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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 59 min ago

TC Heartland is Still Deterring and Suppressing Patent Trolls in the United States

Monday 25th of June 2018 01:22:29 AM

Summary: Eastern Texas is being ‘evacuated’ in the wake of TC Heartland, which continues to be brought up by legal defense teams

THE decision known as TC Heartland has been great. This year-old, Earth-shattering SCOTUS decision helped discourage litigation which relied on Texas. It helped guard the innocent, i.e. those falsely accused of infringement, typically using dubious patents; they try to dodge the trolls-friendly courts, which blindly accept almost anything granted by the USPTO (usually in jury trials, where the jury is nontechnical).

“It’s no exaggeration to say the in East Texas the courts openly signaled that they would be plaintiffs- and trolls-friendly. They made no secret of the fact.”Baker Donelson (W Edward Ramage), in another paid placement at IAM, very belatedly caught up with In re Bigcommerce — a case about dodging to courts that do their job instead of trying to appeal to patent trolls. It’s no exaggeration to say the in East Texas the courts openly signaled that they would be plaintiffs- and trolls-friendly. They made no secret of the fact.

Over at Docket Navigator, a site which tracks cases of interest/importance, quite a few TC Heartland-related cases have been brought up over the past week. Consider Blue Rhino Global Sourcing, Inc. v Sky Billiards, Inc. d/b/a Best Choice Products and Adrian Rivera v Remington Designs, LLC d/b/a iCoffee, both of which are citing TC Heartland.

“Over at Docket Navigator, a site which tracks cases of interest/importance, quite a few TC Heartland-related cases have been brought up over the past week.”“The court granted defendant’s motion to transfer for improper venue and rejected plaintiff’s argument that defendant waived its venue challenge,” said one Docket Report and another new TC Heartland case had the opposite outcome: “The court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss or transfer for improper venue because defendants waived their venue challenge through their litigation conduct.”

With numbers (latest figures) suggesting that the District of Delaware becomes venue of choice for many [1, 2] we’re somewhat relieved to leave the era of Eastern Texas behind. No doubt the economy there will suffer (businesses would be wise not to operate there after TC Heartland), but one might call that karma for bad faith and overzealously litigious spirit.

The ILO Tribunal: Is It Still Worthy of Our Trust?

Sunday 24th of June 2018 11:54:32 PM

The latest EPO FLIER (No. 38), published by staff from the EPO on 22 June 2018 (source: www.epostaff4rights.org), has the title “The ILO Tribunal: Is it still worthy of our trust?”

We reproduce its content here in order to give our readers direct access to it.

Summary: Trusting ILO-AT has become a lot harder in light of its handling of EPO scandals

 

The Administrative Tribunal (AT) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is the successor of the League of Nations Administrative Tribunal, created as a judicial tribunal to ensure to officials the firm conviction of safety and security emanating from justice, provide a judge for internal disputes, and preclude the possibility of one of the parties being a judge in his own cause.

For European Patent Office (EPO) labour disputes, the ILO-AT is the only external legal instance.

Extent of jurisdiction

The applicable law, under the ILO-AT Statute1, is formally limited to the terms of appointment and service conditions of the organisation concerned. But the ILO-AT’s case law on this point has been inconsistent; in some judgments, general principles of law and human rights have been considered as additional sources of law, in others they have been excluded2. The Tribunal does not order interim relief. Witnesses can give written statements but their cross-examination is not possible. Since 1989, the ILO-AT has declined to hold any oral hearings. The Tribunal has no means of enforcing judgments.

The Tribunal has recently changed its approach concerning general decisions. While Staff Committee members could, in the past, challenge general decisions directly, it now seems that general decisions (legislative decisions) may no longer be challengeable at all. Concerned employees must now wait until an administrative decision implementing a general decision, eg a career reform, produces a direct adverse effect on them,3 eg through a missed promotion that was due, visible on a payslip. This has as a consequence that every staff member must file an individual appeal instead of a staff committee member filing a model appeal for all. The number of internal appeals has thus since exploded.3 Another consequence is that many general decisions, eg decisions changing governance rules, may no longer be challengeable, even if they are presumably illegal.

Workload issues

The ILO-AT struggles to meet its caseload2,4. In 2015, the Tribunal said: “It is the number of complaints filed against a single organization, the EPO, rather than the rise in the overall number of organizations having accepted its jurisdiction, that represents the main challenge for its effective functioning.5 At the same time, the Tribunal has made it clear that it has “reached its limits in terms of output” and that it cannot increase it any further “without compromising the quality of its services.

The Tribunal has recently reasserted that the main challenge to its functioning is the large number of EPO cases4,6. Robin Silverstein reports that the chosen approach to reducing the backlog has affected the quality of the judgments being delivered: “ILOAT staff rush through records of pending cases, and draft hundreds of judgments, dismissing as many cases as possible on technicalities, and glossing over the finer points of those appellant submissions that it accepts.It is a common gripe among appellants that the judgments finally rendered contain anomalies, mischaracterizations and factual errors, and fail to address key claims and legal arguments.”2,7

Until 2014, the Article 7 “summary dismissal procedure” was only rarely used8: Sessions 1-116 (3305 judgments) saw only 19 summary dismissals (0.65%). The Tribunal changed its approach, leading to a rapid processing of a large number of complaints and a corresponding reduction in the size of the backlog. This was achieved without increasing the number of judges or Registry staff4. The report4 of the 332nd Session of the ILO Governing Body is a little ambiguous in its wording, but it gives the impression that it was the goal of the new approach to reduce the case backlog. Sessions 117-125 (676 judgments) saw a striking increase: 124 summary dismissals (15%), 74 of them concern EPO complaints (32%). Summary dismissal denies in fact access to justice.

Independence and impartiality

It has been the subject of some debate whether the ILO-AT is truly independent.2 The Tribunal’s seven judges are appointed on three-year renewable contracts.2 Renewable contracts for judges cast doubt on their independence9. The appointment of the ILO-AT judges is not transparent and there are no clear standards for their minimum professional qualifications3. The Tribunal is financed through fees paid by the defendant organisations on a per-dispute basis10,11. About 60% of the ILO’s caseload comes from just six organisations, about 20% from the EPO alone.

The ILO-AT has had several bilateral talks with the EPO administration – a party in the dispute – without informing or inviting representatives of the appellants8. A March 2016 ILO report12 mentions that two video conferences were held in 2015, “with senior officials from the legal and human resources services” of the EPO, who “highlighted the internal challenges faced by the EPO in a context of ongoing reforms, called for improvements in the Tribunal’s case management in general, and appealed to the understanding of the Tribunal offering financial support if needed.” Written requests13 to involve staff representatives in these talks have apparently been to no avail8. Considering “the functioning and credibility of the Tribunal at risk”, the ILO’s Director-General arranged a meeting with the EPO President12. To this meeting, which took place in April 2016, he (apparently) also invited the President of the Administrative Tribunal14. But when the Tribunal‘s credibility is at risk, does it help to organise bi-lateral talks with one party to a dispute – while excluding the other party?

The EPO administration informed the Director-General about its “targeted communication campaigns on the Tribunal’s case law, as statistics show that a considerable number of complaints against the EPO are dismissed.”12,15 This measure was positively received at the ILO since it was expected to help reducing the number of complaints filed by EPO staff12. But how can a Tribunal, whose task is to establish justice in labour disputes, welcome measures aiming at discouraging staff members from claiming their rights?

The March 2016 ILO report12 further mentions several communications to the Director-Generalin which president Battistelli gives “an overview of recent disciplinary cases involving staff representatives of the European Patent Office, some of which had resulted in the dismissal of the individuals concerned”, and that “the analysis of the cases referred to the Tribunal indicates that a significant number of complaints stem from strained relations between staff representatives and management.

A March 2017 ILO report14 lays out that in its March 2016 Resolution16, the Administrative Council had “noted that disciplinary sanctions against staff or trade union representatives were widely questioned in the public opinion”, and that during a meeting in April 2016, the Director-General, the EPO President and the President of the Tribunal had “exchanged views on the situation created by the high number of complaints against the EPO, the root causes of the backlog and possible solutions.” An agreement on certain points “prompted the Director-General’s optimism that real progress could be made in the coming months so as to alleviate the Tribunal’s workload …”.

The drafting of judgements

For the Tribunal to work efficiently, the cases are prepared by the Registry: “The Registry is tasked with providing technical, factual and legal support to the judges, thus requiring its staff in effect to draft judgments.”2 In 2010, the Registry was staffed by the Registrar and a part-time secretary10. Its current staff also comprises a “small team of legal officers.17The Tribunal has recently reformed the work of the Registry, so that it is now even “better focused on assisting the judges.”4 The seven judges themselves are generally not familiar with the defendant organisation’s own and very specific sets of rules since they “do no work for the Tribunal on a full-time basis, but usually sit only twice a year for three to four weeks each time,” and “some of them have extremely busy schedules as they are still serving in the supreme courts of their respective countries.”5 The judges will thus not study the full set of submissions but rather rely on the work done by the Registry. The preparatory work of the Registry has thus a significant impact on the decision which will be taken by the judges.

Personal ties

The ILO-AT has issued publications with contributions from members of its member organisations. For example, Laurent Germond, “Director Employment Law” at the EPO, and responsible for legal disputes of staff members with the European Patent Organisation, was invited to make a speech at a symposium18 to celebrate the Tribunal’s 90th anniversary in 2017. His speech can be found in a recent ILO publication19, edited by Mr Dražen Petrović, the Registrar of the Tribunal. Mr Petrović and Mr Germond have been personal friends for a long time20. It may not be a coincidence that Mr Petrović joined the ILO on 1 December 2013 while Mr Germond joined the EPO at the end of 2013. Under the circumstances, the Registrar could naturally have more understanding for the arguments of the defendant organisation than for those of the appellants.

The 126th session

The ILO-AT judges met again from 23 April to 18 May 2018 at the International Labour Office in Geneva. The judgments will be delivered in public on Tuesday, 26 June 2018 at 3 p.m. and published on the Tribunal’s website shortly thereafter.

Among the EPO cases judged are those of Elizabeth Hardon, Ion Brumme and Malika Weaver, at the time chair, vice-chair and treasurer respectively of the Munich branch of the EPO’s largest staff union SUEPO. They were collectively suspended (on the same day!). The SUEPO chair and vice-chair were then dismissed, and the treasurer down-graded by president Battistelli – officially for reasons that had nothing to do with their work as staff representatives.

It will be another test of the ILO-AT’s independence. It will show whether the Tribunal will recognise this amazing “coincidence” for what it really is – an attempt to get rid of pesky opponents and to suppress any meaningful dialogue.21

The ILO-AT has the mandate to guarantee that the over 60,000 international civil servants of more than 60 international organisations over which it has jurisdiction can enjoy protection against arbitrary acts committed against them by their employer.17 We fervently hope that it takes its duties seriously. If it does not, the entire legal framework for thousands of staff falls apart.

__________

1 Statute of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization

2 Robin Silverstein, REVISITING THE LEGAL BASIS TO DENY INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SERVANTS ACCESS TO A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT, Michigan State International Law Review, Vol. 25.2 (2017)

3 Managing the ILO Administrative Tribunal’s workload –Current challenges and possible improvements (SUEPO’s views, 17.09.2015)

4 Functioning of the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO – An update, ILO Governing Body, Programme of the 332nd Session in March 2018

5 Matters relating to the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO – Workload and effectiveness of the Tribunal, Programme of the 325th Session of the ILO Governing Body (from 29 October to 12 November 2015)

6 The ILO is working on an amendment to the Tribunal’s statute and rules of procedure, apparently with the aim of improving the backlog situation (see B28/6/18), but we are not aware of any details of that on-going process

7 Edward Patrick Flaherty, LEGAL PROTECTION IN INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS FOR STAFF—A Practitioner’s View

8 ILO-AT: 90 years old and in need of repair, SUEPO (03.05.2017)

9 In a recent decision, the Federal Constitutional Court clarified that the nomination of qualified judges to first instance administrative tribunals for a fixed term is in line with the German constitution, but under the condition that contract renewal is excluded

10 Matters relating to the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO: Financing of the Tribunal, Programme of the 309th Session of the ILO Governing Body (November 2010)

11 The costs per case, which vary roughly between 15.000 Euros and 25.000 Euros, are calculated by dividing the “session costs”, which cover expenses for the judges, legal services and translations, by the number of cases dealt with during the session. The major share of the Tribunal’s “overhead costs”, which include the office space and the operational costs of the Registry including staff salaries, have, at least until 2010, been borne by the ILO.

12 Matters relating to the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO: Report on discussions with the European Patent Organisation on possible future action to improve the Tribunal’s caseload, Programme of the 326th Session of the ILO Governing Body (March 2016)

13 Letter, on behalf of SUEPO, from Schwab, Flaherty & Associés to Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General (23.02.2016)

14 Matters relating to the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO – Update on discussions with the European Patent Organisation on possible future action to improve the Tribunal’s caseload, Programme of the 329th Session of the ILO Governing Body in March 2017

15 The glowing reports on ILO-AT sessions by VP5 or the Director Employment Law, which are published in the EPO intranet and in the Gazette, form presumably part of these “targeted campaigns”. You can find an example here.

16 RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL ON 16 MARCH 2016

17 The Tribunal

18 Symposium in honour of the ILO’s Administrative Tribunal (5 May 2017)

19 Une contribution de 90 ans du Tribunal administratif de l’Organisation internationale du Travail à la création d’un droit de la fonction publique internationale – 90 years of contribution of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization to the creation of international civil service law (2017), edited by Dražen Petrović

20 Also “Märpel” has reported about this personal connection; see The best friend of a key man on the R.I.P. Kat blog

21 See EPO FLIER No. 37Battistelli’s record: legal harassment and retaliation (12.06.2018), CA/20/16 and CA/21/15

 

 

The Dangerous Adoption of Patents on Life and Nature

Sunday 24th of June 2018 03:39:34 PM

Mayo/35 U.S.C. § 101 should count, too

Summary: In the face of pressure from patent maximalists, as well as an appointment of a patent maximalist to the top of the US patent office, lawyers/law firms which strive to extend patent scope to life itself (or nature) seem to be getting their way

OVER the past week some lawyers’ sites mentioned Vanda Pharma (Vanda Pharmaceuticals v West-Ward Pharmaceuticals) — a case we had mentioned a week prior. It’s not about software, but it’s still somewhat relevant. Sanjeev Mahanta at Watchtroll wrote about it a couple of days ago and Steven Seidenberg at IP Watch wrote about Vanda Pharma a day beforehand. It’s behind a paywall, but the critical introduction says this: “For more than a decade, the United States has been making it harder to obtain patents. A series of court rulings have steadily restricted the types of inventions that are patent-eligible. The tide, however, may be now turning. The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Vanda Pharmaceuticals v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals has opened the way to many future patents on biotech and personalized medicine. The ruling is a big step forward for the biotech and medical industries, and perhaps for patients seeking better medical care. But there’s a catch. Vanda could be overturned because it conflicts with the US Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories.”

It is not too shocking that the Trump-connected USPTO Director (Iancu) is quick to selectively embrace decisions that broaden patent scope, serving the industry he came from. He doesn’t seem to be learning the lessons about the importance of patent quality. It’s like he’s working for the patent microcosm rather than for applicants, or more broadly for science and technology.

OK, we get it; so while shutting out software patents they now grant new sorts of patents on life. As one site has just put it, “USPTO grants first ever US CRISPR patent” (unlike the EPO, which moves away from such patents). To quote:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Emmanuelle Charpentier’s company, ERS Genomics, the first ever US patent covering CRISPR gene editing.

The patent covers the use of an optimised guide RNA format in all environments, including human cells.

The USPTO deemed the patent to be unrelated to the ongoing dispute between Charpentier/UC/Vienna group and the Broad Institute/MIT/Harvard group.

A site dedicated to advocacy of patents on life said that “Broad secures US discovery win in CRISPR EPO dispute,” which means that the EPO too has some issues (firms trying to patent life/genome in spite of the EPC). To quote:

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has confirmed that a request to obtain discovery for use in a foreign proceeding, in this case at the European Patent Office (EPO), will be denied unless the relevance of that discovery can be shown.

Circuit Judge Juan Turruella delivered the precedential decision on Wednesday, June 20.

Genome editing company Intellia Therapeutics has an exclusive licence to proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 technology owned by Jennifer Doudna, a founding member of Intellia.

A team led by Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier had conducted research on bacteria that can carve up and target genetic material, which led to Doudna filing the provisional patent application in the US in May 2012. In June the same year, they published an article describing their findings.

In October 2012, members of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT submitted a manuscript on the same topic and, in December, filed a provisional patent application relating to genomic sequencing.

For the EPO and for the USTPO to be taken seriously they will need to fight this ‘temptation’ (or pressure) to grant patents on everything under the Sun. Sometimes it feels like Iancu is to patent quality what Battistelli (and likely António Campinos as well, time will tell) has been. Do they realise that it’s not a game where scores are counted in terms of number of granted patents? That is the crazy mentality of WIPO, which would have us believe that innovation thrives in China just because heaps of rubbish patents get granted by SIPO (in a language few inside WIPO can even comprehend, let alone read out loud).

Stronger Patents or None at All: How the Greed of Patent Law Firms and the Patent Office Contributes to Bogus Software Patents Being Amassed

Sunday 24th of June 2018 03:12:37 PM

Iancu and his colleagues at the USPTO should make the Office fit for purpose, not a patent-printing machine

Summary: Alice Corp. v CLS Bank continues to be the sole recent reference for handling of software patents; that being the case, it’s rather disturbing that patent law firms continue to recommend patenting of software and offer lousy excuses for that (mainly because they profit at the expense of those foolish enough to believe them)

THE strength of patents, as noted in the previous post, is determined by the goodness or the legitimacy of patents (based on prior art, inventive merit etc.) and it’s something that the EPO departs from whereas the USPTO reluctantly adopts. It begrudgingly adapts to SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit, which deals with plenty of appeal from district courts and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

Whether it likes it or not, the USPTO will have to improve; already, as we showed early this year, PTAB helps examiners elevate the quality of patents it grants (many get rejected based on Alice). Thankfully, we have not grown tired of writing about patents. Even after 12 years! I’ve personally done that for about a decade and a half and seeing the progress made in the US and Europe it looks like advocacy does have an effect, albeit a very slow one.

“Whether it likes it or not, the USPTO will have to improve; already, as we showed early this year, PTAB helps examiners elevate the quality of patents it grants (many get rejected based on Alice).”Media coverage regarding patents is still quite appalling. It’s like the patent microcosm appointed itself “reporters” and is now writing the so-called ‘news’ about patents (more spam/ads that we’re keeping track of and taking stock of). When the media posts pure spam for patent law firms or ‘business’ (all new examples from the past week) we’re ever more convinced that sites like Techrights are necessary. There’s a reason why EPO scandals aren’t covered much by the media, certainly not in the US.

Scanning through the past week’s news feeds we see that software patents are still being granted by the Office (USPTO), e.g. this to Genpact (announced days ago). Here’s more on that one.

Why was it granted?

“In 2014, the Alice decision made it much harder to patent software in the USA, ” Cory Doctorow recalled a few days day in an article about something else.

Well before 2014 there was another case, which almost nobody brings up (ever). “A controversial ruling limiting software patents has been making a comeback,” Timothy B. Lee wrote. [via]

There’s a lot more beyond the summary and it looks like it took much research to produce, citing the eminent Mark Lemley.

Forty years ago this week, in the case of Parker v. Flook, the US Supreme Court came close to banning software patents. “The court said, ‘Well, software is just math; you can’t patent math,’” said Stanford legal scholar Mark Lemley. As a result, “It was close to impossible in the 1970s to get software patents.”

If the courts had faithfully applied the principles behind the Flook ruling over the last 40 years, there would be far fewer software patents on the books today. But that’s not how things turned out. By 2000, other US courts had dismantled meaningful limits on patenting software—a situation exemplified by Amazon’s infamous 1999 patent on the concept of shopping with one click. Software patents proliferated, and patent trolls became a serious problem.

But the pendulum eventually swung the other way. A landmark 2014 Supreme Court decision called CLS Bank v. Alice—which also marks its anniversary this week—set off an earthquake in the software patent world. In the first three years after Alice, the Federal Circuit Court, which hears all patent law appeals, rejected 92.3 percent of the patents challenged under the Alice precedent.

The shifting rules about software patentability reflect a long-running tug of war between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit loves software patents; the Supreme Court is more skeptical.

That fight continues today. While the Federal Circuit has invalidated many software patents in the four years since the Alice ruling, it also seems to be looking for legal theories that could justify more software patents. Only continued vigilance from the Supreme Court is likely to ensure things don’t get out of hand again.

The 40-year-old Flook ruling remains a key weapon in the Supreme Court’s arsenal. It’s the court’s strongest statement against patenting software. And, while software patent supporters aren’t happy about it, it’s still the law of the land.

It’s a pretty good report. Thom Holwerda said “it’s a great article that looks at the history of the tug of war between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit.” (when it comes to software patents policy in the US)

Kevin E. Noonan, a patent maximalist, has meanwhile mentioned SCOTUS in relation to patent eligibility. SCOTUS, having reformed patent scope in the US, seems fine with the way things are nowadays. To quote:

Like Sherlock Holmes’ quiet dog, the significance of the Supreme Court’s patent eligibility jurisprudence following their decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. and Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l is that there hasn’t been any. The Court has shown a similar reticence towards wading into the uncertain waters created by the Federal Circuit regarding the safe harbor created by the Hatch-Waxman Act, codified at 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1). Last Monday was the most recent instance of the Court’s refusal to address how the lower courts have implemented these statutory provisions in denying certiorari in Cleveland Clinic Foundation v. True Health Diagnostics LLC and Classen Immunotherapies, Inc. v. Elan Pharmaceuticals Inc.

[...]

Denying certiorari petitions cannot be used to interpret the Court’s views on whether the lower courts are properly applying its precedent; the Court frequently permits an issue to “percolate” through the courts and then chooses a case that, in their view provides a suitable vehicle for further clarification of the law. The Court has recently used this practice in other contexts (Gill v. Whitford; Benisek v. Lamone). In the meantime, however, patentees and the public await the time when the Court will deign to weigh in on either of these questions.

Seeing that Alice Corp. v CLS Bank just isn’t going away any time soon, the patent microcosm latches onto isolated and old CAFC cases. The anti-PTAB outfit Anticipat, for instance, is once again trying to prop up Berkheimer as though it is still relevant (it’s not, it’s old) and Scott Graham, in patent maximalists’ media, cherry-picks some low court’s case (Delaware District Court) to make it seem like Berkheimer is still relevant (it’s not). To quote the relevant part:

The chief judge of the busiest patent court in the country made it clear this week that he’s still going to grant at least some Section 101 motions at the summary judgment stage. Chief Judge Leonard Stark of Delaware recalled patent claims against Amazon Cloud Services that he’d thrown out last year, so he could reconsider them under the Federal Circuit’s new Berkheimer framework.

He threw them out again. “Although plaintiff tries to rely on expert testimony, here this is insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact,” Stark wrote in Kaavo v. Amazon.com.

Kaavo is a software company that holds a patent that fairly bleeds ineligibility. The title is “Cloud computing lifecycle management for N-tier applications.” According to Stark, the patent is directed to the abstract idea of setting up and managing a cloud computing environment. Neither the claim language nor the specification discloses specific improved methods or systems of cloud computing, he added.

Kaavo argued that various dependent claims contained limitations that preserved their eligibility. For example, claim 11 describes “receiving security information; determining a requested security action based on the security information; and sending a security event based on the requested security action.”

It’s not to hard too understand why they try so desperately to keep Berkheimer in some headlines; a Delaware case, however, isn’t of much significant. Decisions often cite CAFC, not district courts and definitely not PTAB.

But don’t expect the lawyers to lie down and give up; some patent “Prosecution” and “Willfulness” so-called ‘webinars’ from the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) and Practising Law Institute (PLI), respectively, are coming up. Such agenda-pushing by IPO and PLI has been covered here for a very long time. They just try to push litigation agenda, urging more people to sue (initiating ‘business’ both at the plaintiff’s and defendant’s side).

The truth of the matter is that most patents in question are ‘dead’ (futile inside the courts), so nobody would benefit from litigation except the lawyers. Those who claim otherwise are just wasting time and money of people wrongly led to believe otherwise. How about this third ‘webinar’ advertised some hours ago (along with the above) by Patent Docs? From the description: “Michael L. Kiklis and Stephen G. Kunin of Oblon McClelland Maier & Neustadt will provide guidance to patent practitioners on how to draft patent applications to overcome both Section 101 and AIA challenges.”

How can they honestly recommend pursuing software patents in 2018? Just look at the record. One retired attorney has just said that CAFC, the “Fed. Circuit Denied en banc Review of the Invalidation of Vote Verification Patent Claims under 101/Alice: https://dlbjbjzgnk95t.cloudfront.net/1055000/1055429/petition.pdf … ”

Another patent maximalist ranted: “Worst EVER: PTAB screws IBM patent applicant, invents NEW “abstract idea” and includes 180 pages of new material (including an unpublished dissertation) in decision to argue “fundamental building block” – affirm §101 rejection https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017001831-06-06-2018-1 … never seen IDS in an opinion!”

Software patents are rarely original, so PTAB does a fine job eliminating those. It’s simply applying Section 101 — something which many examiners have been failing to do (especially prior to Alice when guidelines were different).

We’re not against patents. Here’s an example of a newly-granted patent which is not software-related, but still… we carry on finding new patents being granted despite being evidently abstract. The USPTO continues to grant many such patents, but the courts would throw them away if challenged; that’s a deterrent for plaintiffs to ever initiate any legal action. A new example of a software patent in the US also comes from Apple. Apple should know algorithms aren’t patentable (such patents would not be enforceable in courts anyhow), but it’s going for it anyway. As Will Hill put it in Diapora, “just when the ridiculous patents against graffiti should be expiring…”

Here’s another new example; the Office needs to stop granting patents which courts would not honour; it’s self-harming. It merely reduces confidence in US patents.

We’ve also just noticed this kind of resurgence of “blockchain” as a surrogate for databases in software. Ropes & Gray LLP’s Leslie M. Spencer and Marta Belcher ride the blockchain hype wave in order to promote patents that are bunk and likely void. They did it twice [1, 2] in recent days and it’s part of a troublesome trend.

Walmart too is pursuing software patents disguised as "blockchain" and days ago an article was published about it. It was titled “Why Walmart filed a patent for blockchain, wearables and EHR data” (these patents are just software).

How about Fortune with “As Blockchain Grows, Companies Look to Avert a Patent War”? 5 days ago Michaela Ross published in “Bloomberg Big Law Business” a report that mostly quotes lawyers, as usual. Here’s a portion:

Blockchain patent wars may be looming, and companies are experimenting with preventive measures.

Startups and industry leaders, like IBM Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, are winning patents for the technology that is fueling cryptocurrencies and being applied to traditional businesses. They are also increasingly coordinating to uncover solutions—from cross-licensing and pooling patents to patent pledges—that would help ward off patent trolls and infringement lawsuits that plagued past tech revolutions, like the semiconductor or mobile phone booms.

“You’re seeing a much more aggressive effort of a nascent industry to create pools and a pool environment,” Josh Krumholz, co-leader of Holland & Knight LLP’s intellectual property practice, told Bloomberg Law. “It’s unsurprising to me because they’re obviously taking lessons from other industries like telecom.”

A surging number of blockchain experiments and related patent applications across various industries present ripe opportunities for patent assertion entities or trolls, as they’re often known, who could hamper innovation if not properly contained, patent attorneys say.

When Ross says “patent assertion entities or trolls” she means the likes of Erich Spangenberg with IPwe. IAM did a puff piece for him just before the weekend, calling his trolling “monetisation”.

Patent Strengthening Would Necessarily Mean Lowering the Number of Patents Granted After Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101

Sunday 24th of June 2018 02:09:02 PM

The inversive spin that needs tackling, calling what’s weak “strong”

Summary: The concept of patent strength is being distorted in all sorts of ways and acronyms like IPR still being used not to describe the process by which bad patents get eliminated but to spread propaganda like ‘intellectual’ ‘property’ ‘rights’

THE ARRIVAL of Alice four years ago meant that software patents, even those that had been granted by the USPTO prior to Alice, were on shaky ground. If used litigiously, courts would typically reject these and if the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) got ‘called in’ in the form of an inter partes review (IPR) or petition, then too it would happen. Appealing decisions to the Federal Circuit would have yielded a similar outcome. So here we are in 2018; the USPTO continues to grant some software patents, as we shall show in a moment (a later post), albeit some are disguised thinly using semantic tricks and buzzwords.

“Patent strengthening would mean actually raising the quality of patents, but this isn’t what Watchtroll has in mind.”Inter partes reviews are the real “IPRs”. But patent maximalists’ sites like Managing IP [sic] speak of “Alibaba’s IPR report, which isn’t what it sounds like. Stop misusing propaganda terms like IPR as in ‘intellectual’ ‘property’ ‘rights’ (there’s nothing intellectual about them, they’re definitely not property and unlike many things, such as free speech, they’re not rights but a temporary monopoly or a privilege). Watchtroll has already come up with this nonsense about “Patent Strengthening” (they mean “strengthening” not in the same sense the STRONGER Patent Act meant it). To quote:

Patent strengthening is the term we use to refer to the process of achieving the greatest potential for value from a patent during the prosecution – before a patent is even granted.

Patent strengthening would mean actually raising the quality of patents, but this isn’t what Watchtroll has in mind. The Office knows that it ought to mean improving patent quality, i.e. fewer patents, but they don’t want to go down that path. Patent maximalists still call the shots at the Office, albeit not in courts or at PTAB.

Watchtroll’s Reaffirmed Hatred Towards Science and Technology, Shattering the Myth About Patent Law Firms Trying to ‘Help’ Innovation

Sunday 24th of June 2018 08:42:56 AM

Summary: The anti-technology rhetoric (what they call derogatorily “Big Tech”) of patent maximalists is ruining their old narrative which goes something along the lines of helping inventors

THE advancement of science is something which patent offices like the EPO and USPTO were supposed to prioritise; but as we noted in our previous post, the EPO detached itself from it. It’s nowadays trying to help prosecutors, not scientists. We also recently took note of the patent microcosm, notably Watchtroll, attacking large technology firms and politicians who support technology (rather than law firms and pharmaceutical monopolies that fund them).

“If Watchtroll is going to paint law firms as more important than science, then it simply self-nukes.”This isn’t a “small deal”; this sort of thing can be seen all across the Web, well outside Watchtroll as well. The anti-technology rhetoric has grown rather loud in lawyers’ circles and as recently as 3 days ago Watchtroll did it again, alluding to “Big Tech” (in the headline). It’s supposed to sound negative, like “Big Pharma”.

If Watchtroll is going to paint law firms as more important than science, then it simply self-nukes. Watchtroll (Gene Quinn) just carries on bashing technology companies and it’s a rather suicidal strategy from the patent microcosm, revealing itself as a sworn enemy of science and technology. Just a parasite? There are many other recent examples, not to mention all the court- and judge-bashing pieces (especially SCOTUS and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Justices/judges). Watchtroll pulls no punches; it’s just throwing punches everywhere and other patent extremists (associated with Watchtroll) have gone as far as burning papers in an unauthorised ‘protest’. It’s like watching the “Tea Party” of the patent world.

Nearly Half of Patent Applications at the EPO Are (at Least Partly) Software Patents, According to the EPO, and Not Many Patents Are European (Foreign, Not Domestic)

Sunday 24th of June 2018 07:52:35 AM

Casado at UIMP (which gave an honorary doctorate to corrupt Battistelli)

Summary: With lack of care for examiners, for European businesses and for science in general the EPO carries on unabated; its agenda seems to be steered by Team UPC, which is looking to profit from lots of foreign lawsuits across Europe (relying on low-quality patents that wouldn’t pass muster in national courts)

THE EPO grants a lot of ‘foreign’ software patents. Foreign like in India, where such patents simply aren’t allowed (“per se”). India is renowned if not notorious for a low proportion of ‘domestic’ patents; it’s like the Indian patent office serves foreign companies (against Indian firms) more than the other way around — a fact that isn’t overlooked by the press. The same cannot be said about the USPTO because many companies (even foreign) operate inside the US.

“Such patents aren’t allowed at the EPO, at least in principle, but the EPO stopped obeying the law anyway.”The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, has just quoted/paraphrased the EPO’s Vice-President Alberto Casado as saying that 43% of the applications the EPO now receives have a software element to them. Is Casado trying to justify tolerating software patents? It sure sounds like it. Such patents aren’t allowed at the EPO, at least in principle, but the EPO stopped obeying the law anyway. It’s corrupt and it routinely violates the EPC as though the EPC does not exist anymore. Another person quoted/paraphrased Casado as saying that Medical Technology is the first tech area of patent applications at the EPO but the top 1 applicant is… Huawei, from China!

Huawei has been rather aggressive with patents lately. Last night Florian Müller wrote about the case against Samsung, which has taken somewhat of a turn because Judge Orrick (District Court for the Northern District of California) “upholds Samsung’s anti-enforcement injunction against Huawei”. This is important because what’s at stake are nearly a billion computers (‘phones’, tablets etc.) and to quote Müller:

The fact that Samsung und Huawei are the world’s two leading Android device makers always lent some significance to their patent infringement dispute, but it wasn’t really too interesting to watch until the motion process that culminated in Samsung’s antisuit injunction, preventing Huawei from enforcing a couple of Chinese patent injunctions for the time being.

Huawei has since been trying to get rid of that decision, which prevents it from getting huge leverage in China in the shortest term. It asked Judge William H. Orrick of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to revisit his decision, and it filed a Ninth Circuit appeal with the Federal Circuit. The latter then told Huawei: you can’t keep two courts busy in parallel with the same matter, so please wait for your California-based judge, then we’ll see.

Remember that it’s Huawei that started it, having initiated injunction (embargo) efforts.

“We should also note that a couple of days ago Amar Goussu Staub’s Louise Amar (Team UPC) repeated the famous lies about UPC, which is not starting at all!”Such efforts would be greatly simplified, Europe-wide, if the EPO kept issuing lousy patents and if the UPC (or anything like it) ever came into force. Thankfully, the UPC is stuck/dead, but the EPO keeps issuing bad patents — a subject raised both by examiners and stakeholders.

We should also note that a couple of days ago Amar Goussu Staub’s Louise Amar (Team UPC) repeated the famous lies about UPC, which is not starting at all!

See how she started her self-promotional ‘article’:

A few countries have recently geared up for the ratification of the UPC Agreement. Although the date of its entry into force is yet unknown it is hoped that the Unified Patent Court will start its operation before the UK leaves the EU. This means that the Unitary Patent may also become available before March 2019. Indeed, EU Regulations No 1257/2012 and No 1260/2012 entered into force on 20 January 2013 will apply from the date of entry into force of the UPC Agreement. However, the issue of the Unitary Supplementary Protection Certificate still has to be resolved.

Here we have the two famous lies again: 1) that the UPC will inevitably start within months and 2) the only question is, can the UK participate?

Both are patently false, but they believe that if they keep repeating it, then maybe they can somehow compel the German FCC to prematurely issue a decision on the constitutional complaint. But such is the antidemocratic, thuggish nature of Team UPC, which Louise Amar played a major role in.

Team UPC truly complements Team Battistelli; neither cares about the law, which they just make up as they go along.

Patent Factory Europe (PFE) is a Patent Troll’s Publicity Stunt, Attempting to Frame a Predator as the Small Businesses’ Friend and Ally

Sunday 24th of June 2018 07:04:15 AM

Summary: Patent troll “France Brevets” with its tarnished name (it’s the shame of France, a major source of shame other than Battistelli) has decided to do a charm offensive which characterises it as a friend of small firms (SMEs)

THE EPO continues to lie about being SMEs-friendly. It does this several times per week, perhaps hoping to distract from leaks like these.

Team UPC also lies quite a lot about SMEs; it keeps lying about the UPC being good for SMEs even though the very opposite is true. So SMEs have, in general, become political football. They’re being lied about by those who harm them the most. So should it be a surprise that patent trolls too are attempting to describe themselves as allies of SMEs?

“Team UPC also lies quite a lot about SMEs; it keeps lying about the UPC being good for SMEs even though the very opposite is true.”France Brevets has realised that people know what it’s really up to. So a face-saving move was initiated. The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, did a puff piece for it (outside paywall for a change, for increased exposure). Then came IP Europe, a villainous patent front group of patent aggressors, with this press release and tweet which says: “Patent Factory Europe (PFE) will provide resources, competences and know-how to help innovative #SMEs in Europe to develop more patents and build strong

Alice, Which Turns Four, Has Saved Billions of Dollars Previously Wasted on ‘Protection’ Money (Notably Patent Trolls)

Sunday 24th of June 2018 05:53:10 AM

And we’re only a few days away from the eighth anniversary of the Bilski case

Summary: Alice has turned 4 (just five days ago) and software patents have never looked weaker (close to impossible to enforce in high courts in the United States), lowering the incentive to pursue such patents in the first place

THIS weekend we’ll focus on USPTO matters, notably software patents. Those aren’t doing particularly well, no matter how one attempts to spin it. Even Watchtroll has quit writing about it, having said virtually nothing on the subject this past week (yesterday the only “101″ he wrote about wasn’t Section 101 but “Patent Applications 101″). Lawyers are meanwhile trying to figure out how to draft or prepare “Software Patent Applications,” alluding to Alice and Berkheimer, which we’ll revisit separately later. “Register now for our free #CLE webinar, “From Alice to Berkheimer: Practical Tips for Preparing Software #patent Applications,” on June 27, featuring guest speakers Wood IP LLC partners Ted Wood and Archie Williams Jr,” this new tweet says. It was found and highlighted last night, thanks to Benjamin Henrion (FFII).

“It’s worth noting that we’re only a few days away from Bilski case turning 8.”Yesterday we wrote about U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000, which would also be invalid under Alice, according to Benjamin Henrion. He took a look at it and said that “it is mostly a computer program making some calculations about data coming from a sensor. Could be challenged under Alice.”

“Maybe Unified Patents should file an IPR, even just to make a statement about US patent 10,000,000,” I responded. U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 is epic in the sense that it can serve to show what low quality US patents have sunk to. But here comes Dennis Crouch, a patent maximalist, glorifying the said patent. How long will they obsess over the number?

Either way, Alice (marking demise of software patent in the US at the Supreme Court) has just turned 4 and the software patents boosters at Fenwick & West still moan about it. A few days ago Greg Hopewell wrote:

Stepping back, it has now been exactly four years to the day of the Alice decision (June 19, 2014) and four more since Bilski (June 28, 2010). While it has become almost stereotypical to end many discussions of this subject with a call for a legislative solution, this case and others highlight the continuing difficulty in reliably applying the “directed to” and “something more” tests. Even if the application of these tests were reliable to experts who have read a great many 101 cases and could agree on resolving particular claims, the everyday patent examiner, judge, and inventor does not have the time to develop the judgment and expertise to reliably apply such a nuanced test. As reflected in the recent denials for en banc review of Aatrix and Berkheimer, there continues to be a need for clearer, easy-to-apply boundaries that could be resolved legislatively.

It’s worth noting that we’re only a few days away from In Re Bilski turning 8.

A few days ago the EFF gave some statistics related to Alice:

In the 4 years since the Alice v CLS Bank decision,
- R&D spending on software & Internet development has increased
- Employment growth for software developers has outpaced other sectors
- Over 400 incredibly abstract software patents have been invalidated

This has since then been mentioned and “retweeted” by a lot of people, linking to this new article from Daniel Nazer. To quote: (also via)

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. In Alice, the court ruled that an abstract idea does not become eligible for a patent simply by being implemented on a generic computer. Now that four years have passed, we know the case’s impact: bad patents went down, and software innovation went up.

Lower courts have applied Alice to throw out a rogues’ gallery of abstract software patents. Counting both federal courts and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, there are more than 400 decisions finding patent claims invalid under Alice. These include rulings invalidating patents on playing bingo on a computer, computerized meal plans, updating games, and many more. Some of these patents had been asserted by patent trolls dozens or even hundreds of times. A single ruling threw out 168 cases where a troll claimed that companies infringed a patent on the idea of storing and labeling information.

EFF’s Saved By Alice project collects stories of small businesses that used the Alice decision to defend themselves against attacks by entities asserting abstract software patents. Our series includes a photographer sued for running a website where users could vote for their favorite photo. Another post discusses a medical startup accused of infringing an extremely broad patent on telehealth. Without the Alice ruling, many of these small businesses could have been bankrupted by a patent suit.

Meanwhile, software innovation has thrived in the wake of Alice. R&D spending on software and Internet development shot up 27% in the year following the Supreme Court’s decision and has continued to grow at a rapid rate. Employment growth for software developers is also vastly outpacing growth in other sectors. At the end of 2017, PwC concluded that the “computer and software industries still shine in the R&D stakes, outperforming all other organizations in terms of billions spent.” A recent paper found evidence that the increase in software R&D was linked to the Alice decision.

It wasn’t just the EFF taking note of this ‘anniversary’. Engine wrote: “VC funding for software and internet companies has increased by 88% since #SCOTUS’s #Alice decision on software #patents. Happy Birthday, Alice! Spot her in our new video: https://youtu.be/uKlc-SOBQsA #InnovateWithoutFear”

Alice has been a nightmare to the patent microcosm but a blessing to companies which actually make something.”No software patents (or a de facto ban on them) celebrated by a front group of technology companies. Alice just means more peace of mind and safety for software developers, less risk no matter the company’s size. HTIA then joined in: “We love this video by @EngineOrg ! #SCOTUS’s #Alice decision improves #patent quality! #IP #InnovateWithoutFear”

HTIA too is a front group of technology companies. They have a common cause with us in the sense that they support the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

Alice was also mentioned by CCIA’s Josh Landau. It’s another front group of technology companies, both large and small. Landau says “More Evidence Is In—Alice Has Been Good For R&D,” alluding to “a recent paper [which] has provided evidence that Alice’s impact on R&D investment has been positive.” From the Patent Progress blog:

Tuesday marked one milestone—utility patent number 10,000,000. But it also marked a far more important milestone—the 4-year anniversary of the Alice decision. Looking back on those 4 years, Alice has been a clear success in eliminating patents that never should have issued. It’s had a very limited impact on patent prosecution, with most applications entirely unaffected and affected applications as likely to be allowed as not. And a recent paper has provided evidence that Alice’s impact on R&D investment has been positive.

[...]

The paper suggests a primary mechanism for this is the ability of companies to shift spending away from defensive patenting into R&D. In other words, with the risk of being sued on a low quality patent reduced by Alice, firms were both able and willing to spend more money on R&D.

Contrary to the predictions at the time of Alice and contrary to unsupported statements made more recently, Alice has not only not been “the death of hundreds of thousands of patents” or “devastated” research, but in fact appears to have helped the software industry and R&D in general develop even faster.

So there it is. Alice has been a nightmare to the patent microcosm but a blessing to companies which actually make something. Whose plea is more important?

Links 23/6/2018: Kodi 18 Alpha 2, Peppermint 9, Wine 3.11

Saturday 23rd of June 2018 04:21:13 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
    • Linux: The new frontier of enterprise in the cloud

      Well obviously, like you mentioned, we’ve been a Linux company for a long time. We’ve really seen Linux expand along the lines of a lot of the things that are happening in the enterprise. We’re seeing more and more enterprise infrastructure become software centric or software defined. Red Hat’s expanded their portfolio in storage, in automation with the Ansible platform.

      And then the really big trend lately with Linux has been Linux containers and technologies like [Google] Cooper Netties. So, we’re seeing enterprises want to build new applications. We’re seeing the infrastructure be more software defined. Linux ends up becoming the foundation for a lot of the things going on in enterprise IT these days.

    • Linux Networking Efforts Advances with New DPDK and OpenSwitch Releases

      The OpenSwitch project joined the Linux Foundation two years ago in June 2016. The Open Switch effort originally got its start in October 2015 as a Hewlett Packard (HP) led effort.

      The new OPX 2.3 release provides feature enhancements for SNMP support and also adds support for Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) as well as Terminal Access Controller Access-Control System Plus (TACACS+) .

      “The ability to install and operationalize individual protocol stacks as applications or micro-features facilitates the design of cost-conscious, composable networks (based on a mixture of best-of-breed hardware and software) that reduce failure domains and improve performance” Alley Hasan, OpenSwitch Project Governing Board chair, wrote in a statement. “The OpenSwitch community is committed to continue developing viable, turn-key solutions for data center operators, as well as for service provider edge and core architectures.”

    • Bloomberg Eschews Vendors For Direct Kubernetes Involvement

      Rather than use a managed Kubernetes service or employ an outsourced provider, Bloomberg has chosen to invest in deep Kubernetes expertise and keep the skills in-house. Like many enterprise organizations, Bloomberg originally went looking for an off-the-shelf approach before settling on the decision to get involved more deeply with the open source project directly.

      “We started looking at Kubernetes a little over two years ago,” said Steven Bower, Data and Infrastructure Lead at Bloomberg. … “It’s a great execution environment for data science,” says Bower. “The real Aha! moment for us was when we realized that not only does it have all these great base primitives like pods and replica sets, but you can also define your own primitives and custom controllers that use them.”

    • Oracle is changing how it reports cloud revenues, what’s it hiding? [iophk: "probably Microsoft doing this too" (cloudwashing)]

      In short: Oracle no longer reports specific revenue for cloud PaaS, IaaS and SaaS, instead bundling them all into one reporting line which it calls ‘cloud services and licence support’. This line pulled in 60% of total revenue for the quarter at $6.8 billion, up 8% year-on-year, for what it’s worth.

  • Kernel Space
    • Escape from System D, episode V

      I think what really bothers me is just the scope of the thing. Systemd isn’t an init system; it’s a software ecosystem, a whole slew of separate programs which are designed to work together and to manage various different aspects of the system, not simply just manage services. The problem is, despite the claims of modularity, it’s somewhat difficult to separate out the pieces. Right from the start, building Systemd, you have a number of dependencies and a huge set of components that you may or may not be able to disable; if you do disable certain components, it’s not clear what the ramifications might be, whether you need to replace them, and what you might be able to replace them with. I’d be less bothered if I could download a source bundle just for “Systemd, the init daemon” and compile that separately, and pick and choose the other parts on an individual basis in a similar way, but that’s just not possible – and this is telling; sure, it’s “modular” but clearly the modules are all designed to be used together. In theory you may be able to take the core and a few select pieces but none of the distributions are doing that and therefore it’s not clear that it really is possible.

    • Systemd 239 Rolls Out With Portable Services, Merges Boot Loader Specification

      The big systemd 239 feature update is now officially released.

      Systemd lead developer Lennart Poettering has announced the systemd 239 release.

    • Initial AMDGPU Driver Changes Submitted For Linux 4.19

      Less than one week after the close of the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window, AMD developers working on the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver have already submitted their first batch of changes to DRM-Next to begin queuing for the Linux 4.19 kernel cycle. There are a few new features with this latest batch of code.

    • LKML archives on lore.kernel.org

      A new archive of linux-kernel mailing list (LKML) posts going back to 1998 is now available at lore.kernel.org. It is based on public-inbox (which we looked at back in February. Among other things, public-inbox allows retrieving the entire archive via Git: “Git clone URLs are provided at the bottom of each page. Note, that due to its volume, the LKML archive is sharded into multiple repositories, each roughly 1GB in size. In addition to cloning from lore.kernel.org, you may also access these repositories on git.kernel.org.” The full announcement, which includes information about a new Patchwork instance as well as ways to link into the new archive, can be found on kernel.org.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Why next-generation IaaS is likely to be open source

        This is partly down to Kubernetes, which has done much to popularise container technology, helped by its association with Docker and others, which has ushered in a period of explosive innovation in the ‘container platform’ space. This is where Kubernetes stands out, and today it could hold the key to the future of IaaS.

      • Jobs Report: Rapid Growth in Demand for Open-Source Tech Talent

        The need for open-source technology skills are on the rise and companies and organizations continue to increase their recruitment of open-source technology talent, while offering additional training and certification opportunities for existing staff in order to fill skills gaps, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report, released today by The Linux Foundation and Dice. 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open-source talent, and nearly half (48%) report their organizations have begun to support open-source projects with code or other resources for the explicit reason of recruiting individuals with those software skills. After a hiatus, Linux skills are back on top as the most sought after skill with 80% of hiring managers looking for tech professionals with Linux expertise. 55% of employers are now also offering to pay for employee certifications, up from 47% in 2017 and only 34% in 2016.

      • Market value of open source skills on the up

        The demand for open source technology skills is soaring, however, 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open source talent, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report which was released this week.

      • SD Times news digest: Linux Foundation releases open-source jobs report, Android Studio 3.2 beta and Rust 1.27

        The Linux Foundation in collaboration with Dice.com has revealed the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report. The report is designed to examine trends in open-source careers as well as find out which skills are the most in demand.

        Key findings included 83 percent of hiring managers believes hiring open source talent is a priority and Linux is the most in-demand open-source skill. In addition, 57 percent of hiring managers are looking for people with container skills and many organizations are starting to get more involved in open-source in order to attract developers.

    • Graphics Stack
      • The Latest Batch Of XWayland / EGLStream Improvements Merged

        While the initial EGLStreams-based support for using the NVIDIA proprietary driver with XWayland was merged for the recent X.Org Server 1.20 release, the next xorg-server release will feature more improvements.

      • Making Use Of Chrome’s Ozone-GBM Intel Graphics Support On The Linux Desktop

        Intel open-source developer Joone Hur has provided a guide about using the Chrome OS graphics stack on Intel-based Linux desktop systems.

        In particular, using the Chrome OS graphics stack on the Linux desktop is primarily about using the Ozone-GBM back-end to Ozone that allows for direct interaction with Intel DRM/KMS support and evdev for input.

      • Freedreno Reaches OpenGL ES 3.1 Support, Not Far From OpenGL 3.3

        The Freedreno Gallium3D driver now supports all extensions required by OpenGL ES 3.1 and is also quite close to supporting desktop OpenGL 3.3.

      • X.Org Is Looking For A North American Host For XDC2019

        If software development isn’t your forte but are looking to help out a leading open-source project while logistics and hospitality are where you excel, the X.Org Foundation is soliciting bids for the XDC2019 conference.

        The X.Org Foundation is looking for proposals where in North America that the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference should be hosted in 2019. This year it’s being hosted in Spain and with the usual rotation it means that in 2019 they will jump back over the pond.

      • RadeonSI Compatibility Profile Is Close To OpenGL 4.4 Support

        It was just a few days ago that the OpenGL compatibility profile support in Mesa reached OpenGL 3.3 compliance for RadeonSI while now thanks to the latest batch of patches from one of the Valve Linux developers, it’s soon going to hit OpenGL 4.4.

        Legendary open-source graphics driver contributor Timothy Arceri at Valve has posted 11 more patches for advancing RadeonSI’s OpenGL compatibility profile support, the alternative context to the OpenGL core profile that allows mixing in deprecated OpenGL functionality. The GL compatibility profile mode is generally used by long-standing workstation software and also a small subset of Linux games.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Latte Dock, Beta 1 for v0.8 (v0.7.95)

        Hello everyone Latte Dock v0.7.95 which is the first beta of v0.8 is here. Latte v0.8 is a huge release and one of its main goals is to make the user feel with it very natural and comfortable.

        [...]

        Important for contributors: Beta1 will last 10 days, during these days translators will be able to report string improvements at bugs.kde.org. English isnt my native language, (proof reading / simpler expanations) might be necessary. When Beta2 is released around 3 to 5 July the string freeze will take place. Beta2 period will last 10 more days. So v0.8 is scheduled for 13 to 15 Jully. During all these days improvements and fixes can be landed through review process at kde phabricator.

      • Musing About Communities Size And Activity

        If you remember my previous installment I raised a couple more questions which I pointed out as tougher to address and I’d keep on the side for a while. Well, I decided to look at something simpler in the meantime… which unexpectedly took more time than expected.

        First I thought I’d try to reproduce the cohesion graph from Paul’s Akademy 2014 talk… but it looks like we have a reproducibility issue on that one. However hard I try I don’t manage to reproduce it. What I get is very different, so either there’s a bug in my tentative script or there was a bug in Paul’s script or somehow the input data is different. So one more mysteries to explore, I’m at a loss about what’s going on with that one so far.

      • Second Post and First Weekly

        Because of the last one, I have been refactoring related code in the last month. The refactoring is generally completed, with KisDlgInternalColorSelector being the last dependency that haven’t been moved to enable KisPaletteView to be used everywhere needed.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Ubuntu Developers Working On Improvements To GNOME Software Store

        Canonical/Ubuntu developers are working on improvements to the GNOME Software “app store” and recently held an in-person design sprint along with one upstream GNOME developer for coming up with improvements.

        The Ubuntu developers working on improvements to GNOME Software were joined by prolific GNOME contributor Richard Hughes for brainstorming improvements to better GNOME Software over the months to come.

      • App Launching From GNOME Shell Now More Robust Under Memory Pressure & Faster

        Right now on systems with low amounts of available system memory, GNOME Shell can sometimes fail to launch applications due to an error over not being able to allocate memory in the fork process. With the latest rounds of Glib optimizations, this should no longer be the case.

      • GNOME Web Browser is Adding a Reader Mode

        An experimental reader mode will ship in the next version of GNOME Web, aka Epiphany. The feature is already available to try in the latest development builds of the GTK Webkit-based web browser, released this week as part of the GNOME 3.29.3 milestone.

  • Distributions
    • Most secure Linux distros in 2018

      Think of a Linux distribution as a bundle of software delivered together, based on the Linux kernel – a kernel being the core of a system that connects software to hardware and vice versa – with a GNU operating system and a desktop environment, giving the user a visual way to operate the system via a graphical user interface.

      Linux has a reputation as being more secure than Windows and Mac OS due to a combination of factors – not all of them about the software.

      Firstly, although desktop Linux users are on the up, Linux environments are far less common in the grand scheme of things than Windows devices on personal computers. The Linux community also tends to be more technical. There are technical reasons too, including fundamental differences in the way the distribution architecture tends to be structured.

      Nevertheless over the last decade security-focused distributions started to appear, which will appeal to the privacy-conscious user who wants to avoid the worldwide state-sanctioned internet spying that the west has pioneered and where it continues to innovate. Of course, none of these will guarantee your privacy, but they’re a good start. Here we list some of them.

      It is worth noting that security best practices are often about process rather than the technology, avoiding careless mistakes like missing patches and updates, and using your common sense about which websites you visit, what you download, and what you plug into your computer.

    • Yaourt is Dead! Use These Alternatives for AUR in Arch Linux

      Yaourt had been the most popular AUR helper, but it is not being developed anymore. In this article, we list out some of the best alternatives to Yaourt for Arch based Linux distributions.

    • New Releases
      • 4MLinux 26.0 BETA released.

        4MLinux 26.0 BETA is ready for testing. Basically, at this stage of development, 4MLinux BETA has the same features as 4MLinux STABLE, but it provides a huge number of updated packages, including major changes in the core of the system, which now uses the GNU C Library 2.27 and the GNU Compiler Collection 7.3.0.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • OpenSUSE Leap 15 Plasma – Way too buggy, me sad

        OpenSUSE Leap 15 is a troubled distro. It’s pretty and it has some brilliant moments, but almost all of the issues and bugs I reported in Leap 42.3 are still here. As if nothing was learned. Or maybe no one cares. In its default guise, the distro simply isn’t ready for ordinary use. You need to work hard to get the basic rights: package management, network, media codecs, fonts. Even time & date posed a big issue, and customization was tricky. Top that with crashes, installation woes, GRUB suddenly losing its dual-boot stuff.

        The only redeeming factors are good looks, excellent performance (eventually) and smartphone support. But the rest feels beta. Hardly the SUSE that I once knew and loved so much. Back then, I used SUSE 9/10 like a champ, even had a box configured as a router, used a PPTP dialer to get the Web, ran VMware Server Beta on top of it, had Nvidia drivers all dandy. This was in 2005-7, and I was much less skilled than I am now. And yet, I had a rock-solid, pro desktop that never disappointed me. Today, what can I say? I can only hope SUSE gets its game together. There are some really amazing things here, but they are far and few in between. Unfortunately, Leap 15 is a no-go. Something like 1/10. Me very sad.

      • SUSE releases enhancements to CaaS platform

        Germany-based SUSE Linux has released SUSE CaaS Platform 3, the third iteration of its container as a service platform.

        A statement from the company said the platform included changes in Kubernetes to provide an enterprise-class container management solution that would allow application development and DevOps teams to deploy, manage and scale container-based applications and services.

        In March, Peter Lees, SUSE’s chief technologist for the Asia-Pacific region, told iTWire that containers would be the major focus for the company as it looked to consolidate its position in the region.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Is Used All over the World, Reveal Initial Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop Metrics

            During the development cycle of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Canonical announced that there would be an optional personal and system data collection tool implemented in the operating system to help them improve Ubuntu. Later, closer to the final release, it was revealed that the data collection tool was implemented in an all-new Welcome screen displayed only once after the first boot.

            The data collected by Canonical to improve the Ubuntu Linux operating system contained information about Ubuntu flavor used and version, users’ setups, installed software, network connectivity, OEM manufacturer, CPU family, RAM, disk size, screen resolution, GPU vendor and model, as well as users’ location based on the options they choose during the installation.

          • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Snapcraft

            Canonical, the company behind operating system and Linux distribution Ubuntu, is looking to help developers package, distribute and update apps for Linux and IoT with its open-source project Snapcraft.

            According to Evan Dandrea, engineering manager at Canonical, Snapcraft “is a platform for publishing applications to an audience of millions of Linux users.” The project was initially created in 2014, but recently underwent rebranding efforts.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Now Certified on Select Intel NUC Mini PCs and Boards for IoT Development, LibreOffice 6.0.5 Now Available, Git 2.8 Released and More

            Canonical yesterday announced that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is certified on select Intel NUC Mini PCs and boards for IoT development. According to the Ubuntu blog post, this pairing “provides benefits to device manufacturers at every stage of their development journey and accelerates time to market.” You can download the certified image from here.

            In other Canonical news, yesterday the company released a microcode firmware update for Ubuntu users with AMD processors to address the Spectre vulnerability, Softpedia reports. The updated amd64-microcode packages for AMD CPUs are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), “all AMD users are urged to update their systems.”

          • Canonical issues Spectre v2 fix for all Ubuntu systems with AMD chips

            JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU’D HEARD THE END of Spectre, Canonical has released a microcode update for all Ubuntu users that have AMD processors in a bid to rid of the vulnerability.

            The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were made public at the beginning of this year, affecting literally billions of devices that had been made in the past two decades.

          • A first look at desktop metrics

            We first announced our intention to ask users to provide basic, not-personally-identifiable system data back in February. Since then we have built the Ubuntu Report tool and integrated it in to the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS initial setup tool. You can see an example of the data being collected on the Ubuntu Report Github page.

          • Early Ubuntu Hardware/Software Survey Data

            With the Ubuntu Hardware/Software Survey that was introduced in Ubuntu 18.04 and presented to users upon new installations, it’s been collecting data since the Bionic Beaver launch in April but the data hasn’t been made public up to this point. Viewing the survey data is currently being worked on for the Ubuntu 18.10 cycle and today a first look at these numbers have been shared.

          • Ubuntu Reveals Desktop Telemetry for the First Time

            Canonical has kept a promise it made in February this year and has made public some of the telemetry it gathered from Ubuntu Desktop users in the past three months.

            The data was gathered using the Ubuntu Report tool, which the company said in February it would add to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) distributions.

            The Ubuntu Report tool would prompt users during the installation process and ask for permission to collect basic OS installation details.

          • Canonical shares analytics from Ubuntu Linux desktop user data collection

            Linux and user data collection. Some people will decry such a thing, but they would be wrong. As long as the collection is opt-in, it is totally acceptable and in line with Linux ideology. When is it questionable? When users don’t have a choice. With Windows 10 telemetry, for instance, users can opt out of sharing some data with Microsoft, but not all. And that’s a problem. Even if Microsoft’s intentions are pure, and designed solely with improving Windows 10, users should be able to refuse all data sharing at time of installation.

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Take your computer on the go with Portable Apps

    Portable Apps lets you access all your go-to apps anywhere, anytime—regardless of whether you are using your own computer or not.

    With more than 400 apps, 980 million downloads, and available in 55 languages, Portable Apps allows you to access your favorites via a USB flash drive, a cloud folder, or just about any portable storage device. Portable Apps is like having your computer without having your computer.

    Portable Apps is released under the GPL and MIT licenses, and it is compatible with Windows XP through 10, or Linux and MacOS via Wine or CrossOver. Developed by John T. Haller, a computer science major at Binghamton University and the developer of Portable Firefox, Portable Apps launched in November 2006 and has been in development since 2004. The current version, 15.0.2, was released on May 17, 2018. Plus, Portable Apps is supported by 200 volunteers and 220,000 community members.

  • 7 tips for promoting your project and community on Twitter
  • Software Heritage Archive Goes Live

    The importance of preserving software, and in particular open source software, is something I’ve been writing about for nearly a decade.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • State of Mozilla Support: 2018 Mid-year Update – Part 1

        As you may have heard, Mozilla held one of its All Hands biannual meetings, this time in San Francisco. The support.mozilla.org Admin team was there as well, along with several members of the support community.

        The All Hands meetings are meant to be gatherings summarizing the work done and the challenges ahead. San Francisco was no different from that model. The four days of the All Hands were full of things to experience and participate in. Aside from all the plenary and “big stage” sessions – most of which you should be able to find at Air Mozilla soon – we also took part in many smaller (formal and informal) meetings, workshops, and chats.

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 10

        Last week, the team was in San Francisco for an all-Mozilla company meeting.

        This week the team is focusing on adding new features, making improvements and fixing bugs.

      • Parliament adopts dangerous copyright proposal – but the battle continues

        n 20 June the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee (JURI) approved its report on the copyright directive, sending the controversial and dangerous copyright reform into its final stages of lawmaking.

      • Data localization: bad for users, business, and security

        Mozilla is deeply concerned by news reports that India’s first data protection law may include data localization requirements. Recent leaks suggest that the Justice Srikrishna Committee, the group charged by the Government of India with developing the country’s first data protection law, is considering requiring companies subject to the law to store critical personal data within India’s borders. A data localization mandate would undermine user security, harm the growth and competitiveness of Indian industry, and potentially burden relations between India and other countries. We urge the Srikrishna Committee and the Government of India to exclude this in the forthcoming legislative proposal.

      • TenFourFox FPR8 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 8 final is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no changes from the beta except for outstanding security patches. As usual, it will go live Monday night, assuming no changes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Announcing the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 for ARM

      Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 for the ARM architecture.

    • Oracle Linux 7 Now Ready For ARM Servers

      While Red Hat officially launched RHEL7 for ARM servers last November, on Friday Oracle finally announced the general availability of their RHEL7-derived Oracle Linux 7 for ARM.

      Oracle Linux 7 Update 5 is available for ARM 64-bit (ARMv8 / AArch64), including with their new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 based on Linux 4.14.

    • LibreOffice color selector as GTK widgets

      Here’s what the native GTK widget mode for the color picker looks like at the moment under Wayland. A GtkMenuButton displaying a color preview of the currently selected color and a GtkPopover containing the color selection widgetry.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • OpenBSD disables Hyper-Threading over security concerns

      OpenBSD, the security-focused, BSD-based, open-source operating system, has announced that it is to disable Intel’s Hyper-Threading (HT) technology in its latest release over concerns it could make exploitation of Spectre-style attacks easier.

      The discovery of side-channel attacks relating to speculative execution systems added to modern processors to boost performance, announced to the public earlier this year under the codenames Meltdown and Spectre, has caused the industry no small number of headaches. While current and next-generation silicon is known to still be vulnerable to at least some of the attack methods currently known, microcode and software patches have mitigated most of the threat – but now it looks like Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology may undo that mitigation.

    • httpd(8) Gains Simple Request Rewrites
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • FSFE Newsletter June 2018
    • About BLAG’s removal from our list of endorsed distributions

      We recently updated our list of free GNU/Linux distributions to add a “Historical” section. BLAG Linux and GNU, based on Fedora, joined the list many years ago. But the maintainers no longer believe they can keep things running at this time. As such, they requested that they be removed from our list. The list helps users to find operating systems that come with only free software and documentation, and that do not promote any nonfree software. Being added to the list means that a distribution has gone through a rigorous screening process, and is dedicated to diligently fixing any freedom issues that may arise.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • New releases from Facebook and Google, CPTPP’s potential open source impact, and more news
    • Open Data
    • Open Access/Content
      • Cheaper textbooks and better access for higher ed students

        Recently at the Texas Linux Fest, Ross Reedstrom introduced me to OpenStax. I’ve heard of a lot of open educational resources (OER) but not this particular one. It’s certainly a project I’m going to follow now.

        OpenStax was founded by Rice University engineering professor Richard Baraniuk in 1999 under the name Connexions. It started like most open source projects: To scratch an itch and address a problem. In this case, Rice University wanted to do something on the web related to education. A grad student suggested that they take the model used to develop Linux and apply it to create textbooks, and Connexions was born. They decided on a license that allowed for reuse with attribution—in essence, this was the first use of the Creative Commons license even before the license existed.

      • MIT to conduct an environmental scan of open source publishing

        The MIT Press has announced the award of a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a landscape analysis and code audit of all known open source (OS) authoring and publishing platforms. By conducting this environmental scan, the MIT Press will be providing a comprehensive and critical analysis of OS book production and hosting systems to the scholarly publishing community.

        As noted by Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press, “Open source book production and publishing platforms are a key strategic issue for not-for-profit scholarly publishers, and the wide-spread utilization of these systems would foster greater institutional and organizational self-determination. The MIT Press has long been a leader in digital publishing. We are very grateful for the generous support from The Mellon Foundation for this project.”

  • Programming/Development
    • Linux Fu: The Great Power of Make

      Over the years, Linux (well, the operating system that is commonly known as Linux which is the Linux kernel and the GNU tools) has become much more complicated than its Unix roots. That’s inevitable, of course. However, it means old-timers get to slowly grow into new features while new people have to learn all in one gulp. A good example of this is how software is typically built on a Linux system. Fundamentally, most projects use make — a program that tries to be smart about running compiles. This was especially important when your 100 MHz CPU connected to a very slow disk drive would take a day to build a significant piece of software. On the face of it, make is pretty simple. But today, looking at a typical makefile will give you a headache, and many projects use an abstraction over make that further obscures things.

Leftovers
  • Latest version of Preservica delivers new research and innovation in digital preservation

    The latest version also adds over 75 file format migration pathways based on extensive digital preservation research by the Innovation Team. The new pathways add to the hundreds already included with Preservica and increase preservation action choices for a wide range of image, Audio/Visual (AV) and Open Document formats.

  • Buzz Aldrin returns to Twitter, sues his son and former manager

    “I told him to finish well. He doesn’t listen at all.”

  • 10 Best Free Fonts Download Websites You Should Use In 2018
  • Science
  • Hardware
    • Ideas about moving the rack two floors down to the basement

      I am considering moving the rack from the bedroom to 7x12ft locked room in the basement. It would share space with my washer and dryer (which is vented to the outside).

    • Thomson 8-bit computers, a history

      The “Plan Informatique pour Tous” was in full swing, and Thomson were supplying schools with micro-computers. My dad, as a primary school teacher, needed to know how to operate those computers, and eventually teach them to kids.

      The first thing he showed us when he got the computer, on the living room TV, was a game called “Panic” or “Panique” where you controlled a missile, protecting a town from flying saucers that flew across the screen from either side, faster and faster as the game went on. I still haven’t been able to locate this game again.

    • How much did a personal computer cost the year you were born?

      Once wildly expensive and inaccessible but to the very rich, computers today are one of the most ubiquitous technologies worldwide. Though many personal computers in the early 1970s were much cheaper, the most basic model of an HP 3000 sold for $95,000 in 1972, the equivalent of slightly over half a million in today’s dollars.

      Today, a brand-new computer costs just a few hundred dollars and has capabilities that in 1972 were in the realm of science fiction.

    • U-M researchers create world’s smallest ‘computer’

      IBM’s announcement that they had produced the world’s smallest computer back in March raised a few eyebrows at the University of Michigan, home of the previous champion of tiny computing.

      Now, the Michigan team has gone even smaller, with a device that measures just 0.3 mm to a side—dwarfed by a grain of rice.

      The reason for the curiosity is that IBM’s claim calls for a re-examination of what constitutes a computer. Previous systems, including the 2x2x4mm Michigan Micro Mote, retain their programming and data even when they are not externally powered.

      Unplug a desktop computer, and its program and data are still there when it boots itself up once the power is back. These new microdevices, from IBM and now Michigan, lose all prior programming and data as soon as they lose power.

    • Intel Is Corporate America’s Biggest #MeToo Moment
    • Intel now faces a fight for its future
    • Intel chief Krzanich quits over affair with staffer
    • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigns after company learns of ‘employee relationship’ [iophk: "bailing before the big security storm hits?"]

      Intel has named chief financial officer Bob Swan as interim chief effective, and he will take over from Krzanich immediately.

    • Intel’s Brian Krzanich is forced out as CEO after ‘consensual relationship’ with employee

      Krzanich’s total compensation topped $21 million last year, and the company paid for his transportation and residential security, according to company filings.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Medicare to Terminate Funding for St. Luke’s Heart Transplant Program in Houston

      The federal Medicare program informed Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on Friday that it would cut off funding to its heart transplant program in August, saying the Houston hospital has not done enough to fix shortcomings that endanger patients.

      The decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a devastating blow to what was once one of the nation’s most renowned heart transplant programs. Losing Medicare’s seal of approval on Aug. 17 would threaten its viability, experts say, depriving it of an essential source of funding. The termination could trigger private insurance companies to follow suit and force all 88 patients on the program’s waiting list to either pay out of pocket or, more likely, transfer to another hospital.

      Losing Medicare funding is not unprecedented, but it is rare. St. Luke’s can appeal the termination, but that will not freeze the process, according to Medicare rules.

      CMS’s decision comes just weeks after an investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle found that the program performed an outsized number of transplants resulting in deaths and has lost several top physicians in recent years. Multiple St. Luke’s doctors raised concerns about errors during operations and serious surgical complications after Dr. Jeffrey Morgan took over as the program’s top surgeon in 2016, and a few cardiologists began referring some of their patients to other hospitals for transplants.

      Following the report, St. Luke’s temporarily suspended the heart transplant program in order to review the cases of two patients who died in May after receiving transplants earlier in the year. All told, three of the nine patients who received new hearts this year have died; nationally more than 90 percent of heart transplant recipients survive at least a year.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • North Korea Agreed to Denuclearize, But US Refuses Despite Treaty Obligation

      A powerful economic incentive continues to drive the nuclear arms race. After the Singapore Summit, the stock values of all major defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics — declined.

      Given his allegiance to boosting corporate profits, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump is counterbalancing the effects of the Singapore Summit’s steps toward denuclearization with a Nuclear Posture Review that steers the US toward developing leaner and meaner nukes and lowers the threshold for using them.

      The United States has allocated $1.7 trillion to streamline our nuclear arsenal, despite having agreed in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968 to work toward nuclear disarmament.

      Meanwhile, the US maintains a stockpile of 7,000 nuclear weapons, some 900 of them on “hair trigger alert,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

      “If weapons are used they need to be replaced,” Brand McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network has argued. “That makes war a growth story for these stocks, and one of the big potential growth stories recently has been North Korea. What the agreement does, at least for a while, is take military conflict off the table.”

    • America’s Military Drops A Bomb Every 12 Minutes, And No One Is Talking About It

      “We are a rogue nation with a rogue military and a completely unaccountable ruling elite. The government and military you and I support by being a part of this society are murdering people every 12 minutes, and in response, there’s nothing but a ghostly silence.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Journalists and Digital Security: Some Thoughts on the NYT Leak Case

      The leak investigation involving a Senate staffer and a New York Times reporter raises significant issues about journalists, digital security, and the ability of journalists to protect confidential sources.

      The New York Times recently revealed that the FBI had been investigating a former aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee, James Wolfe, for possibly leaking classified information to reporters. So far Wolfe has only been indicted for making false statements to investigators about his contacts with reporters.

      The investigation appears to have been focused on how New York Times reporter Ali Watkins, when she worked for Buzzfeed News, learned that Russian spies had attempted to recruit a former advisor to President Trump, Carter Page.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
  • Finance
    • Tencent’s Creating an Online Trading Platform for Chinese Bonds

      China’s biggest social media and gaming company and its partner is launching the service Friday after almost two years of fine-tuning. As envisioned, the QTrade service will help traders meet online and negotiate prices. It verifies both parties’ identities and logs their conversations and transactions for at least five years, thus complying fully with securities regulations, said Zhou Jingyu, a co-founder of the Shenzhen-registered startup.

    • How to stop the decline of public transport in rich countries

      The competition is only likely to grow. More than one laboratory is churning out new transport technologies and applications (see article). Silicon Valley invented Uber and, more recently, apps that let people rent electric scooters and then abandon them on the pavement. China created dockless bicycles and battery-powered “e-bikes”, both of which are spreading. Some inventions will fail, or will be regulated out of existence (at one point, Segways were the future). But new ideas, including driverless taxis, are coming around the corner. Mass transport is much less nimble. As New York’s Second Avenue subway, London’s Crossrail and Amsterdam’s North-South metro line have shown, building new train lines is now incredibly complicated and expensive.

    • Tesla whistleblower claims company is ‘doing everything it can to silence me’

      “I’m a scapegoat because I provided information that is absolutely true,” Tripp told the Guardian on Wednesday evening. “This is obscene … It feels like I have no rights as a whistleblower.”

      On Thursday, after the local sheriff’s office had announced that there was no credible threat to the Gigafactory, Tripp commented further: “They’re trying to do everything they can to silence me and trying to set an example so that no one else will talk to the press.”

    • Supreme Court rules that states can collect internet sales tax on online retail purchases
    • New US Tariffs are Anti-Maker and Will Encourage Offshoring

      The new 25% tariffs announced by the USTR, set to go into effect on July 6th, are decidedly anti-Maker and ironically pro-offshoring. I’ve examined the tariff lists (List 1 and List 2), and it taxes the import of basic components, tools and sub-assemblies, while giving fully assembled goods a free pass. The USTR’s press release is careful to mention that the tariffs “do not include goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions.”

    • Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to the Next Great Depression
    • EU tariffs on US goods come into force
    • Blockchain beyond the hype: What is the strategic business value?

      Speculation on the value of blockchain is rife, with Bitcoin—the first and most infamous application of blockchain—grabbing headlines for its rocketing price and volatility. That the focus of blockchain is wrapped up with Bitcoin is not surprising given that its market value surged from less than $20 billion to more than $200 billion over the course of 2017.1 Yet Bitcoin is only the first application of blockchain technology that has captured the attention of government and industry.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook needs to learn difference between journalism, ‘political advertising’ and garbage

      This is bad for journalism for a whole host of reasons, but the biggest problem is that it implies that the reporting and opinion of professional journalists is not a reflection of editorial judgment, but is instead designed solely to manipulate readers for money. This is a message that will be embraced by the dictators and authoritarian governments who love to denounce real reporters and actual journalism.

    • Fears mount over WhatsApp’s role in spreading fake news

      Indian police have linked dozens of murders and serious assaults to rumours spread on the messaging service in recent months.

    • Clicks Over Ethics: Careless Coverage of Suicide

      A study in the American Journal of Public Health (2/90) used state records from 1988 to 1996 to identify clustered suicides—three to 11 incidents that occurred in the same city or town in a three-month span—and analyzed news coverage of the events. The study found certain story characteristics, including front-page placement, headlines containing the word “suicide” and descriptions of the suicidal person and act, appeared more often in reports on the first suicide in a cluster.

      Guidelines for reporting have been drawn up. But in the wake of Spade and Bourdain’s highly publicized deaths, some corporate media have failed to follow them, apparently willing to put ethics to the side in their quest for clicks.

    • WaPo Can’t Believe White Supremacist Senate Candidate Really Means It

      Corey Stewart just won the Virginia GOP Senate primary. And the Washington Post‘s response (6/15/18) was an editorial headlined, “Corey Stewart’s Win in Virginia Means Further Degradation of Civic Discourse.” Yeah, that’s the problem—discourse.

      In an exemplar of elite media mealymouthing, the Post defines (and laments) Stewart’s embrace of white supremacist ideas, and the people who act on them, not as him being a white supremacist, but as “court[ing] white supremacists,” his racist comments not as him being a racist, but his “seeing…pandering to racism [as] a valuable tactic.”

      Nowhere do the Post editorialists explain whence they derive the requisite insight into Stewart’s soul to distinguish between mere calculation and true beliefs. Much less do they advise the black, brown, Muslim, Jewish and other people at the sharp end of such “courting” and “pandering” as to how they might best appreciate the distinction.

    • Microsoft And Nintendo Team Up To Troll Playstation In Ads For Not Giving Gamers What They Want

      Buckle up, because this seemingly mildly interesting story has a ton of intersections on topics we typically talk about here at Techdirt. As a preface, you should recall that we firmly believe that content is advertising and advertising is content. By this we mean that every bit of content a producer makes serves to advertise that producer’s wider content library and that advertisements, in order to be engaging, must be useful and/or entertaining every bit as much as more traditional content typically is. We’ve also talked a great deal about how content producers in the digital spaces must connect with their fanbases, treat them well, and provide them what they want, or risk backlash. Add to that, finally, that we think restrictive protectionism in the name of wider profits often achieves the opposite of that goal.

      Which brings us to Microsoft and Nintendo somewhat suprisingly teaming up to push out a bunch of ads centered on the ability for users of either to crossplay games across both systems.

    • Why Rank-And-File Evangelicals Aren’t Likely To Turn On Trump Over Family Separation

      Over the past few weeks, religious leaders have emerged as some of the strongest critics of President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.’s southern border.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • China will partly lift internet censorship for one of its provinces to promote tourism

      For Hainan, China will lift part of its censorship system, or what’s known as the Great Firewall, that blocks access to most foreign social media and news sites. Tourists will be able to enter designated zones in Hainan’s two major cities to access Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Other banned foreign social media platforms, like Google, Instagram, or WhatsApp, haven’t been mentioned.

    • Chinese holiday island to unlock Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for foreign visitors

      The provincial government said also that it expects to hire 50,000 English-speaking foreign workers – many from the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries – and buy 2,000 minutes of advertising time a year on international networks, including the BBC, CNN and CNBC, according to a lengthy three-year action plan published online and reported by state media.

      The proposals come two months after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his plans to transform the island province, known for its palm-fringed beaches and dubbed by some as China’s Hawaii, into a free-trade port by 2020.

    • Trump admin tightens media access for federal scientists: report
    • Algeria is shutting down the internet to foil exam cheats

      So this year the country has gone several steps further. Mobile phone signal jammers (illegal in the UK) and CCTV cameras (definitely not illegal in the UK) have also been added in places where exam papers are printed.

    • Algeria shuts down internet to prevent cheating during high school exams

      The whole nation of Algeria went offline on Wednesday for the start of high school exams, the first in a series of internet blackouts to stop the possibility of students cheating.

      Mobile and fixed internet connections were cut across the country for a total of two hours, to coincide with the start of two school tests.

    • Supposed ‘Free Speech’ Warrior Jordan Peterson Sues University Because Silly Professor Said Some Mean Things About Him

      I have to admit that until earlier this year, I’d never heard of Jordan Peterson. I first heard about him when he was on Russ Robert’s Econtalk podcast, and it was sort of a weird discussion to go into blind, without any knowledge of Peterson. That’s because throughout the podcast I found him to be extremely defensive, as if he was constantly under attack and had to parry away an onslaught of criticism. Other than that, I thought he had a few interesting ideas, mixed in with some nutty ideas. Soon after, I suddenly seemed to be hearing about him everywhere. In the last two months, the NY Times did a giant profile on him (in which he does not come off very well). He then played a major role in another bizarre and silly profile of what has been dubbed the “Intellectual Dark Web” — a network of hilariously self-important people who seem to think they’re oppressed for having thoughts out of the mainstream… even though the NY Times article goes on to describe how they all (with Peterson leading the pack) have massive followings, pack stadiums, sell insane numbers of books, and make crazy amounts of money from crowdfunding.

      A core piece of that NY Times editor Bari Weiss article was the ill-supported claim that “free speech is under siege” and that these members of the “Intellectual Dark Web” were the renegades being shunned for speaking the truth that no one wanted to hear. To me, it seemed more like they were a bunch of self-important semi-hucksters who lots and lots of people were listening to, but who some people have criticized — and they take that to mean that free speech is under attack. The more I read and watched about Peterson in particular, the more frustrating everything around him became. He certainly spews a lot of pseudo-intellectual nonsense, but so do many of the people who are angry at him. Many of the critiques of Peterson are, at best, sloppy and inaccurate. And Peterson has perfected playing the obtuse victim.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The Supreme Court Scores a Win for Privacy

      Today, in a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court held that the government must get a warrant to obtain records of where someone’s cell phone has been. This might seem obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to the four Supreme Court Justices who voted against today’s decision. And, it wasn’t obvious to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose opinion claimed that people cannot expect the general location of their cell phones to remain private because they must know cell phone companies have this data.

    • How AI and Deep Learning are Driving Mobile App Personalization

      With new technological advancements occurring almost constantly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that artificial intelligence and deep learning have found their way into our mobile apps. So, what does this mean for our app experience?

    • Cell signal: What high court ruling may mean for future of digital privacy

      The US Supreme Court ended the week with a decision that updates privacy protections for the digital age. In a 5-to-4 decision the justices ruled in favor of Timothy Carpenter, the robber who argued that using location data from his cellphone providers to pinpoint his whereabouts and convict him violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The ruling, called “narrow” by the court, will afford more protections to citizens. But it may also create confusion in lower courts and in law enforcement, legal observers say. Officials now have to sort out what kinds of information individuals give to third parties merit constitutional protection, and what kinds don’t. Before today’s decision, that determination was clearer. “It’s a gigantic decision for Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” says Christopher Slobogin, director of the Criminal Justice Program at Vanderbilt Law School. “It is in large part a result of the court’s realization that technology is changing the relationship between the government and its citizens.”

    • Bill Could Give Californians Unprecedented Control Over Data

      Introduced by State Assembly member Ed Chau and state senator Robert Hertzberg, the bill would allow California residents to find out what information businesses and data brokers collect about them, where that information comes from, and how it’s shared. It would give people the power to ask for their data to be deleted and to order businesses to stop selling their personal information. It places limits on selling data on users younger than 16 years of age, and prohibits businesses from denying service to users for exercising their rights under the bill.

    • Supreme Court cracks down on government snooping through cellphone location records

      The Supreme Court ruled Friday that the government cannot monitor people’s movements for weeks or months by tracking the location of their mobile phones without a warrant.

      In a ruling that could have broad implications for privacy rights in the digital age, justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum said rapid advances in technology make decades-old rules on data privacy inadequate.

    • Supreme Court Says Warrants Are Needed For Cell Site Location Info

      The Supreme Court — in a narrow decision (both in scope and votes) — has restored a little more of the Fourth Amendment. The long-awaited decision [PDF] in the Carpenter case has been released and the Supreme Court finds, in a 5-4 decision, that cell site location info (CSLI) is technically a third-party record but worthy of the Fourth Amendment’s protection.

      The defendant challenged the government’s warrantless acquisition of 127 days of CSLI, arguing that the constant location records generated (without proactive assistance from phone users) by cell providers raised enough of a privacy issue the Fourth Amendment was implicated. Somewhat surprisingly — given the long history of expansive readings of the Third Party Doctrine — the Supreme Court agrees.

    • Victory! Supreme Court Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Cell Phone Tracking

      The Supreme Court handed down a landmark opinion today in Carpenter v. United States, ruling 5-4 that the Fourth Amendment protects cell phone location information. In an opinion by Justice Roberts, the Court recognized that location information, collected by cell providers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, creates a “detailed chronicle of a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment over years.” As a result, police must now get a warrant before obtaining this data.

      This is a major victory. Cell phones are essential to modern life, but the way that cell phones operate—by constantly connecting to cell towers to exchange data—makes it possible for cell providers to collect information on everywhere that each phone—and by extension, each phone’s owner—has been for years in the past. As the Court noted, not only does access to this kind of information allow the government to achieve “near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user,” but, because phone companies collect it for every device, the “police need not even know in advance whether they want to follow a particular individual, or when.”

      For years, the government has argued that the sensitive nature of this data doesn’t matter; the mere fact that it’s collected by phone companies makes it automatically devoid of constitutional protection.

      This argument is based on an outdated legal principle called the “Third Party Doctrine,” which was developed by the Supreme Court in two main cases from the 1970s involving records of phone calls and bank transactions. Courts around the country had long been deeply divided on whether the Third Party Doctrine should apply to cell phone location information or whether the invasiveness of the tracking it enables should require a more privacy-protective rule.

    • Illinois Declines to Adopt Proposed Arbitrary Drone Surveillance of Protests

      Observers often forget that surveillance offends not only privacy, but also the right to dissent. A recently defeated Illinois bill illustrates how First and Fourth Amendment rights intersect, by proposing to undermine the right to dissent not obliquely, but rather directly. That’s why EFF joined the successful fight to defeat this spying proposal.

      The proposal, promoted by the City of Chicago, was embodied in SB 2562 and its companion bill, HB 4405. Theywould have authorized police to use surveillance drones to monitor peaceful protests without first securing a judicial warrant. Had the measure been adopted, it would have permitted police to use facial recognition technology to identify individual demonstrators photographed by drones even absent any suspicion of wrongdoing.

      The defeated proposal would have rolled back a well-received state law passed in 2013 that led the country in protecting dissent from drone surveillance, and which enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support. Illinois’ 2013 law sharply limits law enforcement from using drones, generally requiring agencies to first obtain a judicial warrant based on probable cause to suspect that a crime has been committed.

    • Police officer caught making over 16,000 privacy violations in police registers; charged with electronic trespassing

      While infuriating just on its own, this is far more serious than a random government employee browsing a random privileged citizen database. This is a police officer whose job it is to be the last line of defense in society against these very types of civil rights violations taking place.

    • ACLU is petitioning Amazon to stop selling its surveillance tools to The Man

      A petition explains that “Amazon has entered the surveillance business, and they’re selling to the government” and has already garnered 60,000 signatures online with more coming from other civil liberties organisations.

      “Amazon’s product, Rekognition, has the power to identify people in real time, in photos of large groups of people, and in crowded events and public places,” it goes on.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Jogger who accidentally crossed U.S. border from B.C. detained for 2 weeks

      Cedella Roman, 19, didn’t know it at the time, but as she ran southeast along the beach on the evening of May 21, she crossed a municipal boundary — and, shortly after, an international border.

      As the tide started to come in, she veered up and onto a dirt path before stopping to take a photo of the picturesque setting.

      She turned around to head back — and that’s when she was apprehended by two U.S. Border Patrol officers.

    • Uber Operator Was Watching ‘The Voice’ Before Self-Driving Crash

      A 318-page report filed by the Tempe Police Department refutes driver Rafaela Vasquez’s previous statement to federal safety investigators that she wasn’t using her mobile devices when the car struck and killed a woman who was crossing the street at night.

      Police were able to obtain records of Vasquez’s account from the television streaming service Hulu LLC, which showed she’d streamed the talent show for 42 minutes on the night of the March 18 crash. Her stream ended at 9:59 p.m., around the same time Elaine Herzberg, 49, was hit by the Uber, which was in self-driving mode, the report said.

    • Uber safety driver was watching TV moments before fatal collision

      A police report says that the crash, which killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, was ‘entirely avoidable’ if driver 49-year-old Rafaela Vasquez had been paying attention.

      Vasquez was instead looking at her phone, glancing up 0.5 seconds before the collision.

    • Airport laptop ban backfired, says global aviation trade association
    • The Tried-And-True Alternatives to Detaining Immigrant Families

      Trump’s order presents American with a false choice: Either tear children away from their parents, or jail entire families.

      With his hastily issued executive order on family separation on Wednesday, President Trump presented America with a false choice: If you don’t want me to tear infants from their mother’s arms, I’ll just put entire families in jail.

      Specifically, Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep families in custody “during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.” He also directed the Department of Defense and all other federal agencies to let DHS use their facilities so that family jail space can be expanded as quickly as possible.

      Trump’s plan is inhumane and wrong. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other child-welfare experts have found that jailing children and parents can severely damage their physical and mental health, even irreversibly. When President Obama expanded family detention in 2014, his actions were met with swift condemnation from immigrants rights, civil rights, and criminal reform organizations, including the ACLU. A federal court put the brakes on that expansion, applying a longstanding rule that prohibits the detention of children in substandard facilities and favors their release.

      Rather than jailing families who are in deportation proceedings, the government should release anyone who is not a flight risk, or whose flight risk can be mitigated by an alternative to detention. Such alternatives are designed to ensure court appearance and compliance with any final court orders, but they do even more — they allow families to live outside prison walls while their case moves through the system. That allows them to more easily find an attorney and prepare their defense — and non-detained immigrants with legal representation are far more likely to win legal relief. It also means that parents can raise their own children as normally as possible, limiting the long-term trauma to the family.

    • Border Spy Tech Shouldn’t Be a Requirement for a Path to Citizenship

      The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (H.R. 6136), introduced before Congress last week, would offer immigrants a new path to citizenship in exchange for increased high tech government surveillance of citizens and immigrants alike. The bill calls for increased DNA and other biometric screening, updated automatic license plate readers, and expanded social media snooping. It also asks for 24 hours-a-day, five-days-a-week drone surveillance along the southern U.S. border.

      This bill would give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security broad authority to spy on millions of individuals who live and work as far as 100 miles away from a U.S. border. It would enforce invasive biometric scans on innocent travelers, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

    • Jared Kushner’s Grandmother Bemoaned the “Closed Doors” That Faced Refugees to America

      Way before Jared Kushner became internationally famous by moving into the White House to work for his father-in-law Donald Trump, those of us who live in New Jersey knew the family was an amazing story of immigrant success.

      Jared Kushner’s paternal grandparents, Holocaust survivors Joseph and Rae Kushner, came to the United States in 1949 as impoverished Eastern European refugees and begat a family whose office buildings, apartment complexes and philanthropic efforts are important parts of the business and social landscapes in New Jersey and elsewhere.

      Yes, there are scandals and feuds besetting parts of the family, and Jared’s father Charles racked up some prison time. But the family’s rise from refugees to titans is an example of what can happen when people are admitted into this country, work hard and prosper.

      I got curious about the Kushner history after Jared invoked his immigrant forbears in his recent speech at the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. “I keep a photo of them on my desk” in the White House, he said.

      As a grandson of Jewish Eastern European immigrants myself — my late father and Kushner’s late grandmother even had the same birth name, Slonimsky, but spelled it differently — I was impressed that Kushner remembers his roots and discusses his origins publicly.

      But I wondered how — or if — Kushner could reconcile his father-in-law’s “keep ’em out” immigration philosophy with the story of his paternal grandparents, who spent 3 1/2 years in a displaced persons camp in Italy before being admitted to the U.S. In a 1982 interview given by the late Rae Kushner to a Holocaust research center, Jared’s grandmother talks about how wrong she felt it was for the U.S. to let people like her and her husband languish in displaced persons camps for years awaiting permission to enter the country.

    • Netflix PR chief fired for repeatedly using the n-word
    • Netflix Fires PR Chief After Use of N-Word in Meeting (Exclusive)

      Friedland, a former Disney executive, first joined Netflix in February 2011 as vp global corporate communications, and was promoted to the top comms role the following year. A replacement for Friedland has yet to be named.

    • U.S. Navy plans immigrant internment camps to detain tens of thousands in CA, AL, AZ

      An internal document shows the U.S. Navy has developed a plan to construct ‘austere’ tent cities capable of holding tens of thousands of immigration detainees on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona.

      The Navy planning doc obtained by TIME says two sites in California could house up to 47,000 immigrants each, two sites in Alabama could host 25,000.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Silos, Centralization And Censorship: Losing The Promise Of The Internet

      It’s a good question, and one that I’ve been thinking a lot about in the past few years. I think it’s an overreaction to blame the concept of “the cloud.” Indeed, the idea of moving information onto the internet, rather than buried on local machines has some massive benefits, including the ability to access the information and services from any device, as well as being able to (sometimes) connect various services together and accomplish much more.

      The real problem to me — and one I’ve spoken about going back many years — is that today’s “cloud” is not the “cloud” we should want. It’s become a series of silos. Silos owned by large companies. But there’s no reason it needs to remain that way. There is simply no reason that we can’t build a “cloud” in which end users retain full control over their data. They may allow third party services to access and interact with that data, but it’s bizarre how the vision of the “cloud” has turned into a world where it basically just means Google, Microsoft, IBM, Rackspace, whoever else, hosting all your data and retaining all of the control to it, including the control to take it down and make it disappear.

    • California net neutrality bill gutted as lawmakers cave to AT&T lobbyists

      A California net neutrality bill that could have been the strictest such law in the country was dramatically scaled back yesterday after state lawmakers caved to demands from AT&T and cable lobbyists.

  • DRM
    • Nintendo Switch Piracy is “Unstoppable” – Until People Go Online

      Earlier this year Team-Xecuter, a hacking group with a long history of defeating console security, announced a new defeat for Nintendo Switch. The “future-proof” route to both homebrew code and mass piracy excited the masses but the reality on the ground will be a little less colorful. According to hacker SciresM, Nintendo has deployed a system which can detect people playing pirate games online and ban their consoles forever.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • US Supreme Court allows award of foreign lost profits patent damages

      WesternGeco v Ion Geophysical opinion finds the focus of section 271(f) is domestic infringement, and the fact that the remedy – lost profits damages – may apply abroad is “incidental”, in a decision observers say creates the opportunity to seek much larger damages awards

    • Intellectual Property Protection and Financial Markets: Patenting vs. Secrecy

      We argue stronger patent protection encourages firms to rely less on secrecy to protect intellectual property, thereby enhancing transparency and reducing equity-financing frictions. We first show disclosure of patent information causally improves stock liquidity. A legislative change (AIPA), that accelerated disclosure of most patent applications (18-months after filing), enhances stock liquidity for firms with longer patent processing times. We then test our hypothesis by exploiting implementation of an international trade agreement (TRIPS) that strengthened patent protection. Firms, especially exporters to TRIPS-compliant countries, exhibit an increase in patenting, stock liquidity and equity financing, with less negative market response to equity-financing announcements.

    • Will US Trade Wars Create a Rocky Road for International Patent Rights

      The statement is interesting on many levels — including the ongoing role of intellectual property as an aspect of any trade dispute. In the same way that countries can raise tariffs on foreign goods, they can also shift the treatment of foreign patent applicants by raising costs or by setting quotas. While the US has long been a champion of lowering international barriers to patenting, it has also long been a champion of free trade. For a trade battle, these tools are likely all on the table and so we may see rocky times ahead for the international patent system.

    • Another kind of Italian beauty contest: Kiko v Wycon

      The Court of Appeal of Milan decided in April this year on a design case which is quite special in its own right in that this was a case where it had to be decided whether there was an infringement of a concept store design.

    • Qualcomm, France Brevets and IP Europe join forces to create a new funding initiative for European SMEs [Ed: The patent trolls’ lobby is helping a PR campaign/whitewashing of patent trolls (trying to paint themselves as pro-SMEs)]

      A new financing and advisory mechanism to help innovative European SMEs secure high-quality patents and build effective portfolios will be rolled out across Europe in 2019, it was revealed today. The creation of Patent Factory Europe (PFE) was announced at the IP Europe Annual SME Summit, taking place in Brussels. It will be run by IP Europe and French sovereign fund France Brevets, with additional funding being provided by Qualcomm.

    • YP Jou and Spangenberg unite in new strategic alliance aiming to shake-up IP services

      Two leaders in the IP monetisation world, YP Jou, the man responsible for monetising large part s of the Hon Hai-Foxconn patent portfolio and Erich Spangenberg, best known as the founder of IPNav, have announced a strategic alliance between two of their companies in a move which reflects the current dynamic nature of the IP services market and the extent to which that market is being transformed by new technology. The pair have announced an agreement between InQuartik, an analytics business which Jou founded, and IPwe, Spangenberg’s business designed to bring the power of the blockchain to the patent market.

    • Bizarre Amazon Patent Application Suggests Jellyfish-Like Drones for Warehouses

      Amazon is on a mission to mechanize as much of its supply chain as possible, and has—through publicly available documents—considered autonomous vehicles, drones that react to screaming, and flying warehouses. Among the strangest is a patent application which became public today, and it’s, uh, some sort of crane game jellyfish thing.

      First filed nearly three years ago, “Collaborative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle For an Inventory System” would be composed of a “buoyant airbag,” several propellors for lift and directional movement, and a “retention feature,” otherwise known as a big ol’ claw. Some illustrations even show these bubble bots joining together vertically to (one assumes) handle increased payload weight.

    • Marshall Gerstein Secures Victory for PopSockets at the International Trade Commission

      Marshall Gerstein secured a significant victory for its client PopSockets LLC at the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), which last Thursday issued a general exclusion order that empowers United States Customs and Border Protection to seize all imported products that infringe PopSockets’ U.S. Patent.

    • Take a look at what could be the future of Samsung’s Galaxy phones

      Could this patent from Samsung give us a glimpse of a future Galaxy phone? It’s certainly possible, and if so, then it doesn’t look like the company is about the embrace the screen notch, as the front of this mystery device is taken up by almost the entire display. The patent, which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on June 19, shows an unnamed mobile device with a futuristic design; but not just because it has a big screen on the front — It looks like it has a second screen on the back too.

    • IP policy reform needs to start at Canada’s universities [Ed: Universities are funded by tuition fees and tax for research. They should not pursue patents at all.]

      Concerns about Canadian intellectual property moving offshore raise a broader and more important issue about made-in-Canada IP. Across the country, universities have no common or baseline intellectual-property policy; each institution has developed its own approach based on its own worldview. These variations in IP policy have resulted in a wide range of outcomes in industrial collaboration and the financial terms relating to patent use. In the worst cases, IP policies have turned potential industrial partners away from collaborating with universities.

    • Copyrights
      • Root-causing regulatory failure

        While the putative targets of much of this bad legislation are US new-wave corporations — especially Google and Facebook — the actual victims are repeatedly the Europeans who are our best hope of countering this US corporate power; citizen-innovators. Far from gutting Google’s guns and foiling Facebook’s finagling, the new rules — notably GDPR and now the new copyright rules — give them and their peers unintended power over European innovators.

      • Cloudflare Settles Dangerous Piracy Liability Lawsuit

        Cloudflare has settled its piracy liability lawsuit with adult publisher ALS Scan. The case in question was scheduled to go to trial with the CDN provider standing accused of contributory copyright infringement. Details of the settlement agreement have not been made public, but Cloudflare must be happy to move on.

      • EU Parliament Committee Adopts Piracy ‘Upload Filter’ Proposal

        The EU’s plans to modernize copyright law in Europe are moving ahead. The Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament (JURI) just adopted several proposals, including the controversial “upload filters.” Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda is disappointed but notes that the fight is not over yet.

      • EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a ‘tool for control’

        The MEPs voted narrowly for the provision, despite warnings from some of the biggest names in the internet, and civil liberties campaigners, that the law would damage freedom of expression, while entrenching the power of the biggest companies and loading costs on to European startups.

        The plans still have to be agreed with representatives from the EU’s 28 governments before becoming law, but the vote reduces the chances of serious changes.

      • Proposed EU Copyright Law Could Cause Problems For Fan Content In Games

        “Not only would [companies] be jointly liable with the user, but they may be the only person you could find,” author and activist Cory Doctorow told Kotaku via phone. Doctorow is a special advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to “defending civil liberties in the digital world.” “Even if you can find the user, the odds are that a company would have much deeper pockets than the users so the majority of the damages would land with them and not with the person who created the copyrighted material.”

      • These MEPs voted to restrict the internet in Europe today – but we’re not giving up

        This is an unacceptable outcome that I will challenge in the next plenary session, asking all 750 MEPs to vote on whether to accept the Committee’s result or open it up for debate in that larger forum, which would then give us a final chance to make changes.

        This vote will likely happen on July 4. Let’s make this the independence day of the internet, the day we #SaveYourInternet from censorship machines and a link tax. Are you in?

      • Artist Files Completely Frivolous Copyright Lawsuit Against The NRA For Briefly Showing Public Sculpture In Stupid Video

        I apologize in advance, but this story is full of frivolous annoying things. Unfortunately, they are frivolous annoying things that hit at the very core intersection of stuff we talk about here on Techdirt: copyright and free expression. Last year, the NRA pushed out a truly ridiculous advertising video, referred to as “The Clenched Fist of Truth” or “The Violence of Lies.” It was a stupid video from a stupid organization which served no purpose other than to upset people who hate the NRA. Trolling as advertising. It generated some level of pointless outrage and people went on with their lives. I’m not linking to the video because I don’t need to give it any more attention and if you really want to see it, you know how to use the internet.

        Now, let’s move on to Anish Kapoor, a British sculptor who is also annoying. In the early 2000s, he made a silly sculpture for Chicago’s Millenium Park that people from Chicago (and elsewhere) tend to love to mock. It’s called The Bean. I mean, officially, it’s called “Cloud Gate,” but no one calls it that. Even Kapoor now now calls it the Bean.

        However, copyright disputes over the Bean go way back. Back in 2005 there was an article about security guards evicting photographers for taking pictures of the popular tourist selfie photo opp, because the city said it had to enforce the copyright of the artist. No, really. They said that. There’s been a long, and somewhat ridiculous, debate about the copyright on public sculptures. Many of us believe — with pretty damn good justification, I’d say — that if you agree to a commission from a public entity, in which you are creating a sculpture for the government, you should also give up your copyright with it. Barring that, any and all photography of that sculpture in a public place should simply be declared fair use. Unfortunately, courts have disagreed with this — which is unfortunate.

      • iISP: Piracy “Extortion Letters” Benefit ‘Greedy’ Companies, Not Poor Artists

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is continuing its crusade against copyright holders that target alleged file-sharers. The company has published an article which shows that these copyright cases have little to do with the Government’s intention of protecting individual copyright holders with limited financial means.

      • TVAddons Founder “Resigns” to Ensure Kodi Addon Platform’s Longevity

        Under siege, third-party Kodi addon platform, has announced the resignation of its founder. Adam Lackman, who is being targeted by Canada’s leading telecoms companies in a copyright infringement battle, says he will give up admin rights and access to sensitive information, in order to preserve the longevity of the TVAddons platform. TF spoke with the Canadian to find out more.

      • YouTube now lets you pay $4.99 per month to support your favorite creators [Update]

        Channel Memberships is a rebrand of Subscriptions, a feature that had been tested out by select creators for a while. Channel Memberships allow viewers to pay $4.99 per month to support each of their favorite creators. In return, those members get special badges and emoji, members-only posts in the Community tab, and unique perks offered by creators themselves such as exclusive livestreams, extra videos, and more. Not all creators can make use of Channel Memberships—only those with over 100,000 subscribers can.

Somewhat Underwhelming Reception for US Patent Number 10,000,000 (Which Actually Isn’t)

Saturday 23rd of June 2018 01:59:33 PM

Summary: While US patent number 10,000,000 did, in fact, get issued (several days ago) there are un-ignorable reminders that a lot more patents exist and the high number says more about neglected quality than actual, objective success

THERE has been plenty of discussion lately about patent quality at the EPO, but how about the USPTO? We are trying to be optimistic and assume positive intentions; it looks like whatever Iancu’s views are (to be revisited later this weekend), it’s down for US courts to determine patent scope.

“The USPTO actively participates in this hype.”As we noted some days ago, media of patent lawyers (or connected to them) glorifies the number of US patents irrespective of their relatively low quality. Days ago these reached 10 million in number. So what? As Tom Cowan put it on Twitter some time ago: “How symbolic would it be if patent 10M is cancelled in an IPR? I think that would make ⁦ @IP_Hulk⁩ mad!! https://10millionpatents.uspto.gov/”

Notice the (sub)domain name? The USPTO actively participates in this hype. As if it’s all about quantity rather than quality. A lot of patents not yet revoked in IPRs just hang in there pretty much worthless, as the patent assignees know they’d lose their patents if taken to court. In other words, not many people with patents actually believe in their patents’ validity anymore. They probably don’t want to find out that these are bunk and prefer for them to just reach the expiration day ‘safely’ (without challenge).

“Technically speaking, patent 10,000,000 isn’t the ten millionth patent, or even the ten millionth utility patent.”
      –Josh Landau (CCIA)Media of the patent microcosm participated in the hype over “10 million”. Renae Reints did in in Fortune and CNN disseminated similar nonsense [1, 2], calling these patents “trophies”. CNN Wire was then conflating patents with innovation in a special feature. But we didn’t actually find much media coverage other than that, except in niche blogs.

Josh Landau (CCIA) said: “Technically speaking, patent 10,000,000 isn’t the ten millionth patent, or even the ten millionth utility patent. There are around 700,000 design patents…”

“There aren’t that many real inventions, it’s just a system gone awry.”Dennis Crouch was making a big deal over a number, having lobbied for patent maximalism for ages. And prior to that he wrote: “Some readers will notice that no patents issued yet today, Tuesday June 19, 2018. Do not worry though, the PTO has delayed the issuance until 9:00 am EST so that the release of U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 can be done while the masses are awake.”

Did these people actually party or something? Curiously enough, even patent extremists such as Watchtroll did not post anything about it. We expected a lot more hype, as people started mentioning this so-called ‘milestone’ several months ago as though it was the approaching Second Coming.

Donald Zuhn wrote “USPTO Issues U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000,” but so what? There aren’t that many real inventions, it’s just a system gone awry. See what Professor Bessen wrote the other day. The patent ‘industry’ has abducted the patent system, which now needs to reform or otherwise reboot. For crying out loud, they’re patenting thoughts and life/nature nowadays. We shall cover that separately.

The United States’ Supreme Court Takes the Side of Patent Maximalists, for a Change

Saturday 23rd of June 2018 07:23:59 AM

Does not quite fit the bogus narrative, touted by the patent extremists, who accuse the court of being “anti-patent”

Summary: WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp. reaches its conclusion; while it has zero effect on patent scope, it does serve to show that the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) isn’t inherently biased against patents in general

WHILE we’re generally not particularly interested in the outcome of the WesternGeco case (WesternGeco v Ion), it’s still useful to observe because it can shed light on the Justices’ views on patents. We’re mostly interested in cases that pertain to patent scope (this directly affects USPTO guidelines), not so-called ‘damages’.

“The only upside we see here is that it weakens or shatters any illusions about SCOTUS being biased or lacking credibility.”We first saw Jason Rantanen’s fast response to it. Watchtroll wrote a couple of ‘articles’ about this outcome, amplifying himself and the other patent extremists (i.e. the usual recipe).

The EFF’s Daniel Nazer called it a “disappointing opinion,” as the court ended up ruling for patent maximalism, for a change.

To quote:

The Supreme Court issued a disappointing opinion [PDF] today holding that a company could recover patent damages for lost profits overseas. The court’s reasoning could make overseas damages available in many patent cases. This will disadvantage companies that do research and development in the United States. When patent law discourages domestic innovation, it achieves the opposite of its intended purpose.

The case, called WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., involved a patent on a method of conducting marine seismic surveys. ION exported components that, when combined, were used to infringe the patent overseas. Under Section 271(f) of the Patent Act, exporting components of a patented invention for assembly abroad is considered infringement. WesternGeco received damages for the U.S. sales of the components. The court considered whether WesternGeco could also receive damages for lost profits for the use of the invention overseas.

Andrew Chung at Reuters covered it as follows:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world’s largest oilfield services provider.

[...]

Internet-based companies and others had expressed concern that extending patent damages beyond national borders would expose U.S. high-technology firms to greater patent-related risks abroad.

The only upside we see here is that it weakens or shatters any illusions about SCOTUS being biased or lacking credibility. Sites like Watchtroll will no doubt continue to smear Justices whenever they narrow patent scope. Later this weekend we’ll say a lot more about the number of US patents exceeding 10 million and Alice turning four.

Mainstream Media in Germany Covers Battistelli’s Corruption at the EPO Just as He Leaves

Saturday 23rd of June 2018 06:57:49 AM

“Corruption” isn’t a word many people use anymore, simply for fear of SLAPP (not because evidence is insufficient)

Summary: Mainstream German media writes about Battistelli’s scandals that nobody seems eager or wishes to discuss, let alone bring up; law-centric German media covers the now-famous open letter from German law firms (Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner)

IN ONLY about a week António Campinos becomes the new President of the EPO. He was quoted again in the media (in English for a change) just before the weekend in relation to his job as the EU-IPO’s chief.

“Belatedly, mainstream media in Germany covers not only Battistelli’s passage of EPO money to his other employer but also the financial scandals (potential corruption as well) — a subject that we dedicated about half a dozen long posts to.”Campinos will never hold Battistelli accountable for anything (he’s indebted to him), but will others hold Battistelli accountable? We certainly hope so.

If nobody associated with the Office (EPO) can do anything to Battistelli because of his immunity (we’re not legal professionals, but it’s possible that his immunity — at least for what he did as President — extends beyond his term), then someone in Paris can perhaps do something because Battistelli has been doing some profoundly dodgy things; he and his political allies may benefit from it (financially and more), but there are opposition parties still; we wrote about a dozen articles about this issue alone, only to see the corporate media totally ignoring it. Well… until now. Belatedly, mainstream media1 in Germany covers not only Battistelli’s passage of EPO money to his other employer but also the financial scandals (potential corruption as well) — a subject that we dedicated about half a dozen long posts to. As an insider put it yesterday:

There is an article in today’s edition of Wirtschaftswoche about the EPO, discussing the scandalous investment guidelines and that President Battistelli celebrated the inventor of the year in Saint Germain, in a theatre he manages privately.

Our Munich and Berlin readers may want to get their own copy.

The technical harm of what Battistelli has done, as Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner recently explained in an open letter, was covered by German media, quoting Dr. Thorsten Bausch, who wrote a great deal about Battistelli’s financial ‘instrumentation’. Yesterday SUEPO’s translation [PDF] was published and we’ve produced an analogous HTML version of it below:

Open letter: Patent attorneys see quality problems at the EPO

Four patent attorney firms are becoming concerned about the quality of the issue of patents by the European Patent Office (EPO), prompting them to send an open letter addressed to current President Benoît Battistelli and his designated successor António Campinos. The letter originates from attorneys at Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner. The accusation that the efficiency strategy adopted by the Office is leading to poorer quality patents has been voiced for a long time. Now the attorneys are demanding action.

Other recipients of the letter are the Chair of the EPO Administrative Council Dr. Christoph Ernst and EPO Quality Management Director Niclas Morey.

The four authors of the letter are among the largest patent attorney firms in Europe. By their own estimations, they are behind more than 9,500 of the 166,000 applications made annually to the EPO. Their clients include many of the big international names in the pharmaceutical and mobile communications industries, but overall the four firms cover a very broad technical spectrum indeed.

“For a number of years we have been viewing with growing concern the developments at the European Patent Office,” the attorneys write. In their view, the new incentive scheme for the examination of patent applications in particular, as well as the internal instructions issued, appear to reward a rapid conclusion to examination procedures, leading to higher productivity at the Office.

The number of patent applications rose over the past year by 3.9 percent to around 166,000. Hoffmann Eitle & Co. do indeed welcome the “increased average speed of the procedures”, but they also point out that the exaggerated drive towards higher productivity has led to problems with patent examinations, in particular to poorer quality with the procedures. They criticise the fact that the patent examiners have too little time for individual examinations, and that, set against this, the fees imposed by the Office are too high by international comparison.

They also express concern about the issue that this is leading to defective patents, and thereby to distortion of competition within the economic area of the 38 EPO states. As well as that, the proprietors could no longer enforce their patents in their full extent against competitors. And ultimately they fear dwindling attraction for the EPO among their clients, which in turn will have effects on the European patent system.

Indirectly, the four firms are calling for a reduction in the fees in the light of the surplus which the EPO achieves. Since the system is self-financing, there is no particular need for a further increase.

The attorneys recommend that the EPO management adopt a new incentive scheme for the patent examiners which will guarantee the quality of searches and examination, a reputation for which the EPO was well known before the most recent reforms.

So far, no reaction

The EPO has so far made no comment. At the 2017 annual balance sheet conference, Battistelli declared that the EPO had boosted productivity. As well as the internal reforms, the increased number of patent examiners, to just on 4,400, had contributed to this. A recently published assessment of his 10 years in office pointed out that production had risen by 36 percent in the last three years, with the number of patent decisions still outstanding down by 27 percent.

Sustained criticism

Over and over again in the past the criticism has been voiced from all quarters in the patent attorney sector, but also from industry in general, that the efficiency strategy of the Office has led to deterioration in quality. The Office and its representatives have always rejected this. “There have never been any demonstrable figures to support this”, the Chair of the EPO Administrative Council Dr. Christoph Ernst insisted in 2017 in an interview with JUVE.

In a non-representative survey by the JUVE editorial board at the beginning of the year, 59 percent of the patent experts from industry said they were satisfied with the quality of the issues of patents by the EP. 31 percent were not.

In the JUVE Patent Survey 2018, industry representatives also formulated specific demands for the new President Campinos. Around 21 percent want Campinos to ensure “more thorough searches instead of rapid issue procedures”. Conversely, only 6 percent favoured the fast application approach.

Although Battistelli is the first person addressed by the letter from the attorneys, the open letter is to be understood as aimed especially at Campinos and Administrative Council leader Ernst. Battistelli is going at the end of the month, after eight years at the Office. His period of power has led to some very mixed views by patent experts throughout Europe. On the one hand, the Frenchman has introduced a series of important reforms, which according to sources among EPO member states in particular have made the Office fit for the future. On the other, in the view of many patent experts from the patent attorney sector and industry in general, this has led to a decline in quality in the issue of patents, bitter disputes with some groups of staff members and with the main staff union, SUEPO, as well as serious encroachments on the independence of the EPO’s own courts. The Boards of Appeal have become largely detached from the Office over the past year, and now govern themselves, although their budget continues to be subject to the President of the Office.

Battistelli’s departure was not a determinant factor in the timing of the publication of the letter to the EPO management, according to one of the initiators, Dr. Thorsten Bausch of Hoffmann Eitle. The letter represents a broad consensus within the four firms. The signatories have been in contact with other firms, asking for their input. (Mathieu Klos)

Klos has been covering these matters for a very long time; to maintain ‘access’ to EPO officials (like Ernst or Battistelli) he was always quite gently worded, mincing his own words perhaps even when the blunt truth was right there. As for IP Kat? It covered none of these latest developments; that silence says all one needs to know about today’s IP Kat. It’s very different from the ‘old’ IP Kat — the one predating the departure of IP Kat‘s founder.

“Stakeholders now say openly what SUEPO has been saying and warning about for years.”What can possibly fix the EPO right now? “Save the EPO from destruction” had this idea yesterday, saying “it must be hoped that among the several priorities, President Campinos will want to redress the situation for ALL abusively sanctioned staff representatives (and among them many SUEPO Officials) since they were chased being opponents of Battistelli and sanctioned after extravagant procedures.

“How else do you want to send a positive signal to both EPO workforce (whose representative were attacked brutally) and the world (since the EPO reputation has a brutal employer is now spread around the globe).

“This would send a positive signal. Mr Campinos has to act – and be seen to act – to restore Social Dialogue AND the Rule of Law…”

Don’t expect this to happen but it would be nice (and just) if it did happen. Stakeholders now say openly what SUEPO has been saying and warning about for years.
_______
1 “In the period of 2001-2002 Wirtschaftswoche had a circulation of 187,000 copies,” Wikipedia says. “For the first quarter of 2005 the circulation of the magazine was 183,156 copies, making it the best-selling weekly business publication in Germany.”

Links 22/6/2018: PulseAudio 12.0, Krita 4.1 Beta, LabPlot 2.5, Git 2.18.0

Friday 22nd of June 2018 04:22:32 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Five Common Chromebook Myths Debunked

      When Chromebooks first came out in 2011, they were basically just low-spec laptops that could access web apps – fine for students maybe, but not to be regarded as serious computers. While they’ve become more popular (the low cost, simplicity, and dependability appeal to businesses and education systems), as of 2018 Chromebooks still haven’t managed to become widely accepted as a Windows/Apple/Linux alternative.

      That may be about to change. The humble Chromebook has gotten a lot of upgrades, so let’s get ourselves up to speed on some things that just aren’t true anymore.

      [...]

      The 2011 Chrome OS was pretty bare-bones, but it’s gone to the opposite extreme since then. Not only is it steadily blurring the line between Chrome and Android, it can now install and run some Windows programs as well, at the same time as a Chrome and an Android app, if you like. And hey, while you’re at it, why not open a Linux app as well? You can already install Linux on a Chromebook if you want, but one of the next versions of Chrome OS is going to include a Linux virtual machine accessible right from your desktop (which is already possible, just not built-in and user-friendly). In sum, Chrome OS has gone from barely being an operating system to one that can run apps from four other OSes at the same time.

    • Like “IBM’s Work During the Holocaust”: Inside Microsoft, Growing Outrage Over a Contract with ICE
  • Server
  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • XArray and the mainline

      The XArray data structure was the topic of the final filesystem track session at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM). XArray is a new API for the kernel’s radix-tree data structure; the session was led by Matthew Wilcox, who created XArray. When asked by Dave Chinner if the session was intended to be a live review of the patches, Wilcox admitted with a grin that it might be “the only way to get a review on this damn patch set”.

      In fact, the session was about the status of the patch set and its progress toward the mainline. Andrew Morton has taken the first eight cleanup patches, Wilcox said, which is great because there was a lot of churn there. The next set has a lot of churn as well, mostly due to renaming. The 15 patches after that actually implement XArray and apply it to the page cache. Those could be buggy, but they pass the radix-tree tests so, if they are, more tests are needed, he said.

    • Filesystem test suites

      While the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) filesystem track session was advertised as being a filesystem test suite “bakeoff”, it actually focused on how to make the existing test suites more accessible. Kent Overstreet said that he has learned over the years that various filesystem developers have their own scripts for testing using QEMU and other tools. He and Ted Ts’o put the session together to try to share some of that information (and code) more widely.

      Most of the scripts and other code has not been polished or turned into a project, Overstreet continued. Bringing new people up to speed on the tests and how they are run takes time, but developers want to know how to run the tests before they send code to the maintainer.

    • Messiness in removing directories

      In the filesystem track at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Al Viro discussed some problems he has recently spotted in the implementation of rmdir(). He covered some of the history of that implementation and how things got to where they are now. He also described areas that needed to be checked because the problem may be present in different places in multiple filesystems.

      The fundamental problem is a race condition where operations can end up being performed on directories that have already been removed, which can lead to some rather “unpleasant” outcomes, Viro said. One warning, however: it was a difficult session to follow, with lots of gory details from deep inside the VFS, so it is quite possible that I have some (many?) of the details wrong here. Since LSFMM there has been no real discussion of the problem and its solution on the mailing lists that I have found.

    • Handling I/O errors in the kernel

      The kernel’s handling of I/O errors was the topic of a discussion led by Matthew Wilcox at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) in a combined storage and filesystem track session. At the start, he asked: “how is our error handling and what do we plan to do about it?” That led to a discussion between the developers present on the kinds of errors that can occur and on ways to handle them.

      Jeff Layton said that one basic problem occurs when there is an error during writeback; an application can read the block where the error occurred and get the old data without any kind of error. If the error was transient, data is lost. And if it is a permanent error, different filesystems handle it differently, which he thinks is a problem. Dave Chinner said that in order to have consistent behavior across filesystems, there needs to be a definition of what that behavior should be. There is a need to distinguish between transient and permanent failures and to create a taxonomy of how to deal with each type.

    • 4.18 Merge window, part 1

      As of this writing, 7,515 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.18 merge window. Things are clearly off to a strong start. The changes pulled this time around include more than the usual number of interesting new features; read on for the details.

    • Year-2038 work in 4.18

      We now have less than 20 years to wait until the time_t value used on 32-bit systems will overflow and create time-related mayhem across the planet. The grand plan for solving this problem was posted over three years ago now; progress since then has seemed slow. But quite a bit of work has happened deep inside the kernel and, in 4.18, some of the first work that will be visible to user space has been merged. The year-2038 problem is not yet solved, but things are moving in that direction.

      If 32-bit systems are to be able to handle times after January 2038, they will need to switch to a 64-bit version of the time_t type; the kernel will obviously need to support applications using that new type. Doing so in a way that doesn’t break existing applications is going to require some careful work, though. In particular, the kernel must be able to successfully run a system where applications have been rebuilt to use a 64-bit time_t, but ancient binaries stuck on 32-bit time_t still exist; both applications should continue to work (though the old code may fail to handle times correctly).

      The first step is to recognize that most architectures already have support for applications running in both 64-bit and 32-bit modes in the form of the compatibility code used to run 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems. At some point, all systems will be 64-bit systems when it comes to time handling, so it makes sense to use the compatibility calls for older applications even on 32-bit systems. To that end, with 4.18, work has been done to allow both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the time-related system calls to be built on all architectures. The CONFIG_64BIT_TIME configuration symbol controls the building of the 64-bit versions on 32-bit systems, while CONFIG_COMPAT_32BIT_TIME controls the 32-bit versions.

    • LVM2 Begins Work On Major Changes To Logical Volume Management

      LVM2 as the user-space tools for Logical Volume Management (LVM) on Linux is in the process of going through a big re-work.

    • LKML archives on lore.kernel.org

      We collected LKML archives going as far back as 1998, and they are now all available to anyone via a simple git clone. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who helped in this effort by donating their personal archives.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Automotive Grade Linux joins the Van Life with Mercedes-Benz Vans deal

        Mercedes-Benz Vans has tapped the Linux-based AGL infotainment stack for next-gen vehicles equipped with cutting-edge connectivity and robotics technology.

        The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project announced that Mercedes-Benz Vans is using the open source AGL platform as a foundation for a new onboard OS for its commercial vehicles. The Daimler business unit will debut a new AGL-based OS on various Mercedes-Benz Vans prototype projects later this year, and AGL will play a key role in Mercedes-Benz Vans “adVANce” initiative for providing “holistic transport solutions.”

      • Heather Kirksey on Integrating Networking and Cloud Native

        As highlighted in the recent Open Source Jobs Report, cloud and networking skills are in high demand. And, if you want to hear about the latest networking developments, there is no one better to talk with than Heather Kirksey, VP, Community and Ecosystem Development, Networking at The Linux Foundation. Kirksey was the Director of OPNFV before the recent consolidation of several networking-related projects under the new LF Networking umbrella, and I spoke with her to learn more about LF Networking (LFN) and how the initiative is working closely with cloud native technologies.

        Kirksey explained the reasoning behind the move and expansion of her role. “At OPNFV, we were focused on integration and end-to-end testing across the LFN projects. We had interaction with all of those communities. At the same time, we were separate legal entities, and things like that created more barriers to collaboration. Now, it’s easy to look at them more strategically as a portfolio to facilitate member engagement and deliver solutions to service providers.”

      • Linux Skills Most Wanted: Open Source Jobs Report

        The 2018 Open Source Technology Jobs Report shows rapid growth in the demand for open source technical talent, with Linux skills a must-have requirement for entry-level positions.

        The seventh annual report from The Linux Foundation and Dice, released Wednesday, identifies Linux coding as the most sought-after open source skill. Linux-based container technology is a close second.

        The report provides an overview of open source career trends, factors motivating professionals in the industry, and ways employers attract and retain qualified talent. As with the last two open source jobs reports, the focus this year is on all aspects of open source software and is not limited to Linux.

    • Benchmarks
      • Wine 3.10 vs. Ubuntu 18.04 vs. Windows 10 Desktop Performance

        Here are some fresh benchmarks comparing the performance of a variety of cross-platform Windows/Linux desktop applications when benchmarking the native Windows 10 binaries, the Windows binaries under Wine 3.10 on Ubuntu 18.04, and then the native Linux binaries itself on Ubuntu 18.04. All tests were done on the same system and these results do a good job at showing the potential (and shortcomings) of Wine from a performance perspective.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Qt Creator 4.7 Beta2 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.7 Beta2!

        It is roughly 2 weeks after the Beta1 release, and 2 weeks before our planned release candidate, so we want to give you the opportunity to fetch an updated work-in-progress snapshot in between.
        If you haven’t yet read about the improvements and new features that are coming with 4.7 (or if you have forgotten), I would like to point you to the blog post for the first beta.

      • CMake 3.12 Update on FreeBSD

        CMake 3.12 has reached rc1. That means we’re testing the update on FreeBSD, and building lots and lots of packages. And, as I’ve written previously, every CMake update triggers a bunch of interesting software findings.

        As a motto, I’ve got “use it, aggressively improve it” on my website (you can hire me for odd CMake and C++ jobs, too). So hitting compile issues makes me turn to fixing software outside of KDE.

      • Krita 4.1 Digital Painting Program Enters Beta With Multi-Monitor Workspace Layouts

        The KDE/Qt-aligned Krita digital painting program has published the first beta of their next feature release, Krita 4.1.

      • The day Kate Gregory enjoyed Qt

        At my company we use C++ for everything, from creating microservices to website backends and as a generator for website frontends, I mean, we do a lot of c++. And because of that we always need more c++ people, but sometimes it’s hard to find developers, but it’s easy to find php / python / javascript ones. Because of that we hired Kate Gregory’s famous c++ course – “Teaching the Teacher” to train current C++ developers to teach C++. (now, that’s a lot of ‘C++’ in a simple sentence, I know. bear with me.)

        For those that doens’t know, Kate Gregory is somebody that uses, advocates our beloved language even before I was born, and talks all over the world about C++ and also do trainings for companies, And so I enlisted to be her student.

        It was a really pleasant course going thru how to proplery explain C++ for people that know how to program but don’t know how to C++, and for that I’m grateful. But then when I commented out about Qt in the middle of the class she rolled her eyes, that made me feel a bit uneasy so I talked to her on why the eye-roll. “Qt is not c++”, and I tougth this was already settled down for years, so I asked her if she would be open to see some simple c++ code written in Qt and tell me what she thinks of it. “Well, Yes. but people already tried and it was not good”.

      • LabPlot 2.5 released

        It took much more time to finalize the release than we planned in the beginning after the 2.4 release was done. But we hope the number of features we implemented for 2.5 and their impact on the workflows supported by LabPlot can justify this delay. The source code and the installers for Windows and for Mac OS X can be found on our download page, as usual.

        In this release we again increased the number of data sources and added the support for the import of data from SQL databases. The user can import either from single tables or import the result of a custom SQL queries.

      • Krita 4.1 Beta Comes with a New Reference Images Tool and Supports Multi-Monitor Workspace Layouts
      • KDE on Android: CI, CD & SDK

        I guess we all agree that one of the biggest stoppers to get a contribution out is the ability to get the system ready to start working on the contribution. Today I want to talk a bit about generating Android binaries from our machine.

        In the KDE Edu sprint we had the blatant realisation that it’s very frustrating to keep pushing the project while not being swift at delivering fresh packages of our applications in different systems. We looked into windows, flatpak, snap and, personally, I looked into Android once again.

        Nowadays, KDE developers develop the applications on their systems and then create the binaries on their systems as well. Usually it’s a team effort where possibly just one person in the team will be familiar with Android and have the development combo in place: Android SDK, Android NDK, Qt binaries and often several KDE Frameworks precompiled. Not fun and a fairly complex premise.

      • Qt Contributor Summit 2018

        One bit especially interesting is the graphics stack. Back in Qt 5.0, Qt took the liberty of limiting the graphics stack to OpenGL, but the world has changed since: On Windows the only proper stack is Direct3D 12, Apple introduced Metal and recently deprecated OpenGL and Vulkan is coming rather strong. It looks like embracing these systems transparently will be one of the most exciting tasks to achieve. From a KDE & Plasma perspective I don’t think this is scary, OpenGL is here to stay on Linux. We will get a Framework based on a more flexible base and we can continue pushing Plasma, Wayland, Plasma Mobile with confidence that the world won’t be crumbling. And with a bit of luck, if we want some parts to use Vulkan, we’ll have it properly abstracted already.

      • Integrating Cloud Solutions with Qt

        These days, using the cloud for predictive maintenance, analytics or feature updates is a de facto standard in the automation space. Basically, any newly designed product has some server communication at its core.

        However, the majority of solutions in the field were designed and productized when communication technology was not at today’s level. Still, attempts are being made to attach connectivity to such solutions. The mission statement is to “cloudify” an existing solution, which uses some internal protocol or infrastructure.

      • KDE on FreeBSD – June 2018

        It’s been a while since I wrote about KDE on FreeBSD, what with Calamares and third-party software happening as well. We’re better at keeping the IRC topic up-to-date than a lot of other sources of information (e.g. the FreeBSD quarterly reports, or the f.k.o website, which I’ll just dash off and update after writing this).

      • Konsole’s search tool

        Following my konsole’s experiments from the past week I came here to show something that I’m working on with the VDG, This is the current Konsole’s Search Bar.

        [...]

        I started to fix all of those bugs and discovered that most of them happened because we had *one* search bar that was shared between every terminal view, and whenever a terminal was activated we would reposition, reparent, repaint, disconnect, reconnect the search bar. Easiest solution: Each Terminal has it’s own search bar. Setuped only once. The one bug I did not fix was the Opening / Closing one as the searchbar is inside of a layout and layouts would reposition things anyway.

        All of the above bugs got squashed by just moving it to TerminalDisplay, and the code got also much cleaner as there’s no need to manual intervention in many cases. On the review Kurt – the Konsole maintainer – asked me if I could try to make the Search prettier and as an overlay on top of the Terminal so it would not reposition things when being displayed.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.30 Desktop Environment Gets New Milestone, Beta Expected on August 1

        In an email announcement received by Softpedia, developer Michael Catanzaro announces the availability of GNOME 3.29.3, the third of four development milestones before the GNOME 3.30 desktop environment enters beta stages of development.

        Coming almost a month after GNOME 3.29.2, the GNOME 3.29.3 development milestone appears to be the first where all components are buildable. “This is an accomplishment,” said Michael Catanzaro, “I hope we can keep this up going forward.”

      • Welcome Window Integration in Pitivi – Part 2

        In my last post (link), I gave an overview of Welcome window integration in Pitivi. I started working on this task from the first coding day of Google Summer of Code 2018, i.e. May 14, 2018 and after one amazing month of coding it finally got merged (commit) on June 19, 2018. Apparently it was a large change consisting of 702 additions and 329 deletions (link) involving 75 code-review discussions and 29 versions. A special thanks to my mentor aleb for giving constructive reviews on my code.

  • Distributions
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 6 Open Source AI Tools to Know

    In open source, no matter how original your own idea seems, it is always wise to see if someone else has already executed the concept. For organizations and individuals interested in leveraging the growing power of artificial intelligence (AI), many of the best tools are not only free and open source, but, in many cases, have already been hardened and tested.

    At leading companies and non-profit organizations, AI is a huge priority, and many of these companies and organizations are open sourcing valuable tools. Here is a sampling of free, open source AI tools available to anyone.

  • Toyota Research Institute supports development of open-source automated driving simulator

    Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is furthering its support of open source platforms by donating $100,000 to the Computer Vision Center (CVC) to accelerate its development of an open source simulator for automated driving, Car Learning to Act (CARLA).

    “Technological advances and growth are made possible through collaboration and community support,” said Vangelis Kokkevis, director of Driving Simulation at TRI. “Fostering the development of a common open simulation platform will allow TRI and its academic and industrial partners to better exchange code, information and data.”

  • Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology will Propel “Open Source” Banking

    The banking system today is a closed-source banking system. It is one that recreates every function, competes with other banks, is accountable to governments, and are driven by quarters. An open-source banking system, on the other hand, shares every function, collaborates on standards, are verifiable by people, and are incentivized by tokens.

    Burton noted one of the most significant problems with the existing banking model is the misalignment of goals. The incentives are unclear because of “back-handers, sweetheart deals, and cheeky kickbacks.”

  • EOS (EOS): Resource Planner is live, know all about the open source tool

    EOS (EOS) announced on Medium that they started working on the EOS Resource Planner three months ago and finally the network is now live. They have finished with the MVP which can be found at https://www.eosrp.io/.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Open source isn’t just for software: Opensourcery recipe

        Firefox is one of the world’s most successful open source software projects. This means we make the code that runs Firefox available for anyone to modify and use so long as it adheres to our licence policy. Developers and anyone else who understands code can play with Firefox code, for free.

      • Things Gateway – the RESTful API and the Tide Light
      • Add-ons at the San Francisco All Hands Meeting

        Last week, more than 1,200 Mozillians from around the globe converged on San Francisco, California, for Mozilla’s biannual All Hands meeting to celebrate recent successes, learn more about products from around the company, and collaborate on projects currently in flight.

      • Rep of the Month – May 2018

        Please join us in congratulating Prathamesh Chavan, our Rep of the Month for May 2018!

        Prathamesh is from Pune, India and works as a Technical Support Engineer at Red Hat. From his very early days in the Mozilla community, Prathamesh used his excellect people skills to spread the community to different colleges and to evangelise many of the upcoming projects, products and Mozilla initiatives. Prathamesh is also a very resourceful person. Due to this, he did a great job at organizing some great events at Pune and creare many new Mozilla Clubs across the city there.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Announcing the general availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5

      The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 (UEK R5) is a heavily tested and optimized operating system kernel for Oracle Linux 7 Update 5 and later on 64-bit Intel (x86_64) and ARM (aarch64) architectures. It is based on the mainline Linux kernel version 4.14 LTS. This release also updates drivers and includes bug and security fixes.

    • Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5 Now Officially Ready For x86_64 & AArch64

      Oracle has promoted its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 to general availability for x86_64 and ARM64 (AArch64) architectures.

      Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release is their downstream of the Linux kernel that they sprinkle with extra features for security, performance, and extra features. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is paired with Oracle Linux, the company’s downstream of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Is Now Ready for Mainstream Users and Enterprise Deployments

      The Document Foundation informed Softpedia today about the general availability of the fifth point release of the LibreOffice 6.0 open-source and cross-platform office suite for all supported operating systems.

      LibreOffice 6.0.5 is here one and a half months after the LibreOffice 6.0.4 point release to mark the open-source office suite as ready for mainstream users and enterprise deployments. The Document Foundation considers that LibreOffice 6.0 has been tested thoroughly and that it’s now ready for use in production, enterprise environments.

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.0.5

      The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 6.0.5, which still represents the bleeding edge in terms of features – and as such is targeted at early adopters, tech-savvy and power users – but is also ready for mainstream users and enterprise deployments.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • GitHub Coders to Microsoft: Cut Ties With ICE or We’ll ‘Take Our Projects Elsewhere’

      More than five dozen Github contributors on Thursday signed a letter threatening to abandon the website unless Microsoft canceled its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract.

      Microsoft, which acquired GitHub, the internet’s largest source code repository, for $7.5 billion earlier this month, is one of several tech companies facing heat for its work on behalf of ICE as a result of the Trump administration policy of separating families at the U.S. border.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Parallel 20180622 (‘Kim Trump’) released

      GNU Parallel 20180622 (‘Kim Trump’) has been released.

    • Moving On From Picasa

      The cross-platform, open-source GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) software is another versatile photo-editing program, but might be a little more technical than some entry-level applications. If it piques your interest, GIMP has an online user manual you can browse before downloading.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Heterogeneous memory management meets EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()

      One of the many longstanding — though unwritten — rules of kernel development is that infrastructure is not merged until at least one user for that infrastructure exists. That helps developers evaluate potential interfaces and be sure that the proposed addition is truly needed. A big exception to this rule was made when the heterogeneous memory management (HMM) code was merged, though. One of the reasons for the lack of users in this case turns out to be that many of the use cases are proprietary; that has led to some disagreements over the GPL-only status of an exported kernel symbol.

      The HMM subsystem exists to support peripherals that have direct access to system memory through their own memory-management units. It allows the ownership of ranges of memory to be passed back and forth and notifies peripherals of changes in memory mappings to keep everything working well together. HMM is not a small or simple subsystem, and bringing it into the kernel has forced a number of low-level memory-management changes. After a multi-year development process, the core HMM code was merged for the 4.14 kernel, despite the lack of any users.

    • The EC’s Expected Decision Against Android Is an Unfortunate Attack on Open Source Software

      The European Commission (“EC”) is preparing to release its decision against Android, and its framing of the issues makes clear that successful open source software will have a hard time in Europe. In its Statement of Objections, the Commission signaled that Apple’s iOS, Android’s fiercest rival, would be excluded from the market definition because it is closed source and not available to other hardware makers. The decision is expected to declare unlawful strategies to monetize a free product, provide a consistent user experience to customers expecting the Google brand, and to maintain code consistency to minimize problems for developers using the platform. The decision is not expected to contain any indication on how open source platform developers can solve these problems that are fundamental to their success.

    • Bradley M. Kuhn: The Everyday Sexism That I See In My Work

      Back in 2014, Karen and I collaboratively talked about what role would make sense for her and me — and we made a choice together. We briefly considered a co-Executive Director situation, but that arrangement has been tried elsewhere and is typically not successful in the long term. Karen is much better than me at the key jobs of a successful Executive Director. Karen and I agreed she was better for the job than me. We took it to Conservancy’s Board of Directors, and they moved my leadership role at Conservancy to be honorary, and we named Karen the sole Executive Director. Yes, I’m still nebulously a leader in the Free Software community (which I’m of course glad about). But for Conservancy matters, and specifically donor relations and major decisions about the organization, Karen is in charge.

      [...]

      Interestingly but disturbingly, these incidents teach how institutional sexism operates in practice. Every time I’m approached (which is often) with some subtle situation where it makes Karen look like she’s not really in charge, I’m given the opportunity to pump myself up, make myself look more important, and gain more credibility and power. It is clear to me that this comes at the expense of subtly denigrating Karen and that the enticement is part of an institutionally sexist zero-sum game.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Goodman One is an Open-Source, 3D-Printed Analog Camera

        Dora Goodman, a maker of handcrafted cameras and straps, has released a new open source camera called the Goodman One that anyone can make if they have access to a 3D printer.

        Goodman tells PetaPixel that she has been working on the design of the Goodman One for the past two years, and she’s now working to share the camera with as many photography lovers as possible.

  • Programming/Development
    • Zapcc high-speed C++ compiler now open source

      Zapcc, a caching C++ compiler built for speed, has gone open source.

      Ceemple Software, Zapcc’s builder, claims the compiler offers dramatic improvements in both incremental and full builds compared to building with Clang 4.0 and Clang 5.0. Based on heavily modified code from the Clang compiler project, Zapcc uses an in-memory compilation cache in a client-server architecture. All compilation information is remembered between runs.

    • Some Compiler Performance Benchmarks With The Zapcc Caching Compiler

      Here are some quick benchmarks I ran this week of the newly open-sourced Zapcc C++ caching compiler based upon LLVM/Clang and compared to the upstream Clang performance, GCC, and Ccache with the speed on the original compilation of the benchmark code and then again on a subsequent compilation.

    • PHP 7.3.0 alpha 1 Released

      PHP team is glad to announce the release of the first PHP 7.3.0 version, PHP 7.3.0 Alpha 1. This starts the PHP 7.3 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.

    • PHP 7.3 Alpha 2 Released With Many Bug Fixes

      Just shy of two weeks since PHP 7.3 went into alpha, the second alpha release of this upcoming annual feature release to the PHP programming language is now available.

      PHP 7.3 has been working on several new functions, WebP support within the image create from string function, improved PHP garbage collection, and a variety of other features and improvements. While PHP 7.3 is still open for new features, PHP 7.3 Alpha 2 comes with just bug fixes. Bug fixes for alpha two range from core fixes to various bugs in its ZIP, EXIF, Date, and CLI code, among other areas. The fixes are outlined here.

    • Python virtual environments

      In a short session at the 2018 Python Language Summit, Steve Dower brought up the shortcomings of Python virtual environments, which are meant to create isolated installations of the language and its modules. He said his presentation was “co-written with Twitter” and, indeed, most of his slides were of tweets. At the end, he also slipped in an announcement of his plans for hosting a core development sprint in September.

    • A Python static typing update

      One of the larger features added to Python over the last few releases is support for static typing in the language. Static type-checking and tools to support it show up frequently as topics at the Python Language Summit (PLS) and this year was no exception. Mypy developers Jukka Lehtosalo and Ivan Levkivskyi gave an update on static typing at PLS 2018.

      Lehtosalo started things off by talking about stub files, which contain type information for libraries and other modules. If you are going to type-check code that uses outside modules, from the standard library or a third-party library, the tool needs to understand the types used in the public interfaces of the library. The type-checking that can be done is limited if there are no stubs for the libraries used.

    • Linux distributions and Python 2

      Python 2.7 will reach its end of life in less than two years—at least for the core development team. Linux distributions need to figure out how to handle the transition given that many of their users are still using that version of the language—and may still be well beyond the end-of-life date. Petr Viktorin and Matthias Klose led a session at the 2018 Python Language Summit to discuss distributions’ approaches to deprecating Python 2.

      Viktorin works for Red Hat and focused on the Fedora distribution. He wants to help figure out how to help the Python downstreams so that Python 2 can be fully discontinued. There are two different ways to do that; either make sure that everyone switches to Python 3 or simply deprecate Python 2 and “wash our hands” of the problem. He would prefer the first alternative. He will be working on this transition for Red Hat as part of his day job and would like to do it in the community as well; that will minimize the need to maintain Python 2 going forward.

    • 5 Pillars of Learning Programming

      Learning how to program is hard. I often find that university courses and boot camps miss important aspects of programming and take poor approaches to teaching rookies.

      I want to share the 5 basic pillars I believe a successful programming course should build upon. As always, I am addressing the context of mainstream web applications.

      A rookie’s goal is to master the fundamentals of programming and to understand the importance of libraries and frameworks.

      Advanced topics such as the cloud, operations in general, or build tools should not be part of the curriculum. I am also skeptical when it comes to Design Patterns. They presume experience that beginners never have.

    • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Announcing Rust 1.27

      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.27.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.27 Released With SIMD Improvements

      Most notable to Rust 1.27 is SIMD support via the std::arch module to make use of SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) instructions directly. Up to now Rust could already make use of LLVM’s auto-vectorization support, but this lets Rust developers write SIMD instructions on their own and to allow for the proper Rust code to be executed based upon the CPU at run-time.

    • Git 2.18 Released With Initial Version Of Its New Wire Protocol

      Version 2.18 of the Git distributed revision control system is now available.

      Arguably most notable about Git 2.18 is the introduction of its new wire protocol “protocol_v2″ that is designed to offer much greater performance. This new protocol is designed to be much faster and is already being used at Google and elsewhere due to the significant performance benefits.

    • Git v2.18.0

      The latest feature release Git v2.18.0 is now available at the usual places. It is comprised of 903 non-merge commits since v2.17.0, contributed by 80 people, 24 of which are new faces.

Leftovers
  • Broadcasters Hope To Counter Ad Skipping By Replacing Ads With Short ‘Inspirational Videos’

    The cable & broadcast industry has gone to some pretty absurd lengths to avoid having to adapt to the cord cutting era. As ad-skipping DVRs started to become popular, the industry’s response wasn’t to embrace natural evolution, it was to file a bunch of lawsuits and creatively harass companies that were trying to give consumers what they wanted. Similarly, as cord cutting has grown thanks to sky-high prices and ad break fatigue, the industry’s overall response was to first raise prices like it was going out of fashion, then try to speed up or edit down programs in the hopes of shoving more ads into each viewing hour.

    None of these “solutions,” you’ll be shocked to learn, actually slowed down the sector’s evolution or the exodus of cable TV consumers to more flexible, less costly streaming alternatives. Alternatives that are, you’ll note, actually listening to users and giving them what they’re asking for (usually).

    More recently, we’ve seen broadcast and cable executives begrudgingly admit that they can’t just keep doubling down on the same dumb ideas and expect a better outcome. As a result, we’ve seen some broadcasters experiment with lower advertising loads during prime time. And we’re also seeing to see the industry get a little more creative as to what modern advertising actually means, even if many of these offerings aren’t likely to solve the problem either.

  • Don’t trust in YouTube’s break-reminders

    The YouTube app on Android and iOS has an option that will pause video playback and remind you to take periodical breaks from staring at videos from hours on end. These reminders aren’t very reliable, however, and you shouldn’t rely on them for your health.

    The web’s economy and the major platforms all run on one scares commodity: people’s attention. Who’d willingly remind people to stop giving their service people’s full and undivided attention? YouTube claims that is exactly what they’re doing with their new break-reminders.

  • Hardware
    • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quits biz after fling with coworker rumbled

      Intel chief exec Brian Krzanich has quit after his “past consensual relationship” with an employee came to light.

      Staff flings are frowned upon in US corporate tech world, and against Intel company policy, which bans bosses from having relationships with people who report to them, directly or indirectly.

    • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Resigns

      While Intel’s second quarter revenue and non-GAAP EPS is exceeding their prior guidance, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has resigned effective immediately.

    • Foxconn doubles down on investment in California’s Vizio as it straddles US-China tech spat

      Taiwanese LCD panel maker Innolux has announced a strategic investment along with its parent company Foxconn in US television maker Vizio. With a total investment of 2 billion New Taiwan dollars ($66 million), Innolux and Foxconn will hold shares of 4.14% and 3.1% respectively. Another Foxconn subsidiary, Q-Run, already owns 8% of Vizio. Competition is heating up in display industry with the rise of Chinese players like BOE and TCL affiliate CSOT. Taiwanese display makers were once dominant forces together with Japanese and South Korean peers.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • HUD Is Failing to Protect Children From Lead Paint Poisoning, Audits Find

      The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to protect hundreds of thousands of children living in subsidized housing from potential exposure to lead paint and lead poisoning, according to a pair of recent federal reports.

      The reports describe a hodgepodge reporting system within HUD, as well as disjointed communication between the federal agency and the local housing authorities it oversees. Cases of children poisoned by lead are not always identified and followed up on in a timely manner. And documentation of lead-based paint inspections and efforts to remove hazards are often missing, incomplete or not routed to the right place, according to the reports by the HUD Office of Inspector General and U.S. Government Accountability Office.

      Experts say these shortcomings in HUD’s oversight systems have existed for years with little to no consequence to government officials — but potentially devastating ones for vulnerable children.

      The audits come as housing authorities in Southern Illinois and New York City face federal accusations of failing to inspect for lead-based paint and to remove it or clean it up where it’s found, while falsely telling HUD they had done so.

    • Expert Group Meeting To Precede Next Week’s WIPO Genetic Resources Discussions

      An expert group is meeting Sunday at the World Intellectual Property Organization, on the eve of a weeklong session of the WIPO committee on genetic resources and traditional knowledge. The expert group will address the most divisive issues in the discussions of the committee in charge of finding solutions to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore against misuse and misappropriation.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler on Enterprise Open Source’s Security Edge Over Proprietary Software

      Shaun Bierweiler, vice president of U.S. public sector at Hortonworks, told Datanami in an interview published Tuesday about the advantage of adopting an open approach to technology development in the big data space.

      “When you think about integration points, and the various technologies and players coming to market, if you don’t have an open approach and open model and open interfaces, it’s really difficult costly and time-consuming to bring those pieces together,” he said.

    • Best free Linux firewalls of 2018

      A firewall is an important aspect of computer security these days, and most modern routers have one built in, which while helpful, can be difficult to configure. Fortunately there are also distributions (distros) of the free operating system Linux which have been specifically designed to function as firewalls.

      These will generally have much more advanced features than those found on a router, and allow you to have far greater control over keeping your personal or business network safe.

    • The LJ Password Generator Tool
    • Containers and Cloud Security

      The idea behind this blog post is to take a new look at how cloud security is measured and what its impact is on the various actors in the cloud ecosystem. From the measurement point of view, we look at the vertical stack: all code that is traversed to provide a service all the way from input web request to database update to output response potentially contains bugs; the bug density is variable for the different components but the more code you traverse the higher your chance of exposure to exploitable vulnerabilities. We’ll call this the Vertical Attack Profile (VAP) of the stack. However, even this axis is too narrow because the primary actors are the cloud tenant and the cloud service provider (CSP). In an IaaS cloud, part of the vertical profile belongs to the tenant (The guest kernel, guest OS and application) and part (the hypervisor and host OS) belong to the CSP. However, the CSP vertical has the additional problem that any exploit in this piece of the stack can be used to jump into either the host itself or any of the other tenant virtual machines running on the host. We’ll call this exploit causing a failure of containment the Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP). We should also note that any Horizontal Security failure is a potentially business destroying event for the CSP, so they care deeply about preventing them. Conversely any exploit occurring in the VAP owned by the Tenant can be seen by the CSP as a tenant only problem and one which the Tenant is responsible for locating and fixing. We correlate size of profile with attack risk, so the large the profile the greater the probability of being exploited.

    • Canonical Releases AMD Microcode Updates for All Ubuntu Users to Fix Spectre V2

      Canonical released a microcode update for all Ubuntu users with AMD processors to address the well-known Spectre security vulnerability.

      The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed earlier this year and discovered to affect billions of devices made in the past two decades. Unearthed by Jann Horn of Google Project Zero, the second variant (CVE-2017-5715) of the Spectre vulnerability is described as a branch target injection attack.

    • Security updates for Friday
  • Defence/Aggression
    • An Elite Coalition Emerges Against a Trump-Kim Agreement

      An implicit coalition of corporate media, Democratic partisans and others loyal to the national security state are actively hostile to any agreement that would endanger the continuation of the 70-year-old Cold War between the United States and North Korea.

      The hostility toward Donald Trump on the part of both corporate media (except for Fox News) and the Democratic Party establishment is obviously a factor in the negative response to the summit. Trump’s dysfunctional persona, extremist domestic strategy and attacks on the press had already created a hyper-adversarial political atmosphere that surrounds everything Trump says or does.

      But media coverage of the Singapore summit shows that something much bigger and more sinister is now in play: a consensus among foreign policy and national security elites and their media allies that Trump’s pursuit of an agreement with Kim on denuclearization threatens to undo seventy years of U.S. military dominance in Northeast Asia.

    • Korean Voices Missing From Major Papers’ Opinions on Singapore Summit

      In major-paper opinion coverage of the Singapore summit, the people with the most to lose and gain from the summit, the people whose nation was actually being discussed—Koreans—were almost uniformly ignored.

      Three major US papers—the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal—had only one Korean-authored op-ed out of 41 opinion pieces on the subject of the Korean peace talks.

      The Post had 23 total opinion pieces, the Times had 16 and the Journal four. The only op-ed by a Korean was a pro-summit piece on June 12 by Moon Chung-in, an aide to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Of the 41 editorials or op-eds only four (9 percent), were broadly positive about the Trump/Kim summit, 29 (70 percent) were negative and eight (21 percent) were mixed or ambiguous. The full list, current as of June 19, is here.

      As FAIR noted in May (5/7/18), there’s a huge chasm between how recent peace efforts are being received in ostensible US ally South Korea and how they’re being covered in US media. As we noted at the time, polling shows 88 percent of South Koreans in favor of these efforts, while the person spearheading them, President Moon, holds an 86 percent approval rating. But the bulk of US coverage ranged from snide dismissal to outright opposition (FAIR.org, 6/14/18).

    • How US Policy in Honduras Set the Stage for Today’s Mass Migration

      Central American migrants – particularly unaccompanied minors – are again crossing the U.S.-Mexico boundary in large numbers.

      Under the Obama administration In 2014, more than 68,000 unaccompanied Central American children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico boundary. There were more than 60,000 in 2016.

      The mainstream narrative often reduces the causes of migration to factors unfolding in migrants’ home countries. In reality, migration is often a manifestation of a profoundly unequal and exploitative relationship between migrant-sending countries and countries of destination. Understanding this is vital to making immigration policy more effective and ethical.

      Through my research on immigration and border policing, I have learned a lot about these dynamics. One example involves relations between Honduras and the United States.

    • For a 6-Year-Old Snared in the Immigration Maze, a Memorized Phone Number Proves a Lifeline

      On a hot and steamy Sunday morning, the man smuggling six-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid and her mother, Cindy, across the border into the United States told them to be ready to depart soon. Cindy Madrid, exhausted and excited, called her sisters in Houston — the final leg of their month-long journey from El Salvador was about to begin. The sisters whispered a prayer into the phone, asking God to go with them. Then one sister grew serious: Make sure Jimena memorizes my phone number in case you are separated from one another along the way.

      “How do you expect me to do that?” Madrid asked in a panic. “There’s not enough time.”

      The sisters were firm. “We don’t know how. But do it.”

      One whirlwind week later, that number, drilled into Jimena’s head by rote as she and her mother rafted across the Rio Grande, has become little girl’s lifeline. Shortly after setting foot in Texas on June 13, they were detained and Border Patrol officials separated mother from daughter as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance enforcement policy. But Jimena’s ability to recall her aunt’s phone number through the trauma of that separation has, so far, kept her from becoming lost in a system that has taken more than 2,300 immigrant children from their parents.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Alleged Vault 7 Leaker Charged With Stealing Gov’t Secrets, Child Porn Possession, And Copyright Infringement?

      Then the charges get interesting. Schulte is charged with “causing transmission of a harmful computer program” for allegedly altering an intelligence agency “computer system” to give himself access to restricted areas of the system and cover up any evidence he had accessed these files. Apparently, this alteration resulted in other users being denied access.

      There’s the expected “lying to the feds” charges (making false statements, obstruction of justice) which show Schulte was very cooperative when being questioned about the child porn but apparently not so much when asked about purloined CIA data.

      [...]

      As Parker Higgins points out on Twitter, this supremely weird addition should be viewed with apprehension. Copyright infringement happens all the time. Much of it has zero profit motive, but the government is apparently more than willing to selectively enforce this law if it seems it might push someone towards a plea deal and save it the trouble of having to prove its case.

    • Activism & Doxing: Stephen Miller, ICE And How Internet Platforms Have No Good Options

      Last month, at the COMO Content Moderation Summit in Washington DC, I co-ran a “You Make the Call” session with Emma Llanso from CDT. The idea was to turn the audience into a content moderation/trust & safety team of a fictionalized social media platform. We showed numerous examples of content or accounts that were “flagged” and then showed the associated terms of service, and had the entire audience vote on what to do. One of the fictional examples involved someone posting a link to a third-party website “contactinfo.com” claiming to have the personal phone and email contact info of Harvey Weinstein and urging people “you know what to do!” with a hashtag. The relevant terms of service included this: “You may not post personal information about others without their consent.”

      The audience voting was pretty mixed on this. 47% of the audience punted on the question, choosing to escalate it to a supervisor as they felt they couldn’t decide whether to leave the content up or take it down. 32% felt it should just be taken down. 10% said to just leave it up and another 10% said to put a content warning flag on the content. We joked a bit during the session that some of these examples were “ripped from the headlines” but apparently we predicted the headlines in this case, because there are two stories this week that touch on exactly this kind of thing.

    • Sean Love: Access to medical care, a human right, must also be guaranteed to Julian Assange

      This week marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorean embassy in London and nearly three years since the UN declared that his situation amounts to an “arbitrary deprivation of liberty.” Over this time, Assange’s health has deteriorated markedly, as colleagues and I reported last January after examining him.

      In March, the terms of his confinement became more severe, increasing the risks of what was already a dangerous health situation. Ecuador, which in 2012 granted political asylum to Assange, restricted his visitation and communications and announced an indefinite policy to prevent him from “speaking about politics.” In response, the general counsel of Human Rights Watch, Dinah PoKempner, stated, “his refuge in the embassy looks more and more like solitary confinement.”

      Under these circumstances, it would appear that efforts at international diplomacy to preserve his health and protect his human rights have failed. Yet earlier this month, two senior officials of the Australian High Commission visited Assange at the embassy for the first time, representing a turning point that may lead to greater efforts to relieve or at least ameliorate the negative effects that his stay within the embassy has had on his health.

    • WikiLeaks and media freedom

      Six years on from the ‘detention’ of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and the governments that rule the world are still peddling their lies. These include contrived notions of how western liberal democracies are of the people, by the people, for the people.

      In reality, this is little more than a false narrative employed against those states which dare to supplicate before their own conflicting interpretations of global capitalism. Particularly when it comes to Putin’s Russia or, indeed, much of the Muslim world. Yet the key to maintaining such populism is the charade of a free media as the natural counter to totalitarianism.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Koko the gorilla dead at 46 after life in California learning 1,000 words of sign language

      Koko the gorilla, known around the world for her skill with sign language, has died.

      The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old passed away in her sleep at their preserve in California’s Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday.

      The western lowland gorilla was born at the San Francisco Zoo, where Dr Francine Patterson began teaching her sign language that became part of a Stanford University project in 1974.

    • Report: World trending to hit 50% renewables, 11% coal by 2050

      Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a new report this week that estimates how electricity generation will change out to 2050. The clean energy analysis firm estimates that in a mere 33 years, the world will generate almost 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and coal will make up just 11 percent of the total electricity mix.

      Add in hydroelectric power and nuclear energy, and greenhouse-gas-free electricity sources climb to 71 percent of the world’s total electricity generation. The report doesn’t offer a terribly bright future for nuclear, however, and after a period of contraction, the nuclear industry’s contribution to electricity generation is expected to level off.

      Instead, falling photovoltaic (PV), wind, and battery costs will cause the dramatic shift in investment, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) notes. “PV and wind are already cheaper than building new large-scale coal or gas plants,” the 2018 report says. In addition, BNEF expects that more than $500 billion will be invested in batteries by 2050, with two-thirds of that investment going to installations on the grid and one-third of that investment happening at a residential level.

  • Finance
    • Open Source Hardware Cryptocurrency Wallet Unveiled By McAfee And Bitfi

      Global payments tech firm Bitfi has launched the Bitfi Wallet. According to the payments company the hardware wallet is unhackable. Some of the digital currencies that the wallet supports include privacy-oriented virtual currency Monero (XMR) which has not previously had a hardware wallet. The wallet comes with a dashboard consisting of a wireless setup as well as support.

    • Supreme Court Opens Door for Taxation of Interstate Commerce

      Holding: The “physical presence” rule of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U. S. 298 is overruled. While states may not impose undue burdens on interstate commerce, the constitution does not prohibit taxation of activities having “substantial nexus with the taxing State” that are non-discriminatory, fairly apportioned, and related to services provided by the state.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Court Recognizes Threat Kobach Poses to Election Integrity

      The ruling striking down the Kansas voting law is not only a rebuke of Kobach’s law, but of Kobach himself.

      A federal judge this week struck down Kansas’ severely restrictive voter registration regime, ruling that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s pet law violates the Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act.

      Chief Judge Julie Robinson’s judgement is not simply a verdict on the Kansas law. It is a verdict on Mr. Kobach himself and his record of distortions and fabrications about the myth of noncitizens registering, voting, and swinging the results of elections.

      The decision comes after a three-week trial where the American Civil Liberties Union faced off against Kobach over a 2013 Kansas law that required Kansans to produce a document proving citizenship, such as a passport, before registering to vote.

      The court found that the law imposed serious burdens on “tens of thousands of eligible citizens [who] were blocked from registration.”

    • Elon Musk’s Latest Brainstorm Takes Aim at Meddlesome Media

      Elon Musk, the eccentric South African billionaire head of electric vehicle/battery maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, is anything but subtle when it comes to marketing his own personal brand of nerd-cool CEO.

      [...]

      While his announcement was possibly in jest, based on the website’s being named for the former Soviet newspaper—and the variant he chose to purchase as domain name, pravduh.com—one of Musk’s employees indeed registered Pravda Corp in Delaware last year. Sharing similarities with Snopes and other factcheckers, Pravda looks to be, among other things, another instance of the time-honored Silicon Valley trope of inventing something that is already invented.

      The advent of Musk’s upcoming journalism-rating website comes on the heels of big trouble at Tesla, which is currently the most-shorted stock on the market. The company is bleeding cash and is struggling to meet production quotas to satisfy the 450,000-plus consumer reservations for its latest low-priced electric vehicle, the Model 3.

    • What You Need to Know About Wilbur Ross’ Many Conflicts — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      There’s a chance you missed it amid the other news, but Forbes had a blockbuster story about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. It turns out, Ross bet against the stock of a company after journalists had contacted him with questions about his connections to the firm. Using inside information in stock trades is illegal. Ross has denied he profited from the bet against the stock.

      And that’s only one of the revelations from Forbes’ story. “Trump, Inc.” spoke to reporter Dan Alexander about what else he found. Ross transferred many of his assets to a family trust last fall. Among those assets: an auto parts firm owned jointly with a Chinese-government-owned entity, and a stake in a shipping company also owned in part by Russian oligarchs.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Lawsuit Argues Honking Your Car Horn Is Protected By The First Amendment

      The First Amendment covers a whole lot of area. Since it covers “expression,” it doesn’t necessarily have to be anything commonly thought of as “speech.” It doesn’t have to be printed. It doesn’t have to be said. Lighting a flag on fire requires no statement of intent. The act itself is expressive enough. Passively gathering information (like recordings or public records) is protected by the First Amendment. Taking photos is a protected act, even if the photos are never used to express anything more than a memory of an event or place.

      It has been argued nudity or partially-exposed bodies are expressions deserving of protection by the First Amendment. Exotic dancers and “bikini barristas” have engaged in multiple free speech lawsuits targeting allegedly unconstitutional restrictions on their expressive conduct.

      A plaintiff currently suing a sheriff and the head of the California Highway Patrol is arguing that honking a car horn is protected speech and that the citation she received after engaging in this expression is unconstitutional. (via Courthouse News)

      Susan Porter was driving by a protest held outside of Rep. Darrell Issa’s office. These frequent demonstrations gathered both protesters and counter-protesters, all of who made plenty of noise. Passing traffic would express their support/displeasure for Issa by honking their horns. (Which would make not honking your horn similarly protected expression, although it’s unlikely anyone would be cited for not honking their horn while driving by a protest.)

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Studios Remove ‘Spyware’ From Several Games As Gaming Public Revolts

      If this is becoming a trend, it’s a really, really stupid one on the part of the video game industry. You may recall several recent posts about software, mobile apps, and video games that have sneakily installed what many call spyware onto users’ machines, or otherwise inject software without the knowledge of the user. From soccer apps to flight simulator mods, users and gamers sure as hell don’t like it when they have to find out from internet sleuths that the software they’re using is spying or using them behind the scenes without their knowledge.

      And now we learn about Red Shell, a software company that has contracted with multiple game publishers. Red Shell’s software is installed alongside games to track all kinds of information about the machines on which those games are played. It gathers information about a gamer’s operating system, browser version, IP address and more, all with the goal of feeding information to game publishers to evaluate how effective their advertising models are. We should note here that Red Shell specifically claims that personal information is not collected.

      [...]

      Instead, everyone acted sneaky and is now claiming frustration at the lack of trust the public didn’t afford them all retroactively.

    • Your Favorite PC Games Might Be Watching You Play (Just Like Mobile Games Always Have)

      Game studios are using analytics software to monitor in-game activity and if determine if ads are effective. Some gamers are creeped out by that, which is prompting publishers to stand down.

    • In A Surprising Decision, European Court Of Human Rights Says Sweden’s Mass Surveillance Is Fine

      In the wake of Snowden’s revelations of the scale of mass surveillance around the world, various cases have been brought before the courts in an attempt to stop or at least limit this activity. One involved Sweden’s use of bulk interception for gathering foreign intelligence. A public interest law firm filed a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It alleged that governmental spying breached its privacy rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf). The complaint said that the system of secret surveillance potentially affected all users of the Internet and mobile phones in Sweden, and pointed out that there was no system for citizens to use if they suspected their communications had been intercepted.

      [...]

      Something of a setback in terms of limiting mass surveillance, the latest judgment goes against the general trend of decisions by the arguably more important CJEU court. In 2014 the latter effectively ruled that its own decisions should take precedence over those of the ECtHR if they came into conflict. That is now more likely, given the CJEU’s hardening position against mass surveillance, and the diverging judgment from the ECtHR, which shows some softening.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Has Your School Been Investigated for Civil Rights Violations?

      Every year, the U.S. Department of Education investigates thousands of school districts and colleges around the country for civil rights violations ranging from racial discrimination in school discipline to sexual violence. Related: DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited from Obama →

      For the first time ever, ProPublica is making available the status of all of the civil rights cases that have been resolved during the past three years, as well as pending investigations. See if your school district or college is being investigated for civil rights violations and why.

    • DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited From Obama

      Whether schoolchildren in DeSoto County, Mississippi, are paddled varies by their race. Black students are almost two and a half times more likely than whites to endure the corporal punishment permitted under school district policy for skipping class, insubordination, repeated tardiness, flagrant dress code violations, or other misbehavior: up to three “licks per incident on the buttocks with an appropriate instrument approved by the principal.”

      Black students in DeSoto — a suburban area just south of Memphis, Tennessee — are also more prone to face other forms of school discipline. While comprising 35 percent of district enrollment, they account for 55 percent of suspensions and expulsions, and more than 60 percent of referrals to law enforcement, federal education data shows.

    • Despite Trump’s Order, for Many Families the Nightmare Is Just Beginning

      When President Trump signed his executive order on family separation on Wednesday, he proclaimed, “We are keeping families together and this will solve that problem.” But while the order may stop the prolonged, forcible separation of children from their families going forward, it by no means solves the problem.

      More than 2,300 children have been taken away from their parents and sent to shelters, facilities and foster families all across the country, with seemingly no clear tracking mechanism. The executive order does not say anything about the plan to reunite these families, and the administration confirmed that it will not be not be making any special efforts to do so. We will be monitoring the administration’s actions to see if family separations really stop.

      Some of the parents of these children have already been deported. Some of these children are too young to talk, and may not even know what countries they are from or what their parents’ names are. Most don’t speak English and some don’t speak any languages that are widely used in this country.

      The trauma that has been inflicted on these families is irreparable, and it is going to be a logistical nightmare to undo it. And the saddest part is that it didn’t need to happen.

      This was a crisis the Trump administration chose to create, and it was supported by many of his political allies as a means of pushing through his cruel, anti-immigrant agenda.

      Fact-Checking Family Separation

      Wednesday’s executive order, while purporting to stop future family separation, calls for families to be detained together, which was this administration’s goal from the get-go. The Trump administration would have liked to simply detain everyone who crosses the border, children or otherwise, but was unable to because the United States has protections in place that prevent the prolonged detention of children.

      In April, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his “zero tolerance policy,” calling for every adult who crosses the border anywhere other than a port of entry to be prosecuted, the administration said it was forced to separate children from their families.

      As the crisis mounted, President Trump falsely blamed the Democrats for creating it, and falsely claimed he had no choice but to separate families.

    • Substandard Medical Care Is Killing People in U.S. Immigration Prisons

      Systemic failures demand urgent intervention.

      The avoidable tragedy of people dying in immigration prisons across the country is bad and getting worse. More people died in fiscal year 2017 than in any year since 2009.

      There have been 75 deaths since 2010, including one at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona just last week. It’s the latest death in a detention system that is notorious for its inadequate medical care, repeated failures in accountability, and delays in the investigations into deaths.

      On Wednesday, the ACLU and our partners released “Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention,” a report reviewing 15 deaths that occurred in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention between December 2015 and April 2017. With the help of medical experts, the report concludes that in more than half of those cases, substandard medical care — including unreasonable delays, botched emergency responses, and poor practitioner care — contributed to the deaths.

    • When the Robot Doesn’t See Dark Skin

      When I was a college student using A.I.-powered facial detection software for a coding project, the robot I programmed couldn’t detect my dark-skinned face. I had to borrow my white roommate’s face to finish the assignment. Later, working on another project as a graduate student at the M.I.T. Media Lab, I resorted to wearing a white mask to have my presence recognized.

      My experience is a reminder that artificial intelligence, often heralded for its potential to change the world, can actually reinforce bias and exclusion, even when it’s used in the most well-intended ways.

    • Video: Separated From Her Mother at the Border, a 6-Year-Old Has to Find Her Own Way

      Earlier this week, millions of people were captivated by audiotape of an insistent six-year-old girl from El Salvador demanding that workers at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Facility call her aunt. While other children wept inconsolably, Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid recited the phone number her mother made her memorize on the raft ride across the Rio Grande.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Ajit Pai Rushes To Weaken Media Ownership Cap To Aid Sinclair… While Under Investigation For Being Too Cozy With Sinclair

      We’ve discussed for a while now how FCC boss Ajit Pai is busy gutting decades old media consolidation rules simply to help Sinclair Broadcast Group complete its $4 billion acquisition of Tribune. Many of these rules traditionally enjoy bipartisan support, since they protect local news organizations and free speech from being crushed by any one, major broadcaster. And Sinclair’s merger, which would allow it to reach nearly 72% of the country with its facts-optional and monolithic programming (as that recent viral Deadspin video attests), has been routinely under fire by groups on both sides of the partisan aisle.

      As Sinclair moved to acquire Tribune, it kept running into FCC rules. Rules Ajit Pai was more than happy to systematically remove at every step in perfect synchronicity with Sinclair’s ambition. And while Pai’s allies on the commission claim this timing is all just quirky happenstance, the allegations have resulted in the FCC’s nonpartisan inspector general launching an investigation into possible corruption and coordination between the FCC and the broadcaster.

    • California net neutrality bill ‘eviscerated’ in Assembly committee meeting

      Wiener introduced his bill Jan. 3 in reaction to a Federal Communications Commission vote in December to overturn Obama-era regulations that required internet service companies to treat all web traffic equally. Supporters of Wiener’s bill — who included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — hoped California would lead the charge for net neutrality standards in the country. But opponents warned that state-by-state legislation could lead to conflicting regulations for internet service providers, and instead preferred federal legislation by Congress.

    • AT&T Successfully Derails California’s Tough New Net Neutrality Law

      In the wake of the FCC’s ham-fisted net neutrality repeal, more than half the states in the country are now exploring their own, state-level net neutrality protections. California’s proposal, Senator Scott Weiner’s SB 822, was seen as particularly promising in that it went even farther on some important issues than the 2015 FCC rules it was intended to replace. The EFF went so far as to call California’s proposal the “gold standard” for state-level net neutrality laws, noting it did a better job policing many of the problem areas where modern anti-competitive behavior occurs, such as zero rating or interconnection.

      You probably saw that AT&T just got done spending $86 billion to acquire Time Warner. The company harbors dreams of using its combined dominance over broadband and media content to anti-competitive advantage, something that’s undeniable if you’ve watched AT&T do business for any particular length of time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Are auxiliary requests admitted in Italian patent validity proceedings?

      After post grant limitations in court were introduced in Italy by the 2010 reform of the IP Code (IPC), there is hardly a patent validity case in which the patent holder does not play the card of limitation to counter the objections raised by the other party.

      Even before the reform of 2010, Italian patent litigation could in fact end up with the court limiting the patent, in application of the provision according to which the court may find for partial invalidity. In practice, however, in most cases this was confined to claims combinations. Furthermore, the patent holder did not need to formally submit a set of limited claims to the court and the possible limitation of the patent could come up in an informal manner as a result of the technical discussion taking place during the proceedings.

      Things have radically changed after 2010. First, Article 79 (3) IPC – which was adopted in order to give effect to Article 138 (3) EPC 2000 – expressly allows the patent holder to submit to the court a “rewording of the claims”. In other words, the patent holder is now allowed to submit to the court the same type of amendment that is possible via the administrative route, in the patent office: the limitation may not only consist in a claims combination, but may take the form of a rewording which makes use of elements taken from the description or drawings, provided of course that the scope of protection is limited, and not broadened.

    • Switzerland changes infringement test for combination product SPCs

      In a landmark decision, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court confirmed the validity of Gilead’s Truvada SPC and ruled that future SPCs for combination products must meet CJEU case law requirements

      The Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled this week that future supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) for combination products will need to meet EU case law requirements.

    • CJEU ruling confirms new scope for specific mechanism

      Patent and SPC holders can stop parallel imports from new EU states to old ones if equivalent protection wasn’t available for patents at the time of filing but was for SPCs, CJEU rules in Pfizer v Orifarm

      The Court of Justice of the EU ruled on Pfizer v Orifarm (C-681-16) today, regarding parallel imports of medicines of new EU countries into old ones.

    • Border seizure measures in the European Union

      Most national IP laws have been harmonised to a large extent, and there are also unitary rights at an EU level that exist in parallel to the respective national instruments (eg, the EU trademark and the registered and unregistered Community design).

    • Non-enabling disclosure as prior art?

      This is a remarkable conclusion which does not appear to be consistent with the EPO’s approach. According to the EPO, subject matter is regarded as having been made available to the public, and therefore part of the prior art pursuant to Article 54(1), only if the information given to the skilled person is sufficiently enabling to practise the technical teaching (Guidelines, G-IV, 2); if it is not, the disclosed subject matter is irrelevant.

      While we await the implications of this decision, it seems clear that questions of enablement (which have often been poorly treated) will be discussed more frequently in future nullity cases. It remains to be seen how the Patent Court will deal with the remitted case.

    • Prick! – Passing off, tattoos, cacti and geographical proximity

      The IP Enterprise Court has undoubtedly been a success. It is a low cost IP court for England and Wales which enables access to justice for SMEs with IP disputes to resolve. However, every now and again a case comes along which might well have benefited from a higher hurdle to issuing proceedings.

      The owner of Amy Winehouse’s favourite tattoo parlour, Henry Martinez, also known as Henry Hate, has a tattoo parlour in Shoreditch which has been called Prick Tattoos since 2001

      [...]

      In order to succeed in a passing off claim, you need to show that (1) there is goodwill which is more than mere reputation (this can be a sign eg “Prick” and/or “get up” or trade dress) and (2) there is a misrepresentation ie a deception which leads to consumers believing there is a connection between the owner of the goodwill and the person using the sign, get up or similar.

      The court found some goodwill in the Prick name, this was essentially limited to tattoos. However, there was no evidence of a deception – at the best there was one person who had seen the cacti shop with the shutters down and only the word “Prick” visible. He was put straight the next time he went there.

    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
      • This Wednesday, an EU committee voted to break the Internet: this Sunday, Berliners take to the streets to say NO!

        On Wednesday, the Legislative Committee of the European Union narrowly voted to keep the two most controversial internet censorship and surveillance proposals in European history in the upcoming revision to the Copyright Directive — as soon as July Fourth, the whole European Parliament could vote to make this the law of 28 EU member-states.

        The two proposals were Article 11 (the link tax), which bans linking to news articles without paying for a license from each news-site you want to link to; and Article 13 (the copyright filters), requiring that everything that Europeans post be checked first for potential copyright infringements and censored if an algorithm decides that your expression might breach someone’s copyright.

        These proposals were voted through even though experts agree that they will be catastrophic for free speech and competition, raising the table-stakes for new internet companies by hundreds of millions of euros, meaning that the US-based Big Tech giants will enjoy permanent rule over the European internet. Not only did the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of expression publicly condemn the proposal; so did more than 70 of the internet’s leading luminaries, including the co-creators of the World Wide Web, Wikipedia, and TCP.

      • EU votes on copyright law that could kill memes and open source software

        The European Union has passed an initial vote in favour of the Copyright Directive, a legislation experts say “threatens the internet”.

        As reported by Wired, the mandate is designed to update internet copyright law but contains two controversial clauses. Ultimately, it could force prominent online platforms to censor their users’ content before it’s posted—which could impact everyone from meme creators to open source software designers and livestreamers.

        Despite passing a vote yesterday—held by the EU’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)—the directive needs parliamentary approval before becoming law.

      • The EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Vote on Directive on Copyright, David Clark Cause and IBM’s Call for Code, Equus’ New WHITEBOX OPEN Server Platform and More

        Yesterday the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of “the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market”, Creative Commons reports. The provisions include the Article 11 “link tax”, which requires “anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online.” The committee also voted in favor of Article 13, which “requires online platforms to monitor their users’ uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering.” There are still several steps to get through before the Directive is completely adopted. See EDRi for more information.

      • GitHub: Changes to EU copyright law could derail open source distribution
      • The E.U. votes to make memes essentially illegal

        On Wednesday, European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted to essentially make memes illegal. The decision came as part of the approval process for the innocuously named “Article 13,” which would require larger sites to scan all user uploads using content recognition technology in an attempt to flag any and all remotely copyrighted material in photos, text, music, videos, and more. Meaning memes using stills from copyrighted films could be auto-blocked, along with remixes of viral videos, and basically anything that’s popular on live-streaming sites like Twitch.

      • Europe takes step towards ‘censorship machines’ for internet uploads

        A key committee at the European Parliament has voted for a new provision in a legislative act that forces tech giants and other online platforms to share revenues with publishers. It is known as Article 13, and is part of an updating of the Copyright Directive.

        Article 13 proposes that large websites use “content recognition technologies” to scan for copyrighted materials, though it doesn’t explain how this works in practice. This means texts, sounds and even code which get uploaded have to go through an automated filtering system, potentially threatening the creation of memes and open-source software developers.

“Dr Ernst Should be Forced by National Politicians to Step Down With Immediate Effect” After Battistelli’s Latest EPO Scandals

Friday 22nd of June 2018 07:42:27 AM

The person who was supposed to ‘boss’ Battistelli but did nothing at all, just like Jesper Kongstad before him (sources told us he had effectively been fired by the Danish government)


From left to right: Boards of Appeal President Carl Josefsson, EPO Vice President Raimund Lutz, Haar Mayor Gabriele Müller, Administrative Council Chairman Christoph Ernst

Summary: Further discussions about the horrible legacy of Battistelli and his protectors, who seem to be interested in a patent trolls-friendly patent system which devalues workers and consciously lowers the patent bar (at all costs, even violation of laws and constitutions)

THE EPO scandals will outlive Battistelli and continue under António Campinos. Don’t expect “closure” within a week and a half; that same old jar of worms is still around and people occasionally open it. Battistelli is still bullying people, albeit mostly behind closed doors. Reader of ours, for example, keep telling us that Kluwer Patent Blog (which suffered many downtimes this week) has removed the PDF of the latest court decision. I’ve inquired/asked for an explanation, but have not received a response just yet (maybe they restored the whole blog from backup). Readers wonder if someone threatens to sue them like the EPO repeatedly threatened us. Why would the link suddenly break? Anyway, we’ll leave further guessing aside until these matters are clarified. We previously received threats from a German broadcaster, forcing us to remove copies (even with subtitles) of a documentary/programme about the EPO’s abuses. It’s not impossible that a German court made a similar request. We’re just guessing.

“In our humble assessment, someone (or many someones) should bring charges against this thug and attempt to prosecute him.”Kluwer Patent Blog has meanwhile elaborated on the subject. “Kluwer Patent blogger” wrote about the “tarnished legacy of an EPO president,” attributing in the corresponding tweet or at least mentioning Dr. Thorsten Bausch , who really looks forward to “brexistelli” at the end of this month. To quote:

Three weeks before the end of the presidency of Benoit Battistelli, the European Patent Office published the report ‘Modernising the EPO for excellence and sustainability’, a ‘summary of achievements resulting from the extensive modernisation reforms put in place’ during Battistelli’s term in office from 2010 to 2018. Concerns about quality, the independence of the Boards of Appeal, pending cases at the German Federal Constitutional Court and the endless social conflicts that have tarnished his term in office are downplayed or ignored in the report.

‘Unsubstantiated claims’, was the reaction of an EPO spokesperson to the open letter in which four leading German patent law firms expressed ‘great concern’ last week about the ‘overreaching desire for high productivity’. According to the firms, it will lead to a deterioration of the quality of the search and examination procedures and of patents granted by the EPO.

As World IP Review reported, the spokesperson said the EPO ‘takes feedback from all its users seriously’, but ‘surveys carried out by the EPO and independently, as well as an annual quality report, show that the high-quality levels for which the office is known continue to increase further.’ Moreover, ‘the “most important” German IP user associations (…) are “in general very positive about the projects and results of the office’, the spokesperson added.

Battistelli is about 70. Will he ever be held accountable? In our humble assessment, someone (or many someones) should bring charges against this thug and attempt to prosecute him. There are many victims, so maybe a collective/class action would be possible. We don’t think that diplomatic immunity extends retroactively beyond one’s term, but we may be wrong (lawyers would know this better). Battistelli has enough money to shell out, having just received another 600,000 euros from his so-called ‘boss’, Ernst.

There’s meanwhile a new post from Märpel; the first comment has a correction (name mix-up again, like with Prunier), but here are Märpel’s thoughts:

Märpel notes a little fact that was apparently forgotten in Mr. Bausch report. There was a good reason for the civil action: because a civil action was running, the Administrative Council could not reinstate Mr. Corcoran. As comments on the Kluwer patent blog point out: “The rotting fish stinks from the head.”

Märpel also notes that AT-ILO made no mention of the facts listed by the Landgericht in their own decision. They didn’t even mention that the EPO investigation unit themselves found that they could not assign the libel email found on the USB stick to Mr. Corcoran. Certainly, AT-ILO were informed of that report by the EPO investigation unit, yet they chose to do nothing. Mr. Petrović, your actions speak louder than words. AT-ILO prejudice is now clear.

But the court in Karlruhe is likely to notice Mr. Petrović actions. Are they going to be satisfied with a court which ignores the basic principles of justice, ignores the facts concerning Mr.Corcoran or is satisfied that President Battistelli can harass and dismiss staff representatives? The next public reading in Geneva is next week and will be just as scandalous. Quo usque tandem?

Corrupt officials bully a judge for 3.5 years. Guess who ends up in hospital… what has the EPO sunk to?

“Things would not improve if such a supine, feeble council remained fully in tact under Campinos.”On Judge Corcoran, Dr. Bausch wrote: “He has been treated incredibly badly by the EPO President and the EPO‘s Administrative Council. Hope they will now turn around and repent. [] Time to restore the rule of law at the EPO and to do justice to an innocent man who was unlawfully removed from his Board of Appeal Position. Bitte sprechen Sie mit Dr. Ernst darüber!”

“Dr Ernst should be forced by national Politicians to step down with immediate effect,” replied an EPO insider, “don‘t you think so? He is responsible and failed to act properly in case Corcoran.”

“The EPO does not need a President swap as the President brought a “swamp”; the entire EPO needs to be rebooted, both the Office and the Organisation.”What good is an Administrative Council which does not actually administer and actively lies for Battistelli about patent quality, in essence trying to save face for him? Things would not improve if such a supine, feeble council remained fully in tact under Campinos. Heck, one of the national representatives (Croatia) is said to have had a sexual affair with a Vice-President (based on court hearings).

The EPO does not need a President swap as the President brought a “swamp”; the entire EPO needs to be rebooted, both the Office and the Organisation. See the photo op at the top where the Battistelli-’approved’ new boss of Corcoran (approved like Campinos) stands next to the architect of Battistelli’s web of abuses (Lutz) along with Ernst. A suitable caption would say “Battistelli’s protectors”.

Links 21/6/2018: Microsoft’s ‘Damage Control’ Amid Role in ICE Scandals, 11-Hour Azure Downtime (Again), GNOME 3.29.3, and More GNU/Linux Wins

Thursday 21st of June 2018 02:16:49 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • ONF Announces New Reference Designs

    Driving Formation of a New Supply Chain To support operators’ impending deployment of these Reference Designs, a number of tier-1 vendors have joined the efforts as ONF partners to contribute their skills, expertise and technologies to help realize the RDs. Adtran, Dell/EMC, Edgecore Networks and Juniper Networks are actively participating as supply chain partners in this reference design process. Each brings unique skills and complementary competencies, and by working together the partnership will be able to expedite the production readiness of the various solutions.

  • ADTRAN Partners with Open Networking Foundation (ONF) in Reimagined Strategic Plan
  • At C.H. Robinson, open source adoption brings iterative, fast development — almost too fast

    In 2014, C.H. Robinson, a third-party services and logistics firm, faced a roadblock: How do you remove bottlenecks in the technology development pipeline?

    Engineering teams with eight to 10 people aligned with a module or product worked to build out a functionality, such as an order management capability, according to Vanessa Adams, director, architecture and application development at C.H. Robinson. But individual teams were often held up by other product groups whose work they relied on.

    At one point, 12-15 teams were required to meet most development deliverables and milestones, Adams told CIO Dive. In an effort to minimize the number of development dependencies, C.H. Robinson began exploring the idea of allowing people to work in other product areas rather than making them wait in line in the prioritization loop and hope project timelines synced up.

    [...]

    With open source, legal departments have to approve contributions to open source projects, procurement departments have to understand there may not be a place to send an invoice and managers have to learn giving back to the open source framework on work time is part of the process. It’s a long term shift that can take months, if not years, to execute, McCullough said.

  • Kafkaesque: Instaclustr creates Kafka-as-a-Service

    Instaclustr has announced Kafka-as-a-Service in bid to provide an easier route to the real-time data streaming platform

    An open source player from the start, the e-dropping Instaclustr specifies that this release follows an ‘early access programe’ that saw a handful of Instaclustr users deploy the Kafka-as-a-Service solution to manage high volume data streams in real-time.

  • Why are so many machine learning tools open source?

    Open source and machine learning go together like peanut butter and jelly. But why? In this article, Kayla Matthews explores why many of the best machine learning tools are open source.

  • Events
    • New adventures – old challenges

      I’ve also spent a lot of time on promoting free and open source software. I’ve spoken at conferences, gone to hackathlons, spoken at the university, and arranged meetups. All this culminated in foss-north which I’ve been organizing for the past three years.

      The conclusion from all of this is that there is an opportunity to focus on this full time. How can free and open source software be leveraged in various industries? How does one actually work with this? How does licensing work? and so on. To do so, I founded my own company – koderize – a while back and from now on I’m focusing fully on it.

  • Web Browsers
    • Brave/Mozilla
      • Deterministic Firefox Builds

        As of Firefox 60, the build environment for official Firefox Linux builds switched from CentOS to Debian.

        As part of the transition, we overhauled how the build environment for Firefox is constructed. We now populate the environment from deterministic package snapshots and are much more stringent about dependencies and operations being deterministic and reproducible. The end result is that the build environment for Firefox is deterministic enough to enable Firefox itself to be built deterministically.

      • Brave Launches User Trials for Opt-In Ads That Reward Viewers

        We’ve been busy building our new Basic Attention Token (BAT) platform, which includes a new consent-based digital advertising model that benefits users, publishers, and advertisers. Our first phase started last Fall with the integration of BAT into Brave Payments, and enabled users to anonymously distribute contributions to their favorite publishers and creators.

      • Get Paid For Watching Ads: Brave Browser Announces Opt-in Trials

        Brave, the web browser which garnered a huge fan following, predominantly for its ad blocking feature, and depriving advertisers of confiscating private data by blocking trackers is in the news again. And this time, users can earn some cash.

        In a blog post, Brave announced that it will be conducting voluntary testing of their new ad model in which they will showcase at least 250 pre-packaged ads to users who will sign up for their early access version. Thus, offering a small amount of money in the form of micropayments.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • How markets coopted free software’s most powerful weapon (LibrePlanet 2018 Keynote)

      Several months ago, I gave the closing keynote address at LibrePlanet 2018. The talk was about the thing that scares me most about the future of free culture, free software, and peer production.

    • How markets plundered Free Software’s best stuff and used it to create freedom for companies, not people

      Bejamin “Mako” Hill (previously) is a free software developer, activist and academic with a long history of shrewd critical insights into the ways that free software, free culture and the wider world interact with each other.

      In his keynote address to the annual Libreplanet conference, Mako traces the history of software freedom and how it changed when it met the forces of relentless commercialization and extraction.

      Early free software advocates assumed that working on free software would be centralized and would be a kind of voluntary ideological project that would result in pay-cuts to programmers who wanted to ensure that users of programs got as much freedom as possible, and were willing to sacrifice to achieve this.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Open source traffic management

      Louisville is sharing what it learned from the initial project with Waze with over 60 governments around the world through the Open Government Coalition, a network of government agencies working together on open source projects.

      The Louisville open source traffic project has four components: putting the Waze data into a database that can be queried and analyzed, replacing traffic studies with data visualizations, building out an application programming interface to allow integration with existing systems, and allowing cities to create real-time and historic online maps of their data.

      Eight cities have already downloaded the city’s code to create a database of traffic data.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Open Hardware: Good for Your Brand, Good for Your Bottom Line

        Chip makers are starting to catch on to the advantages of open, however. SiFive has released an entirely open RISC-V development board. Its campaign on the Crowd Supply crowd-funding website very quickly raised more than $140,000 USD. The board itself is hailed as a game-changer in the world of hardware. Developments like these will ensure that it won’t be long before the hardware equivalent of LEGO’s bricks will soon be as open as the designs built using them.

      • Desktop Radio Telescope Images The WiFi Universe

        A HackRF SDR and GNU Radio form the receiver, which just captures the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) value for each point as the antenna scans.

  • Programming/Development
    • Trip Report: C++ Standards Meeting in Rapperswil, June 2018

      A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting of the ISO C++ Standards Committee (also known as WG21) in Rapperswil, Switzerland. This was the second committee meeting in 2018; you can find my reports on preceding meetings here (March 2018, Jacksonville) and here (November 2017, Albuquerque), and earlier ones linked from those. These reports, particularly the Jacksonville one, provide useful context for this post.

      At this meeting, the committee was focused full-steam on C++20, including advancing several significant features — such as Ranges, Modules, Coroutines, and Executors — for possible inclusion in C++20, with a secondary focus on in-flight Technical Specifications such as the Parallelism TS v2, and the Reflection TS.

    • Proposal for a staged RFC process

      I consider Rust’s RFC process one of our great accomplishments, but it’s no secret that it has a few flaws. At its best, the RFC offers an opportunity for collaborative design that is really exciting to be a part of. At its worst, it can devolve into bickering without any real motion towards consensus. If you’ve not done so already, I strongly recommend reading aturon’s excellent blog posts on this topic.

      The RFC process has also evolved somewhat organically over time. What began as “just open a pull request on GitHub” has moved into a process with a number of formal and informal stages (described below). I think it’s a good time for us to take a step back and see if we can refine those stages into something that works better for everyone.

      This blog post describes a proposal that arose over some discussions at the Mo

    • C gfx library for the Linux framebuffer with parallelism support

      FBGraphics was made to produce fullscreen pixels effects easily with non-accelerated framebuffer by leveraging multi-core processors, it is a bit like a software GPU (much less complex and featured!), the initial target platform is a Raspberry PI 3B and extend to the NanoPI (and many others embedded devices), the library should just work with many others devices with a Linux framebuffer altough there is at the moment some restrictions on the supported framebuffer format (24 bits).

    • 16 blogs and newsletters to follow for DevOps practitioners
Leftovers
  • Why Ford Is Buying Detroit’s Derelict Train Station
  • Divers, underwater drone join Indonesia’s search for 192 missing in ferry disaster

    Divers and an underwater drone on Wednesday joined a fleet of rescue vessels in Indonesia’s search for at least 192 passengers missing two days after an overcrowded wooden ferry sank in one of the world’s deepest volcanic lakes in Sumatra.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Validity of Gilead’s Swiss TRUVADA® SPC confirmed but Switzerland will move away from the “infringement test” for future SPCs for combination products

      The Swiss litigation is about the validity of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s Swiss SPC C00915894/01 for the combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate plus emtricitabine. The SPC was granted by the Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property on 29 August 2008 based on the marketing authorization for TRUVADA®, a medication used to treat (and in some jurisdictions also to prevent) HIV/AIDS. It is a fixed-dose combination of the two antiretroviral medications tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine.

      On 3 January 2017 Mepha Pharma AG, a Swiss subsidiary of Teva, filed a revocation action against Gilead’s Swiss SPC. Mepha essentially argued that the ratio legis of the Swiss law on SPCs requires that the “infringement test”, which had been confirmed in a decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in 1998 (BGE 124 III 375), be set aside, and that this change of practice shall be applicable with immediate effect even for existing SPCs. Mepha was of the opinion that Swiss courts should apply EU case law and if it did, Gilead’s SPC would be invalid in light of the practice of the CJEU for combination products because the two active ingredients were not specified in the claims of the basic patent and did not correspond to the basic patent’s core inventive advance.

    • MSF Challenges Gilead Hepatitis C Patent In China

      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) filed a patent challenge at the China State Intellectual Property Office today, asking for the invalidation of a Gilead patent on a hepatitis C medicine.

      In a press release, MSF explains that it requested the invalidation of a patent granted to US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for oral hepatitis C medicine velpatasvir. According to the health advocacy group, the patent is unmerited as it involves “well-known technologies.”

      “Without access to affordable DAAs [direct-acting antivirals], people with hepatitis C in China are still forced to take an older, injected drug called interferon, which has low cure rates and causes people severe side effects, such as psychosis,” Gaëlle Krikorian, head of policy for MSF’s Access Campaign, said in the release.

    • Suppressed Study: The EPA Underestimated Dangers of Widespread Chemicals

      A major environmental health study that had been suppressed by the Trump administration because of the “public relations nightmare” it might cause the Pentagon and other polluters has been quietly released online.

      The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the controversial 852-page review of health dangers from a family of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS — manmade chemicals used in everything from carpets and frying pan coatings to military firefighting foams — on its website this morning, and will publish a notice in the Federal Register tomorrow.

      The study upends federally accepted notions for how much of these chemicals are safe for people — recommending an exposure limit for one of the compounds that is 10 times lower than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has maintained is the safe threshold, and seven times lower for another compound. The stricter exposure thresholds are similar to those established by state health agencies in New Jersey and Michigan. All told, the report offers the most comprehensive gathering of information on the effects of these chemicals today, and suggests they’re far more dangerous than previously thought.

  • Security
    • Why an Infrastructure Transition is the Perfect Time to Invest in Security

      The idea behind containers has been around since the 1970s, when the technology was first used to isolate application code on Unix systems. However, the use of containers only became widespread in 2013 with the advent of Docker, and container orchestration tools like Kubernetes are even newer than that.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Millions of Streaming Devices Are Vulnerable to a Retro Web Attack

      Sitting in his Chicago apartment, two blocks from Lake Michigan, Dorsey did what anyone with a newfound hacking skill would: He tried to attack devices he owned. Instead of being blocked at every turn, though, Dorsey quickly discovered that the media streaming and smart home gadgets he used every day were vulnerable to varying degrees to DNS rebinding attacks. He could gather all sorts of data from them that he never would have expected.

    • Pros vs Joes CTF: The Evolution of Blue Teams

      Pros v Joes CTF is a CTF that holds a special place in my heart. Over the years, I’ve moved from playing in the 1st CTF as a day-of pickup player (signing up at the conference) to a Blue Team Pro, to core CTF staff. It’s been an exciting journey, and Red Teaming there is about the only role I haven’t held. (Which is somewhat ironic given that my day job is a red team lead.) As Blue teams have just formed, and I’m not currently attached to any single team, I wanted to share my thoughts on the evolution of Blue teaming in this unique CTF. In many ways, this will resemble the Blue Team player’s guide I wrote about 3 years ago, but will be based on the evolution of the game and of the industry itself. That post remains relevant, and I encourage you to read it as well.

      [...]

      It turns out that a lot of the fundamental knowledge necessary in securing a network are just basically system administration fundamentals. Understanding how the system works and how systems interact with each other provides much of the basics of information security.

      On both Windows and Linux, it is useful to understand:

      How to install & update software and operating system updates
      How to change permissions of files
      How to start and stop services
      How to set up a host-based firewall
      Basic Shell Commands
      User administration

    • 5 Best practices for protecting SAP in Linux environments
    • Does Linux need antivirus?
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Military should be deployed to combat cyber attacks, new head of Army says
    • The Pentagon Expands Its Provocative Encirclement of China

      U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a momentous shift in American global strategic policy in a little noticed statement on May 30.

      From now on, he decreed, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), which oversees all U.S. military forces in Asia, will be called the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). The name change, Mattis explained, reflects “the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” as well as Washington’s determination to remain the dominant power in both.

      Such a name change may not sound like much, but someday you may look back and realize that it couldn’t have been more consequential or ominous. Think of it as a signal that the U.S. military is already setting the stage for eventual confrontation with China.

      If, until now, you hadn’t read about Mattis’s decision anywhere, it’s not surprising as the media gave it virtually no attention — less certainly than would have been accorded the least significant tweet Donald Trump ever dispatched. What coverage it did receive treated the name change as no more than a passing “symbolic” gesture, a Pentagon ploy to encourage India to join Japan, Australia, and other U.S. allies in America’s Pacific alliance system.

    • The Persistent Myth of U.S. Precision Bombing

      Opinion polls in the United States and the United Kingdom have found that a majority of the public in both countries has a remarkably consistent belief that only about 10,000 Iraqis were killed as a result of the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq in 2003.

      Estimates of deaths in Iraq actually range from 150,000 to 1.2 million. Part of the reason for the seriously misguided perception may come from a serious belief in guided weapons, according to what the government tells people about “precision” bombing. But one must ask how so many people can be killed if these weapons are so “precise,” for instance in one of “the most precise air campaigns in military history,” as a Pentagon spokesman characterized the total destruction last year of Raqqa in Syria.

      The dreadful paradox of “precision weapons” is that the more the media and the public are wrongly persuaded of the near-magical qualities of these weapons, the easier it is for U.S. military and civilian leaders to justify using them to destroy entire villages, towns and cities in country after country: Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul in Iraq; Sangin and Musa Qala in Afghanistan; Sirte in Libya; Kobane and Raqqa in Syria.

    • A £1m military drone flew over a packed primary school sports day – then there was a crash

      Then the camera pans upwards to reveal at least £1m of British military hardware: a Watchkeeper drone, still in its test and development phase, flying over a packed primary school sports day attended by about 100 children and a similar number of adults.

      On the same afternoon that the drone flew over Penparc School in west Wales it – or another almost-identical Watchkeeper – crashed just a couple of miles away from the village primary, in the process narrowly missing a 17-year-old boy having his first driving lesson.

    • The US Has Conducted 550 Drone Strikes in Libya Since 2011 — More Than in Somalia, Yemen, or Pakistan

      The United States has conducted approximately 550 drone strikes in Libya since 2011, more than in Somalia, Yemen, or Pakistan, according to interviews and an analysis of open-source data by The Intercept.

      The Intercept’s reporting indicates that Libya has been among the most heavily targeted nations in terms of American remotely piloted aircraft and radically revises the number of drone strikes carried out under the Obama administration, doubling some estimates.

      During a four-month span in 2016, for example, there were approximately 300 drone strikes in Libya, according to U.S. officials. That’s seven times more than the 42 confirmed U.S. RPA attacks carried out in Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan combined for all of 2016, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London-based nonprofit news organization. The Libya attacks have continued under the Trump administration, with the latest U.S. drone strike occurring last week about 50 miles southeast of the town of Bani Walid.

    • Study: 242 Libyan civilians killed by airstrikes since 2012
    • Seven years after Obama’s ‘worst mistake,’ Libya killing is rampant

      Years after then President Barack Obama made what he has described as his worst mistake by not adequately planning for the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya remains in chaos. In the past seven years, four nations have conducted air strikes in Libya and hundreds of civilians have died in those strikes.
      As the protests of the Arab Spring swept through Libya, Gadhafi mounted a war of attrition against his own people describing those who were protesting his rule as “rats.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Pickets in Sri Lanka and India demand freedom for Julian Assange

      The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) in Sri Lanka held a successful picket in Colombo yesterday afternoon to demand Julian Assange’s freedom. In India, supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) organised a demonstration at Sriperumbudur, 40 kilometres from Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu. Both events were live streamed via Facebook.

      Nearly 60 SEP and IYSSE members and supporters participated in the protest held in front of Colombo Fort railway station. A substantial Tamil-speaking delegation from the war-ravaged Jaffna peninsula and also plantation workers from central Sri Lanka took part.

    • The Government Sponsored Torture of Julian Assange Will be Remembered With The Shame Felt Regarding The Ill-Treatment of Alan Turing

      Outside of the sciences though, Turing is best remembered as a code-breaker who worked with the UK government during the Second World War in cracking highly sophisticated German messages that were intercepted by the Allies in The Atlantic. At the time, Turing was hailed as a hero who played an invaluable role in helping to defeat fascist Germany.

      But Turning’s hero status shifted abruptly after the Second World War when in 1952, he was prosecuted by the same state he once worked for during war time. His offence was committing homosexual acts at a time when homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom. In lieu of prison time, Turning underwent a controversial chemical castration procedure which itself led to Turing committing suicide in 1954.

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Should Not Face Extradition to U.S. for Leaking Secrets, Says Human Rights Watch

      Six years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains in limbo. The government of Ecuador recently terminated his internet connection, and reports from his legal representatives suggest his medical situation is worsening.

      This week, on the anniversary of his arrival at the embassy in June 2012, Human Rights Watch threw its weight behind the controversial figure, saying he should not be forced to face judgment under the “antiquated” U.S. Espionage Act.

      “The U.K. has the power to resolve concerns over his isolation, health, and confinement by removing the threat of extradition for publishing newsworthy leaks,” wrote the general counsel of Human Rights Watch, Dinah PoKempner, in a blog post on Tuesday. “It should do so before another year passes.”

    • ‘Ex-CIA officer Joshua Schulte case intended to send chilling message to whistleblowers’

      Charges against an ex-CIA employee are intended to send a message to potential whistleblowers, warning them that they will have no defense when pursued by the government, the executive editor of 21st Century Wire told RT.

      Former CIA software engineer Joshua Schulte is facing charges over what has been described as the largest information leak in the agency’s history.

      Prosecutors claim that he unlawfully obtained information on the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the CIA during his time at the agency. He is alleged to have provided the information to an organization for it to be disseminated.

    • Ex-CIA Worker Denies Feeding US Secrets To WikiLeak

      A New York man accused of stealing secrets while working for the Central Intelligence Agency in 2016 and feeding them to WikiLeaks pled not guilty Wednesday to charges of stealing and transmitting national defense information and asked for time to consider if he will consent to proceeding in Manhattan federal court.

    • Charges brought against CIA Vault 7 suspect

      When Schulte was arrested last year, investigators charged him with possession of child pornography, which they allege they found on his seized computer, but they didn’t charge him for the breach and disclosure at the time, even though that was the subject of the initial investigation. The appearance of child pornography charges as a pretext for detention in national security investigations is something we’ve seen before and provides an additional reason for this case to be monitored carefully.

      Several observers have noted that, whatever its merits of his case, Schulte does appear to have adopted some objectively terrible operational security practices, including uploading CIA source code (some of which did indeed appear in the Vault7 leaks) to his public GitHub page. In the light of the second massive loss of US intelligence community hacking tools in a year, questions should be asked about whether it is ever justified to hoard devastating vulnerabilities when their security and use has to be entrusted to fallible humans.

    • Vigil Held For WikiLeaks’ Assange in Ecuador’s London Embassy

      The two-hour event was held to highlight the deteriorating physical and mental health of the Australian activist, who has not left the embassy in more than five years.

      An international group of lawyers contacted the UN Human Rights Council earlier this week to express concerns that Assange’s protracted confinement is forcing him to choose between asylum and healthcare.

      “The United Kingdom shows a deliberate disregard for his medical needs by forcing him to choose between his human right to asylum and his human right to medical treatment,” said human rights barrister Jennifer Robinson. “No-one should ever have to make this choice.

      “We call upon the special rapporteur to give immediate attention to Mr Assange’s case, to plan an official visit to the Ecuador Embassy and to urge the United Kingdom to give the assurances required for him to leave the embassy to obtain the medical treatment he requires.”

      Footage of the event posted on social media showed dozens of demonstrators hoisting banners reading ‘Defend free speech’ and ‘Don’t shoot the messenger.’

    • Vigil for the health of Julian Assange to take place in London

      A vigil will take place Tuesday evening outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the health of its longstanding resident Julian Assange.

      The vigil will be held between 6 and 8 p.m. local time and will be attended by Susan Manning, mother of Chelsea Manning, along with Peter Tatchell, Vivienne Westwood and Lauri Love.

      Tuesday marks six years since WikiLeaks founder Assange first entered the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault charges. The charges have since been dropped, but Assange is still wanted in the UK for skipping bail in 2012. He is concerned that if he leaves the embassy the US may also seek to extradite him on espionage charges.

    • Protesters at Ecuador embassy vigil in London demand freedom for Julian Assange

      Wiesje from the Netherlands came to support Assange because he had exposed the lies of governments and the press and was now being treated “vindictively.”

      She noted how the Netherlands government was implementing laws to suppress information under the guise of “fake news.”

      The European Union, which includes the Netherlands, is voting this week on a Copyright Directive, Wiesje explained, “that installs copyright filters to censor information and restrict the sharing of links as had happened with YouTube’s changing of its algorithms. It means information will be even more concentrated in the hands of the big corporations.

      “All the governments of the European Union say they are opposed to ‘fake news’ but the real distributors of fake news are papers like the New York Times and Washington Post. In Holland, the TV we get fed is pure propaganda, a narrative of the government.”

    • The persecution of Assange is an attempt to silence mass anti-war sentiment

      The International Youth and Students for Social Equality fully supports the fight to free Julian Assange.

      This is a decisive struggle for our generation. We have grown up amid a relentless barrage of pro-war lies and falsifications by the corporate media and all the parliamentary parties.

    • ‘Refugee Is Not Forever’: Ecuador FM Vows to Review Assange’s Asylum Status

      Assange’s communications with the outside world were cut off in March after the country accused the Iraq war whistleblower of putting its good ties with London at risk. Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno later ordered to remove extra security at the diplomatic mission.

    • After six years confinement: WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange in great danger

      WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange is still trapped inside Ecuador’s London embassy, cut off from all communication with the outside world, and in failing health, despite vigils and rallies held internationally this week to demand his freedom.

      Demonstrations organised on Tuesday marked the sixth anniversary of him entering the embassy. There he remains an effective political prisoner, with the British government denying him even the right to seek medical treatment.

      The protests signalled the renewal of the campaign for his defence, and underscored the enduring support for the courageous journalist and publisher among broad layers of the population.

      However, as Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Assange, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “AM” radio program yesterday, his situation has become “very difficult.”

    • Educators internationally must stand up for Julian Assange

      On behalf of the Committee For Public Education, I would like to state our opposition to the malicious and anti-democratic treatment of the courageous whistleblower Julian Assange.

      The attack on Assange is not an isolated incident, but part of a global assault on the most basic and fundamental rights of young people and the international working class.

    • Assange is being punished for exposing state secrecy and the reality of war

      I’d like to welcome all of you and commend you for taking the decision to attend this highly significant rally, all the more so because the situation facing Julian Assange, and our efforts to defend him, are being subjected to an ongoing media blackout, not only in Australia but around the world.

      At the outset, I’d like to send the warmest greetings, on behalf of everyone here today, to journalist Julian Assange and his colleagues in WikiLeaks. Our greetings also go to journalists and workers in every country who are fighting government, military-intelligence and corporate efforts to suppress their democratic rights and intimidate them into silence.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
  • Finance
    • Why tipping in America is up for debate

      Tipping originated in feudal Europe. It disappeared there, though not before arriving in America in the late 1800s. Some employers took advantage of the practice to shortchange employees. The result was a two-tiered pay structure for tipped and non-tipped workers. Under federal law, tips belong to front-of-house staff, such as servers and bartenders. They earn a lower base pay than back-of-house staff, like cooks and dishwashers, with tips covering the difference. So while the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, it is $2.13 an hour for tipped workers. (Employers must fill the gap if tips fail to do so.) Seven states—Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington—have ended the two-tiered system. On Tuesday, residents of Washington, DC, voted to do so as well. Michigan and New York may follow suit.

    • ‘Facebook is taking everything’: rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families

      “Facebook is taking everything we have … and giving us what? Nothing. Just pain in our lives,” said the pre-school teacher and restaurant worker, seated inside her dimly lit apartment, a mile from the company’s headquarters. “Facebook is just ruining the community.”

      The displacement of working-class and low-income Latino families in the shadow of Facebook’s behemoth campus, which is undergoing a major expansion adjacent to their homes, offers a stark illustration of California’s housing crisis and expanding income inequality. By many measures, the tech industry has in recent years exacerbated the crisis of evictions, homelessness and poverty.

    • Women in Tech Score Symbolic Wins, but Cash Is Still Hard to Come By

      EzCater, run by a woman, just raised $100 million—but it’s more an exception than the rule.

    • Arron Banks and the missing £11m for Brexit

      His pro-Leave lobby groups raised nearly £12m – but claim they spent less than £1m during the ‘official’ Brexit campaign. So where did the rest go? Andy Wigmore says he has “no idea”

      [...]

      In total, the two groups declared that they were given £11.7 million in the first half of 2016 – with Mr Banks the main donor to both, including making loans worth £6m to Leave.EU. Yet referendum rules only required them to disclose how they spent money during the ten weeks between 15th April 2016 until the day of the vote on 23rd June. In that ‘controlled’ period, strict spending limits apply: each group was only legally allowed to spend up to £700,000.

      From 9th March until polling day, Leave.EU received donations and loans worth £9.2 million. The group claims that it only spent £693,000 of this during the ‘controlled’ campaigning period – although it has since been fined for multiple breaches of the law by the Electoral Commission, which found that Leave.EU “failed to include at least £77,380 in its spending return, thereby exceeding the spending limit”. The Commission also stated that the “unlawful overspend may have been considerably higher”, and that “it has reasonable grounds to suspect that the responsible person for Leave.EU committed criminal offences”. The Commission said it was referring Leave.EU CEO Elizabeth Bilney to the Metropolitan Police.

    • Revealed: New evidence of ‘Hard Brexit svengali’ Shanker Singham’s ‘unparalleled access’ to senior government figures

      The pace of the British government’s Brexit progress seems to be frustrating even the most enthusiastic supporters of life outside the European Union. At an event in Glasgow last week, Shanker Singham, billed by the organisers as “one of the world’s leading trade lawyers”, complained that the UK’s “lack of clarity” over Brexit was causing “confusion”.

      But what he didn’t talk about was his own role in the middle of this muddle: Singham himself has continued to enjoy unrivalled access to Brexit ministers and officials. The trade advisor, whose work for the Legatum Institute has attracted significant media attention, had repeated private meetings with the highest official in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DexEU) according to new information released to openDemocracy.

      Singham, a former Washington lobbyist – who has been said to enjoy “unparalleled access” to senior government figures – left Legatum earlier this year to head up a new trade unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Earlier this month, the charity regulator ruled that Legatum’s Brexit work had ‘crossed the line’ and did not meet its charitable objectives.

    • The blockchain beyond bitcoin

      Blockchain technologies have been made popular by the creation of bitcoin, but how exactly can a blockchain benefit an enterprise? A blockchain provides an immutable store of facts. This model delivers significant value in the face of regulatory oversight by providing irrevocable proof that transactions occurred. Some even refer to these uses of a blockchain as enterprise resource planning (ERP) 2.0.

    • Singer Akon Unveils His Cryptocurrency “AKoin”; Wants To Develop “Real-life Wakanda”

      The popular American singer, who made rounds with his famous song “Smack That,” is in the news; it’s not for the release of some new music but for a cryptocurrency. Yes, Akon has announced a new crypto coin called ‘AKoin,’ reports Page Six.

    • Akon set to launch cryptocurrency called Akoin

      Senegal-born star Akon — whose Lighting Africa project is bringing solar power to Africa — is at Cannes Lions launching a new cryptocurrency called Akoin that will be available for sale in two weeks with hopes it will help further help the continent.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Minnesota’s Vague Ban On ‘Political’ Wear At Polling Places Shut Down By The Supreme Court

      Eight years after Minnesota’s vague ban on “political” apparel at polling places was first challenged, the Supreme Court has finally struck the ordinance down as unconstitutional. The law allowed election judges to decide whether or not someone’s t-shirt or button or whatever sent a “political” message that might somehow sway the vote.

      The law covered far more than overt messages about political parties or specific candidates. According to the state’s arguments, it could be read as covering anything possibly pertaining to referendum issues and/or issues any political candidate had expressed an opinion on. This lead to a spectacular bit of oral argument [PDF] when the state’s lawyer tried to explain what may or may not be covered by the apparel ban.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Sex workers are rallying around a congressional candidate who’s pledged to fight FOSTA
    • EU Parliamentary Committee Votes To Put American Internet Giants In Charge Of What Speech Is Allowed Online

      As we’ve been writing over the past few weeks, the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted earlier today on the EU’s new Copyright Directive. Within that directive were two absolutely horrible ideas that are dangerous to an open internet — a link tax and a mandatory copyright filtering requrement (i.e., the “censorship machines” proposal). While there was a big fight about it, and we heard that some in the EU Parliament were getting nervous about it, this morning they still voted in favor of both proposals and to move the entire Copyright Directive forward.

    • China’s anti-porn office cracks down on videos of women whispering into microphones
    • China’s Latest Censorship Crackdown Target: Videos Of Women Rubbing, Kissing And Licking Binaural Microphones

      The banned videos in China typically show people — well, nearly always young women — whispering into special high-quality binaural microphones that aim to capture audio the same way our ears hear sounds. As well as producing extremely realistic results, the microphones also allow sounds to move from one ear to the other — best experienced with headphones to enhance this effect — as if the person speaking is right next to you, and moving around very close to you.

      The women in the videos whisper, rather than speak, because it has been found to be the most effective way to produce ASMR’s characteristic “tingling” sensation. But ASMR videos also include the sounds of people licking, kissing, and rubbing the microphones in various ways — which may explain that “vulgar use of a microphone controller” the Chinese authorities want to censor. As a representative example, the Abacus News points to a two-hour long YouTube video of one of the ASMR stars in China, Xuanzi Giant 2 Rabbit

    • Commentary: How to ‘fix’ social media without censorship

      The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal may have changed the way millions of people perceive the risks to privacy when they go online. But it could have obscured an equally profound digital age debate: widespread resistance to internet companies’ role as the global speech police of the digital age. The future of free speech depends on getting this debate right.

      And yet the most influential corporations in this sphere wield extraordinary power from a distance. They develop rules, standards, and guidelines, often in Silicon Valley, to determine for people around the world the appropriate boundaries of expression. In many places, American companies provide the dominant source of news and information, having an enormous impact on public life.

    • Big Brother is watching you: the exhibition aiming to tackle surveillance and censorship

      Surveillance and censorship are becoming part and parcel of daily life around the world, and yet many citizens seem content to turn a blind eye to it. A new exhibition at Wei-Ling Gallery in Kuala Lumpur called Seen is addressing that issue. Curator Line Dalile brings together ten leading international and Malaysian artists, hoping that through documentary, photography and conceptual practice, the artwork can open people’s eyes to the modern threats encroaching on our privacy

    • China censors John Oliver after scathing 20 minute video

      Comedian John Oliver has been scrubbed from Chinese microblogging site Weibo after satirizing Chinese president Xi Jinping on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.”

      HBO is part of WarnerMedia, which also operates CNN parent company Turner.

      Oliver spent 20 minutes Sunday criticizing Xi on everything from the removal of term limits, allowing him to rule for life, to China’s economic leverage.

      One of his critiques focused on censorship. “While China has never exactly been known as a haven for free expression, (Xi) has clamped down noticeably on any form of dissent whatsoever,” Oliver said, citing banned phrases online such as “personality cult.”

      True to form, Chinese censors soon wiped posts about Oliver and his show from Weibo.

      Users can still search his name, but all recent content has been deleted, leaving only posts from before June 12.

    • Media Censorship

      Access to information is the right of every citizen of Pakistan – this also includes being able to subscribe to a publication of their choice. However, there is growing censorship in the media, especially as the dates of the general elections are drawing near. One media group which is being targeted at the moment is Dawn, as confirmed in their statement that hawkers are being stopped from distributing the paper in several parts of the country. This is a gross violation of the Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan which guarantees the freedom of the press unless there is a special restriction imposed in circumstances that pose a threat to the security of the state. However, that too is a legal course of action and is not initiated without due process. Prohibiting the distribution purely on the personal basis is an act against the constitution of Pakistan and must be looked into because guaranteeing a right offered by the constitution is the duty of all the institutions of the state.

      [...]

      We live in a global digital age where such blanket bans are bound to be noted and create the air of insecurity because it portrays that certain elements are trying to infringe upon the basic rights of the people of the country.

    • ACLU challenges Scott on social media censorship
    • ACLU calls on Scott to stop censoring constituents on social media
    • ACLU asks Vermont Gov. Scott to stop blocking online critics
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Court Says Probation Violations By Teen Don’t Justify On-Demand Warrantless Searches Of His Electronics

      It’s assumed (wrongly) that minors have few, if any, Constitutional rights. The error is easy to make because they’re just kids. They can’t drink, smoke, vote, or even serve their country/secure these own valuable freedoms by [checks sources] aiding in the increase of opium production in foreign countries. “Hundreds of government officials can’t be wrong!” someone is sure to exclaim, being just as wrong as the hundreds half-assedly cited in their stinging rebuttal.

      Minors do have rights. They’re subject to more limitations but they’re far from nonexistent. But that doesn’t stop prosecutors, cops, and school officials from pretending “limited” equals “zero.” A case highlighted by FourthAmendment.com shows a court pushing back against this assumption, which took the form of an overly-invasive probation condition slapped on a minor following a search of the student which uncovered a small knife, rolling papers, and a lighter.

      The incident leading to the search began when the student fell asleep during class, which is possibly one of the most ordinary things a student can do. The student admitted he had smoked marijuana the night before (also possibly one of the most normal things a high school student can do), but hadn’t smoked any that day or on school property. He was asked to consent to a search and he volunteered he had a knife in his possession. The search uncovered the rest of the “contraband.” The 15-year-old was then arrested, detained, and placed on home detention.

    • Data Localization (Nearly) Banned In EU

      The European Parliament, Council and European Commission on 19 June cut a deal on a new regulation on the free flow of non-personal data. The regulation, which is expected to pass the final votes in Parliament and Council without further issue, is a European answer to concerns over potential data localization obligations, which came into some demand following the Snowden revelations about intelligence services hoovering data from netizens.

      “Data localization restrictions are signs of protectionism for which there is no place in a single market,” EU Vice-President Andrus Ansip said after the agreement.

    • Balancing transparency and privacy as big data meets HR

      This is an exciting time for HR—the use of analytics is predictably changing the conversations and the perception around HR as a function. Most organizations are convinced of the role people analytics can play in making HR a strategic partner to the C-suite, thus firmly involved in the agenda of business transformation. While people analytics has been one of the most crucial tools to usher in this change, the unintended effect is that is has opened up a big debate about transparency vs. privacy in the workplace.

    • The California Attorney General’s Office Says It’s Finally Taking Database Abuse Seriously—But Time Will Tell

      In 2017, 22 law enforcement employees across California lost or left their jobs after abusing the computer network that grants police access to criminal histories and drivers’ records, according to new data compiled by the California Attorney General’s office. The records obtained by EFF show a total of 143 violations of database rules—the equivalent of an invasion of privacy every two and half days.

    • Victory: California Overhauls Police Database Oversight Procedures in Wake of EFF Investigations

      New Data Shows Law Enforcement Abused Network 143 Times in 2017

      San Francisco – Responding to years of investigations and pressure from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the California Attorney General’s Office has overhauled and improved its oversight of law enforcement access to a computer network containing the sensitive personal data of millions of state residents, which police abused 143 times in 2017.

      The new policies and data will be presented at a regular oversight meeting on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at the Folsom City Council Chambers.

      EFF has been investigating abuse of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS)—the computer network that connects criminal record and DMV data with local and federal agencies across the state—since 2015. Law enforcement personnel access this data more than 2.8 million times daily.

      EFF’s research found that misuse of this system was rampant. Examples include officers accessing confidential data for domestic disputes and running background checks on online dates. One particularly egregious case involved an officer who allegedly planned to hand sensitive information on witnesses to the family member of a convicted murderer.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ‘The Black Athlete Has Been Involved in the Political Struggle From the Beginning’

      When Colin Kaepernick wanted to join thousands of other Americans in expressing his outrage and sorrow at the killing of black people by police, the San Francisco 49er spoke with—among others—Nate Boyer, another football player for the Seattle Seahawks, who was a Green Beret. Boyer suggested that rather than sit out the national anthem, Kaepernick take a knee—the way, he said, soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, as a way to express dissent without disrespect for the military or veterans.

      That critics, including in the press, would describe Kaepernick’s gesture as a refusal to stand, an insolent refusal to act rather than an action consciously chosen, is telling; much as many people still believe Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus because her feet were tired. Like Parks, Kaepernick is in fact engaged in thoughtful, political action—in his case, the particular expression of political action that African-American athletes have engaged for decades, known informally as “the Heritage.”

      That history and its meaning in the present moment is the subject of a new book, The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism, out now from Beacon Press. Our next guest is its author. Howard Bryant is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, and sports correspondent for NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. He’s also author of, among other titles, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston and The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron. He joins us now by phone from Massachusetts.

    • How a Montana Prison Is Reforming Its Treatment of People With Disabilities

      Our criminal justice system has long struggled to accommodate persons with disabilities. So when a state prison reforms how it treats incarcerated people with disabilities, those reforms can have an immediate and vital effect. As a result of a groundbreaking settlement approved yesterday by Judge Jeremiah Lynch in our case, Langford v. Bullock, just such a set of reforms is now underway at the Montana State Prison.

      While life at Montana State Prison is certainly difficult for all prisoners, it is especially hard on those who are disabled. Deaf prisoners have been punished for failing to respond to orders to stand for count issued through an intercom they could not hear. Men with mobility impairments, many of whom are elderly due to the long sentences handed down in the state, were denied access to vocational and educational programs the prison offered on the second floor of one of its buildings and in areas that were otherwise inaccessible.

    • Trump Signed an Executive Order to End Family Separation, But It Comes at a Cost
    • Where Are We in the Fight for Dreamers?

      With immigration bills scheduled for a vote in Congress this week, here’s a recap on where DACA currently stands.

      The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program turned 6 years old last week. The future of the program, which has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and injected billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, remains uncertain.

      Last September, President Trump announced he was ending the DACA program, placing hundreds of thousands of recipients who came to this country as children at risk of deportation. Nine months and many twists and turns later, DACA recipients remain in limbo. Immigration bills scheduled for a vote this week do nothing to appropriately address the problem. In the meantime, various courts have weighed in. Below is a recap on where DACA currently stands.

    • U.S. Marine to Be Imprisoned Over Involvement With Hate Groups

      Vasillios Pistolis, a United States Marine Corps lance corporal who ProPublica and Frontline identified as a neo-Nazi and assailant during last August’s bloody white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been convicted at a court martial on charges of disobeying orders and making false statements.

      Pistolis, 19, will be imprisoned for a month, docked pay and reduced in rank to private first class, and then likely forced from the Corps, according to a USMC spokesman.

      Pistolis, a water support technician, was treated as low-level offender by military authorities, who tried him at what is known as a summary court martial, which is akin to a misdemeanor trial.

    • In Georgia, Imprisoned Deaf and Disabled People Don’t Stand a Chance

      The Georgia Department of Corrections is failing its obligations to deaf prisoners at every stage.

      In Georgia, deaf people ensnared in the criminal legal system are routinely denied sign language interpretation and other accommodations, dramatically disadvantaging them while in prison and at every stage of their criminal justice proceedings. The ACLU today filed a motion seeking a class action lawsuit on behalf of currently and formerly imprisoned deaf people in Georgia. The motion highlights gross violations of their constitutional rights.

      The criminal legal system is stacked against many of the most vulnerable Americans, including people with disabilities. At every stage — arrest, interrogation, trial, sentencing, prison, and parole — deaf people are more susceptible to going to prison more often, staying longer, suffering more, and returning to prison faster.

      Deaf people with other marginalized identities — including those who are LGBTQ and come from communities of color — fare even worse. Throughout the country, our system refuses to provide sign language interpreters and other communication access, as required by federal law. Our case against the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles — calls out these institutions for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Constitution.

    • Chaos and Cruelty for Immigrants Held in Brownsville, Texas

      In the federal courthouse in Brownsville, in the space of 75 minutes, 63 people were read their charges, asked to plead guilty or not guilty, and sentenced. Handcuffed and chained at the waist, they had to stoop to raise their right hands.

      All this for a misdemeanor: entry without inspection.

      The 63 men and women shared the same lone public defender. When they spoke, they spoke in timid whispers, nearly inaudible except to the translators. Eleven said they would happily be deported if they could be reunited with their children. The judge said it is “U.S. policy that once you are finished here, you’ll be reunited with your children.”

    • Federal Judge to Consider Independent Monitor for Illinois Child Welfare Agency

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois asked a federal judge on Wednesday to take the rare step of appointing a “special master” to resolve disputes and data requests related to statewide child welfare reforms, including providing more appropriate services for children languishing in psychiatric hospitals.

      The ACLU, which has monitored the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for decades as part of a federal court consent decree, appeared in front of U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso after writing in court documents that DCFS had repeatedly “failed to honor promises made during negotiations.”

      The most recent dispute centers on how the oft-criticized department is carrying out a reform plan. That plan calls for a total overhaul of the agency, as well as the turnover of relevant data to the ACLU and independent experts named in 2015 to aid and oversee the department’s progress.

    • Making a difference

      No, I have not gone insane. The reason for the latter is that here in Kansas, the Democrats rarely field candidates for most offices. The real action happens in the Republican primary. So if I can vote in that primary, I can have a voice in keeping the crazy out of office. It’s not much, but it’s something.

    • Ex-CIA Contractor Makes Millions Flying Immigrant Kids to Shelters

      The Trump administration has been paying an intelligence contractor millions of dollars to to fly immigrant children to shelters across the United States.

      MVM, Inc. has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide “unaccompanied alien children (UAC) transportation services” worth $162 million, according to records reviewed by The Daily Beast. MVM’s recent job postings show it sought to hire people to escort immigrant children from the border on commercial airlines. MVM is one of a number of defense contractors cashing in on the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of locking up immigrant families.

    • Gina Haspel’s New Vision for CIA? [Ed: These Trump supporters support torture]

      After a bruising confirmation fight, one wonders if newly approved Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel will have the political support to put her own stamp on how the agency is structured and operates. Insiders note that, though she was acting director for only two months, she did little more than continue the changes made by her predecessor Mike Pompeo, who had been in charge of the agency for 15 months.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Calif. state lawmaker accuses fellow Dem of ‘gutting’ net neutrality bill

      “What happened today was outrageous,” Sen. Scott Wiener (D) said in a statement Wednesday after an Assembly committee rewrote his legislation. “These hostile amendments eviscerate the bill and leave us with a net neutrality bill in name only.”

    • California Net Neutrality Bill Was ‘Hijacked,’ Lawmaker Says

      The amended version of the bill still bans broadband providers from blocking or throttling legal content, and from creating “fast lanes.” But critics of the changes worry that they could create loopholes that would allow broadband providers to undermine net neutrality. Perhaps most important is the removal of a prohibition on broadband providers charging access fees to content providers. Depending on how courts interpreted the bill, this could create a loophole that would allow companies like Verizon or Comcast to charge companies like Facebook or Netflix additional fees to make their content available and block access to content from companies that don’t pay.

    • Corruption at the Assembly Committee Gutted California’s Net Neutrality

      In the morning before S.B. 822 was to get its first hearing in front of a California Assembly committee before the cameras were on to catch it, the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance introduced and got a vote on amendments that substantially weakened the net neutrality provisions of S.B. 822. EFF received word that was his intent and we were disappointed he would carry out such a bait and switch on behalf of AT&T and Comcast.

      Chair Miguel Santiago, along with seven other Assembly members both Republican and Democratic, voted for those amendments. Amendments proposed at 10 pm the night before the hearing. Amendments voted on before the bill was heard and before the bill’s author, State Sen. Scott Wiener, could argue against them. Amendments voted on before the witnesses and Wiener could argue for the bill as written.

      This comes after the committee chair refused a move to join S.B. 822 and S.B. 460 so that there was a single net neutrality package rather than two bills. That proposal was rejected in favor of new amendments that stripped net neutrality protections right out including provisions that banned discriminatory zero rating that hurt low income Internet users.

    • Sprint, T-Mobile to FCC: Our Job Killing, Competition Eroding Megamerger Will Create Jobs & Competition

      Americans tend to be oddly gullible when it comes to megamerger promises. Especially over in the telecom sector. Time after time we’re told that the latest major deal will provide all manner of amazing synergies, jobs and added competition. And time after time we subsequently realize that the only people that usually benefit from these deals are investors and executives. Shortly after that, we realize that the slow consolidation and steady erosion in competition results in higher rates and even worse service, something AT&T, Comcast and Charter customers are intimately familiar with after decades of M&A mania.

      And yet it’s a historical lesson we refuse to learn much of anything from.

      The latest megadeal du jour in the telecom space is Sprint and T-Mobile’s latest attempt at a $23 billion super-union. The two companies filed their formal sales pitch with the FCC this week, and you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who thinks agency head Ajit Pai and friends won’t rubber stamp the deal.

      [...]

      It’s not entirely clear why America loves to play Charlie Brown and Lucy style football when it comes to megamerger promises. Time and time again we’re promised the world, and time and time again we give companies the benefit of the doubt as they promise an ocean of synergies, jobs and competition that never actually materialize. By every indication the millennials that have bought into T-Mobile’s consumer friendly (except for opposing that whole net neutrality thing) branding schtick are about to learn their first real lesson on this front the hard way.

    • Net Neutrality And The Broken Windows Fallacy

      I’ve mentioned the idea of the broken windows fallacy — not to be confused with the long debunked broken windows theory of policing — twice in the past in reference to net neutrality, including in my recent post about what Ajit Pai should have said about repealing net neutrality. But both times I talked about it, it was kind of buried in much longer articles, and the more I think about it, the more important I think it is in understanding why Pai and his supporters are so far off in their thinking and understanding on net neutrality. What I find most perplexing about this is that people who often position themselves as doing away with overly burdensome regulations — which is a stance that Pai has staked out pretty clearly — are usually the kind of folks who talk frequently about the broken windows fallacy. And yet, here, those same folks seem to be missing it.

      As background, the broken windows fallacy comes from Frederic Bastiat, the French economist often associated with free market and libertarian thought, and it’s his clever and highly evocative way of explaining why destructive behavior — while it may generate economic activity, is not good for the economy, because it misses all of the other (often hidden) costs, including the opportunity cost of investing that money in more productive activity.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • The Myth Of IP Incentives For All Nations – Q&A With Carlos Correa

      Dr Carlos Maria Correa, an Argentinian economist and lawyer, is globally renowned for his expertise on international trade, intellectual property, health, technology transfer, investment policy and especially their impact on developing countries. He has authored several books and academic articles and been a visiting professor at several universities. Additionally, he has consulted with many United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and other regional and international organisations and has advised several governments on intellectual property, innovation policy and public health. Correa was a member of the UK Commission on Intellectual Property, of the Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health established by the World Health Assembly and of the FAO Panel of Eminent Experts on Ethics in Food and Agriculture.

      [...]

      Any simplification about those links may be characterized as a ‘myth’. IP protection does not necessarily lead to more innovation or trade. It may have the opposite effect, for instance, if local companies at an early stage of technological development cannot enter certain markets, they will be prevented to move through the learning curve and upgrade technologically. Historical studies show that today developed countries advanced in their industrialization processes on the basis of lack of IP protection or flexible IP regimes. The US itself provides a good example in this regard.

    • Xiaomi has spent over $1 billion on IP royalties over the past three years, IPO documents show [Ed: Microsoft among those who blackmailed it using patents because it used GNU/Linux]

      File this under: things I missed while going through Xiaomi’s 600-page IPO prospectus. An analysis at Chinese tech news portal Sina points out that the company revealed its IP licensing outlays for the past three years (hat tip to Don Merino for digging this up and sharing on LinkedIn). Here are the figures, converted to present US dollars (the original data can be found on page 447 of this document): Expense 2015 2016 2017 Royalty fees $252m $293m $533m To be specific about what’s being reported, Xiaomi describes these figures as “royalty fees paid to third-party intellectual property holders”.

    • South Korea First Country To Adopt WIPO’s AI Translation Tool [Ed: Automated translations are rubbish and not legally-binding, even if you add the "AI" buzzword to that]

      According to a press release, WIPO and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) signed a memorandum of understanding that demonstrates KIPO’s intent to integrate the AI translation tool. The signing occurred during the 23-25 May “Meeting of Intellectual Property Offices on ICT Strategies and Artificial Intelligence for IP Administration.”

      The tool, called WIPO Translate, uses advanced technology to mirror a language to another language without many words getting lost in translation.

    • WIPO Workshop Looks At Potential Impact Of Reducing Patent Fees For Universities [Ed: The highly abusive WIPO (against its own staff, too) just wants to artificially inflate the number of patents]

      The World Intellectual Property Organization’s main financial resource is from the global patent treaty it manages, allowing inventors to file international patent applications and gain protection in a large number of countries. WIPO members have been debating for some time whether universities should benefit from a fee reduction, in particular those from developing countries to encourage patent filing. A workshop held at WIPO this week pondered whether a fee reduction would lead to more patenting of inventions by universities. The answer is apparently not clear-cut.

    • Lawsuits involving Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley and Volvo underline growing auto sector patent focus

      A couple of recent infringement suits involving long-established car manufacturers have shown once again that patent assertion remains a looming threat in an auto industry that is undergoing some very significant changes. Late last week Jaguar Land Rover brought a case against Bentley Motors accusing the luxury carmaker of infringing one of its patents relating to its “terrain response” technologies. The patent-in-suit, RE46,828 entitled “vehicle control” is a re-issue of 7,349,776.

    • Decision finding that “Swiss claims” were affected by Spain’s Reservation to the EPC now revoked

      In July 2017, the Patents Court of Barcelona handed down a decision finding that “Swiss-type” claims were affected by the Reservation made by Spain when it ratified the European Patent Convention (“EPC”), whereby European patents, insofar as they confer protection on chemical or pharmaceutical products “as such“, shall be ineffective in Spain. In particular, the decision lifted a preliminary injunction that had been ordered “ex parte”, based on claim 16 of the patent asserted, and which read as follows:

      “Use according to claim 15, wherein the pharmaceutical composition is for treating hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipoproteinemia and atherosclerosis”.

      This decision caused an earthquake within Spanish patent circles for several reasons.

    • Infringement-by-manufacture requires complete — not merely substantial — manufacture

      In FastShip, LLC v. U.S., the question before the Federal Circuit was whether the infringing Littoral Combat Ships (“LCS”) were “manufactured” by the Government before the patent expiration dates. In particular, the accused LCS-3 ship model was still under construction when the asserted patents expired, but the patentee argued that it should be considered manufactured since it was substantially complete, including the key aspects of the claims at issue that had no non-infringing uses.

    • PGS Geophysical: Partial Institution and Remand

      Our timeline for theses appeals probably began with WesternGeco’s infringement lawsuit against its Norwegian competitor PGS. In the S.D.Tex. lawsuit, PGS counterclaimed alleging infringement of its U.S. Patent Nos. 6,906,981 and 6,026,059. WesternGeco then petitioned the PTO to begin Inter Partes Review Proceedings against those patents. Happy to oblige, the PTO partially instituted the IPRs and eventually cancelled a number of claims of each patent. In the midst of the appeal WesternGeco and PGS settled settled their dispute. On appeal, however, the PTO intervened to defend its decision. In its decisions, the Federal Circuit has largely affirmed, I raise a few interesting points from the decisions below.

    • When are Confidential Sales Prior Art?

      In the pending case of Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., et al., No. 17-1229 (Supreme Court 2018), the petitioner has asked the Supreme Court to offer its statement on whether Congress altered the “on sale bar” to now apply only to non-confidential sales or offers.

    • Thanks to 2016′s trade secret law and algorithmic justice, America’s courts have become AI-Kafka nightmares

      In 2014, the Alice decision made it much harder to patent software in the USA; in 2016, Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, creating the first federal trade secrets statute: the result of these two developments is that software companies aggressively switched from patents to trade secrets as a means of controlling competition and limiting inspection and criticism of their products.

      This has wide-ranging effects, but the most vivid and immediate ones were on the criminal justice system, where algorithmic forensic analysis, bail assessment, and sentencing has become the norm. As a result, people facing criminal penalties are frequently told that trade secrecy means that they can’t look at the evidence against them, can’t challenge the basis for their bail, and can’t look at the calculations that went into their sentencing.

      This is absolutely unprecedented: criminal defendants have never had their rights curtailed by the trade secrecy of the technology providers who contract with the courts and police. What’s more, repeated experience tells us that the machine learning systems that accuse, convict and sentence criminal defendants are wildly imperfect, subject to racial bias (and other forms of bias), riddled with errors, and really, just the sort of thing you’d hope to be able to inspect before you were sent to prison.

    • Trademarks
      • Warner Bros. Turns Harry Potter Fan Events Into Events For The Franchise That Must Not Be Named

        It’s always a weird look for companies and IP owners to go after clear expressions of fandom from their customers. And, yet, this sort of thing is done often, with fan get-togethers or festivals regularly being threatened by the IP owners they’re fans of. Often times we hear the usual nonsense trademark law excuse that fans must be served with cease and desist letters, or sued, or else the trademark owner will lose its rights. That, as we’ve discussed repeatedly, is not true, as there are other options available to the trademark holder besides threatening fans.

      • Registering ZERO: Trademarks mean Nothing to Me

        This case stems from Royal Crown’s opposition of Coca-Cola’s attempt to register various trademarks with the term ZERO. These include, among others, SPRITE ZERO, FANTA ZERO, COKE ZERO, PIBB ZERO, and my favorite COKE ZERO ENERGY.

        [...]

        Coca-Cola argued that no disclaimer was necessary since its use of the ZERO mark was not generic and has acquired distinctiveness under Section 2(f) of the Lanham Act. The TTAB agreed with Coca-Cola and approved the marks for publication without any disclaimer.

    • Copyrights
      • Link Tax, ‘Censorship Machines’ Pass EU Committee Vote

        By far the most criticized articles by activists and other EU politicians have been Article 11 and Article 13. Article 11 refers to the so-called “link-tax,” which will require sites that link to news stories to pay the original authors.

      • MEPs ignore expert advice and vote for mass internet censorship

        The Copyright Directive includes the controversial Article 13, which mandates the mass monitoring and censorship of internet uploads. The vote comes after widespread criticism of these measures and against the advice of civil society, of leading academics and universities, of research institutions, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and even the inventors of the internet and of the world wide web.

      • EU Parliament Committee Adopts Piracy ‘Upload Filter’ Proposal

        The EU’s plans to modernize [sic] copyright law in Europe are moving ahead. The Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament (JURI) just adopted several proposals, including the controversial “upload filters.” Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda is disappointed but notes that the fight is not over yet.

      • EU votes for copyright law that would make [I]nternet a ‘tool for control’

        MEPs defy warnings from [I]nternet pioneers, civil liberties groups and commercial interests

      • EU takes first step in passing controversial copyright law that could ‘censor the internet’

        Both Article 11 and Article 13 were approved by the JURI committee this morning but won’t become official legislation until passed by the entire European Parliament in a plenary vote. There’s no definite timetable for when such a vote might take place, but it would likely happen sometime between December of this year and the first half of 2019.

      • ‘Disastrous’ copyright bill vote approved

        The European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted by 15 votes to 10 to adopt Article 13 and by 13 votes to 12 to adopt Article 11.

        It will now go to the wider European Parliament to vote on in July.

      • The EU’s Terrible, Internet-Wrecking Copyright Plan Lurches Forward

        The proposal won’t officially become EU law until passed by the entire European Parliament in a plenary vote, which isn’t expected until the tail end of this year or early 2019. There’s also some potential for improvement during closed-door “trilogue negotiations” between EU legislators and member states—though this process has been derided for being entirely non-transparent.

      • Europe’s Proposed Copyright Law Could Screw Up the Whole Internet
      • Today, an EU committee voted to destroy the [I}nternet. Now what?
      • Europe advances copyright law that could filter the Internet

        The Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted 15-10 “to approve the controversial Article 13, which critics warn could put an end to memes, remixes and other user-generated content,” the BBC reported. The full parliament is expected to vote on the measure in July.

      • EU panel approves controversial copyright legislation

        The measure includes two controversial provisions that critics say will have a devastating effect on the [I]nternet.

        One provision includes a “link tax” that would force companies like Facebook and Google to buy licenses from news media companies before they can link to their online stories.

        Another provision, an “upload filter,” would require all online content uploaded from within the EU to be screened for copyright infringement.

      • EU votes to effectively ban memes electronically as Article 13 ‘copyright filter’ passes

        In fact, Article 13 had been removed from the original final draft of the bill, only to reappear on GDPR day – nobody knows why. Truth be told, nobody is entirely sure what the end game is here.

      • EU Copyright Reform Proposal Clears Lead Legislative Committee, To Cheers And Jeers

        The European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted its report on the European Commission-proposed copyright in the digital single market directive yesterday. The vote, by the lead committee vetting the proposal, sparked a continuation of the acrimonious debate that has raged for many months over several controversial provisions: The creation of a new right for online publishers and a requirement that Internet platforms monitor users’ uploads for copyright infringements. The narrow majority that approved the report by German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Axel Voss, of the European People’s Party, “suggests that the struggle is still long,” telecom consultant Innocenzo Genna blogged.

      • European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee Gives Green Light to Harmful Link Tax and Pervasive Platform Censorship

        Today, the European Parliament the Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

        The outcome reflects a disturbing path toward increasing control of the web to benefit powerful rights holders at the expense of the open internet, freedom of expression, and the rights of users and the public interest in the digital environment.

        The committee voted 13-12 in favor of Article 11, the provision known as the “link tax,” which grants an additional right to press publishers requiring anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online. Article 11 is ill-suited to address the challenges in supporting quality journalism, and it will further decrease competition and innovation in news delivery. Similar efforts have already failed miserably in Germany and Spain.

      • Think Tank: Congress Should Make Streaming Piracy a Felony

        The Free State Foundation, a think tank founded in 2006 which receives regular donations from the MPAA, is calling on Congress to tackle the threat from streaming piracy. In a new paper, FSF notes that those streaming unlicensed content to the public are currently guilty of a misdemeanor, an offense that should be upgraded to a felony if piracy is to be brought under control.

Battistelli and Topić Lose Their Bogus ‘Case’ Against Judge Corcoran After They Defamed Him and Ruined His Career/Life

Thursday 21st of June 2018 09:10:08 AM

SLAPP tactics by Željko Topić have a long tradition in Croatia


From left to right: Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and Elodie Bergot

Summary: The SLAPP action against Judge Patrick Corcoran, who has so far won all cases involving the EPO, is finally dismissed in Germany; what remains is an ugly legacy at the EPO, wherein everyone bold enough to say something about corruption at the top is having his or her life — not just career — destroyed

IN JUST over a week António Campinos inherits a mess at the EPO. He inherits it from the man who has, in essence, arranged the job for him, having actually caused this whole mess. Campinos, based on sources of ours, is totally accepting crooks and thugs inside his management, perpetuating all the same dysfunctions as before. There’s a new article titled “EPO Staff, Users List Priorities For Incoming President” (full version is available from SUEPO [PDF]). It’s quite gently worded, maybe for “diplomatic” reasons.

“Campinos, based on sources of ours, is totally accepting crooks and thugs inside his management, perpetuating all the same dysfunctions as before.”Do not expect Campinos to even bring up the subject of Judge Corcoran, who is said to be in hospital (victim of 3.5 years of mental torture). We don’t know the cause for sure, but rumours suggest it may be related to the trauma and financial damage caused by the Office. Recently, for example, a German magazine quoted Corcoran’s lawyer as saying she’s thankful he’s still alive, which we assumed meant that this whole ordeal took a tremendous toll, maybe even thoughts of suicide.

Serious criminality can be seen right at very the heart of Europe, committed by an organisation that was erroneously placed above the law, the EPO. Curiously enough, at least in Topić’s case, there are suspicions that he uses the EPO’s diplomatic immunity to dodge prosecution in his home country, Croatia (where he faces many criminals charges). Quite a team you got there, Mr. Battistelli, eh?

“Curiously enough, at least in Topić’s case, there are suspicions that he uses the EPO’s diplomatic immunity to dodge prosecution in his home country, Croatia (where he faces many criminals charges).”“There exists apparently a second case in which an EPO employee was found innocent and acquitted of all (criminal) charges by the highest Dutch Criminal Court but yet found guilty by the EPO and ILOAT,” an insider wrote yesterday, reflecting or relating to this news from Dr. Thorsten Bausch, who courageously (considering the risk of consequences to his career or retribution from the employer) continues to cover these affairs.

“If you hurry, you can still take part in our free #webinar on how to access court decisions on patents across Europe with ECLI,” the EPO wrote yesterday as if it actually cares about court decisions. The EPO repeatedly refused to obey court orders, including in Judge Corcoran’s case. The EPO truly acts like a criminal organisation, which nobody seems capable of compelling to obey the law, let alone enforce court rulings.

Bausch’s latest (in Twitter as well) states this:

Breaking News

All of the above decisions of the ILO and the EBA went in favour of Mr. Corcoran for procedural reasons only. This made me curious whether there is anything to the accusations raised against Mr. Corcoran on the merits, or whether – using the EBA’s words – “unsubstantiated or groundless, made-up allegations were used as a pretext for getting rid of an irksome judge”. It took me several months and a request to the Regional Court of Munich (Landgericht München) to get closer to the bottom of this issue. Finally I received an anonymized copy of a decision 24 Qs 18/17 in criminal proceedings between the EPO President (private plaintiff 1) and his VP4 (EPO Vice-President), Mr. Željko Topić (private plaintiff 2) against Mr. Corcoran (defendant). An English translation is provided here.

To put it succinctly, Mr. Corcoran was acquitted of all charges both by the Local Court (Amtsgericht München) and on appeal by the Regional Court of Munich (Landgericht München). The decision is final and I encourage readers to read it thoroughly. Not only has the procedure instigated against Mr. Corcoran been unlawful, Mr. Corcoran is also innocent on the merits!

Comment

Reading the Landgericht’s decision, my first impression was that the President’s and VP4’s criminal action failed absolutely spectacularly, both for formal reasons and on the merits. It is particularly worth noting that the three judges of the Landgericht, who could have taken the same easy way out as the Amtsgericht and the ILOAT decisions by just deciding the appeal based on formalities, did not stop there but actually considered the merits of the case as well.

In doing so, the Landgericht thoroughly destroyed the complaint, designating plaintiffs‘ evidence as „assumptions“ or „suspicions“ far away from the high probability or near certainty necessary for entering a judgment against the defendant, and held that there is no basis for the accusations (a) that Mr. Corcoran wrote a certain allegedly defamatory email about Mr. Topić, (b) that he sent this email out, (c) that it was received by any of the alleged addressees, and (d) that the email was even defamatory to the Plaintiffs. I would call this decision a first class acquittal.

There are some decent comments there (so far). “Michel” wrote: “Do you honestly think that Mr. Ernst, who is about to be appointed vice-president of the Office, will do anything to restore Mr Corcoran’s situation or reputation? You must be kidding. The Administrative Council was behind Mr. Battistelli, and they were fully aware of what was going on. This is why it has become almost impossible to clean the Augean stables of the Office. The Organisation as a whole has gone berserk.”

Yes, this isn’t going to change. Someone then starts asking what we asked several times before:

Thinking about it, here two questions :

1 – how much did the private court cases of Mr Battistelli and Topic cost in total?

2 – who paid for these private court cases : Battistelli and Topic themselves (don’t die laughing) or… the EPO (Applicants’ money) ?

“Very good question for the AC to ask the plaintiffs,” Thorsten Bausch responded. Don’t expect them to ever answer these questions. We asked these in past years and nobody seems to have know the answer in this very ‘transparent’ EPO.

“Darius III” then says: “I don´t expect the AC to offer any apology. They are well aware of their huge reponsibility in Mr Corcoran´s situation and they seem to – wrongly – believe that the only way for them to avoid being held accountable is to destroy him entirely, mentally and physically.”

“Cynic” adds: “That this decision came on 6.11.2017 and yet the EPO still continued to pursue the BoA member after that (and the Administrative Council met in December) is unforgivable. Vindictive and malign.”

Irreversible damage has been done and no doubt the judges in the German FCC will take this into account. Here’s a long comment about budget and Campinos (whom we don’t expect to do anything to correct this):

Well the transfer of DG3 to Haar cost a fat 2 digits amount of million EUR of good old applicants’ money (the price of mismanagement since Battistelli did it as a smoke-screen to cover the tracks of his erratic actions (which de facto put the question of possible lack of independence under clear light).

For what result?

None since your point is valid: DG3’s budget remains dependent from the president and the damages done to DG3’s reputation (with the active support of the Council) will probably not be reversed by later whilst re-instating Mr Corcoran soon (I hope to be wrong on this one).

All this is very sad but indeed the next president soon to arrive will perhaps do better.

One of the main issue for Mr Campinos is that all top managers responsible for the current EPO debacle (not only in DG3 but overall) have been placed at key positions all across DG4, DG5, DG1, presidential office, investigative unit etc.

They will still be in place after Battistelli’s departure.

So cleaning the Augean stables of the Office will only be possible, IF and only IF, Mr Campinos gets rid of them (or they will of course continue to act in collusion first to protect themselves then to protect Battistelli’s legacy since he made them and they owe him). They are not many but will Mr Campinos have the guts to take the only decision which is to be taken: hold them responsible for their abusive and illegal actions and draw the logical consequences?

One only has one chance to make a good first impression. Mr Campinos will have to act – and be seen to act – to restore the severe damages or else, it will only be more of the same.

Let’s hope Mr Campinos remembers this for the sake of preserving the EPO.

Campinos is taking over a complete mess, including a disgusting, dodgy person like Topić as a Vice-President. Disillusioned workers might still choose to believe that bright days are ahead, but all we’re able to see over the horizon is reputational damage and layoffs. This is of course the fault of everything Battistelli has done since 2010. Even back then, as we showed around Christmas time, he already attacked staff representatives, muzzling them after he and Topić had done similar things elsewhere. Sociopaths have taken over the Office, bringing with them some more crooked people who are loyal to them. The only solution may be to flush the entire management of the EPO and start afresh.

Even Media of the Patent Microcosm Mentions the Decline in Quality of Patents at the EPO, Based on Its Very Own Stakeholders, While IAM Ignores the News

Thursday 21st of June 2018 08:11:37 AM

Summary: The whole world basically accepts, based on patent examiners as well as those whom they interact with (patent agents), that patent quality at the EPO has sunk; but the EPO and IAM continue to vigorously deny that as it threatens some people’s nefarious agenda

THE quality of patents at the EPO goes in the opposite direction of those at the USPTO. This should be alarming to Europeans. It’s purely detrimental, a case of self-harm.

The sad thing is that the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Christoph Ernst, as well as António Campinos, will just carry on denying the problem. They’re simply not interested in facts; all they care about is their careers.

“It’s hard to ignore the fact that there’s still not a word from IAM, the EPO’s propaganda arm when it comes to dubious claims about quality…”Michael Loney from the patent maximalists’ media finally mentions “German firms’ EPO criticism”. He’s not alone. Kluwer Patent Blog, amplifier of Team UPC, broke this story, which has thus far attracted close to 50 comments.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that there’s still not a word from IAM, the EPO’s propaganda arm when it comes to dubious claims about quality (made in the form of several publications and even a public talk earlier this month, basically part of the anti-Section 101 lobby — the section that greatly limits patent scope in the US).

The EPO meanwhile lies yet again (see our response to it from yesterday), then receives press coverage (titled “Patent quality is up, according to EPO quality report”), albeit not without decent rebuttals in the text, e.g.:

Last week, four German law firms wrote a letter to the EPO, expressing their concern over recent developments, specifically the increasing work targets at the office.

The law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner wrote that the incentive systems and internal directives appear to be directed at rewarding or even requesting “rapid termination of proceedings” and a “correspondingly higher productivity.

The letter said that while the firms appreciated the timeliness of examination, the “overreaching desire” for high productivity has lead to a range of problems, including issues of quality, scope of protection and inadequately assessed patents.

The EPO’s report mentioned that it had surpassed targets for establishing a comprehensive search and written opinion within six months from filing of the application with the EPO.

The firms noted a a recent petition from EPO examiners that expressed concern over the work targets and how they are affecting patent quality at the office.

SUEPO has meanwhile mentioned this letter directly, stating yesterday in its official site (after it had mentioned 5 articles about it): “Open letter from June 7, 2018 of four leading patent law firms in Germany – Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner, addressed to outgoing EPO president Benoit Battistelli, the chairman of the Administrative Council Christoph Ernst, principal director user support & quality management Niclas Morey and future EPO president Antonio Campinos (who will start in office on 1 July 2018).”

The original PDF version is available from SUEPO [PDF]; it’s basically text, not an image (like the above snapshot). Maybe somewhat of an historic item? IAM is on the wrong side of history and has been for years (after it had received payments from the EPO’s PR agency, FTI Consulting).

Battistelli loves IAM:

From IAM’s event (UPC promotion):

More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

Security: SSL, Microsoft Windows TCO, Security Breach Detection and SIM Hijackers

  • Why Does Google Chrome Say Websites Are “Not Secure”?
    Starting with Chrome 68, Google Chrome labels all non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure.” Nothing else has changed—HTTP websites are just as secure as they’ve always been—but Google is giving the entire web a shove towards secure, encrypted connections.
  • Biggest Voting Machine Maker Admits -- Ooops -- That It Installed Remote Access Software After First Denying It [Ed: Microsoft Windows TCO]
    We've been covering the mess that is electronic voting machines for nearly two decades on Techdirt, and the one thing that still flummoxes me is how are they so bad at this after all these years? And I don't mean "bad at security" -- though, that's part of it -- but I really mean "bad at understanding how insecure their machines really are." For a while everyone focused on Diebold, but Election Systems and Software (ES&S) has long been a bigger player in the space, and had just as many issues. It just got less attention. There was even a brief period of time where ES&S bought what remained of Diebold's flailing e-voting business before having to sell off the assets to deal with an antitrust lawsuit by the DOJ. What's incredible, though, is that every credible computer security person has said that it is literally impossible to build a secure fully electronic voting system -- and if you must have one at all, it must have a printed paper audit trail and not be accessible from the internet. Now, as Kim Zetter at Motherboard has reported, ES&S -- under questioning from Senator Ron Wyden -- has now admitted that it installed remote access software on its voting machines, something the company had vehemently denied to the same reporter just a few months ago.
  • Bringing cybersecurity to the DNC [Ed: Microsoft Windows TCO. Microsoft Exchange was used.]
    When Raffi Krikorian joined the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as chief technology officer, the party was still reeling from its devastating loss in 2016 — and the stunning cyberattacks that resulted in high-level officials’ emails being embarrassingly leaked online.
  • Getting Started with Successful Security Breach Detection
    Organizations historically believed that security software and tools were effective at protecting them from hackers. Today, this is no longer the case, as modern businesses are now connected in a digital global supply ecosystem with a web of connections to customers and suppliers. Often, organizations are attacked as part of a larger attack on one of their customers or suppliers. They represent low hanging fruit for hackers, as many organizations have not invested in operationalizing security breach detection. As this new reality takes hold in the marketplace, many will be tempted to invest in new technology tools to plug the perceived security hole and move on with their current activities. However, this approach is doomed to fail. Security is not a "set it and forget it" type of thing. Defending an organization from a breach requires a careful balance of tools and operational practices -- operational practices being the more important element.
  • The SIM Hijackers

    By hijacking Rachel’s phone number, the hackers were able to seize not only Rachel’s Instagram, but her Amazon, Ebay, Paypal, Netflix, and Hulu accounts too. None of the security measures Rachel took to secure some of those accounts, including two-factor authentication, mattered once the hackers took control of her phone number.

GNU/Linux Desktops/Laptops and Windows Spying

  • Changes [Pop!_OS]

    For the last 12 years, my main development machine has been a Mac. As of last week, it’s a Dell XPS 13 running Pop!_OS 18.04.

    [...]

    Take note: this is the first operating system I’ve used that is simpler, more elegant, and does certain things better than macOS.

  • System76 Opens Manufacturing Facility to Build Linux Laptops
    As it turns out, System76 is making the transition from a Linux-based computer seller, into a complete Linux-based computer manufacturer. The Twitter photos are from their new manufacturing facility. This means that System76 will no longer be slapping their logo on other company’s laptops and shipping them out, but making their own in-house laptops for consumers.
  • Extension adding Windows Timeline support to third-party browsers should have raised more privacy questions
    Windows Timeline is a unified activity history explorer that received a prominent placement next to the Start menu button in Windows 10 earlier this year. You can see all your activities including your web browser history and app activity across all your Windows devices in one place; and pickup and resume activities you were doing on other devices. This is a useful and cool feature, but it’s also a privacy nightmare. You may have read about a cool new browser extension that adds your web browsing history from third-party web browsers — including Firefox, Google Chrome, Vivaldi, and others — to Windows Timeline. The extension attracted some media attention from outlets like MSPoweruser, Neowin, The Verge, and Windows Central.

Public money, public code? FSFE spearheads open-source initiative

Last September, the non-profit Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) launched a new campaign that calls for EU-wide legislation that requires publicly financed software developed for the public sector to be made publicly available under a free and open-source software license. According to the ‘Public Money, Public Code’ open letter, free and open-source software in the public sector would enable anyone to “use, study, share, and improve applications used on a daily basis”. The initiative, says the non-profit, would provide safeguards against public sector organizations being locked into services from specific companies that use “restrictive licenses” to hinder competition. The FSFE also says the open-source model would help improve security in the public sector, as it would allow backdoors and other vulnerabilities to fixed quickly, without depending on one single service provider. Since its launch, the Public Money, Public Code initiative has gained the support of 150 organizations, including WordPress Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, and Tor, along with nearly 18,000 individuals. With the initiative now approaching its first anniversary, The Daily Swig caught up with FSFE spokesperson Paul Brown, who discussed the campaign’s progress. Read more