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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

AIPLA, IPO and NYIPLA Lobby Against Section 101 and Thomas Massie Wants to Stop PTAB

Saturday 7th of July 2018 07:07:48 PM

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) assures patent quality, as does Section 101, which PTAB is applying

Source: OpenSecrets

Summary: The lobby of the litigation ‘industry’ is desperately trying to derail patent reform — to the point of paying millions of dollars to American politicians who try to pass anti-PTAB legislation (reminder above)

THE US patent system, where courts call the shots and the USPTO just stamps lots of dubious patents, shows quite clearly the result of decades of over-granting. When a patent system loses sight of its original goal/s it may simply become a patent-printing machine and litigation pipeline, detached fully from the image/vision of innovation.

Last weekend we covered in a lengthy post an effort to claim “agreement” that the US needs change because patent reform went “too far”. The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, is speaking of consensus among the patent aggressors, calling “for legislative reform of Section 101″. To quote:

The growing consensus around changing the laws concerning patent eligible subject matter in the US received another boost late last week when the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) backed a joint proposal for reform from the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) and American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) . While changing section 101 of the US patent statute remains a significant challenge given the competing interests of various industries, the fact that several of the main players representing both operating companies and private practice lawyers are coalescing around proposed new language is significant.

Anyone who knows what the above groups stand for would immediately realise that those looking to undermine Section 101 just simply want a lot more litigation. IPO, for instance, is a malicious pressure group of patent aggressors and thugs like patent trolls; it even lobbies for software patents (explicitly); one can think of IPO as the “hired guns” of the patents fanatics and days ago it glorified firms that amass a lot of patents (irrespective of quality).

There’s another effort to change the law these days. Some readers alerted us about it. Michael Loney calls it “Bill to abolish PTAB” and the person behind it receives campaign contributions. $136,602 is the grand total of contributions Thomas Massie has reported in the current election cycle. Here come the patent maximalists promoting the bill. Dennis Crouch echoes the same old propaganda (which he knows to be false). Innovations and patents are not the same thing; the latter can harm the former. “Although libertarians are somewhat divided on the role of intellectual property rights,” he wrote, “Massie is firmly in the camp of treating them as strong property rights.”

Abolishing or weakening PTAB would simply cause further declines in patent quality, not innovation. “How much do patents matter to innovation?”

This was the headline of this new article from Thomas F. Cotter, who is the Briggs and Morgan Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. “I used to ridicule Chief Justice Burger’s assertion in a famous case that whether certain bacteria were patentable,” he said. In context:

Early in my career, I used to ridicule Chief Justice Burger’s assertion in a famous case that whether certain bacteria were patentable or not “may determine whether research efforts are accelerated by the hope of reward or slowed by want of incentives, but that is all.” If patents had only such a marginal impact on innovation, I wondered, why bother having a patent system in the first place? As the years have passed, however, I’ve come to see that maybe the chief was right—that, as Kevin Kelly writes, the technium evolves according to its own unique path and timetable. Perhaps the best the law can do is move it along a little faster or smoother than it otherwise might go. A rather humble mandate, perhaps; but at a time in which humility often seems to be in short supply, a bit refreshing for all that.

No bacteria should be patented. It shows just how out-of-touch the patent system has become.

A few days ago in Finance and Commerce Shobita Parthasarathy (University of Michigan) published an article titled “U.S. patent system out of step with today’s citizens”. He authored a complaint about the patent microcosm, albeit using different terminology:

But the dynamics of the patent system have changed in recent decades. Public health activists have filed lawsuits stating that, rather than increasing access to technology, patents create monopolies that make good health unaffordable and inaccessible for many. In 2013, a coalition of patients, health care professionals and scientists challenged patents covering genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer at the U.S. Supreme Court. They argued the patents had led to expensive and poor-quality genetic tests available only through one company: Myriad Genetics, the patent holder.

Meanwhile, small farmers have organized protests against seed patents, suggesting they accelerate the corporate control of agriculture in ways that are damaging for their livelihoods, for innovation, for consumers and for the ecosystem.

And civil society groups have instigated legislative hearings and media campaigns arguing that patents implicitly provide moral certification for the development and commercialization of ethically controversial areas of research and development. Such campaigns began as early as the 1980s, when environmentalists, animal rights organizations and religious figures challenged the patentability of genetically engineered animals. They worried that by turning these animals into commodities, the patent system would transform people’s understanding of ownership and our relationship with the natural environment.

Patent system officials and lawyers tend to view this activism as seriously misguided. They argue that these citizen challengers lack the expertise to understand how the patent system works: It is a limited domain focused merely on certifying the novelty, inventiveness and utility of inventions. This technical and legal orientation is also embedded in the rules and processes of the system, which make it virtually impossible for average citizens to participate, except by submitting patent applications.

They have long attempted to shut the public out and buy themselves legislation using corruptible (easy-to-bribe) politicians like Orrin Hatch, who also tries to pass new anti-PTAB legislation on behalf of his sponsors.

One Week of António Campinos at the EPO: Early Uncertainty

Saturday 7th of July 2018 12:27:14 PM

Elizabeth Hardon was virtually forced to retire and Patrick Corcoran is reportedly hospitalised (in spite of their innocence)

Summary: António Campinos completes a week’s work at the European Patent Office, but our main concern or reservation is that he is not doing anything to assure staff and stakeholders that the Office takes justice seriously

WE WOULD genuinely anticipate and very honestly like to think that the scandals can be left behind. It would be nice, wouldn’t it? But in order for that to happen we need to observe change and remorse. We haven’t quite seen that yet.

“Unless Patrick Corcoran and Elizabeth Hardon get their jobs back (as difficult as it may be given their frustration), we’re just left assuming that President Campinos has done nothing to restore a sense of justice, let alone justice itself.”Among the many articles posted about Battistelli’s last (and in some sense horrific) week was this Heise report about his attack on justice and attack on the staff union. SUEPO’s translation [PDF] of this article appeared online just before the weekend (in its Web site). Highlighted below are two reminders that the judge is still not back, a SUEPO leader was compelled to end her career (after Battistelli had threatened to take away some of her pension too) and the other two staff representatives have not yet received a sign of reassurance/compliance (with ILO-AT’s rulings) from António Campinos, not to mention other staff representatives who have not yet had their ‘hearings’ (ILO does not offer an opportunity to actually speak). Here is the translation:

Union members of the European Patent Office win claim against dismissal

(Picture: dpa, Frank Leonhardt)

The International Labour Organization has upheld claims by three union members against the European Patent Office. It has suspended demotions and dismissals.

Shortly before the end of his term in office, on 30 June 2018, the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) Benoît Battistelli has had his ears boxed, in public. The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) has found in favour of three leading members of the EPO staff union SUEPO in their claims against the disciplinary measures and dismissals which he imposed. The EPO, as a supranational organization, is not subject to any national law. When it comes to labour law disputes, the ILOAT has exclusive jurisdiction.

With his decisions, Battistelli overrode the findings of the disciplinary commission responsible at the EPO in 2016. The commission only wanted to demote the union executive Ion Brumme within the EPO hierarchy, but the President fired him instead. For the Treasurer of the EPO union, Malika Weaver, the commission imposed a block on promotion for three years, which Battistelli turned into a demotion.

Illegal decisions right from the start

The ILOAT ruled in its decisions 4042 and 4043 that the decisions by the disciplinary commission itself were already illegal. They rested essentially on the accusation that the accused has made “confidential” EPO documents accessible to the public. The ILOAT decisions pointed out that the authorities had not been able to provide any clear definition of
confidentiality. It ruled that both claimants should be reinstated in their appropriate positions, as well as awarding them damages and 5 percent interest on lost salary payments.

In the case of SUEPO chief executive Elizabeth Hardon, likewise fired by Battistelli in 2016, the ILOAT likewise found in favour of the claimant, but she had already agreed with the EPO on early retirement as at 1 July 2018.

Double victory for dismissed judge

The ILOAT has already ruled in favour of a former judge of the EPO Board of Appeal in proceedings at the end of 2017. He had been suspended in a doubtful procedure due to “defamation”. The Tribunal demanded in its decision 3958, among other things, that the judge be allowed with immediate effect to enter the EPO building again, and that he be compensated for the suspension. It ruled that in the proceedings Battistelli had taken decisions regardless of a manifest conflict of interests, and that rules of procedure had been broken. At the same time as the decision by the ILOAT, Munich Regional Court ruled that there were no adequate grounds for suspicion with regard to the criminal charges made against the suspended judge.

Constant conflicts with the staff

During Benoît Battistelli’s term of office, the European Patent Office has constantly been rocked by conflicts between the management and staff. Among other issues, SUEPO has criticised the increasing pressure, which has led to less thorough examination of patent applications. The EPO also imposed unannounced visits by doctors to employees who had reported sick, and installed keyloggers on publicly accessible computers in the service building. (Christian Kirsch) / (ck)

Much has been published and much has been said over the past fortnight. An anonymous comment from “EPO staff is waiting for a CLEAR SIGNAL of change” is worth reproducing. It says a bunch of things about Wednesday:

Mr Campinos yesterday invited each of us to a one-to-one meeting with him to give inputs and ideas on “what can still be improved”. While being positively surprised for such a change of attitude, it will take a VERY long time until we begin to trust a President of the EPO again.

Therefore, I dare posting here a couple of remarks [between square brackets below], sure that they will get to him somehow. In particular, I’ll just comment a few passages of the “Letter of Motivation” that he sent to the EPO when he applied for his post and that it was published on our Intranet yesterday.

“Attracting, training, developing and retaining talent must be at the heart of EPO HR policies, as should be nurturing fairness, gender and nationality balances”.
[Please do ask EPO HR the latest statistics on “attracting, training, developing and retaining” talents. Tell them that you’d like to see the ‘real numbers’]

“The EPO should provide its staff with a clear understanding of its strategic goals, making their contributions more meaningful and thus developing a clear sense of professional purpose”.
[Good point. For the time being we have no idea what the “strategic goal” and the “professional purpose” of firing out grants and running out of dossiers in most of the technical fields might have been]

“Merit must be rewarded and celebrated”
[Only the high-producers are rewarded. And nobody knows who they are].

“Team work, and teleworking, where appropriate, should be developed”
[Teamworking is dead. Teleworking is seen as a relief from seeing colleagues against which you have been obliged to compete in the same rat race].

“Managers should be called upon to improve their communication skills, and through communication, ensure a better alignment within the organisation”.
[Examiners have even become afraid of their directors. There are no directorate meetings anymore. All available time is to be devoted uniquely to ‘production’].

“Social dialogue must be renewed and tensions eased, through the development of a culture that favours compromise, not losing sight of the EPO’s long term sustainability”. To this extent, I am sincerely committed to reach and hold common ground with the EPO’s social partners”.
[Yes! This is the way to go. Good luck Mr President]

I’d like to conclude with the last words he pronounced on his presentation video, made available yesterday as well: “If we are work together we can shape an EPO we are all proud of”

Unless Patrick Corcoran and Elizabeth Hardon get their jobs back (as difficult as it may be given their frustration), we’re just left assuming that President Campinos has done nothing to restore a sense of justice, let alone justice itself. Moreover, we have not yet seen any evidence of SUEPO regaining confidence to speak out freely, SUEPO’s representatives being compensated/reinstated, and others like Prunier being invited back to their job (even without ILO-AT getting involved, which can take a year if not years).

“It’s just a PR/face change fronting for Team Battistelli.”When Campinos came, a week after the rulings from ILO-AT, we actually thought — not just hoped — that he would openly make peace with SUEPO. Instead, all we have seen from Campinos is UPC lobbying, accompanied by a press release full of lies and a ‘blog’ post (Battistelli’s ‘blog’). So we’re not so hopeful and not even cautiously optimistic ahead of his second week. What a disappointment; a man of words, not of deeds. It’s just a PR/face change fronting for Team Battistelli.

Links 6/7/2018: New GIMP and Elisa

Friday 6th of July 2018 04:43:35 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
    • How the Kubernetes Release Process is Different Than Other Open Source Projects

      The Kubernetes 1.11 release became generally available on June 27, providing users of the container orchestration with multiple new features and continued performance improvements.

      While Kubernetes releases were originally all led by Google staffers, that has changed in the last two years, with a rigous release management Special Interest Group (SIG) that has mandated that there be a new leader for each release. For the 1.11 release, the role of release lead was held by Red Hat’s Josh Berkus, who is well known in the open-source community for his work helping to lead PostgreSQL database releases.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Removing Support for Dead Hardware

      Linus Torvalds had no objection to ripping those architectures out of the kernel, but he did say, “I’d like to see that each architecture removal is independent of the others, so that if somebody wants to resurrect any particular architecture, he/she can do so with a revert.”

      Linus pulled the patch into the main kernel tree and noted with glee that it took a half-million lines of code out of the kernel.

      Linus was not the only one who wanted to ensure the possibility of easily resurrecting those architectures. Geert Uytterhoeven wanted to know exactly what would be required, since he had an interest in the formerly removed and later resurrected arch/h8300 architecture, currently still in the kernel and going strong. And he pointed out, “In reality, a resurrection may not be implemented as a pure revert, but as the addition of a new architecture, implemented using modern features.”

      To which Pavel Machek complained, “By insisting on new features instead of pure revert + incremental updates, you pretty much make sure resurrection will not be possible.”

    • What Is the Best Way to Contribute to The Linux Kernel?

      A person who isn’t much of a computer literate wouldn’t know that the kernel is a fundamental part of any OS. It is so far removed from the surface apps that the closest you could get to it from a typical app on your machine is configuring network protocols and/or installing driver software. As a matter of fact, only programmers typically deal with kernels directly.

      To paint a perfect picture, the kernel is to a computer what an engine is to a car. You as what the best way to contribute to the Linux kernel is? I don’t know. I’m not an authority on kernels, but I sure do have some suggestions you may find useful.

    • Linux Foundation
      • New Training Options Address Demand for Blockchain Skills

        Blockchain technology is transforming industries and bringing new levels of trust to contracts, payment processing, asset protection, and supply chain management. Blockchain-related jobs are the second-fastest growing in today’s labor market, according to TechCrunch. But, as in the rapidly expanding field of artificial intelligence, there is a pronounced blockchain skills gap and a need for expert training resources.


        The Linux Foundation is steward to many valuable blockchain resources and includes some notable community members. In fact, a recent New York Times article — “The People Leading the Blockchain Revolution” — named Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, one of the top influential voices in the blockchain world.

      • Why You’re Choosing a Multi-Platform Approach, According to Our Research

        As Executive Director of an open source foundation, it’s my responsibility to have a clear picture of where we, as an industry, are headed. That’s why we conduct several global perception studies each year with IT decision makers around the world — from India to China — from Bulgaria to New York City. Our discussions with hundreds of developers, operators, IT managers and Line of Business leaders give me profound insight into the strategies being utilized at enterprises across the globe.

        Our most recent research reveals that enterprises are more broadly employing a multi-platform strategy — in other words, they are using different cloud-native technologies in tandem to meet their unique and evolving needs. I was not surprised to see this, given this has been a recurring theme from enterprises around the globe. After all, cloud-native platforms like PaaS, containers, and serverless are designed to function together, with agility and flexibility.

      • A First Look at the Helm 3 Plan

        Earlier this month, Helm moved from a top-level Kubernetes project to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The CNCF is becoming the parent foundation for best-of-breed open source, cloud-native tools. It is a huge honor for Helm to become part of this organization. And our first big project under the auspices of CNCF is no small undertaking—We are building Helm 3.

      • Containers Break the Shared Responsibility Model Between Cloud Providers and Ops

        The Container Network Interface (CNI), a Cloud Native Computing Foundation project, consists of a specification and libraries for writing plugins to configure network interfaces in Linux containers. The framework concerns itself only with network connectivity of containers and is heavily used in containerized deployments. There are multiple CNI plugins supported by Kubernetes, Docker, and anything that uses Docker networking to orchestrate container networking.

      • Free Open Source Guides Offer Practical Advice for Building Leadership

        How important is leadership for evolving open source projects and communities? According to the most recent Open Source Guide for the Enterprise from The Linux Foundation and the TODO Group, building leadership in the community is key to establishing trust, enabling collaboration, and fostering the cultural understanding required to be effective in open source.

        The new Building Leadership in an Open Source Community guide provides practical advice that can help organizations build leadership and influence within open source projects.

        “Contributing code is just one aspect of creating a successful open source project,” says this Linux Foundation article introducing the latest guide. “The open source culture is fundamentally collaborative, and active involvement in shaping a project’s direction is equally important. The path toward leadership is not always straightforward, however, so the latest Open Source Guide for the Enterprise from The TODO Group provides practical advice for building leadership in open source projects and communities.”

    • Graphics Stack
      • More AMDGPU DRM Updates Sent In For The Linux 4.19 Kernel, Possible Power Savings

        Towards the end of June an initial batch of AMDGPU updates were sent in to DRM-Next for targeting the Linux 4.19 kernel. Now a second round of updates have been submitted of the AMDGPU/Radeon kernel for this next kernel series.

        This latest round of feature updates include making use of DRM core PCI Express (PCI-E) functionality rather than duplicating this PCI-E Gen/Lanes code, scheduler clean-ups, improved code documentation, reworking DC/PowerPlay interfaces in an effort to improve power-savings, initial stutter mode support for the Raven Ridge hardware as another power-savings feature, various PowerPlay updates for Vega 12, and fixes to the “GFXOFF” support that allow for shutting down the graphics engine when not needed.

      • AMDKFD Looking To Be Merged Into AMDGPU Linux DRM Kernel Driver

        While “AMDGPU” is often what is talked about when it comes to the Radeon graphics driver code within the Linux kernel with it being the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver for AMD GCN graphics cards and newer, there is also the AMDKFD kernel driver that plays a vital role for compute support.

        AMDKFD is the AMD Kernel Fusion Driver (dating back to the days of AMD “Fusion”) that is basically the AMD HSA compute driver within the kernel. AMDKFD is needed to work with the user-space ROCm/OpenCL compute components and in recent kernel releases is working out well just not for AMD APUs but also the discrete graphics cards. After relying upon out-of-tree kernel code for a while to get good compute support going, with Linux 4.17~4.18, things are looking bright.

      • wayland-protocols 1.15

        wayland-protocols 1.15 is now available.

        This version includes a new unstable protocol that enables clients to allow the compositor to draw window decorations.

      • Wayland-Protocols 1.15 Adds XDG-Decoration Protocol For Server-Side Window Decorations

        Wayland-Protocols 1.15 has been released that introduces the new (unstable) XDG-Decoration protocol for drawing window decorations with Wayland.

        The XDG-Decoration protocol is responsible for negotiating server-side rendering of window decorations for XDG top-level windows. By using this protocol, it provides a standardized way for Wayland compositors to draw window decorations and to send the preference to the clients. Clients can request server-side decorations with this protocol, which is based upon the server-side decoration work done so far by the KDE and Sway groups.

      • Maxwell & Newer Now Support Multi-Sampled Images For Nouveau NVC0

        The latest feature addition to the Nouveau Gallium3D driver is now supporting multi-sampled images for Maxwell graphics processors and newer.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • 0.2 Release of Elisa

        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

      • KDE Elisa 0.2 Released For Improving The Music Experience On The Plasma Desktop

        Elisa 0.2 is now available as the second release for this Qt/KDE Plasma focused open-source music player.

        Back in April was the Elisa 0.1 release while out today is Elisa 0.2, which continues working on adding more features to this music player. Elisa 0.2 adds new music browsing views, user-interface improvements, general performance improvements, MPRIS2 support improvements, cover image handling enhancements, and various other additions.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Testbit is going static

        I’ve always felt at odds with the fact that I’m not able to use the same facilities for blog post creation as for programming. Looking back at my old posts, I’ve actually started out in 2005 with a command line tool that allowed me to easily upload simple text passages for planet aggregation.

        I later started running my own WordPress instance with full fledged online editing which turned out to be fairly entertaining in the beginning. But I never went back to produce posts as frequently as was the case when I had my command line tool.

        These days, any content I’m working on needs to be tracked in a local Git repository. I want to diff, merge, rebase changes and edit things in-place in Emacs and a terminal. Not being able to utilize my familiar editing environment has really thwarted my efforts to blog even semi-regularly.

        For the above and a plethora of other reasons, I’ve long wanted to move away from venerable WordPress and any kind of dynamic website management, that includes the Mediawiki instance that used to be hosted on Testbit. Both served a role at some point, but lately the Wiki became more of an archive for old works and the blog felt more and more like a maintenance burden and writing block.

      • Segregating views

        For a long time now Games has had a very basic UI, displaying only a collection of games. Having already had added the developer key to Games, I chose to add a developer view, displaying collection of games by developer. Along with the developer view a platform view was also added to display collection of games by platforms. A GtkStackSwitcher was added to the header bat to easily navigate between these views.

  • Distributions
    • Test 100+ Linux And Unix Operating Systems Online For Free

      A while ago, we have covered about OSBoxes, a website that offers a collection of free, ready-to-use Linux and Unix VMs. You can download and try them on your Linux system using VirtualBox or VMWare workstation. Today, I stumbled upon a similar service named “DistroTest”. Unlike OSBoxes, DistroTest allows you to try the live Linux and Unix operating systems for free. You can test 100+ Linux and Unix operating systems online without having to install them locally. Just visit the website, choose the Linux/Unix distro of your choice and fire it up!

      Two good Samaritans named Andy Klemann and Tobias Forster have hosted this web service using Debian using Qemu. There is no restrictions to use the public distros listed here. You can use all functions of the system as the way you do in your local system. You can install and uninstall software. You can test installed programs and
      even delete or format the hard disk or system files. In a nutshell, DistoTest lets the distro hoppers to decide,

    • Reviews
      • First impressions of PureOS

        Because it’s GNOME, the desktop was immediately familiar to me. I’ve been a GNOME user for a long time, and I work with GNOME in testing usability of new features. So the GNOME desktop was a definite plus for me.

        It’s not a stock GNOME, however. PureOS uses a custom theme that doesn’t use the same colors as a stock GNOME. GNOME doesn’t use color very often, but I noticed this right away in the file manager. Clicking on a navigation item highlights it in a sort of rust color, instead of the usual blue.

    • New Releases
      • Robolinux Lets You Easily Run Linux and Windows Without Dual Booting

        The number of Linux distributions available just keeps getting bigger. In fact, in the time it took me to write this sentence, another one may have appeared on the market. Many Linux flavors have trouble standing out in this crowd, and some are just a different combination of puzzle pieces joined to form something new: An Ubuntu base with a KDE desktop environment. A Debian base with an Xfce desktop. The combinations go on and on.

        Robolinux, however, does something unique. It’s the only distro, to my knowledge, that makes working with Windows alongside Linux a little easier for the typical user. With just a few clicks, it lets you create a Windows virtual machine (by way of VirtualBox) that can run side by side with Linux. No more dual booting. With this process, you can have Windows XP, Windows 7, or Windows 10 up and running with ease.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • OpenMandriva Lx 4 Launching Soon with KDE Plasma 5.13, GCC 8.1, and Linux 4.18

        The team announced some of the upcoming features that users should expect from the final OpenMandriva Lx 4 release, which should be launched sometime this summer or early this fall. Being a KDE-oriented distro, OpenMandriva Lx 4 will feature the latest KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment by default.

        Of course, it will ship with the most recent point release of the KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment, which will be accompanied by the latest KDE Applications 18.04.3 software suite, due for release on July 12, 2018, as well as the KDE Frameworks 5.48.0 software suite, which is expected to land at the end of next, probably on July 14.

    • Arch Family
      • Anarchy Linux – A User-Friendly Alternative to Arch Linux

        Anarchy Linux, compared to other Linux distributions like Manjaro and Antergos because it is actually NOT a Linux distribution.

        Anarchy Linux is a free and open source package containing a set of automated scripts designed to facilitate the easier installation and configuration setup of Arch Linux.

        To define Anarchy Linux in the simplest of terms, it’s an Arch Linux wrapper and it offers users a close replica of an Arch Linux experience since that is what it runs under the hood.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Reinforces Commitment to Asia Pacific Partner Ecosystem
      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora 28 KDE – Call the doctor, it’s not feeling well

          I didn’t get to test a lot of things – apps, hardware compatibility, performance, whatnot, but then, there’s really no reason to persist. This is a failing distro, like so many others released recently. No validation, no care, nothing. Just random code. A lackluster showing with no pride or passion or quality. Fedora 28 KDE did give me media playback, but that’s about the only thing that worked fine. The rest was all broken. Customization wasn’t smooth, the fonts are meh, no smartphone support, mediocre network support, and then, a dead desktop after trying to install Nvidia drivers the same way that worked just fine in Fedora 27. Madness.

          If you want to use Fedora for some reason, the Gnome edition is better, but it’s still a rather average product and not suitable for day-to-say use. A steady decline since version 25, and I’m 100% sure this is all the result of the carefree approach to software development, the rapid release mania and the total disregard to validation and user needs. This one is a total flop. And I’ve just wasted a day and a half of my life. We’re done.

        • Call for Fedora Women’s Day 2018 proposals

          Fedora Women’s Day (FWD) is a day to celebrate and bring visibility to female contributors in open source projects including Fedora. The initiative is led by Fedora’s Diversity and Inclusion team. The call for proposals for event organizers is now open until Thursday, 16 August 2018!

          During September, in collaboration with other members of different open source communities including Fedora, women in tech groups or hacker spaces, we plan to organize talks, workshops and meetups around the world. These events highlight and celebrate the women in open source communities like Fedora and their invaluable contributions to their projects and community. They also give a good opportunity for women to learn about free and open source software and jump-start their journey in open source as a user or a contributor. They also give a platform for women to connect, learn and be inspired by other women in open source communities and beyond.

    • Debian Family
      • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in June 2018

        This month I accepted 166 packages and rejected only 7 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 216.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Outs Major Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Linux OSes

            Canonical released new kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems to address multiple security vulnerabilities discovered by various researchers.

            The new Linux kernel updates are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), as well as Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series and they fix a total of 22 security vulnerabilities across all Ubuntu Linux releases.

            One of the most important issues fixed is an information leak vulnerability tagged as CVE-2018-7755 and discovered in Linux kernel’s floppy driver, which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information (kernel memory). This issue affected Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 17.10, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

          • Launchpad news, June 2018

            Here’s a brief changelog for this month.

          • Make your Snap store page pop!

            When you publish a Snap you want to grab the attention of as many users as possible. The Snap Advocacy team regularly review high quality, new and interesting Snaps published in the store so that we can feature them in Editor’s Picks, blog about them here or promote them via social campaigns using the @snapcraftio and @ubuntu Twitter accounts. As a side note, if you’d like to stay informed of new developments in Snapcraft and Ubuntu then give both those accounts a follow.

            After you’ve tested the Snap and happy it works as intended, here are 6 things you can do to make the Snap store listing really pop and significantly increase the likelihood that the application will get noticed and widely used. Log into your Snapcraft account and take your store listing to the next level!

          • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) Will Reach End of Life on July 19, 2018

            Released on October 19, 2017, Ubuntu 17.10 was dubbed Artful Aardvark by Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth and was the first Ubuntu release to ship with the GNOME desktop environment by default after using Canonical’s Unity user interface for more than six years, since the release of Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal).

            Ubuntu 17.10 also marked the discontinuation of the Ubuntu GNOME flavor now that the main edition shipped with the GNOME desktop environment by default, and it was also the first to switch to the next-generation Wayland display server by default instead of X.Org Server, a decision that was withdrawn with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Wallpaper Contest Is Now Open for Entries

            The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase is now officially open for submissions in an attempt to gather the best and most colorful images from talented photographers and artists from all over the world, which will be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating system, due for release on October 18, 2018.

            “Careful consideration will expose an extraordinary quirk: chromatic changes facilitate a unique mechanism for communication. They change the color of their skin to send communiqués. This codename should encourage wacky and eccentric, but unique and colorful images we can ship in October,” said Nathan Haines.

          • Canonical Fixes Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Regression Causing Boot Failures on AMD PCs

            Last month, on June 20, 2018, Canonical released an AMD microcode firmware update for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating systems to address the well-known Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerability.

            Unearthed by Jann Horn of Google Project Zero, the Spectre security flaw revealed the fact that devices powered by modern processors using branch prediction and speculative execution may allow local attackers to expose sensitive information, including kernel memory, by reading the memory via so-called side-channel attacks.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • This Week in Lubuntu Development #6

              As announced on Episode 73 of the Ask Noah Show, Lubuntu is working with Altispeed Technologies to provide commercial support for users and organizations who need more support than our existing channels offer. More details will be provided in the future as the infrastructure for this is established.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Wallabag: An open source alternative to Pocket

    The biggest change took place behind the scenes. Wallabag’s developer Nicolas Lœuillet and the project’s contributors did a lot of tinkering with the code, which improved the application. You see and feel the changes wrought by wallabag’s newer codebase every time you use it.

    So what are some of those changes? There are quite a few. Here are the ones I found most interesting and useful.

    Besides making wallabag a bit snappier and more stable, the application’s ability to import and export content has improved. You can import articles from Pocket and Instapaper, as well as articles marked as “To read” in bookmarking service Pinboard. You can also import Firefox and Chrome bookmarks.

  • Open source plays vital role in scientific advances

    While the open source movement initially came into being as a way to “democratise” software development, it is now playing an increasingly important role in the development of cutting edge technologies in a wide range of non-IT fields, including medicine and science.

    For example, researchers from Chile, who have just been awarded the 2018 PLOS Open Source Toolkit Channel Prize, relied heavily on open source software and hardware for the development of a low-cost fluorescent imaging system.

    This system can be used in a wide range of fields including laboratory medicine, pharmacology, environmental biology and molecular biology to image assays. It could also be used in an educational environment for the teaching of biology.

  • SD Times Open Source Project of the Week: Indico Enso

    Enterprise AI company Indico wants to give back to the open-source community that it says has helped their technology develop with the release of this week’s highlighted open-source project. Indico’s Enso Python library is an open-source codebase designed to standardize a way to test transfer learning techniques for training natural language processing models.

    While transfer learning, which utilizes knowledge gained from prior machine-learning tasks to speed up later tasks, has proven successful in computer vision and image classification applications, greatly reducing the number of images needed to make subsequent identifications, Indico says that the technique is greatly unproven for natural language processing.

  • Selecting the Right Service Virtualization Tool

    Open source tools are generally adopted in a bottom-up manner: they’re downloaded and experimented with by a developer or development team and, when successful, might slowly be adopted by a larger audience within the organization

  • Cloud Native Machine Learning And AI
  • Decentralized AI-Powered Trust Alliance DATA Open Source Set to Battle Fraud

    DATA is a blockchain based digital data authentication protocol powered by AI & P2P mobile storage infrastructure. The project is devised to address the root of the fraud at its core. It evaluates the credibility of endpoints through blockchain, big data and AI technologies to provide technical solutions for endpoint-level data quality assessment and data fraud. The DATA platform applies a reward system to incentivize end users with their attention contribution and to publishers with pruning their sell-side inventory.

    DATA’s aim is to build a Data Trust Alliance with crucial partners in the digital ecosystem to develop and operate a standard protocol for quality assessment of endpoint data similar to the ISO certification system, which will reduce the inefficiency and high cost in the upstream and downstream of the industry chain due to the lack of trust in digital advertising, financial technology and other industries.

  • DATA Open Source Explained by Dr. Eric Li

    DATA is a blockchain based digital data authentication protocol. The project evaluates the credibility of endpoints through blockchain, big data and AI technologies to provide technical solutions for endpoint-level data quality assessment and data fraud. The DATA project is dedicated to solving data fraud, the lack of trust, the inefficiency of cooperation, the waste of ecological resources, and the uneven distribution of value in the global digital ecosystem through blockchain technology. Through endpoint-level data credibility assessment, DATA hopes to address data traceability, validation incentives, and quality control issues. DATA’s vision is to build a Data Trust Alliance with crucial partners in the digital ecosystem to develop and operate a standard protocol for quality assessment of endpoint data similar to the ISO certification system to reduce the inefficiency and high cost in the upstream and downstream of the industry chain due to the lack of trust in digital advertising, financial technology and other industries. At present, the project has reached strategic collaborations with BlueFocus, Kochava and many other well-known companies in the world.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • FirefoxOS, A keyboard and prediction: Story of my first contribution
      • Extensions in Firefox 62

        Last week Firefox 62 moved into the Beta channel. This version has fewer additions and changes to the WebExtensions API than the last several releases. Part of that is due to the maturing nature of the API as we get farther away from the WebExtension API cutover back in release 57, now over seven months ago. Part of it was a focus on cleaning up some internal features — code changes that increase the maintainability of Firefox but are not visible to external developers. And, let’s be honest, part of it is the arrival of summer in the Northern hemisphere, resulting in happy people taking time to enjoy life outside of browser development.

      • A Vision for Engineering Workflow at Mozilla (Part Two)

        In my last post I touched on the history and mission of the Engineering Workflow team, and I went into some of the challenges the team faces, which informed the creation of the team’s vision. In this post I’ll go into the vision itself.

      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day (old post)
      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
      • When do All Firefox Users Update?

        Last time we talked about updates I wrote about all of what goes into an individual Firefox user’s ability to update to a new release. We looked into how often Firefox checks for updates, and how we sometimes lie and say that there isn’t an update even after release day.

      • The Best Firefox Extensions for Managing Tabs

        Frequent crashes, slow performance, and not being able to find the tab you’re looking for—we’ve all been there. Here are some of the best Firefox extensions for helping you manage tab overload.

        Generally, we don’t recommend using any extensions you don’t have to—they can be a privacy nightmare. But until makers of browsers build in some better tab management solutions, we tab hoarders have to rely on extensions to keep us sane. We’ve rounded up some of the best extensions for managing tabs in Firefox. And, while there are a ton of these extensions out there (and everyone has their favorites), we’ve tried to keep our list to well-regarded extensions without reported privacy issues.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice and Plasma

      At KDAB, we know that consistency is an important aspect of the User Experience – users don’t want to have to learn different ways to achieve the same thing. In the Linux world, there is a major structural pitfall to this: the applications written for Linux come in at least two major technologies – Qt and GTK. Each of these frameworks deeply influences the experience the user has, and in different ways. As you’d expect, the frameworks have their own helper-dialogs e.g. to open or save a file or for printing. This can make it confusing for users, when the apps they use don’t show the same helper-dialogs for common actions.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • GIMP 2.10.4 Released

      The latest update of GIMP’s new stable series delivers bugfixes, simple horizon straightening, async fonts loading, fonts tagging, and more new features.

    • Image Editor GIMP 2.10.4 Brings Async Fonts Loading, Simple Horizon Straightening

      GIMP, the free and open source raster graphics editor, was updated to version 2.10.4. With this release, the image editor includes async fonts loading, simple horizon straightening, and more.

      With GIMP 2.10.4, fonts are loaded asynchronous, which results in a much faster startup time. As a result of this change, some fonts may not be ready when GIMP starts so if you want to use the text tool as soon as the GIMP window shows up, some fonts may not be available. GIMP lets you know if that’s the case though. Non-text related activities can be performed right away.

      Another change in this GIMP release is the addition of a (auto) Straighten button in the Measure tool settings dialog:

    • GIMP masks font downloads, adds horizon fix in new build

      As the US partied and the UK made increasingly desperate “well, we dumped YOU” jokes, the GIMP team celebrated 4 July by emitting a fresh stable build of the arty application with a function aimed at fixing drunken photos.

      The latest stable release of GIMP (2.10.4) sees the introduction of the nifty Straighten button as part of the Measure tool, which will automatically rotate an image after the user has measured just how wonky the horizon ended up after a particularly spirited photo session.

      Other features in the release include a potential end to staring at a screen during start-up while a seemingly endless parade of fonts load. GIMP now loads the things in a parallel process (the only question is why it took so long for this feature to make an appearance,) along with tagging of fonts and some widgets to show how GIMP is using computer memory. Or leaking, as the case may be.

    • GIMP 2.10.4 Released with Faster Start Up Times, Auto-Straighten Tool

      GIMP 2.10.4 is the fourth minor release of the editor since the GIMP 2.10 arrived back in May and is packed with major improvements.


      Another font-related change in this release is the ability to tag fonts in the same manner as gradients, brushes and patterns.

      As mentioned, I have a tonne of fonts on my system (I make a lot of banners and graphics for this site, and don’t like things to look “samey”) and font tagging allow me to label them based on style or tone, e.g., “comic book”, “thin”, “official company fonts”, for faster finding later.

    • GNU Guix/GuixSD 0.15 Released, Closing In On v1.0

      GNU Guix 0.15 is out today as the latest feature update to this transactional package manager and is joined by an updated Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) release too as the GNU Linux-libre distribution built around it.

      The Guix 0.15 package manager update overhauls/improvements many common sub-commands, introduces some new user options, and more. The Guix Daemon also now supports ARMv7 builds from an AArch64 host, ships with an SELinux policy, and has various other updates.

    • GNU Guix and GuixSD 0.15.0 released

      We are pleased to announce the new release of GNU Guix and GuixSD, version 0.15.0! This release brings us close to what we wanted to have for 1.0, so it’s probably one of the last zero-dot-something releases.

      The release comes with GuixSD ISO-9660 installation images, a virtual machine image of GuixSD, and with tarballs to install the package manager on top of your GNU/Linux distro, either from source or from binaries.GNU Guix and GuixSD 0.15.0 released

    • Glibc 2.28 Adds Unicode 11.0 Support, RenameAt2

      In addition to working on statx() for glibc, landing in the GNU C Library this week was Unicode 11.0 support along with a renameat2() function.

      First up, Unicode 11.0 is now supported by Glibc. Unicode 11.0 was released last month with new emojis (66 new ones in total), 684 new code points, and more.

  • Public Services/Government
    • SF’s open-source voting effort mired in indecision

      Indecision around San Francisco’s open-source voting project has kept it in “a state of hypothetical exploration for the better part of a decade,” according to a new civil grand jury report.

      The City’s vision for becoming the first to launch an open source voting system has suffered from having those involved in the effort scattered throughout multiple city departments and not all aligned as well as “most critically, there is not a clear project owner,” the San Francisco Open Source Voting civil grand jury report said.

      “San Francisco has taken a decade to debate and assess the value of open source voting. If this project continues, in ten more years, San Francisco will either have created new critical democratic infrastructure or will have wasted taxpayer dollars by perpetually planning for an unrealized future,” the report, released June 29, said. “What separates these two scenarios is strategic multilateral partnerships, open source best practices and culture, and strong commitment under unambiguous ownership.”

  • Licensing/Legal
    • D-Link and the GPL

      It tells me to go to D-Link’s page for GPL licensed software to get the source code. It also lets me write a request the source code on physical media for a nominal fee for the media and handling. Something I naturally did (being an engineer on vacation).

      While waiting for a reply, let’s have a look at the online version. When entering the URL provided you have to click through an agreement that I understand what GPL and LGPL means and that the files distributed comes with no warranties (they spend more words saying this – read it if you want the details). Clicking “I Agree” I get a popup (back to the 90’s) asking me to register my product to enjoy all the benefits of doing so. At the same time the main window continues to a list of all D-Link products containing (L)GPL software – very nice.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • Reply: open data is ‘intellectual infrastructure’

        According to Jason Hill, Executive Partner from Reply, open data is as it sounds – open and accessible data that is available to anyone.

        Hill further states that open data must be interoperable so it can be shared, adapted and reused with other datasets.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Open Source DIY Printers are Alive and Well: What We Saw At ERRF 18

        If you follow the desktop 3D printer market, it probably won’t surprise you to hear that nearly every 3D printer on display at the inaugural East Coast RepRap Festival (ERRF) was made in China. Even Printrbot CEO Brook Drumm had to admit that this was the year his company may finally bite the bullet and begin selling a branded and customized printer built overseas.

  • Programming/Development
    • PHP 7.3.0 alpha 3 Released

      The PHP team is glad to announce the release of the third PHP 7.3.0 version, PHP 7.3.0 Alpha 3. The rough outline of the PHP 7.3 release cycle is specified in the PHP Wiki.

      For source downloads of PHP 7.3.0 Alpha 3 please visit the download page. Windows sources and binaries can be found on

      Please carefully test this version and report any issues found in the bug reporting system.

    • PHP 7.3 Alpha 3 Released

      The third alpha of this year’s PHP7 update, PHP 7.3, is now available for evaluation.

      PHP 7.3 has been crafting improved PHP garbage collection, WebP support within the image create from string function, and a variety of other features and improvements. PHP 7.3 is looking very good in early benchmarks.

      PHP 7.3 Alpha 3 introduces a lot of bug fixes from core PHP to various extensions, min_proto_version/max_proto_version options added to OpenSSL for maximum/minimum TLS version protocol values, and various other code improvements.

    • My First Clang Bug

      Part of the role of being a packager is compiling lots (and lots) of packages. That means compiling lots of code from interesting places and in a variety of styles. In my opinion, being a good packager also means providing feedback to upstream when things are bad. That means filing upstream bugs when possible, and upstreaming patches.

      One of the “exciting” moments in packaging is when tools change. So each and every major CMake update is an exercise in recompiling 2400 or more packages and adjusting bits and pieces. When a software project was last released in 2013, adjusting it to modern tools can become quite a chore (e.g. Squid Report Generator). CMake is excellent for maintaining backwards compatibility, generally accomodating old software with new policies. The most recent 3.12 release candidate had three issues filed from the FreeBSD side, all from fallout with older software. I consider the hours put into good bug reports, part of being a good citizen of the Free Software world.

  • The Death Of Google Reader And The Rise Of Silos

    I’ve been talking a lot lately about the unfortunate shift of the web from being more decentralized to being about a few giant silos and I expect to have plenty more to say on the topic in the near future. But I’m thinking about this again after Andy Baio reminded me that this past weekend was five years since Google turned off Google Reader. Though, as he notes, Google’s own awful decision making created the diminished use that allowed Google to justify shutting it down.

  • Hardware
    • Intel halts 5G modem work after Apple decides not to use it

      Apple has reportedly notified processor giant Intel that it will not be using the latter’s 5G modems in its 2020 mobile devices, leading to a halt in production of the same.

    • Apple Passes Over Intel in Search for 5G Chips for the iPhone

      Intel will not provide 5G modems for Apple’s 2020 mobile devices, according to internal company communications reviewed by Calcalist, and people familiar with the matter. Apple has notified Intel it would not use a mobile modem developed by the chipmaker in its next-generation mobile device, Intel executives said in the communications. Further development of the modem component internally called “Sunny Peak” has been halted and the Intel team that’s working on the product will be redirected to other efforts, the executives said.

    • Intel ‘halts production’ of 5G modems following Apple’s 2020 iPhone snub

      In the leaked comms, Intel execs say that, as a result of Apple’s plans not to use its chips for its 2020 iDevice lineup, the company has stopped development of its 5G modem – codenamed Sunny Peak – given that Apple was expected to be the “main volume driver” for the chip.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • UN Urged To Emphasize Health Over Profit At Upcoming UN High-Level Meeting On NCDs

      The High-Level Meeting on NCDs will be held at the UN in New York on 27 September. Member state negotiations are currently taking place over the “Zero Draft” of the High-Level Political Declaration on NCDs.

      “The zero draft … will be the subject of intense negotiations with countries adding and deleting text over the next four weeks,” according to a statement by United For Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT), one of the signatories of the letter.

      “UACT is appalled that the draft UN political declaration on non-communicable diseases makes no reference to the soaring prices for cancer medications – prices that are unsustainable even for wealthy countries,” Manon Anne Ress, founder and director of UACT, said in the statement.

    • Senators Ask FTC to Investigate Biosimilar Litigation Settlement Agreement

      The high cost of biologic drugs was one of the (if not the) most compelling motivations for Congress to adopt a biosimilar pathway as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 (aka “Obamacare”). Passage of the Biologic Price Control and Innovation Act (BPCIA, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 262(k)) created for the first time a pathway for FDA approval of biosimilar drugs in the U.S. But from the beginning there have been grumblings, particularly regarding the term of the data exclusivity period (see “Congress Jumps on Bandwagon to Reduce Biologic Drug Exclusivity Term”; “President’s Latest Budget Proposal Seeks Decrease of Data Exclusivity Period and Elimination of Pay-for-Delay Agreements”; “Senators Send Letter on Biosimilars to FDA”; “Senators Back 12-Year Data Exclusivity Period for Biosimilars and President Obama (Once Again) Does Not”; and “President’s Latest Budget Proposal Seeks Decrease of Data Exclusivity Period and Elimination of Pay-for-Delay Agreements”). As biosimilar applicants have utilized the FDA’s implementation of the abbreviated biologics license application (aBLA) pathway, and parties and the courts have begun to work out the litigation provisions of the Act (42 U.S.C. § 262(l)), the question of settlement of such litigation has arisen. As mentioned in a recent roundup of the biosimilar landscape (see “Status of U.S. Biosimilar Approvals and Pending Applications”), there have been several biosimilar patent litigations that have settled or been avoided by licenses between branded biologic drug makers (termed “reference product sponsors” under the law) and biosimilars applicants. For example, Genentech entered a global licensing agreement on March 31, 2017 with Mylan/Biocon over their Herceptin® biosimilar, Ogivri (trastuzumab-dkst) (although this biosimilar is not yet on the market), and Amgen/Samsung-Bioepsis’s Amjetiva® (adalimumab-atto) is scheduled to enter the market in competition with AbbVie’s Humira® in January 2023 as the result of a settlement agreement between the parties (see “HUMIRA® Biosimilar Update — Settlement in AbbVie v. Amgen Case Announced and AbbVie v. Boehringer Ingelheim Litigation Begins”).

  • Security
    • Why Freedom is Essential to Security and Privacy

      Freedom, security and privacy are interrelated. The relationship between these three concepts is more obvious in some cases than others, though. For instance, most people would recognize that privacy is an important part of freedom. In fact, studies have shown that being under surveillance changes your behavior such as one study that demonstrates that knowing you are under surveillance silences dissenting views. The link between privacy and security is also pretty strong, since often you rely on security (encryption, locked doors) to protect your privacy.

      The link between freedom and security may be less obvious than the others. This is because security often relies on secrecy. You wouldn’t publish your password, safe combination or debit card PIN for the world to see, after all. Some people take the idea that security sometimes relies on secrecy to mean that secrecy automatically makes things more secure. They then extend that logic to hardware and software: if secret things are more secure, and proprietary hardware and software are secret, therefore proprietary hardware and software must be more secure than a free alternative.

    • Why SMS should never be used as second factor

      To have a multi-factor authentication, you need to use at least two of those. The easiest one, and therefore always used, is the knowledge factor in the form of a password. The inherent factor is by far the most complex one, since it requires specialized and expensive hardware. Also due to how those hardware work, is not possible to hash the expected value on the server side, so there is a security risk there as well. For those reasons, the possession factor is the go-to second-factor.

    • Google Releases July 2018′s Android Security Patch to Fix 70 Vulnerabilities

      Google has released July 2018′s Android Security Patch for all supported Pixel and Nexus devices to fix numerous security vulnerabilities and add various improvement.

      The Android Security Patch for July 2018 is now rolling out to Pixel and Nexus users worldwide, and, as usual, it consists of two security patch levels, 2018-07-01 and 2018-07-05, which address a total of 44 vulnerabilities across several core components, including Framework, Media Framework, Kernel and Qualcomm components, as well as Qualcomm closed-source components.

    • Top 5 New Open Source Vulnerabilities in June 2018 [Ed: Oh, great, let’s just keep ignoring all those back doors in proprietary software to perpetuate the stigma of FOSS having holes. WhiteSource trying to sell its proprietary stuff by badmouthing FOSS again.]
    • Open-Source Software as Easy Target for Hackers [Ed: This is the kind of press coverage Microsoft proxies and the likes of WhiteSource hope to generate for FOSS]
    • Is open source software a cyber security risk in connected vehicles? [Ed: Here comes Microsoft ‘proxy’ Black Duck insinuating that FOSS is going to kill you. This is marketing/lobbying disguised as “news” or “reporting”.]
    • Gentoo GitHub repo hack made possible by these 3 rookie mistakes [Ed: And Gentoo should now delete GitHub altogether because Microsoft works closely with the NSA]

      The developers of Gentoo Linux have revealed how it was possible for its GitHub organization account to be hacked: someone deduced an admin’s password – and perhaps that admin ought not to have had access to the repos anyway.


      The wiki page also reveals that the project got lucky. “The attack was loud; removing all developers caused everyone to get emailed,” the wiki reveals. “Given the credential taken, its likely a quieter attack would have provided a longer opportunity window.”

      Also helpful was that “Numerous Gentoo Developers have personal contacts at GitHub, and in the security industry and these contacts proved valuable throughout the incident response.”

    • Gentoo Linux GitHub Hacked via Password Guessing [Ed: Secure systems aren't enough if you have a bad password]

      Following the recent Gentoo Linux hack the distribution’s security team started to investigate how the intrusion was made. The published report showcases exactly how the criminals have been able to break into their GitHub accounts and embedded malicious code.

    • Linux becomes major cryptomining target [Ed: At least with GNU/Linux you must install the malicious software; with proprietary OSes there are back doors that cannot be removed and NSA leaks open these up]
    • WordPress 4.9.7 Security and Maintenance Release

      WordPress versions 4.9.6 and earlier are affected by a media issue that could potentially allow a user with certain capabilities to attempt to delete files outside the uploads directory.

    • WordPress 4.9.7 Update Fixes a Pair of Security Vulnerabilities

      WordPress 4.9.7 was released on July 5, providing users of the popular open-source content management system with patches for a pair of security vulnerabilities.

      The security vulnerabilities are both arbitrary file deletion issues that could expose WordPress sites to risk. The first issue was publicly reported on June 26, by researchers at RIPS Tech, while the second was discovered by WordPress security firm WordFence on July 2. In addition to the two vulnerabilities, WordPress 4.9.7 provides fixes for 17 other bugs to help improve stability.

    • Keyboard Attack “Thermanator” Steals Your Passwords Using Body Heat [Ed: Likely BS. Here's why: 1) body might not be warm enough. 2) need big equipment. 3) don't know order of strokes. 4) already have physical access anyway. 5) more keystrokes after password entry.]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Scores of Saudi mercenaries slain, injured in Yemeni drone strike

      Scores of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have lost their lives when Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Committees launched a drone strike against their positions in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden.

    • US Court Rules Trump’s Tweet Did Not Declassify CIA Program on Syrian Rebels

      US Federal Judge Andrew Carter ruled on Friday that US President Donald Trump’s tweet last year about CIA funding for Syrian rebels is not enough to declassify records about the covert program as requested by the New York Times in a lawsuit, according to the court document released on Monday.

    • Judge: Trump tweet did not declassify CIA program for Syrian rebels
    • “Blind” Cheetah 3 robot can climb stairs littered with obstacles

      MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot can now leap and gallop across rough terrain, climb a staircase littered with debris, and quickly recover its balance when suddenly yanked or shoved, all while essentially blind.

      The 90-pound mechanical beast — about the size of a full-grown Labrador — is intentionally designed to do all this without relying on cameras or any external environmental sensors. Instead, it nimbly “feels” its way through its surroundings in a way that engineers describe as “blind locomotion,” much like making one’s way across a pitch-black room.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Persecution of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange continues

      Julian Assange sought political asylum in the small embassy building on June 19, 2012. For 2,767 days—more than six years—the British government has denied him exposure to direct sunlight and adequate medical care. On July 3, he turned 47-years-old, enduring conditions that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned as “deprivation of liberty,” a “violation of his human rights” and tantamount to torture.

      The reasons why Assange sought asylum—and why it was granted, under international law, by Ecuador—have not changed. He was being given no support by the government of Australia, where he was born and holds citizenship, under conditions where he faced the prospect of extradition to the United States.

      In June 2012, Assange lost his last legal appeal against an attempt to extradite him to Sweden to answer “questions” over manufactured allegations that he may have committed sexual assault offenses. His concern, however, was not the Swedish case. It was the well-grounded fear that Sweden would hand him over to the US to face charges of espionage, in response to WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked documents that had

    • More support from Sri Lanka for WikiLeaks editor

      Today, we live under the shadow of a third world war instigated by the US and other imperialist forces. This would be a devastating nuclear war, a product of the escalating internal antagonisms of capitalism. The US and allied imperialist countries are inclined to re-organise and redistribute the globe and its resources according to their strategic and economic interests. In its drive for global hegemony, US imperialism will resort to all forms of violence and unethical practices such as waging wars, manoeuvring political affairs of other countries and harming the democratic rights of people.

      WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange courageously exposes the criminality of the US, its machinations, lies and cover-ups. His revelations are undoubtedly an immense threat to US geo-political interests. Assange’s revelations have exposed the nakedness of liberal democracy—the prevailing American ruling class ideology. This is why the US and their allies want to take his life and thereby silence other media personnel.

      I admire Julian Assange, who has dedicated his life to truth and reason, strongly condemn his confinement and insist that he should be freed immediately and unconditionally. I earnestly join the WSWS international campaign for the freeing of Julian Assange from his confines in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • All-time heat records have been set all over the world this week

      From the normally mild summer climes of Ireland, Scotland and Canada to the scorching Middle East, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest temperatures ever recorded over the past week.

      Large areas of heat pressure or heat domes scattered around the hemisphere led to the sweltering temperatures.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • DHS Subpoenas Twitter For New Zealand Security Researcher’s Info

      This would be the sort of thing the US government notices, even if it’s only interested in prosecuting the messenger. PII belonging to law enforcement officers is considered to be the most sacrosanct of data, and anyone exposing a government contractor’s careless handling of it is likely to find themselves targeted by federal agents.

      But this is all conjecture at this point. Flash Gordon only knows the government as demanded his info and is likely to receive it soon, if it hasn’t already. The involvement of DHS and ICE is still strange, as a breach involving US law enforcement personnel would normally be handled by the FBI.

    • How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight

      The growing concern over online data and user privacy has been focused on tech giants like Facebook and devices like smartphones. But people’s data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge.

      In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users.

      Samba TV is one of the bigger companies that track viewer information to make personalized show recommendations. The company said it collected viewing data from 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States, and it has raised $40 million in venture funding from investors including Time Warner , the cable operator Liberty Global and the billionaire Mark Cuban.

    • Reminder: Your Smart TV is Almost Certainly Spying on You

      This is true whether you’re watching online content or watching conventional TV, because of a sophisticated algorithm that can identify what you’re watching at all times. A system like this called Samba TV is active on millions of TVs right now—possibly including yours.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • EFF to Illinois Supreme Court: Protect Biometric Privacy

      Big companies are harvesting and monetizing your face print, fingerprints, and other sensitive biometric information, without your knowledge and consent. That’s why Illinois wisely enacted the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which prohibits companies from gathering, using, or sharing your biometric information without your informed opt-in consent. Now companies are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to defang BIPA, by narrowly interpreting its enforcement tool and thus depriving injured parties of their day in court.

      EFF has joined an amicus curiae brief urging the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt a robust interpretation of BIPA. Our fellow amici are ACLU, CDT, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, PIRG, and Lucy Parsons Labs. In the case on appeal, Rosenbach v. Six Flags, an adolescent who purchased a season pass to an amusement park alleges the park scanned and stored his thumbprint biometrics without written consent or notice about its plan to collect, store, and use his biometric information.

    • Judge Blocks Blanket Detention of Asylum Seekers

      The arbitrary imprisonment of asylum seekers is just one part of Trump’s plan to deter people from seeking refuge in the U.S.

      On July 2, the ACLU won a significant victory in our challenge to the Trump administration’s arbitrary and illegal incarceration of nearly 1,000 asylum seekers who came to the U.S. fleeing persecution, torture, or death in their countries of origin. A federal judge has found that the government’s practice of locking up asylum seekers while they await rulings in their cases violates the Department of Homeland Security’s own official policy, which instructs that asylum seekers be released on humanitarian parole if they meet a series of strict requirements.

      All of our plaintiffs came to the U.S. seeking refuge. They presented themselves to immigration officers, passed screenings, and were found to have credible asylum claims. Then the government locked them up in immigration jails across the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement subsequently denied their applications for “humanitarian parole,” or release from detention, despite each asylum seeker presenting evidence that they are not flight risks or dangers to the community.

    • Police Chief Tries To Blame Newspaper Shooting On The Loss Of Social Media Monitoring Tool, But It Doesn’t Add Up

      The first response to a tragedy by many public officials is to capitalize on it. That’s what the Anne Arundel County police are doing in the aftermath of the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper that left five journalists dead. Police Chief William Kampf seems to believe this could have been prevented if the department hadn’t been locked out of its social media snooping tool.

    • The family separation crisis exposes America’s addiction to incarceration

      The continuing cruelty on display at our southern border has unleashed a righteous, primal scream of revulsion from Americans across the ideological spectrum. The outrage, plus a successful ACLU legal effort in San Diego, hopefully has helped turn the tide toward family reunification. However, the common refrain seems to be, “This is not who we are,” as if ripping families apart to punish or deter crime is so novel and grotesque that it’s unrecognizable as American.

      The truth is that the criminal justice system we are imposing on immigrants is a reflection of the one we impose on our own — and both need fixing. At the border, we are taking children from desperate parents based on misdemeanor border crossing — or based on no illegality at all, if the family has properly presented itself for asylum.

    • Terry Gilliam on diversity: ‘I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian’

      Terry Gilliam has responded to the BBC diversity debate which referenced Monty Python by saying: “I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian.”

      Gilliam was commenting on the row over diversity triggered by the BBC’s unveiling of its new comedy programming, announced in June, at which the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen emphasised the corporation’s commitment to “the stories that haven’t been told and the voices we haven’t yet heard”. In response to a question about Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Allen said: “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.”

      Speaking at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival, where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam said: “It made me cry: the idea that … no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”

    • CIA Whistleblower Who Sought Private Right to Action Is Terminated

      A CIA onetime chief of station who filed complaints about supervisors found himself terminated last Thursday.

      The case of a man known by the agency-provided pseudonym James Pars has drawn scrutiny from whistleblower advocates concerned about what some see as a no-win situation for national security space employees who expose wrongdoing.

      Pars, who had originally complained that his supervisors in an unnamed war zone were exposing underlings to unnecessary danger, told Government Executive that he was called in to the office on June 28—after months at home on administrative leave—and told he was being fired. “Security came after me and revoked my clearance. I have 10 days to appeal and 90 more days of paid leave until officially terminated,” he said.


      Pars had left the CIA and worked from September 2015 through April 2017 as an inspector at the intelligence community’s IG office “when Acting IG Wayne Stone and Acting Deputy IG Jeannette McMillian booted” him out and sent him back to the CIA, where he faced “a very difficult situation,” he said.

      The Pars case drew attention last August from the Project on Government Oversight, whose reporter laid out details based on a Pars lawsuit about unresponsiveness of the CIA regarding his complaint that an inexperienced supervisor had ordered staff to visit dangerous territory with little operational need.

    • CIA World Tour: Central and South America

      As part of our ongoing project to document Central Intelligence Agency activities around the planet, we’re compiling a curated list of links to records in the CIA archives, divided by country and presidential administration. Today we’re looking at Central and South America.

    • The 6-Year-Old Heard on Border Facility Audiotape Is Still Separated From Her Mother, Who Must Parent From 1,000 Miles Away

      The last time Cindy Madrid Henriquez, a Salvadoran immigrant, spoke to her 6-year-old daughter Jimena on the telephone, the little girl, who is in an Arizona shelter, began by complaining about having to wash her hair with bar soap instead of shampoo. Her scalp was dry and itchy. She had dandruff. Then her questions grew into fears: What if her hair started to fall out? What if her scalp became infected? When, she finally wailed, was her mother going to come and save her?

      Madrid, who is in a detention facility 1,000 miles away in south Texas, said most phone calls with her daughter go that way: a relatively mundane dilemma spirals into a crisis. And there’s not much that Madrid can do, except to stay calm and talk her daughter off her emotional ledges.

      “She says over and over, ‘Mommy, I want to be with you,’” said Madrid, who is 29. “I tell her, ‘I know. We’ll be together soon. Until then, you have to be strong.’”

    • Two Years After the Police Killing of Philando Castile, Justice Continues to Be Denied

      The building on which the mural lived was demolished shortly after its painting. But, like Castile, the mural lives on in memories of the community.

      Philando Castile was shot and killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez on July 6, 2016. A year later, Officer Yanez was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. Afterwards, the video footage that the ACLU of Minnesota fought to get released was finally made public. In the video, you see Castile shot unnecessarily by the frantic police officer in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter.

      Two years later, there is nothing reassuring to tell the hundreds of children at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, where Castile worked for more than a decade. There was no reason for his killing.

      But Castile is not the only person that Minnesota community members have had to grieve for in the two years since his killing. Last July, Justine Ruszczyk Damond was shot and killed by Minneapolis Police Officer Mohammed Noor after she called the police to report a possible sexual assault occurring near her home. Gilbert Salas was killed by St. James Police in February of this year. And, just last week, Thurman Blevins was shot by the police in North Minneapolis.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Calif. lawmakers reach agreement on strict net neutrality legislation

      The bill, which only applies to consumers in California, would prohibit internet service providers from blocking, throttling or speeding up websites or applications. It would also require broadband companies that do business with the state to abide by net neutrality principles.

    • Net neutrality makes comeback in California; lawmakers agree to strict rules

      The bill was approved in its strongest form by the California Senate, but it was then gutted by the State Assembly’s Communications Committee, which approved the bill only after eliminating provisions opposed by AT&T and cable lobbyists. Bill author Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has been negotiating with Communications Committee Chairman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and other lawmakers since then, and he announced the results today.

    • A revamped California net neutrality bill is moving forward again

      Introduced in the wake of the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality provisions, SB 822 and SB 460 reinstated the net neutrality rules outlined in the 2015 Open Internet Order, banned harmful zero-rating programs, and prohibited broadband providers from charging websites access fees.

    • New California Bill Restores Strong Net Neutrality Protections

      The latest version of the bill restores provisions that prevent broadband providers from exempting some services from customers’ data caps, and ban providers from charging websites “access fees” to reach customers on a network or blocking or throttling content as it enters their networks from other networks, according to a fact sheet released by Wiener, Santiago, and state Senator Kevin de León.

    • California’s Net Neutrality Bill Is Strong Again Because You Spoke Out

      After a hearing that stripped California’s gold standard net neutrality bill of much of its protections, California legislators have negotiated new amendments that restore the vast majority of those protections to the bill. The big ISPs and their money did not defeat the voices of the many, many people who want and need a free and open Internet.

      On June 20, the Communications and Conveyance Committee of the California Assembly, after having rejected proposed amendments to move Senator Scott Wiener’s S.B. 822 and Senator Kevin de León’s S.B. 460 forward as a package, also voted to gut S.B. 822′s strong net neutrality protections. It was a move that resulted in a hollowed-out version of S.B. 822 that left huge loopholes for ISPs.

      Since then, there’s been an outcry from Team Internet in California, making clear how important effective, strong net neutrality protections are. Senator Wiener, Senator de León, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance that voted on the watered-down bill, have all come to an agreement that once again makes California’s proposed legislation the strongest net neutrality bill in the country.

      The willingness of Assemblymember Santiago to listen to his constituents’ opinions and realize their needs, as opposed to those of large ISPs like AT&T, is laudable. And the resulting agreement puts California net neutrality back on track.

    • After Backlash To AT&T Chicanery, California Salvages Tough Net Neutrality Law

      As we recently noted, California was on the cusp of passing the toughest net neutrality law in the nation, a bill the EFF declared to be the “gold standard” for state-level rules. But late last month AT&T and Comcast lobbyists descended on California to scuttle the effort, convincing California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago to neuter the most important portions of the proposal. Santiago, no stranger to AT&T campaign cash, rushed through a series of last-minute amendments behind closed doors without providing the bill’s backer or the public a chance to chime in.

      But Santiago quickly felt the ire of net neutrality activists and internet users, including a new crowdfunded billboard intended to shame Santiago. Lo and behold, lawmakers including Santiago and the original bill’s backer (State Senator Scott Wiener) held a press conference today to announce that they’d come to an agreement, and would be largely restoring the bill to its original form.

    • Over The Top Sports Streaming Comes To Europe With Amazon’s Deal With The Premier League

      We’ve made the point repeatedly that one of the last and most important threads on which the current cable television industry is hanging is that of live sports. While cord-cutting is indeed a thing, the many broadcast agreements pro and major college sports leagues have with cable broadcast partners keeps the cord-cutting from becoming a deluge from a burst dam. That being said, small but important steps have begun with many leagues, which are finally recognizing the demand viewers have for over the top streaming options. While there are still far too many restrictions in these sports streaming options, there is no doubt that American sports leagues have begun snipping away at this thread for cable television.

    • Helping Understand The Internet Phenomenon: Interview With New ISOC CEO Andrew Sullivan

      Starting 1 September, Andrew Sullivan takes on the role as CEO and President of the Internet Society. Selected by the ISOC Board of Trustees, Sullivan looks like an apt bridge builder between the world of internet technology and the world of policymakers. Equipped with experience in developing technology at Dyn, a DNS company recently acquired by Oracle, and a tenure as Chair of the Internet Architecture Board, a peer body of the standards body Internet Engineering Task Force, Sullivan has a degree in philosophy and is no stranger to public sphere theorist Juergen Habermas. After the heavy attack on Dyns DNS network, via low-cost cameras – the so-called Mirai attack – the Canadian warned against knee-jerk attempts for regulation, but acknowledged that technological solutions might need some assistance from policymakers. Answering questions with journalist Monika Ermert in writing from the meeting of the ISOC Board of Trustees in Panama, Sullivan diplomatically underlined that collaboration is key for everything on the internet. In his new position, Sullivan follows Kathy Brown, a former AT&T manager.


      SULLIVAN: The Internet Society would not be the organization it is without its chapters and special interest groups. The chapters are fundamental to the Internet Society’s continued success. In my experience, there are important ways that the Internet Society has always been bottom-up, but it isn’t like other organizations in that it does not have a central policymaking role. What is true, however, is that the bonds and connections among the different chapters, all working for the common Internet Society mission and vision, could be made stronger. That is an evolution I hope to foster.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • US gives China’s ZTE some breathing room

      The Trump administration is allowing Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE to restart some business activities.

      The Commerce Department says it has agreed to temporarily let ZTE carry out transactions it needs to provide network maintenance on contracts it signed on or before April 15. That’s when the US government barred American companies from selling parts and services to ZTE, China’s second largest manufacturer of telecom equipment.

    • U.S. Allows ZTE to Resume Some Business Activity Temporarily

      The Trump administration is letting ZTE Corp. resume some business activities while the U.S. weighs ending a seven-year ban on the Chinese telecommunications company, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News.

    • US gives China’s ZTE some breathing room
    • Copyrights
      • 7 Best KickAss Torrents Alternatives That Work In 2018: Similar Sites Like KAT

        Even if one has got the slightest exposure to the BitTorrent world, it’s hard to believe one doesn’t have an idea of KickAssTorrents. The defunct torrent site was so popular that we can often find internet users searching for torrent websites that are KickAss alternatives.

        KickAss rose to success, taking the throne away from The Pirate Bay. But in 2016, the website faced the wrath of the US law enforcement with its owner Artem Vaulin getting arrested. Numerous KickAss copycats came and went, some of them managed to deceive users for a while.

      • Will Paul McCartney Swing the Crucial EU Copyright Directive Vote?

        Paul McCartney has joined the music industry’s effort to support the reform of copyright rules in Europe. On the eve of a momentous vote, McCartney urged legislators pass the Copyright Directive to protect musicians, songwriters, and music creators.

        The British legend called on members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to vote in favor of the ‘Directive on Copyright in the Digital Services Market’ initiative. The measure, according to McCartney, would protect creators and publishers’ works online. Specifically, the singer has lobbied for a controversial provision of the bill known as Article 13.

      • ‘Value gap’ or ‘censorship machine’? Here’s how the industry reacted to the EU’s failed copyright directive

        Today the European parliament voted to reopen debate on its controversial copyright directive, potentially saving the likes of Youtube, Google and Facebook billions of dollars in royalty payments.

        The news has had a mixed response from legal experts and industry representatives in the UK, as the two warring sides of the debate have gone head to head over the results. Here’s a breakdown of the interested parties, and how they reacted to the vote.

      • MEPs vote to reopen copyright debate over ‘censorship’ controversy

        In the opposition camp, a broad coalition of digital rights organizations, startup groups, Internet architects, computer scientists, academics and web advocates — including the likes of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Bruce Schneier, Jimmy Wales and Mitch Kapor, who in an open letter last month argued that Article 13 “takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users”.

        This week several European language versions of Wikipedia also blacked out encyclopedia content in a ‘going dark’ protest against the proposals, though the European Commission has claimed online encyclopedias would not be impacted by Article 13.

      • European parliament votes to reopen copyright debate over ‘censorship’ controversy

        This story, plus journalists fly in to help the Capital Gazette, WhatsApp in India says partnership with government, society is needed to combat misinformation, and more, all in today’s media headlines.

      • EU copyright proposals rejected by EU Parliament

        EU copyright reform has been sent back to the drawing board in a 318-278 vote.

        Some 627 of 751 members of the European Parliament voted on the proposal, with 318 voting to reject articles 11 and 13, the link tax and upload filters, respectively.

        Nearly half (278) of the Parliament voted in favour of the proposals, and just 31 members abstained from the vote.

      • European Parliament Rejects Starting Negotiations On Copyright Reform Proposal

        The European Parliament today opposed plans to launch immediate “trilogue” negotiations with the Council and European Commission on copyright reform legislation, instead sending the controversial measure to full debate at the next plenary session of Parliament.

      • EU Rejects Copyright Directive, Four openSUSE Tumbleweed Snapshots Released, DoublePulsar Modified to Work on Windows IoT Systems, Kdenlive Wants Your Feedback and GIMP 2.10.4 Now Available

        The EU has rejected the controversial “Copyright Directive” legislation. Mozilla’s head of EU public policy stated “The European Parliament has today heard the voice of European citizens and voted against proposals that would have dealt a hammer blow to the open internet in Europe. The future of an open internet and creativity in Europe depends on it.” Those in favor of the Directive said “rejecting it further entrenches the power of large US tech companies, while hurting individual artists and creators.” The legislation now returns to the drawing board and will be sent in for another vote in September. See The Verge for details on the provisions and hopes for an “open debate”.

      • The European Parliament has rejected the copyright directive, for now

        The EU copyright directive in its present form has deep and wide implications reaching far beyond copyright, and erodes into core human rights and values. For more information I recommend Julia Reda’s analysis at, which is accessible to the casual reader but also contains pointers to the text of the law.

        Today on June 5, following a few weeks of very intense debate, campaigning and lobbying including deliberate attempts to mislead politicians (, the European Parliament voted in plenary session to reject the directive in its current form endorsed by the JURI committee, and instead reopen the debate.

        It was a narrow decision: 278 MEPs voted to approve the JURI text, 318 voted against it, and 31 abstained. Since the difference was small, I like to think that the work put in by me and a small group of friends had some impact in moving consciences.

      • Kim Dotcom loses appeal against extradition, will take case to Supreme Court

        Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has lost his latest court battle against extradition from New Zealand to the United States, setting the scene for a Supreme Court hearing.

        Dotcom and three others – Matthias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato – have been accused of more than a dozen criminal copyright charges relating to the now-defunct file-sharing website Megaupload​, which it is alleged shared pirated films and other content.

      • Kim Dotcom Loses Latest Round In Extradition Fight, Will Try To Appeal Again

        Kim Dotcom’s ongoing legal saga continues. The latest is that the New Zealand Court of Appeal has rejected his appeal of earlier rulings concerning whether or not he can be extradited to the US. Dotcom and his lawyers insist that they will appeal to the Supreme Court, though there seems to be some disagreement about whether or not that will even be possible. The full ruling is worth a read, though much of it is dry and procedural.

        And, I know that many people’s opinion of this case is focused almost exclusively on whether they think Kim Dotcom and Megaupload were “good” or “bad,” but if you can get past all of that, there are some really important legal issues at play here, especially concerning the nature of intermediary liability protections in New Zealand, as well as the long-arm reach of US law enforcement around the globe. Unfortunately, for the most part it’s appeared that the courts have been much more focused on the whole “but Dotcom is obviously a bad dude…” and then used that to rationalize a ruling against him, even if it doesn’t seem to fit what the law says.

        As Dotcom and his lawyers have noted, this has meant that, while there are now three rulings against him on whether or not he can be extradited, they all come to different conclusions as to why. A key issue, as we’ve discussed before, is the one of “double criminality.” For there to be an extraditable offense, the person (or people) in question need to have done something that is a crime in both the US and New Zealand. As Dotcom has argued over and over again, the “crime” that he is charged with is effectively criminal secondary copyright infringement. And that’s a big problem, since there is no such thing as secondary criminal copyright infringement under US law. Since Megaupload was a platform, it should not be held liable for the actions of its users. But the US tries to wipe all of that away by playing up that Dotcom is a bad dude, and boy, a lot of people sure infringed copyright using Megaupload. And all of that may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that they should have to show that he actually broke a law in both countries.

        Indeed, the lower court basically tossed out the copyright issue in evaluating extradition, but said he could still be extradited over “fraud” claims. Dotcom argued back that without the copyright infringement, there is no fraud, and thus the ruling didn’t make any sense.

Team UPC Suggested Changing Constitutions to Facilitate the Unconstitutional UPC. It Didn’t Go Well…

Friday 6th of July 2018 06:21:19 AM

These arrogant suggestions from Team UPC merely serve to discredit its psyche

Reference: An unconstitutional constitution? A comparative perspective

Summary: With European constitutions under the microscope, it’s becoming clearer that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is simply unconstitutional and needs to be buried; but spinners from Team UPC would have us believe that no such issues exist and UPC is just around the corner

Team UPC — like Team Battistelli (EPO leadership) — does not understand notions such as the “Rule of Law”. We already saw how it deals with constitutional challenges, either bullying courts or discrediting their discretion. With a 12 to 2 majority, Hungary decided that UPC is unconstitutional; other countries did not even check, albeit Germany is belatedly checking. As Benjamin Henrion (FFII) put it yesterday: “Let’s ask the French and UK courts if they agree with the Hungarian analysis then.” It’s still possible. It’s never too late. To us it has always been clear that UPC is unconstitutional virtually everywhere, not just Hungary and Germany. “If the Hungarian Constitutional Court is right,” Henrion added, “someone should file the same question in Court in UK and FR…”

Why not go further? Dozens of countries deserve a constitutional challenge (reality check). Remember what happened at 2 AM at night in Germany. It’s pretty incredible and it’s worthy of the term “political corruption”. Every nation deserves a good look at the machinations (Battistelli and his thugs, along with the likes of Bristows, pulling strings behind the scenes); UPC is dead enough as it is, but the public deserves an explanation for all that has happened.

“This is just one among many obstacles that Team UPC keeps trying to deny, belittle, or simply brush under some rug.”The UPC-sympathetic (based on past writings) Eibhlin Vardy is trying to make the UPC sound inevitable by echoing the usual two (now-infamous) lies which are repeated by Team UPC and Battistelli. From yesterday’s post by Vardy: “The Hungarian decision (unlike Brexit or the on-going German complaint) will not formally delay the entry into force of the UPCA, but it will most likely delay (or terminate) Hungary’s participation in the UPC system.”

No, no, no…

First of all, it’s not delay that’s at stake. Where does one begin tackling such loaded statements? And this isn’t about whether Hungary participates but whether the UPC ever exists at all. In any form. This is just one among many obstacles that Team UPC keeps trying to deny, belittle, or simply brush under some rug. It’s despicable and hard to even fathom the thought that some people pay a lot of money for these lawyers to give legal ‘advice’.

“Shows how bizarre it was that Brexit Britain ratified, in my humble opinion,” one commenter said. Most of the above is based on Peter Ling, who we suppose either understands Hungarian or was told something by someone (not a reliable translation). “In a 12 to 2 majority decision published on 29 June 2018,” it says, “the Constitutional Court answered this question in the negative. In short, the Court considered that the transfer, in the framework of an enhanced cooperation among EU Member States, of exclusive jurisdiction on certain civil lawsuits to an international institution not explicitly foreseen by the EU treaties, deprives such lawsuits from any constitutional review under the Fundamental Law and therefore is incompatible with the Fundamental Law. Although this may sound like a purely national constitutional issue without much specific relevance to the UPCA itself, some aspects of the Court’s reasoning point to issues that are potentially relevant beyond Hungary.”

For obvious reasons. And as usual, with IP Kat at least, comments nowadays are a lot better than posts (usually written by people with personal stakes in UPC). To quote an early comment:

(1) Isn’t the training centre for UPC judges located in Hungary? So its non-participation in the system would be an embarrassment to say the least.

(2) CIPA and others have proposed that the UPC Agreement should be amended to allow the continued participation of the UK as a non-EU state. That would surely confirm the view of the Hungarian court that the UPC Agreement is not EU law and make similar constitutional challenges more likely in other countries.

The next one connects this to EPO abuses/corruption:

Let us just step back for a minute and consider the possible implications of the constitutional deficits of the UPC. As I have previously commented elsewhere, a couple of thought experiments help to exemplify the magnitude of the deficits.

Firstly, what would happen if the President of the UPC (Court of Appeal) were to (attempt to) interfere with the independence of the judiciary of the UPC?

Secondly, what would happen if the President of the UPC were to pursue a vindictive campaign to remove an “irksome” judge of the UPC?

What could be done to prevent such troubling events from occurring, or to deal with them if they do occur? What recourse would the UPC judges have?

If the EPO is taken as an exemplar of an international organisation having a “judicial” function, the answer to all of the above questions is clearly “very little”.

Do the above-mentioned deficits therefore make the UPC an organisation that is particularly prone to “capture” by malicious actors? Compared to the status quo (where there are numerous national courts, each subject to and constrained by both national and EU laws), my view is that the answer to this question is a clear “yes”.

Personally, I believe that such questions ought to be given very serious consideration by the Participating Member States, and that amendments to constitutions (which is no small thing!) ought to only be contemplated if it can be concluded that the set-up of the UPC provides adequate safeguards, checks and balances.

“The solution to this is not that a dozen of countries amend their constitutions to include LESS judicial rights,” said the following comment.

Please also note that it was not so difficult to foresse that including exclusively domestic issues within the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC could be a problem serious problem, unless UPC complies with the highest stardards regarding judicial, consititutional and HR guarantees. And it is clear that this is NOT the case.

To say the least: no instrument to referral/review to national Supreme Courts (while applying national law), no set of fundamental rights expressed in writing nor jurisdiction of any external court to review them, no ECHR review jurisdiction, no constitutional right is recognised, no judicial control of the UPC director, no labour rights for the workers of the UPC.

Of course potential claimants are very happy with this. But it is not only unfair: it is an extremely dangerous source of inestability which should be corrected BEFORE the UPC enters into force.

The solution to this is not that a dozen of countries amend their constitutions to include LESS judicial rights.

That last remark alludes to utterly ludicrous suggestions from Team UPC, which patently believes that it’s above the law.

And from another thread (about British law and the EPO):

I fear in the UK v EPO rivalry the EPO is dominant with the UK grudgingly following. I am sure the EPO will seldom pay any attention to UK decisions, and so in that sense it is more a Master-Slave dialectic ( or worse.

Whilst UK decisions are interestingly written, they have less and less influence in a world where rising to the top of one’s regional power block is more important than one’s ingenuity.

The EPO has an issue because lawlessness prevails there; do countries wish to hand over their legal sovereignty to an unaccountable and corrupt bureaucracy where lawlessness has become the norm? Where dissent is met with defamation, calling the dissenting voices “Nazis”?

“…Campinos reaffirms the widely-held belief (even inside the Office) that he’s just an “orange President” who ‘softens’ the image of Team Battistelli.”We have thus far seen absolutely nothing which suggests António Campinos will fix things. “Cooperation and dialogue” Kluwer Patent Blog said yesterday, quoting/citing some blog post from Campinos, who only a day earlier lobbied for the unconstitutional UPC, yielding a highly-misleading (i.e. the usual) press release from the EPO. To quote Kluwer Patent Blog:

After only four days in office, it is hard to tell whether Campinos will bring change at the EPO after the controversial years of Benoit Battistelli’s leadership, which led to enormous social problems. But his announcement that ‘staff engagement is among my top priorities’, and his personal message to all staff members certainly seem positive steps. A first real test will likely be his handling of the cases of three SUEPO leaders, whose dismissals and downgrading were reversed last week by the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO, as well as the case of the Irish judge Patrick Corcoran.

Striking is Campinos’ focus on effectiveness, rather than efficiency, which could be a sign that the new EPO president is aware of complaints from users that the enormous increase in productivity under Battistelli has led to a decline of, or threatens patent quality at the EPO.

Remarkable, furthermore, is that his predecessor isn’t mentioned in Campinos’ message. And an almost revolutionary change is at the bottom, contrary to the blogposts of Benoit Battistelli and perhaps the most significant sign of change: Campinos has apparently decided that his contributions will be open for comments.

Well, maybe with moderation enabled or maybe he doesn’t yet know how to use the CMS (unless someone does the posting on his behalf). Either way, the way things stand, Campinos has solved absolutely no issues in his first week in Office. If anything, contrary to what Kluwer Patent Blog wishes to believes, Campinos reaffirms the widely-held belief (even inside the Office) that he’s just an “orange President” who ‘softens’ the image of Team Battistelli.

German Media Compares Team Battistelli at the EPO to the Mafia

Friday 6th of July 2018 05:23:41 AM

Related: The Battistelli Mafia and Corsica (article below involves the Battistellis)

Summary: The Mafia-like culture of EPO management as explained in a new article from Christian Kirsch at Heise, Germany’s leading site for technology news

THE STAFF Union of the EPO, SUEPO, published an English translation [PDF] of the article “Europäisches Patentamt: Große Baustellen für den neuen Präsidenten” some time yesterday.

“It also cites an expert when revealing that “around three quarters of the EPO patents challenged in Germany are declared null and void by the Federal Patent Court,” reaffirming concerns about decline in patent quality — something that Team UPC would not mind as it would mean more lawsuits.”While there’s not so much new and unique information in this article, it does (at times) use colourful language, arguing that “the Office sometimes shied away from publicity as if it were some kind of family of Mafiosi.”

It also cites an expert when revealing that “around three quarters of the EPO patents challenged in Germany are declared null and void by the Federal Patent Court,” reaffirming concerns about decline in patent quality — something that Team UPC would not mind as it would mean more lawsuits.

Always remember that patent lawsuits — frivolous or not — are Team UPC’s “bread and butter”.

We’ve decided to reproduce this English translation below with some highlights:

European Patent Office: A lot of ground to make up for the new President

01.07.2018 12:12 Christian Kirsch

The European Patent Office in Munich

The new President of the European Patent Office has a lot to do: Conflicts with staff and criticism of the examination practices have been the trademarks of the past few years.

Benoît Battistelli took office as President of the European Patent Office (EPO) on 1 July 2010. Eight years later the job is being taken on by the previous Director of the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), António Campinos. He will have to head up an authority of which the staff have been locked in a struggle with management for years. And as well as that, criticism has recently been growing from the outside of Battistelli’s pet project, “greater efficiency” at the Office.

The fact that all is not well at the EPO was already becoming evident at the end of 2012. At that time the management intended disbursing a part of the surplus of 89 million Euro to the staff. The staff union SUEPO turned the offer down, on the grounds that it would have been a false incentive to approve patent applications rather than reject them. Essentially, it is only from approved applications that the Office earns its money on a regular basis.

António Campinos, Director of the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), takes over the Presidency of the European Patent Office as from 1 July. (Picture: Portuguese Government)

Twice as many patents with the same personnel

The accusation that Battistelli was more interested in quantity than quality was made again and again over the years of his Presidency. In 2010 the EPO issued 58,000 patents; in 2017, at 105,000, there were almost twice as many. In the same period between 142,000 and 165,000 applications were received annually. There was little change among the patent examiners either: Their number rose from the end of 2011 to the end of 2017 by only six percent. Battistelli could congratulate himself on having almost doubled “productivity”.

The Office disputes the contention that the applications may not be being examined as thoroughly as they were in the past. Battistelli had his own “Quality Reports” produced for 2016 and 2017, which were supposed to prove that everything was for the good. But not everyone was convinced. Patent attorney Thorsten Bausch, for example, says that a high proportion of “very satisfied” applicants can easily be explained by the rapid processing; of course someone is happy if they get their patent rapidly.

But whether the protective right was correctly issued is really only determined later, such as in legal action for patent infringement. Bausch points out that around three quarters of the EPO patents challenged in Germany are declared null and void by the Federal Patent Court. And that says nothing about the general quality, because only a very few patents actually get as far as going to court.

Concern about the robustness of patents

Shortly before the end of Battistelli’s time in office, four Munich patent attorney firms published an open letter, in which they criticised the accelerated patent issue procedure. By their own estimation, the firms handle tens of thousands of patents. In their view, it is plain to see that the quality of patent examination is going to suffer if the main aim is to get the business over and done with as fast as possible. Back in March 2018 almost a quarter of the EPO patent examiners approached Battistelli and the Administrative Council of the Office. They complained that they were more and more frequently being faced with choosing between the requirements laid down by the European Patent Convention and the demands of their superiors, and what they wanted was to churn out “products”.

A sign

But that was not the only concern for the staff during Battistelli’s eight year reign. Above all, the relationship between him and the union became steadily worse. This degeneration culminated in the demotion and dismissal of staff representatives at the beginning of 2016. This meant that the EPO President was actually going over the heads of the disciplinary commission concerned. Legal challenges by the people sacked resulted in success at the end of June 2018: The court with jurisdiction at the International Labour Organization (ILO) ruled the decisions by the disciplinary commission and Battistelli’s intensifying of penalties were wrongful in law, and awarded the union members compensatory damages.

Suspension without evidence

Battistelli got another slap in the face over the suspension of a judge at the EPO Board of Appeal. The procedure, according to criticism by many patent experts, had actually broken the Patent Office’s own rules. Battistelli had not been authorised to take action at all. He initiated an emergency situation, but without presenting any evidence for doing so. Instead, the EPO Press Department spread the word that the judge who was fired had been found to have weapons and fascist propaganda material in his office. The only support for Battistelli’s accusation that the judge had slandered him and the Office was a mysterious USB stick. The content of this stick was recently declared by Munich Regional Court to be inadmissible as evidence, after the ILO had already lifted Battistelli’s disciplinary measures against the judge.

So António Campinos is inheriting a heavy burden. Not only does he have mend the relationship with the staff, he also needs to restore lost confidence among clients of the EPO. For both issues, a departure from Battistelli’s beleaguered fortress mentality could help. During his time, the Office sometimes shied away from publicity as if it were some kind of family of Mafiosi.

EPO income is still gushing

But the 38 member States involved in the EPO have no particular interest in a more open approach. The Administrative Council, to which they appoint delegates, largely kept its nose out of the way Battistelli ran the Office, and the minutes of its meetings are models of largely how to say nothing. From the point of view of the Administrative Council, everything could presumably stay exactly the way it was. In the final analysis, rising income at the EPO creates substantial injections of cash for the national patent offices, and for the German in particular. During Battistelli’s term in office, annual profits at the EPO went up almost fivefold, to 394 million Euro.

Even if the relationships between the Office management and the staff do improve, a basic dilemma remains: The EPO is a supra-national institution. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with the EU. This means that the staff have no recourse to European labour law, nor to any other national labour legislation. Any conflicts which cannot be resolved inside the Office are a matter for the International Labour Organization, and decisions there can take up to ten years. (Christian Kirsch) / (ck)

We haven’t yet seen/found any turnaround in António Campinos; in fact, we are growing rather impatient as today he closes one week at the Office and he hasn’t yet signaled reinstatement of staff representatives, Judge Corcoran etc. We did, however, see him lobbying for the unconstitutional UPC (on his second day in Office) — a subject to be explored or revisited in our next post.

Links 5/7/2018: AryaLinux 1.0, Qt Creator 4.7 RC

Thursday 5th of July 2018 07:21:02 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open source money: Bitcoin, blockchain, and free software

    Whether you believe that blockchain technology is poised to change the world or that it is a flash in the pan, one thing is sure: Technical and legal questions about blockchain are on everyone’s mind today. People often wonder: Is Bitcoin “open source”? But this question arises from confusion about three separate concepts: blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and open source software.

  • Industry Watch: Open source has won the day

    I remember talking to other technology reporters in 2000, asking if they thought Linux had a commercial future. Some saw the uptake in server rooms and were certain of it. Others believed Linux advocates to be nothing more than anti-vendor zealots and hobbyists who would rather write software themselves than pay for it, and that’s where open-source would remain.

  • Shedding Light: A New Open Source Imaging System

    The open source movement has facilitated the development of low cost and easy-to-use technologies for scientific settings. A study published in PLOS ONE describes the creation of a novel multi-fluorescence imaging system from readily available, low cost components.

    The study has just been awarded the 2018 PLOS Open Source Toolkit Channel Prize, and I was lucky to interview via email study authors Isaac Nuñez and Tamara Matute, of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, who both contributed to the answers below.


    The GOSH (Global Open Science Hardware) movement and OpenPlant work to promote open source technology. We believe that openly shared technologies, such as open scientific hardware and open genetic tools, are crucial for technology development and knowledge production, particularly in low income countries.

  • This 22-Year-Old Spanish Programmer is Building an Open Source, Secure Alternative to Facebook

    Joel Hernández is frank about why he’s trying to launch Openbook, an open source, hyper-secure social network as an alternative to Facebook.

    The 22-year-old programmer and entrepreneur, who by day works as a security software engineer for Dutch telecoms giant KPN, told Computer Business Review: “We are sleepwalking into a zero privacy world. This may not be abused now, but it will be in future. I’m someone with the capability to fix a small part of that.”

    Two years ago he had tried to talk a group of friends into the project, amid concerns about Facebook and other social media platform’s data sharing practices and a perceived lack of privacy. They told him they didn’t think anyone cared enough to make the leap to an alternative that prioritised security and transparency.

  • How open source can transform the way a company’s developers work together

    Open source has been a tech mainstay for decades in large part, as Tilde co-founder and JavaScript veteran Yehuda Katz has argued, because it “gives engineers the power to collaborate across …companies without involving [business development].”

    “The benefits of this workaround are extraordinary and underappreciated,” Katz continued. But open source offers something just as extraordinary and even more underappreciated, something that edX community lead John Mark Walker recently pointed out on Twitter.

    Namely, what open source does to collaboration among engineers inside the same company.

  • Linux Australia Joins Open Source Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative is the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving licenses as OSD-conformant. The organization’s members play an important role across the world in community building, education and public advocacy to promote the importance of non-proprietary software. In doing so they further international awareness of how open source technologies, licenses and models of development can provide economic and strategic advantage.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Another one bites the Rust

        Rust was the primary reason we dropped source parity for TenFourFox also (though there were plenty of other reasons such as changes to the graphics stack, the hard requirement for Skia, Electrolysis and changes to ICU; all of this could have been worked around, but with substantial difficulty, and likely with severe compromises). Now that Firefox 52ESR, the last ESR to not require Rust support, is on its last legs, this marks the final end of “Warpzilla” and Firefox on OS/2. SPARC (and apparently Solaris in general) doesn’t have rustc or cargo support either, so this is likely the end of Firefox on any version of Solaris as well. Yes, I use Firefox on my Sun Ultra-3 laptop with Solaris 10. There are probably other minor platforms just hanging on that will wink out and disappear which I haven’t yet discovered.

      • Faster Event Telemetry with “event” Pings

        Event Telemetry is the means by which we can send ordered interaction data from Firefox users back to Mozilla where we can use it to make product decisions.

        For example, we know from a histogram that the most popular way of opening the Developer Tools in Firefox Beta 62 is by the shortcut key (Ctrl+Shift+I). And it’s nice to see that the number of times the Javascript Debugger was opened was roughly 1/10th of the number of times the shortcut key was used.

      • State of Mozilla Support: 2018 Mid-year Update – Part 2

        Last time we had a closer look at a metrics-based report analysis from the Analysen & Tal agency that took a deep dive into’s historical data.

        Today, we are going to continue sharing external insights into our community and support model with a summary of the comparative study conducted for us by a team of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design from Denmark. While we were not exactly looking for the essence of hygge, we found quite a few interesting nuggets of wisdom and inspiration that we’d like to share with you below. You can find the presentation here.

      • Making calls to WebAssembly fast and implementing anyref

        As you can see, the C++ step that was originally required to call wasm from JS has been completely eliminated!

        This resulted in massive speedups over a variety of different situations: when a wasm function is directly / indirectly / polymorphically called, or used as a getter/setter, or called by, when the call is missing required arguments, etc. Here’s a brief summary of the results, but there might be a full-blown blog post about these optimizations coming on Mozilla Hacks at some point in the future.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice styles – My style is the bomb didi bom di deng

      LibreOffice styles management sure can benefit from improvements. All office suites can. Not only that, there are dozens of other areas where this free office suite could better itself. But to focus on the original question, styles in LibreOffice are different from Microsoft Office, but they work reasonably well.

      There are some annoyances – selected text, the style and tab jumps on selection, and the lack of global export. On the other hand, you have the preview option, and the modify sub-menu is powerful and rather intuitive. Usable and reasonable. Now, that does not mean you should toss away your payware suite and go free. Not at all. The specific, individual needs are very delicate. Moreover, while LibreOffice has improved a lot, it’s still not quite as powerful as Microsoft Office, and this is more evident in Calc and Impress, less so in Writer, which often gets most attention and care. But it is marching in the right direction, and if you’re keen on doing documents right, you need to use styles. And when it comes to styles, LibreOffice 6.0 works fairly well. But the quest for perfection continues. So long and thanks for all the fonts.

    • LibreOffice 6.1 Release Candidate Available Now for Final Bug Hunting Session

      Tomorrow, July 6, The Document Foundation plans to host the third and final bug hunting session for the LibreOffice 6.1 office suite, due for release in mid-August 2018. This bug hunting session is aimed at fixing last remaining issue against the Release Candidate milestone.

      Those interested in joining the final bug hunting session to find, report and triage bugs can now download the first Release Candidate version of LibreOffice 6.1 for GNU/Linux as DEB and RPM packages, as well as for macOS and Microsoft Windows platforms.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Fixing bufferbloat on your home network with OpenBSD 6.2 or newer

      The reason for this is a phenomenom called “bufferbloat”. I’m not going to explain it in detail, there are plenty of good resources to read about it, including the eponymous Bufferbloat is the result of complex interactions between the software and hardware systems routing traffic around on the Internet. It causes higher latency in networks, even ones with plenty of bandwidth. In a nutshell, software queues in our routers are not letting certain packets through fast enough to ensure that things feel interactive and responsive. Pings, TCP ACKs, SSH connections, are all being held up behind a long line of packets that may not need to be delivered with the same urgency. There’s enough bandwidth to process the queue, the trick is to do it more quickly and more fairly.

    • libredwg-0.5 released [alpha]
    • H1-2018 Was Certainly Eventful For The GCC Compiler

      The first half of 2018 was certainly eventful for the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) with the stable release of GCC8, feature development on GCC9 kicking off, and all the associated fun.

      The stable GCC 8.1 debut brought with it initial C++2A support, initial Intel Cannonlake and Icelake CPU enablement, Profile Guided Optimization improvements and other optimization passes work, Intel CET, Qualcomm Saphira CPU support and other ARM CPU improvements, C17 language support, updates for the Go and Fortran languages, AMD HSA IL / BRING improvements, and a whole lot of other work that built up over the past year. GCC 8.1 was officially released in early May while all feature work is now focused on GCC 9 that should debut as stable around the end of Q1’2019.

  • Programming/Development
    • This Week in Rust 241

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community.

    • Python 3 at Facebook

      Python 3 adoption has clearly picked up over the last few years, though there is still a long way to go. Big Python-using companies tend to have a whole lot of Python 2.7 code running on their infrastructure and Facebook is no exception. But Jason Fried came to PyCon 2018 to describe what has happened at the company over the last four years or so—it has gone from using almost no Python 3 to it becoming the dominant version of Python in the company. He was instrumental in helping to make that happen and his talk [YouTube video] may provide other organizations with some ideas on how to tackle their migration.

      Fried started working at Facebook in 2011 and he quickly found that he needed to teach himself Python because it was much easier to get code reviewed if it was in Python. At some point later, he found that he was the driving force behind Python 3 adoption at Facebook. He never had a plan to do that, it just came about as he worked with Python more and more.

    • Teaching Python to kids

      The combination of an “unsuspecting library employee” and a bunch of bored children has created a popular program using the Raspberry Pi and other tools to teach coding to kids. Qumisha Goss is a librarian at the Parkman branch of the Detroit Public Library; she started the “Parkman Coders” program and came to PyCon 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio to tell the assembled Pythonistas all about it. She also had some thoughts on ways to make the Python community a more diverse place, along with some concerns for her students that are much bigger than the diversity topic.

  • (Neo)mutt fuckery with multipart messages

    We thought it might be fun as retaliation to send multipart emails, with the text/html part saying “This email has no HTML version, please refer to the plain text”. An hour and a few curses at mutt’s documentation later, I’d come up with this solution…

  • Drones replace July 4th fireworks in western towns worried about wildfires. But where’s the ‘boom’?

    Get in the car, kids. It’s time to see the Fourth of July drone show.

    Towns in California, Colorado and Arizona – facing another season of drought and wildfire – are turning to drone shows as a less dangerous alternative to organized fireworks, encouraged by the development of jaw-dropping, choreographed shows such as the one Intel prepared for the Winter Olympics broadcast.

  • CIA archives document Agency’s decades of ASCII woes

    In the ‘60s, the US federal government saw a need for a unified standard for digitally encoding information. Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 executive order on computer standards directed federal agencies to convert all of their databases to the new character encoding standard: the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or ASCII.

    Although more powerful and flexible standards have since appeared – most notably Unicode, created to enable people to use computers in any language – ASCII became ubiquitous, and remains foundational to computing. It was the most popular encoding on the web until 2007.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • He Went In for a Heart Transplant. He Suffered Severe Brain Damage. Now His Family Is Suing St. Luke’s.

      In June 2016, Ernest “Chris” Keys received a heart transplant at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, giving him and his family hope he would finally return home after months in the hospital battling chronic heart failure.

      Things went downhill “almost immediately after surgery,” according to a lawsuit filed last month against St. Luke’s and its affiliated Baylor College of Medicine, as well as three Baylor doctors who treated Keys.

      After several follow-up surgeries, Keys, then 44, left St. Luke’s in August 2016 with a new heart — but also a severe brain injury that left him unable to speak or walk.

      “It’s horrible what he’s been through,” said Michelle Wan, a Houston lawyer who filed the lawsuit in Harris County District Court.

      A hospital spokeswoman said she could not discuss pending litigation and declined to respond to questions about the care Keys received.

    • Why Is There a ‘Gaming Disorder’ But No ‘Smartphone Disorder?’

      But it makes sense that the WHO would respond to lobbying by its affiliates. If the overuse of games or smartphones are a matter of behavior, then of course that behavior is bound to vary by region, nation, culture, and other social conditions. To some extent, all diseases require a social construction—they have to be acknowledged by a body like the WHO in a bureaucratic artifact like the ICD in order to be diagnosed, treated, managed, and paid for. But unlike a viral infection or an autoimmune condition, a behavioral disorder is particularly susceptible to the varied social contexts in which the behavior takes place.

    • If there’s a “gaming disorder”, why isn’t there a “smartphone disorder”?

      The discrepancy between digital dependencies considered pathological and those considered perfectly normal may simply come down to pleasing lobbyists–or avoiding their displeasure.

    • Excessive Pricing And Sham Patent Litigation: The Pfizer And AbbVie Decisions

      Competition law is a critical tool in seeking to maintain some semblance of reasonable pricing in the pharmaceutical market. It is particularly important as legislators around the world appear extremely hesitant to address pharmaceutical pricing in meaningful ways, regrettably influenced by well-funded lobbying.

      Two recent competition law decisions discussed below illustrate the importance of and challenges to regulating the pharmaceutical sector. In the first, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) partially upheld and partially reversed and remanded (pending briefing) a decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fining Pfizer and Flynn close to £90 million for abuse of dominant position in the excessive pricing of an anti-epilepsy drug. The CAT decision is problematic because it creates unnecessary and unwarranted hurdles to findings of excessive pricing in the UK. In the second decision, the US Federal Trade Commission succeeds in proving that AbbVie engaged in abuse of monopoly power by engaging in sham patent litigation against two generic producers in order to delay market entry of competitive products. The Federal District Court found that AbbVie’s patent lawyers by “clear and convincing” evidence had knowingly pursued patent infringement claims without chance of success for no other purpose than to delay market entry.

    • HP moves into life sciences, while microfluidics market sees a surge in patent filings and suits

      A new analysis of the thriving synthetic biology patent landscape has revealed the top patent owners and dealmakers in this space, as well as those appearing most often in the courtroom. Among its key findings are that Hewlett Packard (HP) has expanded into the life sciences arena and that the microfluidics market is booming. What’s more, a look at patenting activity by jurisdiction shows a stark contrast between the behaviours of US and Chinese players – and plenty of opportunities for collaboration between the two.

    • WTO Panel On Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging: A Fact Dependent Analysis Of TRIPS Art 20

      Scholars and professionals in IP, trade and public health are likely to be digesting the 900-odd page WTO Panel Reports in Australia – Tobacco Plain Packaging, circulated on 28 June 2018, for some time. An appeal by one or more of the complainants (Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Indonesia) is expected, to be launched between 20 and 60 days after circulation, in accordance with the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU, Art 16). Although Australia won the dispute in its entirety, the country could also choose to appeal certain intermediate findings of the Panel, such as its interpretation or application of particular WTO provisions.

    • Colombia: Reinstates Roundup Fumigations, This Time By Drone

      With pressure from the United States, Colombia will reinstate its practice of spraying glyphosate to eradicate coca crops.

      Colombia’s Minister of Defense says the country will reinstate the policy of eradicating its coca production with glyphosate, this time with the help of drones.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Fortnite cheats are being served with adware and malware

      Uber-popular battle royale game Fortnite is being used as a vehicle for malware and adware, with YouTube and other streaming services being exploited to spread malicious code.

    • Google Chrome’s “Download Bomb” Attack Is Back, Also Affects Firefox, Opera, Brave

      Earlier this year, a bug in Google Chrome was a rejoice for tech support scammers who could freeze people’s browser using the infamous download bomb trick.

    • Grand Pwning Unit: Accelerating microarchitectural attacks with the GPU

      The general awareness of microarchitectural attacks is greatly increased since meltdown and spectre earlier this year. A lot of time and energy has been spent in defending against such attacks, with a threat model that assumes attacks originate from the CPU. Frigo et al. open up an entirely new can of worms – modern SoCs contain a variety of special purpose accelerator units, chief among which is the GPU. GPUs are everywhere these days.

    • Gentoo’s GitHub mirror compromise incident report

      LWN reported on June 29 that Gentoo’s GitHub mirror had been compromised. Gentoo now considers the incident resolved and the full report is available.

    • Incident Metadata
    • Endpoint Security

      Over the years, threats have evolved from simple attacks to very advanced threats that can cripple an organization and hide their tracks. As the attacks have evolved, so have our protection needs. We have gone from the single point of protection on mainframes and Unix servers to a large number of endpoints across many networks. We went from Layer 3 security appliances to protect the entire network from the outside to place more of an importance on the endpoints. We’ve seen this grow from antivirus solutions to tools that use machine learning and provide in-depth threat hunting tools.

    • Linux Users Face a Growing Number of Cryptojacking Threats
    • Hackers Targeting Malware at Linux Users: Report

      In the past cyber gangsters mainly targeted their tools at Windows users, since this was the most widely-spread operating system. Recently, modifications for Linux have been discovered as well.

      Cybercriminals have grown to love decentralized digital currencies. Ransomware now seems to be the trend of the past. These days it is cryptojacking that is the hot one.

    • Dodgy Crypto Miners Target Linux Systems, a New Report Reveals
    • New Cybersecurity Report Notes Rising Cases of Cryptojacking Attacks on Linux Devices
    • Black Hat USA: Cybot – The Open-Source Threat Intelligence Chat Bot
    • WatchGuard Reports About Linux Targeted Cryptojacking Mining Software
    • Cisco Security Experts Describe New Attack Vector for Old Malware

      PROPagate was originally discovered in October 2017, so it represents a fairly new way to target Windows installations. However, Smoke Loader has been around since at least 2011. The current version has evolved considerably, and some of the recent outbreaks have been as a result of fake patches that claimed to correct the Meltdown and Spectre exploits.


      PROPagate was originally discovered in October 2017, so it represents a fairly new way to target Windows installations. However, Smoke Loader has been around since at least 2011. The current version has evolved considerably, and some of the recent outbreaks have been as a result of fake patches that claimed to correct the Meltdown and Spectre exploits.

    • NSA Exploit “DoublePulsar” Patched to Work on Windows IoT Systems

      An infosec researcher who uses the online pseudonym of Capt. Meelo has modified an NSA hacking tool known as DoublePulsar to work on the Windows IoT operating system (formerly known as Windows Embedded).

      The original DoublePulsar is a hacking tool that was developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and was stolen and then leaked online by a hacking group known as The Shadow Brokers.

      At its core, DoublePulsar is a Ring-0 kernel mode payload that acts like a backdoor into compromised systems. DoublePulsar is not meant to be used on its own, but together with other NSA tools.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • NATO troops on the front line with Russia are taking new steps to protect against electronic attacks

      Larsen and other military officers involved said Russian personnel behaved professionally and kept their distance, but the NATO forces were taking new steps to insulate themselves electronically: All members of the crew on Larsen’s four ships were required to keep their phones on airplane mode to ward off hacking [sic] attempts.


      Troops at Estonia’s Tapa military base switched to a “no smartphones” policy last year, after they noticed their contacts were disappearing and music they had not downloaded would start playing.

    • Reading hotel key cards with a credit card magstripe reader

      In this post I describe how my cheap magstripe reader wouldn’t read all magstripes, only credit/debit cards. This did nothing to help me understand what data was on my hotel key card – which is what I really wanted to know. Rather than take the obvious next step or buying a better reader, I opted to open up the cheap magstripe reader, probed around a bit and found a way to read the raw data off the hotel magstripes. What that data means remains a mystery so there may be a part 2 at some stage.

    • Really dumb malware targets cryptocurrency fans using Macs

      Someone impersonating administrators of cryptocurrency-related discussion channels on Slack, Discord, and other social messaging platforms has been attempting to lure others into installing macOS malware. The social-engineering campaign consists of posting a script in discussions and encouraging people to copy and paste that script into a Terminal window on their Macs. The command downloads a huge (34 megabyte) file and executes it, establishing a remote connection that acts as a backdoor for the attacker.

    • IBM Lands $740 Million Deal to Supply Data Security to Australia

      The contract will see services such as automation and blockchain provided to federal departments including defense and home affairs, IBM’s Asia Pacific head, Harriet Green, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday. The “youth of the technology” and the employment of Australians to support and help the implementation would be hallmarks of the new partnership, she said.

    • A step forward for government vulnerability disclosure in Europe

      We’ve argued for many years that governments should implement transparent processes to review and disclose the vulnerabilities that they learn about. Such processeses are essential for the cybersecurity of citizens, businesses, and indeed governments themselves. To advance policy discourse on this issue in Europe, we recently participated in the Centre of European Policy Studies (CEPS) Taskforce on Software Vulnerability Disclosure. The Taskforce’s final report was published this week and makes a strong case for the need for government vulnerability disclosure policies, and comes at a critical juncture as European policymakers debate the EU Cybersecurity Act.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • “Shooting And Robbery Are Frequent”: China Warns Its Citizens About Risks Of Travel To The US

      “Public security in the United States is not good. Cases of shootings, robberies, and theft are frequent”

    • No One Knows What Kim Jong Un Promised Trump

      The optimism generated by President Trump’s meeting last month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is giving way to the reality of just how difficult it will be to persuade North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons. In fact, it’s difficult even to understand what Kim and Trump actually agreed to.

      Recent reports said U.S. intelligence agencies suspect that North Korea has, according to NBC News, “increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites;” has also, 38 North adds, made “improvements to the infrastructure at … Yongbyon,” the plutonium-production reactor; and, The Washington Post reports, is “considering ways to conceal the number of weapons it has and secret production facilities.” Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported that North Korea was expanding a facility to build solid-fuel ballistic missiles, even as Kim was meeting with his South Korean counterpart in April and preparing for his meeting with Trump in June.

    • The Escalating Air War No One Is Watching

      A complex air war over Libya has killed hundreds of innocent civilians, and possibly many more, since the U.S.-led NATO intervention in the North African state began in 2011. And almost no one outside of the war-torn country has even noticed. The U.S. government, for its part, increasingly seems to prefer it that way.

      Manned warplanes and drones from four foreign countries and various Libyan factions conducted at least 2,158 air strikes between September 2012 and mid-June 2018, according to a new report from the Washington D.C. based New America Foundation and, an air-strike-tracking project affiliated with the University of London.

    • ACLU Wins Partial Unblocking of FOIA Request on Yemen Raid

      The CIA will not be able to block a Freedom of Information Act request regarding records about the justification, approval process, and assessment of casualties ahead of the January 2017 raid by U.S. forces in al Ghayil, Yemen, that left 10 children among the dead, according to reports.

      The request for the records, made by the American Civil Liberties Union, was issued to the U.S. Departments of Defense, Justice and State, along with the CIA. According to U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York, all litigation over the request has proceeded with the exception of the CIA.

      The CIA issued its customary Glomar response, refusing to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records on the grounds that doing so would reveal highly sensitive information protected from FOIA disclosure.

      The ACLU argued the Glomar response is inappropriate, because public statements made over a series of days by former White House spokesman Sean Spicer, as well as earlier statements by CIA officials regarding the agency’s interest in Yemen, functioned as official acknowledgement.

    • CIA Can’t Dodge ACLU Requests For Yemen Raid Docs

      White House statements about a deadly 2017 raid in Yemen prevent the CIA from refusing to say whether it has documents responsive to American Civil Liberties Union information requests, a New York federal judge held Wednesday, saying the comments made it clear that the agency had an interest in the mission.

    • A least 11 people killed in U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan

      American officials claim their drones carry out high-precision attacks on specific targets; but the reality is that most of these drone attacks result in death of innocent civilians.

    • U.S. Military Surveys Found Local Distrust in Niger. Then the Air Force Built a $100 Million Drone Base.

      Before the U.S. military began building its $100 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, U.S. Africa Command and the State Department took the temperature of locals through public-opinion surveys. The results indicated mixed feelings about the United States and its motives in the region — and take on added resonance in the wake of an ambush last October in Niger that killed four American soldiers.

      “The devout of Agadez are divided on variables associated with violent religious extremism,” reads a military report that contains data from surveys conducted in 2012 by the polling firm ORB International. The 2013 report by U.S. Army Africa, which is the Army component of AFRICOM, is titled “Special Assessment: Agadez, Niger – Strategic Crossroads in the Sahara,” and was obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act.

      A July 2012 survey found that 83 percent of Agadez respondents believed that American and European cultures pose a threat to traditional Muslim values. Nearly 50 percent were convinced that the United States is fighting Islam, rather than terrorism, across the Muslim world. And 40 percent believed that using violence in the name of their religion was always or sometimes justified.

    • Google’s artificial intelligence ethics won’t curb war by algorithm

      On March 29, 2018, a Toyota Land Cruiser carrying five members of the Al Manthari family was travelling through the Yemeni province of Al Bayda, inland from the Gulf of Aden. The family were heading to the city of al-Sawma’ah to pick up a local elder to witness the sale of a plot of land. At two in the afternoon, a rocket from a US Predator drone hit the vehicle, killing three of its passengers. A fourth later died. One of the four men killed, Mohamed Saleh al Manthari, had three children aged between one and six. His father, Saleh al Manthari, says Mohamed was the family’s only breadwinner.

      The US took responsibility for the strike, claiming the victims were terrorists. Yet Yemenis who knew the family claim otherwise. “This is not a case where we’re just taking the community’s word for it – you’ve had verification at every level,” says Jen Gibson, an attorney with legal organisation Reprieve, which represents the Al Manthari family. “You’ve got everyone up to the governor willing to vouch for the fact that these guys were civilians.” The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has in the past few weeks opened an investigation – a “credibility assessment” – into the circumstances of the strike, which lawyers describe as unusual.

    • Corporate Media’s About-Face on Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis

      Last month a freelance journalist named Joshua Cohen published an article in The Washington Post about the Ukraine’s growing neo-Nazi threat. Despite a gratuitous swipe at Russia for allegedly exaggerating the problem (which it hasn’t), the piece was fairly accurate.

      Entitled “Ukraine’s ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown,” it said that fascists have gone on a rampage while the ruling clique in Kiev closes its eyes for the most part and prays that the problem somehow goes away on its own.

      Thus, a group calling itself C14 (for the fourteen-word ultra-right motto, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”) not only beat up a socialist politician and celebrated Hitler’s birthday by stabbing an antiwar activist, but bragged about it on its website. Other ultra-nationalists, Cohen says, have stormed the Lvov and Kiev city councils and “assaulted or disrupted” art exhibits, anti-fascist demos, peace and gay-rights events, and a Victory Day parade commemorating the victory over Hitler in 1945.

      Yet nothing has happened to stop this. President Petro Poroshenko could order a crackdown, but hasn’t for reasons that should be obvious. The U.S.-backed “Euromaidan” uprising not only drove out former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, who had won an OSCE-certified election, but tore the country in two, precisely because ultra-rightists like C14 were in the lead.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Close Up: Julian Assange

      In early 2006, Assange started to work on a website which is intended to share secret information and news leaks on an international scale. This lead to the foundation of WikiLeaks and in 2007 WikiLeaks was officially launched.

    • John Pilger: Julian Assange must be brought home

      The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy.

      The Australian government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have an historic opportunity to decide which it will be.

      They can remain silent, for which history will be unforgiving. Or they can act in the interests of justice and humanity and bring this remarkable Australian citizen home.

      Assange does not ask for special treatment. The government has clear diplomatic and moral obligations to protect Australian citizens abroad from gross injustice: in Julian’s case, from a gross miscarriage of justice and the extreme danger that await him should he walk out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London unprotected.

    • Comey squashed possible limited immunity deal for Assange: report

      WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was willing to discuss guidelines on the release of CIA documents — which were published under the name Vault 7 beginning in March 2017 — in exchange for a limited immunity deal that might have freed him for a while, but the deal was squashed by former FBI director James Comey, a report claims.

      The Hill reported that Democrat Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr; and American lawyer Adam Waldman — who is known for his US Government connections — were involved in the negotiations to try and bring about the deal during the early days of the Trump administration.

      According to the report, in January 2017 Assange’s lawyers contacted Waldman to see if the new administration would negotiate with the WikiLeaks publisher. Washington was aware that Assange had a trove of CIA documents that he was planning to publish.

    • Plot Thickens: Analyst Explains Why Comey Meddled in Assange-DOJ Talks

      Ex-FBI Director James Comey and some former Obama administration officials would have had much to lose if Julian Assange had shared his vision on what happened during the 2016 US presidential race, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel opined speaking to Sputnik, explaining why the ex-FBI chief was so “incurious” about the DNC server hacking.

    • Coming up Tuesday’s ‘Rising:’ How the DOJ almost offered an immunity deal to Julian Assange
    • Comey Fingered in Case of Leak That Harmed US Defense ‘for Years to Come’

      By this point, the belief that James Comey still deserved to be FBI director and that his firing at the hands of President Donald Trump was uncalled for takes an almost Herculean act of intellectual dishonesty.

      The inspector general’s report on the FBI investigation into Hillary Cinton’s emails might have officially found no bias on the part of the bureau as an organization (questionable), but it indisputably showed an organization full of Clintonista shills complete with Comey at the helm, bumbling from one disaster to another.

      This was in addition to what we already knew about Comey and his self-serving tendency to place himself at the center of every major event of the 2016 presidential election.


      “Assange had a bargaining chip: The U.S. government knew he had a massive trove of documents from classified CIA computers, identifying sensitive assets and chronicling the agency’s offensive cyber warfare weapons,” Solomon noted.

    • Jim Jordan: ‘Too early to tell’ about talking to Comey, Warner about Wikileaks

      Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Tuesday said it’s too early to tell whether House Republicans would want to talk to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) about his contacts with former FBI Director James Comey during the Russia probe.

      In an interview with Hill.TV’s “Rising,” Jordan was asked about a contributor’s piece published by The Hill on Monday about how former FBI Director James Comey allegedly intervened, through Warner, to kill a WikiLeaks’ immunity deal with whistleblower Julian Assange.

    • Vault 7, DNC Hacking: How Comey’s Intervention Upset DOJ Deal With Assange

      Following Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s exposure of former FBI Director James Comey’s mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email case, investigative journalist John Solomon has shed light on Comey’s meddling in the DOJ’s negotiations with Julian Assange ahead of a massive disclosure of CIA cyber malpractice.

    • Report: WikiLeaks immunity deal scrapped after Comey intervened

      A limited immunity deal the Department of Justice was considering for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was killed when then-FBI Director James Comey intervened, a report said.

      The deal, which could have temporarily freed Assange from a London embassy where he has been in exile for years, was derailed by Comey with help from Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, The Hill’s John Solomon reported on June 25.

    • The Next Step: The Campaign for Julian Assange

      The modern detainee in a political sense has to be understood in the abstract. Those who take to feats of hacking, publishing and articulating positions on the issue of institutional secrets have become something of a species, not as rare as they once more, but no less remarkable for that fact. And what a hounded species at that.

      Across the globe prisons are now peopled by traditional, and in some instances unconventional journalists, who have found themselves in the possession of classified material. In one specific instance, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks stands tall, albeit in limited space, within the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

      Unlawful imprisonment and arbitrary detention are treated by black letter lawyers with a crystal clarity that would disturb novelists and lay people; lawyers, in turn, are sometimes disturbed by the inventive ways a novelist, or litterateur type, might interpret detention. The case of Assange, shacked and hemmed in a small space at the mercy of his hosts who did grant him asylum, then citizenship, has never been an easy one to explain to either. Ever murky, and ever nebulous, his background and circumstances inspires polarity rather than accord.

    • U.K. official calls for end to Julian Assange impasse, cites WikiLeaks publisher’s worsening health

      A British Foreign Office minster called Tuesday for an end to the impasse surrounding WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, a resident of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012.

      “It is now over six years since the Ecuadorian Embassy has been abused in its purpose as an embassy” Sir Patrick McLoughlin, a Conservative member of the House of Commons, said during a Parliament hearing. “How long does the government care to put up with this?”

      Mr. Assange “is in the embassy of his own choice,” responded Sir Alan Duncan, a fellow Conservative and the U.K. minister of state for Europe and the Americas.

    • UK Foreign Office offers Assange a doctor if he leaves Ecuador embassy

      A UK Foreign Office minister has offered cupboard-dwelling WikiLeaker Julian Assange access to medical attention if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy.

      Sir Alan Duncan told Parliament this afternoon that the British government is “increasingly concerned” about Assange’s health.

      “It is our wish that this can be brought to an end and we’d like to make the assurance that if [Assange] were to step out of the embassy, he would be treated humanely and properly and that the first priority would be to look after his health, which we think is deteriorating,” Sir Alan told the House of Commons earlier today.

    • Pence urged to press Ecuador on Assange

      Democrats in the US Senate have urged Vice President Mike Pence to press Ecuador’s government over asylum it grants to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      Senator Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and nine other Democratic senators said in a letter to Pence that they were extremely concerned over Ecuador’s protection of Assange at its embassy in London.

      Pence was beginning his stop in Ecuador on Wednesday as part of a three-nation tour of Latin America, where he will meet with President Lenin Moreno to discuss trade and the crisis in Venezuela.

    • Pence urged to press Ecuador on Assange
    • VP Pence tells Central America to do more to stop migrants

      During their private meeting, Pence raised the issue of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who Ecuador has granted asylum, U.S. officials said.

      Assange, whose leak of classified U.S. documents infuriated U.S. government officials, has been a sticking point between the two nations. He has been living under asylum inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

      Pence and Moreno did not mention Assange in their public comments.

    • Mike Pence urged by Democrats to discuss Julian Assange’s asylum status during Ecuador trip

      Lawmakers pressed Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday to raise concerns while in Ecuador this week about the country’s decision to continue shielding WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, a resident of its London embassy for the past six years.

      A group of 10 senators, all Democrats, wrote Mr. Pence urging him to discuss Mr. Assange’s asylum status during his meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno.

      Led by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the letter said that lawmakers “remain extremely concerned about Ecuador providing asylum to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange since June 2012.”

    • Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange

      Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.

      “The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward,” a White House official said in a statement.

      Several Democratic senators penned a letter to Pence earlier this week asking him to raise the issue when he met with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno during his multi-country swing through Latin America.

    • Democrats Against Assange: Influencing U.S.-Ecuador Relations

      Such a historical twist, but one that deserves its iniquitous slot in the history books. No secret has been made about US policy towards Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, which continues its trajectory to seek his apprehension and shutter the organisation. Despite its cables being used for political effect by interested parties; despite the exposures of corruption within the ranks of US politics, Assange is to be thanked with punishment.

      This is the sentiment expressed by Senator Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with nine other Democratic senators, in a letter to US Vice President Mike Pence. The senators had been losing sleep after getting wind of what was said, or rather not said, in a June 4 phone call between Pence and Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno. One glaring omission troubled them: the absence of any discussion about Assange’s asylum status and stay in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

    • Vice-President Pence threatens immigrants, Assange, and Venezuela during Latin America tour

      Last week, US Vice President Mike Pence visited South and Central America to pressure Latin American governments to back Washington’s efforts to tighten its control over the region.

      Announcing an escalated offensive against democratic and social rights, Pence negotiated with Ecuador over the expulsion of Julian Assange from Quito’s embassy in London. He also coordinated with Brazil and Ecuador to intensify the US intervention in Venezuela’s crisis and pressed Central American governments to build up their armed forces to prevent immigrants from trying to escape the desperate social conditions in their countries of origin.

      On Thursday, Pence stopped in Quito, Ecuador, the highest ranking US official to visit the country in three decades. Given that President Lenín Moreno’s government seeks a rapprochement with Washington, a group of ten US Democratic senators sent an open letter to Pence ahead of the trip pushing for him to force the expulsion of Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks.

    • Pence pledges support to Venezuelans until democracy returns

      Democrats in the U.S. Senate also urged the vice president to press Ecuador’s government over its continued asylum for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Ten Democratic senators said in a letter to Pence that they were extremely concerned over Ecuador’s protection of Assange, who has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

      “It is imperative that you raise U.S. concerns with President (Lenin) Moreno,” the letter said. “WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally.”

    • On His 47th Birthday, Assange Remains in Limbo at Ecuador Embassy

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, on Tuesday, 3 July, will be celebrating his 47th birthday in the same Ecuadorian embassy in London that has been his abode for 6 years now. His motives, his interventions, his leaks, and not to forget the status of his asylum at the embassy have been subjects of intense debates.

      Two days after the United States Vice President, Mike Pence, in a meeting with Ecuador President Lenin Moreno, discussed Assange, an Ecuadorian diplomat on Monday, 2 July, said Washington can’t decide the fate of Australian programmer.

    • Happy Birthday Julian Assange: Who Dared To Challenge World’s Super Power Through WikiLeaks !

      Having travelled across Australia, gone to 37 different schools, Julian Assange who sought refuge at Ecuador’s Embassy in London on 19 June 2012, is now offered citizenship by Equador. This move is being seen as an effort to ease out mounting pressure from the international community on Assange, who was confined to the embassy for six long years.

    • What WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange got for his birthday
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Greenpeace intentionally crashes drone into French nuclear power plant to reveal security vulnerability

      The environmental organization published a video on its Twitter page showing a Superman-shaped drone flying over the Bugey nuclear plant, located about 20 miles from the city of Lyon. The drone then slams into a building inside the nuclear plant.

      Airspace surrounding and above nuclear plants are no-fly zones in France.

    • Greenpeace crashes Superman-shaped drone into French nuclear plant

      Greenpeace crashed a Superman-shaped drone into a French nuclear plant on Tuesday to demonstrate its vulnerability to outside attacks, the environmental group said.
      Greenpeace said it had flown the drone — piloted by one of its activists — into the no-fly zone around utility EDF’s Bugey nuclear plant, near Lyon, and then crashed it against the wall of the plant’s spent-fuel pool building.
      “This action again highlights the extreme vulnerability of this type of buildings, which contain the highest amount of radioactivity in nuclear plants,” Greenpeace said.

  • Finance
    • To Spite Harley, Trump May Have to Turn to Foreign Bike Foes

      He’d almost certainly have to work with Harley’s foreign foes to fill the void, and none has stepped forward to announce any such negotiations.

    • Taxi law reform sparks competition for fares from Helsinki Airport

      The taxi queue arrangement at Helsinki Airport has changed quite a bit over the weekend. Instead of a single, long line of taxis waiting for customers, there are now four lanes reserved for specific companies, each offering slightly different pricing schemes.

      The airport set up the new arrangement before Finland’s taxi law reforms went into effect on Sunday and started using it on Monday. The first row of taxis, the one closest to Terminal 2′s arrivals doors, belongs to Lähitaksi, while the second row is reserved for Vantaan Taksi.

      The third row is devoted to Taksi Helsinki vehicles, while a fourth row was still empty on Monday, one day after the reforms went into effect.

    • Americans need passenger rail that serves entire nation — not just the East and West coasts

      Amtrak has made drastic changes in the dark, without input from the public, stakeholders or lawmakers.

    • Burst Dymaxion: Linux of Blockchain Proof-of-Capacity (PoC) Project?

      With smart contracts gaining more and more popularity, there have been many platforms that have tried to attract users by offering blockchains with certain revisions that would allow better deals. One of them is called Burst Dymaxion, and this one offers a truly distinct experience thanks to various unique mechanisms and features.

    • Shareholder class actions against Qualcomm over frustrated Broadcom merger may turn on secrecy of CFIUS proceedings

      Before we get to the actual topic of this post, a quick follow-up to the previous one: the Deseret News reports that President Trump has interviewed Senator Mike Lee, so the possibility of a FRAND-friendly Supreme Court Justice is real (though other candidates have been interviewed as well).

      Last week, an interesting class action complaint was brought against Qualcomm in the Northern District of California by a group of consumers, with the class being defined broadly enough to include any U.S. smartphone buyer. I’ve run a couple of online searches and found that there’s a whole bunch of other class lawsuits pending against Qualcomm, and they’re all about Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm, which couldn’t materialize after a presidential veto.

    • Leaders On Global Trade Discuss Leadership And Current Trade Challenges

      Fox, in his demonstration of the role that the United Kingdom has played and continues to play as one of the “foremost champions” of the multilateral trading system, highlighted the efforts of the UK in making sure that the multilateral trading system is beneficial to all.


      In the medium term, the system needs reforming for adaptation to a more multi-polar technological world and in the long term, leadership is needed for more inclusiveness of women and young people in international trade and entrepreneurship, she added.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • There Are No Heroes in This Story
    • Putting a Face (Mine) to the Risks Posed by GOP Games on Mueller Investigation

      I only came to be convinced slowly about Russia’s role in the attack and I have been skeptical of the Steele dossier from the day it was published. That said, I obviously do not like Donald Trump — though I’m no Hillary fan, either. But my decision to share information with the FBI had nothing to do with my dislike for Donald Trump. It had to do with the serious damage that someone else I believed to be involved in the Russian attack — someone I had been friendly with — was doing to innocent people, almost all of those people totally uninvolved in American politics.

    • Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes

      But in a small courtroom in California’s Redwood City on Monday, attorneys for the social media company presented a different message from the one executives have made to Congress, in interviews and in speeches: Facebook, they repeatedly argued, is a publisher, and a company that makes editorial decisions, which are protected by the first amendment.

    • Facebook claims it is ‘publisher’ in court case

      In Facebook’s lawyers claim that it is a “publisher” which gives it the right to decide “what not publish.”

    • America Celebrates Lateral Move From Monarchy To Corporate Rule

      Today America celebrates its liberation from the shackles of the British Crown and the beginning of its transition into corporatist oligarchy, which is a lot like celebrating your lateral promotion from housekeeping to laundry staff. Fireworks will be set off, hot dogs will be consumed, and a strange yellow concoction known as Mountain Dew will be imbibed by patriotic high-fiving Yankees eager to celebrate their hard-fought freedom to funnel their taxes into corporate welfare instead of to the King.

      Spark up a bottle rocket for me, America! In trouncing King George’s red-coated goon squad, you made it possible for the donor class to slowly buy up more and more control of your shiny new government, allowing for a system of rule determined not by royal bloodlines, but by wealth bloodlines. Now instead of your national affairs being determined by some gilded schmuck across the pond, they are determined by the billionaire owners of multinational corporations and banks. These oligarchs have shored up their rule to such an extent that congressional candidates who outspend their opponents are almost certain to win, and a 2014 Princeton study found that ordinary Americans have no influence whatsoever over the behavior of their government while the will of the wealthy has a direct influence on US policy and legislation.

    • Wheel Out the Skripal Story Again

      Just as the World Cup had forced the British media to grudgingly acknowledge the obvious truth that Russia is an extremely interesting country inhabited, like everywhere else, by mostly pleasant and attractive people, we have a screaming reprise of the “Salisbury incident” dominating the British media. Two people have been taken ill in Amesbury from an unknown substance, which might yet be a contaminated recreational drug, but could conceivably be from contact with the substance allegedly used on the Skripals, presumably some of which was somewhere indoors all this time as we were told it could be washed away and neutralised by water.

      Amesbury is not Salisbury – it is 10 miles away. Interestingly enough Porton Down is between Amesbury and Salisbury. Just three miles away from Muggleton Road, Amesbury. The news reports are not mentioning that much.

    • The Amesbury Mystery

      We are continually presented with experts by the mainstream media who will validate whatever miraculous property of “novichok” is needed to fit in with the government’s latest wild anti-Russian story. Tonight Newsnight wheeled out a chemical weapons expert to tell us that “novichok” is “extremely persistent” and therefore that used to attack the Skripals could still be lurking potent on a bush in a park.

      Yet only three months ago we had this example of scores from the MSM giving the same message which was the government line at that time:
      “Professor Robert Stockman, of the University of Nottingham, said traces of nerve agents did not linger. He added: ‘These agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent.’”

    • Trump as a Russian Target – Through the Eyes of a former CIA Russian Expert

      Donald Trump would have been an active target of Russian intelligence since the moment they laid eyes on him for two reasons that come straight from the classical espionage textbook: He has influence; and he is potentially vulnerable to various forms of compromise. Playing by the book, the Russians would have attempted to initiate multi-layered operations to develop varied means of access to him in an effort to establish and ultimately exploit mechanisms of control over Trump and his associates. This is not calling out our president, but rather is a reflection of the reality of how Russian intelligence operates. Indeed, it could even benefit the president to know how this stratagem works. To be fair, I have no information that suggests that our president has been compromised by the Russians. Rather, my intent is to offer to the reader an explanation of the classical vulnerabilities that intelligence officers seek to identify and exploit including sexual indiscretions, greed, corruption, revenge, and most of all, ego. In essence, the pursuit of selfish interests over the common good.

    • Secret to success: BBC gives UK spy network some nice PR at taxpayer expense

      A recent BBC video saw the state-funded broadcaster chat to the deputy director of the UK’s intelligence agency, giving the espionage network some soft and cuddly PR at the taxpayers expense.

      Nikesh Mehta, who has been the number two at GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) since 2015, was interviewed for BBC Ideas for their Habits of the Highly Successful segment, which seeks tips from people at the top of their game.

      Other videos to feature on BBC Ideas, which bills itself as a “curated video platform for people who want to think as well as surf,” include programs on why you should wear trainers to work and investigations into why people chant at football matches.

    • The Secret Role the CIA Had in Making These Movies and TV Shows
    • Politics is becoming a minefield for the travel and hospitality business

      It is getting harder to stay on the right side of customers and employees

    • Extraditing Snowden has ‘never’ been discussed with Trump administration says Lavrov

      Russia’s foreign minister on Friday cast doubt on the possibility of extraditing Edward Snowden, the fugitive former National Security Agency contractor who received political asylum from Moscow after leaking classified documents to the media in 2013.

      Sergey Lavrov briefly discussed the situation surrounding Mr. Snowden during an interview conducted in advance of the recently announced meeting scheduled for July 17 in Finland between President Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

      “What are you prepared to give in this Summit? For example, if Donald Trump says he wants the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden back in the U.S., is that something that you would consider? Is this something that you can put on the table?” asked a reporter for the U.K.’s Channel 4.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Court overrules FPB censorship of Inxeba

      The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) and the South African Screen Federation (Sasfed) is rejoicing the overruling of the censorship of Inxeba.

      The Film and Publications Board (FPB) reclassified the film as X18. R2K and Sasfed entered the case as friends of the court with representation by the Legal Resources Centre.

    • Homophobic censorship of children’s books in Hong Kong libraries a big leap backwards

      Malaysia has seen bans on yoga and a ballet performance in the name of religion, but Hong Kong has always been a secular society – or has it?

    • Censorship on campus? A new poll reveals what students really think about free speech

      A quick search of the hashtag “snowflakes” on Twitter will reveal that the word has become a go-to for conservative commentators describing left-wing young people who dismiss arguments on the basis of personal offence. According to the narrative, snowflakes congregate on university campuses, where they seek to silence speakers they disagree with.

      The government takes the risk of a blizzard seriously: in May, universities minister Sam Gyimah suggested that the Department for Education brought in a clearer set of free speech guidelines for higher education institutions. In explaining his reasons for the proposals, Gyimah referenced an incident in which students at Cardiff University signed a petition demanding Germaine Greer be disinvited from a guest lecture on the basis of “misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether” (Greer was in fact not disinvited by the university).

    • Reflections on Emergency and Press Censorship Today

      It is now de-facto Emergency and an undeclared press censorship in large sections of the print and TV networks, and many websites in the country.


      Indeed, the promulgation of Emergency on June 25, 1975 followed by press censorship, did constitute a dark chapter in history of press in free India. The period had its immediate and long-term repercussions for the press. The moot question today is how far have the lessons been learnt by succeeding governments and the press? In fact, while in the earlier years, dark shades of press censorship were indeed hovering over the country, there were also some periods of resistance too, when the press even imagined an adversarial role for itself. Darker shades were visible during what was a BJP interregnum in its previous government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but now more dangerously, new forms of suppression have been invented. The press today is caught in new forms of press monopoly with major industrial houses directly entering the all spectrum media fray.

    • AEJ: The Case With The BNT Journalist Can Create Self-Censorship

      “A condition for triggering known mechanisms of self-censorship in the program content”, is the opinion of the Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria, concerning the case of the temporary withdrawal of the “Healthcare” sphere of the journalist Maria Cherneva from the Bulgarian National Television.

    • Some high school journalists in the U.S. are facing censorship from school administration

      High schools across the country have pushed back this year against student journalists who have reported on sensitive subjects, such as the reaction to school shootings and adolescent sexuality.


      Since 1988, when the Supreme Court ruled that a Missouri school district had acted lawfully in removing a two-page spread on divorce and teenage pregnancy from a student newspaper, administrators have been able to censor work in school publications that they consider poorly written or “inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order.” Fourteen states have laws in place meant to safeguard school publications from interference.

      The killing of the opinion piece on the National School Walkout protest was the third instance of conflict between John Burdett, the principal of Prosper High School in Prosper, Texas, and the school’s news publication, Eagle Nation Online. The first skirmish concerned an article about the cancellation of “movie day,” a school tradition allowing the class that had raised the most money for a cancer charity to see a movie during school hours. Burdett disputed the article’s take on the cancellation and ordered the faculty adviser, Lori Oglesbee-Petter, to scrub it from the site.

    • China’s Censors Love The Laugh Track

      The Chinese comedian Yu Zhenzhong knows how to make 50 people laugh at a stand-up night. But tackling a potential TV audience of 1.4 billion people is another challenge — especially when there’s a smaller but less friendly audience of censors to face first. That’s why Yu headed from Shanghai to London last year to learn the secrets of the laugh track and the family sitcom.

      Chinese love comedy as much as anyone else, but the two forms most popular in the country — traditional “cross-talk” and the scathing online humor of the young — don’t always translate to regular commercial programming. Cross-talk, reminiscent of the old Western music hall routines down to the somewhat naughty jokes and the comedy accents, turns around individual performers in a way that’s hard to replicate every week. Online sarcasm, meanwhile, is increasingly scoured from the internet and impossible to put on TV. Audiences and authorities want something regular, safe, and universal — like the multicamera sitcom.

      Yu’s company, Houghton Street Media, has partnered with the U.K.-based China Media Centre to sponsor a seminar series teaching Chinese comedy writers how to write Western-style comedies. The workshop is one of several run each year by the China Media Centre, designed to “help Chinese creative talent produce their own ideas in a systematic and commercializable way,” said Hugo de Burgh, the director of the center. For years, these workshops focused on helping Chinese producers localize British programming, but de Burgh noted a recent shift toward equipping Chinese talent to develop their own shows.

    • Amnesty calls on Egypt lawmakers to reject online censorship laws

      If the laws are passed, law enforcement will be able to monitor and block websites in the name of crime prevention and protection of national security. The laws on online media would also increase the regulation of the media to potentially block disfavored sites. Amnesty reports that “Over the past year, the Egyptian authorities have blocked 500 websites including independent news platforms and pages belonging to rights groups.”

    • RSF-FN expressed concern over media censorship in the country

      Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and its partner in Pakistan, Freedom Network (FN), have expressed concern over reports of media censorship in the country, observing that “censorship and intimidation of media are incompatible with democracy”.

      In a joint letter written to caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, the RSF and FN called upon the authorities to allow journalists to cover the election campaigns freely.

      The June 25 letter said: “What with threats, abductions, beatings, illegal suspensions and disrupted distribution, media and journalists are being harassed by the military and intelligence services, as well by political actors, in a clear attempt to intimidate them and prevent independent reporting ahead of the elections.”

      The letter highlighted a number of cases related to intimidation of journalists, including those of Gul Bukhari and Marvi Sirmed.

    • Lindenwood Student Journalists Allege Censorship

      University officials said the move came because of budget cuts and was not meant as censorship.

    • Lindenwood University: Ending publication of magazine due to digital strategy, not censorship

      Students, administrators and journalism organizations are reacting to Lindenwood University’s decision to cease the physical publication of the student-run magazine, The Legacy.

      Student-staff was notified by the university that printing of The Legacy would shut down on Friday, sparking accusations of censorship from student-media staff. Lindenwood University alumni have voiced their concerns over the announcement, said The Legacy News Editor, Madeline Raineri. She said students and alumni are considering what to do next.

    • British Council accused of censorship over Bahamas exhibition

      The cultural diplomacy arm of the Foreign Office has become embroiled in controversy in the Bahamas where it has been accused of censorship and causing further damage to relations already strained by the Windrush scandal.

      The British Council was served with an unprecedented rebuke by the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB), its partner in a major exhibition this year, which said the council had caused “distress and disappointment” after distancing itself from an accompanying catalogue over unstated concerns about its “political” content.

      Artists and collaborators in the project have gone further, voicing allegations of censorship and saying they were left feeling “stunned and angry” while the gallery described it as a lost opportunity to foster goodwill in the wake of the Windrush revelations.

      Ironically, the project in the Bahamas was the final phase of a British Council series called Difficult Conversations – reflecting on the UK’s involvement in the slave trade in the Caribbean.

      The controversy centres on a catalogue for a Bahamian show in which the work of local artists has been displayed this year alongside Scottish artist Graham Fagen’s video installation re-working the Robert Burns song the Slave’s Lament. It was commissioned by the British Council for the 2015 Venice Biennale.

    • Bahamas Govt Accuses British Council of Censorship Over Slave Trade Exhibition

      The project would’ve served as the final phase of a series called ‘Difficult Conversations’ which were to be reflections of the UK’s involvement in the slave trade in the Caribbean, the Guardian has reported.

      United Kingdom’s cultural body, the British Council has come under scrutiny for censorship by the Bahamas government, further straining the relations amid the recent Windrush scandal.

    • Craigslist to drop personal ads after passage of sex trafficking bill

      Craigslist said it is dropping its personals section, citing the passage of a sex trafficking bill potentially leaving websites liable for penalties.

      The U.S. Senate voted 97-2 on Wednesday to pass the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which adds tougher penalties on web services that help facilitate prostitution or sex trafficking.

    • EFF sues to kill FOSTA, calling it “unconstitutional Internet censorship law”
    • Rights Advocates Blast Law Aimed at Sex Trafficking
    • Sex-Worker Advocates Sue Over Internet ‘Censorship’ Law

      Lawsuit claims “anti-trafficking” bill SESTA-FOSTA has already harmed sex workers, calls it “legislative censorship of Internet speech”


      The EFF, a nonprofit founded in 1990, specializes in defending civil liberties online and in the realm of digital technology. They have been one of many organizations to mobilize against SESTA-FOSTA since it was first introduced to Congress in 2017, under the name H.R.1865. SESTA-FOSTA makes it a crime to operate or manage a website that “promotes or facilitates prostitution,” vastly expanding liability for sites that host any content on which sexuality may be discussed.

      Because the law vaguely defines what speech can be interpreted as “supporting” prostitution, websites like Craigslist have already chosen to remove their personals section rather than face liability. Others such as Instagram have increased scrutiny of hashtags such as #yesastripper, while Reddit has outright banned subreddits including r/Sexworkers. Just this week, fundraising host Patreon suspended the accounts of numerous adult-themed creators. Any discussion of sex work, or even sex in general, could potentially make a third-party host – from Twitter to Google – liable for their users’ posts.

    • Opinion: Censorship is a four-letter word

      The road has become a difficult one to navigate for future journalists. With our work been criticized openly by President Trump and the recent death of five Maryland journalists at the hands of a disgruntled reader, it has become even more important that we seek the truth and defend it always, as written in the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics.

    • Blocked reality: From protection to censorship

      Unjustified and unreasonable restriction of such human rights as the right to freedom of speech and the right to access to information is a violation of Ukraine’s Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Protection of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

      Such interference is illegal irrespective of how it is carried out: through the prohibition of a printed publication, the prohibition of the release of a political talk show, or by blocking Internet resources.

      In addition, it is very easy to cross the line in the developing democracies: from the defense of national interests to the “massacre of those who are not wanted” and the narrowing of freedom of speech.

      In the conditions of Ukrainian politics, these risks are no less dangerous, but now they are still relevant.

      Recently, the legislative initiative No. 6688 “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Information Security of Ukraine” was introduced into the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada. The essence of it is to block Internet resources under certain conditions.

      Considering that the authors of the bill are coalitionists from Poroshenko’s Bloc and National Front, there is a high probability that by the end of this session the parliament would vote for it.

    • Behind the battle against Poland’s Holocaust censorship law

      On Tuesday June 26, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IAJLJ) filed an amicus brief with the Polish Constitutional Court in an effort to have the Polish government cancel an amendment to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, also known as the “Polish Denial Memory Law” or “Polish Holocaust Law.”

      The IAJLJ argued that the Polish Law was overly broad and had contradicted the Polish Constitution and its value of freedom of expression. Moreover, the IAJLJ felt this law severely hampered Holocaust study across the world.

      On Wednesday June 27, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed an amendment to the law, downgrading the offense from criminal to civil. While no one can say for sure why law was changed because many countries including Israel and the United States and many organizations across the world lobbied for its cancellation, the “IAJLJ feels confident that the filing of their amicus brief aided in the pressure being put on the Polish government to cancel this law” said, iAJLJ Deputy President attorney Calev Michael Myers.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • For victims of smart home abuse, there’s no easy out

      The New York Times recently published a report that revealed a disturbing trend of harassment and domestic abuse via internet-connected devices. In addition to using them to stalk and monitor their victims, abusers are also doing things like changing door-lock codes, turning lights on and off and boosting the thermostat to unbearable heat. In short, making their victims miserable.

      On the surface, this seems like a relatively straightforward problem to solve: Just change your password or unplug the devices, right? Except the issue here is two-fold. Not only are the devices sometimes solely controlled by the abuser, but oftentimes making these changes will result in even worse abuse, especially if the couple is still living together. Asking these victims to stop using the devices is like telling them to just leave their abuser; these situations are usually much more complex, and the victims could be putting their lives in danger by doing either.

    • The ACLU’s Biggest Roadblock to Fighting Mass Surveillance

      In March 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a type of National Security Agency bulk monitoring known as “upstream” surveillance. More than three years after the ACLU originally filed the suit, the case is still mired in procedural and bureaucratic limbo. But on Friday, a hearing over one such roadblock in Maryland district court could bring long-awaited progress.

      The Wikimedia Foundation, which the ACLU is representing along with cocounsel from the Knight First Amendment Institute and Cooley LLP, engages in more than a trillion communications per year with people around the world, and has hundreds of millions of visitors each month to Wikipedia. The organization is suing to stop upstream surveillance, the process by which the NSA passively monitors and collects a huge amount of data and text-based communications by combing international internet traffic as it moves across service providers’ backbone infrastructure.

      The suit alleges that this tactic violates the First and Fourth Amendment, along with other laws. But it took two years for Wikimedia to simply prove its standing to bring the suit. Now, the government is using a concept known as the “state secrets privilege,” which protects classified information from the discovery process in a lawsuit, to resist cooperating with Wikimedia’s requests. As a result of these evasive tactics, the core constitutional issues of upstream surveillance remain unexamined.

    • Five of the grooviest vintage NSA security posters

      Earlier this month, our friends at The Government Attic caused quite a stir in the FOIA community with a release of over 100 vintage security posters from the National Security Agency. As it turns out, MuckRock founder Michael Morisy had a similar request with a slightly larger timeframe, and the two appear to have been consolidated.

    • Hack, spy, swing an election: Orwell game sums up life in a tech dystopia

      The terrifying extent of online government surveillance is laid bare in the Orwell game series. How complicit will you be when put in control?

    • Facebook quietly kills its Aquila autonomous internet drone program

      Facebook has canned its plans to bring high-speed internet via a solar-powered drone beaming lasers to the ground, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

      The social media behemoth hellbent on ‘global connectivity’ wanted to launch a “high altitude platform station (HAPS) system,” nicknamed Aquila, into the stratosphere. Facebook envisaged hundreds of these electric-engines powered drones floating in the skies drawing energy from solar panels and firing laser-guided internet access to remote corners of the world so locals could get a daily diet of memes and messages.

      But, after four years of trying to make the concept work, Facebook announced on Tuesday that the Aquila project had been killed off.

    • Facebook’s Giant, Internet-Beaming Drone Is Dead

      Facebook is killing Aquila, its solar-powered, jet plane–sized drone that it built to beam down internet to more than 4 billion people around the world who are still offline.

    • Revealed: The towering NSA ‘spy hubs’ hidden in plain sight in cities across the country ‘peering into Americans’ lives from their own backyards’
    • Hidden in Plain Sight: NSA, AT&T Intertwine to Form Surveillance Web Over US

      Among the hundreds of properties owned by leading telecommunications giant AT&T across the United States, at least eight are being used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to suck up billions of records from internet and cell phone users that don’t even have a contract with the company.

    • The Digest: New Report Details AT&T’s Role in NSA Spying Initiatives

      On Monday, The Intercept published a report detailing AT&T’s collaborative relationship with the National Security Agency (NSA) via a program codenamed FAIRVIEW. According to the report, AT&T facilities in eight U.S. cities play a central role in helping the NSA conduct surveillance on both Americans and foreign citizens — even those who are not AT&T customers. The report provides details on each facility, as well as supporting evidence drawn from public records, interviews, and classified NSA documents.

    • AT&T colludes with the NSA to carry out massive illegal surveillance

      In an investigative report released on Monday, The Intercept has further exposed the long-term and highly organized collusion between the communications behemoth AT&T and the National Security Agency (NSA). The story reveals the use of eight AT&T facilities in major cities across the US (New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Dallas) by the NSA to serve as “critical parts of one of the world’s most powerful electronic eavesdropping systems, hidden in plain sight.”

      In large part due to the efforts of brave whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the public has been made aware of the massive and illegal surveillance on all forms of electronic communications carried out by the NSA. In addition, there has been sufficient evidence of the “special relationship” between AT&T and the NSA. However, the new revelations are striking in that they not only provide us a much better look at the physical infrastructure of the spying, but also make clear that the sheer scale of the collusion and the surveillance is far greater than has been assumed.

    • AT&T lets NSA hide and surveil in plain sight, The Intercept reports

      “Like all companies, we are required by law to provide information to government and law enforcement entities by complying with court orders, subpoenas, lawful discovery requests and other legal requirements,” said Jim Greer, the director of corporate communication at AT&T, in an emailed statement. “And, we provide voluntary assistance to law enforcement when a person’s life is in danger and in other immediate, emergency situations. In all cases, we ensure that requests for assistance are valid and that we act in compliance with the law.

    • Meet the 8 spooky AT&T buildings that almost certainly also serve the NSA

      In a new article published Monday, The Intercept has now revealed what it describes as secret AT&T facilities across several American cities that are “central to an NSA spying initiative.”

      The piece builds on earlier reporting that the website did in November 2016 which focused on one such site in New York City.

      The eight locations, which are in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC, are “peering” facilities that normally route other telecom companies’ data traffic onto their network as part of their regular Internet service.

    • The ATT/NSA Scandal – A Consequence of Centralization

      NSA scandal of surveillanceNSA scandal details exposed by Edward Snowden via his Twitter account. “The most important surveillance story you will see for years just went online, revealing how @ATT became the internet’s biggest enemy, secretly collaborating against its customers and partners to destroy your privacy.”

      A mass surveillance operation has been unveiled as AT&T has been colluding with the NSA in actively tracking citizens. A detailed post by The Intercept on June 25th outlined the details of the operation, and the significance of the findings cannot be understated. The AT&T/NSA scandal could go down in history as one of the most extensive recorded incidences of mass surveillance. While previously reported, it has not been examined in detail or brought to the public attention on a widespread basis.

    • AT&T helps NSA spy on Americans

      Surveillance cameras seem to be popping up everywhere these days. People use them to protect their homes. Police departments across the U.S. use them to spot crimes 24/7.

      Even the U.S. military has used surveillance cameras to keep an eye on certain bases and embassies. This can be a good way to keep us safe, but it also could lead to a loss of privacy. In fact, we told you last year that the Chinese government may have found a way to use surveillance cameras against you. (PssT! Scroll to the end of this article to listen to Kim’s free podcast dealing with the Chinese government spying on you.)

      You would probably expect that type of shady activity from the Chinese government, but not from our own. Well, it turns out that the U.S. government is spying on American and foreign citizens and AT&T is helping them do it.

    • Apps May Not Eavesdrop On You But They Record Screen Activities: Researchers

      Since the inception of target advertising, a way of positioning ads based on demographics and activity on smartphones, people have believed that their phones secretly record conversations and monitor their every move.

    • Your phone isn’t listening to you, researchers say, but it may be watching everything you do

      Researchers were quick to mention the limitations of the study and never made a definitive claim that your apps are never secretly listening to you. Since an automated system was used to test the apps, the results may be different from what a human would encounter. The automated system was also unable to sign into these apps and could have missed audio that was processed locally on the device.

      But, the researchers did notice something else funky, according to Gizmodo. Several apps had taken video recordings and screenshots of what people were doing. These screenshots were then sent off to third-party domains.

    • These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You

      Like good scientists, they refuse to say that their study definitively proves that your phone isn’t secretly listening to you, but they didn’t find a single instance of it happening. Instead, they discovered a different disturbing practice: apps recording a phone’s screen and sending that information out to third parties.

    • The Supreme Court just struck a blow against mass surveillance
    • These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You

      It’s the smartphone conspiracy theory that just won’t go away: Many, many people are convinced that their phones are listening to their conversations to target them with ads. Vice recently fueled the paranoia with an article that declared “Your phone is listening and it’s not paranoia,” a conclusion the author reached based on a 5-day experiment where he talked about “going back to uni” and “needing cheap shirts” in front of his phone and then saw ads for shirts and university classes on Facebook.

    • Researchers Find Apps Aren’t Recording Your Conversations (But Some Are Grabbing Screenshots)

      Facebook isn’t spying on everything you say. Your data plan would be higher, and your battery life worse, if that were the case.

      And yet the conspiracy theory that apps are listening to your in-person conversations and using them to show ads persists. So researchers at Northeastern University decided to look into it, testing 17,000 Android apps and monitoring what kind of information they sent home.

    • Oppression for Pennies – The Cost of Surveillance is Falling

      If there’s one thing the Internet has taught us over the last 40 years, it is that information is power.

      The Internet has made and ruined careers, toppled corrupt regimes, made and broken millions of relationships, disrupted entire sectors of economies and created new markets for everything from t-shirts to music to real-estate.

      It has the potential for enormous good. Free information keeps governments honest, gives people reliable news from all perspectives on issues, and brings together communities of people from every walk of life to enjoy the latest Psy video on YouTube.

      But with this tremendous potential for good, also comes the likelihood to shift power away from the status quo. Powerful institutions like governments, banks, large corporate copyright holders, patent authorities, news outlets, and even research institutions seek to reign-in the Internet. They want to protect themselves from the disruptive forces that the internet brings.

      The most obvious of these efforts are nations that tightly control what their citizens see and learn in order to manipulate their populations into complacency.

    • The DOD’s App Store Does This One Crucial Thing to Stay Secure

      The key, Saffel says, is getting developers to agree to hand over the source code of their apps for in-depth analysis and review. Whether an app is a simple time/speed/distance calculator for a pilot or a hyper-specialized classified tool, sharing source code is a big risk for developers, because it means trusting third parties with the core intellectual property [sic] they have built their businesses on. But NGA soon realized that full access was the only way its project could work.

    • SCOTUS and Congress Leave the Right to Privacy Up for Grabs

      If Congress doesn’t update existing digital privacy laws, it’s also possible that states may step in and craft their own. Some already have: California passed a law in 2015 that requires state law enforcement to obtain a warrant to get user data stored online, including things like text messages and location information. Last week, the state also unanimously passed another sweeping privacy law, designed to give citizens more control over the data collected about them by private companies like Facebook and Google. For now, we’ll have to wait and see if Congress and the Supreme Court follow California’s lead.

    • Facebook confirms that it’s acquiring Bloomsbury AI

      While financial terms were not disclosed, we reported that Facebook is paying between $23 and $30 million. Bloomsbury AI is an alumnus of Entrepreneur First, and it was also backed by Fly.VC, Seedcamp, IQ Capital, UCL Technology Fund and the U.K. taxpayer-funded London Co-investment Fund.

    • Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags

      Facebook doesn’t have a mind-control problem, it has a corruption problem. Cambridge Analytica didn’t convince decent people to become racists; they convinced racists to become voters.

    • Mark Zuckerberg and his empire of oily rags

      But surveillance captialism is still dangerous: all those dossiers on the personal lives of whole populations can be used for blackmail, identity theft and political manipulation. As I explain in my new Locus column, Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags, Facebook’s secret is that they’ve found a way to turn a profit on an incredibly low-yield resource — like figuring out how to make low-grade crude out of the oil left over from oily rags.

    • Judge slams Tacoma for not releasing stingray records

      A judge in Washington state has excoriated the Tacoma Police Department for withholding public records pertaining to its use of cell-site simulators, also known as stingrays.

      Back in 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state sued the TPD on behalf of four community leaders, arguing that the department has not adequately responded to their public records requests concerning the use of stingrays, which included asking for a blank form authorizing its use.

    • How To Know If A Third Party App Is Reading Your Gmail Inbox? How To Disable Gmail Access?

      Last year, Google was criticised for accessing users’ inbox to show them relevant ads. In the time that followed, the search giant stopped its practices, but the ability for third-party apps to look into people’s Gmail inbox remained intact.

    • Gmail messages ‘read by human third parties’

      People who have connected third-party apps to their accounts may have unwittingly given human staff permission to read their messages.

    • How to See Which Apps Can Read Your Gmail

      The WSJ reported on Monday that employees of Gmail app developer Edison Software personally read the emails of hundreds of users to build a new feature; employees of another developer, Return Path Inc, reportedly read about 8,000 unredacted user emails to help train algorithmic software.

    • Google allows companies to read Gmail users’ inboxes

      Gmail users’ private messages are sometimes read by employees at software companies, it has emerged, when the user installs certain apps and grants permission to their Google account.

    • ACCC chief issues caution on digital media, urges government scrutiny

      Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims says how Australia approaches the proliferation of digital platforms, and how they collect and manage data, is one of the defining questions of our age.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Five Things You Didn’t Know about Frederick Douglass

      On July 1st , 1852, the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society took out an advertisement in Frederick Douglass’ Paper for a “Celebration of the National Anniversary.” The event, scheduled for July 5 at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York, boasted speeches from prominent abolitionists as well as a headlining address from the namesake of the paper himself. If the irony of inviting a former slave to speak at an occasion billed as a “celebration” of a nation still practicing slavery was lost on the Ladies Society, it was not lost on Douglass. His polemic would be one for the ages.

    • Police searches homes of „Zwiebelfreunde“ board members as well as „OpenLab“ in Augsburg
    • Coordinated raids of Zwiebelfreunde at various locations in Germany

      On June 20th, police raided five locations in Germany, nicely coordinated at 6:00 in the morning: The private homes of all three board members, Jens, Juris and Moritz, our registered headquarters in Dresden (a lawyer’s office), and the home of a previous board member.

      Please check the bottom of this page for links to various press reports about these raids detailing what happened. We will update that section regularly.

      The brief summary is that a German left-wing blog “Krawalltouristen” (ruckus tourists) called for protest actions around the right-wing AfD party convening in Augsburg, Germany. Law enforcement argues that this includes calls for violence.

    • NC was part of a worldwide network of CIA torture centers. We can do better.

      When I returned from Guantanamo Bay in August 2005, I described that prison as “a cancer on our democracy” because I understood that the political, legal, and moral framework that allowed that institution to exist posed an existential threat to our nation. I did not understand then that the cancerous corruption of our American values had already metastasized to North Carolina.

      We were a frightened, angry people in 2005, because our nation had been attacked. Three members of my congregation in New Jersey were in the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, and only two escaped with their lives. So I was invested in seeing the perpetrators of that despicable crime brought to justice. Having previously served in U.S. Army Intelligence, I grasped the challenge of that mission and gasped at the appalling miscalculations made by our leaders.

    • Reality Winner pleads guilty in NSA leak case

      Reality Winner, the first person to be prosecuted by the Trump administration for leaking sensitive government information, pleaded guilty Tuesday to sending to the news media a top-secret National Security Agency report about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

      Her plea agreement calls for her to serve five years and three months behind bars, though she will be sentenced at a later date.

      “All of these actions I did willfully, meaning I did them of my own free will,” she told the court.

    • Help Shadowproof Cover Final Phase Of NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner’s Prosecution

      NSA whistleblower Reality Winner is expected to plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act at a hearing on June 26. We’re sending Kevin Gosztola to Augusta, Georgia, to cover it.

      You’ve helped Kevin travel there to cover this important story before, and we believe it’s in the public interest to have him present for this last phase of this significant prosecution. But we need $1,200 to cover his travel costs.

    • Whistleblower Reality Winner pleads guilty

      The plea agreement is still tentative: a sentencing investigation begins now, with a court hearing to come during which Reality may choose to make a statement and bring forth character witnesses to mitigate her sentence.

      Reality was initially charged under the Espionage Act, which carries a ten year prison sentence and $250,000 fine. The Espionage Act bars defendants from explaining themselves in court, so had Reality taken her case to trial, she would not have been allowed to argue that she wanted to inform the American people, that she knew the leak wouldn’t cause any harm, and that the government shouldn’t needlessly hide this information from its citizens.

    • NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Pleads Guilty, Will Serve 5-Year Prison Term

      And accused NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has pleaded guilty to retaining and transmitting a document to a news organization after reaching a deal with the U.S. government to serve a 5-year prison sentence. Winner had faced up to 10 years in prison on charges she violated the Espionage Act by leaking a top-secret document to The Intercept about Russian interference in the 2016 election. She’s been imprisoned for the last year at the Lincoln County Jail in Georgia, where The Intercept reports Winner has been struggling with depression and an eating disorder. Click here to see all our coverage of Reality Winner’s case.

    • Mother Of NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner: I Didn’t Want To See Her Plead Guilty To Violating Espionage Act

      It’s been kind of an uphill and/or a rocky thing preparing for this. I knew that, today’s hearing, I knew that she was going to change her plea. I knew that she was going to plead guilty to this. I knew that she was going to plead guilty to the violation under the Espionage Act. That’s something that I didn’t want to see happen. So it was very hard for me.

      Today, right now, I feel a sense of relief because it’s over with. But still it’s not the ending that I was hoping for. It’s not the outcome that I had wished for. I never wanted for people to think that Reality was totally innocent, as far as—you know, today she was able to come out to the judge and say that she did this. She did release this document. She knew that it was top secret. She knew what that meant. She had the training. She had everything. So she knew that this was something she wasn’t permitted to do. So she did break a rule. She did violate a law.

      What I didn’t want to see happen was that she was going to be charged and convicted under the Espionage Act. I didn’t want her to be labeled as a traitor. I didn’t want it to be this severe punishment, for her to be seen as somebody who acted against her country. Because to me when you read the Espionage Act that’s pretty much what it says. You have committed a crime against the United States. So that to me is something I really didn’t want to see happen and I’m not happy about.

    • He Is a Member of a Violent White Supremacist Group. So Why Is He Working for a Defense Contractor With a Security Clearance?

      There likely isn’t such a thing as a “typical” violent white extremist in America in 2018. Still, Michael Miselis — a University of California, Los Angeles doctoral student with a U.S. government security clearance to work on sensitive research for a prominent defense contractor — makes for a pretty unusual case.

      For months, ProPublica and Frontline have been working to identify the white supremacists at the center of violent demonstrations across the country, including the infamous Unite the Right rally last August in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Rise Above Movement, a Southern California group that expresses contempt for Muslims, Jews, and immigrants, became a focus of that effort. ProPublica and Frontline were able to quickly identify a number of the group’s leaders, and find evidence that put them in the middle of violence in Charlottesville and Berkeley, California, among other places.

    • What needs changing in the EU’s draft whistleblower directive

      Courage welcomes a strong set of proposals and recommends changes regarding national security cases, protecting anonymity and letting whistleblowers choose who they talk to

      In April this year, the European Commission published the text of its draft whistleblower directive. This was something that campaigners had been working towards for years, partly due to the galvanising impact of the LuxLeaks revelations and the opposition to the European Trade Secrets Directive, both of which we have followed closely at Courage.

      On the whole, the proposals are stronger than had been expected and there’s a lot in them that we can be wholly positive about. We are particularly happy to see that the draft Directive treats disclosures about privacy, potential data breaches and network security as whistleblowing, a clarification that is long overdue.

      At the same time, we think there are some aspects of the draft Directive that could be improved and we’ve just submitted our explanation to the European Commission.

    • Why Anthony Kennedy Was a Moderating Force on the Supreme Court

      The first case I litigated before Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on June 27 after more than 30 years on the Supreme Court, was Texas v. Johnson, the 1989 case that established that the First Amendment protects flag-burning. Kennedy, a mild-mannered Reagan appointee, was no flag-burner. But he provided the crucial fifth vote to strike down Texas’s law.

      A few years later, I invited him to guest-teach my constitutional-law class at Georgetown. I said he could talk about anything; he chose the flag-burning case. But his real subject was judging. In his hour with the students, he not only stressed the importance of having an open mind, but exemplified it in his openness to the students themselves. Not all judges are like this; Justice Antonin Scalia was always absolutely certain about his views when speaking to students (or to anyone else, for that matter).

    • Cops Are Telling Paramedics To Inject Arrestees With Ketamine. Worse, EMS Crews Are Actually Doing It.

      The paramedics are fully complicit in this horror show. They’re overriding their own knowledge and medical training with catastrophic results. This atrocious behavior was exposed by a report from the Office for Police Conduct Review. The report showed ketamine injections increased from three in 2012 to 62 in 2017. It wasn’t until this report was delivered to police that anyone decided to do anything about it. The Minneapolis Police Commander has now forbidden officers from instructing EMS crews to sedate a subject.

      Ketamine is a dangerous drug. The police know this. They classify it as a “date rape” drug, capable of putting people into deep sedation and altering their memories. Healthcare providers know this, too, which is why they’re often hesitant to use it as a sedative if the subject has preexisting breathing problems. Ketamine can kill under these circumstances. When used as a first response in the sedation of detainees, medical histories aren’t available and the outcome can be death.

      Allowing police to “prescribe” sedatives is a horrible idea. The report shows Minneapolis cops nuked arrestees with a powerful sedative just because. In many of the cases examined, there appeared to be no reason to escalate to a dangerous sedative.

    • UK ‘knew US mistreated rendition detainees’

      The UK tolerated “inexcusable” treatment of US detainees after the 9/11 attacks, MPs have found.

      The Intelligence and Security Committee said British agencies continued to supply intelligence to allies despite knowing or suspecting abuse in more than 200 cases.

      Committee chairman Dominic Grieve said agencies knew of incidents that were “plainly unlawful”.

    • UK blamed for allowing ‘inexcusable’ torture by US after 9/11 attacks By Aditi Khanna

      London, Jun 28 Britain’s intelligence officers and ministers have been blamed for allowing “inexcusable” torture by the US in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

      A damning UK parliamentary report released today concluded that British authorities turned a blind eye to the routine mistreatment of detainees by US authorities. The cross-party House of Commons’ Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said UK intelligence agencies, like MI6 and GCHQ, knew what was going on from an early point but failed to act.

    • ‘Beyond doubt’ that Britain knew US mistreated terror detainees

      And it was also inexcusable that British intelligence and security agencies supplied questions for the interrogation of prisoners who they knew or suspected were being subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment (CIDT) and paid for the rendition of others to states where they were at risk of such abuse.

      A three-year investigation by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee found no “smoking gun” proving that the agencies turned a blind eye to torture, and no evidence that UK officials themselves mistreated detainees.

    • Torture report: Jack Straw did not question MI6 over its use of rendition
    • UK tolerated ‘inexcusable’ treatment of detainees by US after 9/11, damning official report finds
    • UK blamed for allowing ‘inexcusable’ torture by US after 9/11 attacks
    • MI6 put questions to prisoner waterboarded 83 times by CIA

      British intelligence officers put questions to a man despite knowing he had been subjected to appalling abuse, including being waterboarded 83 times, according to damning evidence contained in a UK parliamentary report published this week.

      In the years after 9/11, Abu Zubaydah was the only CIA prisoner who went through all 12 of the agency’s “enhanced interrogation techniques”, including being beaten, deprived of sleep and locked in a small box.

      After a four-year inquiry, the all-party intelligence and security committee (ISC) said in its report published on Thursday that MI6 had “direct awareness of extreme mistreatment and possibly torture” of Zubaydah.

    • The Observer view on why Britain’s role in torture must be revealed in full

      Scattered throughout the reports is overriding concern not for human rights but fear of offending the US, and of being excluded from the intelligence gained through methods that breach international law. The UK inquiry began in 2010 under a judge, Sir Peter Gibson, but he ended up publishing only an interim report, stymied by a lack of cooperation. The ISC took up the investigation but, like Gibson, also gave up. Given the restrictions it worked under, the committee did a commendable job. But it acknowledged there were still too many gaps, too many unwilling to testify and too many obstructions – such as Theresa May, who refused to allow four key officers in the intelligence agencies and the military to give evidence.

    • Complying While Black (Taser Edition)

      Some police are prone to using force at a moment’s notice, even when their orders are being followed.

      When two patrons at a Starbucks cafe in Philadelphia were arrested while waiting for a colleague earlier this year, people in Pennsylvania and around the country saw on video what Black people have known for a long time — the mere act of going about our daily lives can lead to harassment, arrest, or worse.

      The stakes are ratcheted upward dramatically when we cross paths with law enforcement officers. Even when we comply with an officer’s every request, we can be at risk of violence.

      That’s what happened to Sean Williams, a 27-year-old Black man in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on June 28. While trying to comply with police officers’ conflicting commands, Williams was shot in the back with an electronic control device, popularly known as a Taser, after the brand that manufactures the weapon. A video recording of the incident has gone viral across the country.

      Williams was a suspect in a dispute with three other people. While a statement from the Lancaster City Bureau of Police claims that the video does not show the full context of the incident and that Williams earlier failed to comply with their commands, the video clearly shows that the situation had deescalated to the point that Williams was seated and prepared to do what the police told him to do. Officer Philip Bernot stunned him with the Taser anyway, sending an electric shock through his body.

    • American Hate Group Looks to Make Allies in Europe

      Robert Rundo, a leader of the violent white supremacist group known as the Rise Above Movement, pounded the man, hitting him with a series of thudding punches — left, right, left — that sent his foe staggering backwards.

      But this wasn’t a street brawl captured on video: It was a boxing match — complete with 12-ounce gloves, a referee, and scantily attired ring girls — and it was promoted by a white supremacist fight club in Ukraine. The event was held inside a bunker-like building in Kiev, with fighters competing inside a cage of the sort familiar to mixed martial arts fans in America.

      With the skinhead subculture fading, neo-Nazi organizers in Europe have turned to promoting boxing and mixed martial arts bouts with the aim of pulling in new recruits.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Comcast’s Wireless Service Will Charge You More To Stream HD Video

      In other words, by “unlimited” Comcast really means 20 GB on a connection incapable of delivering HD video unless you pay more money. As an added, new restriction, Comcast is also now throttling all tethered hotspots on these “unlimited” connections to 600 kbps–unless you sign up for the company’s pay per gigabyte option at a whopping $12 per gigabyte. This is, apparently, Comcast’s version of what it looks like when you try and disrupt and compete with the broader wireless industry.

      On its face this isn’t the end of the world. On a small mobile phone screen, the difference between 480p and 720p will likely be unnoticable to many users. It’s the precedent that’s being set that’s more troubling. For one, this continues to be a bastardization of the term “unlimited,” a word the telecom sector has abused for the better part of the last decade without learning any real lessons.

    • Gallery Grid With CSS Grid

      The images auto-fill across the first row, filling all available space. If there’s no image2 or image3, image1 fills 100% of the available width.

    • Special Report on Decentralizing the Internet

      I really like the way The Economist occasionally allows its writers to address a topic at length. Siegele provides a good overview of what has gone wrong and the competing views of how to fix it. Below the fold, my overall critique, and commentary on some of the articles.

    • AT&T promised lower prices after Time Warner merger—it’s raising them instead

      AT&T confirmed the price increase to Ars and said it began informing customers of the increase this past weekend. “The $5 increase will go into effect July 26 for new customers and varies for existing customers based on their billing date,” an AT&T spokesperson said.

  • DRM
    • How Netflix became a billion-dollar titan

      Instead, Netflix has become an industry in and of itself. Mr Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, and his colleagues will spend $12bn-13bn this year—more than any studio spends on films, or any television company lays out on stuff that isn’t sport.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Fortress-affiliated entity doubles down on litigation campaign against Intel

      VLSI Technology, an entity with apparent ties to Fortress’s IP Group, has launched a second infringement lawsuit against Intel, accusing the chipmaker of infringing five patents. Filed late last week in district court in Delaware, it follows another court action brought by VLSI against the tech giant in the Northern District of California last October. All the patents in suit in Delaware herald from NXP Semiconductors, currently subject to a Qualcomm takeover bid. VLSI picked up a large portfolio of NXP patents in a series of assignments in 2016 and 2017; although not all originated with the Dutch company.

    • Incyte judgment prompts change of direction of the Spanish Patent Office in pending appeals

      Historically, the Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office (“SPTO”) has rejected the correction of the registered term of supplementary protection certificates (“SPCs”), even in cases where such term has had to be recalculated due to the new case law emanating from the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”). As reported in our posts of January 2018, following the judgment of 20 December 2017 of the CJEU in case C-492/16 (“Incyte“), the SPTO modified its historical position. In particular, it published a “Notice to Applicants” informing that it would now allow the modification of entries registered in the SPTO so that the published term of protection may be recalculated, pursuant to the case law of the CJEU. So far, so good.

    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
      • EU Parliament rejects rubber stamping disastrous copyright bill

        The European Parliament has today heard the voice of European citizens and voted against proposals that would have dealt a hammer blow to the open internet in Europe.

        By a clear majority, MEPs have rejected rubber stamping proposals that would have forced internet companies to filter the web, and would have introduced an unprecedented tax on linking online.

        This is great news for Europe’s citizens, its SMEs and startups, especially those in the creative sectors as, while the proposed rules were supposed to protect and support them, they would have been the ones to suffer most under the new regime.

      • EU Parliament Votes To Step Back From The Abyss On Copyright For Now

        The last few days (and weeks) we’ve had plenty of articles about the EU’s attempt to undermine the fundamental aspects of the internet with its Copyright Directive, including a snippet tax and the requirement of upload filters. Supporters of the Directive have resorted to ever-increasing levels of FUD in trying to get the EU Parliament to move the directive forward without changes — and they did this despite quietly making the directive much, much worse and only revealing those changes at the last minute. It became quite obvious that the intent of this legislative effort was to fundamentally change the internet, to make it much more like TV — with a set of gatekeepers only allowing carefully selected and licensed content online.

        As the drumbeat got louder from (quite reasonably) concerned people around the world, supporters of the effort kept trying different strategies in support of this nonsense — including a letter claiming to be written by Sir Paul McCartney.

      • MEPs hold off Article 13′s Censorship Machine

        The odds were steep, but thanks to everyone who contacted their representatives, MEPs got the message that Article 13 and it’s automated “upload filters” would be a catastrophe for free expression online.

        In the final days, support for Article 13 collapsed, as pressure from real people like you convinced MEPs that they needed a rethink.

        Today’s victory is a rude awakening to industry lobbyists who expected Article 13 to pass quietly under the radar. We can expect a fierce battle in the coming months as the Copyright Directive returns to the EU Parliament for further debate.

        Today’s vote preserves our ability to speak, create, and express ourselves freely on the Internet platforms we use everyday. Instead of rolling over and putting computers in charge of policing what we say and do, we’ve bought ourselves some time to foster public debate about the wisdom, or lack thereof, behind automated censorship.

      • Controversial EU Parliament Copyright Reform Vote Tomorrow; 1,300 Musicians Urge Support

        The European Parliament votes tomorrow on whether to allow negotiations with the Council to begin on controversial copyright reform legislation. The proposed updated rules have sparked intense lobbying by supporters and foes alike, including, one lawmaker said at a press briefing today, death threats.

        Under parliament’s rules of procedure, at least 76 MEPs are needed to object to the opening of talks with the Council without seeking plenary approval, the European Parliament said. As of midnight Tuesday, “enough MEPs had in fact lodged their objection.”

        If tomorrow’s vote confirms the negotiating mandate adopted by the Legal Affairs Committee, negotiations can begin at any time, Parliament said. If the vote rejects the mandate, the substance of the proposed measure will have to be debated and voted on in September’s plenary session, it said.

      • How streaming is saving the music business

        Meanwhile, concern continues in the music industry over those whom we’ll call the music 99 percent being able to earn a fair amount from streaming dollars. On YouTube, for example, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimated in a 2017 report that the annual revenue for the music industry per user is less than $1. “User upload services, such as YouTube, are heavily used by music consumers and yet do not return fair value to those who are investing in and creating the music,” IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said in a statement.

      • Pirate Bay is Mining Cryptocurrency Again But Forum Staff Aren’t Worried

        Last year The Pirate Bay caused controversy by embedding a cryptocurrency miner to generate revenue. The site has experimented off and on since and has recently established another miner. While users might prefer for it not be there, a TPB moderator says it’s easily blocked and anyone spending more than a couple of minutes on the site “is doing it wrong.”

      • The Pirate Bay AGAIN Caught Mining Cryptocurrency Using Your CPU Power

        Last year, when The Pirate Bay was first caught mining cryptocurrency without notifying the users, it created lost of havoc in the pirate community. While some supported the decision by calling it a way to assist the website operations, others expressed concern.

        The Monero cryptocurrency miner has been found to make an appearance once again, according to TorrentFreak. As per a user who was trying to upload torrents to The Pirate Bay, his CPU got “really hot” during the process.

      • 145 Organisations Urge EU Vote Against JURI Mandate On Copyright

        Some 145 organisations have signed an open letter urging European Parliament to vote against the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee mandate to negotiate on copyright reform. The European Parliament will meet on 5 July for a plenary vote on whether or not to endorse the mandate.

        In their open letter, the 145 organisations representing “citizens, startups, human rights organisations, publishers, creators, educators, cultural heritage professionals, librarians, and researchers,” call on Parliament to vote against the negotiating mandate, and “to vote for a public debate on the Directive,” according to the letter.

      • Countering the Latest Misinformation about the EU Copyright Directive

        Tomorrow the European Parliament will vote on whether to send its version of the Copyright Directive text to “trilogues” for final negotiations. As I’ve written here before, this would be disastrous for the Internet in the EU. However, efforts to prevent that happening are having an impact. The MEPs on the JURI committee that drew up the current flawed text have just sent a short document to all MEPs to try to convince them to vote to move on to the trilogues (you can read it on Techdirt). It is full of misinformation, which I would like to debunk here so that people can explain to their MEPs – either in an email, or by phone – why the claims made in the JURI note are false.

        I’ll concentrate here on what it says about Article 13, which will bring in upload filters, since the threat it represents to the Internet is greater, and the misinformation in the JURI paper most egregious.

      • Tomorrow, European Parliament Must Reject Automated Filtering

        Tomorrow, the whole European Parliament will vote on the new Copyright Directive. Two weeks ago, Parliament’s “Legal Affairs” Committee has adopted a first text, forcing commercial platforms to actively block copyright-protected contents uploaded by their users. Tomorrow, Parliament must reject this text.

        On 20 June, the “Legal Affairs” Committee, gathering 25 Members of the European Parliament, was in charge of adopting a first draft on the Copyright Directive. The majority of its members adopted an Article 13 which would impose automatic filtering measures on commercial platforms that publish and “optimize” the displaying of user-provided contents. YouTube or Facebook have already implemented such measures for a very long time: they would be legitimized by this Article 13.

        Our public communications should never be regulated through automatic means, be it for “protecting copyrights” or fighting hatespeech or ‘fake news’. Only humans should be able to regulate humans’ conducts, especially when it relates to fundamental rights like freedom of expression.

      • Article 13 Lobbying Efforts Clash Before Crucial Copyright Filters Vote

        In two days time, a pivotal vote will take place in the European Parliament, one that could change the direction of copyright enforcement in the EU. Framed around the so-called “Value Gap”, Article 13 aims to force Internet platforms to “play fair” on licensing rates with record labels. Ahead of the vote, hundreds of groups and organizations are facing off in a final clash of the causes.

      • Sony Blunders By Uploading Full Movie to YouTube Instead of Trailer

        Sony Pictures Entertainment’s movie ‘Khali the Killer’ is on release in the United States and, as is customary, a trailer has been uploaded to YouTube. However, on closer inspection, it appears that Sony uploaded the entire movie in error. Oops.

      • Genius At Sony “Accidentally” Uploads “Entire Movie” On YouTube Instead Of Trailer

        When people at Sony Pictures are bored to hell and feel the need to make headlines, they just pitch in human-error backed up by their PR.

      • Sony Pictures accidentally uploaded the entire “Khali the Killer” movie instead of the trailer
      • DEBATE: Will the EU copyright reform being voted on this week ‘break the internet’?

        The EU’s new Copyright Directive is anti-competition, anti-innovation, and anti-free speech. It requires online platforms to develop complex and expensive filtering systems to monitor and delete copyrighted content. If they fail to do so, they will be hit with massive fines.

      • Wikipedia down in several countries in EU law protest

        In Spain, Italy and Poland, an explanatory, protest statement about the upcoming vote came up when the online encyclopedia of the usual web page on whatever celebrity, legal case or historical event users had searched for.

      • Hours before a critical EU vote on mass internet censorship, European Wikipedia projects go dark

        This is an important moment in this fight. MEPs need to hear from their constituents on this: with EU elections coming up, they’re more likely to be responsive than at any other time. The daily activities and cultural lives of hundreds of millions of Europeans are on the line here.

      • Kim Dotcom loses appeal against extradition, will take case to Supreme Court

        However, acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said the possibility of appealing wasn’t clear cut.

      • Kim Dotcom Loses His Latest Battle to Avoid Extradition to U.S.

        Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has lost the latest round in his long-running battle to avoid extradition to the U.S. and will now take his case to New Zealand’s highest court.

Abstract Ideas and Mental (Thoughts) Type of Claims Still Deemed Patent-Ineligible, Buzzwords Are Used Instead

Thursday 5th of July 2018 02:02:07 PM

“Cloud Computing”, “AI” etc. in so-called ‘IP Five’

Summary: The District Court for the District of Delaware (above) now attracts a lot of patent litigation; this court, however, isn’t so tolerant of software patents (more like the Federal Circuit and less like East Texas); in East Asia buzzwords are also being used, but courts aren’t necessarily tolerant of abstract patents; Europe is a mess because of the EPO’s abuses

THE Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), together with the USPTO as a whole, is doing what patent law firms fear the most. There’s a wide-ranging patents cull and the most common criterion for culling is abstract claims.

Ancestry (the company), according to this new tweet, “Argues that the 23andMe Patent Asserted Against It is Invalid under Mayo/ Alice:…”

“Buzzwords like “cloud” don’t magically render algorithms more “concrete”.”It is. We wrote about it before. It probably won’t be long before this whole lawsuit collapses, sending a warning sign to anyone who feels courageous enough to still use software patents in 2018. They can call these anything they want, but the courts eventually assess whether claims are abstract or not. The cloudwashing of software patents, for example, won’t work either. Buzzwords like “cloud” don’t magically render algorithms more “concrete”.

Covering a relatively new case from the District Court for the District of Delaware (where much of the litigation now happens), patent maximalists speak of “§ 101 issues in light of Federal Circuit patent-eligibility decisions since early 2016.”

To quote the entire opening paragraph:

This month, in an infringement case against Defendant Amazon, Judge Stark of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware ruled that Plaintiff Kaavo Inc.’s cloud computing claims are patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. In related cases dating back to 2016, the Court ordered that the asserted independent claims be found patent-ineligible, as well as one of the dependent claims. The Court later ordered limited discovery, claim construction, and summary judgement briefing with respect to the eligibility of the remaining dependent claims. Kaavo then moved for reconsideration of the Court’s Order invalidating all of the asserted independent claims and the one dependent claim, whereas Amazon moved for summary judgement. The Court denied both motions without prejudice and instead ordered new briefing to allow for consideration of the § 101 issues in light of Federal Circuit patent-eligibility decisions since early 2016. Renewals of both motions were at issue in this latest decision, in which the Court granted Amazon’s renewed motion for summary judgement of invalidity of the remaining dependent claims and denied Kaavo’s renewed motion to reconsider.

Looking eastwards towards China, the main/only country that still permits software patents, Jacob Schindler wrote about declining winning rates in courts there. To quote:

IP House – a litigation analytics outfit based in Beijing – recently released a Chinese-language study of cases involving semiconductor patents from its database. It has been shared an analysed by Berkeley professor Mark Cohen on his China IPR site. Of note: this sample of cases does not yield the high plaintiff winning rates we are used to seeing in macro-level Chinese patent statistics. First off, the selection of cases is relatively small. IP House turned up 133 first instance civil trials which yielded a judgment containing the word ‘chip’.

So even in China patent litigation is still not a “winning” strategy. Here is another new article about China, this one about abstract patents on GUIs:

In 2014, the number of design patents with GUI in China was more than 5,000, which was 6,638 in 2015, and 9,864 in 2016, a growth rate of up to 48.6%. In 2017, this number basically equaled that in 2016.

Is the bubble in China starting to burst? It is no secret that China just grants far too many low-quality patents (not even patent maximalists are disputing it!), which means that they make a mockery of the very concept of patents.

“Software patents by any other (buzz)name/word…”Earlier this week Managing Intellectual Property wrote about patent filings in China and then did another piece about “blockchain, AI, software patents” in China. Well, those are pretty much the same thing. Software patents by any other (buzz)name/word…

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is nothing news. They just call more and more old stuff “AI” in an effort to generate public interest/hype. For the third time this week the same site did a piece dedicated to “AI”, in which Ellie Mertens said:

Artificial intelligence will have a big impact on IP prosecution and litigation. Ellie Mertens takes a look at how it will change life for patent practitioners

Artificial intelligence (AI) relates to patents in two main ways. First, advancements in the technology can be protected by patents. Second, AI can be applied to the patent space to reduce inefficiencies.

They’re talking about whether automation (not “AI”) can make some tasks of law firms (e.g. search) more efficient and thus render some workers redundant.

Looking at Europe, there’s this new article by Frances Wilding, David Lewin, James Ward and James Sunderland (Haseltine Lake LLP). It promotes hype and buzzwords as surrogates for software patents at the EPO (“Neural Networks, Machine Learning And Artificial Intelligence”), in effect parroting Battistelli-produced propaganda from earlier this summer:

A recent EPO report talks about “A new era of technological development characterised by digital transformation”, based on “information and communication technologies” (“ICT”) and amounting to a “fourth industrial revolution”. The present review looks at three specific aspects of ICT – neural networks, machine learning and artificial intelligence – which the EPO report groups together as “enabling machine understanding”.

Developments of these aspects may relate to their implementing hardware and software or to any of the extensive range of their possible applications, for example from assisting medical diagnosis to image recognition to natural language understanding to operating wind turbines to playing the game of go. This means that capture of relevant patents and applications using the International Patent Classification (IPC) is challenging, as incidentally illustrated by the EPO report.

This review takes a simple and direct approach: using full texts and keywords “neural network”, “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence”, searches for European patents having patent (B1) publication dates over the 10-year period 2008 to 2017 were carried out.

Notice how many other buzzwords they throw into the mix, including the EPO’s favourites, “ICT” and “fourth industrial revolution”.

Over at the Battistelli-leaning IP Kat (it became the opposite of what it used to be) there’s this new lengthy post about rulings from the EPO. “According to UK case law and the Technical Boards of Appeal (TBA) of the European Patent Office (EPO),” it said, “for a range overlapping with a known range to be novel, the prior art must at least not disclose specific values within the overlapping range. This is the principle that a generic disclosure is not novelty destroying for specific examples covered by the generic.

“The TBA have established further criteria for an overlapping range to be novel. The claimed range must also, for example, have a technical effect. These criteria can seem addressed to the question of inventiveness as opposed to novelty. For this reason, the UK courts have previously been reluctant to adopt the TBA approach. The recent decision by the Court of Appeal has now firmly incorporated part of the EPO’s approach into UK case law.”

As a reminder, the TBA does not enjoy independence anyway. The Boards of Appeal (BoA) are being threatened and the EPC was essentially killed by corrupt Battistelli (shredding it to pieces over the years). Mind the following new comment:

For me, this is a fine example of different jurisdictions helping each other to feel their way forward under the substantive provisions of patentability/novelty of the EPC. I like it, when the jurisprudence of English law, and that of the Boards of Appeal, converges, despite the gulf of difference between them in how they assess evidence of fact.

It seems to me that, because of rivalry between EPC jurisdictions, progress under the EPC is almost Darwinian, survival of the fittest legal logic. Keeping novelty distinct from obviousness is easier said than done but here again, Europe leads the way, thanks to the EPC, Art 54(3).

Where else in the world, outside Europe, is there so much legal certainty, what is patentably novel, and what is not? Why, in the USA, they seem not yet to have got as far as considering elementary quesations about novelty, like whether D1 is to be construed as of its date of publication, or as of the day before the date of the claim.

UPC threatens to change all that. It would broaden patent scope in the whole of Europe in one fell swoop if somehow (miraculously) it became a reality.

Going back to East Asia, there’s this news about standard-essential patents in Japan, alluding to patent lawyers as “IP [sic] lawyers” or “Practitioners”; they’re neither because “IP” is just a misleading term and because they practice nothing, they’re blood-sucking parasites looking to exploit (or prey on and tax) those who practice technology. Those are the types of people who lobby hard for the UPC. Anyway, the article says the following:

IP lawyers in Japan say the standard essential patent guidelines are a good start but will not have much case impact because they are not legally binding

The Japan Patent Office has released guidelines to licensing negotiations involving standard essential patents (SEPs).

Japan has attempted to reduce abuse and aggression with patents. Remember that the JPO and Japan’s patent courts aren’t the same thing. Software patents and other abstract patents aren’t favoured there unless buzzwords are used, e.g. IoT.

Oddly enough, citing just one person (whose blog post IAM reposted) IAM now says this: “Business method patents may be out of favour in the US, but in Japan they are enjoying a comeback, while in China they are surging.”

Well, China suffocates itself with low-quality patents on mere ideas, guaranteeing its industry will sink under lawyers’ weight. As for Japan? It has only gotten tougher. But IAM, being the lobby of patent litigators, focuses on China instead when it says:

When people talk about Chinese innovation, e-commerce is often among the first subjects to come up. Mobile payments and related technologies are ubiquitous, as anyone knows who’s tried to pay cash for anything in Shenzhen or Beijing recently. So it is not much of a surprise that SIPO patent applications covering business methods are swelling. Policy changes implemented last year point toward continued meteoric growth. For each of the past couple of years, the Japan Patent Office has compiled an update on the status of business method patents in Japan and around the IP Five.

IAM calls this “favourable policy environment”; favourable to whom? Trolls? What about those whom they target? If IAM was to speak honestly, it would rename and the acronym IAM would be expanded to “International Attorneys’ Mind-control”.

The Latest Twists in US Patent Courts

Thursday 5th of July 2018 12:21:07 PM

Delaware, where a lot of the legal action has come

Summary: A quick look at developments in US patent courts on this Independence Day week

THESE are the times of leadership changes; the EPO has a new President this week and the USPTO got a new Director a few months ago. Do these changes represent improvement? Well, considering the role of their offices, they will be judged based on the quality of patents granted because therein lies the only objective measure of justice.

“Motorola does not make very much anymore (in terms of products), so patent litigation may gradually become this brand’s identity.”But what about the courts? The patent offices do not deal with trials; they do, however, take into account the outcome of trials when drafting examination guidelines. Earlier this week Hytera was dealt a blow [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] after Motorola Solutions had filed a patent complaint. Be sceptical of ITC, however, as it has a track record of ignoring not only the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) but also common sense. Motorola Solutions threw 4 patents into the mix, so a proper assessment of the merit of the complaint can take some time. Another part of Motorola was bought by Google and later passed on to another giant. Motorola does not make very much anymore (in terms of products), so patent litigation may gradually become this brand’s identity. Speaking of Google, based on this new update a former Google Vice President may soon be deposed in Space Data Corporation v Alphabet Inc and Google LLC because a “court granted in part defendant’s former employee’s motion for a protective order precluding his deposition under the apex doctrine.”

“Many jurors won’t be technical enough to grasp the claims in the patents and judge them based on merit, complexity, prior art etc.”Well, at least they examine the evidence. In another case, Exmark Manufacturing Company Inc. v Briggs & Stratton Corporation, something interesting has just happened. TC Heartland gets brought up as the case may have been filed in an improper venue. “Following a jury trial,” it says, “a bench trial, appeal, and remand, the court denied defendant’s motion to transfer for improper venue because defendant waived its venue defense through litigation conduct.”

Jury trials for patents are barely suitable for reasons we named here many times before. Many jurors won’t be technical enough to grasp the claims in the patents and judge them based on merit, complexity, prior art etc. There are things for which jury trials are absolutely fine, but patents? Many such trials have typically taken place in East Texas, however litigation is now shifting to Delaware, as we shall explain in our next post.

No, Europe Does Not Gear up for the Unitary Patent, But Team UPC Wants Everyone to Think So and EPO Amplifies These Lies

Thursday 5th of July 2018 11:11:33 AM

Even without the crooked old President, Team Battistelli is still in charge of the Office and the Organisation

Summary: Campinos already sounds just like Battistelli, at least as far as his stance on the UPC goes (never mind attitude towards staff and the rule of law); Team UPC controls the Office and the Organisation ‘by proxy’, advancing the interests of litigation fanatics

IN the first EPO statement after announcing that António Campinos becomes President we see an obvious lie, right from the headline, “Europe gears up for the Unitary Patent” (warning: link), preceding some assorted quotes from Margot Fröhlinger and Campinos.

Under Mr. Campinos the EPO carries on lobbying for and lying about the unconstitutional 'unitary' patents, which are being pursued/sought by the litigation ‘industry’ and patent trolls rather than European companies. We finally have some partial transcript of what Campinos said:

“The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are sources of great untapped potential,” said António Campinos during his first keynote speech as EPO President. “This project will form a vital additional tool for providing access to the IP market. And in essence, that is what the EPO is about – facilitating access to effective and high-quality patents.”

Mr Campinos also expressed his confidence that the UPC and the Unitary Patent would come into operation very soon, explaining that 16 Member States have already ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and that there is good reason to believe that the new system will start with close to 20 states. “We now stand on the cusp of a fully operational patent for the EU,” he said.

Is Campinos a legislator now? His job should be only to grant patents correctly. That’s all.

Campinos already sounds just like Battistelli. As far as policy is concerned, these two are likely indistinguishable. But it doesn’t surprise us; we didn’t really expect anything else. The above release also mentions Jérôme Debrulle, who had a lot to do with Campinos getting this job.

The EPO is very seriously compromised; a change of President is barely enough to salvage it. They need to take it further.

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Blackmails Yet Another Microsoft Rival and Continues to Engage in Shakedown Tactics

Thursday 5th of July 2018 04:36:21 AM

Extortion racket, funded by Microsoft

Summary: After much bullying, which is always directed at Microsoft’s rivals, Trend Micro agrees to pay Microsoft’s Israeli patent troll, Finjan

RELYING on low-quality software patents, granted by the USPTO and sometimes purchased from IBM (because many of Finjan’s own patents get rejected/invalidated in courts), the Microsoft-backed patent troll Finjan Holdings blackmails yet another Microsoft rival, this time Trend Micro.

“Remember that Finjan does not do anything but litigation, hence it’s a patent troll.”As usual, this malicious troll issues a whitewashing statement about it (this is all they ever speak about to their so-called ‘shareholders’). We have found this press release in a lot of sites. The troll pays a lot of money to spread this message, which it believes can compel many companies to shell out ‘protection’ money rather than attempt to challenge its software patents.

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNJN), and its subsidiaries, Finjan, Inc. (“Finjan”), Finjan Mobile, Inc. (“Finjan Mobile”), and Finjan Blue, Inc. (“Finjan Blue”), a pioneer in cybersecurity technologies, and Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today announced that they had entered into an on-going license arrangement.

Under this arrangement, both companies will benefit in a number of ways. Trend Micro gains access to Finjan’s broad cybersecurity patent portfolio, and Finjan will strengthen its leadership in embedded cybersecurity technologies and intellectual property through the transfer of select security-related patent assets from Trend Micro. Each party also gains more limited access to the other’s patent portfolio for a certain number of years.

Remember that Finjan does not do anything but litigation, hence it’s a patent troll. How does Microsoft explain financially backing this troll?

Finjan isn’t the only patent troll out there; but this one is large and connected to Microsoft, just like many others.

The EFF has just covered another example. The outcome of bogus patents and patent trolls that prey on the weak (without legal advisors) was explained as follows:

Foreign languages have been taught, and studied, for thousands of years. People who teach languages are the last folks that should be dealing with patent threat letters—but incredibly, that’s exactly what has happened to Mihalis Eleftheriou. Hodder and Stoughton, a large British publisher, has sent a letter to Eleftheriou claiming that it has rights to a patent that covers recorded language lessons, and demanding that he stop providing online courses.

Eleftheriou teaches a variety of online classes through his Language Transfer project. The courses are simple audio files uploaded to platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube. So you can imagine his surprise when he received a letter [PDF] from Hodder and Stoughton, saying that his project infringes a U.S. patent.

Patent trolls need to go away; they contribute absolutely nothing. For Microsoft to actively support many of them, including the world’s biggest, says a lot about the ‘new’ Microsoft.

António Campinos Tries to Come Across as a Goodwill Manager, But He Will be Judged by His Actions, Not by His Words

Thursday 5th of July 2018 04:05:42 AM


Summary: António Campinos makes his first public statement, which seems promising on paper; it remains to be seen, however, how long it takes him to obey a tribunal, reinstating jobs and improving access to justice, patent quality etc.

WE would really love to think that António Campinos can fix the EPO and surprise us for the better. We’re pretty open-minded about him, just like a lot of EPO staff. On Tuesday he participated in UPC advocacy, suggesting or insinuating that in terms of his policy/strategy he’s not much different from Battistelli, but what about the management style? Well, so far we have not caught him in any major lie. We also haven’t seen any ‘hostile’ (however one defines it) action from him. Yesterday, boosted by the EPO’s PR team, he published in Battistelli’s blog (warning: link), which he decided to inherit. He said: “Staff input will play a major role in developing this Strategic Plan, but the EPO has many stakeholders, including you. During the course of the next year you can expect to be invited to consultations on how we tackle the strategic issues that face this organisation – whether you are a patent applicant, a national patent office or simply someone interested in following developments at the EPO through this blog.”

“EPO must give priority to science and technology, not the litigation ‘sector’.”Fair enough. More actions, not just words, are needed now. There’s much that needs to be corrected. We found one bit of press coverage about the above. To quote:

Staff engagement is among new European Patent Office (EPO) president António Campinos’s “top priorities”, according to a message on the EPO website.

Campinos said he had “sent a message to all our staff members in my capacity as their new president” to “let them know immediately that staff engagement is among my top priorities, that I would welcome their ideas on any changes we might consider making to this office”.

“That input is going to be vital: next June I will present to the Administrative Council a strategic plan that will present a multi-annual work programme for the EPO.”

Past EPO president Benoît Battistelli suffered huge criticism on his treatment of staff throughout his tenure as president.

Campinos said that “staff input” would play a major role in the development of the strategic plan, but said he recognised that the EPO has “many stakeholders”.

It often seems (and feels) like among those “many stakeholders” Team UPC takes priority, based on the talk he gave less than 2 days ago. EPO must give priority to science and technology, not the litigation ‘sector’.

“Mr. Campinos will need to sort this out as soon as possible in order to gain credibility. Then and only then will we see signs of change as opposed to some nice words on a Web page.”Will much change? That remains to be seen. The EPO’s management will need to give SUEPO back its staff (like Brumme), compensating victims of the union-busting campaign. Judge Corcoran also needs to be offered his job back (in Haar we suppose) and independence of the Boards of Appeal must be sorted out; they’re understaffed and afraid of Team Battistelli. We shall say more about them later today. The EPO has meanwhile said: “Calling all patent law professionals: registration for the “Boards of appeal and key decisions” conference is now open…”

Remember what they wrote a couple of months ago. Mr. Campinos will need to sort this out as soon as possible in order to gain credibility. Then and only then will we see signs of change as opposed to some nice words on a Web page.

EPO Protest/s Suppressed Even at the Opening of a Construction Site for Battistelli’s Guests

Wednesday 4th of July 2018 03:31:02 PM

Related: President Benoît Battistelli is Finished, But the Huge Mess He Has Created is Not

Summary: Dutch media and nearby residents (or the European population in general) is not permitted to know the human rights abuses, let aside the real heist or “leeching” which takes place in Rijswijk

LAST WEEK we wrote about EPO protests coinciding with the inauguration of a construction site. One Dutch publisher wrote about these protests and here is SUEPO’s translation, which it published earlier today: [PDF]

Protest at opening of new European Patent Office

Employees at the European Patent Office in Rijswijk have protested against the working conditions, before the official opening this afternoon of their new building, attended by the King. The concerned civil servants wanted to make themselves heard as the King and guests from 138 countries arrived, but this was not permitted.

A banner in which they ask Prime Minister Rutte for help is silent witness to their protest, organised by the international organisation’s own trade union. There has long been discontent about the current president of the organisation, who is accused of punishing criticism with dismissal and demotion. Incidentally, he will be departing next week and will be followed by a successor. Rutte will not be able to do much either. The international organisation does not fall under Dutch law.

The size of the new building in Rijswijk is incredible. It accommodates 3000 employees, fewer than 400 of whom are from the Netherlands. The office grants patents for inventions in multiple European countries.

The building, by the Dutch architect Diederik Dam, among others, has 27 floors and cost 205 million. This was paid from the office’s own resources. The building is sustainable, with hanging gardens and will also be surrounded by water.

This article (like many others) fails to note that they have, in effect, inaugurated a construction site just because crooked Battistelli wanted to take credit for something concrete. It also fails to mention that the Dutch actually lost a lot of money on this project. Battistelli is just "leeching" the Dutch.

Cartoon on Brexistelli: “The End of a Dictatorship”

Wednesday 4th of July 2018 02:53:30 PM

Summary: “The End of a Dictatorship,” a new cartoon from EPO insiders

Staff Union of the EPO: “ILO-AT Remains Very Much an Employer’s Court” (Not Employees’)

Wednesday 4th of July 2018 09:26:51 AM

Victimised workers can wait years in limbo and uncertainty only to be met with a belated (sometimes half a decade late) decision that merely parrots the employer’s

Summary: A detailed new report about EPO judgments from the Administrative Tribunal of ILO speaks of the positives, which are still just a drop in the ocean (most appeals are only being denied/deferred/stonewalled after years in the pipeline)

THE Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) has just released this report [PDF] (local copy for longterm preservation [PDF]) which is concluded as follows: “The judgments exonerating Ion Brumme and Malika Weaver are greatly appreciated. We consider that for them justice has been done. We also appreciate the support that the Tribunal gives to seriously ill colleagues who often find themselves confronted with threats and disciplinary measures from our PD HR (Ms Bergot) when care and assistance are due.

“ILO (and/or ILO-AT) is, overall, still failing to fulfill its promise and many appellants are left not only void of a sense of justice but also void of savings (many have to spend a fortune preparing their appeals).”“These positive results do not, however, distract from the fact that the Tribunal fails to deliver justice consistently and impartially, while also failing to exercise any normative control. As this session again shows: the ILOAT remains very much an employer’s court.”

Indeed, we recently explained some of the lesser-covered (by the media) cases and olive branches being extended to Battistelli and the Council. 3 cases about staff representation (and another bunch about a judge) are just a handful in a sea of many hundreds. ILO (and/or ILO-AT) is, overall, still failing to fulfill its promise and many appellants are left not only void of a sense of justice but also void of savings (many have to spend a fortune preparing their appeals).

Yesterday’s UPC Event Was a Reminder That Team Battistelli is Still in Charge of the European Patent Organisation, Fronting for Team UPC

Wednesday 4th of July 2018 08:42:03 AM

These sorts of UPC lobbying events are almost a monthly occurrence now and their tone keeps being escalated

They think that a vendor capture of legislation is just a joke

Summary: Team Battistelli, which still comprises Margot Fröhlinger and now António Campinos, joins Team UPC in pressuring politicians and courts to introduce an unconstitutional patent trolls’ fantasy, spurring a boon for litigation firms

THE Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is a great example of law being corrupted by greedy opportunists and legal thugs. When they say “industry” they mean the litigation ‘industry’, e.g. patent trolls. Consider this tweet from yesterday, quoting the EPO‘s liar (yes, Team Battistelli is still in charge): “the long term participation of the UK in the UPC is legally possible if there is political will. The clear view of industry should be listened to by DE, FR and other member states…”

Which industry, Margot Fröhlinger?

“They’re not receptive or open to any critics. UPC is, to these people, just something to be shoved down people’s throat.”World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) belatedly wrote some time yesterday about changes in Team Battistelli, coinciding with the above event. UPC promotion was the first step of António Campinos, which isn’t a promising sigh. It indicates there’s no profound change on the way. Basically the new President has revealed that he is another Battistelli as far as patent agenda goes (never mind social aspects or management style). “Yet another UPC echo chamber conference where they do not invite critics” is how Benjamin Henrion described the above. They always make it like that. They’re not receptive or open to any critics. UPC is, to these people, just something to be shoved down people’s throats. They did, after all, come up with and wrote UPCA. They are self-appointed ‘lawmakers’ whose sole motivation is self-enrichment.

It’s hard to know what exactly happened there (without something like a transcript of the speech from Campinos), but live tweeting from the event shows that “Select Committee’s Jerome Debrulle [said] If the UPC fails it will be a “political and economical failure for the EU.””

“They did, after all, come up with and wrote UPCA. They are self-appointed ‘lawmakers’ whose sole motivation is self-enrichment.”Jerome Debrulle is a notorious Battistelli and abuses facilitator, whose government should (in our humble opinion) sack him for what he did last year. We have heard lots more about his special relationship with the UPC and his role in the appointment of Campinos with Battistelli pulling strings behind the scenes. Debrulle should be considered an extension of Team Battistelli along with the above propagandist (Margot Fröhlinger). They’re inseparable.

Watch how Team UPC responded to constitutional challenges, all of which have thus far been successful. These are the sorts of people who also attended this event. It’s not a debate but more of a battle plan. Alex Robinson, referring to himself/themselves as “#TeamUPC” yesterday, thinks this is funny. He spoke of needing to “resume our deliberations on taking over the world ;-)”

Ha, ha, ha. Not funny. And no, they just try to hijack Europe’s patent system, including the courts, aided by their hero Battistelli. IAM’s revisionism and whitewash about Battistelli is all one needs to see in order to understand that Team UPC is fully behind Team Battistelli. Just watch what happened to IP Kat after CIPA and Bristows had taken leading positions there. They’re egging Team Battistelli on.

“…Team UPC is fully behind Team Battistelli. Just watch what happened to IP Kat after CIPA and Bristows had taken leading positions there. They’re egging Team Battistelli on.”Robinson has in fact just belittled the constitutional challenge to UPC (yet again) and his employer added: “The Hungarian Constitutional Court ruled that the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is contrary to the Hungarian constitution and therefore cannot be ratified by Hungary…”

Compare that to the actual headline. Bristows’ was even worse, insinuating that Hungary should now change its Constitution to facilitate its Constitution being violated by Team UPC. These people are absolutely nuts. And it’s dangerous. It’s like the Battistelli mindset, wherein breaking the law is acceptable when the supposed ends justify any means. Team UPC is not just arrogant; it rigs the rules, it breaks the law, it corrupts politicians, and it seems to be absolutely OK with corruption and suicides at the EPO as long as they might get their ‘precious’ UPC. Robinson continued: “His personal views: a way will be found to allow UK to continue, because so many people want it to happen. But if that happens, it is likely there will be a legal challenge. And that could take some time to resolve. [] Let’s see what is quicker – Germany killing the UPC or the UK leaving the EU!”

This is nonsense because the sequence of this does not matter and they have several more serious obstacles to overcome, the least of which is Hungary.

“The goal is to cause a litigation Armageddon and overcome limits on patenting (scope).”Team UPC seems to become more radical as a function of how unlikely the UPC becomes. What next? Will they start openly bribing politicians? They already lobby them in the open and proudly associate — even in photo ops — with notorious crooks who belong in a prison.

The UPC is a threat not because of the stench of Battistelli; it’s objectively terrible for Europe, unless one is a prosecutor for one’s living. The goal is to cause a litigation Armageddon and overcome limits on patenting (scope). As someone put it last night in IP Kat comments: “On numerous occasions, EPO decisions have (usually when UK practitioners have argued on the basis of EPO case law) stated that, unlike Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, the instances of the EPO are not bound by precedent case law, but only by the provisions of the EPC. Therefore there appears to be no good reason why the UK courts should feel obliged to follow EPO case law when such case law does not bind the EPO itself.”

Links 4/7/2018: Red Hat and the NSA, NetBSD 8.0 Release Candidate 2

Wednesday 4th of July 2018 06:34:52 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Git Your July 2018 Issue of Linux Journal: Now Available
  • Desktop
    • Botond Ballo: Review of the Purism Librem 13

      The Purism Librem 13 has largely lived up to my goal of having a lightweight productivity laptop with a decent amount of memory (though I’m sad to say that the Firefox build has continued to get larger and slower over time, and linking is sometimes a struggle even with 16 GB of RAM…) while also going the extra mile to protect my privacy and freedoms. The Librem 13 has a few deficiencies in comparison to the ThinkPad line, but they’re mostly in the category of papercuts. At the end of the day it boils down to whether living with a few small annoyances to benefit from the additional privacy features is the right tradeoff for you. For me, so far, it has been, although I certainly hope the Purism folks take feedback like this into account and improve future iterations of the Librem line.

    • Software delays, lack of purpose means Microsoft’s “Andromeda” may never arrive

      It appears I’m not the only one to ask such a question. Mary Jo Foley, as well-connected as anyone writing about Microsoft could hope to be, has some bad news about Andromeda. At the very least, the device is probably delayed: software features that it requires apparently aren’t ready for release in the next major Windows 10 update, version 1809, due in about October this year.

  • Server
    • Docker Compose

      I glanced back over my shoulder to see the Director approaching. Zhe stood next to me, watched me intently for a few moments, before turning and looking out at the scape. The water was preturnaturally calm, above it only clear blue. A number of dark, almost formless, shapes were slowly moving back and forth beneath the surface.

      “Is everything in readiness?” zhe queried, sounding both impatient and resigned at the same time. “And will it work?” zhe added. My predecessor, and zir predecessor before zem, had attempted to reach the same goal now set for myself.

      “I believe so” I responded, sounding perhaps slightly more confident than I felt. “All the preparations have been made, everything is in accordance with what has been written”. The director nodded, zir face pinched, with worry writ across it.

      I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, opened them, raised my hand and focussed on the scape, until it seemed to me that my hand was almost floating on the water. With all of my strength of will I formed the incantation, repeating it over and over in my mind until I was sure that I was ready. I released it into the scape and dropped my arm.

      The water began to churn, the blue above darkening rapidly, becoming streaked with grey. The shapes beneath the water picked up speed and started to grow, before resolving to what appeared to be stylised Earth whales. Huge arcs of electricity speared the water, a screaming, crashing, wall of sound rolled over us as we watched, a foundation rose up from the depths on the backs of the whale-like shapes wherever the lightning struck.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.17.4
    • Linux 4.14.53
    • Linux 4.9.111
    • Linux 4.4.139
    • Linux 3.18.114
    • Some Early Tests Of Linux 4.18 On AMD EPYC

      With the Linux 4.18 kernel development settling nicely, I’ve been ramping up tests lately on the Linux Git state. For those curious, here are some fresh benchmarks using the current AMD flagship EPYC processor of Linux 4.16, 4.17, and 4.18 Git.

      Via the Phoronix Test Suite I ran some fresh Linux 4.16 vs. 4.17 vs. 4.18 Git benchmarks on the AMD EPYC 7601 housed within the wonderful Tyan 2U server platform.

    • The Linux Kernel May Soon Default To SCSI MQ Mode

      It looks like the Linux kernel’s SCSI code may soon switch away from its legacy code-path to the multi-queue (MQ) code by default.

      The SCSI multi-queue code has been in the works for a few years as enabling the block multi-queue (blk-mq) code for SCSI drivers for better scalability. The SCSI MQ support has been part of the mainline kernel for a few years now but has been disabled by default that requires either changing the kernel configuration or booting with the scsi_mod.use_blk_mq=Y parameter.

    • Linux Foundation
      • AGL Outlines Virtualization Scheme for the Software Defined Vehicle

        Last August when The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project released version 4.0 of its Linux-based Unified Code Base (UCB) reference distribution for automotive in-vehicle infotainment, it also launched a Virtualization Expert Group (EG-VIRT). The workgroup has now released a white paper outlining a “virtualized software defined vehicle architecture” for AGL’s UCB codebase.

        The paper explains how virtualization is the key to expanding AGL from IVI into instrument clusters, HUDs, and telematics. Virtualization technology can protect these more safety-critical functions from less secure infotainment applications, as well as reduce costs by replacing electronic hardware components with virtual instances. Virtualization can also enable runtime configurability for sophisticated autonomous and semi-autonomous ADAS applications, as well as ease software updates and streamline compliance with safety critical standards.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Reiser4 File-System Benchmarks With Linux 4.17

        It’s been about three years since last carrying out any file-system performance benchmarks of Reiser4, but being curious how it stacks up against the current state of today’s mainline Linux file-systems, here are some fresh performance tests of Reiser4 using the Linux 4.17 kernel. The Reiser4 performance was compared to Reiserfs, EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and F2FS.

      • Intel ANV Vulkan Driver Now Supports Automatic On-Disk Shader Cache

        It’s been a busy day for the Intel “ANV” open-source Linux Vulkan driver as besides new (NIR) optimizations, they also enabled support for the on-disk shader cache.

        With the Vulkan graphics API, exposed to the game engine / application is support for pipeline caching. But unfortunately not all Vulkan-enabled software makes use of the caching support. For those that don’t, the Intel ANV driver now supports the on-disk shader cache similar to the recent addition to the Intel i965 OpenGL driver.

      • AMDVLK Driver Updated With New Extensions & More, SPVGEN Now Public

        It had been over three weeks since AMD last pushed out the latest open-source code to the AMDVLK Vulkan Linux driver, but that changed today with the latest XGL/LLPC/PAL code updates along with making public their SPVGEN library.

        There was a three week absence of AMD pushing out new AMDVLK component updates to their GitHub repository, presumably due to summer holidays, but today a fresh (and large) batch of changes were committed.

      • Intel NIR Optimizations Land In Mesa 18.2 That Help Skyrim With DXVK

        A few days back I wrote about some Intel open-source Vulkan “ANV” driver optimizations that really help the Skyrim game under DXVK with Wine to allow for a playable experience with Intel onboard graphics. Those patches have now been merged into Mesa 18.2.

      • Mesa 18.0/18.1/18.2 RadeonSI + RADV Benchmark Comparison With Radeon RX 580 / R9 Fury / RX Vega 64

        For those currently making use of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with its default graphics stack (Linux 4.15 + Mesa 18.0) and are wondering if it makes sense upgrading to a newer version of the Linux kernel and/or Mesa, here is an extensive Mesa+AMDGPU comparison testing four graphics driver configurations across three popular AMD Radeon graphics cards.

      • More Intel ARB_gl_spirv Code Lands In Mesa, But Still Not Ready To Finish Up OpenGL 4.6

        The end of July marks one year since the release of OpenGL 4.6 but sadly it doesn’t look like the Mesa drivers will meet that anniversary for having working open-source OpenGL 4.6 compliance in the mainline Mesa code-base.

        As has been the case for months, the Intel “i965″ OpenGL driver and the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver have been blocked from OpenGL 4.6 due to pending ABR_gl_spirv / ARB_spirv_extensions work. They have long ago completed the other OpenGL 4.6 extensions, but this big addition that allows SPIR-V to be used now within OpenGL has been a big undertaking for the open-source OpenGL drivers.

    • Benchmarks
      • Benchmarks Of The Liquorix Linux 4.17 Kernel

        It’s been a while since last benchmarking the Liquorix kernel that is a modified version of the Linux kernel. Liquorix was recently updated against Linux 4.17 and a premium patron requested some fresh benchmark results.

        Liquorix for those out of the loop is a configured and patched kernel intended to deliver an optimal experience for desktop, multimedia, and gaming workloads. Liquorix makes use of Zen interactive tuning, the MuQSS process scheduler (formerly BFS), hard kernel preemption, BFQ, minimal debugging options, and various other changes. Liquorix is designed to be trivially installed on Debian and Ubuntu systems via APT/PPA repositories.

      • Benchmarking The Performance Impact Of Speculative Store Bypass Disable For Spectre V4 On Intel Core i7

        In late May Spectre V4 was made public and coinciding with the public reveal was the Linux kernel patches for the Speculative Store Bypass Disable (SSBD) mode for mitigating this latest side-channel attack. For SSBD on Intel CPUs, updated microcode is required and those patched microcode files are now being delivered down through new BIOS updates from motherboard vendors. In recent days with seeing ASUS motherboards get the updated supported, I decided to run some initial Core i7 Coffeelake benchmarks with/without the SSBD support being enabled in the Linux kernel.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • My month in KWin/Wayland

        June has been a busy month in KWin, with me working on fixing remaining Wayland functionality and upcoming legend Vlad Zagorodniy working on polishing and cleaning up all the effects.

        In this blog I’ll talk about the more interesting bits of kwin work that I did during June.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Going to GUADEC

        Another year, another GUADEC, and here I am crossing oceans to see my fellow GNOMEies. This time, it’s going to be particularly challenging: 32 hours of travel, 4 connections, no vegan meal available. I heard GNOME are resilient folk though, perhaps this is the proving?

  • Distributions
    • A Linux distro for digital artists

      Digital art students, professionals, and educators need Linux too. So, I created a new distro, which is derived from Bodhi Linux, a lightweight, Ubuntu-based distro that includes only a browser, a terminal emulator, and a few other system tools.

      Bodhi Linux is built on the idea that the user should decide what software should be installed and how the desktop interface should look, a job that Bohdi Linux’s Moksha desktop (a fork of the Enlightenment 17 desktop) handles very well. For my new distro, called Bodhi Linux Media, I customized the desktop interface, capitalizing on the fact that the operating system is fast and lean (with no random stuff running in the background) and curating the following list of open source software for artists involved in many different digital art practices (e.g., music, video, graphics, interactive art, coding, etc.).

    • Reviews
      • Lengthy Review of Linux Mint 19: A Distro for Everyone

        Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions of all time. I have been seeing people using Mint everywhere on their desktops, and when I used to ask them about “Why Mint?” they simply say “It just works”. And indeed, it does.

        The distribution’s developers have been on a mission since 2006 to create a user-friendly Linux distribution which would suite almost any user for it. More importantly, everything a new user for the Linux world needs is installed/ready for installation in Mint, which is not the case in other distributions with other purposes.

        Linux Mint 19 “Tara” was released few days ago with huge updates for its Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE spins. You can upgrade to the new release or download the ISOs now. In this post we would like to share our experience so far with Mint 19.

      • Librem 13: Review

        I’m been using the new laptop for a few hours now, and I’m happy so far. This is a great system.

        I did end up re-installing the operating system. When I first booted the Librem, it was using the pre-installed PureOS Linux distribution. I played with it for a while, and actually did some work online with it, then decided I’d rather run the Fedora Linux distribution that I’m used to. I’ll post an article later with impressions about PureOS.

    • New Releases
      • Developer Preview: Juno Beta 1 Is Here

        efore we dive in to the post, I want to make it very clear why we do beta releases. Beta is a special release intended for our 3rd party developers and highly technical users. Developers need a pre-release in order to test and take advantage of new platform features and to publish their apps so that we don’t release with an empty store. We also invite highly technical users to test Beta in non-production environments to find major regressions and show-stopping issues.

      • Elementary OS Juno Beta 1 Released

        or fans of the desktop-focused, easy-to-use, and elegantly designed Elementary OS Linux distribution, their beta of the upcoming 5.0 “Juno” is now available for public testing.

        Elementary OS mostly focuses upon desktop/UI/UX-level improvements, with the Juno Beta 1 release including better HiDPI support, an improved installation process, new sound effects, a night light feature, App Center advancements, and other work to its Pantheon desktop and associated components.

      • Elementary OS “Juno” Beta is Now Available to Download

        But you don’t have to wait until the stable release date (which is as yet unknown) to try it out. Anyone with a virtual machine or spare partition can install the elementary OS Juno beta for themselves, right now.

        However, just because you can download the preview, doesn’t mean you should download it, as elementary themselves warn…

      • Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 Release Candidate

        Today I am very pleased to share the hard work of the Bodhi Team with our latest 5.0.0 pre-release disc which we are tagging as a “Release Candidate”. These disc images have no major issues that our team has been made aware of and will likely be fairly close to the images we will tag as a stable release later this Summer. Past providing our rock solid Moksha Desktop on an Ubuntu 18.04 base, these disc images are the first to feature our fresh new look which is a modified version of the popular “Arc Dark” theme colorized in Bodhi Green. Also included are a fresh default wall paper, login screen, and splash scenes as your system starts up.

    • Arch Family
      • Why is Arch Linux So Challenging and What are Its Pros & Cons?

        Arch Linux is among the most popular Linux distributions and it was first released in 2002, being spear-headed by Aaron Grifin. Yes, it aims to provide simplicity, minimalism, and elegance to the OS user but its target audience is not the faint of hearts. Arch encourages community involvement and a user is expected to put in some effort to better comprehend how the system operates.

        Many old-time Linux users know a good amount about Arch Linux but you probably don’t if you are new to it considering using it for your everyday computing tasks. I’m no authority on the distro myself but from my experience with it, here are the pros and cons you will experience while using it.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • SUSE to be acquired by EQT Partners {Ed: Well, one might argue that SUSE got bought 4 times, e.g. if counting Microsoft taking Novell by the crotch, directing SUSE to serve Microsoft, then taking the patents through CPTN]

        This morning we all learned the news that the openSUSE projects main
        sponsor, SUSE, currently owned by MicroFocus, intends to be acquired
        by EQT Partners in Sweden.

        Nils Brauckmann (CEO of SUSE) personally called me this morning to
        assure me this news will have no negative impacts on openSUSE.

        This will be the third acquisition of SUSE since the creation of
        openSUSE, the second under the leadership of Nils and his team.
        Just as happened in that case, SUSE will be making no changes in its
        relationship between the company and the openSUSE Project.

        SUSE remains committed to supporting the openSUSE community, who play
        a key role in helping SUSEs success, which is expected to continue
        under their new partnership with EQT.

        If anyone has any questions, concerns, or feedback, please feel free
        to discuss them on this list or email me directly.

        Many thanks, and have a lot of fun!

      • ​SUSE acquired from Micro Focus by EQT
      • SUSE Linux Sold in $2.5 Billion Deal

        SUSE from current owners Micro Focus in a deal worth $2.5 billion USD and is expected to close in early 2019.

        EQT is described as “a development-focused investor with extensive experience in the software industry”.

      • SUSE Linux sold for $2.535 billion

        British firm Micro Focus International is selling its open source SUSE software to the Swedish group EQT Partners. The $2.535 billion deal boosted shares by 6 percent.

        SUSE Linux has been in the hands of Micro Focus International since 2014 and it has been running it as a largely independent division, competing directly with the likes of Ubuntu and Red Hat. The acquisition by EQT Partners means that more developers and engineers will be hired to work on the product.

      • Micro Focus Will Sell Off Linux Developer SUSE For $2.5B
      • Swedish Private Equity Fund Acquires SUSE for $2.5B
      • Micro Focus sells Suse for $2.5B

        Suse, one of the longest-running commercial Linux distributors and, these days, a major player in the open-source infrastructure and management space, has been through a few ownership changes in recent years. Micro Focus acquired Suse from The Attachmate Group back in 2014, which itself had acquired Novell, the then-owner of Suse, in 2010. Today, Micro Focus announced that Suse is changing owners yet again, as private equity firm and venture capital fund EQT is acquiring Suse.

      • Micro Focus Selling Subsidiary for $2.54 Billion to Raise Funds for Troubled Hewlett Packard Deal
      • Micro Focus flogs SUSE Linux biz to private equity firm for $2.5bn
      • Micro Focus shrinks with sale of £2bn software business to EQT
      • Micro Focus sells SUSE software business for $2.5bn
      • FTSE 100 softech Micro Focus’ share price rises on sale of Suse for $2.5bn
      • Micro Focus Sells SUSE Linux Business Unit to EQT for $2.5B
      • Linux giant SUSE set to change hands in $2.5B private equity deal

        Linux giant SUSE is changing ownership.

        Parent company Micro Focus International PLC today announced plans to sell the group to private equity firm EQT Partners AB for $2.535 billion.

        The deal comes four years after Micro Focus took control of SUSE through its $1.2 billion acquisition of software maker Attachmate Group Inc., which also included other assets. The sale is expected to be completed in early 2019.

      • Micro Focus sells off chunk of business to EQT for $2.5bn
      • Micro Focus Agrees to Sell off SUSE Enterprise Software Division

        Micro Focus announced that they had plans to sell the SUSE open-source brand to a Swedish group called EQT Partners. Preliminary reports insinuate that the price tag would be somewhere over $2.5 billion US. The British-based company agreed to sell it to EQT in part because they need fresh funds to reduce their debt and return money to shareholders.

      • Open source vendor SUSE pledges autonomy in SA

        Enterprise open source software company SUSE is looking to become fully independent in SA after British-based Micro Focus yesterday agreed to sell the software company to Swedish-based EQT Partners for $2.535 billion.

        The completion of EQT’s acquisition of SUSE from Micro Focus is subject to Micro Focus shareholder and customary regulatory approvals and is expected to occur in early 2019.

        Responding to ITWeb via e-mail, Thomas Di Giacomo, CTO at SUSE, said: “By partnering with EQT, we will become a fully-independent business.”

      • SUSE Linux Is Selling Itself (Again) For $2.5 Billion

        The ownership SUSE is getting transferred from UK-based Micro Focus International to Sweden’s investment firm EQT VIII. The deal, which is yet to be completed, has been finalized for $2.535 billion.

        Many of us know SUSE as the power behind the open source Linux distribution openSUSE. But the 25-year-old company’s operations are largely inclined towards the enterprise sector from where it can make money. Apart from the operating systems, the company has also spread its legs into the cloud sector.

      • SUSE Linux to Be Acquired by Swedish Company EQT Partners for $2.5 Billion

        SUSE, theLinux business once own by Novell and currently owned by MicroFocus, is going to be acquired by a Swedish firm called EQT Partners for the sum of $2.5 billion US dollars.

        After Novell and MicroFocus, this is SUSE’s third acquisition and it looks to have a good impact on the Linux company, which will become an independent business once it’s acquired by EQT Partners, a development-focused investor that appears to have a vast experience in the software industry.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Making Progress On KDE/GNOME Wayland Screen-Sharing With WebRTC

        Jan Grulich and other developers at Red Hat have been making progress on screen-sharing support using WebRTC as found within web-browsers like Firefox and Chrome. With their experimental work, Wayland screen-sharing is working both for GNOME Shell and KDE Plasma.

        Grulich provided an update on this recent Red Hat project for WebRTC screen-sharing that works on Wayland. This support relies upon their existing Wayland-based screen-sharing/remote-desktop work via PipeWire and the XDG Desktop Portal.

      • Red Hat’s “open-source way”

        Since its founding in 1993, open source has been in Red Hat’s DNA. From offering one of the earliest Linux operating system distributions to creating the Fedora project for the development of free and open source software, to managing the website, Red Hat has been synonymous with an open and collaborative culture. According to Red Hat, “open collaboration actually removes challenges that many other enterprises face by eliminating bottlenecks and ensuring a free flow of information.”

        Red Hat’s origins date to 1994, when Marc Ewing released his own distribution of Linux called Red Hat Linux. Gaining the interest of businessman Bob Young, the two teamed up to create Red Hat Software. Legend has it that Ewing chose the name Red Hat because of a Cornell University lacrosse hat he was given. Cornell’s sports teams are known as ‘Big Red.’

      • Red Hat employees must ask firm to cancel NSA contracts

        Open source company Red Hat crossed the US$2 billion mark in annual revenue some time ago and indications are that the 24-year-old firm will soon cross the next revenue milestone – US$3 billion. There is, thus, no reason for the company to continue to do deals with the NSA, given that the philosophy it advocates in public stands in marked contrast to what the NSA does.

      • Next DevNation Live: Feature toggles and hypothesis-driven development, July 5th, 12pm EDT

        Can you “foresee the feature?” Do you know if proposed changes to your application will have the desired impact to your business? Let’s drop the crystal ball approach and start practicing some hypothesis-driven development so you can test your assumptions. Not every new feature is guaranteed to be a success. Some might just waste time and increase your technical debt. Join us for the next online DevNation Live on July 5th at 12pm EDT for Feature Toggles and Hypothesis-driven Development, presented by Red Hat director of Developer Experience, Edson Yanaga.

      • An open wave of continuous change across the Midwest

        You hear it everywhere today, “every company is a technology company.” And it’s true. Technology is changing at a pace like never before, and the companies that learn to continually adapt to a changing technology landscape are the competitive enterprises of the future. Those that don’t are likely to lose out. We want to make sure you don’t lose out, and we’re taking our show on the road.

        As Forbes contributor Adrian Bridgwater noted recently, Red Hat aims to Fuse businesspeople into ‘Citizen Integrators’ by enabling “business users and developers alike to more rapidly integrate applications and services using more than 200 predefined connectors and components.” Business people of all disciplines are going to be getting more involved with code and the creation and management of the software systems that we use to run enterprise organizations.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora 29 To Change DNF’s Repository Metadata Compression To Zchunk

          Fedora 29 continues looking like a rather ambitious release with a growing number of changes, including at some of the lowest levels of the system. The latest feature proposal is on changing the compression scheme used by the DNF package manager’s repository metadata.

          Right now Fedora’s DNF uses XZ and Gzip formats for the compressing of the repository metadata. With Fedora 29+, Zchunk would instead be used.

        • Frank Ch. Eigler: in praise of qgis

          posts please predict consequences of ontario election →

          Some days, many days, my bosom swells with pride at the accomplishments of the free software community. (Let’s not talk today about the other days.) Today’s reason: GPS. So many devices can record gps traces, and some of it is interesting to archive long-term. But maybe you’re like I am, and are worried about the privacy / big-brother implications of uploading your .kml/.gpx files to random proprietary borg computers (lookin’ at you, big G). I don’t want to use someone else’s computer to draw maps of my private affairs.

          So, what to do? Find free software to do it on your own workstation, of course. But what? The Fedora wiki lists approximately half a gajillion of projects, many of them dead, some of them doing only a part of the basic “superimpose this KML track on a map”. After a bit of searching though, I came across the big jack-of-all-trades tool QGIS. The project is alive and well, is packaged for Fedora, and can do the job.

        • PPC64 To Be Discontinued In Fedora 29, Favoring PPC64LE For POWER

          Fedora is planning to discontinue the POWER PPC64 architecture support within their Linux distribution as far as the big endian flavor is concerned. But PPC64LE (little endian) is where they will exclusively focus their POWER architecture attention.

          Fedora’s PPC64 (big endian) architecture has already been in a maintenance-only mode for several releases, but now with it becoming harder to maintain, they will be discontinuing it entirely.

        • Fedora 29 Might Make Change To Eliminate Unnecessary Linking

          Yet another notable change proposal for Fedora 29 is to “remove excessive linking”, which could help program start-up times, but may be too late for happening with the current Fedora Linux release cycle.

          This change proposal is about always passing the “–as-needed” flag by default to the linker as part of the LDFLAGS. The “–as-needed” flag informs the linker to only link the libraries containing symbols used by the executable/library being linked. If a library trying to be linked against a binary isn’t used, it won’t end up being linked, which could be helpful particularly for large frameworks.

        • [Week 7] GSoC Status Report for Fedora App: Abhishek Sharma
    • Debian Family
      • Towards Debian Unstable builds on Debian Stable OBS

        Lately, I have been working towards triggering Debian Unstable builds with Debian OBS packages. As reported before, We can already build packages for both Debian 8 and 9 based on the example project configurations shipped with the package in Debian Stable and with the project configuration files publicly available on OBS SUSE instance.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Supporting Wayland extensions on Mir servers

            Within the Mir team we’ve been discussing a number of extensions to support different uses of Mir.

            These are some notes for discussion about the way in which these extensions should be managed. (Not about any specific extensions.)

          • Mir Developers Ponder Their Approach For Supporting More Wayland Extensions

            Fresh from the Mir 0.32 release, Canonical developers working on the Mir display server are settling on their approach to supporting more Wayland extensions.

            Alan Griffiths and the other Mir developers are interested in supporting more Wayland extensions to suit to the different Mir use-cases from desktop shells to IoT. But given the range of Wayland extensions and some of them being catered towards particular use-cases (such as XDG-Shell for desktop systems), they are not planning to enable all new to-be-supported extensions by default.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 534

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 534 for the week of June 24 – 30, 2018. The full version of this issue is available here.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 03 July 2018

            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.

          • Fresh Snaps from June 2018

            LXD is a container manager for lightweight, secure by default system containers. A great alternative to virtual machines. Unleash the latest LXD on your Linux server or development workstation today using the Snap

First Act of António Campinos: Pushing the Unconstitutional Unitary Patent (UPC)

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018 10:04:32 AM

“Meet the new boss same as the old boss…” (and IAM still pushes the same agenda, having been paid for it)


Summary: One day after starting his job the new President of the EPO already lobbies — even publicly — for an antidemocratic and unconstitutional piece of proposed legislation designed to help patent trolls and law firms that want low patent quality

THE EPO has announced (warning: link) and reiterated that a new man started his job as head of Team Battistelli (all the same top-level management) while IPPro Patents did some more Battistelli puff pieces even 3 days after he had left.

“The latest Team UPC lies from Bristows have also in fact been boosted. Apparently, they are now paying to repost their lies, inserting these lies into Google News etc.”Life goes on at the EPO and the new boss looks a lot like the old boss (just more like an ‘orange president’, but not Donald Trump).

According to this morning’s tweets from Team UPC, e.g. [1, 2, 3], António Campinos is already pushing for an unconstitutional abomination known as UPC. Team UPC is happy (“Ready for the today UP&UPC conference at @EPOorg Munich”, “António Campinos, Président of the European Patent Office, introducing the today UP&UPC at @EPOorg Munich” and “Campinos gives the opening remarks at the #UPC conference – the first major act of his presidency”).

The latest Team UPC lies from Bristows have also in fact been boosted. Apparently, they are now paying to repost their lies, inserting these lies into Google News etc. Lexology has just reposted this arrogant lie to which we published a rebuttal and Lexology has also just published this piece from Mitscherlich PartmbB’s Christian Rupp. It’s about the odd criteria for patentability; they need to assess scope more than prior art for quick elimination (rejection), just like Section 101 in the US, but instead this is what we have:

It is well known to the patent practitioner that the smart choice of the closest prior art has a big impact on the assessment of the presence of an inventive step (or the lack thereof).

According to the practice of the Boards of Appeal, the prior art document is typically one which is mentioning the same or at least a comparable object to be solved as the claimed invention, and additionally then has also the most relevant technical features in common.

Especially, the aspect of “the same object to be solved as the claimed invention” can obviously lead to a very artificial prior art assessment, especially when applying the so-called problem-solution-approach developed by the EPO. The aspect “same object as the claimed invention” can result in an artificial choice of a prior art document, which may well have a comparable object to be solved as the claimed invention, but otherwise not a lot to do with the claimed invention. On the other hand, relevant documents which would not need a big structural modification to arrive at the invention are sometimes disregarded for lacking an indication of the same purpose or object to be solved.

With the UPC they hope to interject a lot of software patents, patents on life etc. into countries that explicitly ban these. They try to work around laws and constitutions. This is something that Campinos now puts his weight behind.

So again, as the old saying goes: “Meet the new boss same as the old boss…”

It seems like social aspects (meeting staff representatives, recognising SUEPO etc.) are a lot less urgent to him than UPC.

IAM is Still Working for Benoît Battistelli and His Toxic Agenda

Monday 2nd of July 2018 10:57:48 PM

Updates on those “unitary” patents (which the EPO had said would start in 2016) and UPC are getting laughable, citing “tweets” from members of Team UPC (like Josep Maria Pujals), in turn/later to be cited by more “tweets”, creating another “echo chamber” effect (led by IAM, as before)

Summary: The indefinitely-stalled (likely dead) UPC is brought up again based on mere rumours and speculations, soon to be amplified (as usual) by Team UPC and Team Battistelli

Team Battistelli is still at the EPO, which means that the new President, António Campinos, still interacts with toxic individuals like Bergot, Lutz and Topić. It isn’t exactly a soothing mental image, is it?

“UPC: still 24 countries without a constitutional complaint…”
      –Benjamin Henrion (FFII)The aggressive push for UPC will likely carry on, even if that means breaking laws, violating constitutions, corrupting politicians and so on. We need to watch very closely whatever goes on as much of it is happening behind the scenes. As things stand at the moment, the UPC is unconstitutional and it is dead. It cannot be ratified in Germany, it is definitely not compatible with Brexit (so Britain cannot ever participate) and UPC boosters (litigation lawyers) have attempted to brush under the carpet the latest Constitutional defeat for the UPC. So far it always loses Constitutional challenges, of which there have been very few. As Benjamin Henrion (FFII) put it today, “UPC: still 24 countries without a constitutional complaint…”

“So now they have yet another headache, adding to a total of about half a dozen critical abstacles for the UPC.”Here is what a UPC booster noted today: “From comments section – fair question, less fair conclusion: „Was this not foreseeable up-front? Probably the wish of having a training centre for UPC judges in Budapest muffled any contrary thoughts.“” (this links to EPLAW)

So now they have yet another headache, adding to a total of about half a dozen critical abstacles for the UPC. Don’t be misled by these people. The UPC is far, faaaaar from materialising. It’s a beaurocratic mess because when meticulously analysed it turns out that UPCA is inherently incompatible with national laws. Most politicians never bother checking and they just add their vote/signature without even bothering to read the text (it’s too long to properly understand). No ‘unitary’ patents have been granted and we don’t expect such a creature to ever exist.

“No ‘unitary’ patents have been granted and we don’t expect such a creature to ever exist.”The latest hurdle is being pointed out by EPO insiders (example from earlier today); they too aren’t interested in ‘unitary’ patents, perhaps realising that the damage caused by any wrongly-granted patent would be multipied. Who would love that other than prosecutors?

Well, patent lawyers, writing on the topic a week prior to that (with a loaded headline too) make it seem imminent (via ), but this is their sales strategy. They tell their clients about ‘unitary’ patents which will never exist, overselling a fantasy that will result in disappointment (waste of clients’ money). They must be getting cold feet; when the UPC is officially dead, what will they tell their clients? Who will ever trust them again?

“…when the UPC is officially dead, what will they tell their clients? Who will ever trust them again?”This brings us to Josep Maria Pujals, whom we mentioned here many times before. He’s a longtime UPC booster and he recently wrote a “tweet” about Spain. So IAM made it “news”, knowing that facts don’t matter as long as Battistelli’s agenda (like UPC) gets promoted by it. IAM is nothing but a trashy tabloid sponsored by patent trolls, but we still need to observe and respond to it because some people take it seriously. Earlier today it said: “New Spanish government hints that UPC and unitary patent membership are back on the agenda.”

What is that “hint”? Tell us, Joff, please will you tell us? Remember that Battistelli's buddy, Joff Wild, has a long history saying that Spain is about to adopt UPC. He has done this for years, yet it never happens. It’s the “real soon now!” strategy. Joff used to live in Spain (Barcelona), so he likes writing about Spain. Here’s what he said this morning:

A month after coming to power, the PSOE government in Spain is all set to re-open the debate about whether the country should sign up to the EU unitary patent and Unified Patent Court agreement. According to Josep Maria Pujals of Barcelona-based IP firm Ponti – who has proved an invaluable source for us on a number of Spanish stories – Herick Campos, PSOE’s spokesperson on the industry committee of the Cortes (Spain’s parliament), has stated that the patent and the court are on the government’s radar. To that end, the industry minister Reyes Maroto, within whose department Spain’s Patent…

Oh, and then comes the paywall. So the sole source for this is a longtime UPC booster, who works for the patent ‘industry’ in Spain. There’s no link, no publication is being named, so it seems like little more than unverifiable hearsay from someone who is biased for his living.

“There’s no link, no publication is being named, so it seems like little more than unverifiable hearsay from someone who is biased for his living.”Bristows then links to it (the IAM ‘report’), giving the varnish/appearance of credibility to some Twitter account of a UPC proponent from Spain.

Manuel Rey-Alvite (Bristows) wrote: “Looks like the new Spanish government might be tackling the issue of UP/UPC participation during this term after all.”

“This “apparent new appetite” is of the patent law firms in Spain, not Spain itself.”Any link? Any source? IAM has none. UPC boosters (lawyers) then add: “Some might speculate as to whether prospect of Brexit has contributed to apparent new appetite of ES to approach the issue more benevolently.”

This “apparent new appetite” is of the patent law firms in Spain, not Spain itself. SMEs in Spain oppose it, many politicians rightly oppose it, but hey… Josep Maria Pujals says that he heard somebody say something. That’s good enough for IAM. Battistelli will raise a glass to that tonight. “Good job, my son, Joff! More self-fulfilling prophecies please! Quality!”

Suffice to say, it speaks volumes when IAM says not a single word about last week’s ILO-AT judgments (union-busting ‘cases’) or about Judge Corcoran while making a big deal out of a tweet. Yesterday Joff Wild published another astounding puff piece (or hogwash) for Battistelli, saying that he should be proud. Maybe someone at FTI Consulting or Saint-Germain-en-Laye can compensate IAM for these efforts one day. They both got millions from EPO budget (merci beaucoup monsieur Battistelli).

First Day for António Campinos is Done, But Some Media is Still Publishing 90th-Minute Battistelli Puff Pieces

Monday 2nd of July 2018 09:53:28 PM

Looks like ghost-written PR essays from the EPO itself

Credit/source: JUVE

Summary: António Campinos has not (as far as we’re aware) made a statement, except perhaps internally, and media still talks about so-called ‘achievements’ of Benoît Battistelli, who left the Office more than 3 days ago

THIS morning we wrote about the new arrival at the EPO. A much-anticipated departure was on Friday, accompanied by incredible propaganda and lies, as we mentioned in this late Friday post.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how Campinos tackles the issue of noncompliance with ILO-AT rulings.”IPPro Patents has composed an article about the arrival, whereas WIPR (World Intellectual Property Review) is still boosting Battistelli propaganda, even 3 days after the departure. WIPR writes about Battistelli in July, just as IAM did yesterday. “Benoît Battistelli” all over it. But he’s done, he’s gone. The article is lots of copy-pasted EPO quotes rather than actual research; it’s as though the EPO wrote this article and passed it to WIPR for publication (which they tend to do, more or less). We should not talk about Battistelli right now; except how to hold this brute accountable (his immunity has just been voided). This new blog post in German, highlighted earlier today by SUEPO, was titled “the President, in error and in violation of due process…”

Can he be held accountable right now? Better ask lawyers who are proficient at international law. We are rather disappointed to see these Friday PR stunts and photo ops of Battistelli amplified and boosted by WIPR on the very first day of his replacement’s tenure. This isn’t a great start or a positive sign and there appears to be no article about António Campinos. Almost none.

Earlier today someone passed the following recent letter to us; it had been circulated earlier on and it’s linking to FICSA or SUEPO documents on the expected ILOAT reform, which was described as follows and mentioned WIPO as well (mind similarities to EPO):

21 June 2018

Dear colleagues,

In apparent close co-operation with the Tribunal’s client organisations and the Tribunal, ILO has worked out a set of proposals “for possible improvements to the functioning of the ILO Administrative Tribunal”. The staff representations were not involved and are only now being consulted.

Some of the proposed amendments confirm current practice. Of those that do change the situation, the majority is unfavourable to staff, e.g.

- It was suggested to allow applications for review, currently only open to complainants (staff), by “both parties”. It is not clear how this would improve the functioning of the Tribunal, while creating more work. There is the obvious fear that, unlike applications for review by staff which are almost without exception dismissed, this amendment may open a new route for the Organisations to overturn judgments that are unfavourable to them.

- It was suggested to allow the Organisation to request (!) summary dismissal of complaints, with the further procedure being delayed until the Tribunal has reacted to that request.

WHO and WIPO added some unfavourable proposals of their own, namely:

- awarding costs against the complainant,
- in case of unfair dismissal, giving the Organisations the choice between reinstatement or paying damages, and
- limitating of the maximum amount of damages to 2 years’ salary.

These proposals, if accepted, would allow any Organisation to get rid of undesirable staff at a maximum cost of 2 years’ salary.

FICSA (Federation of International Civil Servants’ Associations) has provided a comprehensive answer which has been endorsed by many staff associations and staff unions, including SUEPO.

SUEPO has explicitly endorsed the FICSA position and has also submitted some additional observations and suggestions, read here.

SUEPO central

As we noted the other day, based on another report or a statement from USF (Union Syndicale Fédérale), ILO had apparently considered kicking out the EPO. It’s going to be interesting to see how Campinos tackles the issue of noncompliance with ILO-AT rulings. Time will tell.

Asked by the Media Why European Inventor Award Was Held in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the EPO Refuses to Explain

Monday 2nd of July 2018 09:23:56 PM

Battistelli’s colleagues at Saint-Germain-en-Laye are also worried about it (too many European Inventor Award ceremonies had been held in France, representing a passage of large sums of money — the funds derived from stakeholders)

Summary: António Campinos would be encouraged to look closely at the financial dealings of his predecessor because, as various experts explain to the media, those dealings are illegal and Battistelli’s diplomatic immunity has just officially ended

THE EPO‘s misuse of funds will be interesting to watch now that a former banker, António Campinos, is the President (starting today). SUEPO has meanwhile produced a translation of this article mentioned a little over a week ago. It cites us and it asked the EPO’s management for an explanation. It received none, which actually says quite a lot (evasiveness). We’ve reproduced the English translation below with highlights:

Politics Economy

The Sinister Gamble

The European Patent Office has accumulated 2.3 billion Euro – and now wants to go gambling with the speculators. The Federal Audit Office is alarmed.

By Petra Sorge

Sundown over the Danish Baltic coast. The Great Belt bridge rises over the mirror-flat water, not a cloud in the sky – what a sweet picture of longing and parting, with which the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich illustrates its latest brochure, assessing the performance of the President, Benoît Battistelli: “Modernisation for Excellence and Durability”.


European authorities, public money, privatised profits – how did that happen? Former constitutional court judge and now patent examiner Siegfried Bross refers to the 2.3 billion Euro fund as a “shadow budget”. This is “violating the fundamental democratic principle according to which public budgetary arrangements must be subject to Parliamentary supervision.” This “financial behaviour” is not covered by the European Patent Convention, the foundation instrument of the EPO, and is therefore “impermissible”.

Munich patent attorney Thorsten Bausch from the firm of Hoffmann Eitle also considers the new investment strategy as “fundamentally a scandal”. He fears that the Office is alienating its resources from their purpose. “The money belongs to the patent applicants, and the EPO has no right simply to gamble it on the stock market”, he says.


Without adequate supervision

How things have actually been run up to now at the EPO with regard to compliance is demonstrated by another case. 7 June, a Thursday, perhaps the most important annual date in the Patent Office calendar; the presentation of the European Inventor Award. The trophy goes to people who have brought about progress in medicine, energy, and IT technology. And the shindig can cost up to five million Euro, the “Techrights” blog already estimated before the event.

As the venue, the EPO selected a small town to the north of Paris, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Battistelli’s home town. The departing EPO President is Deputy Mayor for Culture. The prize is awarded in the Alexander Dumas Theatre, where according to the Web site, Battistelli is one of the “team”. Pascal Lévêque, chair of the local branch of the Socialist Party, finds this strange: The town council were never asked about the inventor prize event. “The mayor simply agreed to the choice of location and signed on the line”, Lévêque explains. “The double office held by Mr. Battistelli undoubtedly does raise some questions.” No comment from Battistelli or the EPO.

Jurist and former Austrian Patent Office President Friedrich Rödler says that Battistelli has never asked the Administrative Council about the matter of the Inventor Award. There is always “only a notification to the Council as to where next year’s event is to be held, and they’re all happy about it, because they’ll be being regaled in another new town.”



Questionable venue: The Patent Office is staging the Inventor Award in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris – home town of President Battistelli

More and more patents approved: Critics warn of loss of quality at the European Patent Office

“The Patent Office investment strategy is a scandal. The money belongs to the patent applicants.”
Thorsten Bausch, Hoffmann attorneys

The ball is in your court now, Mr. Campinos. Do something about it. Prove that you’re not just a younger Battistelli.

More in Tux Machines

Security: Updates, First PGPainless Release, and 'The Cloud'

  • Security updates for Thursday
  • First PGPainless Release!
    PGPainless 0.0.1-alpha1 is the first non-snapshot release and is available from maven central. It was an interesting experience to go through the process of creating a release and I’m looking forward to have many more releases in the future :) The current release contains a workaround for the bug I described in an earlier blog post. The issue was, that bouncycastle wouldn’t mark the public sub keys of a secret key ring as sub keys, which results in loss of keys if the user tries to create a public key ring from the exported public keys. My workaround fixes the issue by iterating through all sub keys of an existing key ring and converting the key packages of subkeys to subkey packages. The code is also available as a gist.
  • Thousands of US voters' data exposed by robocall firm
    A Virginia-based political campaign and robocalling company, which claims it can "reach thousands of voters instantly," left a huge batch of files containing hundreds of thousands of voter records on a public and exposed Amazon S3 bucket that anyone could access without a password.  The bucket contained close to 2,600 files, including spreadsheets and audio recordings, for several US political campaigns. Kromtech Security's Bob Diachenko, who discovered the exposed data and blogged his findings, shared prior to publication several screenshots of data, packed with voters' full names, home addresses, and political affiliations.
  • Another Day, Another Pile Of Voter Data Left Laying Around On A Public Server
    Leaving private voter or customer data easily accessible on a public-facing server is the hot new fashion trend. You'll recall that it's a problem that has plagued the Defense Department, GOP data firm Deep Root Analytics (198 million voter records exposed), Verizon's marketing partners (6 million users impacted), Time Warner Cable (4 million users impacted), and countless other companies or partners that failed to implement even basic security practices. And it's a trend that shows no sign of slowing down despite repeated, similar stories (much of it thanks to analysis by security researcher Chris Vickery). This week yet another pile of private voter data was left publicly accessible for anybody to peruse. According to analysis by Kromtech Security’s Bob Dianchenko, a Virginia-based political consulting and robocalling company by the name of Robocent publicly exposed 2,600 files, including voter file spreadsheets (including voter phone numbers, names, addresses, political affiliations, gender, voting districts and more) and audio recordings for a number of political campaigns.

Canonical/Ubuntu: End of Ubuntu 17.10, Ubuntu Podcast, Snaps Add Flexibility with Tracks and Canonical Needs Help

  • PSA: Support for Ubuntu 17.10 Ends Today
    Ubuntu 17.10 reaches end of life on July 19, 2018 — which if you haven’t checked your calendar recently, is today. If you have thus far managed to resist the temptation to upgrade to a newer release then alas: today is the day when you need to start thinking about it.
  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E19 – Nineteen Minutes - Ubuntu Podcast
    It’s Season 11 Episode 19 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Ryan are connected and speaking to your brain.
  • Snaps Add Flexibility with Tracks
    Snap packages have a rich set of features beyond getting the latest shiny on your Linux distribution. Tracks enable developers to publish multiple supported releases of their application under the same name. With this enabled, a user can switch tracks at any time to install and use an alternate supported relase of software. Within each track are four standard channels named edge, beta, candidate and stable. The channels represent the risk-level users should expect from the snaps within. Edge snaps (typically built from the latest code committed) would be riskier to use than beta releases, which are more risky than stable releases. By default every application has one ‘latest’ track and the four named channels. Developers can optionally choose whether to supplement that with additional tracks. Further the developer can choose which channels to use within those tracks.
  • Canonical Needs Your Help to Test the Improved Ubuntu 18.04.1 Server Installer
    Canonical's Dimitri John Ledkov put out a call for testing for the Ubuntu community to help them test drive the improved Ubuntu Server installer in the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS point release. Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, the first of a total of five scheduled point releases of the long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series is about to be released in approximately one week from the moment of writing, on July 26, 2018, with improved and up-to-date core components and apps.
  • Help Test the New Ubuntu Server Installer
    I only ask because Canonical’s server bods are currently looking for wily folks to help them test an improved version of the new Ubuntu Server installer.

today's howtos

Graphics: ROCm, AMD, Mesa, Sway

  • ROCm 1.8.2 Released For The Open-Source Radeon Linux Compute Stack
    While waiting for the big ROCm 1.9 update, another point release to the ROCm 1.8 series is available for this Radeon Open Compute stack. Earlier this month the AMD developers working on this Linux open-source OpenCL/compute stack pushed out the ROCm 1.8.2 beta while today it was elevated to the stable channel. Details on the ROCm 1.8.2 update are unfortunately light, but based upon user reports, it seems to be able to create a working environment on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS if paired with a newer kernel. But the official Ubuntu 18.04 LTS isn't coming until ROCm 1.9.
  • Raven Ridge APUs Get Minor Performance Boost With Latest RADV Vulkan Driver
    The Raven Ridge Linux support continues to maturing. The latest on these Zen+Vega APUs using the open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver stack should be slightly better performance when using the RADV Vulkan driver. RADV co-founder Bas Nieuwenhuizen landed a number of commits on Wednesday to further enhance this Mesa-based Radeon Vulkan driver. With this latest work, he's now enabled binning and DFSM by default for Raven Ridge hardware. With this being enabled now for Raven, he's found a minor performance in the range of 2~3% for some demos and games tested.
  • Freedreno Gallium3D Now Exposes Adreno A5xx Performance Counters
    It's been a while since last having any news to report on Freedrenon, the open-source, community-driven Gallium3D driver for providing accelerated 3D support for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware. But ahead of the upcoming Mesa 18.2 feature freeze, Freedreno founder Rob Clark has been landing a number of improvements.
  • Sway 1.0 Alpha 4 Released With Real-Time Video Capture, Atomic Layout Updates
    Learn more about the Sway 1.0 Alpha 4 release via the GitHub release announcement.