, but, at the ripe age of twenty, KDE is much more than that.

      • KDE Edu Sprint 2017

        Two weeks, two posts. Lets see how long I can keep up with this!

        Last weekend I was part of the KDE Edu Sprint 2017 in the Endocode offices in Berlin, just a couple of days before the Qt World Summit, which was actually my first KDE Edu sprint (if you do not count Randa 2014). It was great as always to meet other KDE developers working on educational projects and I think we got a lot of work done.

        While my primary focus going into the sprint was to work on macro support in Kig (there were many open bugs regarding macros), Aleix Pol’s initial remarks helped me realize it was better to “take advantage of the fact that we were all at one place, and work on things you cannot do back home” so I decided to see what others were doing and try to help with that as well. Since Sandro Andrade was working on testing KDE Edu builds in Windows using Craft and I had been working on generating Craft recipes from Portage ebuilds, I finished a script that translates portage ebuilds from Gentoo’s Portage tree into Craft recipes. This will automate low-hanging fruits like applications that basically only depend on KDE frameworks and Qt5 libraries. I committed this script to the development scripts repository in case someone finds them useful. It is a very experimental script so you are welcome to improve it!

  • Distributions
    • The developers of Solus are hoping to improve Linux gaming with snaps and their Linux Steam Integration

      The Solus distribution [Official Site] developers are a clever bunch, with their Linux Steam Integration [GitHub] software package and snaps, they are hoping to “relieve the pressure on distributions for supporting gaming”.

      When I say snaps, I’m talking the snap package system, specifically from version 2.28 onwards which supports something called “base” snaps. You can read more about the idea behind base snaps here.

    • Gentoo Family
      • Gentoo Linux listed RethinkDB’s website

        The rethinkdb‘s website has (finally) been updated and Gentoo Linux is now listed on the installation page!

        Meanwhile, we have bumped the ebuild to version 2.3.6 with fixes for building on gcc-6 thanks to Peter Levine who kindly proposed a nice PR on github.

    • Slackware Family
      • Updates for LibreOffice, Pale Moon, Flash

        The LibreOffice packages were uploaded to my repository last Friday, so you probably already have that installed. Never hurts to mention it for those people who did not subscribe to my RSS feed.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Alibaba Cloud, Red Hat look to boost flexibility with open source

        Alibaba Cloud customers will soon be able to harness the power and flexibility of Red Hat’s open source solutions following a tie-up between the two companies.

        The tie-up will see Alibaba Cloud join the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program, joining a host of other big name tech companies who offer Red Hat-tested and validated solutions.

      • Alibaba Cloud to offer, host Red Hat software

        Chinese internet giant has joined Red Hat’s cloud partner ecosystem and will offer the latter’s open source products to Alibaba Cloud customers as well as host Red Hat customers on its cloud platform.

      • Alibaba Cloud to offer Red Hat open source

        Alibaba Cloud has joined the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider Program, the tech giant has announced. Through the partnership, Alibaba cloud will offer Red Hat open source solutions to Alibaba’s global customer base.

      • China’s Alibaba and U.S.-Based Red Hat Ink Global Software Deal

        Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce and cloud computing giant, will start selling Red Hat’s business software globally, the two companies said late Wednesday.

        Many Fortune 500 companies run Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating systems on their own servers. They may also opt to run it on third-party cloud data centers run by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft msft , or Google goog because Red Hat already has formal ties to those three companies. Now, Red Hat is also allied with Alibaba and its Aliyun cloud.

        Red Hat rht Linux and other Red Hat business software will be available from Alibaba’s cloud within months, the two companies said. The news was announced at an Alibaba tech conference in Hangzhou, China.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • What’s New Going To Be In Fedora 27

          ​To the delight of its users, the team of developers in charge of the Fedora project officially announced the availability of the beta version of Fedora 27. This new version, which incorporates several important innovations, is distinguished mainly by the absence of an alpha version. However, the Fedora team points out that significant efforts have been made to make this intermediate step unnecessary and to provide a quality product.

        • AAC support will be available in Fedora Workstation 27!

          So I am really happy to announce another major codec addition to Fedora Workstation 27 namely the addition of the codec called AAC. As you might have seen from Tom Callaways announcement this has just been cleared for inclusion in Fedora.

          For those not well versed in the arcane lore of audio codecs AAC is the codec used for things like iTunes and is found in a lot of general media files online. AAC stands for Advanced Audio Coding and was created by the MPEG working group as the successor to mp3. Especially due to Apple embracing the format there is a lot of files out there using it and thus we wanted to support it in Fedora too.

        • Fedora Linux Can Finally Offer AAC Audio Codec Support

          Fedora is now able to bundle and offer a specific AAC audio codec implementation as a package for its Linux distribution.

          With Fedora always striving for free software and ensuring its legal state is in order due to Red Hat’s control, it was only earlier this year Fedora was legally allowed to begin offering full MP3 support for both decode/encode along with AC3 support while last year it received H.264 support. The latest multimedia expansion for Fedora is now being able to distribute an AAC codec.

        • Fedora 27 bekommt Support für AAC [Ed: in German]
        • Taking Stock, Making Plans.

          When I got started contributing to open source communities it was with the Fedora Project and specifically the Docs team. I have not been anywhere near as active with Fedora lately and I miss it. I still consider myself an active Ambassador with each class I teach but I have not really contributed through content or formal activities lately. I am actually looking for a new challenge though, rather than returning to an old stomping ground, and probably with a smaller project. I dabbled in an Apache Hadoop ecosystem project for a bit and I still follow that mailing list but I never really got into that community. Melding open source and security is ideal, though I have really enjoyed the past year where I jumped into automation with Ansible and containers with OpenShift. The search continues.

        • PHP version 7.0.25RC1 and 7.1.11RC1
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • ExTiX 17.8 “The Ultimate Linux System” Is First Distro Based on Ubuntu 17.10

          GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton recently released a new version of his ExTiX Linux distro, which he dubs as “the Ultimate Linux System,” based on Ubuntu 17.10 and Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch.”

          Tagged as Build 171012, ExTiX 17.8 is the most recent update of the GNU/Linux distribution, which appears to be the first to be based on Canonical’s upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, but also borrowing some packages from the repositories of Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” OS.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark Enters Final Freeze — Final Release On October 19th

            The last big milestone in Ubuntu 17.10 development process was the release of Beta 2 that witnessed the participation of Ubuntu’s flagship edition which now ships with GNOME desktop environment. In a way, it was the first chance to try the new and polished features.

            “Adam Conrad, on behalf of the Ubuntu Release Team is pleased to announce that artful has entered the Final Freeze period in preparation for the final release of Ubuntu 17.10 next week,” the Ubuntu Fridge announcement reads.

          • Artful Aardvark (17.10) Final Freeze

            Adam Conrad, on behalf of the Ubuntu Release Team is pleased to announce that artful has entered the Final Freeze period in preparation for the final release of Ubuntu 17.10 next week.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) Is Now in Final Freeze, Launches October 19

            The Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) GNU/Linux operating system is only six days apart and, according to the release schedule, it just entered Final Freeze development stage on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

            Work on Ubuntu 17.10 begun six months ago, on April 20, when the toolchain was uploaded to the repository, with the main goal of replacing our beloved Unity user interface with the latest GNOME 3 desktop environment. Two Alpha and Beta milestones later, Ubuntu 17.10 is now officially in Final Freeze stage.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Rugged i.MX6 touch-panel has optional Nimbelink and supercap backup

      Technologic’s open-source, 7-inch “TS-TPC-7990” panel PC runs Linux on an i.MX6, and offers optional WiFi, BT, Nimbelink, supercap, and cabinet.

      The TS-TPC-7990 touch panel is designed for HMI applications like industrial automation, medical, automotive, self-service kiosks, and retail point-of-sale terminals. The panel PC is built around NXP’s tried-and-true i.MX6 SoC in either single-core Solo or quad-core Quad Cortex-A9 models. It uses a custom mainboard instead of Technologic’s new i.MX6 based TS-7970 SBC or TS-4900 COM.

    • New SODIMM-style COM standard to debut on an Allwinner A20 based module

      Olimex unveiled a new “SOM204” form factor for computer-on-modules and previewed an open spec, Allwinner A20 based “A20-SOM204” COM built in the new format.

      Last week Olimex announced it was standardizing all future computer-on-modules on a new “SOM204” form factor with an 204-pin SODIMM edge connector. It also previewed the first SOM204 module: the “A20-SOM204,” based on the Allwinner A20 SoC. The module will ship in November with an evaluation board at prices comparable to that of the company’s earlier A20-SOM, says Olimex. Schematics for the A20-SOM204 COM and A20-EVB204 carrier board are already available for free download.

    • A new nerd phone promises true, open Linux and security

      Like the computer the new smartphone, called Librem 5, runs PureOS, a Linux-based operating system. Purism markets the phone as the truly pure GNU+Linux-based smartphone product.

      While Android is based on Linux too, PureOS is based on GNU free software and Debian Linux distribution and is entirely open source. This means that Librem 5 owners can, for example, change the Linux distribution to something else if they don’t like PureOS.

    • Noted in Passing: Microsoft Smartphone OS Platform Passed Away

      Oh. One more bit. I was the first to also tell you that Google won the battle of the century for the OS of all high tech – when Android was passing Windows (all devices, not just smartphones, but PCs included). Nobody else told you that either. It is now becoming apparent to many experts that Google owns the tech world via Android. Who told you first? The dude who saw how Windows was truly collapsing and that iOS was never a threat to Google’s world domination plans. Yeah, we’ll return to those issues in coming years no doubt. Goodbye Windows smartphones and by darn it, good riddance too! Ballmer gone. Elop gone. Lumia gone. Windows smartphone OS gone. Now when can we see Microsoft the company gone too, please, next?

    • Raspberry Pi 7″ Touch Panel, SiI9234 To Be Supported By Linux 4.15

      Daniel Vetter has sent in the latest feature pull request of new drm-misc-next material for staging in DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.15 kernel cycle.

      This latest batch of miscellaneous Direct Rendering Manager updates include continued core work around atomic mode-setting, HDMI CEC control support for the adv7511 driver, remote control support for the sii8620 driver, improved HDMI and A31 chip support in the Sun4i DRM driver, and some new driver activity too.

    • Top 10 Open Source Linux Robots

      Back in 2014, we struggled to fill out our top 10 roundup of Linux-based robots and padded the list with conceptually similar autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In addition, many of those robots were proprietary or open source only on the software side. Today, however, it’s easy to fill out a top 10 list of Linux-based terrestrial robots that are open source in both software and hardware. In fact, we were forced to leave a number of worthy projects waiting in the wings.

      The latest open source Linux robot to hit the scene — the Turtle Rover — won funding on Indiegogo only last week. This four-wheeled bot, which is larger and more sophisticated than typical wheeled robots like the popular, dual-wheeled GoPiGo, was designed to mimic Martian rovers. Another major player here is the recently rev’d, dual-wheeled TurtleBot 3.

      Like most of our entries, these models are wheeled robots built around the Raspberry Pi. With the advent of the quad-core, WiFi-enabled RPi 3 model, we’ve seen far more advanced, and sometimes semi-autonomous Pi-based robots, in addition to the numerous RPi-based toy designs of recent years. Other SBCs have also inspired robot designs, especially the BeagleBone and BeagleBone Blue, which is especially suitable for robotics projects.

      While open source hacker boards have expanded Linux robot development in recent years, a larger influence is the optimization of Linux platforms such as Ubuntu for interaction with the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) middleware. A number of our top 10 robots include ROS integration.

    • Linux-friendly embedded PC pours on the PoE

      Aaeon’s rugged “Boxer-6639M” industrial PC supports 6th or 7th Generation Intel CPUs and provides 8x USB, 6x RS-232/422/485, 3x GbE, and 4x PoE ports.

      Over the last year, Aaeon has spun off a number of similar versions of its fanless, Linux-ready Boxer-6xxx line of fanless industrial PCs. The new Boxer-6639M is so similar to last year’s Boxer-6639 and the recent Boxer-6839 that it seems it could just as easily have been an optional SKU to either instead of a separate product. The new model does have one unique superpower, however: 4x 802.3at-compliant GbE PoE ports for up to 80W Power-over-Ethernet, which join the existing 3x standard GbE ports.

    • Android
Free Software/Open Source
  • 10 open source alternatives to Minecraft

    There’s no denying that Minecraft is a favorite game for millions. And being written in Java enables it to run on a variety of platforms, including Linux. With a huge modding community, there are countless Minecraft tinkerers out there who would love to be able to get under the hood and play around with the source code themselves. Unfortunately, the source is not available to the general public.

    But there’s good news. Minecraft’s popularity has led to many attempts to recreate the game, and others in a similar vein, as open source software. Interested in a free Minecraft alternative? Here’s a quick look at some clones and derivatives out there that you really ought to check out.

  • Open source sets sights on killing WhatsApp and Slack

    Exclusive The company that writes the open-source software for three-quarters of the world’s Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) email servers has a plan that could kill off proprietary chat services like Facebook’s WhatsApp. And that means you, too, Slack.

    German open-source software-as-a-service operation Open-Xchange acquired the IMAP developer Dovecot three years ago, and announced today at the OX Summit in Brussels that it wants to integrate chat into the bundle.

  • SUSE spreads the open source message – through videos

    German Linux company SUSE Linux is well-known for its Linux and other open source solutions. It is also known for producing videos for geeks and debuting them at its annual SUSECon conference.

    This year, in Prague, was no different. The company, which marked its 25th year on 2 September, came up with two videos, one to mark the occasion and the other all about Linux and open source.

  • What is Open Source? [iophk: "actively avoids mentioning GNU or Free Software"]

    Open source technology has been around for decades. Driven by passionate developers and engineers, the open source movement is a hotbed of innovation and collaboration – but what does ‘open source’ actually mean?

    ‘Open source’ as a term is most commonly used to refer to software where the creators have made the source code freely available online. Anyone is free to view, download, use and even modify it. This has led to thriving communities on code-hosting sites like Github, where devs contribute to each others’ work, joining forces to build and improve applications on their own time.

  • ‘Most open source software coders on GitHub from product firms’

    Notwithstanding that ITes companies have the highest number of software engineers, major contribution towards open source code writing is made by developers in product firms such as Amazon, while services firms like TCS and Cognizant are fast catching up, says a survey.

    According to a survey by talent acquisition start-up Belong, Amazon had the highest number of registered users on Github, followed by Cognizant, TCS and Microsoft.

    The survey covered 75,000 Indian engineers that have a presence on GitHub — one of the largest communities where software developers host and review code.

  • 6 reasons open source is good for business

    This also makes compliance easier; with proprietary software, you have harsh compliance clauses with large fines. Worse is what happens with some open core products that ship as a mix of GPL and proprietary software; these can breach a license and put customers at risk. And, as Gartner points out, an open core model means you get none of the benefits of open source. A pure open source licensed product avoids all these issues. Instead, you have just one compliance rule: If you make modifications to the code (not configuration, logos, or anything like that), you have to share them with those you distribute the software to if they ask.

    Clearly open source is the better option. It is easier to pick the right vendor (with whom you won’t be stuck), plus you benefit from more security, a stronger focus on customers, and better support. And finally, you’ll know you’re on legally safe footing.

  • ONAP and MEF Join Each Others’ Groups, Collaborate on LSO

    MEF and the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) are officially working together, the organizations announced today at the SDN and NFV World Congress. MEF has joined ONAP as an associate member. And the Linux Foundation, which hosts ONAP, has joined MEF as an auditing member.

  • MEF joins ONAP to accelerate open source virtualisation

    A trade body counting Orange and Telefónica as members has joined the Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project to use open source approaches in virtualisation.

  • Best open source inventory management software 2017

    Stock control or inventory management is the process of specifying and quantifying the shape and percentage of goods you hold in stock. By knowing what you have, and where, you can save money and improve your service to customers.

    There is myriad free software to choose from, many of which are free to use and totally open source. We have highlighted 13 that are worth considering for your business.

    For more free software, see our free software downloads. See all of our IT Business tutorials.

  • Why use open source tools for containerized apps?

    the engine that powers the modern containerization movement that’s sweeping across application development. Today, let’s take a look at the top three open source tools that are essential to building containerized apps.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • Call for help: fund GIMP development and Libre animation

      Too long, didn’t read? In a few words: our GIMP development + ZeMarmot production is currently funded barely above 400 € per month, this doesn’t pay the bills, my main computer broke today and Aryeom’s graphics tablet has been working badly for some time now. We are a bit bummed out.

  • BSD
    • pfSense 2.4.0-RELEASE Now Available!

      We are excited to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.4, now available for new installations and upgrades!

      pfSense software version 2.4.0 was a herculean effort! It is the culmination of 18 months of hard work by Netgate and community contributors, with over 290 items resolved. According to git, 671 files were changed with a total 1651680 lines added, and 185727 lines deleted. Most of those added lines are from translated strings for multiple language support!

      pfSense 2.4.0-RELEASE updates and installation images are available now!

    • pfSense 2.4 Released, Rebased To FreeBSD 11.1 & New Installer

      There’s a new version available of pfSense, the popular BSD-based operating system common to network appliances / firewalls / routers.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Programming/Development
    • A Look at PyCharm Python IDE for Linux

      Python is one of the most amazing languages one can learn to code. Python is very simple to learn when compared to some other languages out there, but yet, it’s still very powerful, and is one of the most widely used languages for some programs and websites you may not even know used it, such as:

    • Announcing Rust 1.21

      The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.21.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.21 Released With Minor Updates

      For fans of the Rust “safe, concurrent, practical systems language”, the Rust 1.21 update is available today with some modest updates and additions.

    • 15 Top Programming Languages Used By Coders On GitHub

      Learning new skills can be helpful if you are looking to change careers. In case you end up learning a skill that’s in heavy demand, it turns out to be something that brings immense benefits and stay with you lifelong. In case you’re a programmer, learning a new programming language helps you expand your career opportunities. One also needs to have the knowledge of top programming languages to make correct choices.

    • “The Future Of Coding Is No Coding At All” — Did GitHub CEO Predict Traditional Programming’s Death?

      GitHub, also called “Facebook for Programmers,” has completed a decade this year. Today, it has become a go-to place for developers to share their code with others, indulge in collaborative approaches, etc. It’s now home to 24 million total users and 1.5 million organization.

      At the company’s annual GitHub Universe user conference, company’s CEO Chris Wanstrath made his final keynote address on Wednesday. Earlier in August, he announced that he’d step down as company’s CEO as soon as a worthy replacement is found.

    • GitHub Streak: Round Four
    • The Basics of Consuming REST APIs

      APIs are becoming a very popular and a must-know if you are any type of developer. But, what is an API? API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a way to get one software application to talk to another software application. In this article, I’ll go over the basics of what they are and why to use them.

      Nom Nom Nom! I happened to be snacking on chips while trying to think of a name for my REST API talk coming up at APIStrat in Portland. Similarly, the act of consuming or using a REST API means to eat it all up. In context, it means to eat it, swallow it, and digest it — leaving any others in the pile exposed. Sounds yummy, right?

Leftovers
  • The designer of the iPhone worries that his grandkids will think he’s the guy who ‘destroyed society’

    But this success has come with “unintended consequences,” Fadell said, like the way social platforms so relentlessly hijack our minds. Users would obviously love to have free things, he added, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest want to make money. The user isn’t the customer for these services—it’s Coca Cola, Nike, or whoever is buying ads targeted at you.

  • Real Life Soccer Player Besieged By Requests To Play For Foreign Team Due To Video Game Error

    Video games have been steadily becoming more realistic since their first creation. Conversations about this progress has mostly centered around graphical enhancements and tech such as virtual reality that strive to better immerse the player in the fictional world in which they play. But graphical and visual enhancements aren’t the only form of realism in which video games have progressed. More unsung have been the enhancements in pure data and detail in these games. For this type of progress, one need only look to management-style simulations games, such as those of the sports realm. In games centered on managing sports franchises, the depth of detail that has emerged has become somewhat breathtaking. Baseball sims, such as the excellent Out of the Park series, are an example of this as is the equally deep Football Manager series for soccer fans.

  • How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian’s donation on a stupid football scoreboard

    In September 2016, we learned that the University of New Hampshire was going to use $1 million that an incredibly frugal librarian saved while working as a library cataloger for 50 years to buy a new scoreboard for its stadium.

    Now, an enraging investigative piece by Craig Fehrman in Deadspin reveals how the university cynically planned to spin its decision to blow $1m of this librarian’s generous gift on a useless frippery for its ill-starred football team while only directing $100k of his donation to the library he loved.

  • Hardware
    • Intel Takes First Steps To Universal Quantum Computing

      Someone is going to commercialize a general purpose, universal quantum computer first, and Intel wants to be the first. So does Google. So does IBM. And D-Wave is pretty sure it already has done this, even if many academics and a slew of upstart competitors don’t agree. What we can all agree on is that there is a very long road ahead in the development of quantum computing, and it will be a costly endeavor that could nonetheless help solve some intractable problems.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Cancer Group Recommendations To Ensure Medicines Access In South Africa Draft IP Policy

      A US cancer group has provided a series of recommendations to the South African government on ways to improve the country’s draft national intellectual property policy, including greater transparency, voluntary licensing, and the use of compulsory licences.

      The Union of Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT) wrote a letter to the South African Minister of Trade and Industry raising concerns about the South African draft national policy on intellectual property.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Sound of mystery attacks in Cuba released. It’s as obnoxious as you’d expect

      On Thursday, the Associated Press released the first audio recording of the sound that some diplomats say they heard during mystery attacks in Havana, Cuba. Those attacks have so far left 22 Americans with a puzzling range of symptoms, from brain injuries to hearing loss.

    • Trump Threatens NBC License over Nuclear Weapons Report

      President Trump has threatened to retaliate against NBC, following NBC’s report that Trump is seeking a tenfold increase in the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” The federal government licenses television airwaves through the FCC. Trump went on to tweet, “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” The threats drew immediate concerns Trump is undermining the First Amendment. This is constitutional lawyer Floyd Abrams.

    • U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Civilians in Raqqa, Syria

      In Syria, the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Raqqa said Wednesday it will not accept a negotiated withdrawal to end the fighting in the northeastern Syrian city that was once ISIS’s de facto capital. Thousands of civilians remain trapped in the 2.5 square miles still controlled by ISIS. Activists say more than 1,000 civilians have already been killed since the U.S.-led offensive to seize control of the city began in June. The journalistic monitoring group Airwars says dozens of civilians have reportedly been killed in the last week, including in a barrage of airstrikes on October 6, which reportedly collapsed a number of apartment buildings, killing up to 40 people. Meanwhile, in eastern Syria, tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced by fighting against ISIS in Deir ez-Zor. This is Alaa, speaking from a makeshift refugee camp.

  • Finance
    • End of the road: will automation put an end to the American trucker?

      America’s 2 million truckers have long been mythologised in popular culture. But self-driving trucks are set to lay waste to one of the country’s most beloved jobs – and the fallout could be huge

    • Bitcoin surges above $5,000

      The rise is remarkable because there has been quite a bit of unfavorable news about Bitcoin in recent weeks. China, one of the biggest markets for Bitcoin, is shutting down trading. The Bitcoin community faces ongoing acrimony over how to scale the Bitcoin network. A contentious fork split the Bitcoin network in two in August, and there might be another schism in the Bitcoin community come November.

    • Wall Street Analyst Bernstein: Bitcoin Is a ‘Censorship Resistant Asset Class’
    • Brexit has made the UK the sick man of Europe once more

      Though it didn’t feel like it at the time, the years preceding 2017 now resemble an economic golden age for the UK. After the damage imposed by the financial crisis and excessive austerity, Britain recovered to become the fastest growing G7 country. Real earnings finally rose as wages increased and inflation fell (income per person grew by 3.5 per cent in 2015).

      And then the Brexit vote happened. Though the immediate recession that the Treasury and others forecast did not materialise, the UK has already paid a significant price. Having previously been the fastest growing G7 country, Britain is now the slowest. Real earnings are again in decline owing to the inflationary spike caused by the pound’s depreciation (the UK has the lowest growth and the highest inflation – stagflation – of any major EU economy). Firms have delayed investment for fear of future chaos and consumer confidence has plummeted. EU negotiator Michel Barner’s warning of a “very disturbing” deadlock in the Brexit talks reflects and reinforces all of these maladies.

    • Homelessness has surged for seven years. And it’s clear who’s to blame

      From the knuckles upwards, at least three of his fingers were missing. Frostbite last winter, he said. Some of his toes had gone too. Someone had found him unconscious with hypothermia, and he had spent months in hospital before once again living on the street. He said he needed £17 for a one-night stay in a hostel: I gave him a fiver and some cigarettes, and we talked some more.

    • David Davis faces legal threat over secret reports on Brexit impact

      David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has been threatened with legal action over his refusal to publish 50 secret studies commissioned on the impact of Brexit.

      Lawyers acting for the Good Law Project, which is bringing the action jointly with the Green party MEP Molly Scott Cato, wrote to the Brexit department and Treasury on Thursday demanding the release of the documents. They said that failure to do so within 14 days would result in the issue of judicial review proceedings before the high court in an attempt to force their release.

      The 50 studies into the impact of Brexit on different industries were commissioned earlier this year but the government has argued that publishing them could damage the UK’s negotiating position with Brussels.

      Jolyon Maugham QC, who runs the GLP, said he would not bring the case without believing it had “good, serious prospects” of succeeding. He said he had received legal advice that the government may have a duty under common law to publish the studies into the potential impact on jobs and living standards.

      “It seems to me the government’s reluctance to release these studies is born not of its ability to damage our negotiating position but what’s politically expedient,” he said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook apologizes for allowing Russian ads to interfere with 2016 campaign

      A top Facebook executive said Thursday that the company regrets how Russian influence on the social network played out in the run-up to last year’s presidential election.

    • How Gore, Kerry and Clinton Put Trump in the White House

      Amidst the hellish chaos of the Donald Trump catastrophe, it’s more essential than ever to understand how he got into the White House and who put him there. Then we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

      In her recent blame-everybody-else-while-doing-nothing screed, “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton fingers James Comey, the Russians and Bernie Sanders.

      But, in fact, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry put this madman in office.

      This trio of multi-millionaire corporate Democrats won the presidential races of 2000, 2004 and 2016. Then they lay down, said hardly a word and did even less as they let George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump rule the land.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Facebook ad ban over nude artwork shocks women’s not-for-profit

      The Victorian Women’s Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that supports women and girls through research and advocacy, has been banned by Facebook from advertising a tote bag for sale as part of a fundraising drive.

    • No surrender in the new free‑speech wars

      America’s commitment to freedom of speech, embodied in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, is under increasing pressure everywhere from liberal university campuses to the White House. Now even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) appears torn over which side it should be on in the new free-speech wars.

      The ACLU has long been a beacon of liberty in the Western world, whose commitment to free speech for all puts to shame pallid imitators such as the UK’s misnamed Liberty lobby group. If the ACLU joins the retreat from an absolute defence of free speech, then…

      The trouble centres on the ACLU’s defence of free-speech rights for the ‘alt-right’ and neo-Nazis, most notably around the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that ended with an anti-fascist protester being run down and killed.

    • Twitter Suspends Rose McGowan’s Account

      Rose McGowan had a hold placed on her Twitter account Wednesday night, an act that quickly sparked outrage among the many users who have been following her posts ever since news first broke of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

      [...]

      She added a screenshot from a message from Twitter telling her that she had violated their terms of service and she would be locked out for 12 hours once she deleted certain tweets. She posted the message late Wednesday night.

    • Rose McGowan Says Twitter Blocked Her After Weinstein Claims
    • Interview: Ai Weiwei on Human Flow, Activist Art, and Political Censorship

      “It’s going to be a big challenge to recognize that the world is shrinking.” This quote comes toward the end of Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow, a documentary built around intuitive contradictions: It’s a production of massive scale that, at the same time, is most intent on capturing the small details of the lives affected by the global refugee crisis. Ai understands that his images, of refugees wrapped in glimmering golden thermal blankets and boats invisible in the darkness but for a mass of orange life vests, represent the unfortunate but inescapable iconography of our time.

    • How Self-Censorship Feeds Extremism

      In a Columbus Day scandal for the ages, a measured but provocative essay reconsidering the evils of colonialism got the axe a month after its publication. First, critics of Portland State University political science professor Bruce Gilley’s “The Case for Colonialism” launched a 10,000-signature petition. Then, there were mass resignations from the board at the Third World Quarterly. Next, an apology from the author—and finally, what did it in, per the publisher: “serious and credible threats of personal violence…linked to the publication of this essay.” From whom, they don’t say.

    • Investment Fund Manager Tries To Bury Past Screwups With Sketchy Libel Suit Court Order

      More libel-related bullshittery happening on the internet. And, again, Eugene Volokh is on top of it. Between him, Paul Levy of Public Citizen, and Pissed Consumer, we’ve seen a huge amount of shady-to-completely-fraudulent behavior by lawyers and rep management firms exposed. This is more of the same, although it doesn’t appear anyone in the SEO business was involved.

      Jordan Wirsz is an investment manager with a problem. He’s previously gotten in trouble with state regulators for running investment schemes without a license. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s enough to make people think twice before trusting him with their money.

    • Rose McGowan blocked from Twitter after tweeting about Harvey Weinstein and Ben Affleck

      On the flip side of that support was her Twitter wrath toward Ben Affleck, who released a statement denouncing Weinstein this week. “You lie,” she said in one tweet, tagging the actor’s Twitter handle. McGowan has spent considerable time over the past few days calling out Affleck and other powerful individuals whom she believed had prior knowledge of Weinstein’s behavior.

      Overnight on Thursday, one of those tweets got McGowan temporarily suspended for the platform. The actress posted an image of a message she received from Twitter to her Instagram account:

    • Facebook advertising ban leaves not-for-profit ‘dumbfounded’
    • Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg criticizes Twitter over political ad censorship
    • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg criticizes Twitter’s censorship of Marsha Blackburn
  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Man acquitted of felony charge over Facebook police parody page sues

      Anthony Novak alleges federal civil rights violations in the aftermath of his 2016 arrest by the police department of Parma, just south of Cleveland. The agency issued an advisory last year to citizens saying the page wasn’t real and that “the public should disregard any and all information posted on the fake Facebook account.”

    • Man sues city for free speech violation after escaping charges over ‘fake police’ Facebook page

      Parma police announced an investigation into the page the day it was created. Novak, 28, took the page down less than 12 hours after putting it up. Officers sent Facebook a letter requesting that the Menlo Park, California-based company shut the page down, and they issued a subpoena to obtain Novak’s identity.

    • Emails Show ICE Couldn’t Find Enough Dangerous Immigrants To Fulfill The Adminstration’s Fantasies

      When you’ve got an official narrative to deliver, you need everyone to pitch in to keep it from falling apart. No one can say ICE didn’t try. The Trump administration — bolstered by supporting statements conjecture from DOJ and DHS officials — has portrayed undocumented immigrants as little more than nomadic thugs. Unfortunately, there’s hardly any evidence available to back up the assertion that people here illegally are more likely to commit serious criminal acts.

      Back in February, shortly after Trump handed down immigration-focused executive orders, ICE went all in on arresting undocumented visitors and immigrants. Included in this push was a focus on so-called “sanctuary cities” like Austin, Texas, which had vowed to push back against Trump’s anti-immigrant actions.

    • How Top NBC Executives Quashed The Bombshell Harvey Weinstein Story

      In mid-August, Ronan Farrow, an NBC News contributor, had secured an interview with a woman who was willing to appear on camera, in silhouette, her identity concealed, and say Harvey Weinstein had raped her, according to four people with close knowledge of the reporting. It was a pivotal moment in a testy, months-long process of reporting a story that had bedeviled a generation of media and Hollywood reporters.

      Farrow had a lot of material already. In March, he had acquired a damning and much-coveted audio recording in which Weinstein admits to having groped an Italian model. He had interviews with former executives and assistants who’d worked closely with Weinstein who spoke about the culture of harassment and abuse he perpetrated. And now he had someone ready to accuse Weinstein of rape, on camera.

    • Weinstein Company Knew About Sexual Assault Payoffs for Two Years

      In Hollywood, new revelations about Harvey Weinstein have surfaced, showing his studio, Weinstein Company, knew for at least two years that he had been paying off women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault. Weinstein has been fired from the company, as a slew of women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault and rape. Among his accusers are some of Hollywood’s top actresses: Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan. Many are now asking why Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance refused to prosecute Weinstein after he confessed to groping Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez in an audio recording captured in a 2015 NYPD sting operation. One of Weinstein’s lawyers at the time donated $10,000 to Vance’s election campaign only days after Vance decided not to prosecute the case. We’ll have more on Harvey Weinstein after headlines.

    • The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets

      In 2013, a British man was arrested for planning to kidnap and brutally murder a soldier. The suspect, who had a criminal history, had posted messages on social media in support of violent jihad. In a search of his residence, the police had found a bag containing a hammer, a kitchen knife and a map with the location of a nearby army barracks.

      Shortly after his arrest, the suspect was interviewed by a counter-terrorist police officer. The interviewer wanted him to provide an account of his plan, and to reveal with whom, if anyone, he has been conspiring. But the detainee – we will call him Diola – refused to divulge any information. Instead, he expounded grandiloquently on the evils of the British state for 42 minutes, with little interruption. When the interviewer attempted questions, Diola responded with scornful, finger-jabbing accusations of ignorance, naivety and moral weakness: “You don’t know how corrupt your own government is – and if you don’t care, then a curse upon you.”

      [...]

      The new interviewer does not answer directly, but something about his opening speech triggers a change in Diola’s demeanour. “On the day we arrested you,” he began, “I believe that you had the intention of killing a British soldier or police officer. I don’t know the details of what happened, why you may have felt it needed to happen, or what you wanted to achieve by doing this. Only you know these things Diola. If you are willing, you’ll tell me, and if you’re not, you won’t. I can’t force you to tell me – I don’t want to force you. I’d like you to help me understand. Would you tell me about what happened?” The interviewer opens up his notebook, and shows Diola the empty pages. “You see? I don’t even have a list of questions.”

      “That is beautiful,” Diola says. “Because you have treated me with consideration and respect, yes I will tell you now. But only to help you understand what is really happening in this country.”

    • An insider’s view of Guantánamo: conspiracy to torture

      For those who wonder why it’s taken the United States so long to get justice at Guantánamo’s war court, Mark Fallon, the former NCIS special agent entrusted to help build cases, offers an explanation in his frustratingly censored memoir, “Unjustifiable Means.”

      In short, the book subtitled “The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon and U.S. Government Conspired to Torture” makes the case that the U.S. military and spy agency contaminated some cases with interrogations that were untrustworthy and unprofessional, if not unlawful.

      The book will be available for purchase Oct. 24.

    • Australian Police Ran A Dark Web Child Porn Site For Eleven Months

      Thanks to an investigation by Norwegian newspaper VG, a long-running child porn operation by Australian police has been (inadvertently) uncovered. An IT specialist at VG was monitoring forum activity and only stumbled on law enforcement’s involvement on accident.

      In comparison to the FBI’s takeover of the Playpen site, the Taskforce Argos operation was epic. The FBI held onto the seized Playpen seizure for only a couple of weeks. The Australian police served as replacement administrators for eleven months.

      The government’s turn as child porn site administrators began with the arrest of two men in the United States, one of them a Canadian citizen. Both were apparently actively abusing children as well as running the dark web site. According to data gathered by investigators, Childs Play had more than a 1 million registered users by the time it was shut down. (Estimates suggest fewer than 5,000 accounts could be considered active, however.) Based on estimates from multiple countries now involved in the law enforcement action, the eleven-month hosting effort has resulted in nearly 1,000 suspects being identified. Some have already been arrested.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • ISPs don’t want to tell the FCC exactly where they offer Internet service

      The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether it should collect more accurate data about broadband deployment in the US, but cable and telecom lobby groups are urging the FCC to maintain the status quo.

      Currently, the FCC’s “Form 477″ data collection program requires Internet service providers to identify the census blocks in which they provide residential or business Internet service and the maximum speeds offered in each block. ISPs are also supposed to identify the census blocks that are near enough to their networks that they could provide service within a reasonable timeframe.

    • FCC chair “refused” to rebuke Trump over threat to take NBC off the air

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai still hasn’t publicly responded to President Trump’s call for NBC and other networks to have their FCC licenses challenged, and Democratic lawmakers are stepping up the pressure.

    • Comcast found a way to raise other cable companies’ prices, rivals say

      Comcast is increasingly making demands in TV programming contract negotiations that would force its smaller rivals to raise their minimum cable TV prices, a lobby group for small cable companies told the Federal Communications Commission yesterday.

      The American Cable Association (ACA), which represents nearly 800 small and medium-sized cable operators, asked the FCC to investigate the practice and prohibit it under its program access rules.

    • Groups Battle Trump FCC’s Claim That One ISP In A Market Means There’s Effective Competition

      While the lack of competition in residential broadband gets plenty of well-deserved attention, the business broadband market in the United States may be even worse. Just one of three companies (Verizon, AT&T, or CenturyLink) dominate what’s dubbed the business data services (BDS) market, which connects everything from cellular towers to ATMs to the broader internet. According to the FCC’s own data (pdf), 73% of the special access market is controlled by one ISP, 24% of markets usually “enjoy” duopoly control, and only a tiny fraction of markets have more than two choices of BDS providers.

    • DOJ Staffers: The T-Mobile Sprint Merger Will Reduce Competition And Should Be Blocked

      We’ve already noted how, despite some empty promises by Sprint and Japanese-owner Softbank, the company’s (second) attempted merger with T-Mobile will be a notable job killer. How bad will the damage be? At least one analyst predicts the total number of jobs lost could be more than the total number of people Sprint currently employs (around 28,000). Other analysts estimate the deal could kill something closer to 20,000 jobs, and even the most optimistic tallies put the job damage at somewhere closer to 10,000 lost positions — most of them either in retail (as duplicate stores are closed) or among redundant management positions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • The Pirate Bay Is Using Your CPU To Mine Cryptocurrency AGAIN — Here’s How To Block

        The Pirate Bay the first major website caught running crypto coin miner. Last month, it was found that the website was running a JavaScript-based miner that mined Monero digital coins using your CPU power.

        Back then, the miner was tested only briefly to find out the economic potential of mining. Now, the website has started mining again using the embedded code. This time, the miner runs through an ad script, instead of being embedded in website’s core code.

      • Internet Archives Liberates Old Books Using Never Used Before Provision Of Copyright Law

        Section 108 of copyright law doesn’t get very much attention (though, we did just mention it in regards to an archive of Howard Stern/Donald Trump interviews). It’s the part of the law that grants some fairly narrow exceptions to copyright for libraries and archives. In short, it was a recognition that libraries and archives are good and important things, and copyright law under the 1976 Copyright Act would basically make them illegal. Rather than fixing the fact that copyright law was too broad, Section 108 simply carved out a few important exceptions. Many of those exceptions are, unfortunately, under attack from all the usual sources.

        However Section 108 is important to protect until we fix wider problems with copyright law. Of course, some parts of 108 have rarely, if ever, been tested. The Internet Archive is looking to fix that. It just announced that it is making a bunch of books published between 1923 and 1941 available on the Archive. As you may know from the handy dandy public domain term chart at Cornell, thanks to the 1976 Copyright Act (and various extensions) tons of works that should have been in the public domain long before now have been locked up and unavailable. The key date is 1923. Works before that are clearly in the public domain. After that, it gets… fuzzy.

      • Popcorn Time Creator Readies BitTorrent & Blockchain-Powered Video Platform

        Popcorn Time creator Federico Abad is part of a new team prepping a BitTorrent and blockchain powered YouTube competitor. In just under two weeks time, Flixxo will begin its token sale, kicking off a platform that will reward users for both creating, producing, and distributing content using BitTorrent.

Truly Terrible ‘Journalism’ About António Campinos Boils Down to Lobbying and Agenda-Pushing

Friday 13th of October 2017 04:06:17 AM

FTI Consulting, which lobbies for the fracking industry, may still be working for Battistelli

Summary: The expectedly shallow coverage of the appointment (succession) of Battistelli’s French pick, which will likely change nothing of significance at the European Patent Office (EPO)

THE EPO will have a new President after 6 months in 2018. Does it mean much will change? We strongly doubt it. The EPO tweeted about it later on Thursday (yet again) and media coverage, as we noted on Thursday, had been appalling. We can’t help but wonder where these millions of euros in PR budget end up landing.

“We can’t help but wonder where these millions of euros in PR budget end up landing.”Not too shockingly, yesterday the EPO made the news again in relation to a former Portuguese colony (Brazil). Most sites took no note of it; nor did they mention anything about Angola (it was in the meeting, not in the media).

At the core of this failure of the media is an echo chamber effect. No outsiders asked. No opinions from anyone other than the choir.

“They’re no strangers and they can have a fluent chat in French (the mother of António Campinos is French, he was born in France and studied in France).”António Campinos was parachuted by Battistelli who had lobbied across Europe (mostly small nations) to shield ‘Battistellism’ at the EPO. Almost nobody bothered mentioning this.

Hours ago someone alerted us regarding this article, which is more of that echo chamber about António Campinos. This was soon cross-posted in other sites and it quotes people who are connected to small nations, including Željko Topić’s:

Director General`s Office of the Croatian Intellectual Property Office:

“We welcome the election of Mr Campinos as the next president of the EPO in an open and transparent procedure. His outstanding experience and results in leading the intellectual property organisations will surely provide further ambitious and dynamic development of the EPO in line with the needs and expectations of patent system stakeholders.”

It’s lots of these shallow quotes that we see everywhere. James Nurton (historically close to Battistelli) did the same thing and even US-based sites like Law 360 mentioned it (however shallowly). To quote: “Battistelli congratulated Campinos on his election by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation in a statement released Wednesday.”

“Battistelli’s apologist Joff Wild has already used (or exploited) the news about António Campinos to do some UPC advocacy (Wild was paid by the EPO’s PR firm, FTI Consulting, for UPC promotion).”That’s like one friend congratulating another. They’re no strangers and they can have a fluent chat in French (the mother of António Campinos is French, he was born in France and studied in France).

Incidentally, the EPO mentioned less than a day ago that “San Marino, Monaco and Portugal help the Federated Register service to 21 countries…”

Monaco and Portugal. What an interesting new pair.

Anyway, the German media covered this too and there’s more discussion about it here (in German) among EPO people. They’re not exactly happy.

Battistelli’s apologist Joff Wild has already used (or exploited) the news about António Campinos to do some UPC advocacy (Wild was paid by the EPO’s PR firm for UPC promotion).

Here is the UPC part:

If that were not enough, there is also the small matter of the unitary patent regime to throw into the mix. Right now, we are in a holding pattern as we await promised UK ratification of the Unified Patent Court agreement and the resolution of a court case that is holding up Germany’s sign-off, but all things being equal by the time Campinos arrives in Munich both should be done and the UPC regime will either be up and running or on the verge of beginning. For the EPO that means the administration of a brand new right – the unitary patent – as well as handling all the complications that come with the UPC’s transitional provisions. There are bound to be major challenges, and the buck will stop at Campinos’s desk. All in all, then, there will be no gentle bedding-in process for the new president next year; he will have to hit the ground running.

Wild is far too optimistic about it. What he calls “promised UK ratification of the Unified Patent Court agreement” probably predates Jo Johnson and is now in serious jeopardy because of “hard Brexit” talks/prospects. Wild also trivialises a serious and potent constitutional challenge, referring to it as “court case that is holding up Germany’s sign-off” (as if it’s inevitable). But anyway, what else can be expected from IAM? It’s in bed with Battistelli.

“Wild also trivialises a serious and potent constitutional challenge, referring to it as “court case that is holding up Germany’s sign-off” (as if it’s inevitable).”Another curious report turned up yesterday with the headline “SUEPO willing to work with new EPO president” (which overstates the reality).

“Some of them have been doing it all the time with the old ones nonetheless,” one person remarked. Don’t expect Campinos to be very different; he’ll probably be like Kongstad, i.e. just keeping silent, complicit by apathy (to avoid confrontation/controversy). Campinos can be a ‘cute’ face for a French antipathy. SUEPO has no choice but to be diplomatic about it — that is to say, assume or hope for best of intentions/good faith. To quote the article:

The source close to SUEPO explained that the union would “like to see the end of a system based on the total distrust of all staff, this by a handful of top managers brought by Battistelli”.

“The EPO cannot continue to function by violating fundamental rights of its staff and disrespecting the rule of law. Anxiety and insecurity do not enhance sustainable business models,” the source said.

“SUEPO is professional. SUEPO looks forward not backward and hopes for better days where intelligence prevails over emotions, where the EPO is re-established as a respected international institution delivering the best patents for the public.”

The source commented: “Now António Campinos is elected. For him and all stakeholders (staff and the organisation) one can only wish for a better future.”

So please do notice that all the above is based on an anonymous “source close to SUEPO,” not SUEPO itself. They ought to correct their headline. But they won’t. Because patents-centric news sites (in this case, IP Pro Patents, which does marketing SPAM, as we shall show in the weekend) are not into journalism but into lobbying/agenda-pushing. Therein lies their business model. They’ll say anything to make Campinos look like an heroic knight in shining armour poised to salvage the EPO’s long-lost reputation.

Under Christoph Ernst, the Council is Just a Megaphone of Battistelli’s EPO, Including on Patent Quality

Friday 13th of October 2017 03:15:38 AM

A strong watchdog would say, “look, we have an issue here with quality…”

Summary: The Administrative Council of the EPO does not appear to be interested in a serious, adult, scientific debate about the quality of European Patents (EPs) and is instead relaying lies from Benoît Battistelli

IT’S sad to see the EPO failing to reform (or rather rehabilitate) itself even with some new leadership (Battistelli getting a new 'boss'). Earlier today the EPO published this. (epo.org link, which means clicks could, in theory, be tracked)

The statement is worrisome and Techrights will make a complete copy of it, just in case the EPO’s current site ceases to exist some time soon (as some insiders believe; when EPO people say that the EPO might cease to exist “soon” they mean in relative terms, like half a decade or a decade, perhaps following some sort of merger).

Here is the full text:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 153rd meeting in Munich on 10 and 11 October 2017 under the chairmanship of Christoph ERNST (DE).

A central issue was the election of the next President of the European Patent Office. A special Communiqué has been issued in this respect.

The Administrative Council noted the activities reports given respectively by its Chairman and by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI. In the ensuing discussion on the latter, the Council praised again the Office and its staff for the excellent results achieved. It also took note of the first report of the President of the Boards of Appeal, following the reform adopted in 2016.

The Council further noted the oral reports from the chairpersons of its advisory bodies on their recent meetings: Boards of Appeal Committee, Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security, Supervisory Board of the EPO Academy, and Select Committee.

The Council then proceeded with a series of elections and appointments to its advisory bodies. In particular it elected Mr Lex Kaufhold Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee for 3 years, starting on 10 October 2017. The Council also decided on appointments and re-appointments to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, the Boards of Appeal and the Disciplinary Board of Appeal.

The Council carried out an exchange of views on the first ever Annual Report on Quality. It expressed its satisfaction both on the methodology developed and on the measured achievements.

In respect of legal affairs the Council authorised the President of the Office to renew the EPO-WIPO Agreement in relation to the functioning of the EPO as an International Searching Authority and as an International Preliminary Examining Authority under the PCT.

Turning to matters concerning the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS), the Council reviewed the composition and competence profile of the RFPSS Supervisory Board and unanimously endorsed a revised governance.

At last, the Council held a thorough exchange of views on the Office’s social report for 2016, which comprehensiveness and transparency were most appreciated.

Council Secretariat

They cite that insulting “social report” (we wrote a lot about it) and there’s a lot more to be said about the rest of it. It’s like it was written with (or by) Team Battistelli. There’s no notion of real scrutiny or oversight. It’s just congratulatory and supine.

The part about patent quality has been debunked by The Register (“Annual Report on Quality” and some comments there in El Reg). To quote from this two-page article:

A row has broken out at the European Patent Office over the quality of its work.

The international organization’s big annual meeting in Munich this week has been overshadowed by a war of words between staff and the EPO’s president, Benoit Battistelli. Staff are warning that quality is falling in response to an aggressive effort by management to increase output and Battistelli is publicly disparaging his own staff in response.

In response to pointed criticism, Battistelli highlighted his team’s first ever annual quality report that showed very high levels of satisfaction as evidence that all was well at the organization. But at least one government subsequently picked apart that report by noting that it relies entirely on internal evaluations.

The row kicked off when the EPO’s staff representative dropped its typically diplomatic update to the EPO’s Administrative Council – made up of 38 European government representatives – and provided a caustic criticism of reforms efforts at the EPO, arguing that a push for ever-faster and greater numbers of patent approvals was leading to a drop in quality.

[...]

Battistelli was, predictably, furious. He has waged a long reform battle at the EPO that has seen the organization repeatedly pulled in front of the International Labor Organization, the courts and even the European Court of Human Rights. He has, however, retained the support of the majority of the Administrative Council by arguing that he is modernizing the EPO and – critically – that the number of patents is increasing while quality has been maintained or even improved.

Any suggestion that the reforms efforts are reducing the quality of patents would risk undermining that entire organization since it raises the likelihood that approved patents are then challenged and even defeated in court: every business’ worst nightmare.

Patent offices live or die (or perish, as governments can typically cushion for losses) based on patent quality. The EPO is dying, at least judging by quality and decline in applications. EPs lost their value. Workers are not happy. Experienced examiners are leaving. In short, Battistelli killed what existed and more or less worked (even if far from perfectly).

The comments section did not immediately attract much abuse, except against the author of the article (pretending patent quality was always or for over a decade been pretty poor). Having written about this for over a decade, I reject that supposition. EPs used to be pretty strong. That’s why it took a long time to process applications. See this leaked E-mail from the EPO's Roberto Vacca. No wonder patent quality collapsed.

As one commenter put it:

The EPA did have (still does?) a quality audit department which were independent examiners who controlled the actual output for quality – should it really have been granted etc. The figures e’re only for internal use and were disputed and massaged. But they weren’t good. BB never talks about them.

Yes, exactly. The next comment said that the EPO’s “assessment of quality [...] can be misleading [...] or even dangerous if you consider the opposite.” Watch what they’re measuring:

The distinction is an important one. It seems that the EPO include timeliness of delivery in its assessment of quality which can be misleading….or even dangerous if you consider the opposite. If a product is of lesser quality because it took longer to arrive then the extreme case could be that a European Patent may not be worth waiting for!

Earlier today the EPO wrote: “Is it possible to object to a particular application, either before or after it has been granted?”

Well, there’s far less opportunity to do that due to Battistelli’s so-called ‘reforms’, which seemed aimed at lowering patent quality to fake ‘production’.

Links 12/10/2017: Cutelyst 1.9.0, Qt Creator 4.5 Beta

Thursday 12th of October 2017 04:27:57 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Why Linux Works

      The Linux community works, it turns out, because the Linux community isn’t too concerned about work, per se. As much as Linux has come to dominate many areas of corporate computing – from HPC to mobile to cloud – the engineers who write the Linux kernel tend to focus on the code itself, rather than their corporate interests therein.

    • Windows 10 mandatory October KB4041676 update is causing machines to BSOD

      Today when people started waking up from their machines automatically updating during the night, however, they have been faced with a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) instead of the Windows 10 desktop, and unfortunately, no-one seems to know why the installations are failing, only that it relates to KB4041676, which is yesterday’s update.

    • Global shipments of PCs slump for 12th successive quarter, research suggests [iophk: "PCs no longer have any Windows or Microsoft stickers, hiding the infection"]

      An assessment by research and analysis outfit Gartner found that shipments totalled 67 million units in the third quarter of 2017; a decline of 3.6% on an annualised basis compared to the same quarter last year.

      The latest decline marked the 12th consecutive quarter of PC shipments slump.

    • The PC still isn’t dead and the market is ‘stabilising’, says IDC

      In its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, IDC announced worldwide shipments of traditional PCs, which includes desktops, notebooks, workstations, totalled 67.2 million units in the third quarter of 2017.

      While this translates into a slight year-over-year decline of 0.5 percent, IDC said [...]

  • Server
    • Using Containers? Look for the OCI Seal of Approval

      Some standards have been set for container technology. That’s a good thing. Without standards, everybody working on developing a technology goes in separate directions, with no thought about how their implementation will work and play with the work being done by others. Without standards, vendor lock-in is practically unavoidable.

      Until July, when the Open Container Initiative (OCI) released version 1.0 of its specification, there were no standards when it came to containers. Products from one vendor didn’t necessarily work with the offerings from another. Obviously, this was a problem for DevOps working in diverse environments.

    • 6 ways to work with database admins in the DevOps world

      DevOps is defined as “unifying the operations and engineering teams,” in order to foster a culture of cross-team collaboration, codify how infrastructure is built, and become a more data-driven organization. But it seems databases and the teams that care for them are treated as an exception to this environment. In most companies, databases are still treated like walled gardens, with the database hosts tended to like delicate flowers and the database administrators (DBAs) guarding any and all access to them.

      This walled-garden attitude invariably affects the rest of the organization, from tech ops, to delivery engineering, all the way to product planning, as everyone tries to work around the datastore. Ultimately this reduces the benefits of an agile approach to software development, which is a problem for companies that have been running for a few years and have reached a solid financial footing with loyal paying customers, but are having a hard time shedding that startup skin (the one that flies by the seat of its pants), and are feeling the pressure to achieve a sense of stability in existing and future offerings.

    • Container Runtime Brings Greater Flexibility to Kubernetes and BOSH

      The Cloud Foundry Foundation on Wednesday launched Cloud Foundry Container Runtime, or CFCR, as the default deployment and management platform for containers using Kubernetes and BOSH.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux LTS Kernel Support Extended to 6 Years

      Despite being a free and open source OS, Linux has one of the quickest development cycles. Every 70 days, a major new version of the Linux kernel rolls out. This deprecates any older versions except for the few Long Term Support releases. In a sign of changing times, the Linux kernel lifetime is getting a major boost. From now on, the Linux LTS kernel will be supported for a whole 6 years. Jumping up to 6 years is a tripling of the current 2 year support period. This is especially goods news for Android.

    • Graphics Stack
  • Applications
    • XikiHub: The Social Command Line

      Brief: A new Linux project named XikiHub has been spotted on Kickstarter. It aims to add a social community feature right into the Linux command line.

    • qTox – An Open Source P2P Instant Messaging and VoIP App

      As you probably already know, GNU/Linux has no shortage of VoIP apps. We’ve written on Wire and Discord. And we even compiled a list of The 10 Best Instant Messaging Apps for Linux.

      Today, we’ve got a new app to add to our list of instant messaging apps and it goes by the name of qTox.

      qTox is a free and open source p2p instant messaging, audio and video calls app and is (apparently) the most feature-rich Tox client. As a powerful Tox client, it follows Tox’s design guidelines while maintaining a uniform UI/UX across all the major platforms.

    • Dash to Panel Adds Support for Dynamic Transparency

      The popular Dash to Panel GNOME extension has been updated to support GNOME 3.26.

      The upcoming release will also include support for dynamic transparency, a bit of desktop eye candy that was introduced by GNOME developers in the recent GNOME 3.26 release.

      Dynamic Transparency in Ubuntu 17.10 works on both the top bar (the panel across the top of the screen) and the Ubuntu Dock. When an app window touches either element, or is maximised, the transparency of the dock and panel is reduced to help improve legibility.

    • Proprietary
      • The Slack Threat

        During a long era, electronic mail was the main communication tool for enterprises. Slack, which offer public or private group discussion boards and instant messaging between two people, challenge its position, especially in the IT industry.

        Not only Slack has features known and used since IRC launch in the late ’80s, but Slack also offers file sending and sharing, code quoting, and it indexing for ulterior searches everything that goes through the application. Slack is also modular with numerous plug-in to easily add new features.

        [...]

        Slack is a Web service which uses mainly Amazon Web services and most specially Cloudfront, as stated by the available information on Slack infrastructure.

        Even without a complete study of said infrastructure, it’s easy to state that all the data regarding many innovative global companies around the world (and some of them including for all their internal communication since their creation) are located in the United States, or at least in the hands of a US company, which must follow US laws, a country with a well-known history of large scale industrial espionage, as the whistleblower Edward Snowden demonstrated it in 2013 and where company data access has no restriction under the Patriot Act, as in the Microsoft case (2014) where data stored in Ireland by the Redmond software editor have been given to US authorities.

        [...]

        Officially, Slack stated that “No financial or payment information was accessed or compromised in this attack.” Which is, and by far, the least interesting of all data stored within Slack! With company internal communication indexed—sometimes from the very beginning of said company—and searchable, Slack may be a potential target for cybercriminal not looking for its users’ financial credentials but more their internal data already in a usable format. One can imagine Slack must give information on a massive data leak, which can’t be ignored. But what would happen if only one Slack user is the victim of said leak?

        [...]

        Because Slack service subscription in the long term put the company continuously at risk. Maybe it’s not the employees’ place to worry about it, they just have to do their job the more efficiently possible. On the other side, the company management, usually non-technical, may not be aware of what risks will threaten their company with this technical choice. The technical management may pretend to be omniscient, nobody is fooled.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Cutelyst 1.9.0 released!

        Cutelyst the Qt web framework got a new release. This is a rather small release but has some important fixes so I decided to roll sooner.

      • Qt 5.10 Beta available for testing with KDE neon

        Qt 5.10 Beta was released this week and the neon builder cloud elves have been compiling it away ready for testing.

        There’s no QtWebEngine or Qt3D so stuff which needs those will be broken.

      • Qt Creator 4.5 Beta released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.5 Beta!

        There has been very little time between the 4.4 release and the 4.5 feature freeze, but 4.5 still comes with a bunch of very nice improvements.

        Locator now does fuzzy camel case matching in the same way as code completion does. Type “c andesu” in locator to open the “AndroidDebugSupport” class.

      • Qt Creator 4.5 Beta Arrives With Few Changes

        Just over one month since the release of Qt Creator 4.4, the 4.5 beta is now available as the latest feature testing release for this Qt/C++ focused integrated development environment.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.28 Expected To Ship On Pi Day

        The GNOME team has firmed up the release schedule for the in-development GNOME 3.28 desktop environment.

        GNOME 3.28.0 is expected to be released on 14 March 2018, which many in the tech/mathematics community celebrate each year as Pi day.

      • A scrolling primer

        A few years ago, I wrote a post about scrolling in GTK+ 3. Time for another look!

      • Stable GNOME Photos Flatpaks moved to Flathub
      • Going to GNOME.Asia 2017

        To be honest, I’m really exited about this trip. I’ve never been to ChongQing before.

      • How to Enable Fractional Scaling in Gnome

        Fractional scaling is practically necessary if you’re running a HiDPI display, and you want your desktop to scale uniformly to match your display. It’s always been an issue on Linux, but the latest version of the GNOME desktop has implemented a true fractional scaling feature to keep your desktop looking good.

        Even though GNOME 3.26 does have fractional scaling support, it wasn’t mature enough to make the release. As a result, it’s still a testing feature that you need to enable yourself.

  • Distributions
    • Endless OS Is First Linux Distro to Support Flatpak Apps from Flathub by Default

      Endless Computers announced today on their Twitter account that Endless OS has recently become the first GNU/Linux distribution to enable support for Flatpak apps from Flathub by default with the latest release.

    • Reviews
      • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Pantheon Desktop Environment

        Pantheon is beautiful, lightweight, fast, simple and brings something new to Linux desktops. For Linux newbies, Pantheon is pretty straightforward and easy to use. For advanced users who prefer to tinker with their desktop, Pantheon is a no go as there is little to do in terms of customizations. Changing wallpapers and switching workspace could surely do with some simplification Nonetheless, I believe everyone who used Pantheon is going to be impressed with how beautiful this desktop environment is.

        ​The Pantheon desktop is definitely among the very best desktop environments. Currently, there are efforts to bring the Pantheon desktop to some major distributions such as Fedora and Arch. There is even a community version of Manjaro that comes with Pantheon. But if you really want to use this desktop go with elementary OS.

    • New Releases
      • ExTiX 17.8 – “The Ultimate Linux System” – with LXQt 0.11.1, Refracta tools, Nvidia 384.90 and kernel 4.13.0-15-exton – Build 171012

        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 17.8 LXQt Live DVD. (The previous version was 17.4 from 170418).

        ABOUT
        ExTiX 17.8 LXQt DVD 64 bit is based on Debian 9 Stretch and Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark, to be released 171019. The original system includes the Desktop Environment Gnome. After removing Gnome I have installed LXQt 0.11.1. LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the Lightweight Desktop Environment. It is the product of the merge between the LXDE-Qt and the Razor-qt projects: A lightweight, modular, blazing-fast and user-friendly desktop environment.

        The system language is ENGLISH.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian and the GDPR

        GDPR is a new EU regulation for privacy. The name is short for “General Data Protection Regulation” and it covers all organisations that handle personal data of EU citizens and EU residents. It will become enforceable May 25, 2018 (Towel Day). This will affect Debian. I think it’s time for Debian to start working on compliance, mainly because the GDPR requires sensible things.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Outs Important Linux Kernel Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Canonical released new kernel updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases, including Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), fixing a total of five security vulnerabilities.

          • elementary on why snaps are right for their Linux distro

            elementary is the company behind the elementary OS Linux distribution and the associated app store. Celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, elementary began in 2007 with their first release in 2011. They are currently on their 4th release (Loki) and are working towards their 5th (Juno) with Jupiter, Luna and Freya as previous releases. At the Ubuntu Rally in New York, we spoke to elementary’s founder Daniel Fore and Systems Architect, Cody Garver, to discover what made snaps the right Linux application packaging format for their distro.

          • Kernel Team Summary- October 11, 2017
          • MAAS 2.3.0 beta 2 released!
          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 10 Oct 2017

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 5 benefits of contributing to open source projects

    Open source was once seen as a risky bet for the enterprise. If open source software was used at all it was by small companies, or by larger firms in stealthy pockets by IT and development professionals who saw the value of the model but couldn’t “sell” it upstream.

    To be fair, it was a different time with a different pace of business, and the open source model was a little too loose for most companies. Today? Open source is wearing figurative pinstripes while enabling companies of all sizes and industries to innovate at the pace of digital. And savvy companies are not only using it, but also contributing to open source projects to drive innovation, growth, and revenue.

  • How an open team can assess threats and opportunities

    You may be familiar with the “SWOT” decision-making tool. It’s a methodology for helping teams clearly outline a set of conditions, compare options, and make transparent decisions based on an idea’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (“SWOT”). SWOT is an efficient tool in my strategic planning toolkit.

  • Open-source in India: 3 of 4 coders come from product firms, Amazon leads
  • ONAP Collaborates with MEF on Open Source Efforts, Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ in Subscribers Participating

    Open source community leader ONAP is teaming up with standards body MEF to further harmonize open source efforts ahead of 5G.

    Arpit Joshipura, GM of Networking and Orchestration at the Linux Foundation, told Wireless Week the agreement will allow for “collaboration between open source and open standards.”

    Both groups said they share the same objectives, including orchestrating services across multiple providers and multiple network technology domains and building a framework for real-time, policy-driven software automation of virtual and physical network functions.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Oracle Announced Plans to Open Source All Features of Their JDK and Address Shortcomings in Java EE

      During the opening keynote at JavaOne this year, Oracle announced plans to release Java SE under GPL and to open-source all the features in Oracle’s JDK. The vendor also admitted that Java EE wasn’t fit for the new world of microservices and serverless, and talked about plans to address the issue. Case studies on modern microservices architectures were provided by Alibaba and Spotify. The full keynote video is available on YouTube, but below we’re providing a summary of the key information.

    • Q. Why’s Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

      Oracle loves open source. Except when the database giant hates open source. Which, according to its recent lobbying of the US federal government, seems to be “most of the time”.

      Yes, Oracle has recently joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to up its support for open-source Kubernetes and, yes, it has long supported (and contributed to) Linux. And, yes, Oracle has even gone so far as to (finally) open up Java development by putting it under a foundation’s stewardship.

      Yet this same, seemingly open Oracle has actively hammered the US government to consider that “there is no math that can justify open source from a cost perspective as the cost of support plus the opportunity cost of forgoing features, functions, automation and security overwhelm any presumed cost savings.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Metsä Wood: From Desktop Designs to Actual Projects – Join Open Source Wood
    • Open Access/Content
      • Penn Libraries to End Partnership with bepress

        This fall, the Penn Libraries will begin exploring open source options for hosting Penn’s institutional repository, ScholarlyCommons, which provides free and open access to scholarly works created by Penn faculty, staff and students.

        For 13 years, Penn Libraries has hosted ScholarlyCommons on the platform Digital Commons, which we contract from the commercial company bepress. Through ScholarlyCommons and other initiatives, the Penn Libraries has enabled Penn authors to lower barriers to accessing scholarship, publish new research, and take advantage of library services that benefit not only our own community but those around the world. For 13 years, bepress was a partner in this endeavor.

        In August, bepress sold their company to Elsevier, a business with a history of aggressive confidentiality agreements, steep price increases, and opaque data mining practices. In their acquisition of bepress and other companies like SSRN and Mendeley, Elsevier demonstrates a move toward the consolidation and monopolization of products and services impacting all areas of the research lifecycle.

  • Programming/Development
    • Why Testing Is Important for Distributed Software

      As developers, we often hear that tests are important. Automated testing minimizes the number of bugs released to production, helps prevent regression, improves code quality, supplements documentation, and makes code reviews easier. In short, tests save businesses money by increasing system uptime and keeping developers working on new features instead of fighting fires. While software testing has been around for about as long as software has, I would argue that testing is especially important (and unfortunately more challenging) in modern distributed software systems.

    • RcppArmadillo 0.8.100.1.0
    • ConCom, and calls for programming, charity, and staff (oh my!)
    • HyperCard

      One of my favorite pastimes is imagining and planning to write new coding projects: researching technologies, checking out libraries I might use, making GUI mockups, downloading similar projects.

      I was thinking the other day that it might be fun to create a desktop-based editor that had an HTTP server embedded. The HTTP server would serve up only one document, which is the document being currently edited, and it would show a live representation of the screen as being show the person editing the document.

      I was thinking it might be fun to re-implement the old HyperCard system.

Leftovers
  • Nintendo Nixes Live Streams For Its Own Creators Program For Some Reason

    In 2014, following nearly a full year of waging an intellectual property war on YouTubers doing “let’s play” videos with its games, Nintendo unleashed upon the world what would eventually become its “Creators Program”. Through the program, YouTubers would be allowed to put videos including Nintendo IP on their channels in exchange for revenue sharing between the creator and Nintendo itself. For a company like Nintendo, which had built a reputation for exerting strict control in this arena, it felt like a huge step forward. It took only a few months before the whole thing began devolving into a bureaucratic mess, with: language in the affiliate agreement clearly geared towards garnering positive coverage from YouTubers; a mishandling of the influx of interest in the program by creators themselves; and a strange whitelist and blacklist of what games could be covered, which hurt channels with extensive back catalogs of content that might need to be deleted. Some high profile YouTubers swore off covering Nintendo games in revolt, while everyone else was left wondering why this had to be handled so badly.

  • Science
    • The Earth nearly froze over when today’s coal was first buried

      Our burning of fossil fuels is, to an extent, a reversal of a process that happened millions of years ago. At one point, all this carbon was in the air. Over millions of years, life extracted it from the air before dying and getting buried. Geology took over from there, gradually converting the formerly living material into things like coal and oil. Since this process was relatively slow, it presumably didn’t result in radical changes to the climate.

      But a new study suggests that it came really, really close. Lots of the fossil fuels we currently use derive from the Carboniferous, a 60-million-year-long period where forests flourished across much of the Earth. While not sudden, activity during this time period did pull a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere, and so a researcher decided to look at some of the consequences. The results suggest that the Earth skirted the edge of a global freeze, forming glaciers in the mountains of the tropics.

    • Study claims vaccines-autism link; scientists find fake data, have rage stroke

      A recent study linking a component of vaccines to signs of autism in mice is set for retraction after scientists thoroughly demolished the study’s design, methods, and analysis—and then, for good measure, spotted faked data.

      The original study, led by Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic of the University of British Columbia, suggested that aluminum in vaccines can alter immune responses and trigger the development of autism. (Aluminum adjuvants are used in some vaccines to boost protective immune responses.) The study is just the latest in a long line of publications from the researchers who appear unwavering in their effort to reveal supposed neurotoxic effects of aluminum in vaccines even though dozens of studies have found no evidence of such toxicity.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Congress’ pharmacist hints some members have Alzheimer’s, backpedals furiously

      Wednesday morning, Stat published a piece on the quaint, old-school pharmacy that hand-delivers prescription medications to our hardworking Congress members on the Hill each day.

    • Is that water drinkable? Fast test may hold the answer

      Detecting the agents of disease is often really hard. Imagine that you live in a village in a developing country. You may not have electricity, and your water comes via a well of unknown quality. Is the lining in that well sufficient to keep shallow, polluted groundwater from seeping in?

      No matter how good your well-building skills are, you still need to regularly test drinking water to ensure that it is safe. A new development in detecting bacterial nasties has scientists saying there’s a solution, one that looks like high-tech litmus paper. But I’m not so sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #128
    • T-Mobile customer data plundered thanks to bad API

      A bug disclosed and patched last week by T-Mobile in a Web application interface allowed anyone to query account information by simply providing a phone number. That includes customer e-mail addresses, device identification data, and even the answers to account security questions. The bug, which was patched after T-Mobile was contacted by Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai on behalf of an anonymous security researcher, was apparently also exploited by others, giving them access to information that could be used to hijack customers’ accounts and move them to new phones. Attackers could potentially gain access to other accounts protected by SMS-based “two factor” authentication simply by acquiring a T-Mobile SIM card.

    • Criminals stole millions from E. Europe banks with ATM “overdraft” hack

      Banks in several former Soviet states were hit with a wave of debit card fraud earlier this year that netted millions of dollars worth of cash. These bank heists relied on a combination of fraudulent bank accounts and hacking to turn nearly empty bank accounts into cash-generating machines. In a report being released by TrustWave’s SpiderLabs today, SpiderLabs researchers detailed the crime spree: hackers gained access to bank systems and manipulated the overdraft protection on accounts set up by proxies and then used automated teller machines in other countries to withdraw thousands of dollars via empty or nearly empty accounts.

      While SpiderLabs’ investigation accounted for about $40 million in fraudulent withdrawals, the report’s authors noted, “when taking into account the undiscovered or uninvestigated attacks along with investigations undertaken by internal groups or third parties, we estimate losses to be in the hundreds of millions in USD.” This criminal enterprise was a hybrid of traditional credit fraud and hacking. It relied on an army of individuals with fake identity documents, as these folks were paid to set up accounts at the targeted institutions with the lowest possible deposit. From there, individuals requested debit cards for the accounts, which were forwarded to co-conspirators in other countries throughout Europe and in Russia.

    • Buggy Microsoft Outlook Sending Encrypted S/MIME Emails With Plaintext Copy For Months

      Beware, If you are using S/MIME protocol over Microsoft Outlook to encrypt your email communication, you need to watch out.

      From at least last 6 months, your messages were being sent in both encrypted and unencrypted forms, exposing all your secret and sensitive communications to potential eavesdroppers.

      S/MIME, or Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, is an end-to-end encryption protocol—based on public-key cryptography and works just like SSL connections—that enables users to send digitally signed and encrypted messages.

    • Fake Crypto: Microsoft Outlook S/MIME Cleartext Disclosure (CVE-2017-11776)

      Outlook version XXX (we are still waiting for Microsoft to release detailed information and update the blog accordingly) was the first affected version. So any S/MIME encrypted mail written since that date might be affected.

      Unfortunately there is no easy solution to remediate the impact of this vulnerability (we are still waiting for Microsoft to release detailed information and update the blog).

      In cases where mails have been send to third parties (recipient is outside of the sender’s organization) remediation is not possible by the sending party, since the sender has no authority over the recipient’s mail infrastructure.

    • Accenture data leak: ‘Keys to the kingdom’ left exposed via multiple unsecured cloud servers

      A massive trove of sensitive corporate and customer data was left freely exposed to the public by Accenture, one of the world’s biggest management firms. The tech giant left at least four cloud storage servers, which contained highly sensitive decryption keys and passwords, exposed to the public, without any password protections.

    • Equifax website hacked again, this time to redirect to fake Flash update

      In May credit reporting service Equifax’s website was breached by attackers who eventually made off with Social Security numbers, names, and a dizzying amount of other details for some 145.5 million US consumers. For several hours on Wednesday the site was compromised again, this time to deliver fraudulent Adobe Flash updates, which when clicked, infected visitors’ computers with adware that was detected by only three of 65 antivirus providers.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • The Airport Bomber From Last Week You Never Heard About

      IT’S STRANGE HOW some things really catch on and go viral and others don’t. These days, nothing quite makes a story blow up — no pun intended — like the president’s fixation with it. That’s why it’s so peculiar that what sure looks like an attempted terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted at an American airport this past Friday without so much as peep from Donald Trump about it. No tweets. No nicknames for the alleged would-be-terrorist. Nothing. You’ll see why in a minute.

      On past Friday morning, at 12:39 a.m., security footage from the Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina showed a man walking through the front doors wearing black clothing and a black cap, while carrying a bag. “Based on a review of the video, the individual walked near the entrance to the terminal, went out of sight momentarily, and was then seen departing the area without the bag,” according to the criminal complaint.

      Following the Transportation Security Administration’s protocols, airport security allowed a bomb dog to sniff the bag for explosives and the dog signaled to the team the presence of dangerous materials in the bag. The concourse was then shut down. The street leading to the airport was shut down. And Asheville Regional Airport officials found themselves in a dangerous emergency situation.

    • 10 Reasons the US Should Stick With the Iran Nuclear Deal

      President Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. He will argue, falsely, that the agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States.

      The president’s announcement will not end the deal but will pass the buck to Congress. In the next 60 days, Congress could impose new sanctions that would scuttle the deal or it could pass new legislation addressing issues that were never part of the original mandate, which would also effectively kill the agreement. Enough public pressure could keep the agreement intact.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Hurricane Ophelia is on course to strike Ireland and the UK early next week

      Hurricane Ophelia is churning the waters of the northeastern Atlantic, headed for Europe. It’s far from land right now, but it’s noteworthy for its location, intensity, and direction of movement.

      The storm is the 10th straight tropical cyclone to reach hurricane intensity in the Atlantic Ocean. Which means this year has tied the all-time record set in 1878 — which was also met in 1886 and 1893, though lack of satellite measurements until the latter half of the twentieth century means there’s some uncertainty here.

    • FDA head: Hurricane Maria set to hit hospitals nationwide, clobber drug supply

      After Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico on September 20, the nation’s drug supply and hospitals should brace for their own beating in the next two to three weeks, head of the US Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb warned in an interview with Reuters Tuesday.

      With more than four dozen FDA-approved pharmaceutical plants, Puerto Rico manufactures 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the US. The list of drugs made there includes 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, such as Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis drug, and Xarelto, a blood thinner for stroke prevention, The New York Times reported. Some of the medicines made there are made nowhere else.

    • Dutch government wants all new cars to be emissions-free by 2030

      On Tuesday, the fractured Dutch government announced a coalition of several leading parties and put forward a roadmap for the Netherlands’ future. Besides reaffirming the country’s support of the EU and offering tax and immigration plans, the coalition said that it wanted all new cars to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2030. The coalition also called for more aggressive emissions goals in general—specifically, a 49-percent reduction in the country’s CO2 emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030, according to EU Observer.

    • Plugging in to a volcano: Geothermal power and the science that enables it

      In Rotorua, New Zealand, the evidence of geothermal activity is everywhere. Often, the grates covering street drains will steam. Every now and again, a homeowner will wake up to find that their backyard has been replaced by a steaming hole in the ground. But all of this was nearly lost in my youth thanks to humanity’s attempts to tap into it. Geothermal fields cannot be endlessly plundered, it turns out.

      But this is a good-news story. Geothermal activity, in 2017, supplies some 17-18 percent of New Zealand’s electricity. But there are many places in the world that have volcanoes, and many of them are more active than New Zealand’s. In New Zealand, geothermal fields cover sleeping volcanoes, not the restless, ready-to-throw rocks volcanoes. Which raises the obvious question of why the islands’ sleeping volcanoes can be tapped so effectively.

    • EPA chief says wind tax credits should be eliminated

      On Monday night, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt told a meeting of the Kentucky Farm Bureau that the federal government should end tax credits for the wind industry. Although the EPA doesn’t have control over tax incentives for renewable energy, the agency has considerable authority to hamper similar programs that boost renewables—most recently seen in Pruitt’s efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan—and his comments reflect how energy policy is being approached in the nation’s environmental bureau.

    • As Deadly Wildfires Rage in California, a Look at How Global Warming Fuels Decades of Forest Fires

      In California, powerful winds and bone-dry conditions are fueling massive wildfires. A state of emergency has been declared in northern areas as the fires have left at least 17 people dead, destroying whole neighborhoods and forcing 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. The wildfires come after the U.S. Forest Service warned last year that an unprecedented 5-year drought led to the deaths of more than 100 million trees in California, setting the stage for massive fires. Climate scientists believe human-caused global warming played a major role in the drought. We speak with Park Williams, bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and co-author of a 2016 report showing that global warming is responsible for nearly half of the forest area burned in the western United States over the past three decades.

    • Disabled 85-year-old woman dragged across busy road by police at fracking protest

      A disabled 85-year-old woman was left bruised after being dragged across a busy road by three police officers during an anti-fracking protest.

      Anne Power, a Green Party member and anti-fracking campaigner, was sitting outside a fracking site near Little Plumpton, Lancashire, when a scrum of officers lifted her from her seat.

      Video of the incident, seen by The Independent, shows her being dragged across a major road by her shoulders, with her heels scraping along the ground.

    • Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico recovery effort
    • In ”Disgusting” Attack, Trump Blames Puerto Rico; Says FEMA Can’t Stay ”Forever”

      In less than an hour on Thursday morning, President Donald Trump went from encouraging Americans to watch his favorite show, Fox & Friends, to telling residents of Puerto Rico the crisis there is “largely of their own making” to ultimately saying that the US government cannot keep federal emergency workers there “forever.”

  • Finance
    • Bitcoin isn’t money — it’s a ‘censorship-resistant asset class’

      Cryptocurrency Bitcoin isn’t technically money in the full sense of the word, according to analysts at Bernstein.

      While it allows transactions in a similar way to cash, Bitcoin is still just a “censorship-resistant asset class,” out of the reach of state control and yet to form a part of the system of settlement and credit that defines money.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • How Facebook rewards polarizing political ads

      Unless Facebook makes its internal data public, it’s impossible to say which ads reach which audiences, or how much candidates spend to reach them. After the 2016 presidential election, a senior Facebook employee said that Trump’s cost of reaching voters was substantially lower than Clinton’s, according to communications reviewed by The Verge. Trump was able to reach a larger audience than Clinton for less money, the employee said, illustrating the power of mastering Facebook’s ad platform. At a time when the company’s advertising business is under increasing scrutiny, Facebook’s platform dynamics could represent a new avenue for regulators to investigate.

    • Meet the guy who spent 12 months undercover in Europe’s alt-right movement

      These people feel emboldened. They see this as a culture war — and they believe they’re winning.”

      That’s what Patrik Hermansson, a Swedish graduate student who spent twelve months undercover in the European alt-right movement, told me. Hermansson was part of Hope Not Hate, a UK-based organization established in 2004. The group is known for combating racist and fascist organizations with unorthodox methods like infiltration.

    • ‘Republicans Have a Starting-Line Advantage of 10 Percent’

      One of the reasons for that is being considered right now in the Supreme Court. Recalled by many of us as an old-timey graphic in middle school textbooks, the term “gerrymander” refers to the drawing of political districts in such a way as to benefit a particular party. The case Gill v. Whitford is focused on Wisconsin, where in 2012 Republicans won just 48.6 percent of the statewide vote, but captured 60 out of 99 seats in the state assembly.

    • “I HATE EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”: TRUMP SEETHES AS ADVISERS FEAR THE PRESIDENT IS “UNRAVELING”

      At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”

      The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern. NBC News published a report that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal during a briefing this summer. One Trump adviser confirmed to me it was after this meeting disbanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

      In recent days, I spoke with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump’s ire is being fueled by his stalled legislative agenda and, to a surprising degree, by his decision last month to back the losing candidate Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

    • U.S. withdraws from U.N.’s cultural agency UNESCO

      The United States announced on Thursday it was withdrawing from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural and educational agency, complaining about how it is run and about what Washington described as bias against Israel.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Roger Dingledine: “Tor: Internet privacy in the age of big surveillance”
    • Time to make Data Protection work for consumers

      The test for data protection fulfilling its purpose is whether it is improving consumer rights. Open Rights Group are calling for a specific improvement in consumer rights as the Data Protection Bill reaches its second reading debate in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

    • Open Rights Group briefing on the Data Protection Bill – HoL Second Reading
    • Trump’s DOJ tries to rebrand weakened encryption as “responsible encryption”

      A high-ranking Department of Justice official took aim at encryption of consumer products today, saying that encryption creates “law-free zones” and should be scaled back by Apple and other tech companies. Instead of encryption that can’t be broken, tech companies should implement “responsible encryption” that allows law enforcement to access data, he said.

      “Warrant-proof encryption defeats the constitutional balance by elevating privacy above public safety,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a speech at the US Naval Academy today (transcript). “Encrypted communications that cannot be intercepted and locked devices that cannot be opened are law-free zones that permit criminals and terrorists to operate without detection by police and without accountability by judges and juries.”

      Rosenstein was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the DOJ’s second-highest-ranking official, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He was confirmed by the Senate in April.

    • US Intelligence Unit Accused Of Illegally Spying On Americans’ Financial Records

      The intelligence division at the Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies, according to government sources.

      Over the past year, at least a dozen employees in another branch of the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, have warned officials and Congress that US citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored. And the breach, some sources said, extended to other intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, whose officers used the Treasury’s intelligence division as an illegal back door to gain access to American citizens’ financial records. The NSA said that any allegations that it “is operating outside of its authorities and knowingly violating U.S. persons’ privacy and civil liberties is categorically false.”

    • Treasury Department Wing Latest To Be Accused Of Domestic Spying

      Some more domestic spying taking place, this time by financial regulators. While the US Treasury Department is well within its legal wheelhouse to investigate domestic financial wrongdoing, its Office of Intelligence and Analysis is only supposed to monitor financial activity occurring outside of the US. The OIA has apparently been helping itself to domestic financial records, as Jason Leopold reports.

    • How to Send Messages in Private

      If you’d like an easy way to use secure, end-to-end encrypted messaging, we highly recommend Signal. It’s free, open source, and available from the iPhone and Android app stores. Not only that, it also allows you to make secure voice calls. Your butler would approve!

    • Google Home Mini review—A gateway drug for the Google Assistant
    • Kaspersky Lab Has Been Repeatedly Targeted By U.S., British, and Israeli Intelligence Services

      2015 was a busy year for Western intelligence agencies and Kaspersky Lab.
      SOMETIME IN EARLY 2015 — An NSA contractor was caught with classified materials on his home computer thanks to Kaspersky Lab AV software working exactly as it should.
      FEBRUARY 2015 — Kaspersky Lab released a detailed report on how the NSA had been breaching systems in 42 countries for the past fourteen years.
      A few days later, a group of CIA contractors did a post-mortem on what mistakes the NSA had made which allowed Kaspersky’s GReAT team to detect them.

    • Israel Hacked Kaspersky, Then Tipped The NSA That Its Tools Had Been Breached

      In 2015, Israeli government hackers saw something suspicious in the computers of a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm: hacking tools that could only have come from the National Security Agency.

      Israel notified the NSA, where alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach, according to people familiar with the matter, who said an investigation by the agency revealed that the tools were in the possession of the Russian government.

    • Russian Hackers Reportedly Stole NSA Data from a Contractor’s Computer

      Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Russian hackers stole National Security Agency (NSA) data after an NSA contractor put highly-classified information on his home computer. According to the WSJ article, “NSA Contractor’s Breach of Cybersecurity Protocol at Heart of Russian Hack,” hackers identified and then targeted NSA files on the contractor’s personal computer by exploiting vulnerabilities in the antivirus software used by the contractor. Notably, given concerns about the particular version of antivirus software used by the contractor, last month the Department of Homeland Security banned all U.S. government departments and agencies from using it.

    • Update: Russian hackers use Kaspersky AV, find NSA info on home device

      Israel’s discovery that Russian hackers had used anti-virus software from Kaspersky Lab to search computers worldwide for information on US intelligence programmes reportedly prompted the US government in September to ban the security company’s software from all US federal agencies.

    • NSA Declassifies Internet Surveillance Files from 2011 Case

      In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times, the National Security Agency has declassified these previously secret documents from the docket of a 2011 case before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The case concerned problems with the NSA’s so-called “upstream” Internet spying conducted under the FISA Amendments Act warrantless surveillance program, and resulted in a then-secret ruling, made public in August 2013, that the agency had violated the Fourth Amendment. The NSA has previously released two other tranches of files from that litigation in response to the lawsuit.

    • Elite Hackers: Stealing NSA Secrets Is ‘Child’s Play’

      Last week, multiple outlets reported that its elite Tailored Access Operations unit—tasked with breaking into foreign networks—suffered another serious data breach. The theft of computer code and other material by an employee in 2015 allowed the Russian government to more easily detect U.S. cyber operations, according to The Washington Post. It’s potentially the fourth large-scale incident at the NSA to be revealed in the last five years.

    • Cyberstalking Case Highlights How VPN Provider Claims About Not Keeping Logs Are Often False

      When the Trump administration recently decided to gut consumer privacy protections for broadband, many folks understandably rushed to VPNs for some additional privacy and protection. And indeed, many ISPs justified their lobbying assault on the rules by stating that users didn’t need privacy protections, since they could simply use a VPN to fully protect their online activity. But we’ve noted repeatedly that VPNs are not some kind of panacea, and in many instances you’re simply shifting the potential for abuse from your ISP — to a VPN provider that may not actually offer the privacy it claims.

    • Dubai airport’s virtual tunnel-shaped aquarium can scan faces as people walk through

      Dubai airport has come up with an innovative solution to get the travellers’ faces scanned. The airport will introduce virtual aquariums shaped like tunnels with screens placed along the interior. It will have 80 cameras that will scan faces as people walk by.

      The scanners will also record irises, according to a report by The National. The idea is to create a system where travellers will not need to pass through security gates or stand in line in front of counters for clearance.

    • How big companies make billions from your personal data but never take any responsibility

      “A century ago, we found ways to rein in the unaccountable power associated with the Industrial Revolution,” Sandel concluded. “Today, we need to figure out how to rein in the unaccountable power associated with the digital revolution.”

    • U.S. signals tougher stance with tech companies on encryption

      Rosenstein’s first lengthy comments on encryption signaled a desire for Congress to write legislation mandating that companies provide access to encrypted products when a law enforcement agency obtains a court order.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Uber facing at least five criminal investigations from US Justice Department

      Uber is facing at least five criminal investigations by the US Justice Department over numerous allegations including intellectual property [sic] theft, a lack of price transparency and the use of regulator-dodging software.

    • Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning

      Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department—two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December.

    • Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning

      Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department—two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December.

    • Black man attacked by white supremacists in Charlottesville faces felony charge
    • Bahrain is buying arms in London – and my family is paying the price

      Next week the giant Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair returns to the Excel centre in east London. The protests have already started. As a Bahraini living in exile in Britain, I’ve previously joined them. I’m far from happy that Bahraini officials can pop over to London to do their weapons shopping when security forces are shooting peaceful protesters back in Bahrain.

      Yet, as things stand I’m not sure how safe it will be for me or my family if I go to Docklands and hold up a protest placard. That’s because I’m one of a number of Bahrainis in the UK who are suffering reprisals whenever we put our heads above the parapet.

    • Supreme Court Leaves Troubling CFAA Rulings In Place: Sharing Passwords Can Be Criminal Hacking

      For many, many years now, we’ve talked about problems with the CFAA — the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act — which was passed in Congress in the 1980s in response to the Hollywood movie War Games (seriously). It was a messed up moral panic back then, and over the years it’s been abused widely in both civil and criminal cases to define almost anything as hacking. Over the past few years we’ve been following two cases in particular related to the CFAA: the David Nosal case and the Power.com case. Both involved fairly twisted interpretations of the CFAA — and, unfortunately, the 9th Circuit found both to be okay. And, unfortunately, this week, the Supreme Court declined to review both cases, meaning they remain good (if stupid) law in the 9th Circuit (which will likely influence cases elsewhere).

      I won’t go into all of the background in both cases, but the super short version is that under the Facebook v. Power ruling, it’s a CFAA violation for a service to access a website — even if at the request of users — if the website has sent a cease-and-desist. That shouldn’t be seen as hacking, but the court said it’s “unauthorized access.” Power was a service that tried to help consolidate different social networks into a single user interface for users — and lots of people found that valuable and signed up for the service. But, Facebook didn’t like it and sent a cease-and-desist to Power. Power figured that since users were asking it to continue and they were the ones who had the accounts, it was okay to continue. The court, unfortunately, claimed that it was a CFAA violation — the equivalent of “hacking” into a system (despite having legit credentials) just because of the cease-and-desist.

    • More Women Accuse Harvey Weinstein of Rape, Assault & Harassment

      A shocking new investigation by The New Yorker has revealed a slew of new rape and sexual assault allegations against disgraced and now-fired movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for decades. Weinstein has also been a major Democratic donor.

      The New Yorker reports three women say Harvey Weinstein raped them, while more say Weinstein masturbated in front of them or forcibly touched them without their consent. Among the accusers is former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says she had just finished her junior year at Middlebury College when she was invited to a daytime meeting with Weinstein at the Miramax office. She said he pushed her head down and “forced me to perform oral sex on him. I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t.’ … I tried to get away. … He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”

    • Harvey Weinstein Tries Every Possible Response To Explosive NY Times Story

      Last week, the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that famed Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (formerly of Miramax and more recently of the Weinstein Company — from which he was fired over the weekend, despite practically begging for his friends to support him) had seriously lawyered up, hiring three high profile lawyers: David Boies, Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder to deal with two apparent stories that were in the works — one from the NY Times and another from the New Yorker (two publications not known for backing down from threats) — about some fairly horrible alleged behavior by Weinstein towards young female actresses, employees and more.

      A day later, the NY Times published its article about Harvey Weinstein and, damn, it’s quite an article. It details multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein against both employees and hopeful actresses — and includes claims of Weinstein having to pay off some of those individuals. The article was not based on a single source, but many sources, including one actress (Ashley Judd) willing to put her name behind the accusations (and just as we were completing this post, the New Yorker published its piece which appears to be more detailed and more damning, with more names and even more horrifying stories about Weinstein). And with the NY Times’ publication, much of the “legal team” leaped into action. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the three lawyers named above, it may help to do a quick review, before we dig in on the myriad (often contradictory) responses we’ve now seen from Weinstein and his legal team over the past few days.

    • Miami Beach Police Unaware Of The First Amendment, Arrest Guy For Twitter Parody Account

      Back in 2014, the police in Peoria, Illinois raided the home of a guy, Jon Daniel, suspected of running a Twitter account parodying Peoria’s mayor, Jim Ardis. Despite knowing no laws had been broken, Ardis pushed hard to prosecute the person for daring to mock him on Twitter. It didn’t end well. A year and a half later, the taxpayers of Peoria were on the hook to pay Daniel $125,000 to settle the lawsuit filed against the city (with help from the ACLU).

      Someone might want to share that story with the police in Miami Beach. Last week they arrested a guy for having a Twitter parody account of the police spokesperson, Ernesto Rodriguez. The story sounds fairly familiar to the Peoria story. As in that case, police are claiming that the “crime” committed by Ernesto Orsetti here is “falsely impersonating” a public official. Yet, as the Miami New Times notes, just a little while ago Rodriguez (the real one) joked with reporters and made it clear he considered it a parody account. He also appears to have made some tweets that are clearly laughing off the parody account.

    • What Jemele Hill’s Suspension Means For Social Media Censorship

      In this ESSENCE Now segment, our guests discuss the recent two-week suspension of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill over her tweets about the NFL.

      “People become selective in how they support Black women who speak out bout issues related to black liberation and black freedom,” activist and writer Feminista Jones said. “As long as the racism continues, as long as the police brutality and all the things that they’re protesting continues, you have to continue speaking, she was taking a huge risk and deserves our support.”

    • Gov. Brown Vetoes Internet Access For Juvenile Halls and Foster Homes—For Now

      California Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed A.B. 811, a bill that would have required the government to provide youth in state care—be they juvenile halls or foster homes—with reasonable access to computers and the Internet for educational purposes. In some cases, juveniles would also have been able to use computers to stay in touch with their families and for extracurricular and social activities.

      The bill, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, was supported by the Youth Law Center, EFF, and Facebook, and received no opposition when it landed on the governor’s desk. More than 250 supporters sent letters to the legislature and the governor asking for this bill to become law.

    • Spain: Police Used Excessive Force in Catalonia

      Spanish police engaged in excessive force when confronting demonstrators in Catalonia during a disputed referendum, using batons to hit non-threatening protesters and causing multiple injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch received many allegations of unjustified police use of force on October 1, 2017, and carried out on-site investigations after the poll to document specific incidents.

      Human Rights Watch spoke to victims and witnesses and reviewed video, photographic, and medical evidence from the city of Girona and two villages in Girona and Barcelona provinces. Human Rights Watch found that the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) or National Police Corps (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia) at times used excessive force in all three locations on October 1 as they sought to execute court orders to prevent the poll.

    • As a man with no daughters, here are my views on feminism
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • 10Gbps cable Internet uploads and downloads coming in DOCSIS update

      Cable Internet with download and upload speeds of 10Gbps may eventually come to American homes thanks to a new specification for higher-speed, symmetrical data transmissions.

      The industry’s R&D consortium, CableLabs, today announced that it has completed the Full Duplex Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, an update to DOCSIS 3.1. The completion of the 10Gbps full duplex spec comes 18 months after the project was unveiled.

    • Analysts Predict Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Will Be A Massive Job Killer

      For much of the year, Sprint has been trying to butter up the Trump administration to gain approval for a merger with T-Mobile. Sprint’s previous attempts at such a merger were blocked by regulators, who correctly noted that reducing wireless competitors from four to three would raise rates and reduce carrier incentive to improve and compete. But with the Trump administration spearheading a new wave of mindless merger mania in the telecom space, Sprint is poised to try again, and is expected to formally announce its latest attempt to acquire T-Mobile in just a matter of weeks.

      Of course like any good merger, that will involve countless think tankers, lobbyists, consultants, fauxcademics and other policy voices willfully ignoring M&A history, insisting that the deal will magically spur competition, save puppies, cure cancer, and result in countless thousands of new jobs. But many respected sector analysts are busy noting that the job is expected to be a mammoth job killer.

    • FCC’s claim that one ISP counts as “competition” faces scrutiny in court

      A Federal Communications Commission decision to eliminate price caps imposed on some business broadband providers should be struck down, advocacy groups told federal judges last week. The FCC failed to justify its claim that a market can be competitive even when there is only one Internet provider, the groups said.

      Led by Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC’s Republican majority voted in April of this year to eliminate price caps in a county if 50 percent of potential customers “are within a half mile of a location served by a competitive provider.” That means business customers with just one choice are often considered to be located in a competitive market and thus no longer benefit from price controls. The decision affects Business Data Services (BDS), a dedicated, point-to-point broadband link that is delivered over copper-based TDM networks by incumbent phone companies like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • New Members But No Change In WIPO Program And Budget Committee – For Now
    • WIPO: Rise In Retirement Age Delayed 2 Years; LGBT Workers Get Protection

      The World Intellectual Property Organization will increase the retirement age to 65 for all workers starting in 2020, one year earlier than it had proposed but still a delay aimed at freeing up some job posts through earlier retirements.

    • WIPO Delegates Solve Budget For 2 Years; US Still Vigilant On GI Treaty

      On the last day of the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly, delegates today found a way to agree on the issues blocking the adoption of the 2018/2019 budget. In particular delegates found a way to address requests made by the United States on the program and budget, notably on the financing of the WIPO agreement protecting geographical indications.

    • WIPO: New 2-Year Mandate For Traditional Knowledge Committee; Design Law Treaty Stalls

      Late tonight on the last day of the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly, delegates agreed on a mandate and a work programme of the committee seeking ways to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and folklore from misuse and misappropriation. Meanwhile, no agreement was found on the convening of a high-level negotiating meeting for a new treaty on industrial designs.

    • Copyrights
      • Court To Guy Who Sued News Stations Over His Facebook Live Video: Pay Their Legal Fees… And Maybe Sue Your Lawyers

        If the name Kali Kanongataa doesn’t ring a bell, he was the man who sued roughly all of the news for copyright infringement earlier this year. The whole episode stemmed from Kanongataa having put the birth of his child up on Facebook through the site’s live streaming function in 2016. Many, many news organizations used snippets of the video in their reporting on the viral nature of the video, which had been viewed over 100,000 times. Kanongataa ultimately lost those suits on obvious Fair Use grounds and the various news organizations subsequently petitioned to be awarded attorney’s fees, which the court ultimately granted.

        [...]

        The court can preface this footnote any way it wants, but this sure reads like a heavy-handed hint to Kanongataa that he may want to look into recouping costs through his attorney for even bringing this case before the court in the first place, never mind failing to properly advise him on his claims of financial strife. This pretty clearly reads like a court that knows this is a case that never should have made it past the idea stage in Kanongataa’s head, with clear implications that his attorney should have advised him against, or refused to even assist him with, putting any of this in motion.

      • Library trolls copyright zealots by naming collection after Sonny Bono

        The Internet Archive is an online library known for pushing the boundaries of copyright law to promote public access to obscure works, including classic video games and historic images. Now the organization is taking advantage of a little-noticed provision of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act to publish complete copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941. The group hopes that the move will inspire other libraries to follow its lead, making hundreds of thousands of books from the mid-20th Century available for download.

        The Internet Archive has cheekily named this the “Sonny Bono Memorial Collection.” Bono was a musician turned member of Congress who died in a skiing accident months before the legislation passed. His widow, Mary Bono, won his seat in the House of representatives. During the debate over the Copyright Term Extension Act, Mary Bono said that “Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.” So Congress did the next best thing, retroactively extending copyright terms by 20 years and naming the legislation after Sonny.

      • New ‘Coalition For Responsible Sharing’ About To Send Millions Of Take-Down Notices To Stop Researchers Sharing Their Own Papers

        Those formal steps include sending “millions of takedown notices for unauthorized content on its site now and in the future.” Two Coalition publishers, ACS and Elsevier, have also filed a lawsuit in a German regional court, asking for “clarity and judgement” on the legality of ResearchGate’s activities. Justifying these actions, the Coalition’s statement says: “ResearchGate acquires volumes of articles each month in violation of agreements between journals and authors” — and that, in a nutshell, is the problem.

      • An obscure copyright law is letting the Internet Archive distribute books published 1923-1941

        Section 108h of the Copyright Act gives libraries the power to scan and serve copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941; it’s never been used before but now the mighty Internet Archive is giving it a serious workout, adding them to their brilliantly named Sonny Bono Memorial Collection (when Bono was a Congressman, he tried to pass a law that would extend copyright to “forever less a day” and was instrumental in moving millions of works from the public domain back into copyright, “orphaning” them so that no one could preserve them and no one knew who the copyrights belonged to).

      • Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated!

        The Internet Archive is now leveraging a little known, and perhaps never used, provision of US copyright law, Section 108h, which allows libraries to scan and make available materials published 1923 to 1941 if they are not being actively sold.

      • Kim Dotcom Plots Hollywood Execs’ Downfall in Wake of Weinstein Scandal

        In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Kim Dotcom is offering support to victims of similar abuse. The entrepreneur says he’ll find funding for a class-action lawsuit exposing the crimes of high-ranking Hollywood executives. Five years after the Megaupload raid, it seems that having a shared enemy could bring kindred spirits together.

      • Pirate Bay is Mining Cryptocurrency Again, No Opt Out

        The Pirate Bay is mining cryptocurrency again, causing a spike in CPU usage among many visitors. For now, the notorious torrent site provides no option to disable it. The new mining expedition is not without risk. CDN provider Cloudflare previously suspended the account of a site that used a similar miner, which means that The Pirate Bay could be next.

      • EU study finds even publishers oppose the ‘link tax’ – and some journalists are afraid to speak out

        A new study conducted upon request of the European Parliament finds that the planned extra copyright for news sites is a terrible idea. But MEPs may not learn about it until after they have voted on the controversial proposal.

The Hogwash Begins: Patent Microcosm’s Media Pretends Campinos is Anything But Battistelli’s French Succession Plan

Thursday 12th of October 2017 12:21:40 PM

UPC push expected to carry on under the ‘unitary’ or ‘unifying’ Campinos, who was chosen in an ‘Angolan’ fashion


Reference: Order of succession

Summary: A survey of media coverage regarding António Campinos, the French person whom Benoît Battistelli selected as his successor at the EPO

YESTERDAY we wrote about the EPO musical chairs. It’s like they’re not even hiring for qualifications but for each other’s work/career ladder and job security.

“Apropos musical chairs,” one reader wrote to us, there’s a deeper story to it. To quote:

More about musical chairs

According to internal sources from within Battistelli’s trusted circle with the to prepare the election of “his” candidate, Battistelli would have visited the Belgian Delegation with A. Campinos to make following deal: Belgian supports Campinos at the EPO and in exchange France supports Belgian Christian Archambeau (former PD HR at EPO, A.K.A. “Magnum” for his pronounced taste for both moustache and Ferraris) at the head of EUIPO in replacement of Campinos.

Nothing can beat la Famiglia

We have long shown that Campinos was selected by Battistelli and groomed for succession (rather than elected by the AC, which seems to have gotten things in reverse and accepted Battistelli as its ‘king’, at least delegates of small countries). This might be expected from some countries like Zimbabwe, not an institution that is based in Bavaria.

“We have long shown that Campinos was selected by Battistelli and groomed for succession (rather than elected by the AC, which seems to have gotten things in reverse and accepted Battistelli as its ‘king’, at least delegates of small countries).”The media coverage of Campinos’ upcoming appointment/tenure is disturbing, but we expected this. They nonchalantly treat him like a “blank slate”, conveniently ignoring all sorts of things. Here is how Lexology put it this week (revealing what Juve had said in German): “Campinos to EPO? – German legal magazine JUVE is reporting that António Campinos, the current head of the EUIPO, is set to be elected president of the European Patent Office (EPO). Claiming to have heard from the EPO’s board of directors, it is understood the search for a new EPO president has “produced few suitable candidates”, with Campinos expected to be selected today and to succeed president Benoît Battistelli from July next year. Our sister title IAM understands that the other candidate for the role is Cuno Tarfusser of Italy, who is a judge at the ICC and has no IP background. “Hard to see anything other than a clear Campinos win,” is the general consensus – and, if true (update: it’s true and here’s our analysis), it will be a hefty loss for the EUIPO, and speculation is already underway about who will fill his shoes in Alicante…”

“The media coverage of Campinos’s upcoming appointment/tenure is disturbing, but we expected this.”“Our sister title IAM,” it says. We didn’t even know about this connection. Either way, EUIPO is an EU institution and the EPO makes the EU look very, very bad. Even though the EPO is totally detached from the EU — however there are occasional overlaps — the EU/EC could intervene in many ways. Why doesn’t it?

SUEPO has already picked a few more headlines about it, e.g. in German and in English [1, 2]. The latter is using multiple domains (they’re a marketing spam site too, as we shall show in the weekend). There were also mentions in some other roundups, often just quoting the EPO’s official announcement from Wednesday morning. “His five-year term will start on 1 July 2018,” it says. Well, if the Office even survives this long (as some insiders have said they have doubts)…

“Even though the EPO is totally detached from the EU — however there are occasional overlaps — the EU/EC could intervene in many ways.”Could Campinos be the last ever EPO President?

Looking at some patents-centric news [sic] sites (they’re mostly marketing and lobbying), we were disgusted, but that did not surprise us at all. Such utterly shallow coverage (parroting the EPO) is what they often do; nothing about the scandals or connections surrounding Campinos. Nothing at all. There’s a back story (or back room story) to how Campinos got his job at the EPO, but patent ‘news’ sites won’t mention it. Obviously they won’t. What’s for them to gain from it? They prefer to keep their relationship with the EPO. The EPO already threw millions of euros at European media for PR or repetition of official narratives, such as Jesper Kongstad ‘retiring’. He joined the private sector only a few days after his premature end of term at EPO and DKPTO. Jesper Kongstad did not even wait a week to expose/debunk his own lies about ‘retirement’. This makes us ever more certain that what we heard was true (he had been sacked/forced out). Here is his official new page (as seen less than two weeks ago he was still at the EPO/DKPTO). No ‘cool-off’ period?

To make matters worse, see last night’s Managing IP post which is Michael Loney’s roundup. To quote: “Interview: Jesper Kongstad, former chair of the EPO…” (paywall)

Yes, go ahead and groom him already. Like you have done before (for Campinos also).

“Jesper Kongstad did not even wait a week to expose/debunk his own lies about ‘retirement’.”What is this? They call themselves media?

IP Watch‘s William New, for a change, wrote that “Campinos ran against one other candidate, Cuno Tarfusser, an Italian judge at the International Criminal Court, according to sources. Some watchdogs seeking change in the organisation have raised concern about a close relationship between Campinos and Battistelli.”

He alludes to us (“watchdogs”). This only person (a single candidate) who ran against Battistelli’s pick for President gave an illusion of choice. We previously wrote about other applications, which simply got rejection as ineligible (not even considered).

Is this what we ought to expect from job openings in the 21st century in Bavaria? This is nepotism disguised as a “choice”. Remember that for a long time there was no candidate at all other than Campinos.

“Is this what we ought to expect from job openings in the 21st century in Bavaria? This is nepotism disguised as a “choice”.”We were also appalled to see the coverage from WIPR. It’s total whitewash with the headline “Campinos the ‘sensible’ choice [sic] to replace Battistelli as EPO president” (like there was much “choice”).

Watch what WIPR did in order to compose this ‘report’. Only the patent microcosm was asked about it (request for comment). The whole article is just a bunch of praises from patent maximalists.

Incredible and noteworthy is the fact that after Battistelli had set up an old friend to be successor, WIPR approached for a comment the firm that Battistelli hired to bully me. They asked this firm for an opinion on this! They don’t quote the guy called “Capone” (real name) but another one, “Marshall” (not from Marshall/Martial Law but Fieldfisher). Here it is:

Joshua Marshall, associate at Fieldfisher, said the role has previously gone to French, German, British, Swiss and Dutch nationals, so this is a significant step in terms of diversification and a “tremendous accolade” for Campinos and Portugal generally.

He added that Campinos has been credited with providing a more efficient and engaged service, making IP more accessible and user-friendly for smaller businesses.

“It is hoped he will bring the same pragmatism and dynamism to the EPO. However, the role will not be without its challenges, particularly regarding the pending implementation of the unitary patent following Brexit and the role of London in hosting the Unified Patent Court (UPC),” Marshall said.

This is UPC promotion by Fieldfisher, for its own interests. What a racket!

“So basically, a cabal of self-serving patent firms is preemptively sucking up to Campinos.”We have seen very similar (to to above) quotes in Managing IP, so they must be reusing E-mails when receiving inquiries from the ‘media’.

“CIPA enjoys a positive and productive relationship with the EPO,” says a man from IP Kat about himself (in case anyone still wonders why IP Kat refuses to cover EPO scandals).

In their own words:

Tim Moss, chief executive of the UK IPO, said: “I welcome the election of António Campinos as the new EPO President. From his time as Executive Director of the EUIPO, he brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge of both the challenges and the opportunities that the global IP system presents. The UK IPO looks forward to working with him and his team during his tenure.”

Stephen Jones, President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, said: “CIPA enjoys a positive and productive relationship with the EPO and we look forward to this continuing under the leadership of Mr Campinos, who brings with him great experience of the global IP system. We wish him every success in his new role.”

So basically, a cabal of self-serving patent firms is preemptively sucking up to Campinos. Yes, just as we expected all along.

Patent Quality at the EPO (European Patents) is Slipping While Battistelli’s Office Boasts “Expansion of Early Certainty” (Even Worse)

Thursday 12th of October 2017 11:31:03 AM

Summary: The EPO is staring down the abyss as high-level EPO management, quite frankly as usual, looks for new ways to further exacerbate patent quality (for superficial gains in the number of granted patents) rather than improve it

THE EPO will likely have been broken — even beyond repair — when Campinos takes over. In fact, estimates suggest large-scale layoffs are to start next year. This is coming from insiders.

“In fact, a fairly recent survey showed that 0% among surveyed stakeholders wanted Battistelli to stay.”“European Patent Office staff rep blames prez for ‘slipping quality’” is the latest headline of an article from Kieren McCarthy, who is in San Francisco and writes for British media. EPO stakeholders are already aware of the slipping quality and some speak out about it. So to attribute this claim only to “European Patent Office staff rep” may, in some sense, miss the broader picture. Battistelli can lie about patent quality all he wants — as he habitually does — but people don’t trust Battistelli. In fact, a fairly recent survey showed that 0% among surveyed stakeholders wanted Battistelli to stay. The EPO soon lied about this survey from Juve, spinning it to look like it showed support the the EPO’s current leadership. Lying has become a way of life for the EPO. It’s not even funny.

To quote McCarthy:

And then, raising the takes further, the rep raised a taboo topic that has most upset staff in recent years: the deaths of their colleagues from work-related stress.

“Psycho-social risks are rising,” the rep noted. “Only ten days ago, the Dutch police had to come into the [EPO's Netherlands offices] to prevent a seventh suicide. The staff representative wishes the social dialogue. We would like to see a new President who is committed to social dialogue.”

The intervention comes at an extraordinary time for the organization: its former chairman, who was a fervent supporter of Battistelli, unexpectedly quit in July and was replaced at the meeting with critic Christoph Ernst.

More significantly, a new president for the organization – António Campinos – was chosen. Campinos will take over from Battistelli on July 1, 2018 after Battistelli’s term comes to an end.

Clearly, the staff felt now was the time to try to force a cultural change on the organization, and the plea from the staff rep was backed up by yet another demonstration by EPO staff outside the headquarters in .

A flyer advertising the demo listed no less than 14 reasons why people should join the protest, including the dismissal of three staff representatives by Battistelli, the blatant distortion of the organization’s appeals systems (which have been repeatedly criticized by national parliaments and the International Labor Organization), “ever-increasing production targets”, and unfair “continuous reforms.”

[...]

Meanwhile, the EPO is being investigated by the European Court of Human Rights for how it has treated staff. The EPO claims it is not beholden to the laws of the countries in which it is based – Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands – because of its status as an international organization.

And the long-planned Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is on hold in part because reforms imposed by Battistelli that have undermined the EPO’s independence.

Things get a little interesting in the comments. Battistelli has not much experience in this domain and people do notice this. As we pointed out before, only in his mid-fifties was he introduced to this domain, which probably makes him less experienced than even yours truly. I have been writing about this topic for longer than Battistelli was in this domain.

“Sadly, the comments thread has been derailed by anonymous provocateurs or what looks like it could be EPO PR agents/trolls.”Battistelli, apparently, just knows how to break things in his authoritarian fashion — an ENA specialty as some would rightly allege.

Sadly, the comments thread has been derailed by anonymous provocateurs or what looks like it could be EPO PR agents/trolls. They try to paint ‘spoiled’ staff as the problem, totally deflecting from the original subject, which is deterioration in patent quality.

Battistelli has wasted millions of Euros (stakeholders’ money) glorifying himself and laundering his image. What we have among the first few comments is a reference to his exceptionally air-brushed Wikipedia page:

According to his Wikipedia article, he was a civil servant of some significance for about 22 years and then spent the years from 2004 onwards in high ranking positions in intellectual property organisations, in the french national organisation and then the EPO. So, on paper he seems to be an ideal person for the job.

I wonder why he seems to have ‘gone freaky’ at the EPO.

People who base their judgment of Battistelli based on some short Wikipedia page are part of the problem. The man is already spending a fortune (not his own money) on PR firms that also work for fracking companies.

The next comments say stuff about the staff. Total deflection.

“People who base their judgment of Battistelli based on some short Wikipedia page are part of the problem.”The EPO would say anything to distract from the scandal and barely even attempt to refute reports (for fear it might draw attention to these reports). For example, the SMEs nonsense was repeated again yesterday. The EPO tries hard to distract from the fact that it actively discriminates against SMEs, just like it actively tries to pretend that patent quality is high.

Yesterday it also wrote: “Patent appeal oral proceedings will be held from now on at this address” (in Haar; Battistelli 'punished' judges for daring to do their job, but the EPO won’t publicly admit this).

Battistelli sending judges to exile for daring to show patent quality at the EPO has decreased? Yes, sounds like a real hallmark of ‘leadership’. Maybe in a Sultanate.

Latest example of the judges doing their job is this case of Nike and Adidas, which somehow now deal with patents rather than branding. To quote this new report (“EPO board confirms Nike patent revocation in Adidas dispute”): “Adidas had opposed the patent, EP 1 746 909, which protects a garment with “zones of different air permeability which are to be determined using a certain measurement device”, according to Adidas’s representative Bardehle Pagenberg.”

“Battistelli sending judges to exile for daring to show patent quality at the EPO has decreased? Yes, sounds like a real hallmark of ‘leadership’. Maybe in a Sultanate.”And EP 1 746 909 is, indeed, invalid. But there’s not much more coverage of it. It’s like the media barely cares. Just like it barely cares about WIPO's abuses and even deaths.

Speaking of patent quality, yesterday the EPO tweeted about “this year’s 2nd Online Services User Day in Prague,” linking to its Web site. (epo.org link)

“A new approach to filing at the EPO with DOCX format,” one of the headings says. “How to file in DOCX format,” it says further down. For those who don’t know, DOCX is the file suffix of OOXML, which involved plenty of Microsoft corruption; we wrote many hundreds of articles about that a decade ago.

“As insiders repeatedly explain, telling whether an application will be successful before even studying prior art (and the likes of it) is truly bizarre.”Further down it speaks of “Industry 4.0 and its impact on the patent system”; it has long been a codeword for things like software patents and general expansion of patent scope using buzzwords (like “Industry 4.0″, which is itself a meaningless marketing term).

Scroll down a bit more and find further evidence of lowering patent quality. “The expansion of Early Certainty” is a session’s title. As insiders repeatedly explain, telling whether an application will be successful before even studying prior art (and the likes of it) is truly bizarre. It’s like tentatively giving a job applicant a job, before even a job interview.

Former Microsoft Employee Explains Why Microsoft ‘Embrace’ of GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Open Source Software is Like W3C Entryism

Thursday 12th of October 2017 10:11:27 AM

Summary: Microsoft’s latest moves are “EEE” that “concern” him, according to this new video

Links 11/10/2017: Krita 3.3.1, KDE Plasma 5.12 Plans

Thursday 12th of October 2017 12:11:15 AM

Contents GNU/Linux

China is Getting Full of — and Fed Up With — Patent Trolls

Wednesday 11th of October 2017 08:18:17 AM

Summary: In China too, as expected, local companies are becoming rather disgusted by a wave of patent trolls, enabled by misguided officials and bad advice from the likes of IAM (which sets up events in China at the behest of the patent microcosm)

THE largest producing economy, China, is now attracting trolls affiliated with Intellectual Ventures, the world's largest troll.

China has rapidly become the world’s trolling hub. IAM too is aware of it, having actively promoted this. Yesterday it wrote about what the Chinese call patent trolls. This is what happens in China now that it creates a trolls epidemic: (bear in mind IAM is a trolls denialist)

The coining of the term ‘patent troll’ was a key moment in what eventually became a major backlash against non-practising entities (NPE) in the United Sates. Originally thought up within Intel in 1999, the catchy (some would say prejudicial) moniker was soon being employed by leading media outlets. Even if juries or newspaper readers do not know patents, they have almost certainly heard about trolls – and they know that they are “bad”. While some judges have banned the term from their courtrooms, studies suggest it is still widely used in news coverage.

Nearly two decades after ‘troll’ rhetoric emerged in the US, NPEs are becoming much more active in China, where NPE litigation is a comparatively new phenomenon. But NPEs are not a new concept to Chinese companies. Foreign NPEs have filed an increasing number of lawsuits in the country over the past year, though most of these have targeted non-domestic companies. As this trend continues, it is interesting to see how these activities are being portrayed in the Chinese media and through the Chinese language.

What IAM calls “NPEs” just means patent trolls, i.e. some of those that are in bed with IAM. But terminology aside, it’s clear that even IAM recognises the problem (not a problem for law firms, just for actual companies that produce something).

“…it’s clear that even IAM recognises the problem (not a problem for law firms, just for actual companies that produce something).”Yesterday we saw patent attorney Rolf Claessen‏ promoting this “Webcast on Winning the War Against Patent Trolls” (regarding patent law firms, remember that they profit from the chaos, including trolls). To quote:

The Knowledge Group will offer a live webcast entitled “Patent Trolls Uprising: Tips and Strategies to Win the War Against Them” on October 18, 2017 from 12:00 to 1:30 pm (EST). Neal Rubin, Senior Vice President at RPX Corporation, Herbert H. Finn of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and Mark P. Wine of Orrick will provide attrendees with an overview of the latest trends and critical issues with respect to the rise of patent trolls, and also offer best practices in developing and implementing effective tips and strategies to win the war against patent trolls.

Later on we saw Claessen‏ promoting this news which says “LizardTech has received a U.S. patent for the compression of Lidar point clouds with its compressing software algorithms.”

“The only way to derive money using these patents is to troll small companies (with threats of heavy legal fees).”This is another example of software patents. After Alice they have no worth. Why are companies still pursuing these? The only way to derive money using these patents is to troll small companies (with threats of heavy legal fees). Earlier this month Quiptel was foolish enough to boast about such patents and it happened again this week. “Quiptel’s technology and software patents will drive the company’s primary business focus,” it says.

But unless Quiptel decides to troll small companies, these patents would bring neither money nor fame.

Getting rid of software patents at the courts? We’re there.

But as long as SIPO, the EPO and the USPTO continue to grant software patents, trolls will still be able to blackmail small companies — SMEs that are unable to justify a lengthy legal battle in a court (or several courts, upon appeals).

The FRAND Lobby is Trying to Sneak Software Patents Into Countries That Banned Them

Wednesday 11th of October 2017 07:58:08 AM

Summary: The patent lobby is attempting to find new ways to impose patents on software (with euphemisms like “reasonable”, “non-discriminatory” or “fair”), even in places that explicitly disallow these

THE Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), Business Software Alliance (BSA) and other front groups of Microsoft have long lobbied for FRAND. It’s one way for Microsoft to systematically impede/suppress/discourage if not altogether ban/obstruct Free/Open Source software. Cablegate has a lot of evidence of it.

Any FRAND Trojan horse is basically an attempt to put a cost on things that are otherwise free, such as software. When everyone is free to implement something, in the form of Free/Open Source software, the only barrier can be software patents.

India, as is widely known, is not allowing software patents, yet IAM keeps shaming and bullying India to change that policy. IAM is basically like a lobbying group masquerading as a publication. Yesterday Jacob Schindler wrote about it again, in support of FRAND. To quote the final portion:

Over at SpicyIP, Rajiv Choudhry discusses the new FRAND initiative in the context of what he terms an “ongoing turf war” between the TRAI and the CCI. In the patent space, the latter has become a fixture thanks to its intervention in two SEP disputes involving Ericsson. The CCI launched investigations of the Swedish company based on complaints by both Intex and Micromax, both of which Ericsson sued for patent infringement. In March 2016, the Delhi High Court ruled that those probes could continue, suggesting that the CCI is going to have jurisdiction to look into such SEP matters going forward. If anything comes of this TRAI consultation, there could be a second SEP watchdog in India that patent owners will need to pay close attention to.

As a reminder, earlier this year IAM did its usual lobbying in India, e.g.:

Also yesterday there was an observation about this new report regarding FRAND in relation to Qualcomm. “FRAND, ACT and Mingorance, sounds like a nightmare for freedom,” Benjamin Henrion remarked on this report. To quote a portion:

Qualcomm’s patent fee model is based on the widely used so-called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) licensing model. The European Commission, however, has yet to make a final decision on which technology patent fee model it favours.

Look who the author is quoting. It’s appalling. A Trojan horse from IP Europe and more Microsoft-connected front groups. Recall what we wrote about it on Sunday and see this new tweet which says “Paris hosts standard body organisations’ and IP Europe’s initiative for a code of conduct in IoT and 5G licensing.”

They are trying to stick software patents tax using buzzwords like IoT and 5G.

Also regarding Qualcomm, this new blog post deals with the European Commission’s take:

There have been strong indications that the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) has serious concerns about the potentially anti-competitive effects of Qualcomm’s proposed acquisition of NXP Semiconductors. By now, there can be no doubt about that: the Commission’s website states that Qualcomm submitted commitments four days ago. No one offers commitments if unconditional clearance is achievable.

Typically, companies discuss such proposed commitments with the Commission beforehand. If the Commission believes the commitments might be useful, it puts them to a market test, giving stakeholders an opportunity to comment. Here, there is no official confirmation–just rumors–of an ongoing market test.

It’s important to be aware that the fight for software patents is taking new forms; they often disguise it as “FRAND” (every now and then they say “RAND”) and software patents are being framed as “AI” or “cloud” or “IoT” or whatever (at the EPO too).

Musical Chairs as Battistelli’s ‘Chinchilla’ García-Escudero Márquez Could Reportedly Take António Campinos’ Place

Wednesday 11th of October 2017 07:30:24 AM

Club Med Extraordinaire, a small world after all…

Summary: A culture of nepotism continues to thrive at the EPO, with García-Escudero Márquez (above) rumoured to be after Campinos’ (also above) position now that he’s taking Battistelli’s (above) position; García-Escudero Márquez is also Battistelli’s ‘chinchilla’ at the appeal boards, obliterating any illusion of independence

IGNORING yesterday's noise from the EPO and Battistelli’s ‘blog’, as well as the daily lies (those lies about SMEs carry on; the EPO did it several times yesterday), the major news came after 6PM when the EPO wrote: “The Council of the European Patent Organisation elected António Campinos as the next President of the Office @EPOorg starting 1 July 2018″ (we wrote about it around the same time).

Dutch media then covered it, focusing on the nationality of Campinos, calling him the “Portugees” (in Dutch). He is also French, but the media conveniently ignores that.

So who is taking the place of Campinos at EUIPO?

The EPO’s former employee, Christian Archambeau, “is tipped as possible successor to Campinos at the EUIPO,” one reader told us. “García-Escudero also mentioned as a possible candidate.”

Archambeau studied at the Universite Libre Bruxelles (warning: clicking on this may reveal the clicker’s identity), so we assume his French is strong.

This was thankfully enough covered by English media yesterday. To quote:

In July, the EPO officially announced its search for Benoît Battistelli’s successor, with the incumbent president’s term in office due to end on June 30 2018. Writing at the time, our sister title IAM suggested that Campinos would fit the bill. Today – at the EPO’s latest board meeting – it emerged that Campinos was indeed a candidate for the role, apparently going head to head with Cuno Tarfusser, an Italian judge at the International Criminal Court. Given the IP experience of Campinos, he was the clear front runner and it has now been confirmed that the Administrative Council of the EPO has elected him to a five year term. Commenting on the appointment, Christoph Ernst, chair of the EPO Administrative Council, said: “I am happy that the Council was able to reach a decision today on this very important matter, and to find in Mr Campinos an excellent candidate. With him, I am confident that our organisation will add another thriving chapter to its continued success story.”

[...]

German title Juve.de suggests that – according to several observers – some staff are concerned about Campinos’ “close proximity to Battistelli”. However, the EPO board will be betting on his ability to turn that perception around once he takes up the role.

[...]

World Trademark Review understands that Patricia García-Escudero Márquez, current president of the EUIPO management board – and director general of Spain’s Patent and Trademark Office – could also throw her hat into the ring.

As a reminder, García-Escudero Márquez is generally dubbed Battistelli’s chinchilla who is also a problem for the judges at the appeal boards. We wrote about her before, e.g. in:

Speaking of the appeal boards, there’s this news about the Nike/Adidas dispute [1, 2]. It’s not about branding; oddly enough, it’s about patents!

Well, the EPO appeal boards have just deemed EPs granted by the EPO invalid. Yet again! This is why Battistelli attacks these boards. They serve to expose the major decline in patent quality.

To quote WIPR:

A European Patent Office (EPO) board of appeal has confirmed that a Nike patent protecting breathable sports tops is invalid.

Adidas had opposed the patent, EP 1 746 909, which protects a garment with “zones of different air permeability which are to be determined using a certain measurement device”, according to Adidas’s representative Bardehle Pagenberg.

The full name of the patent is “Article of apparel utilising zoned venting and/or other body cooling features or methods”.

Fashion Law wrote about it too:

After topping Nike’s Jordan Brand as the second most valuable sneaker-maker in the U.S. market, adidas has advanced against Nike on another front. The European Patent Office (“EPO”) appeal board held last month that a Nike patent that covers “vented” sports apparel is invalid. The decision comes after rival adidas opposed Nike’s patent, claiming that one of its own designs first made use of the technology.

The two sportswear giants have been in and out of hearings before the EPO since 2009 when the EPO first approved Nike’s patent (EP 1 746 909), which covers an “Article of apparel utilizing zoned venting and/or other body cooling features or methods.”

It’s possible that there are many more reports about it out there. We expect more to come.

Kilburn & Strode LLP, in the meantime, published this piece about oral proceedings. They shoul know that appeals and oppositions at the EPO have become hard. EPO management wants low-quality work and does not want this quality to be questioned. Here is the latest:

The European Patent Office has issued a revised version of its Guidelines for Examination, which will come into effect on 1 November 2017. One key change has been made, which is that Examiners can issue a summons to attend oral proceedings as a first office action after the extended European search report (EESR).

Considering the fact that the EPO is now canceling national holidays, for the sake of so-called ‘production’ (by its own admission), it would not surprise us if Battistelli wanted to take the boards’ job away from them too. People like Patricia García-Escudero Márquez would not object to it, would they? They are, after all, Battistelli’s (and soon Campinos’) chinchillas. Don’t expect the fate of the boards (or the sanctioned judge) to change under Campinos. The same is true for staff representatives, who would likely have benefited from an ICC judge taking Battistelli's place.

With Surveillance Recruits at the EPO, Are (or Were) DNA Tests Ever on the Agenda?

Wednesday 11th of October 2017 06:54:51 AM

Some insiders do wonder…


Reference: DNA extraction from stamps and envelope flaps using QIAamp and QIAshredder.

Summary: Since a lot of what’s happening at WIPO has also happened at the EPO, and overlap between the two is growing, we recall tactics which are illegal but are miraculously protected by the veil of immunity

THE President of the EPO could probably pop another bottle of champagne yesterday. His (Battistelli’s) French friend, Campinos, will become his successor (and new guardian of Battistelli's bar) and Battistelli likes to get drunk anyway. When the son of Campinos got drunk and crashed his car while drunk he wanted to 'borrow' his dad's immunity. That’s why immunity can be a disgusting concept.

“The President of the EPO could probably pop another bottle of champagne yesterday.”Battistelli seems to be deflecting again. What many people may not have noticed is that both the Office and he (as he then did a ‘blog’ post about it, promoted by the Office) were making some noise about CPC and PPH. (epo.org links)

That has the obligatory photo op with the ‘king’ (in his own mind) in the middle and it’s about WIPO Assemblies, which may or may not indirectly relate to the king’s upcoming Gurry lecture.

A few days ago a reader alerted us about a recent article titled “The anonymous letters that started a decade-long stoush (in the Australian media). To quote:

The question was absurd, and at the same time deadly serious. Australian intellectual property guru Francis Gurry was on the warpath and no stone was to be left unturned in unmasking the authors of the ugly, anonymous letters being sent to him – with copies landing on dozen of desks up and down Geneva’s diplomatic row.

Gurry called the Swiss police. In a mysterious overnight raid, innocuous objects were lifted from the desks of three of Gurry’s colleagues without their consent – a lipstick and lollies, a stapler and sticky tape, cigarettes. Stripped of diplomatic immunity, 10 staffers were ordered to present themselves for police interviews – but instead of being questioned they were fingerprinted, cheek-swabbed and sent on their way.

Forensic experts at the prestigious Hopitaux Universitaires de Geneva were engaged to run tests – did DNA recovered from the purloined desk items and staff swabs match traces of DNA extracted from stamps on the letters? Did fingerprints lifted from the envelopes implicate any of Gurry’s colleagues?

It was 2007 and much was at stake. Kamil Idris, a Sudanese diplomat, had just been drummed out as director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a United Nations agency little known beyond the arcane world of patents and trademarks. Amidst a long-running brouhaha over alleged corruption, Idris was finally nailed, but only for mis-stating his age on joining the UN 20 years earlier – a charge that originated in another round of anonymous letters.

[...]

The DNA row festered at WIPO, becoming a witch-hunt that overshadowed the 2008 election for a new director-general. Gurry was one in a field of candidates vying for the votes of 83 governments that comprised WIPO’s global co-ordination committee. In a final round of voting, he fended off his last challenger, a Brazilian, by the narrowest of margins: 42-41.

Despite his denials, colleagues saw Gurry as a key player in Idris’ undoing. When Idris, while still in office, balked at lifting staff immunity to allow the DNA investigation to proceed, Gurry was furious, they said, because he was convinced several of his colleagues were behind the letters, written in the name of the previously unknown Watchdog for International Civil Servants.

The DNA tests absolved all the staff of any role in the nastygrams, but that was merely the start of serial controversies that have dogged Gurry.

The staff was unaware of the desk raids until months after the fact. But in pursuing her demands for an explanation of how staff had become suspects, senior Italian WIPO staffer Carlotta Graffigna won access to her Swiss police file – in which she found the DNA report and its revelation that her desk had been swept without her consent.

This was likely illegal (see for example the scandal of spying on United Nations leaders by United States diplomats), but WIPO’s Gurry enjoys immunity.

Gurry and Battistelli not only competed for the same job; a lot of what was happening in WIPO also happened at the EPO.

“Gurry and Battistelli not only competed for the same job; a lot of what was happening in WIPO also happened at the EPO.”The reader asked: “Does it ring an (EPO) bell?” Recalling this letter, the reader said that “at EPO too under Battistelli a specialist of (quote) “forensic science” was recruited in the Investigative Unit (now fakely branded as “Directorate Ethic and Compliance”).”

Nothing is beyond limits in the eyes of EPO tyranny. It remains to be seen where Campinos will take things — a subject we’ll continue to explore in our next post.

Links 10/10/2017: Plasma 5.11, GCC 5.5 Released

Tuesday 10th of October 2017 10:56:57 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Linux Foundation Launches OpenMessaging Project

    The roster of Linux Foundation Collaborative Project is growing again, this time with the launch of OpenMessaging project.

    According to the project’s GitHub projec page, the goal of the effort is to provide a vendor-neutral open standard for distributed messaging and stream.

    “OpenMessaging, which includes the establishment of industry guidelines and messaging, streaming specifications to provide a common framework for finance, e-commerce, IoT and big-data area,” the project states. “The design principles are the cloud-oriented, simplicity, flexibility, and language independent in distributed heterogeneous environments.

  • Designing tabletop games with open source

    The print-on-demand industry is one of my favorite products of technological innovation. It removes gatekeepers and eliminates the bottleneck of physical bulk production. It gives anybody with a good idea and the drive to produce it a way to get their work out into the world.

    Print-on-demand combined with open source software is even more powerful, letting independent publishers generate content at whatever price they can afford at the time (or for nothing at all). And the tools are a pleasure to use.

  • This New Storyboarding Software Is Both Free And Open Source

    A new piece of software – both free and open source – wants to upend the market for digital storyboarding applications. Meet Storyboarder.

    Storyboarder is intended to be a fast and simple tool, with six drawing tools and easy-to-rearrange panels. The app is also integrated with external software, allowing for the ability to do roughs in Storyboarder, and with the click of one button, refine the artwork in Photoshop.

  • Circle Announces Open Source Project CENTRE and Foundation
  • TACC Develops Multi-Factor Authentication Solution, Makes it Open-Source

    How does a supercomputing center enable tens of thousands of researchers to securely access its high-performance computing systems while still allowing ease of use? And how can it be done affordably?

    These are questions that the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), asked themselves when they sought to upgrade their system security. They had previously relied on users’ names and passwords for access, but with a growing focus on hosting confidential health data and the increased compliance standards that entails, they realized they needed a more rigorous solution.

    [...]

    To learn more about OpenMFA or explore the code, visit the Github repository.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Is Mesosphere surrendering to Kubernetes?

      Until recently there were three major contenders for the spot as top cloud container orchestration program: Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Mesosphere. It’s now down to two. Mesosphere has thrown in the towel and is adopting Kubernetes into DC/OS.
      Is this really a surrender? Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert argues it’s not. His position is Marathon, Mesosphere‘s parent company, and Kubernetes have different use cases. You can use Mesosphere to run legacy applications without containers, while Kubernetes is all containers, all the time. Leibert said. “It’s like a layer cake. Kubernetes and Mesos can work really well together. Kubernetes takes over the container workflow but it can’t handle workflows that don’t run on containers such as Hadoop.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice Conference 2017 Kicked Off Today with a Focus on LibreOffice 6.0

      The LibreOffice Conference 2017 event kicked off today in Rome, Italy, with a focus on the development of the next major LibreOffice office suite release, version 6.0, which will arrive next year in early February.

      The Document Foundation will be hosting the LibreOffice Conference 2017 in a venue located at Via del Tempio di Giove 21. During three days full of talks, workshops, and hacking sessions, various developers will try to improve the open-source and cross-platform LibreOffice office suite, as well as to focus on adding new features.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Security-Oriented OpenBSD 6.2 OS Released with Better ARM Support, Improvements

      The BSD-based, UNIX-like operating system OpenBSD has been recently updated to version 6.2, a release that introduces up-to-date components, better hardware support, and lots of security improvements.

      Coming six months after the launch of OpenBSD 6.1 early this spring, which was the first point release in the 6.x series of the operating system, OpenBSD 6.2 is here to introduce a large number of enhancements, among which we can mention better support for various ARM boards, IEEE 802.11 wireless stack improvements, as well as some generic network stack improvements.

    • OpenBSD 6.2 released: Oct 9, 2017

      We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 6.2. This is our 43rd release. We remain proud of OpenBSD’s record of more than twenty years with only two remote holes in the default install.

    • OpenBSD 6.2 Released

      A few days ahead of the date hinted at by the work-in-progress release page, OpenBSD 6.2 was released today, October 9th 2017.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GCC 5.5 Released

      The GNU Compiler Collection version 5.5 has been released.

      GCC 5.5 is a bug-fix release from the GCC 5 branch containing important fixes for regressions and serious bugs in GCC 5.4 with more than 250 bugs fixed since the previous release.

      This is also the last release from the GCC 5 branch, GCC continues to be maintained on the GCC 6 and GCC 7 branches and the development trunk.

    • GCC 5.5 Released, That’s It For GCC5

      Jakub Jelinek of Red Hat today announced the release of GCC 5.5 compiler that also marks the end of the GCC5 series.

    • The State Of GNU’s GDB Conversion To C++

      Last year the GNU Debugger’s code-base was converted from the C programming language (C90) to now using C++11. At last month’s GNU Tools Cauldron was an update on this process.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Europe pledges support for open source government solutions

      Estonia has long been the digital envy of many European Union member states. An effective and open policy approach to digital government has yielded extraordinary results—from 90%+ uptake of electronic identification (E-ID) solutions to an open source e-government platform (X-Road) to meet the ever-growing expectations of IT-savvy citizens as well as other countries wanting to pool IT across borders.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • NISO Publishes Standards Tag Suite (NISO STS) Standard

      The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of a new American National Standard, STS: Standards Tag Suite, ANSI/NISO Z39.102-2017. The purpose of this “standard for standards,” which will be known as NISO STS, is to define a suite of XML elements and attributes that describes the full-text content and metadata of standards. NISO STS provides a common format that preserves intellectual content of standards independent of the form in which that content was originally delivered.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Mechanism To Assess Trade Agreements Needed, UN Forum On Access To Medicines Hears

      She said that such a mechanism would safeguard the measures countries have under the TRIPS (WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, to protect and advance human rights.

    • No Vaccines Before the Next Zika Outbreak?: A Case for IP Preparedness

      In September 2017, the development of the US Army’s Zika vaccine—once a leading candidate in the Zika vaccine race—came to a halt after almost all federal funding for Zika R&D was cut short. This happened less than a year from the end of the global public health emergency. Funding will now resume only if the Zika epidemic re-emerges.

      That R&D on diseases like Zika is not attractive to pharmaceutical companies is a well-known phenomenon. It usually takes a major public health crisis to shake up the playing field. With Ebola, for instance, funding for R&D increased 258% in 2015. The Zika outbreak had the same effect, and so will future outbreaks of similar diseases.

    • Congress Uses Las Vegas Massacre to Push Abortion Ban

      This week, the Senate takes up an unconstitutional bill recently passed 237-189 in the House that would ban all abortion after 20 weeks. The deceptively named “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 36) would “make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.”

      The claim that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks has been thoroughly debunked. Published at the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, a 2011 review of more than 150 studies has confirmed that a fetus’s neurological system is not developed enough at 20 weeks to register pain; the connection between the brain and the rest of the body simply doesn’t exist.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Monday
    • Deloitte hack hit server containing emails from across US government

      The hack into the accountancy giant Deloitte compromised a server that contained the emails of an estimated 350 clients, including four US government departments, the United Nations and some of the world’s biggest multinationals, the Guardian has been told.

      Sources with knowledge of the hack say the incident was potentially more widespread than Deloitte has been prepared to acknowledge and that the company cannot be 100% sure what was taken.

      Deloitte said it believed the hack had only “impacted” six clients, and that it was confident it knew where the hackers had been. It said it believed the attack on its systems, which began a year ago, was now over.

      However, sources who have spoken to the Guardian, on condition of anonymity, say the company red-flagged, and has been reviewing, a cache of emails and attachments that may have been compromised from a host of other entities.

    • Apache Patches Optionsbleed Flaw in HTTP Server

      The Apache HTTP Web Server (commonly simply referred to as ‘Apache’) is the most widely deployed web server in the world, and until last week, it was at risk from a security vulnerability known as Optionsbleed.

    • Browsers Will Store Credit Card Details Similar to How They Save Passwords

      A new W3C standard is slowly creeping into current browser implementations, a standard that will simplify the way people make payments online.

      Called the Payment Request API, this new standard relies on users entering and storing payment card details inside browsers, just like they currently do with passwords.

    • Equifax will give your salary history to anyone with your SSN and date of birth
    • Forrester Research Discloses Limited Website Data Breach

      At 6:17 ET PM on Oct.6, Forrester Research publicly admitted that it was the victim of a cyber-attack. According to the firm, the attack had limited impact, with no evidence that confidential client data had been stolen.

      According to Forrester Research’s preliminary investigation, attackers were able to gain access to Forrester.com content that was intended to be limited exclusively to clients.

      “We recognize that hackers will attack attractive targets—in this case, our research IP,” George F. Colony, chairman and chief executive officer of Forrester, stated.

      “We also understand there is a tradeoff between making it easy for our clients to access our research and security measures,” Colony added. “We feel that we have taken a common-sense approach to those two priorities; however, we will continuously look at that balance to respond to changing cyber-security risk.”

    • Akamai Reports Fast Flux Botnets Remain a Security Risk

      Attackers are continuing to benefit from the use many different technique to remain hidden. New research released Oct.10 by Akamai reveals that a botnet with over 14,000 IP addresses has been using the fast flux DNS technique to evade detection, while still causing damage to users and organizations.

      Fast Flux is an attacker technique that uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to hide the source of an attack. DNS operates by referring a domain name to a specific IP address

    • Disqus reveals data breach, but wins points for transparency

      Disqus has publicly announced that its user database leaked in 2012, exposing the usernames, email addresses, sign-up dates, and last login dates of more than 17 million users.

      In addition, the data included crackable SHA1-hashed passwords of “about one-third” of users. Presumably many accounts registered with the popular blog-commenting service do not have associated passwords due to many users signing-in using third-party social media accounts such as Google or Facebook.

      Quite how the security breach occurred is currently a mystery, and – frankly – despite their good intentions, Disqus may find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what happened five years after the event.

    • WhatsApp Exploit Can Allow Hackers To Monitor Your Sleep And Other Things
    • Multi-Layered Defenses Needed to Improve Cyber-Security, FBI Says
    • Hacking is inevitable, so it’s time to assume our data will be stolen

      If recent hacking attacks such as the one at Equifax, which compromised personal data for about half of all Americans, have taught us anything, it’s that data breaches are a part of life. It’s time to plan for what happens after our data is stolen, according to Rahul Telang, professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University.

      Companies are prone to understating the scale of hacks, which suggests that there needs to be better standards for disclosing breaches. Yahoo recently confessed that its data breach actually impacted 3 billion user accounts, three times what it disclosed in December. Equifax also boosted the number of people it says were affected by its hack.

    • 7 Security Risks User and Entity Behavior Analytics Helps Detect
    • UpGuard Reports Accenture Data Exposure, Debuts Risk Detection Service

      Security vendor UpGuard announced on Oct.10 that it discovered that global consulting firm Accenture had left at least four cloud-based storage servers publicly available. UpGuard alleges that the exposed cloud servers could have left Accenture customers to risk, though Accenture is publicly downplaying the impact of the cloud data exposure.

      “There was no risk to any of our clients – no active credentials, PII and other sensitive information was compromised,” Accenture noted in a statement sent to eWEEK. “The information involved could not have provided access to client systems and was not production data or applications.”

      Accenture added that the company has a multi-layered security model and the data in question would not have allowed anyone that found it to penetrate any of those layers.

    • [Older] The creepiest data breach till date: Passwords of 540,000 Car Tracking Devices Leaked Online

      Data breaches have become so common these days that every single day we get news about a data breach. We have seen data breaches from big to small, from dangerous to embarrassing, but this is one is the creepiest data breach of 2017, this leak of credentials of almost 540,000 Car Tracking Devices might take the biscuit.

      The Kromtech Security Center recently found over half a million login credentials belonging to SVR, a company specializes in “vehicle recovery”, is leaked online and is publicly accessible. SVR provides its customers with around-the-clock surveillance of cars and trucks, just in case those vehicles are towed or stolen.

    • Nginx 1.13.6 Patches Web Server for the Year 2038 Flaw

      Developers and organizations around the world rushed to fix the Y2K bug nearly 20 years ago as the calendar rolled over to the new millennium. There is also a similar bug that is resident in Unix/Linux systems known as the Year 2038 bug.

      The latest vendor to fix its software for the 2038 bug is open-source web application server vendor nginx. The new nginx 1.13.6 release debuts on Oct. 10, fixing 11 different bugs.

      “Bugfix: nginx did not support dates after the year 2038 on 32-bit platforms with 64-bit time_t,” the nginx changelog noted.

    • Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It’s now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLIOON

      Last month, US credit score agency Equifax admitted the personal data for just under 400,000 UK accounts was slurped by hackers raiding its database. On Tuesday this week, it upped that number ever-so-slightly to 15.2 million.

      In true buck-passing fashion, at the time of writing, Equifax hadn’t even released a public statement on the matter. Instead it fell to Blighty’s National Cyber Security Centre to reveal the bad news that a blundering American firm had put them at risk of phishing attacks.

      “We are aware that Equifax was the victim of a criminal cyber attack in May 2017,” the NCSC said in a statement today.

      “Equifax have today updated their guidance to confirm that a file containing 15.2m UK records dating from between 2011 and 2016 was attacked in this incident. NCSC advises that passwords are not re-used on any accounts if you have been told by Equifax that any portion of your membership details have been accessed.”

    • Major Data Breach Left 15 Million Accounts from These Popular Sites Vulnerable

      In what seems like an ever-lengthening line of data breaches in recent weeks (This restaurant, this financial services company, and this supermarket have all been breached in the past month), Lifehacker has reported that information from 15 million Kickstarter and Bitly accounts are now available to the public due to a 2014 data breach. The breach itself isn’t new, much like the fresh news about Yahoo’s massive breach, but it’s much less disconcerting. Although the information is now public, it is still encrypted, and both Kickstarter and Bitly took swift action to notify users of the breach when it originally occurred, urging them to change their passwords and nullifying the breach ones if user action was not taken.

    • It’s 2017… And Windows PCs can be pwned via DNS, webpages, Office docs, fonts – and some TPM keys are fscked too

      Microsoft today released patches for more than 60 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in its software. Meanwhile, Adobe is skipping October’s Patch Tuesday altogether.

      Among the latest holes that need papering over via Windows Update are three vulnerabilities already publicly disclosed – with one being exploited right now by hackers to infect vulnerable machines. That flaw, CVE-2017-11826, is leveraged when a booby-trapped Microsoft Office document is opened, allowing malicious code within it to run with the same rights as the logged-in user, and should be considered a top priority to patch.

      Dustin Childs, of Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative, noted today that users and administrators should also pay special attention to Microsoft’s ADV170012, an advisory warning of weak cryptographic keys generated by Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) on Infineon motherboards.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Republican Sen. Bob Corker Warns Trump Taking U.S. Toward “World War III”

      The powerful head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, warned Sunday that President Trump is treating the presidency like “a reality show” and setting the U.S. “on the path to World War III.” Sen. Corker made the comments to The New York Times after Trump spent much of the weekend threatening war with North Korea, and after Trump attacked Corker on Twitter Sunday morning, saying the senator “didn’t have the guts” to run for re-election and claiming Corker dropped out after begging unsuccessfully for Trump’s endorsement. That prompted Corker to respond on Twitter, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

    • Vegas Massacre Story Changes: Gunman Shot Security Guard Before Opening Fire On Crowd

      In a dramatic shift to the original Las Vegas shooting narrative, over a week after Stephen Paddock rained down bullets on a crowd and killed 58 people, late on Monday Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo drastically changed the timeline of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and now the gunman allegedly opened fire on a security guard six minutes before he unleashed the massacre. Officials had previously claimed that Paddock, 64, shot Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos only after Paddock had started shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country-music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite on Oct. 1.

      The revision to the story also undermines the story surrounding the end of the shooting: officials had previously credited Campos, who was shot in the leg, with stopping the 10-minute assault by turning the gunman’s attention to the hotel hallway, where Campos was checking an alert for an open door in another guest’s room. However, with the revelation that Campos was shot before his mass shooting, officials now admit they don’t know why he stopped his attack.

    • Duterte’s satisfaction rating plunges below 50 per cent amid Philippines drug killings

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s honeymoon period may be over, but his deadly anti-drugs campaign will not wane, his office said on Monday, after a fall in ratings that his opponents said showed public disillusionment with his rule.

      Duterte has enjoyed strong opinion poll numbers since winning the presidency in last year’s elections but heavy scrutiny of his war on drugs, which has killed thousands of Filipinos, appears to have impacted his ratings.

      Trust and satisfaction in Duterte fell to the lowest of his presidency in the third quarter of this year, a survey showed on Sunday, although sentiment about his leadership remained positive overall.

    • The Scandal of Pentagon Spending

      Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle?

      The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n.

      Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department’s already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.” If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget — hundreds of billions of dollars — really goes. Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about.

      The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised. Too often the result is weapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford. If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start.

    • Should Limiting North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions be the Responsibility of the U.S. Government?

      In recent months, advances in the North Korean government’s nuclear weapons program have led to a sharp confrontation between the government leaders of the United States and of North Korea. This August, President Donald Trump declared that any more threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” In turn, Kim Jong Un remarked that he was now contemplating firing nuclear missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam. Heightening the dispute, Trump told the United Nations in mid-September that, if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” Soon thereafter, Trump embellished this with a tweet declaring that North Korea “won’t be around much longer.”

      From the standpoint of heading off nuclear weapons advances by the North Korean regime, this belligerent approach by the U.S. government has shown no signs of success. Every taunt by U.S. officials has drawn a derisive reply from their North Korean counterparts. Indeed, when it comes to nuclear weapons policy, escalating U.S. threats seem to have confirmed the North Korean government’s fears of U.S. military attack and, thus, bolstered its determination to enhance its nuclear capabilities. In short, threatening North Korea with destruction has been remarkably counter-productive.

    • A Deaf Ear to Dire Russian Warnings

      From time to time, the Kremlin uses the Sunday evening weekly news wrap-up program of Dmitry Kiselyov on state television, channel Rossiya-1, to send blunt and public warnings to Washington without diplomatic niceties. Last night was one such case and we must hope that the intended audience within the Beltway can put aside all its distractions about Russia-gate long enough to read a real message from Moscow.

    • Chris Murphy: Trump’s threat of war with North Korea must be taken ‘seriously’

      Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Monday said President Trump’s rhetoric directed at North Korea must be taken “seriously,” following remarks made by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) about Trump possibly leading the U.S. on the path toward “World War III.”

      “It’s time to take Trump seriously as he keeps hinting, over and over, that he wants to go to war with North Korea,” Murphy said in a series of tweets, adding that some of the president’s other tweets have proven to not always be “just bluster.”

    • War Culture – Gun Culture: They’re Related

      If you go to the Wikipedia page that gives a timeline of U.S. foreign military operations between 1775 and 2010, you are likely to come away in shock. It seems that ever since the founding of the country, the United States has been at war. It is as if Americans just could not (and still cannot) sit still, but had to (and still have to) force themselves on others through military action. Often this is aimed at controlling foreign resources, thus forcing upon others the consequences of their own capitalist avarice. At other times the violence is spurred on by an ideology that confuses U.S. interests with civilization and freedom. Only very rarely is Washington out there on the side of the angels. Regardless, the bottom line seems to be that peace has never been a deeply ingrained cultural value for the citizens of the United States. As pertains to foreign policy, America’s national culture is a war culture.

    • Jimmy Carter Urges Trump Administration to Pursue Peace with North Korea

      Former President Jimmy Carter has decades of experience talking to North Korean leaders and citizens, and he shares his knowledge in a recent piece published by The Washington Post. Arguing that the current tension between the U.S. and North Korea is “the most serious existing threat to world peace,” Carter urges President Trump to work towards a peaceful, diplomatic solution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • ‘An Inferno Like You’ve Never Seen’: Deadly Wildfires Ravage California

      More than ten people have been killed, thousands have been left without power, and tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate as more than a dozen wildfires tore through Northern California overnight Monday, forcing Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in eight counties.

    • Mass Evacuations in California as Wildfires Kill at Least 10

      In California, powerful winds and bone-dry conditions have fueled massive wildfires across the state, leaving at least 10 people dead, destroying whole neighborhoods and forcing 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. State fire officials say they’re battling at least 14 major fires in eight counties. One of the worst blazes was in the city of Santa Rosa in Northern California’s Sonoma County, where fire ripped through a trailer park, destroyed homes, restaurants and hotels, and forced medical teams at the Kaiser Permanente hospital to evacuate 130 patients as flames approached. This is Santa Rosa resident Dave Rollans.

    • Emergency aid distribution stalled in Puerto Rico

      Status update: Customers with electricity: 15% … People in shelters: 6,452 … Functioning cell towers: 28% … Access to drinking water: 60% … Commercial flights: 100%.

      USA Today’s Oren Dorell reports from San Juan: “The Auxilio Mutuo Hospital here can’t figure out how to get specialized medical supplies from the nearby airport. A Puerto Rican in Tampa found the quickest way to deliver help to her hometown was to do it in person. And shipping containers filled with emergency goods are piling up at the Port of San Juan.”

      In the photo above, taken yesterday, Efrain Diaz Figueroa, 70, walks through the remains of the house of his sister, destroyed by Hurricane Maria in San Juan.

  • Finance
    • Republican Leaders’ Tax Framework Provides Windfall to High-Income Households, With Working Families Largely an Afterthought

      The “Big Six” Republican tax framework announced last week by President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress specifies large tax cuts aimed at profitable corporations and wealthy households while offering only vague promises for lower- and middle-income working families. It closely follows many aspects of the House GOP’s “Better Way” plan released last year, which was heavily tilted to those high on the income scale. Like that plan, the new framework offers little for working families with modest incomes compared to what it would do for those at the top.

    • For hardline Brexiters, the lure of the cliff edge is irresistible

      The heckles in the House of Commons can be as revealing as the speeches. When the prime minister was taking questions about her Brexit plans on Monday, Anna Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe, asked about the no-deal scenario – whether the UK would “jump off the cliff”. At which point a male voice, dripping with derision, chimed in: “There is no cliff!”

      Hansard doesn’t record the source of the intervention. It could have been one of dozens of Tories who despise talk of cliffs. The prime minister is not among them. She has been taken on an illustrated tour of the edge by her advisory council of business leaders. They describe the elevation and the effect of high-velocity impact: the return of customs controls; barriers to trade; the rupture of supply chains; investors rerouting money and jobs to the continent.

    • [Older] Revealed: How gold takes the shine off Britain’s trade figures

      Doubt has been cast over one of the longest-standing economic claims in the Brexit debate after a Sky investigation revealed that Britain’s real exports to outside the EU are actually far lower than official figures suggest.

      The Government’s trade statistics show that, over the past five years, the share of UK goods being exported to the European Union was only 46% – a fact frequently referred to by those who campaigned for Brexit.

    • Brexit is no game, says Barnier when asked if ball is in his court

      “Brexit is not a game,” the EU’s chief negotiator has said, as he emerged from a lunch with the UK’s Brexit secretary, David Davis, in Brussels on the second day of the fifth round of negotiations.

      Michel Barnier was responding to a question that referred to Theresa May’s claim that the ball is now in the EU’s court on Brexit.

      “Lunch was good and we had constructive talks, not the first time or the last time,” Barnier told reporters outside the residence of the UK’s permanent representative in Brussels.

      When asked whether progress was being made on the opening withdrawal issues, and if “the ball [is] in your court”, Barnier responded: “We are working. Brexit is not a game. Don’t forget it.”

    • IMF cuts UK growth forecast and warns Brexit is starting to bite

      The International Monetary Fund singled Britain out as a “notable exception” to an improving global economic outlook on Tuesday, as it confirmed a cut to its long-term forecast for UK growth and said negative effects of Brexit were beginning to show.

      In its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook, the IMF sharply reduced its UK long-term growth outlook, from an estimated annual growth rate of 1.9 per cent to 1.7 per cent. The forecasts show the UK trailing Greece over the next five years. The IMF is now predicting 11.5 per cent growth in Greece during the period, compared with 10.3 per cent in Britain.

    • IMF says UK ‘notable exception’ to growth in advanced economies

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tuesday downgraded the U.K.’s growth expectations, declaring it to be the “notable exception” to the trend of higher economic growth among the world’s advanced economies in the first half of 2017.

      The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook report predicted the U.K.’s economy would grow by 1.7 percent in 2017, 0.1 percentage points less than in 2016. The agency predicted that the U.K. would grow at an even slower rate, 1.5 percent, in 2018.

    • Egypt military opens ‘New Cairo’ luxury hotel, as old Cairo sinks in poverty

      A swanky new hotel built by Egypt’s Armed Forces Engineering Authority was unveiled on Friday, coinciding with the 44th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, sparking criticism on social media.

    • Theresa May refuses to say if she would vote for Brexit in fresh poll

      Theresa May has refused to say if she would vote for Brexit if another referendum were held today, saying instead she would have to “weigh up the evidence” before deciding what to do in the current situation.

      The prime minister, who voted to remain in the EU in last year’s poll, struggled to give clear answers on Brexit issues during an LBC radio phone-in on Tuesday, and admitted there was no plan for what would happen to EU citizens living in the UK if no deal was agreed with Brussels.

    • ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen’: Theresa May won’t guarantee migrants’ rights if there’s no Brexit deal

      Theresa May has refused to guarantee EU citizens’ rights if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

      And she admitted the government ‘don’t know what’s going to happen’ to UK citizens in the EU if negotiators can’t reach an agreement.

      The Prime Minister tried to reassure a worried radio phone in listener by saying: “We want you to stay.”

      Mrs May was taking part in a live call-in show on LBC Radio when Nina from Islington, an EU citizen who has been living in the UK for 31 years, called in with some concerns.

      She said: “I’m extremely worried about my future. My question is, in case of a no-deal scenario, will the proposal of ‘settled status’ be withdrawn, and will EU citizens end up losing their rights and be deported?”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Manhattan DA Vance Took $10,000 From Head Of Law Firm On Trump Defense Team, Dropped Case

      The principal of a law firm involved in fending off a criminal investigation into a Trump Organization project gave $10,000 to Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance amid the probe, according to campaign finance records reviewed by International Business Times. The money from Elkan Abramowitz, which had not previously been reported, was in addition to a separate campaign donation to Vance from Trump attorney Mark Kasowitz. After the money flowed to Vance, the Democratic DA overruled his prosecutors and declined to file charges against Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and others involved in the controversial Trump SoHo project.

    • Trump digital director says Facebook helped win the White House

      The Trump presidential campaign spent most of its digital advertising budget on Facebook, testing more than 50,000 ad variations each day in an attempt to micro-target voters, Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale, told CBS’s 60 Minutes in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday night.

      [...]

      Parscale said he asked the Facebook “embeds” to teach staffers everything the Clinton campaign would be told about Facebook advertising “and then some”.

    • American Kakistocracy

      “Can’t anybody here play this game?” was Casey Stengel’s famous lament about his inept 1962 New York Mets. The same lament could apply to the Trump administration and its majority team in Congress—but the problem is deeper and worse when ineptitude joins with venality and recklessness, and when the stakes are far more than baseball pennants.

    • NO ONE CAN SAVE THE TORIES

      Grant Shapps, the former Tory chairman, was slapped down by MPs – in widely leaked WhatsApp messages – for pulling together signatures to prompt May’s resignation. Foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s crowd-pleasing turn at conference has suggested he’s once again on manoeuvres, but his stock is lower than ever among the parliamentary party.

      The usual factions are split. Boris still pines for the top job, fancying himself as the positive pro-Brexit leader the people crave, but many Tory Eurosceptics fear a leadership challenge would put Brexit at threat. Meanwhile, Tory Remainers have no clear candidate. For all the gloom, and the Brexit battles to come, May clings on for lack of any alternative.

    • Europe Hostage to the Ludicrous Hyperbole of the Spanish Constitutions

      A glance at a historical atlas of Europe century by century shows a kaleidoscope of continuing shifts in states as they form and reform, move, merge and dissolve. It is the normal state of Europe. Nor is it in any sense slowing down; this is not a process which has stopped. Even in the short period since I left university, eight states currently members of the European Union have undergone truly drastic changes to their national boundaries or nation state status.

      Even Hitler was only nuts enough to think his Reich would last for a thousand years. Spain (which incidentally was almost entirely Muslim a thousand years ago) tops Hitler for mad ambition. Spain believes its current borders will last forever. The Constitution specifies the “indissoluble unity” of Spain. This plainly mad claim is the entire basis of the “legalistic” stance of Rajoy. An excellent article today by Gerry Adams in the Guardian points out that Rajoy is making negotiation impossible by insisting on the precondition that it is illegal even to discuss Catalan independence.

    • Progressive California Democrat calls for Feinstein primary challenge

      Hours after Dianne Feinstein announced she will run for re-election next year, a prominent California Democratic representative urged primary challengers to unseat the four-term senator.

      Arguing it’s time for Democrats “to move on” and better represent the progressive grassroots, freshman House Democrat Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley on Monday said he has contacted Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the most liberal members of Congress, and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to urge them to challenge Feinstein’s re-election in 2018.

    • President Trump’s temper tantrums are getting worse and occurring more frequently.
    • Fact Checker: President Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over 263 days
    • Why EU Consultations Are Inherently Biased Against Members Of The Public

      The European Union’s institutional machinery is so complex and hard to fathom for those outside the Brussels bubble, that most people don’t bother trying. That’s a pity, because the grinding of the EU’s great gears often throws out small sparks of illumination. For example, earlier this year, the S&D MEP Childers Nessa used a parliamentary question to ask the European Commission about “Civil society’s views on ancillary rights in response to the public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain” – the (in)famous Article 11 of the EU proposed copyright directive, also known as the “snippet tax”.

      As well as supplying a few figures relating to the response to the consultation, in his reply Vice-President Ansip also noted that “Public consultations are for the Commission an essential tool to inform its policy-making. However, the Commission adopts a cautious approach to quantitative data, as responses to consultations are generally not statistically representatives of a target population.”

    • The bizarre situation where only retiring Republicans will talk about Trump’s fitness for office

      Sen. Bob Corker’s warning that President Donald Trump’s recklessness could set the country “on the path to World War III,” issued in a New York Times interview on Sunday, is notable for a few reasons.

      For one, this is a critique that many Democrats and even some Republicans have made for some time — and that even more Republicans are said to make regularly in private.

      For another, this is coming publicly from a Republican senator in a conservative state who chairs a major committee, has worked closely with the administration, and has had strong relationships with several of its officials. So when he says he knows “for a fact” that there’s no “good cop, bad cop” act underway, we should take him seriously.

      But perhaps most noteworthy of all is that Corker only felt empowered to make such a bold critique after he had decided to retire rather than run for reelection in 2018 (as he announced at the end of last month). Only Corker’s liberation from the concerns of electoral politics, it seems, has motivated him to say what he truly thinks.

    • Trump proposes ‘IQ tests’ face-off with Tillerson after secretary of state calls him a ‘moron’
    • Poll: Americans Hope Trump Follows Pence’s Example and Leaves Early

      A poll taken after Vice-President Mike Pence made headlines on Sunday with an abrupt early departure reveals that a broad majority of Americans hope that Donald Trump follows Pence’s example and leaves early, as well.

      In a striking result, the poll shows that Trump’s early exit would be approximately a thousand times more popular than the one Pence participated in on Sunday.

      While Pence defended his decision to leave early on Sunday by saying that he did it out of patriotism, a substantial majority of Americans agreed that a premature departure by Trump “would be, by far, the most patriotic thing he could ever do for his country.”

    • Trump’s popularity is slipping in rural America: poll

      Outside the Morgan County fair in McConnelsville, in a rural swath of Ohio that fervently backed U.S. President Donald Trump in last year’s election, ticket seller John Wilson quietly counts off a handful of disappointments with the man he helped elect.

      The 70-year-old retired banker said he is unhappy with infighting and turnover in the White House. He does not like Trump’s penchant for traveling to his personal golf resorts. He wishes the president would do more to fix the healthcare system, and he worries that Trump might back down from his promise to force illegal immigrants out of the country.

    • Theresa May’s latest ‘initiative’ shows she’s now just trolling everyone living with mental health issues
    • FT columnist who called Corbyn supporters “thick as pigsh*t” nominated for Political Commentator of the Year Award
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Yale-NUS: A partner in name only?

      Classics professor Victor Bers added that he was disturbed by the recent case of Amos Yee, a Singaporean teenager who has applied for asylum in the United States on the grounds that he was persecuted for his political opinions in the city-state.

    • Lindsay Lohan’s Parents Want Her To Sue A Senator Who Made Fun Of Lindsay

      Over the past few years we’ve written about some really dumb lawsuits (or threats of lawsuits) filed by actress Lindsay Lohan. There was that time she sued E*Trade for $100 million because it had a baby in its commercial, named Lindsey, who was described as a “boyfriend-stealing milkaholic,” which she insisted must be a reference to her (think about that one for a second…). Or there was the time she claimed that a jewelry store releasing surveillance tape footage of her stealing a necklace violated her publicity rights. Then she sued the rapper Pitbull for a lyric “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” (and, bizarrely, that one included accusations of a plagiarized filing by her lawyer. And, of course, most famously, Lohan spent years battling Take Two Interactive, claiming a ditzy starlet character in Grand Theft Auto was also a violation of her publicity rights.

    • Lightning Network Centralization Leads to Economic Censorship

      A few months ago, I wrote an article called “Mathematical Proof That the Lightning Network Cannot Be a Decentralized Bitcoin Scaling Solution”. It received quite a bit of attention, both positive and negative.

      Now it seems that the realities of LN’s limitations are being accepted, and new narratives are forming to justify the continued morphing of Bitcoin into a settlement layer.

    • Group claims censorship over film screening at M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2018
    • M1 Singapore Fringe Festival accused of censorship by artist collective
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • ICE Demands Journalists ‘Return’ Snitch Hotline Data It Left Exposed For Three Days After Being Notified

      Daniel Rivero and Brendan O’Connor of Splinter recently acquired documents pertaining to ICE’s snitch program — a “see something, say something” but for suspected undocumented aliens. What’s contained in these documents is nasty, petty abuse of a crime victim hotline by Americans who don’t mind turning the government into their own personal army.

      This is part of new program started by the Trump Administration — one presumably meant to pump up numbers for its weekly “Two Minutes Hate” reports, which document the criminal acts of people roaming the county without the proper papers.

      Splinter didn’t find much evidence backing up the administration’s fervent belief that “undocumented” equals “hardened criminal.” What it did find was Americans using the VOICE tip line to engage in a low-level variant on SWATting: sending ICE to round up people they just don’t like.

    • US Cyber-Defence Data Stolen From NSA Contractors’ Home Computer Direct
    • Dubai Airport is going to use face-scanning virtual aquariums as security checkpoints

      Dubai International Airport has come up with a novel way for departing travelers to clear security: by walking through a virtual aquarium lined with facial recognition cameras.

      According to a report from The National, the virtual aquarium is shaped like a tunnel, and outfitted with 80 cameras that can scan faces and irises as passengers walk through. The images inside the tunnel can be changed to show different landscapes, like deserts, or to display advertisements. Once a traveler reaches the end, they’ll either be cleared with the message “have a nice trip,” or a red sign will be displayed to alert security.

    • As Catalonia Plans Independence from Spain, Julian Assange Advises Organizers on Secure Messaging

      Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau is calling for Spain to remove thousands of state police who have been deployed to Catalonia ahead of tonight’s expected declaration of independence by regional President Carles Puigdemont, possibly triggering intervention by Spanish forces. We speak with WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who has been advising those pushing to secede on how to communicate securely even as the state pushes back.

    • VPN logs helped unmask alleged ‘net stalker, say feds

      Virtual private network provider PureVPN helped the FBI track down an Internet stalker, by combing its logs to reveal his IP address.

      The Department of Justice announced on Friday the arrest of Ryan Lin, a 24-year-old from Newtown, Massachusetts, on charges that he cyber-stalked a former room-mate.

    • The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics

      The CIA agent tapped softly on the hotel room door. After the keynote speeches, panel discussions and dinner, the conference attendees had retired for the night. Audio and visual surveillance of the room showed that the nuclear scientist’s minders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were sleeping, but he was still awake. Sure enough, he opened the door, alone.

      According to a person familiar with this encounter, which took place about a decade ago, the agency had been preparing it for months. Through a business front, it had funded and staged the conference at an unsuspecting foreign centre of scientific research, invited speakers and guests, and planted operatives among the kitchen workers and other staff, just so it could entice the nuclear expert out of Iran, separate him for a few minutes from his guards, and pitch him one-to-one. A last-minute snag had almost derailed the plans: the target switched hotels because the conference’s preferred hotel cost $75 more than his superiors in Iran were willing to spend.

    • Key transatlantic data flows under threat as US surveillance laws clash once more with EU privacy protections

      We wrote recently about clouds gathering over the Privacy Shield framework that governs transatlantic data flows for thousands of US companies. As that post explained, even if the Privacy Shield is struck down by the EU courts, as some believe it will be, there are alternative mechanisms that can ensure the legality of data transfers out of the EU to the US. The most important of these is the use of standard contractual clauses (SCCs), also known as “model clauses”. However, last week an Irish judge said she would make a formal request for the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU’s highest court, to rule whether SCCs for this purpose were invalid too. If the CJEU decides they are, that will make sending personal data of EU citizens across the Atlantic hard, or even impossible, for many top Internet companies like Google and Facebook.

    • What the proposed new EU rules on free flow of non-personal data could mean for businesses

      Current data localisation restrictions by Member States’ public authorities and so-called ‘vendor lock-in practices’ (obstacles to the movement of data across IT systems) are considered to prevent businesses from embracing digital opportunities, including the use of data-driven technologies and services relating to data-storage, data-transfer and analytics. Legal uncertainty and lack of trust cause additional barriers to the free flow of non-personal data.

    • Privacy International suggests improvements to the Data Protection Bill

      They include smart thinking including the non-use of automated judgement systems, and a better consideration towards its structure so that any mistakes or complaints and issues can get to the right people.

    • Finland plans personal ID number overhaul, may add biometrics

      Another reason Finland is looking at ways to change the ID system is the relatively recent development of undocumented residents living in the country. Korpisaari says that adding a biometric aspect to the IDs – like a person’s fingerprints – would assist in identifying residents who do not have a passport or other ID.

    • Facebook Lies

      In the past, I had a Facebook account. Long ago I “deleted” this account through the procedure outlined on their help pages. In theory, 14 days after I used this process my account would be irrevocably gone. This was all lies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Reminder: In government training material, “terrorism” includes peacefully disagreeing with administration policy in public

      Governments are still using “terrorism” as a scareword to get any insane law passed – like Britain’s digital book-burning law. But with its other hand, those same governments are expanding the definition of terrorism way beyond what the public could possibly imagine: the government’s own training material says that peaceful street protests in disagreement with administration policies are examples of terrorism.

    • Inside the CIA’s black site torture room
    • The High Court deals a major blow to Amber Rudd, ruling that her ‘barbaric’ policy is unlawful

      Rudd became Home Secretary in July 2016. In September of that year, the Home Office redefined the term to refer only to torture carried out by state agents; such as the USA’s actions in the so-called war on terror that many suspect the UK was complicit in. The new definition didn’t include those tortured by traffickers or other non-government entities.

      The Home Office’s guidelines don’t allow it to detain torture survivors while it’s processing their asylum claims. But the revision essentially created a work-around that allowed the government to lock up people in detention centres who didn’t fall under that narrow definition.

    • Wall Street Journal Reporter Sentenced to Prison by Turkish Court

      A Turkish court sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison Tuesday, declaring her guilty of engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organization through one of her Journal articles.

    • The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think

      But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the Times, Jonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

    • America’s Predators Problem

      If we look a little deeper, what do we see? America’s cruel, in strange and unthinkable ways. It is something like a religious mission, a crusade, and the only object of this pilgrimage is to purify the weak with suffering. That is the reason its institutions and norms and values punish the broken, not protect them. Mercy is the truest crime of all. So the American way is to punish those who cannot stand up for themselves, and to celebrate, aggrandize, apotheosize those who can stand sneering, smirking, grinning, above everyone else.

    • Philly socialists accuse prisons of censorship

      A Philadelphia socialist group is questioning how their magazine was denied entry into a state prison over language regarding “white supremacy.”

      The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has apologized for a letter that stated that an August 2017 issue of Worker’s World newspaper was being “denied to all inmates” due to “articles that call for people to join the fight against white supremacy.”

    • Leaked FBI Report Cites “Black Identity Extremists” as Terror Threat

      An FBI counterterrorism unit secretly identified so-called black identity extremists as a violent threat, according to a leaked document obtained by Foreign Policy magazine. In the report, dated August 2017, the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit writes, “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups warn the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups, and have compared it to the FBI’s COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement.

    • The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment

      While navigating professional relationships can often require that dreaded thing known as “any amount of work at all”, there is hope. You see, by following this one simple rule, you too can interact with women as people.

      It’s as clear cut as this: Treat all women like you would treat Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

      I know, this sounds weird, but trust me, this is a visualization exercise that will work wonders in your dealings with the women in your workplace. When a woman approaches you, just replace her in your mind with The Rock. Then, behave accordingly.

    • Weinstein Company Fires Harvey Weinstein over Sexual Harassment Reports

      Back in the United States, in Hollywood, the Weinstein Company fired co-founder Harvey Weinstein Sunday, just four days after The New York Times reported the movie mogul was the subject of harassment and assault accusations for decades—and that he paid off at least eight women who confronted him over the alleged humiliating and degrading harassment. Weinstein’s firing came after three members of the company’s board of directors resigned, along with two of Weinstein’s attorneys, following the report in the Times.

    • Email Prankster Apparently Fooled Both Harvey Weinstein and His Ex-Adviser Lisa Bloom

      An email prankster who has fooled a number of high-profile people in both the media and politics has apparently struck again — and this time it involves the huge Harvey Weinstein scandal.

      As reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper this afternoon, the trickster posed as Weinstein to fool his former adviser Lisa Bloom, who recently dropped out from representing Weinstein following quite a bit of criticism tossed her way. In the email exchange on Sunday, the fake Weinstein told the real Bloom that he understood why she had to leave his team. She responded by telling the prankster that she was unaware of the more serious allegations against Weinstein. When the fake Weinstein asked what those allegations were, Bloom merely said “sexual assault.”

    • Kim Dotcom sets sights on Hollywood execs as sex abuse scandals escalate
    • Proposed Bill Would Exempt Customs And Border Protection From FOIA Compliance

      To build a wall, you’ve got to break a few laws. That’s the message being sent by a new bill, which helps pave the way for the eventual construction of a border wall by exempting the CBP and US Border Patrol from a large number of federal laws.

      H.R. 3548 [PDF] would give the CBP a free pass to ignore all sorts of federal restrictions when engaging in its enforcement activities. All the things citizens can’t legally do on federal land, the CBP and Border Patrol would be allowed to. This would keep the federal government from getting in its own way in the event wall construction actually takes place, as well as keep CBP agents from worrying about polluting, killing endangered species, or violating sacred grave sites while pursuing undocumented aliens.

    • Home Office splits British man from his wife 10 months after she gives birth to their daughter

      A British man has been told his Ecuadorian wife cannot settle in the UK despite the couple having three young children, including a baby who is still breastfeeding.

      Dan Newton, 41, lived with his wife and three young children in Abu Dhabi in the UAE for nearly five years. The couple had previously lived in the UK for a year, where they had their first child.

    • Torture victims were wrongly imprisoned in UK, high court rules

      Hundreds of victims of torture have been wrongly locked up in immigration detention centres, a high court judge has ruled, following a challenge by seven survivors of serious abuse.

      Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that aspects of a Home Office policy introduced in September 2016 known as “Adults At Risk” wrongly allowed many who had been tortured overseas to be imprisoned.

    • The NFL Quietly Changed Its Obscure Rule About Standing For The National Anthem

      Having gotten all the public relations it wanted (even a hackneyed Sports Illustrated cover), NFL leadership is now back to the more familiar demeanor of reminding its players to either get in line or join the unemployment line. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Monday that any player who is “disrespectful to the flag” won’t play. The league, then, itself upped the ante by feeding this tidbit to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, which he reported before the station’s broadcast of Monday Night Football.

    • Joe Arpaio’s Infamous and Inhumane Tent City Jail Officially Shut Down

      In 1993, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio opened his infamous Tent City outdoor jail, supposedly as an answer to the problem of overcrowding in Phoenix’s jails. Tent City was a source of controversy for the entirety of its existence, and this weekend, it finally closed for good, just 10 months shy of its 25-year anniversary.

    • After her spies told Thatcher they thought an MP was raping children, she knighted him

      The UK has been rocked by a series of “historic sex scandals” in which beloved cultural and political figures — Clement Freud, Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and many others — have been revealed to have been sexual predators since the earliest days, using their money and respectability to rape children for decades with impunity. When each new horror surfaces, one of the first questions the public asks is, “Who knew about this and helped to cover it up?”

      Margaret Thatcher knew.

      Cyril Smith was an MP for Rochdale when in 1988 when Margaret Thatcher recommended that he be knighted. She had been warned by MI5 that Smith was suspected to have raped at least eight boys. After Thatcher knighted Smith, he went on raping children, because his knighthood opened doors for him, getting him inside organisations that supported vulnerable children. He died in 2010, at the age of 82, without ever facing charges.

    • Judge denies Reality Winner bail on grounds she “hates” the United States

      Federal judge Brian Epps of Augusta, Georgia has denied bail for alleged whistleblower Reality Winner in an aggressively worded ruling that claims the 25-year-old intelligence contractor “hates the United States and desires to damage national security.” Epps also cited social media comments by Winner that she”admires Edward Snowden and Julian Assange” as evidence against her bond request.

      Reality Winner faces an Espionage Act charge for allegedly passing classified material to media outlet The Intercept. The documents in question summarise the NSA’s view at the time of evidence suggesting Russia’s military intelligence attempted to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

    • Black man beaten by Charlottesville Nazis has been charged with assault

      DeAndre Harris is a 20 year old black man who was subjected to a vicious armed beat-down by Nazis who marched in Charlottesville on August 12. Two of the men who beat him have been charged with “malicious wounding” and are being held without bail; two others have not been arrested yet.

      One of the men who beat Harris tried to get the Charlottesville police to arrest Harris as well. When the Charlottesville police declined, the Nazi found a sympathetic magistrate judge (the clowns of the US judicial system) to issue a warrant for Harris’s arrest.

    • Jefferson Parish jail touts new video visitation program, but ban on in-person visits concerns inmate advocates

      Inmates at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna will no longer be able to receive in-person visits from relatives and friends beginning Oct. 10, when the facility will begin a “video visitation” program similar to one put in place at New Orleans’ lockup a couple of years ago.

      Newly installed Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said Wednesday that one major benefit of eliminating in-person visits at the jail is ending the possibility of visitors giving contraband to inmates.

      But some lawyers who work with people accused of crimes countered that face-to-face visitation makes it easier for inmates to rejoin their loved ones’ lives after their release, and a video-only model complicates that.

      It is becoming more common for correctional facilities across the country to use video technology similar to Skype to let inmates communicate with loved ones, though it is less common for jails to do away with all in-person visits as a result.

    • Donald Trump Can Destroy Records Without Judicial Review, Justice Department Tells Court

      It’s a question that pops up pretty much every time that Donald Trump deletes a tweet: Is he violating the Presidential Records Act?

      In a court filing Friday, not only do attorneys at the Justice Department say that courts can’t review this, but they also argue that when it comes to laws pertaining to government record-keeping, judicial review would be inappropriate even if Trump deleted secret recordings with administration officials or even if his staff purged phone records because they expected to be subpoenaed in connection with various investigations.

      The arguments come in response to a lawsuit from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C.

      In a complaint filed in June, the watchdog group cited the Presidential Records Act and challenged the way Trump and staffers “seek to evade transparency and government accountability” by the alleged use of certain communications practices and by a consolidation of power that allegedly results in records being shielded from other disclosure laws like the Freedom of Information Act. In particular, CREW nodded to news reports that White House staffers were using Signal to send encrypted, disappearing messages as well as resorting to the secret chat app Confide to duck any record preservation. Also mentioning Trump’s famous tweet implying a taped conversation with former FBI Director James Comey and the president’s repeated deletion of social media messages, the plaintiff is asking for injunctive relief compelling Trump and his staff to comply with duties under the Presidential Records Act.

    • New Yorkers Call for Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Removal of Columbus Statue

      More than 50 U.S. cities celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday in place of the federal holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who massacred and enslaved Arawak indigenous people while opening the door to the European colonization of the Americas. In New York City, protesters rallied at a 115-year-old statue of Christopher Columbus near Central Park, calling for its removal and for the city to make the second Monday of each October Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The protest came as the New York Police Department ringed the statue in metal barricades and said it was providing round-the-clock surveillance of the monument. Democracy Now! was there to speak with demonstrators. Special thanks to producer Andre Lewis.

    • New Report Alleges Harvey Weinstein Raped Three Women

      Intensifying the growing outrage aimed at Harvey Weinstein, a feature-length report published by The New Yorker on Tuesday includes accusations by three women who say the famous and politically powerful Hollywood producer “raped them.”

      Detailed in the article—written by Ronan Farrow and entitled “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories“—are the allegations that “include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex” on his victims.

      While a spokesperson for Weinstein released a statement to The New Yorker saying that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied,” Farrow reports that while rumors of the producer’s behavior circulated for years in Hollywood, “[t]oo few women were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories.”

    • From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories

      Since the establishment of the first studios a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. As the co-founder of the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, he helped to reinvent the model for independent films, with movies such as “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Crying Game,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.” Beyond Hollywood, he has exercised his influence as a prolific fund-raiser for Democratic Party candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Weinstein combined a keen eye for promising scripts, directors, and actors with a bullying, even threatening, style of doing business, inspiring both fear and gratitude. His movies have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations, and, at the annual awards ceremonies, he has been thanked more than almost anyone else in movie history, just after Steven Spielberg and right before God.

      For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now—Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her—because she feared that Weinstein would “crush” her. “I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said. “That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old; some of them are older—has never come out.”

    • Harvey Weinstein Tries Every Possible Response To Explosive NY Times Story

      Last week, the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that famed Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (formerly of Miramax and more recently of the Weinstein Company — from which he was fired over the weekend, despite practically begging for his friends to support him) had seriously lawyered up, hiring three high profile lawyers: David Boies, Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder to deal with two apparent stories that were in the works — one from the NY Times and another from the New Yorker (two publications not known for backing down from threats) — about some fairly horrible alleged behavior by Weinstein towards young female actresses, employees and more.

      A day later, the NY Times published its article about Harvey Weinstein and, damn, it’s quite an article. It details multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein against both employees and hopeful actresses — and includes claims of Weinstein having to pay off some of those individuals. The article was not based on a single source, but many sources, including one actress (Ashley Judd) willing to put her name behind the accusations (and just as we were completing this post, the New Yorker published its piece which appears to be more detailed and more damning, with more names and even more horrifying stories about Weinstein). And with the NY Times’ publication, much of the “legal team” leaped into action. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the three lawyers named above, it may help to do a quick review, before we dig in on the myriad (often contradictory) responses we’ve now seen from Weinstein and his legal team over the past few days.

    • Smashing White Supremacy, Building for Black Freedom

      Just 10 short months ago, kneeling in protest to the white national anthem, unapologetic blackness, raised fists, unruly afros, defiantly colored braids and hope that danced in the eyes of shiny brown children were becoming the norm. Players knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick’s sideline protests, stepping into what it means to be a “field Negro,” in the Malcolm X sense of the term.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Advertised broadband speeds should actually be realistic, UK tells ISPs

      The United Kingdom’s telecom regulator, Ofcom, wants to strengthen an industry code that lets Internet customers exit contracts without penalty when broadband providers fall short of their advertised speeds.

      Ofcom’s proposed changes would also improve the accuracy of speed information provided to customers before they sign up for broadband. Ofcom intends to add the new guidelines to its existing codes of practice for residential and business broadband speeds, which already “commit Internet companies who have signed up to them to give customers an estimated range of speeds they are likely to receive, as well as the right to exit their contracts penalty-free if their speed falls below a minimum level.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Roku Shows FBI Warning to Pirate Channel Users

        The popular media player Roku is flashing an FBI anti-piracy warning to users of “pirate” channels, including XTV. After been shown the FBI’s well known anti-piracy seal, users are informed that unauthorized copying is punishable under federal law and that the associated channel was removed.

Battistelli’s Choice (Campinos) Confirmed as New EPO President

Tuesday 10th of October 2017 05:34:08 PM

Munich, 10 October 2017

153rd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 10 and 11 October 2017) – Election

Mr António CAMPINOS elected next EPO President

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, meeting in Munich on 10 October 2017 under the chairmanship of Mr Christoph ERNST (DE), has elected Mr António CAMPINOS to succeed Mr Benoît BATTISTELLI as President of the European Patent Office (EPO). Mr CAMPINOS’ 5-year term will start on 1 July 2018.

A Portuguese national, Mr CAMPINOS is currently Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). He is also a former President of the Portuguese Patent Institute (INPI). In the latter function, he has been for many years the Portuguese representative on the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.

The Administrative Council, made up of the delegations from all member states, is the Organisation’s legislative body. It is responsible for supervising the activities of the Office, approving the budget and appointing senior employees, including the President of the EPO.

The Chairman of the Administrative Council, Mr ERNST, congratulated Mr CAMPINOS on his election: “I am happy that the Council was able to reach a decision today on this very important matter, and to find in Mr CAMPINOS an excellent candidate. With him, I am confident that our Organisation will add another thriving chapter to its continued success story.”

The European Patent Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation set up on the basis of the EPC, which was signed in Munich in 1973 and entered into force on 7 October 1977. The Organisation currently has 38 member states – all of the 28 EU members, plus Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey. Its task is to oversee the granting of European patents under the EPC by the European Patent Office.

With nearly 7 000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Headquartered in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO’s centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 42 countries, covering a market of around 700 million people. The EPO is also the world’s leading authority in patent information and patent searching.

Council Secretariat

[Original]

Judge Cuno Tarfusser Wants to Become the Next EPO President

Tuesday 10th of October 2017 03:40:01 PM

Summary: Latest news from the EPO Administrative Council (AC) meeting, including details about the person who competes with Campinos over Battistelli’s job

THE EPO is about to announce its next President, but as we said earlier on in the afternoon, nothing is final (yet).

We knew that at least one other person had put in an eligible job application. We just didn’t know who that was. Well, Board of Appeal judges would probably be happy to know that it’s a judge, not some politician with barely any experience in the area of patents (that’s what Battistelli was).

“But with Battistelli pulling strings, as always, nepotism might trump sanity.”“According to reports,” a source told us, “the Administrative Council will have a long confidential session this afternoon (Tuesday 10 October). The main topic will be the selection of the new President of the EPO. It is reported that there are two candidates. The one favored by Battistelli is Mr. Campinos. According to inside information, the other candidate is Cuno Jakob Tarfusser whose candidacy has been supported by the Italian delegation.

“Tarfusser is an Italian judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and prior to his appointment to the ICC, he had an extensive legal career in Italy as a prosecutor.

“He comes from the South Tyrol and undertook his legal studies at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and at the University of Padua in Italy.”

Since one of the main issues at the EPO is lawlessness it certainly sounds like Tarfusser would be the more suitable candidate. But with Battistelli pulling strings, as always, nepotism might trump sanity.

Early Reports Suggest That Battistelli’s Policies Will Remain at the EPO (in the Form of Campinos)

Tuesday 10th of October 2017 02:15:19 PM

It seems like the bunch below will indeed govern the Board of Appeal, Office etc.

Summary: Battistelli’s ‘Club Med’ vision is reportedly becoming a reality

THERE’S no major surprise here. We saw that coming and expected that based on rumours from the inside.

Well, published earlier today (in German) by Mathieu Klos and Christina Schulze, who are familiar with EPO affairs (and scandals), is an article about today’s meeting.

“The headline suggests he would be chosen to become the EPO President, but there’s still no official confirmation of it.”Battistelli’s successor, according to them, is EUIPO’s chief Campinos. The headline suggests he would be chosen to become the EPO President, but there’s still no official confirmation of it.

As one anonymous insider put it: “If confirmed, this would be disastrous news for the staff, the Board of Appeal and ultimately the whole patent community.”

For background to this, see the following series:

Got any tips/information? Maybe photos from this afternoon's EPO protest? Please let us know; send us information anonymously.

US Congress Will Likely Stop Native American Tribes From Helping Patent Trolls by Misusing Sovereign Immunity

Tuesday 10th of October 2017 01:57:52 PM

Summary: The US political system, in spite of its many flaws, steps in to defend the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) from the “scam” which is passage of patents to tribes that have nothing to do with these patents (for the sake of immunity/protection from scrutiny)

IT HAS been just over a month since sites — including ours [1, 2, 3] — bemoaned this. Well, that trick or loophole didn’t last long, did it?

A patent trolls expert, Mr. Mullin, who was following this whole affair pretty closely since the very start (although Patently-O had beaten him to it), says that Senator McCaskill called it “[o]ne of the most brazen and absurd loopholes I’ve ever seen.”

Weeks after many of us protested Native Americans’ help to patent trolls it certainly looks like the loophole will be closed. To quote:

Allergan’s move to stop its patents from being reviewed by handing them off to a Native American tribe is winning support from few people outside the drug company. Now one lawmaker is seeking to ban it.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has introduced a bill (PDF) that would head off Allergan’s strategy without waiting to see whether the judges at the Patent Trial and Appeals Board will even approve it.

Mullin’s article does give the impression that there’s momentum and the “scam” (as some sites called it) is on borrowed time.

In the meantime, CCIA writes about “A Bridge To Sovereign Patent Funds”. Yesterday it explained how PTAB helps stop patent trolls/aggression and how the aggressors retreat to the above loophole not just in the US but also in Japan:

Patent trolls are a familiar concept at this point, but a “sovereign patent fund” (SPF) might not be. This isn’t the kind of sovereign I wrote about recently in regard to sovereign immunity. In essence, an SPF is simply a patent assertion entity (PAE) with backing from a national government.

While government-funded companies that create patent portfolios have been around for quite some time, such as South Korea’s ETRI, they typically functioned as operating companies and research institutions first, obtaining patents from their own research, and only secondarily as patent litigators. It’s only over the past few years that the first generation of sovereign patent funds has arisen, acquiring patents from external sources. These SPFs are formed for various reasons, but they all generally have a protectionist bent, focused on protecting local industry and keeping IP in local hands. IP Bridge, a Japanese SPF, openly states that one goal is to “aggregate [patents] and use them, for example, to support domestic1 SMEs [small and medium enterprises].”

So what can you do if a company backed by the resources of an entire foreign government targets you with a patent infringement lawsuit?

You can file a petition for inter partes review.

We wrote about IP Bridge many times before. Their main proponents are sites which favour patent trolls. We last wrote about it less than a week ago and many times earlier this year.

More in Tux Machines

Linux and Graphics: AMD, Linux 4.14 LTS, Etnaviv Gallium3D

  • Linux 4.14 Ensures The "Core Performance Boost" Bit Gets Set For AMD Ryzen CPUs
    Recently making waves in our forums was talk of a kernel patch to address a case where the AMD CPB (Core Performance Boost) isn't being exposed by Ryzen processors. Here's more details on that and some benchmarks. Being talked about recently is f7f3dc0: "CPUID Fn8000_0007_EDX[CPB] is wrongly 0 on models up to B1. But they do support CPB (AMD's Core Performance Boosting cpufreq CPU feature), so fix that."
  • Linus Torvalds Is Confident That Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Will Arrive on November 5
    Development of Linux 4.14, the next LTS (Long Term Support) kernel series, continues with the fifth RC (Release Candidate) milestone, which was announced by Linus Torvalds himself this past weekend. According to Linus Torvalds, things have finally starting to calm down for the development of the Linux 4.14 LTS kernel, and it looks like the RC5 snapshot is smaller than he would have expected, at least smaller than last week's RC4, which is a good thing, meaning that there won't be need for eight RCs during this cycle.
  • Etnaviv Gallium3D Is Almost To OpenGL 2.0 Compliance
    The Etnaviv Gallium3D driver that provides reverse-engineered, open-source graphics support for Vivante graphics hardware is almost to exposing OpenGL 2.0. Etnaviv contributor Christian Gmeiner today posted a set of patches for adding occlusion queries support to the driver. The code at just over one thousand lines of code is the last major feature needed for exposing desktop OpenGL 2.0 capabilities with this community-driven driver.
  • AMD Developers Begin Making Open-Source FreeSync/AdaptiveSync Plans
    While the AMDGPU DC code is expected to land for Linux 4.15 with goodies like Vega display support, HDMI/DP audio, and atomic mode-setting, one of the sought after display features won't be initially supported: FreeSync or the VESA-backed AdaptiveSync. As we've known for a while, while AMDGPU DC fills out the requirements for being able to support FreeSync, the last bits of the implementation are not present as the interfaces are basically yet to be decided among the open-source driver developers. While AMD can post their existing FreeSync code as found in AMDGPU-PRO hybrid driver, they are trying to come up with a more standardized interface that will satisfy the other upstream Linux driver developers too that might want to support AdaptiveSync.

Servers and Red Hat: Cloud Foundry, Docker, CRI-O 1.0, Alibaba and Elasticsearch

  • How to deploy multi-cloud serverless and Cloud Foundry APIs at scale
    Ken Parmelee, who leads the API gateway for IBM and Big Blue’s open source projects, has a few ideas about open-source methods for “attacking” the API and how to create micro-services and make them scale. “Micro-services and APIs are products and we need to be thinking about them that way,” Parmelee says. “As you start to put them up people rely on them as part of their business. That’s a key aspect of what you’re doing in this space.”
  • Docker Opens Up to Support Kubernetes Container Orchestration
    There's been a lot of adoption of Kubernetes in the last few years, and as of Oct. 17 the open-source container orchestration technology has one more supporter. Docker Inc. announced at its DockerCon EU conference here that it is expanding its Docker platform to support Kubernetes. Docker had been directly competing against Kubernetes with its Swarm container orchestration system since 2015. The plan now is to provide a seamless platform that supports a heterogenous deployment that can include both Swarm and Kubernetes clusters. "Docker adapts to you because it's open," Docker founder Solomon Hykes said during his keynote address at DockerCon.
  • Introducing CRI-O 1.0
    Last year, the Kubernetes project introduced its Container Runtime Interface (CRI) -- a plugin interface that gives kubelet (a cluster node agent used to create pods and start containers) the ability to use different OCI-compliant container runtimes, without needing to recompile Kubernetes. Building on that work, the CRI-O project (originally known as OCID) is ready to provide a lightweight runtime for Kubernetes.
  • Red Hat brings its open source solutions to Alibaba Cloud
    Alibaba Cloud has joined the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program, with Red Hat solutions to become directly available to Alibaba Cloud customers in the coming months.
  • Elasticsearch now on Alibaba Cloud, eyes China market
    The Amsterdam-based company behind Elasticsearch and Elastic Stack said the new offering would be available to Alibaba Cloud customers as an add-on, giving them access to real-time search, logging, and data analytics capabilities.

Software: VirtualBox 5.1.30, Cockpit 153, GNOME Mutter 3.27.1, KDE Neon

  • Oracle Releases VirtualBox 5.1.30 to Patch Glibc 2.26 Compile Bug on Linux Hosts
    Oracle released VirtualBox 5.1.30, a minor maintenance update to the open-source and cross-platform virtualization software that addresses a few important issues reported by users from previous versions. Coming one month after the VirtualBox 5.1.28 release, which probably most of you out there use right now on your personal computers, VirtualBox 5.1.30 contains a fix for a Glibc 2.26 compilation bug for Linux hosts and a 3D-related crash for Windows guest that use the Windows Additions package.
  • Cockpit 153
    Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 153.
  • GNOME Mutter 3.27.1 Brings Hybrid GPU Support
    Mutter 3.27.1 has just been released as the first development release for the GNOME 3.28 cycle of this compositor / window manager. The change most interesting to us about Mutter 3.27.1 is support for hybrid GPU systems. The context for the hybrid GPU system support is explained via this bug report, "supporting systems with multiple GPUs connected to their own connectors. A common configuration is laptops with an integrated Intel GPU connected to the panel, and a dedicated Nvidia/AMD GPU connected to the HDMI ports."
  • #KDE #KDENEON Release bonanaza! Frameworks, Plasma, KmyMoney and Digikam

Intel Ads as 'Articles'