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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 38 min ago

Links 16/8/2018: MAAS 2.4.1, Mesa 18.2 RC3

Thursday 16th of August 2018 09:13:25 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook

      Chromebooks are great because they’re simple: there’s a lot you can get done with web services without exposing yourself to the troubles and security issues that plague more complex platforms.

      But if you need to do a bit more with your Chromebook, you have a few options. Most Chromebooks these days allow you to install apps from the Google Play Store, which should fill most productivity gaps. If not, you’ll soon have one more option: installing Linux apps. To be clear, you’ve been able to install Linux apps on Chromebooks for years because Chrome OS is Linux. But, it’s about to get much easier.

    • Top 5 Features Still Missing From Chrome OS

      Google’s Chrome OS gets a lot of things right, and the platform has evolved considerably over the years. Not only does it offer an always up-to-date version of the Chrome browser, but there are also Android apps, stylus input, and even Linux support on some devices. However, Chrome OS is far from perfect. You have to make compromises if you choose to live with a Chromebook, but you shouldn’t have to make quite this many. Here are the top five things Google should fix.

    • Walmart’s selling an all-aluminum Chromebook with a comfy keyboard for just $220

      If you’re not considering a Chromebook when you’re shopping for a notebook, you’re doing it wrong. Google’s low-cost laptops are typically light, fast, secure, and have almost everything you need for remote work a.k.a. the Internet. Today, you can get in on the action for a great price. Walmart is selling the Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431-C6ZB) for $220. That’s about $30 to $40 cheaper than you’d usually pay for this laptop.

  • Kernel Space
    • Crypto Updates Sent In For Linux 4.19 Kernel, Speck Is Still In The Kernel

      The Linux kernel’s crypto subsystem updates were sent out today with its new feature work for the Linux 4.19 kernel. One change we were curious to see was whether they were going to nuke the Speck cipher code, but they did not.

      Back during Linux 4.17, the Crypto updates added the Speck block cipher (and in 4.18, file-system encryption support with Speck was added) which has come under fire since Speck was developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and it’s speculated that it could be back-doored by the agency but at the very least can’t be a fully trusted for encryption.

    • The Big Networking Update Sent In For Linux 4.19, Including 802.11ax Bits

      David Miller sent in the networking subsystem updates today for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window.

    • New round of 64-bit ARM Patches Merged into Linux 4.19 Kernel, Includes GCC Stackleak Plugin Support

      A new round of changes for 64-bit ARM architecture (ARM64/AArch64) were just loaded into the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window, and its generally some pretty good stuff being included.

      The 64-bit ARM space on Linux as been fairly busy, and there’s likely more to come before Linux 4.19 kernel is released.

    • 64-bit ARM Changes For Linux 4.19 Has “A Bunch Of Good Stuff”

      Will Deacon submitted the 64-bit ARM (ARM64/AArch64) changes on Tuesday for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window.

    • Why Locking Down the Kernel Won’t Stall Linux Improvements

      The Linux Kernel Hardening Project is making significant strides in reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the effort required to exploit vulnerabilities that remain. Much of what has been implemented is obviously valuable, but sometimes the benefit is more subtle. In some cases, changes with clear merit face opposition because of performance issues. In other instances, the amount of code change required can be prohibitive. Sometimes the cost of additional security development overwhelms the value expected from it.

      The Linux Kernel Hardening Project is not about adding new access controls or scouring the system for backdoors. It’s about making the kernel harder to abuse and less likely for any abuse to result in actual harm. The former is important because the kernel is the ultimate protector of system resources. The latter is important because with 5,000 developers working on 25 million lines of code, there are going to be mistakes in both how code is written and in judgment about how vulnerable a mechanism might be. Also, the raw amount of ingenuity being applied to the process of getting the kernel to do things it oughtn’t continues to grow in lockstep with the financial possibilities of doing so.

      The Linux kernel is written almost exclusively in the C programming language — while the most significant reasons that the kernel needs to be hardened arise from aspects of this programming language.

    • GSoC Final Report

      Nothing lasts forever, and this also applies for GSoC projects. In this report, I tried to summarize my experience in the DRI community and my contributions.

    • VKMS Coming In Linux 4.19 Is One Of The Best GSoC & Outreachy Projects Of The Year

      One of the student summer coding projects that ended up being a cross between Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and Outreachy was the VKMS driver to provide a virtual KMS implementation for headless systems and other interesting use-cases.

      Rodrigo Siqueira applied to GSoC 2018 to work on the long talked about “VKMS” driver while separately Haneen Mohammed had applied to Outreachy with a similar goal. Given the overlap, they worked together to get the Virtual KMS driver working. These summer student coding projects are drawing to a close and this initial driver is being sent sent into Linux 4.19 via the DRM tree. Not bad considering most GSoC/Outreachy projects introducing new code don’t make it mainline so quickly, if ever.

    • Scheduler utilization clamping

      Once upon a time, the only way to control how the kernel’s CPU scheduler treated any given process was to adjust that process’s priority. Priorities are no longer enough to fully control CPU scheduling, though, especially when power-management concerns are taken into account. The utilization clamping patch set from Patrick Bellasi is the latest in a series of attempts to allow user space to tell the scheduler more about any specific process’s needs.

      Contemporary CPU schedulers have a number of decisions to make at any given time. They must, of course, pick the process that will be allowed to execute in each CPU on the system, distributing processes across those CPUs to keep the system as a whole in an optimal state of busyness. Increasingly, the scheduler is also involved in power management — ensuring that the CPUs do not burn more energy than they have to. Filling that role requires placing each process on a CPU that is appropriate for that process’s needs; modern systems often have more than one type of CPU available. The scheduler must also pick an appropriate operating power point — frequency and voltage — for each CPU to enable it to run the workload in a timely manner while minimizing energy consumption.

    • Linux 4.18.1
    • Linux 4.17.15
    • Linux 4.14.63
    • Linux 4.9.120
    • Linux 4.4.148
    • Linux Kernel 4.18 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Mass Deployments

      Linux kernel 4.18 was released on Sunday, August 12, 2018, by Linus Torvalds, and it’s currently the most advanced kernel series available for Linux-based operating systems. The first point release, Linux 4.18.1, is now available, which marks the Linux 4.18 kernel series as stable and ready for mass deployments.

      All Linux OS vendors are now urged to adopt the latest Linux 4.18 kernel series for their operating systems on supported architectures as it brings various new features, improvements, and updated drivers for better hardware support. Linux kernel 4.18.1 is now available for download from kernel.org or our software portal.

    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.18 Kernel Officially Released for Those Who Seek 100% Freedom

      Following in the footsteps of the recently released Linux 4.18 kernel series, the GNU Linux-libre 4.18 kernel is now available for those who don’t want to run any proprietary firmware on their Linux-based operating system or the GNU operating system.

      Including pretty much the same new features and enhancements as Linux kernel 4.18, the GNU Linux-libre 4.18 kernel cleans up the new psp-dev crypto and icn8505 touchscreen drivers, removes the atom isp driver, and adjusts numerous others.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Embedded Linux Conference Europe tackles tech’s diversity problem

        The Linux Foundation has posted session descriptions for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe and OpenIoT Summit Europe, to be held Oct. 22-24, in Edinburgh, with topics ranging from RISC-V to deep learning to workplace diversity.

        Even if you can’t make it to Edinburgh Oct. 22-24 for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) and co-located OpenIoT Summit Europe, the session descriptions are a good place to find clues about what’s hot in Linux and open source embedded technology. To be sure, the Linux Foundation offers a heavy dose of sessions on Linux Foundation projects such as Zephyr or Yocto Project, but it’s still a very inclusive collection from across the industry.

      • 10 Reasons to Attend ONS Europe in September | Registration Deadline Approaching – Register & Save $605
      • Linux Foundation Zephyr Project Attracts IoT Developers and Tech Giants

        The Linux Foundation has always been committed to welcoming companies and organizations of all sizes as part of its heritage and ongoing vision for opening technology for all to experiment with and to build things.

        The Zephyr Project, an open source project to build a real-time operating system (RTOS) for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced last week they grew their community of contributors with support for more than 100 developer boards and the addition of six new members.

        These industry and academic leaders include Antmicro, DeviceTone, SiFive, the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, The Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) and Northeastern University.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Intel Begins Teasing Their Discrete Graphics Card
      • Mesa 18.2-RC3 Released With Two Dozen Fixes

        Mesa 18.2 as the next quarterly feature release to the contained OpenGL/Vulkan drivers is about two weeks out if all goes well, but today for testing Mesa 18.2-RC3 is now available.

      • DRM Updates Sent In For Linux 4.19 With New VKMS Driver, Intel Icelake Work

        David Airlie has submitted the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) updates for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window with these various open-source graphics/display driver updates.

      • NVIDIA are working towards better support for NVIDIA Optimus on Linux

        Thanks to a little Twitter tip, we’ve learned today that NVIDIA are indeed working to provide better support for NVIDIA Optimus on Linux.

        Currently, if you have a laptop with NVIDIA Optimus the official NVIDIA driver gives you the option between using the Intel GPU or switching over to the NVIDIA GPU. It doesn’t handle it like you would expect it to on Windows, where it would offload the work to the more powerful NVIDIA GPU. Not an ideal situation, to switch between the two GPUs and from when I had a laptop with one (some time ago) it required logging out before it would take effect.

      • libinput’s “new” trackpoint acceleration method

        This is mostly a request for testing, because I’ve received zero feedback on the patches that I merged a month ago and libinput 1.12 is due to be out. No comments so far on the RC1 and RC2 either, so… well, maybe this gets a bit broader attention so we can address some things before the release. One can hope.

        [...]

        Because basically every trackpoint has different random data ranges not linked to anything easily measurable, libinput’s device quirks now support a magic multiplier to scale the trackpoint range into something resembling a sane range. This is basically what we did before with the systemd POINTINGSTICK_CONST_ACCEL property except that we’re handling this in libinput now (which is where acceleration is handled, so it kinda makes sense to move it here). There is no good conversion from the previous trackpoint range property to the new multiplier because the range didn’t really have any relation to the physical input users expected.

    • Benchmarks
      • The Linux Benchmarking Continues On The Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX

        While I haven’t posted any new Threadripper 2950X/2990WX benchmarks since the embargo expired on Monday with the Threadripper 2 Linux review and some Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks, tests have continued under Linux — as well as FreeBSD.

        I should have my initial BSD vs. Linux findings on Threadripper 2 out later today. There were about 24 hours worth of FreeBSD-based 2990WX tests going well albeit DragonFlyBSD currently bites the gun with my Threadripper 2 test platforms. More on that in the upcoming article as the rest of those tests finish. It’s also been a madhouse with simultaneously benchmarking the new Level 1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) vulnerability and the performance impact of those Linux mitigations on Intel hardware will start to be published in the next few hours.

      • An Early Look At The L1 Terminal Fault “L1TF” Performance Impact On Virtual Machines

        Yesterday the latest speculative execution vulnerability was disclosed that was akin to Meltdown and is dubbed the L1 Terminal Fault, or “L1TF” for short. Here are some very early benchmarks of the performance impact of the L1TF mitigation on the Linux virtual machine performance when testing the various levels of mitigation as well as the unpatched system performance prior to this vulnerability coming to light.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 8.2 M2 Released With Offline Improvements, L1TF/Foreshadow Reporting

        The second development snapshot of the upcoming Phoronix Test Suite 8.2-Rakkestad to benchmark to your heart’s delight on Linux, macOS, Windows, Solaris, and BSD platforms from embedded/SBC systems to cloud and servers.

      • AMD’s New Threadripper 2990WX Much Faster On Linux Than Windows 10
      • A Quick Look At The Windows Server vs. Linux Performance On The Threadripper 2990WX

        One of the frequent requests/comments stemming from the launch-day Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks on the new AMD Threadripper 2990WX were questions about whether this 32-core / 64-thread processor would do better with Windows Server given Microsoft’s obvious tuning of that Windows flavor to high core/thread counts… Well, here are some initial figures with Windows Server 2016 and a Windows Server 2019 preview.

        Given the immense interest and speculation about the Windows Server performance on the AMD Threadripper 2990WX, to see if it would give Linux better competition relative to Windows 10, I ran some initial benchmarks so far. I am still doing some more Windows vs. Linux exploration and benchmarking (a lot of other interesting tests from this new hardware) while for today are the Windows Server 2016/2019 results alongside the other operating system tests on this 2990WX system.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • PSA: Workaround for a working MTP

        KDE Connect is awesome, we all know that. But sometimes you still want (or need) to acces the files on your Android phone via a good old USB cable. And to do so, you need a working implementation of the MTP protocol.

        Many people on bugzilla complain that the MTP support in Plasma is just broken. And indeed the MTP implementation we have has always been ignoring a fundamental limitation of MTP: the protocol doesn’t allow parallel operations, unlike the old Android USB mass storage did. In practice, if more than one process spawns an mtp ioslave, everything breaks.

      • Museum Day, or, the Benefit of Skiving Off

        Tomorrow, there’s the fund raiser training session. Given that we’ve been raising funds for Krita since time immemorial (our first fund raiser was for two Wacom tablets and art pens so we could implement support for them, the second to let Lukas Tvrdy work on Krita for a couple of months and after that, we’ve had the kickstarters), that might seem superfluous. But I’m still hoping to learn lots. After all, it’s not like we’re exactly awash in money.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • How to navigate your GNOME Linux desktop with only a keyboard

        Almost ever since I first started using Linux, I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect window manager.

        My first experience with Linux was in the late 90s, and I first tried installing it on my own in the early 2000s. Like many converts, my previous experience was largely with Windows, and so my early mission was to find an experience that closely replicated Windows, or at least let me interact with it in a familiar way.

        [...]

        So I’ve been making a concerted effort to learn the GNOME keyboard shortcuts, and honestly, it hasn’t been as hard to stick with them as I had thought. Just like any other set of keyboard shortcuts, the trick is to practice them a bit, and then do what you can to discourage you from slipping back into your old ways. I set my mouse just a wee bit further away, and when practical, will flip the switch on the bottom when I’m in a keyboard-heavy activity so I’m not tempted by muscle memory.

        The other trick is to have a good cheat sheet handy, posted up somewhere that you can easily see it. I made my own for GNOME, and I’ve created a version of it that you can download too.

        The GNOME project turns twenty-one years old this month, but as it keeps growing and evolving to keep up with the changing needs of computing environments, it wouldn’t surprise me if I’m still using it twenty-one years from now. And if you are too, I hope you will have taken the time to learn the keyboard shortcuts by then.

      • GNOME Celebrates Its 21st Birthday By Releasing GNOME 3.29.91

        Today marks 21 years since the GNOME desktop environment project was started by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena. Coincidentally, released today is GNOME 3.29.91 that is the GNOME 3.30 desktop’s second beta release.

      • GNOME 3.29.91 released

        GNOME 3.29.91 is now available!

      • GNOME 3.30 Desktop Environment Gets Beta 2 Release Ahead of September 5 Launch

        Coming two weeks after the first beta release, the highly anticipated GNOME 3.30 desktop environment received a second beta release today as Michael Catanzaro informed us via an email announcement. This beta 2 release is tagged as GNOME 3.29.91, and it marks the Software String Freeze stage in the development cycle.

        But it doesn’t look like it was an easy release for the GNOME Release Team, as Michael Catanzaro reports build failures for several components, including GNOME Boxes, which didn’t make it for this second beta release. As a consequence, numerous components weren’t updated in this beta 2 release.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Zorin OS 12.4 Released, Available to Download Now

        The latest update to the popular Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, Zorin OS 12.4 boasts of being “more secure and compatible than ever before.”

        “This new release brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance enhancements and hardware support out of the box. Zorin OS 12.4 introduces an updated hardware enablement stack,” say the Zorin devs.

      • Major Zorin OS Linux Release Is Coming This Fall Based on Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS

        Shipping with the updated HWE (Hardware Enablement) stack from the recently announced Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS point release, which is powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), as well as an updated X graphics stack, Zorin OS 12.4 brings all the latest software and security updates from the Ubuntu repositories, along with performance enhancements and bug fixes.

        “Zorin OS 12.4 introduces an updated hardware enablement stack. The newly-included Linux kernel 4.15, as well as an updated X server graphics stack,” reads the release announcement. “In addition, new patches for system vulnerabilities are included in this release, so you can have the peace of mind knowing that you’re using the most secure version of Zorin OS ever.”

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian Turns 25! Here are Some Interesting Facts About Debian Linux

        One of the oldest Linux distribution still in development, Debian has just turned 25. Let’s have a look at some interesting facts about this awesome FOSS project.

      • 25 years and counting

        When the late Ian Murdock announced 25 years ago in comp.os.linux.development, “the imminent completion of a brand-new Linux release, [...] the Debian Linux Release”, nobody would have expected the “Debian Linux Release” to become what’s nowadays known as the Debian Project, one of the largest and most influential free software projects. Its primary product is Debian, a free operating system (OS) for your computer, as well as for plenty of other systems which enhance your life. From the inner workings of your nearby airport to your car entertainment system, and from cloud servers hosting your favorite websites to the IoT devices that communicate with them, Debian can power it all.

        Today, the Debian project is a large and thriving organization with countless self-organized teams comprised of volunteers. While it often looks chaotic from the outside, the project is sustained by its two main organizational documents: the Debian Social Contract, which provides a vision of improving society, and the Debian Free Software Guidelines, which provide an indication of what software is considered usable. They are supplemented by the project’s Constitution which lays down the project structure, and the Code of Conduct, which sets the tone for interactions within the project.

      • DebConf 18 – Day 3

        Most of Japan is on summer vacation now, only a small village in the north resists the siege, so I am continuing my reports on DebConf. See DebConf 18 – Day 1 and DebConf 18 – Day 2 for the previous ones.

      • Derivatives
        • Hands-on with Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 Beta

          I have been out of touch for the past six months, because I accepted a teaching position in Amsterdam. The amount of time that required, and the weekly commute from Switzerland (yes, really, weekly), was vastly more than I expected, and left me no time to do justice to my blog. But now I am back again, and determined to manage my time more effectively and keep up with blogging.

          Although I haven’t been writing, I certainly have been keeping up with news and developments in the Linux world. What really inspired me to get busy and write again was the announcement of LMDE 3 (Cindy) Beta. Hooray! How long have we been waiting for this? It feels like years. Oh, that’s because it has been years.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, and CentOS Linux Now Patched Against “Foreshadow” Attacks

            Both Canonical and Red Hat emailed us with regards to the L1 Terminal Fault security vulnerability, which are documented as CVE-2018-3620 for operating systems and System Management Mode (SMM), CVE-2018-3646 for impacts to virtualization, as well as CVE-2018-3615 for Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX). They affect all Linux-based operating system and machines with Intel CPUs.

            “It was discovered that memory present in the L1 data cache of an Intel CPU core may be exposed to a malicious process that is executing on the CPU core. This vulnerability is also known as L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF). A local attacker in a guest virtual machine could use this to expose sensitive information (memory from other guests or the host OS),” reads the Ubuntu security advisory.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 8 hurdles IT must overcome if they want open source success

    Open source software has the potential to drive innovation and collaboration across an enterprise, and can transform the way developers work together.

    “Open source is now part of the evaluation criteria when deciding on a software platform, so much so that it is expected,” said Matt Ingenthron, senior director of engineering at Couchbase. “In this way, open source has somewhat faded into the background in a positive way. Just like no consumer would inquire if a mobile phone had internet access or text messaging, choosing an open source solution is almost always an option.”

  • Sprint calls on open source analytics to prevent cyberfraud

    Mobile phone-related fraud is big business. Fraudsters, hackers, and other bad actors employ creative techniques to compromise networks, hijack user information, and piece together customer identities that are then sold for big bucks on the dark web. To protect its customers, Sprint needed to transform the way it detected and blocked fraudulent activity.

    “In the mobile phone business, there’s no markup on selling devices — our bread and butter is the network and the services that are delivered on that network, through the devices,” says Scott Rice, CIO of Sprint. “Identity theft is a huge problem and the ability for nefarious actors to use that theft of information to impersonate our customers means we were eating the costs of the devices and the costs of services delivery.”

  • Open Source Platform Delivers LDAP Integration

    The latest release of InfluxData, an open source platform for metrics, events, and other time series data, adds LDAP integration, new advanced analytics, and self-healing capabilities in the time series database platform. According to the company, time series data, collected and stored with InfluxData’s Time Series database platform is integral to observability and is becoming mission critical for organizations. Enhancements to InfluxEnterprise make it easier for administrators to keep this mission critical data available and secure by checking and verifying every requested action. This includes creating databases, storing data and running queries – against a user’s stored authorizations and role.

  • YOYOW-WeCenter Special Edition Release: Free and Open Source

    The YOYOW-WeCenter Special Edition, customized and developed by YOYOW and based on WeCenter Q&A community framework, has been released on GitHub. Compared to regular WeCenter frameworks, YOYOW is providing free open source services and will be continually iterating products and will be introducing an incentive mechanism. Each Q&A community can directly integrate into YOYOW’s bottom layer network and enjoy the network services provided by YOYOW.

  • Events
    • Using AI on patents

      Software patents account for more than half of all utility patents granted in the US over the past few years. Clearly, many companies see these patents as a way to fortune and growth, even while software patents are hated by many people working in the free and open-source movements. The field of patenting has now joined the onward march of artificial intelligence. This was the topic of a talk at OSCON 2018 by Van Lindberg, an intellectual-property lawyer, board member and general counsel for the Python Software Foundation, and author of the book Intellectual Property and Open Source. The disruption presented by deep learning ranges from modest enhancements that have already been exploited—making searches for prior art easier—to harbingers of automatic patent generation in the future.

    • Diverse technical topics from OSCON 2018

      The O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) returned to Portland, Oregon in July for its 20th meeting. Previously, we covered some retrospectives and community-management talks that were a big part of the conference. Of course, OSCON is also a technology conference, and there were lots of talks on various open-source software platforms and tools.

      An attendee who was coming back to OSCON after a decade would have been somewhat surprised by the themes of the general technical sessions, though. Early OSCONs had a program full of Perl, Python, and PHP developer talks, including the famous “State of The Onion” (Perl) keynote. Instead, this year’s conference mostly limited the language-specific programming content to the tutorials. Most of the technical sessions in the main program were about platforms, administration, or other topics of general interest, some of which we will explore below.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 42
      • Dweb: Building a Resilient Web with WebTorrent

        WebTorrent is the first torrent client that works in the browser. It’s written completely in JavaScript – the language of the web – and uses WebRTC for true peer-to-peer transport. No browser plugin, extension, or installation is required.

        Using open web standards, WebTorrent connects website users together to form a distributed, decentralized browser-to-browser network for efficient file transfer. The more people use a WebTorrent-powered website, the faster and more resilient it becomes.

      • Bitslicing, An Introduction

        Bitslicing (in software) is an implementation strategy enabling fast, constant-time implementations of cryptographic algorithms immune to cache and timing-related side channel attacks.

        This post intends to give a brief overview of the general technique, not requiring much of a cryptographic background. It will demonstrate bitslicing a small S-box, talk about multiplexers, LUTs, Boolean functions, and minimal forms.

      • Firefox Security Add-on on 222k Devices Found Sending Browsing Data to Remote German Server

        There is a popular browser add-on which is installed by 222,746 Firefox users according to Mozilla’s own statistics of add-on downloads. According to a German security blogger, Mike Kuketz, and the author of uBlock Origin, Raymond Hill, this particular add-on has been spying on users’ activity by tapping into their browser histories and keeping track of the web pages that they visit. This add-on is the Web Security extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser.

        Web Security is designed to protect users from online phishing and malware attacks that could potentially steal personal information. This comes across as ironic as the extension is found to be unethically keeping tabs (pun intended) on your own information, evading your privacy without your consent. The reason that this news is hitting the stands so massively is that the add-on was publicized by Mozilla itself in a blog post just last week. The add-on boasts fantastic reviews and that’s why it is used so widely by so many people too.

      • Time Dilation

        I riffed on this a bit over at twitter some time ago; this has been sitting in the drafts folder for too long, and it’s incomplete, but I might as well get it out the door. Feel free to suggest additions or corrections if you’re so inclined.

        You may have seen this list of latency numbers every programmer should know, and I trust we’ve all seen Grace Hopper’s classic description of a nanosecond at the top of this page, but I thought it might be a bit more accessible to talk about CPU-scale events in human-scale transactional terms. So: if a single CPU cycle on a modern computer was stretched out as long as one of our absurdly tedious human seconds, how long do other computing transactions take?

      • Add-on Recommended By Mozilla Caught Logging Users’ Browsing History

        According to the reports by Mike Kuketz, an independent security blogger from Germany and uBlock Origin, an add-on named “Web Security” has been caught collecting users’ browsing history.

        [...]

        Soon after this discovery by Hill, Kuketz added a post on his blog about the same extension pointing to the same strange behavior of the add-on. A user on Kuketz’s blog decoded the garbled data and found that the add-on was collecting users’ browsing history and sending it to a German server.

  • Oracle
    • Oracle open sources Graphpipe to standardize machine learning model deployment

      Oracle, a company not exactly known for having the best relationship with the open source community, is releasing a new open source tool today called Graphpipe, which is designed to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models.

      The tool consists of a set of libraries and tools for following the standard.

    • Oracle open-sources Graphpipe to make it easier to deploy machine learning models

      Oracle today open-sourced Graphpipe, a tool created to make it easy to serve machine learning models in the cloud made by popular frameworks like TensorFlow, MXNet, Caffe2, and PyTorch. Graphpipe was designed to simplify the deployment of machine learning for use on mobile apps and IoT devices, as well as web services for end users or AI for internal use at companies.

      “Graphpipe is an attempt to standardize the protocol by which you speak to a remotely deployed machine learning model, and it includes some reference servers that allow you to deploy machine learning models from existing frameworks very easily in an efficient way,” Oracle cloud architect Vish Abrams told VentureBeat in a phone interview. Prior to joining Oracle, Abrams led efforts at NASA to open-source the OpenStack cloud computing platform.

    • Oracle open sources GraphPipe, a new standard for machine learning models

      Machine learning is expected to transform industries. However, its adoption in the enterprise has been slower than some might expect because it’s difficult for organizations to deploy and manage machine learning technology on their own. Part of the challenge is that machine learning models are often trained and deployed using bespoke techniques, making it difficult to deploy models across servers or within different departments.

    • Oracle offers GraphPipe spec for machine learning data transmission

      Oracle has developed an open source specification for transmitting tensor data, which the company wants to become a standard for machine learning.

      Called GraphPipe, the specification provides a protocol for network data transmission. GraphPipe is intended to bring the efficiency of a binary, memory-mapped format while being simple and light on dependencies. There also are clients and servers for deploying and querying machine learning models from any framework.

    • Oracle releases GraphPipe, an open-source tool for deploying AI models

      Major tech firms regularly open-source internal software projects, but it’s not often that Oracle Corp.’s name comes up in this context. Today marked one of those occasions.

      The database giant this morning released GraphPipe, a tool for easing the deployment of machine learning models. Development on the project was led by Oracle cloud architect Vish Abrams, an open-source veteran who previously worked at NASA as part of the team that created the OpenStack data center operating system.

    • Oracle Open Sources GraphPipe for ‘Dead Simple’ Machine Learning Deployment
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • How a civic hacker used open data to halve tickets at Chicago’s most confusing parking spot

        Matt Chapman used the Freedom of Information Act to get the City of Chicago’s very mess parking ticket data; after enormous and heroic data normalization, Chapman was able to pinpoint one of the city’s most confusing parking spots, between 1100-1166 N State St, which cycled between duty as a taxi-stand and a parking spot with a confusingly placed and semi-busted parking meter.

        After surveying the site and deducing the problem, Chapman contacted the alderman responsible for that stretch of North State Street, and, eight months later, the signage was cleaned up and made more intuitive.

        Followup data analysis showed that Chapman’s work had halved the number of parking tickets issued on the spot, with 600-odd fewer tickets in the past 20 months, for a savings of $60,000 to Chicago motorists.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Bluespec, Inc. Releases a New Family of Open-Source RISC-V Processors

        Bluespec Inc. has released Piccolo, its first in a family of RISC-V open-source processors provided as a vehicle for open innovation in embedded systems.

        Piccolo is a 3-stage RV32IM processor whose small “footprint” is ideal for many IoT applications. The repository (https://github.com/bluespec/Piccolo) contains a royalty-free synthesizable Verilog core that can be easily integrated and deployed into an ASIC or FPGA. Bluespec, Inc. will actively maintain Piccolo. It also offers commercial-grade tools for the customization and verification of RISC-V cores. Configurations will be continually added to provide the full spectrum of embedded controller features. Companies or universities interested in contributing to the Piccolo project should contact Bluespec, Inc. (add contact – RISC-V open source support).

  • Programming/Development
    • File Indexing In Golang

      I have been working on a pet project to write a File Indexer, which is a utility that helps me to search a directory for a given word or phrase.

      The motivation behind to build this utility was so that we could search the chat log files for dgplug. We have a lot of online classes and guest session and at time we just remember the name or a phrase used in the class, backtracking the files using these are not possible as of now. I thought I will give stab at this problem and since I am trying to learn golang I implemented my solution in it. I implemented this solution over a span of two weeks where I spent time to upskill on certain aspects and also to come up with a clean solution.

    • How Agile helps non-technical teams get things done

      What are the best ways for governments to improve effectiveness and efficiency? At San Jose City Hall, we’re getting traction with an unconventional approach: agile for non-technical teams. Public servants who do everything from emergency management to parks programs are finding that Agile methods help them with that most basic of challenges: Getting things done amid frequent interruptions and evolving priorities.

      Last September, I proclaimed, “Scrum is the best thing that’s happened to our government team.” Our innovation team of five had discovered that planning and delivering work in small increments enables us to stay focused, aligned, and continuously improving. We didn’t yet know if our experience would be replicable by other teams in our organization. We offered Agile training for 10 colleagues to see what would happen.

      Nine months later, 12 teams and more than 100 staff members throughout our organization are using Agile methods to organize their work. Notably, the spread of Agile among city teams has been largely organic, not driven by top-down mandates.

    • Top Linux developers’ recommended programming books

      Without question, Linux was created by brilliant programmers who employed good computer science knowledge. Let the Linux programmers whose names you know share the books that got them started and the technology references they recommend for today’s developers. How many of them have you read?

      [...]

      Linux was developed in the 1990s, as were other fundamental open source applications. As a result, the tools and languages the developers used reflected the times, which meant a lot of C programming language. While C is no longer as popular, for many established developers it was their first serious language, which is reflected in their choice of influential books.

      “You shouldn’t start programming with the languages I started with or the way I did,” says Torvalds. He started with BASIC, moved on to machine code (“not even assembly language, actual ‘just numbers’ machine code,” he explains), then assembly language and C.

      “None of those languages are what anybody should begin with anymore,” Torvalds says. “Some of them make no sense at all today (BASIC and machine code). And while C is still a major language, I don’t think you should begin with it.”

      It’s not that he dislikes C. After all, Linux is written in GNU C. “I still think C is a great language with a pretty simple syntax and is very good for many things,” he says. But the effort to get started with it is much too high for it to be a good beginner language by today’s standards. “I suspect you’d just get frustrated. Going from your first ‘Hello World’ program to something you might actually use is just too big of a step.”

Leftovers
  • Aretha Franklin, The Queen Of Soul, Has Died At 76

    Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul and a music legend who enjoyed a career longer than many of her successors, died Thursday. She was 76.

    Her publicist confirmed her death to the Associated Press, saying she died in at her home in Detroit from advanced pancreatic cancer.

    “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” her family said in a statement. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.”

  • Science
    • Children are susceptible to peer pressure from robots

      In a study published today in the journal Science Robotics, researchers from Germany and the UK demonstrated that children are susceptible to peer pressure from robots. The findings, say the researchers, show that, as robots and AIs become integrated into social spaces, we need to be careful about the influence they wield, especially on the young.

  • Hardware
    • As one Samsung factory opens and another may close, shifting supply chain means different IP risks [Ed: Very, very, very, very, very slow news day for the patent trolls' lobby, IAM. So they write about Samsung shifting factory location as though it's about patents; but it's not. Not even remotely...]

      Where is the biggest smartphone factory in the world? If you guessed Shenzhen, or anywhere else in China, you’re wrong as of last month. Samsung in July opened what has been dubbed the world’s largest smartphone factory in Noida, just outside of Delhi. Meanwhile, South Korean media this week reported that Samsung may be on the verge of shuttering its smartphone factory in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin. The news comes as the top global handset maker ramps up production in other parts of Asia.

    • Physical Home Cluster Setup

      Dell inspiron with extra Intel Pro/1000 Dual port Server Adapter

      3 Nodes Dell Poweredge 610 ( each with a different Solid State Drive)

      Juniper SRX 220 Router

      Tenda 8 port Gigabit Desktop switch

      The whole thing is housed in a StarTech.com 12U Adjustable Depth Open Frame 4 Post Server Rack

      Here’s what it looks like:

  • Health/Nutrition
    • A Contractor Knowingly Sold US Troops Defective Earplugs For Years. Now They’re Paying For It

      A defense contractor has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle claims that it furnished U.S. service members with earplugs that it knew were defective, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday. The settlement suggests that pure greed may be partly to blame for the military’s “silent epidemic” of hearing loss.

    • Veterans Group Sues to Block VA Shadow Rulers

      A liberal veterans group is suing to block the influence of three outside advisers who have been secretly influencing the Department of Veterans Affairs from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida.

      ProPublica reported last week that the advisers — Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, West Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz and Washington lawyer Marc Sherman — have been shaping VA personnel and policy decisions despite having no official role or relevant expertise.

      The trio, sometimes referred to as the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” is failing to disclose its activities as required by federal law, according to a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Washington, D.C., by VoteVets, a liberal activist group that says it represents 500,000 supporters.

  • Security
    • Three More Intel Chip Exploits Surface
    • Spectre-like “Foreshadow” Flaw In Intel CPUs Can Leak Your Secrets
    • Intel Foreshadow exploits: How to protect yourself from latest chip vulnerability

      Like the Spectre and Meltdown exploits earlier this year, the new L1TF / Foreshadow vulnerabilities allow for a form of speculative execution attack. Unlike those earlier exploits, these affect modern chips with SGX architecture extensions, designed to protect data and applications from interference.

    • L1TF Explained in 3 Minutes from Red Hat
    • Linux Kernel TCP Vulnerability 2

      On the week of July 15th, researcher Juha-Matti Tilli disclosed a vulnerability in the Linux kernel to the kernel maintainers, the National Cyber Security Center – Finland (NCSC-FI), CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC), and Akamai. The vulnerability, CVE-2018-5391, is a resource exhaustion attack triggered by a specially crafted stream of IP datagrams that cause expensive processing within the Linux kernel. This vulnerability is similar to the Linux TCP vulnerability announced August, 6th, 2018.

    • Two Linux bugs let remote attackers knock out network devices with low-traffic attacks

      The US CERT Coordination Center posted an alert about the security issue, tagged with the ID CVE-2018-5391, and notes the issue affects versions 3.9 and above of the Linux kernel.

    • Security updates issued for VMware, Samba, Internet Key Exchange, and Linux

      US-Cert announced updates and patches for VMware, Samba, Internet Key Exchange, and Linux kernel, respectively, to address a host of vulnerabilities.

      The VMware security updates fixed vulnerabilities in vSphere, Workstation, Fusion, and Virtual Appliances which could allow an attacker to obtain sensitive information if exploited, according to an August 14 advisory.

      The Samba Team released security updates to address several vulnerabilities which if exploited could allow threat actors to gain control of an affected system.

    • Microsoft, Intel Warn of ‘Foreshadow’ CPU Security Attacks [Ed: A Microsoft booster's take]
    • Intel Issues Security Advisory on L1 Speculative Execution Attack Method [Ed: Also a Microsoft booster's take]
    • Protecting Our Customers through the Lifecycle of Security Threats [Ed: Intel's face-saving take]
    • QEMU 3.0 Brings Spectre V4 Mitigation, OpenGL ES Support In SDL Front-End

      QEMU 3.0 is now officially available. This big version bump isn’t due to some compatibility-breaking changes, but rather to simplify their versioning and begin doing major version bumps on an annual basis. As an added bonus, QEMU 3.0 comes at a time of the project marking its 15th year in existence.

      QEMU 3.0 does amount to being a big feature release with a lot of new functionality as well as many improvements. Changes in QEMU 3.0 include Spectre V4 mitigation for x86 Intel/AMD, improved support for nested KVM guests on Microsoft Hyper-V, block device support for active mirroring, improved support for AHCI and SCSI emulation, OpenGL ES support within the SDL front-end, improved latency for user-mode networking, various ARM improvements, some POWER9 / RISC-V / s390 improvements too, and various other new bits.

    • How the L1 Terminal Fault vulnerability affects Linux systems

      Announced just yesterday in security advisories from Intel, Microsoft and Red Hat, a newly discovered vulnerability affecting Intel processors (and, thus, Linux) called L1TF or “L1 Terminal Fault” is grabbing the attention of Linux users and admins. Exactly what is this vulnerability and who should be worrying about it?

    • Flaw discovered in Intel chips, allows attackers to steal cloud data [Ed: Intel deserves to go bankrupt for selling billions of chips with defects and back doors in them (no accident, they put the ME there consciously)]
    • Theo on the latest Intel issues

      Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) posted to the tech@ mailing list with some background on how the latest discovered Intel CPU issues relate to OpenBSD.

      [...]

      These 3 issues (CVE-2018-3615, CVE-2018-3620, CVE-2018-3646) together
      are the currently public artifacts of this one bug.

    • OpenBSD chief slams Intel , says more CPU flaws likely to be found

      The head of the OpenBSD project, Theo de Raadt, has warned that more flaws related to speculative execution in Intel CPUs are likely to be found and that the two vulnerabilities found by Intel, as a result of examining the Foreshadow bug — found by two independent teams — are cause for much worry.

      De Raadt told iTWire that Foreshadow was “the wrong name. It is one of three side effects of a very poor Intel decision”.

      And he added in a mailing list post, “CVE-2018-3615 (Foreshadow) is by receiving the most press which is amazing considering it is by far the most boring of the 3, since very few few people give a rat’s ass about SGX – who cares if SGX is broken when the CPU can’t run your OS safely? Some convincing press agencies were hired, I guess, and have performed a masterful job of distracting.”

    • New family of new speculative execution bugs, Foreshadow, adds to Spectre-Meltdown misery

      Three newly discovered speculative execution vulnerabilities found in Intel CPUs may turn out to be more serious than their Spectre and Meltdown cousins, because this time the side-channel attack bugs affect microprocessors that support Intel Software Guard Extensions, as well as virtual machines running on the same third-party cloud as the susceptible device.

      The new family of Spectre-like flaws, dubbed Foreshadow (CVE-2018-3615) and Foreshadow-NG (CVE-2018-3620 and CVE-2018-3646), were independently uncovered by two separate research teams — one from imec-DistriNet-KU Leuven in Belgium, and the other from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, and University of Adelaide and CSIRO’s Data61 in Australia.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Cisco, Huawei, ZyXel, and Huawei patch Cryptographic IPSEC IKE Vulnerability
    • 11-year-old shows it’s child’s play to mess with elections

      At the DefCon Voting Village in Las Vegas last year, participants proved it was child’s play to hack voting machines: As Wired reported, within two minutes, democracy-tech researcher Carsten Schürmann used a novel vulnerability to get remote access to a WinVote machine.

      This year, it was literally child’s play: the DefCon village this past weekend invited 50 kids between the ages of 8 and 16 to compromise replicas of states’ websites in the so-called “DEFCON Voting Machine Hacking Village.”

    • Election Websites, Back-End Systems Most at Risk of Cyberattack in Midterms

      Both adult and kid hackers demonstrated at DEF CON how the hackable voting machine may be the least of our worries in the 2018 elections.

      Two 11-year-old budding hackers last week at DEF CON in Las Vegas used SQL injection attack code to break into a replica of the Florida Secretary of State’s website within 15 minutes, altering vote count reports on the site.

      Meanwhile, further down the hall in the adult Voting Machine Hacking Village at Caesars Palace, one unidentified hacker spent four hours trying to break into a replica database that housed the real, publicly available state of Ohio voter registration roll. He got as far as the secured server — penetrating two layers of firewalls with a Khali Linux pen testing tool — but in the end was unable to grab the data from the database, which included names and birthdates of registered voters.

    • How Netflix Secures AWS Cloud Credentials

      Netflix has long been the poster child for being an “all-in-the-cloud” organization. The streaming media service relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for infrastructure and computing resources that it uses to operate.

    • Researchers Reveal Security Vulnerabilities in Tracking Apps

      Millions of users around the world regularly install tracker apps on their Android devices to help them keep track of friends and loved ones. Some of those tracker apps, however, contain vulnerabilities that could potentially enable an attacker to track the users of the apps.

      Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology detailed 37 vulnerabilities found in 19 mobile tracking apps in a session at Defcon in Las Vegas on Aug. 11. The researchers responsibly disclosed the flaws to Google and noted that, as of the time of their presentation, 12 of the apps had been removed from the Google Play store, leaving seven still publicly available and vulnerable.

      “In this project it was very easy to find vulnerabilities,” security researcher Siegfried Rasthofer said. “There were no sophisticated exploits.”

    • Reconsidering Speck

      The Speck cipher is geared toward good performance in software, which makes it attractive for smaller, often embedded, systems with underpowered CPUs that lack hardware crypto acceleration. But it also comes from the US National Security Agency (NSA), which worries lots of people outside the US—and, in truth, a fair number of US citizens as well. The NSA has earned a reputation for promulgating various types of cryptographic algorithms with dubious properties. While the technical arguments against Speck, which is a fairly simple and straightforward algorithm with little room for backdoors, have not been all that compelling, the political arguments are potent—to the point where it is being dropped by the main proponent for including it in the kernel.

    • WireGuarding the mainline

      The WireGuard VPN tunnel has been under development — and attracting attention — for a few years now; LWN ran a review of it in March. While WireGuard can be found in a number of distribution repositories, it is not yet shipped with the mainline kernel because its author, Jason Donenfeld, hasn’t gotten around to proposing it for upstreaming. That changed on on July 31, when Donenfeld posted WireGuard for review. Getting WireGuard itself into the mainline would probably not be all that hard; merging some of the support code it depends on could be another story, though.

      WireGuard implements a simple tunneling protocol allowing network traffic to be routed through a virtual private network provider. It has been developed with an eye toward smallness, ease of verification, and performance, rather than large numbers of features. It is, according to the patch posting, “used by some massive companies pushing enormous amounts of traffic”. Some effort has gone into making WireGuard widely available, an effort that has helped to create a significant user community. But the ultimate way to make this kind of software widely available is to get it into everybody’s kernel; that requires upstreaming.

    • Putting Stickers On Your Laptop Is Probably a Bad Security Idea

      Mitchell said political stickers, for instance, can land you in secondary search or result in being detained while crossing a border. In one case, Mitchell said a hacker friend ended up missing a flight over stickers.

    • Video Shows Hotel Security at DEF CON Joking About Posting Photos of Guests’ Belongings to Snapchat

      But the room check captured on video suggests the walkthroughs are subject to abuse by hotel personnel who may use them as opportunity to snoop on guests or take and post images for amusement. And accounts of other searches that involved hotel security staff refusing to show ID or showing insufficient ID, and displaying bullying and threatening behavior to guests in occupied rooms, raises questions about the legality of the searches and the tactics and training of security personnel.

    • Researchers in Finland detect vulnerability in password management software

      Researchers identified a security gap in more than 10 applications used by millions around the world, including an app used by Finland's population registry.

    • How to Protect Your PC From the Intel Foreshadow Flaws
    • AT&T Sued After SIM Hijacker Steals $24 Million in Customer’s Cryptocurrency

      It has only taken a few years, but the press, public and law enforcement appear to finally be waking up to the problem of SIM hijacking. SIM hijacking (aka SIM swapping or a “port out scam”) involves a hacker hijacking your phone number, porting it over to their own device (often with a wireless carrier employee’s help), then taking control of your personal accounts. As we’ve been noting, the practice has heated up over the last few years, with countless wireless customers saying their entire identities were stolen after thieves ported their phone number to another carrier, then took over their private data.

      Sometimes this involves selling valuable Instagram account names for bitcoin; other times it involves clearing out the target’s banking or cryptocurrency accounts. Case in point: California authorities recently brought the hammer down on one 20-year-old hacker, who had covertly ported more than 40 wireless user accounts, in the process stealing nearly $5 million in bitcoin.

      One of the problems at the core of this phenomenon is that hackers have either tricked or paid wireless carrier employees to aid in the hijacking, or in some instances appear to have direct access to (apparently) poorly-secured internal carrier systems. That has resulted in lawsuits against carriers like T-Mobile for not doing enough to police their own employees, the unauthorized access of their systems, or the protocols utilized to protect consumer accounts from this happening in the first place.

    • Voting Machine Vendors, Election Officials Continue To Look Ridiculous, As Kids Hack Voting Machines In Minutes
    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Mexico’s Tlatelolco Massacre, and Its Echoes Today
    • Mental Illness does not Explain Terrorism

      If we truly want to get to a place where we can live in a society that treats mental health seriously and effectively we need to have the ability to have tough conversations. Following the Danforth shooting we need to be able to speak openly and honestly about Islamic terrorism, guns, crime, mental health, fentanyl and policing without getting into shouting matches.

    • ‘Ultimate Form Of Civilization Jihad’ Planned For This Michigan City

      Sterling Heights is unique in that it is home to not only a growing Muslim community but one of the largest concentrations of Chaldean Catholic Christians in the U.S. These Christians fled persecution in Iraq. Word of the open house spread quickly among Chaldeans and other Christians when a flyer showing the targeted church started circulating in the area last week.

    • Ceuta Onslaught: How Gaddafi’s Grim Prophecy for Europe is Coming True

      “Now listen, you people of NATO,” Gaddafi said on the eve of NATO’s invasion of Libya in 2011. “You’re bombing a wall which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al-Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it.”

    • Honour Killing in UP : Brother beheads sister, waits for police with blood-soaked knife

      Her father Kallu Gazi and brother Aas Mohammad were very annoyed with her eloping with Abid whom they disliked. About a week ago, Aas Mohammad had publicly announced in the colony that he would behead her sister for daring to go against the family members.

    • “Girl With A Book” Frightens Extremists: Malala On Pak School Burning

      According to Dawn, Diamer Superintendent Police (SP) Roy Ajmal said 12 schools, including only-girls schools were set on fire. He also said that in a few cases, books were also thrown out and torched.

      Dawn quoted local police officer Mohammad Bashir as saying that the attack on schools took place near Chilas before dawn on Friday, however, no casualties were reported as the schools were closed when the attack took place.

      Police added that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

    • Amnesty accuses Turkey of ‘turning blind eye’ to abuses in Afrin

      Amnesty International says Turkish forces in the northern Syrian city of Afrin are giving Syrian militias “free rein” to commit serious human rights abuses. The group alleges torture, forced disappearances and looting.

    • Syria: Turkey must stop serious violations by allied groups and its own forces in Afrin

      Research released today reveals that residents in Afrin are enduring a wide range of violations, mostly at the hands of Syrian armed groups that have been equipped and armed by Turkey. These violations include arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and confiscation of property and looting to which Turkey’s armed forces have turned a blind eye. Some of these groups, and Turkish armed forces themselves, also have taken over schools, disrupting the education of thousands of children.

    • Russian-backed separatists are using terrifying text messages to shock adversaries — and it’s changing the face of warfare

      Russian-backed separatists are “adept at identifying Ukrainian positions by their electrometric signatures,” US Army Col. Liam Collins wrote in late July.

    • Linguistic Contortions in Gaza

      News outlets have performed torturous linguistic contortions to avoid stating the simple fact that Israel is shooting hundreds of demonstrators with live ammunition, killing 30 and injuring close to 2,000. An Associated Press headline (4/6/18) said, “Palestinian Protesters Burn Tires, Sending Smoke Billowing at Gaza/Israel Border; Israeli Troops Fire Back Sporadically.” That’s a logical impossibility: Israeli forces cannot “fire back” at people who aren’t firing at them. The sentence rests on the absurd assumption that burning tires is the same as shooting people.

    • Man who destroyed Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star charged with felony vandalism

      The man who allegedly used a pickaxe to vandalize President Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has reportedly been charged with vandalism.

    • Israeli Military Clears Itself of Wrongdoing in 2014 Gaza War’s ‘Black Friday’

      Known as “Black Friday,” Israel’s assault on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Aug. 1, 2014, was one of the deadliest and most scrutinized episodes in the 50-day war that summer.

      On Wednesday, the Israeli military cleared itself of wrongdoing in the bitterly contested episode. It published the conclusions of the examination into its conduct as Israel eased some restrictions on Gaza and moved to shore up the fragile cease-fire agreements that ended that war.

      Human rights groups like Amnesty International have said there was “strong evidence” that Israel carried out war crimes in Rafah by killing scores of Palestinians, most of them civilians. Some accused the Israeli military of firing in revenge, disproportionately and indiscriminately, after Hamas militants abducted a soldier, Lt. Hadar Goldin.

    • Whatever happened to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan?

      The troops waging America’s 17-year-old war in Afghanistan are confronting a puzzle: What has become of the enemy who drew them there?

      Al-Qaeda, the group whose September 11 terror attacks provoked the U.S. invasion in 2001, has shrunk to relative obscurity among the military’s other missions in Afghanistan, supplanted by newer threats such as a local branch of the Islamic State. And it is a matter of debate how much al-Qaeda’s remaining Afghan presence still focuses on launching attacks overseas, according to current and former military officers and government officials, experts, and Afghans from areas where the group operates.

      Only a small portion of the 15,000 American troops in Afghanistan are involved in the counterterrorism mission that the military calls its “core objective” there. Even fewer of those are hunting al-Qaeda, whose presence in the country has dwindled after years of drone strikes. Instead, U.S. special operations forces are focusing on the Afghan branch of ISIS, a less secretive group that in some way offers an easier target.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Wikileaks served via twitter

      The US Democratic National Committee (DNC) has subpoenaed Wikileaks via Twitter.

      Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, the DNC’s law firm, filed a motion to serve Wikileaks through Twitter and first-class mail on 20 July. The motion was granted by US District Court Judge John Koeltl on 6 August.

      On 10 August, Cohen Milstein tweeted to Wikileaks from a newly created account linking to legal documents hosted on a website that appears to have been created for the purpose.

    • Democrats Tweet-Serve Subpoena to WikiLeaks

      The Democratic National Committee’s vendetta against WikiLeaks, Russia and pro-Trump political operatives took an unconventional turn recently when the political party served WikiLeaks with a subpoena over Twitter.

      A law firm representing the DNC notified WikiLeaks it had been sued simply by mentioning the document publisher in a tweet and dumping the associated legal URLs to fill out the rest of the tweet. “By Court order, you are being served with the following legal documents,” the law firm said August 10.

    • Are Summons Just Getting Tweeted Now? Analyzing the Legal Issues With Serving Formal Papers on Social Media

      Last Friday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) served WikiLeaks via Twitter. While the microblog service is extremely popular within the White House these days, it’s one of only a handful of instances when it has been used for such an official purpose, maybe except that time when the U.S. Secretary of State found out he had been fired in a presidential tweet.

      So, the law firm representing the DNC in its civil lawsuit against WikiLeaks officially served the legal documents on the case to WikiLeaks by tagging its official account in a post. Notably, the account seems to have been created specifically for that purpose, as it is relatively new and has no other tweets.

    • Courage announcement

      We thank Naomi Colvin for her work as Courage Director over the last year, including the successful campaign to resist Lauri Love’s extradition to the US, which was widely publicised in the UK and abroad. Naomi joined Courage in 2014. We wish her all success.

      Courage defends those who are subject to serious prosecution or persecution. It is designed to increase the power of defence campaigns through mutual aid, sharing basic financial and internet infrastructure and solidarity.

    • The White House Is Terrified As Omarosa Is Giving Trump The WikiLeaks Treatment

      Omarosa’s decision to slowly leak out her taped conversations is exactly what Trump and WikiLeaks did with the Russian hacked Clinton emails, and it is terrifying the White House.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Group aims to help resolve DAPL protest warrants

      An organization formed to provide legal help to opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline is launching an effort to help protesters with criminal warrants resolve their cases.

      There are about 100 outstanding warrants issued for people from 25 states.

    • Dead fish, birds, manatees, even a whale shark. Toll from worst red tide in decade grows.

      And while red tide is an annual event, Ruane sees the severity of this year as a chance to educate his constituents about the risks of over-fertilizing, not addressing pollution from stormwater run-off and the need for long-term fixes to the Everglades. He’s also hoping to convince the Corps — he took the agency’s South Florida deputy commander Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds on a tour Tuesday — to speed up changes in managing the lake and reconsider flushing water to the coasts.

      It should also serve as a wake-up call, Baroon said.

      “Wildlife is the canary in the coal mine,” she said. “It’s the thing telling us your environment is very unhealthy and as a human species you need to do something about it.”

    • Germany’s car industry can’t build its own battery cells

      Later this year, Audi will sell an electric vehicle that can keep up with Tesla’s performance and range. Mercedes, Volkswagen, and BMW will follow soon, as they are set to regain technological leadership, especially when it comes to luxury cars. But even if they do, they will be depending on suppliers from China, Korea, or Japan to deliver one crucial part of their EVs: the battery cells. As it turns out, Germany’s automotive industry is not able to build those highly needed components. At least, not anymore.

    • Gruesome Faroe Islands whale cull turns the sea RED as fishermen force hundreds ashore to butcher them

      Horrific photos reveal the aftermath of a brutal killing of a pod of whales on a remote Arctic island.

      The animals are rounded up and slaughtered by villagers several times a year in a tradition that has caused outrage across the world.

      One of these culls happens every summer where thousands of pilot and beaked whales are massacred in bays across the Danish-owned Faroe Islands as inhabitants prepare for the harsh winter months ahead.

      Images show fishermen driving herds into shallow waters that have already been stained red by the blood of previously slaughtered animals.

      The water is littered with dozens of corpses many of which can be seen with massive gashes on their bodies where people have hacked at them.

  • Finance
    • Where do people get money to buy California homes these days? Often, from mom and dad

      Back in 2011, about one in four FHA loans in California included down payment money from relatives. Today, it’s one in three.

    • Japan regulator reportedly looking into whether Apple secretly crushed an App Store competitor

      Japan’s Fair Trade Commission is looking into whether Apple improperly pressured Yahoo Japan to shut down a game streaming platform that competed with the iOS App Store, according to Nikkei. Yahoo Japan’s Game Plus service allowed people to stream full games made for other platforms and to play HTML5 games on mobile phones, which would have allowed iPhone owners to get games without going through the App Store.

    • Apple probed in Japan over anti-competitive behavior

      Yahoo told multiple business partners that it was forced to cut back because of pressure behind the scenes from Apple. The Japanese company relies on the U.S. tech giant for part of its profits in the form of sales through the App Store.

    • Uber reportedly lost $891 million in the second quarter of 2018 as growth slows

      Bloomberg characterized the report as Khosrowshahi embracing the company’s “growth above profit” ethos. But it has cast a spotlight on some of Uber’s more expensive, trouble-prone projects. Specifically, the company’s beleaguered self-driving car operation is said to be losing as much as $200 million a quarter, The Information reported today. And Bloomberg noted that Uber is being urged by investors to off-load the unit.

    • Uber CEO Embraces Losing Money With Revenue Growth Slowing

      Nearly a year into Khosrowshahi’s tenure, Uber reported on Wednesday a second-quarter loss of $891 million. While it’s a 16 percent improvement from a year earlier, the loss follows a rare profit posted in the first quarter, thanks largely to the sale of overseas assets.

    • Tencent Slumps After First Profit Drop in at Least a Decade

      The very government that has favored Tencent as a technology champion is now directly hurting its results, with the bureaucratic shakeup in Beijing blocking its path to making money from games. The Shenzhen-based company relies on new content to draw and keep users on its WeChat messaging service, over which it sells in-game items and advertising to a billion-plus users. Tencent hasn’t been able to cash in on the world’s most popular games, including Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

    • ‘There’s an Alternative to the Hierarchical, Top-Down Capitalist Corporation’

      No, you know, it’s always struck me as bizarre, even if you are a great lover of capitalism, our system, and you just think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Even if you’re like that, if that’s your point of view, the fact is that places, like, I don’t know, let’s pick one: the People’s Republic of China—for the last 25 years, that economy, which is organized in ways that are different from the one we have here in the United States, that People’s Republic of China has achieved the most rapid economic transformation from poor country to superpower economically, that we have ever seen in the history of the human race. OK…. That alone would mean we ought to be exploring, in our classrooms, in our media: What’s that about? How did they accomplish that? That’s something that most of the world’s people dream of, and so it’s an important matter.

      And now you add another couple of other considerations. That it’s the largest country by population on this planet. And it is a superpower, has nuclear weapons and all of that. And you’d say, any rational person would understand: Of course we have to look at that model of how you do economics, how you organize an economic system, to ask the logical, rational question: not necessarily that we must copy them, but are there things about what they do, and how they organize, that we might be able to learn something from?

    • More Than One Million Labour Leave Voters Have Abandoned Brexit, Says Gordon Brown

      Gordon Brown has said more than one million Labour supporters who voted for Brexit have now changed their mind, as pressure grows on Jeremy Corbyn to back a second EU referendum.

      The former prime minister said on Wednesday that the country was “losing hope” and had been “immobilised by divisions”.

      “Remain voters are despondent, fearing that we have moved from a soft Brexit to a hard Brexit to a no-deal Brexit,” he told the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

      “But leave voters believe that none of the Brexit options- a Norway-style deal, a Swiss-style deal or the Canadian option – can deliver what they were promised and now feel betrayed.

      “Our country is often accused of being stuck in the past. The problem this time is that we are stuck in the present – and, as each day passes, becoming less and less optimistic about the future.”

      Brown said polling, including a survey from Hope not Hate that suggested 21% of Labour leave votes had changed their mind, meant more than one million of the party’s supporters had abandoned Brexit.

      Labour’s internal arguments over Brexit are set to come to a head at its annual conference in September.

      Corbyn is facing a move by pro-EU members to hold a vote committing the party to holding referendum on Theresa May’s final Brexit deal.

    • Fox Business Took a Shot at Denmark. Denmark Fired Back.

      An anchor, Trish Regan, called the country a warning about socialism, mentioning it alongside Venezuela. The Danish finance minister led an angry response.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Trump ends Obama-era rules on US-led cyberattacks: report

      The memorandum required that an extensive interagency process take place before the U.S. government embarks on any cyberattacks. Trump reversed the rules to try and ease some of those restrictions, which critics argued were detrimental to launching the attacks quickly, according to the Journal.

    • Trump Strikes Back at ‘Ringleader’ Brennan

      There’s more than meets the eye to President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearances that ex-CIA Director John Brennan enjoyed as a courtesy customarily afforded former directors. The President’s move is the second major sign that Brennan is about to be hoist on his own petard. It is one embroidered with rhetoric charging Trump with treason and, far more important, with documents now in the hands of congressional investigators showing Brennan’s ringleader role in the so-far unsuccessful attempts to derail Trump both before and after the 2016 election.

      Brennan will fight hard to avoid being put on trial but will need united support from from his Deep State co-conspirators — a dubious proposition. One of Brennan’s major concerns at this point has to be whether the “honor-among-thieves” ethos will prevail, or whether some or all of his former partners in crime will latch onto the opportunity to “confess” to investigators: “Brennan made me do it.”

    • Trump-Media Logrolling

      Today, hundreds of newspapers, at the initiative of The Boston Globe, are purporting to stand up for a free press against Trump’s rhetoric.

      Today also marks exactly one month since I was dragged out of the July 16 Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and locked up until the middle of the night.

      As laid in my cell, I chuckled at the notion that the city was full of billboards proclaiming Finland was the “land of free press“.

      So, I’ve grown an especially high sensitivity to both goonish behavior toward journalists trying to ask tough questions — and to those professing they are defending a free press when they are actually engaging in a marketing exercise.

      As some have noted, the editorials today will likely help Trump whip up support among his base against a monolithic media. But, just as clearly, the establishment media can draw attention away from their own failures, corruptions and falsehoods simply by focusing on Trump’s.

      Big media outlets need not actually report news that affects your life and point to serious solutions for social ills. They can just bad mouth Trump. And Trump need not deliver on campaign promises that tapped into populist and isolationist tendencies in the U.S. public that have grown in reaction to years of elite rule. He need only deride the major media.

      They are at worst frenemies. More likely, at times, Trump and the establishment media log roll with each other. The major media built up Trump. Trump’s attacks effectively elevate a select few media celebrities.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • FCC shuts down Alex Jones’s flagship radio station

      The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that the pirate radio station, Liberty Radio, was hit with a $15,000 fine and at least temporarily pulled from the airwaves.

    • Austin pirate radio station, flagship for Alex Jones, faces $15k fine

      A pirate radio station that serves as controversial host Alex Jones’ Austin flagship has been knocked off the city’s airwaves – at least temporarily – and the Federal Communications Commission has levied a $15,000 penalty that the station’s operators are refusing to pay.

    • Google Needs To Come Clean About Its Chinese Plans

      Eight years after Google initially took a stand against Internet censorship by exiting the Chinese search market, we are disappointed to learn the company has been secretly re-considering an extended collaboration with the massive censorship and surveillance-wielding state. According to an Intercept report released at the beginning of the month, Google is working on a censored version of its search service for release in China.

      In 2010, EFF and many other organizations praised Google for refusing to sacrifice the company’s values for access to the Chinese market. At the time, this move followed public backlash and several attacks on Google’s infrastructure that targeted the personal data of several prominent Chinese human rights activists. Google’s departure from China showed that strong core values in fundamental human rights could beat out short-term economic gain in the calculus of an Internet company.

      But now it seems the company has reversed course.

      This news comes amid other reports of American tech giants compromising values to enter or remain within China: Facebook has piloted a censored version of its own platform, and Apple recently faced criticism for moving its customers’ data into China-hosted servers, and adding code to filter the Taiwanese flag emoji in Chinese locales.

      Within China, Google’s direct competitor, Baidu, has been facing a significant amount of social, regulatory, and economic backlash over recent advertising malpractice, such as monetizing questionable medical advertisements, heavily deprioritizing non-Baidu services, and allegedly promoting phishing sites. There may well be a growing demand for competition within the Chinese search engine market.

    • Court Says CBP Likely Violating First Amendment By Forbidding Photography Of Publicly-Viewable Border Crossings

      Another (partial) win for the First Amendment, the ACLU, and American citizens. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a decision forbidding the photography of CBP officers at border crossings. (h/t Mitra Ebadolahi)

      The CBP seems to have a problem respecting the First Amendment rights (along with several other rights) of American citizens when engaged in its border patrolling and protecting. This same appeals court recently allowed the heavily-harassed citizens of an Arizona border town to move forward with their First Amendment lawsuit against the agency, ruling that the CBP acted arbitrarily when dealing with protesters and activists documenting checkpoint activity. The record clearly showed the CBP removed people it didn’t like from its imaginary zone of exclusion while allowing other random citizens more aligned with the CBP’s open harassment of American citizens to venture inside the ad hoc DMZ to harass citizens documenting harassment.

      [...]

      The decision does not hand the plaintiffs a complete victory. It does shift the burden of proof back on the government and instructs the lower court to allow the case to proceed to see if the government can actually offer up anything supporting its random time/place restrictions that border on total violation of established First Amendment principles. The appeals court seems inclined to believe the CBP cannot simply forbid photography of publicly-viewable enforcement activities by members of the public. We’ll have to see what the lower court does on remand, considering it already granted the government a free pass once, because National Security > Established Constitutional Rights, apparently.

    • I’m Alex Jones x Infinity Worse (on Twitter)

      Twitter just suspended Alex Jones for a week after he called on millions of people to pick up weapons to attack the press. I am still in the dark about what I said on Twitter that is x Infinity worse, as mine is a permanent suspension.

      Anyway, I hope with Alex Jones (and me) gone, your Twitter is better, kinder, more… ideologically pure. @jack seems to be on a campaign ahead of the midterms to make Twitter less politically diverse, so I hope that is good for you, not to have to block all those nasty contrary opinions and all. Soon enough it’ll be just down to what the Party wants you to read and for most people that is a comfortably numb place to be. I wish you well! You will learn, as I have, to love Big Brother. Twitter will help you learn.

      [...]

      Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis held people must discuss and criticize unpopular ideas, that free speech is not an abstract virtue but a key element at the heart of a democratic society. Even the fact that speech is likely to result in “violence or in destruction of property is not enough to justify its suppression.” Brandeis concluded “the deterrents to be applied to prevent violence and disruption are education and punishment for violations of the law, not abridgment of free speech.”

      Free speech is not an ends, it is a means, in a democracy. Shame on Twitter, et al, for treading on that mighty concept. Free speech is messy, and it is our essential defense against fascism, whether from the left or the right.

    • Video Games In Germany Can Now Maybe Kinda Sometimes Have Swastikas

      As you likely know, Germany has some very restrictive laws surrounding how and when Nazi iconography can appear in the country. This has resulted in a heavily-policed artistic community, particularly when it comes to video games, which has produced some fairly funny happenings about games accidentally going to Germany chock full of Nazi stuff and other funny happenings in which the game makers make a show of doing as little as possible to get around the law. In the realm of other media, such as movies, the German government has put in place a review process to make sure that the use of Nazi symbols furthers the artistic or historical accuracy of the entertainment. Video games have not had such a review system. And, look, on some level this sort of attempt by Germany to restrict the use of these hateful symbols is understandable. The kind of global embarrassment that comes with committing the worst genocide in history is the sort of thing that leaves a mark. But we’ve also pointed out that these German laws aren’t so much stamping out fascist thought as they are putting the government’s collective head in the sand as some kind of grand virtue signal to the planet.

    • TLS 1.3 is Coming – an Opportunity for Amazon, Google and Microsoft to End Censorship

      A new standard for cryptography is on the horizon, called Transport Level Security 1.3 (TLS 1.3).

      TLS 1.3 is a major update to cryptography, and fundamentally changes how websites and services will handle negotiating and executing encrypted services.

      Among the big improvements are faster handshakes with websites (meaning faster page load times), new ciphers (new and stronger types of encryption) and new hash functions (types of verification to check if data is genuine). It also features privacy improvements such as reducing the amount of metadata that is exposed to eavesdroppers, as all metadata that isn’t needed for the routing around the web itself is now hidden behind encryption.

    • A Free Press Works for All of Us

      ProPublica does not have an editorial page, and we have never advocated for a particular policy to address the wrongs our journalism exposes. But from the very beginning of our work more than a decade ago, we have benefited enormously from the traditions and laws that protect free speech. And so today, as the nation’s news organizations remind readers of the value of robust journalism, it seems fitting to add our voice.

      ProPublica specializes in investigative reporting — telling stories with “moral force” that hold government, businesses and revered institutions to account. There are few forms of journalism more vulnerable to pressure from the powerful. What we publish can change the outcome of elections, reverse policies, embarrass police or prosecutors and cost companies boatloads of money. The main subjects of our work, in most cases, would much prefer that our reporting never appear or be substantially watered down.

    • Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors

      In a recent tweet, US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) warned that “Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart.” His solution: “These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.”

      Yes, odd as it might seem, Senator Murphy believes that the future of America can only be secured by suppressing information and discussion he doesn’t like. That sentiment seems to be going around. David McCabe of Axios reports on a leaked policy paper from the office of US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). Two of its most dangerous proposals:

      “[N]ew federal funding for media literacy programs that could help consumers sort through the information on online platforms. ” In other words, well-financed government propaganda to make sure we hear what Mark Warner wants us to hear (and think what he wants us to think about what we hear elsewhere).

    • ‘Towering’ opponent of censorship John Calder dies aged 91

      Described as “at the forefront of postwar publishing and a towering figure in the fight against censorship,” the Canadian-born Calder founded his own company in 1949, now part of Alma Classics. Calder Publishing published Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky as well poetry, novels, criticism and plays of Beckett.

      Alma Books’ founder Alessandro Gallenzi told The Bookseller that Calder died on Monday morning (13th August) at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh after suffering a rapid decline in health over the past few weeks.

      Gallenzi described Calder, who was a publisher, bookseller and author himself, as “a passionate publisher and a fiercely independent man”.

    • Edinburgh festivals: Calder, publisher who helped beat censorship, dies aged 91
    • Lester Holt talks Twitter censorship
    • Why Did Facebook Purge TeleSUR English?
    • Analysis: teleSUR censorship shows that the press can never be free in a world of social media superpowers
    • Five examples that show internet censorship is as much a threat to the left as the right

      The banning of right wing controversialist Alex Jones from multiple social media platforms last week was a cause of celebration for many liberals, but should those on the left really be so complacent about creeping censorship?

      So far, the evidence suggest that there is indeed plenty for the left to worry about when it comes to corporations like Facebook and Twitter and their alliances with government censors.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • IA concerns over privacy, security issues with encryption law

      Internet Australia has raised serious privacy and security concerns about the Australian Government’s proposal to introduce a new cyber encryption law, warning the draft law seeks unprecedented expansion of powers to access citizen’s devices.

    • US gov staffers are officially banned from using Huawei and ZTE devices

      Trump, who famously made a cameo in Zoolander, this week signed the Defense Authorization Act into law. The bill, which goes into effect over the next two years, introduces a ban on devices and equipment used to route or view user data made by Chinese manufacturers including Huawei and ZTE.

    • Brazilian data protection is strong step forward, action needed on enforcement

      Brazil’s newly passed data protection law is a huge step forward in the protection of user privacy. It’s great to see Brazil, long a champion of digital rights, join the ranks of countries with data protection laws on the books. We are concerned, however, about President Temer’s veto of several provisions, including the Data Protection Authority. We urge the President and Brazilian policymakers to swiftly advance new legislation or policies to ensure effective enforcement of the law.

    • Here’s What Happens When We Allow Facial Recognition Technology in Our Schools

      Facial recognition technology — unregulated, prone to error, and poorly understood — is being rapidly rolled out in schools.

      The idea of facial recognition technology conjures up scenes from books and films set in dystopian futures in which freedom and liberty have been forfeited in exchange for the illusion of security. From 1984 to Minority Report, these are worlds where everyone is suspect, and no one is safe.

      Today, you don’t need to look to fiction to imagine these consequences. Facial recognition technology — unregulated, prone to error, and poorly understood — is being rapidly rolled out in the institutions where we should place the most trust: our schools.

      In recent weeks, the NYCLU sounded the alarm after the Lockport City School District received $4 million in state funds to purchase facial recognition technology. More recently, RealNetworks announced that it is offering its facial recognition technology to any K-12 school in the country for free, claiming it’ll make schools safer.

      This is a dangerous path that schools should think twice about.

      We will do just about anything to protect our children. Promises of an omnipotent machine correctly identifying and stopping potential perpetrators make facial recognition technology alluring to parents and educators. And from the perspective of cash-strapped school districts, obtaining this technology for free can seem like a no-brainer.

      But facial recognition technology does not make our schools safer. In fact, facial recognition technology is especially prone to sabotage: For 22 cents, you can purchase a pair of cardboard glasses to fool it.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Pope Francis changes church’s teaching on the death penalty

      “Consequently the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide,” reads the new text, which was approved in May but only published Thursday.

    • Afghan child bride killed by husband in revenge: Officials

      After the other girl in the arrangement was killed by her own husband, Hameya’s husband began to torture her in revenge and eventually killed her, Shahabi told AFP.

    • Saudi Arabia arrests two more women’s rights activists: rights group

      “The arrests of Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah signal that the Saudi authorities see any peaceful dissent, whether past or present, as a threat to their autocratic rule,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

    • Court Strikes Down New Hampshire Law That Disenfranchised Voters Over Handwriting

      Judge finds the state’s signature-match process to be “fundamentally flawed.”

      On Tuesday, a federal judge struck down a New Hampshire law that disenfranchised hundreds of voters each general election because of their handwriting. The law in question required election moderators to compare the signature on a voter’s absentee-ballot application to the signature on an affidavit that the voter sends with the absentee ballot. If the election official felt that that the signatures did not match, they would simply throw out the vote.

      In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Landya McCafferty called the process, “fundamentally flawed,” finding that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the law did not provide voters with notice and an opportunity to be heard before they were disenfranchised.

      Under the law, New Hampshire voters were not informed of the decision that their signatures do not match or given an opportunity to address it before their vote is discarded. This is exactly what happened to our client Mary Saucedo, a 95-year-old woman who is legally blind and requires the help of her husband Gus to fill out her ballot. In 2016, an election moderator determined that Mary’s signatures did not match and threw out her vote without notification. It was one of the rare times Mary was not able to participate in the democratic process since 1944, when she first voted in a presidential election.

      Disenfranchisement does not only violate individuals’ constitutional rights — it can impact close elections. At least two voters at the Laconia Rehabilitation Center were disenfranchised during the 2016 general election because of the signature-match law. The Senate District 7 race — which covers Laconia — was decided by only 17 votes and, in fact, was subject to a recount. During the recount, the secretary of state took the position that he did not have the authority to overturn the moderator’s decision to reject these ballots due to “signature mismatch.” As the court noted, “[T]he likelihood of error . . . is only compounded by the lack of meaningful review or oversight.”

      The court also agreed, “It cannot be emphasized enough that the consequence of a moderator’s decision—disenfranchisement—is irremediable.”

    • ‘Journey for Justice’ Caravan Launches Cross Country Trek

      The Trump Administration, with Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as its willing lightning rod, is in the process of dismantling key aspects of the U.S. political asylum program. To that end, the administration has begun to zero in on what is known as Temporary Protected Status(TPS). TPS was established by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990. It’s a humanitarian program that mandates that the United States should suspend deportations to countries that have been destabilized by war, civil conflict, or natural catastrophe.

      According to the National TPS Alliance, if the trump Administration manages to crush the program, over 450, 000 people would face possible deportation, putting them in harm’s way, facing extreme violence and possible death.

      In response, a national grassroots coalition of refugee and immigrants rights activists will caravan from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. Those who are directly affected by Trump’s extreme anti immigrant policy–the TPS recipients themselves will lead the Journey for Justice Caravan.

    • When Sarah Sanders and the ACLU Teamed Up for Voting Rights

      As the midterm elections approach, Republican state officials and lawmakers have stepped up efforts to block students from voting in their college towns. Republicans in Texas pushed through a law last year requiring voters to carry one of seven forms of photo identification, including handgun licenses but excluding student IDs. In June, the GOP-controlled legislature in North Carolina approved early voting guidelines that have already resulted in closing of polling locations at several colleges. And last month, New Hampshire’s Republican governor signed a law that prevents students from voting in the state unless they first register their cars and obtain driver’s licenses there.

      One nationally prominent Republican, however, once took the opposite stance on student voting. As an undergraduate at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee — now White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — sued to allow students to vote after being one of more than 900 purged from the county’s rolls.

      “It’s almost like taxation without representation,” she said at the time. “They thought that because we were young that they could walk all over us, but obviously that’s not the case.”

      Illustrating the adage that politics makes strange bedfellows, the 2002 lawsuit paired a then-20-year-old Sanders with the American Civil Liberties Union. It began, as disputes over student voting often do, with a town-and-gown conflict. Reversing the usual pattern, a Democrat rather than a Republican instigated the student disenfranchisement.

    • Prisons Switch Device Providers; Render $11.3 Million Of Inmate-Purchased Music Worthless

      Because of the tablets, inmates will have to return the players, and they can’t transfer the music they already purchased onto their new devices.

      The corrections system is switching to JPay. Unfortunately, nothing else is switching. Money isn’t easy to obtain in prison, meaning most of this suddenly useless music was purchased with funds from friends and family at inflated prices. The prison system comes out of it OK. It has collected $11.3 million on the sale of worthless infinite goods to a literally captive audience.

      Now, with a lucrative JPay contract in effect, inmates are out millions of dollars in digital goods. The only options to keep what they purchased means shelling out more cash for the opportunity to put their purchased music completely out of reach.

    • Boy, 8, Runs into Street, Gets Hit By Car. Judge Must Decide: Was Mom at Fault for Not Being With Him?

      A very sad story in England had a good court outcome the other day: The mother of a boy who ran into the street and got seriously injured by a car (at age 8) was found NOT guilty of his accident — something the insurance company had accused her of, because she wasn’t with him at

    • “Unite the Right 2″ Showed the Growth of Anti-Fascism and the Police Response

      August has seen a rash of confrontations as far-right ensembles — from open white nationalists to radical right anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT groups — hit the streets and are met by massive community contingents. The story has evolved from one of opposing street contingents to a mass anti-fascist upswell in cities around the US — a point that has been eclipsed by allegations of massive police overreach on protests meant to halt the rise of the far right.

      Last weekend saw far-right activists convene in Washington, DC, on the one-year anniversary of the first “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. An estimated 40 “alt-right” supporters turned out for “Unite the Right 2,” and counter-protesters showed up in larger numbers. “Their rally happened, but it was clearly [outnumbered] 300 to 1,” said Scott Brown, an organizer with Shut It Down DC, the coalition which coordinated the actions across Washington, DC, on August 11 and 12.

      Last year’s “Unite the Right” rally was intended to be the high-water mark for a racist movement moving toward ascendancy. Donald Trump’s presidency offered a huge opportunity for the “alt-right” and the larger white nationalist movement to access recruits, but as conservative moderates started to turn on them, they needed to see exactly where they stood among the right. That event on August 12, 2017, brought out a thousand people from a range of organizations, from the National Socialist Movement to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to various “alt-right” fraternal projects.

    • WikiLeaks Wonders if ‘Bloody Gina’ Had Sexual Response to Torture

      CIA Director Gina Haspel is facing a new wave of criticism over the excessively colorful description of enhanced interrogation techniques under her supervision at a Thailand black site in 2002, which prompted WikiLeaks to ask whether the current CIA chief “has a sexual response to torture.”

      New CIA documents, declassified at the request of the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institution, and released on August 10, have shown the agency’s director Gina Haspel in a new light.

    • Our Vision for Achieving Gender Justice In the Trump Era and Beyond

      The ACLU has been fighting gender discrimination since its founding. Under the leadership of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 1970s, the Women’s Rights Project was instrumental in knocking down the vast majority of laws that explicitly treated women differently from men and in establishing constitutional protections against discrimination on the basis of sex.

    • Bill Proposes Greater Accountability for New York Prosecutors Who Break the Law

      Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has a bill before him that would create a commission to bring a greater measure of accountability to prosecutors who withhold evidence, suborn perjury or commit other ethical violations that undermine justice. It would be the first of its kind in the country and conceivably create a model for other states to follow.

      The bill, passed overwhelmingly by the Senate and Assembly in June, authorizes the governor, the Legislature and the state’s chief judge to pick 11 people to investigate allegations of misconduct. The panel, when it sees fit, could issue warnings and recommend sanctions, or even firings, to the governor.

      Now, prosecutors are overseen like any other lawyer — by disciplinary committees attached to the state’s appellate courts. But ProPublica’s 2013 analysis found that even when convictions are thrown out as a result of harmful misconduct on the part of prosecutors, the appellate courts often fail to refer them to disciplinary committees.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • United Kingdom: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals v Kymab, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, [2018] EWCA Civ 1186, 23 May 2018

      Following the Court of Appeal’s decision that two of Regeneron’s patents were valid and infringed, it refused to grant Kymab permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, but held that the injunction against Kymab should be stayed, subject to certain conditions, whilst Kymab applied directly to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal.

    • Qualcomm’s Settlement With Taiwanese FTC Ignores Broken Promises

      Last week Qualcomm reached an agreement with the Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission (TFTC), overturning the $778 million penalty the TFTC levied in October. Qualcomm promised to invest $700 million in Taiwan and commit to certain process safeguards over their licensing arrangements with handset makers. In exchange, the original TFTC ruling is wiped away. Qualcomm will not be required to pay the majority of the fine and—far more important—Qualcomm can continue to ignore license requests from other baseband chip manufacturers.

      As covered before, the ability to refuse to license competitors—in violation of Qualcomm’s commitment to license their standard-essential patents on non-discriminatory terms—is an anti-competitive act that provides Qualcomm with the ability to raise competitors’ costs and obtain more than the value of their patents in licensing.

    • Registration No Longer Constitutes Legitimate Use Defence in Turkey

      Turkey has welcomed the new Intellectual Property Code (the IP Code) numbered 6769. This came force on January 10 2017.

      One of the major changes in the new IP Code is an explicit provision in Article 155 preventing later dated IP registrations being submitted as a defence in infringement actions.

    • Germany: Feldmausbekämpfung, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZB 18/16, 27 March 2018

      The Federal Court of Justice held that in utility model registration proceedings, the utility model department must examine whether one of the grounds for refusal listed in Sec. 2 Utility Model Law exists.

    • Pappalardo v. Stevins (Fed. Cir. 2018)

      Last week, in Pappalardo v. Stevins, the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida granting a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant-Appellee Samantha Stevins, in which Ms. Stevins sought to dismiss an amended complaint filed by Plaintiff-Appellant Michael Pappalardo for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Mr. Pappalardo had filed suit against Ms. Stevins asserting state law claims of fraud and negligent representation and seeking a declaratory judgment naming him as sole inventor of U.S. Patent Application No. 15/275,597.

      As alleged in Mr. Pappalardo’s complaint, he met Ms. Stevins at a pharmaceutical products trade show, where he disclosed to her a product related to liquid and solid cannabis delivery systems. As also alleged in the complaint, Ms. Stevins indicated that she had access to funding from a network of investors for the product, and the two entered into a business relationship to commercialize the product. The complaint further alleges that Ms. Stevins recommended filing the ’597 application, which names Ms. Stevins as a joint inventor. Mr. Pappalardo’s complaint further alleges that Ms. Stevins attempted to independently exploit his technology, and he responded by filing suit against her asserting claims of fraud and negligent representation and seeking declaratory judgment of sole inventorship. The District Court dismissed the declaratory judgment claim on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to hear claims for correction of inventorship for a pending patent application, and dismissed the state law claims on the grounds that they were contingent on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s determination on the ’597 application.

      [...]

      The District Court had also determined that it lacked diversity jurisdiction over Mr. Pappalardo’s state law claims. The Federal Circuit noted, however, that because the District Court had original jurisdiction over a federal question in the declaratory judgment claim, it could have exercised supplemental jurisdiction to hear the state law claims because they were so related to claims in the action that they formed part of the same case or controversy. The Federal Circuit also noted that because that authority is generally discouraged where a court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction, and because the District Court stated that it was “hard-pressed to find that [Mr.] Pappalardo has adequately plead[ed] damages and causation—both elements needed to state an actionable claim for fraud and negligent misrepresentation—with the requisite particularity,” the Federal Circuit would interpret that statement as a decision declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of the state law claims.

    • Trademarks
      • Honey badger don’t care – transforming trademark infringement into artistic or expressive works

        African honey badgers became well known in 2011 for their feisty nature. At the peak of their popularity, a multitude of cars were plastered with bumper stickers decorated with such catchphrases as “honey badger don’t care”, “honey badger don’t give a s***” and other variations on that theme. The impetus behind the now-infamous honey badger is the humorous soundtrack recorded over a National Geographic video about African honey badgers and their prey, titled The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger, which was written and produced by comedian and writer Christopher Z Gordon.

      • International report – Dressing up a brand against lookalikes: part one

        The launch of any fashion brand is usually preceded by clearance and the registration of one or more trademarks. However, this is not always the case and a trademark registration does not always provide the necessary scope of protection against copycats. This drives the need for unconventional means of brand protection.

      • Disney Finds It’s Not So Easy to Sue Over Knockoff Characters at Birthday Parties

        Does Disney really want to go to trial to prevent knockoffs of Darth Vader, Iron Man and Elsa and Anna from Frozen from showing up at children’s birthday parties? If the studio really wishes to continue a lawsuit over unlicensed characters, it may need to after experiencing a setback against Characters for Hire, LLC.

        On Thursday, a New York federal judge refused to grant summary judgment in favor of Disney in its ongoing case against Nick Sarelli, alleged to run a “knock-off business … built upon the infringement of Plaintiffs’ highly valuable intellectual property rights.”

        What’s more, U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels threw out most of Disney’s trademark claims against a defendant who will send out individuals dressed as “The Princess” (meaning Leia) or “Big Hairy Guy” (meaning Chewbacca) for special events.

        Daniels recognizes some similarity, but isn’t buying that Disney and Sarelli compete in the same business nor that Sarelli’s customers are likely to be confused. The judge makes the point that it’s “adults, not children” who plan parties and there’s no evidence of actual confusion.

      • Disney Gets Early Loss In Trademark, Copyright Suit Against Unlicensed Birthday Party Characters

        Late last year, we discussed a lawsuit brought by Disney against Characters For Hire, a small company that sends costume characters to children’s birthday parties. Those characters, as we said at the time, are barely-altered clear homages to storied Disney-owned characters, such as Dark Lord (Dearth Vader) and Big Hairy Guy (sigh, Chewbacca). While Disney sued over both trademark and copyright, the alterations to the characters and the very clear disclaimer Characters For Hire puts on its site and documents meant the chances for confusion as to Disney’s affiliation was always non-existent. When you add that the changes in the characters and the medium in which they were offered at least partially put us in the idea/expression dichotomy zone for copyright law. That part of the law essentially says copyright applies to specific expressions (written stories, film, music, and sometimes characters), but not general ideas (a Dark Lord, a, sigh, Big Hairy Guy).

      • Elected Official Files Business, Trademark Registrations Using Name Of Website That Frequently Criticized Her

        Becker has gone after Edwards and Wedge LIVE! as well, claiming the site is funded by “realtors” using “dark money.” The contentious relationship has escalated in recent months, with the formation of an activist group by Edwards that opposes the policies and zoning changes Becker would like to institute. Edwards also asked readers to comment on proposed plans during the public comment period, leading to Becker receiving negative responses by readers of his site.

        All of this has now culminated in an intellectual property war without the knowledge of one of the participants. A public notice of a business registration was spotted by a Wedge LIVE! Fan while reading the analogue version of the local paper. This was passed on to Edwards, who had no idea his site’s name was being turned into a business by a subject of his criticism.

    • Copyrights
      • Berlin Court: ‘framing’ of copyright protected images not a communication to the public

        Just when you think all has been said about linking, framingand communication to the public, another judgment shows up and proves you wrong. This time, a legal dispute between the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (DDB = ”German Digital Library”, the German content provider for Europeana) and the Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst (VG Bild-Kunst), a German collecting society for visual artists, gave the Higher Regional Court of Berlin the chance to further clarify what constitutes a communication to the public, and what does not.

      • Automated ‘Content Protection’ System Sends Wave Of Bogus DMCA Notice Targeting Legitimate URLs

        Topple Track’s failures came to the EFF’s attention because it targeted one of its URLs, supposedly for infringing on artist Luc Sky’s copyright for his song “My New Boy.” The page targeted by Topple Track discusses the EMI lawsuit against MP3Tunes — one that has been on the EFF’s site for eight years. If Luc Sky even exists (the EFF could find no info on the artist/track), the discussion of a long-running legal battle certainly didn’t contain an unauthorized copy of this track.

        Presumably Topple Track has customers. (The “Luc Sky” dead end isn’t promising.) If so, they’re being ripped off by DMCA notices sent in their names that target tons of legit sites containing zero infringing content. The URLs targeted have no relation to the name/title listed as protected content and it’s impossible to see how an algorithm could do the job this badly. There’s obviously no human interaction with the DMCA process Topple Track employs, otherwise none of the DMCA notices listed would even have been sent to Google.

        What did we say about trust?

      • Judge Rules Photographer Owned Marilyn Monroe Photo Copyright, Fair Use Moves to Trial

        U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York recently entered an opinion and order in a copyright case involving the famed “Last Sitting” photographs of American movie star Marilyn Monroe. Although the case will continue to proceed towards a trial, Judge Engelmayer resolved various issues in the case including a determination that the owner of the copyrights to the Last Sitting photographs is the trust of the now-deceased photographer who took the photos and not Condé Nast, the publisher of the magazine Vogue where the photographs first appeared in 1962.

      • Facebook Bans Ads for Kodi Boxes Because Pirates Are Ruining Everything

        A line added to Facebook’s commerce policies this week specifically bans “Promoting the sale or use of streaming devices with Kodi installed,” though the policy does allow the sale of remote controls and keyboards that support the app.

        We’ve been over this a few times: Kodi is not a piracy application. It’s an open source video player that happens to support add-ons, and a few third party developers happen to make add-ons for pirating TV shows and movies. Another group of people and companies sell “fully loaded” Kodi boxes, which are basically small computers with Kodi installed alongside a bunch of piracy add-ons.

      • Facebook Bans ‘Promotion’ Of Kodi Boxes, Even If They’re Perfectly Legal

        If you haven’t noticed, the entertainment industry has a new, terrifying bogeyman. Over the last year or two, pressure from entertainment industry lobbying groups has resulted in an all-out war on streaming video devices (aka computers) that run Kodi, the video streaming software. Kodi has technically been around since 2002, first as Xbox Media Player, after which it became the Xbox Media Center until 2014. The XBMC Foundation then renamed the software Kodi, and it became popular as an easy way to store and stream content, including copyrighted content, from hardware running Kodi to other devices in or out of the home.

        For years now, tinkerers everywhere have built custom-made PCs that use the open-source Kodi platform. In more recent years, outfits like Dragonbox or SetTV have taken things further by selling users tailor-made hardware that provides easy access to live copyrighted content by not only including Kodi, but integrating numerous tools and add-ons that make copyright infringement easier. Driven largely by clearly-terrified entertainment-industry execs and lobbyists, numerous studios, Netflix and Amazon have tried to sue these efforts out of existence.

        Even the FCC has tried to help the entertainment industry in this fight, demanding that Ebay and Amazon crack down on the sale of such devices. Since the FCC lacks authority over copyright, it has instead tried to justify its involvement here by focusing on these devices’ illegal use of the FCC approval logo. It’s another big favor to the entertainment industry by the Pai FCC, who you’ll recall killed efforts to help make the traditional cable box sector more open and competitive.

      • Irony Alert: Disney (Yes, DISNEY!) Whines About ‘Overzealous Copyright Holders’

        Here’s one that might create a bit of a stir. The history of the 20th century and maximalist, ever expanding copyright is often associated with one particular company: Disney. I mean, the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) is regularly called the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” and Tom Bell once created this lovely Mickey Mouse Curve showing how copyright terms always seemed to expand just before the original movie starring Mickey, Steamboat Willie was about to enter the public domain…

      • Telling the Truth About Defects in Technology Should Never, Ever, Ever Be Illegal. EVER.

        Congress has never made a law saying, “Corporations should get to decide who gets to publish truthful information about defects in their products,”— and the First Amendment wouldn’t allow such a law — but that hasn’t stopped corporations from conjuring one out of thin air, and then defending it as though it was a natural right they’d had all along.

        Some background: in 1986, Ronald Reagan, spooked by the Matthew Broderick movie Wargames (true story!) worked with Congress to pass a sweeping cybercrime bill called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) that was exceedingly sloppily drafted. CFAA makes it a felony to “exceed[] authorized access” on someone else’s computer in many instances.

        Fast forward to 1998, when Bill Clinton and his Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a giant, gnarly hairball of digital copyright law that included section 1201, which bans bypassing any “technological measure” that “effectively controls access” to copyrighted works, or “traffic[ing]” in devices or services that bypass digital locks.

        Notice that neither of these laws bans disclosure of defects, including security disclosures! But decades later, corporate lawyers and federal prosecutors have constructed a body of legal precedents that twist these overbroad laws into a rule that effectively gives corporations the power to decide who gets to tell the truth about flaws and bugs in their products.

        Businesses and prosecutors have brought civil and criminal actions against researchers and whistleblowers who violated a company’s terms of service in the process of discovering a defect. The argument goes like this: “Our terms of service ban probing our system for security defects. When you login to our server for that purpose, you ‘exceed your authorization,’ and that violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.”

      • Europeans Take “Upload Filter” Protests to The Streets

        Following massive protests, the EU copyright reform plans were sent back to the drawing board last month. This means that the proposal will be opened up for changes, also to the controversial “upload filter” text. In support of this effort and to show critics that the opposition is real, the protests will soon move beyond the web, to the streets of several European cities.

USPTO Craziness: Changing Rules to Punish PTAB Petitioners and Reward Microsoft for Corruption at ISO

Thursday 16th of August 2018 12:22:08 PM

Mr. Iancu and his colleagues do not appear to understand (or care) that they are rewarding Microsoft for epic corruption at ISO and elsewhere

Summary: The US patent office proposes charging/imposing on applicants that are not customers of Microsoft a penalty; there’s also an overtly and blatantly malicious move whose purpose is to discourage petitions against wrongly-granted (by the USPTO) patents

THE previous post spoke about how the Federal Circuit rejects software patents, as does the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). An inter partes review (IPR) is almost guaranteed to thwart any software patent if it is applied to one (not a cheap process, but a lot more affordable than a court battle, which can only be initiated by patent holders).

“Iancu was a pick of the notoriously corrupt Trump, whose firm had previously worked for Trump. Coincidence?”It is no secret that Director Iancu wrote articles in support of software patents and software patents are not valid anymore, based on what the SCOTUS has decided. This means that the person whom Trump put in charge of the patent office in inherently is disagreement with patent courts. An untenable situation? Iancu was a pick of the notoriously corrupt Trump, whose firm had previously worked for Trump. Coincidence?

Either way, everything we have seen so far confirms our worst fears — that Iancu would work for the patent microcosm rather than for science and technology. The patent system was conceived to serve that latter group, not a bunch of lawyers, but things have changed since conception and nowadays the Office is adding yet more fees that make expensive lawyers a must to some. With prohibitive costs, too (maybe $200 per hour). Punishing poor companies, obviously.

Docket Navigator has been covering quite a few 35 U.S.C. § 285 cases/motions lately, with some being successful, i.e. when some troll or bully made bogus claims it was punished financially for it. Those are the courts doing so, not the Office. In Phigenix, Inc. v Genentech, Inc. (based on this latest Docket Report), the court ended up considering the argument regarding frivolous patent lawsuits. Will the court make it more expensive to the abuser? That remains to be seen. “Following summary judgment,” Docket Navigator wrote, “the court granted defendant’s motion to join plaintiff’s founder/inventor as a necessary party and pursue attorney fees against him under 35 U.S.C. § 285.”

Upcoming changes at the USPTO do not look promising however. For at least three reasons.

Firstly, the patent microcosm is being shielded from competition. “It is no secret to anyone in the industry; the unauthorized practice of law is rampant, and OED does nothing to stop it,” Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) said yesterday. Terms like “unauthorized practice of law” (used both in the body and headline of Watchtroll) imply that it’s illegal to represent oneself too. The patent and litigation ‘industries’ want a monopoly on this activity. A form of corruption surely? Consider Iancu’s professional background and how he might view this.

Secondly, this Trump appointee would have loved to abolish PTAB and destroy patent quality, but SCOTUS and CAFC are not allowing that to happen. He’ll still try though. He might even ignore Oil States and try to just price IPRs out of reach. Here’s what Kevin E. Noonan, a patent maximalist, wrote a couple of days ago

On August 8th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued revisions to its Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Guide (see “Trial Practice Guide Update”), first promulgated in 2012 as part of the Office’s implementation of inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business methods review (CBM) proceedings established under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). As discussed in an accompanying memorandum from USPTO Director Iancu, this update is part of the Office’s plan to issue updates periodically, on section-by-section, rolling basis; the Director anticipates further future updates “to take into account feedback received from stakeholders, changes in controlling precedent or applicable regulations, or the further refinement of the Board’s practices over time.”

In addition to being a resource for petitioners and patent owners, the Guide has as its purpose “to encourage consistency of procedures among panels of the Board,” akin to the role of the MPEP with examiners. As with the practice of having “expanded panels” to promote consistency in decisions, this function further limits the extent to which APJ’s activities are consistent with an independent adjudicatory arm of the USPTO.

It’s just a pretext for price hikes, as Michael Loney noted in a couple of articles. The first one spoke of changes to the process:

AIA Trial Practice Guide changes attracting the most attention are patent owners getting sur-replies and the opportunity to present a brief sur-rebuttal at the oral hearing, giving them the final word in PTAB proceedings

That should not take long, should it?

Thirdly, and finally, there is the most ridiculous thing of all. The USPTO will apparently punish people for using non-Microsoft binary (OOXML) format. How is this not corruption at USPTO? Microsoft used corruption to impose OOXML on the world, now USPTO punishes those who use standards! OOXML is not really a standard; it has binary blobs in it and Microsoft bribed officials and delegates for it. Here are the details:

The USPTO is seeking across-the-board fee increases, as well as a new fee surcharge for filing in a non-DOCX format and an annual active patent practitioner fee

So they are making it more expensive yet again (25%) in an effort to suppress IPRs. Battistelli used the same tricks as Iancu. He kept raising the costs of appeals (against bogus patents) in an effort to reduce patent quality and hide all this.

Iancu’s proposed fee hikes for PTAB IPRs obviously harm small businesses the most. Who benefits? Microsoft. Who else benefits? Lawyers. But that pretty much sums up what this leadership became, even in direct defiance of US courts as high as the Supreme Court. We hope that these proposals will be imminently challenged.

The Demise of US Software Patents Continues at the Federal Circuit

Thursday 16th of August 2018 11:12:16 AM

Courts decline and the judiciary rejects such patents, leading to a decline in such patent grants as well

Summary: Software patents are rotting away in the United States; it remains to be seen when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will truly/fully honour 35 U.S.C. § 101 and stop granting such patents

THE situation in 2018 is probably worse for software patents than it has ever been (except before such patents were introduced, a few decades after software itself had emerged). The Federal Circuit continues to affirm inter partes reviews (IPRs) undertaken by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) at the USPTO in (re)assessing software patents, so why does the USPTO still grant any such patents? That merely harms confidence is US patents and collectively reduces their value.

“That merely harms confidence is US patents and collectively reduces their value.”As we often note here, the USPTO continues granting far too many abstract patents because of tricks like calling these “apparatus” (examples from yesterday) and buzzwords like “AI”. In spite of knowing courts would void these, examiners let them be. See this day-old survey of newly-granted patents; many of them sound very abstract and here's why they're still being granted. There’s more money in granting than in rejecting, but what would be the fate of the office if it kept granting patents only for them to be rendered invalid later?

“it seems like CAFC is pretty consistent in such rulings and it’s therefore unsurprising that the patent microcosm attacks CAFC and its judges. These maximalists cannot think of any other strategy.”In the United States’ patent courts — not Office (PTO) — software patents are pretty much dead, but it’s expensive to show this. Invalidation rates are already very high (if it gets to district courts and/or PTAB) and if one is wealthy enough, then CAFC offers even higher invalidation rates for software patents. It’s about access to justice. All about money. It’s just better for the rich, deep-pocketed firms. That in its own right is a profound issue.

In any case, there’s some good news this week as CAFC decides to throw another bunch of software patents by the wayside. Dennis Crouch has mentioned a Microsoft case, Enfish, in relation to this. The patents are on database software (they’re inherently a kind of software and the same goes for blockchains) and as one might expect these too are bunk. CAFC agrees as usual. Quoting Crouch:

On appeal here, the Federal Circuit affirms a lower court ruling that the claims of BSG’s three asserted patents are invalid as ineligible under 35 U..S.C. § 101. U.S. Patent Nos. 6,035,294, 6,243,699, and 6,195,652.

The claims relate to indexing a database according to “relative historical usage information.” Thus, in an automobile database with a “model” parameter, the system could display index by the popularity of the various models. In the claims, the popularity is measured by prior users of the system. Note here – the claims don’t technically require indexing by the frequency, only being able to access that information.

[...]

Enfish was a similar case — also involving a self-referential database structure. That case, the court determined that the focus was on database function and machine efficiency. Here, on the other hand, the historical information is stored just like any other data. “The claims do not recite any improvement to the way in which such databases store or organize information analogous to the self-referential table in Enfish or the adaptable memory caches in Visual Memory.”

This is fantastic news for software developers who wish to develop in peace without nuisance patent lawsuits.

Patent maximalist [1, 2] Matthew Bultman (Law360) wrote about these patents being invalidated at around the same time. To quote:

The Federal Circuit on Wednesday ruled three indexing software patents that BuySeasons Inc. was accused of infringing are invalid for claiming nothing more than an abstract idea, upholding a ruling from a judge in the Eastern District of Texas.

The appeals court, in a precedential opinion, found U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III correctly granted BuySeasons summary judgment that each of the asserted claims in Plano, Texas-based BSG Tech LLC’s patents are invalid.

They tried Texas, as usual.

Bultman’s Law360 colleague, RJ Vogt, wrote about another case, one filed by Mirror Worlds Technologies LLC, probably not even a real company based on its registration. To quote Law360‘s article:

A New York federal judge has ruled that Mirror Worlds Technologies LLC failed to show that Facebook Inc. infringed three of its patents covering digital data organization technology, finding that the social media giant’s news feed and other features did not use a “main stream” as described by the patents.

The patents, issued between 1999 and 2012, protect the “Scopeware” system for file sharing, which organizes emails, documents, calendar items, software and other data into searchable chronological streams designed to replace traditional “desktop” folder interfaces that…

Finally, yesterday in PR Newswire (a press release by Diebold Nixdorf) CAFC was said to have voided another bogus patent granted by the USPTO:

Diebold Nixdorf (NYSE: DBD) announced today that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the decision issued by the International Trade Commission (ITC) against the company in a patent dispute against Nautilus Hyosung. The Federal Circuit agreed with Diebold Nixdorf that Hyosung’s sole remaining patent in its case against the company is invalid and unenforceable. The Federal Circuit’s decision is a victory for the company, reversing the judgment of the ITC that Hyosung’s patent was valid and infringed by Diebold Nixdorf.

The patent found to be invalid, U.S. Patent No. 8,523,235, relates to certain automated teller machines (ATMs) with Diebold Nixdorf’s ActivMedia™ module. The underlying investigation at the ITC began with four patents, but Hyosung dismissed three of the patents after Diebold Nixdorf provided evidence that Hyosung had simply copied technology that had already been introduced by Diebold Nixdorf and other prominent manufacturers.

[...]

In that first ITC Investigation, the administrative law judge found that nearly all of Hyosung’s deposit automation-enabled ATMs and modules infringe two Diebold Nixdorf patents. In fact, the administrative law judge specifically noted evidence showing that “Nautilus had knowledge of Diebold’s patented technology, copied it, and encouraged its customers to use it in an infringing way.” Diebold Nixdorf intends to seek damages in a jury trial in U.S. District Court for Hyosung’s infringement.

Notice the trend. Also notice what the ITC had done before CAFC got involved.

We’ve not cherry-picking cases here; it seems like CAFC is pretty consistent in such rulings and it’s therefore unsurprising that the patent microcosm attacks CAFC and its judges. These maximalists cannot think of any other strategy.

Almost Two Months After the ILO Ruling Staff Representative Brumme is Finally Back on the Job at EPO

Thursday 16th of August 2018 10:04:13 AM

Summary: Ion Brumme (above) gets his position at the EPO back, owing to the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO-AT) ruling back in July; things, however, aren’t rosy for the Office as a whole

THE EPO‘s peculiar affairs with justice go quite some while back. Things culminated in early 2015 when the EPO’s management refused to obey a Dutch court’s ruling regarding SUEPO. Aside from that, the EPO had become notorious for its kangaroo courts — a staged notion of justice (or mere ‘theatre’) as later confirmed by ILO-AT.

“Even a petition regarding patent quality needed to be made anonymous and it did not receive sufficient press coverage (not as much as it deserved anyway).”Well, belatedly (as was the case with Judge Corcoron) the EPO is complying with court rulings from ILO-AT. It is “better late than never,” the saying goes, but they had to eventually do it, even cursorily, otherwise it would count as eternal contempt of the courts.

IPPro Patents wrote about Ion Brumme, naming Aurélien Pétiaud, Michael Lund, Laurent Prunier and Elizabeth Hardon. If someone can pass to us the full message from Brumme, that would be appreciated. The article contains many fragments from it, but not the original in its entirety. To quote a couple of portions:

European Patent Office (EPO) president António Campinos must “give back the staff their voice”, according to Ion Brumme, chairman of the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Munich section.

Brumme was speaking in a message circulated to SUEPO on the day (15 August) he returned to active duty at the EPO following his dismissal two and a half years ago.

In the message Brumme revealed he had returned to the office after the International Labour Organisation (ILO) exonerated him and his colleague Malika Weaver.

Brumme specifically addressed Campinos, asking him to “stop the persecutions of union officials and staff representatives”.

“Some are still undergoing unnecessary disciplinary procedures and ILO complaints. You can put an end to this chapter. Give back the staff their voice, their pride and their dignity.”

[...]

“At present, the staff representation still has a number of staff representative casualties such as Aurélien Pétiaud, Michael Lund, Laurent Prunier and Elizabeth Hardon. One, in particular, is Laurent Prunier, who has been dismissed in The Hague. He is awaiting trial in front of the ILO.”

“I would like to ask all of you to stop supporting me financially and if you want start supporting Laurent instead. He is in a far more precarious position than me.”

It might be too late to save the Office. ILO, the European Parliament etc. failed to act on time and union-busting goes more than 3 years back. It left the staff oppressed and unable to speak. Even a petition regarding patent quality needed to be made anonymous and it did not receive sufficient press coverage (not as much as it deserved anyway). That’s how bad things became.

Oppositions at the EPO went through the roof, but some (like IAM) are trying to spin that and yesterday Managing IP (a UPC and Battistelli proponent) said:

Data published by Haseltine Lake reveals trends in European patent oppositions in 2017, as well as data on opponents, opposed patents, IPC subclasses and decisions

The rest is behind the usual paywall, which is difficult to get around. The figures presented by Haseltine Lake were cited by SUEPO in the past in relation to declining patent quality.

The EPO is making life (career-wise) difficult to departing examiners. “Trauma will ruin the health or even the family,” Brumme warned after he had been sacked by Battistelli, having to live off donations for a number of years (he has many kids to look after). Someone told us that he was very cautious and reluctant to be seen or mentioned (e.g. by Team Battistelli), especially in relation to these donations that helped sustain him and his family.

Mind this relatively new comment about privacy issues that we wrote about before, especially three years ago (more times since):

can also reassure you that there is no confidentiality at all from the EPO part!
I used to be a patent examiner in a national patent office and applied to EPO a couple of times in the past…few days after submission my boss in the national office started mobbing as he was made aware of my job application. And “coincidentally” my boss used to be a friend of EPO’s “big boss”

They are spying in order to ‘intercept’ job seekers. This means that any career at the EPO can be a career ender.

The good news is that Brumme has a source of much-needed income again; on the downside, as he points out, the EPO staff has lost its voice. Ever since the decisions from ILO-AT (late July) SUEPO has said very little. Its site has barely been active.

Links 15/8/2018: Akademy 2018 Wrapups and More Intel Defects

Wednesday 15th of August 2018 04:23:27 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Former OSS Executive Eren Niazi Named Open Source Evolution CTO

    Open Source Evolution, visionaries and creators of enterprise custom software, announced today that former OSS founder, Eren Niazi has been named CTO. A 20-year technology veteran, Niazi has been focused on developing custom enterprise open source software for corporate transformations to open source.

    Eren is the original visionary/creator who pioneered the OSS movement and envisioned a world where the enterprises used open source software for large scale data center deployments. Consequently, the OSS technologies Niazi developed have become the model for global industry storage solutions.

  • How To Get An Open Source Developer Job In 2018
  • Tesla to make driverless software open source

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk has told a hacker conference in Las Vegas that he plans to “open source” the software his company uses to secure autonomous-driving features from hacks or takeovers, eventually allowing other carmakers to use it.

    Musk tweeted, “Great Q&A @defcon last night. Thanks for helping make Tesla & SpaceX more secure! Planning to open-source Tesla vehicle security software for free use by other car makers. Extremely important to a safe self-driving future for all.”

  • DarkHydrus Relies on Open-Source Tools for Phishing Attacks [Ed: If there was reliance on something proprietary, the headline would not even mention it; that's because its sole goal is to demonise Open Source, associating it with criminal activity. This actually impacts proprietary software from Microsoft, complete with NSA back doors.]
  • Progress Open Sources ABL Code with Release of Spark Toolkit

    Previously only available from Progress Services, the Spark Toolkit was created in collaboration with the Progress Common Component Specification (CCS) project, a group of Progress® OpenEdge® customers and partners defining a standard set of specifications for the common components for building modern business applications. By engaging the community, Progress has leveraged best practices in the development of these standards-based components and tools to enable new levels of interoperability, flexibility, efficiencies and effectiveness.

    [...]

    It is compatible with the latest version of OpenEdge, 11.7, and is available under Apache License 2.0. More components are expected to be added in the future.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Rustfmt 1.0 release candidate

        The current version of Rustfmt, 0.99.2, is the first 1.0 release candidate. It is available on nightly and beta (technically 0.99.1 there) channels, and from the 13th September will be available with stable Rust.

        1.0 will be a huge milestone for Rustfmt. As part of it’s stability guarantees, it’s formatting will be frozen (at least until 2.0). That means any sub-optimal formatting still around will be around for a while. So please help test Rustfmt and report any bugs or sub-optimal formatting.

      • Welcome Amy Keating, our incoming General Counsel

        Amy joins Mozilla from Twitter, Inc. where she has been Vice President, Legal and Deputy General Counsel. When she joined Twitter in 2012, she was the first lawyer focused on litigation, building out the functions and supporting the company as both the platform and the employee base grew in the U.S. and internationally. Her role expanded over time to include oversight of Twitter’s product counseling, regulatory, privacy, employment legal, global litigation, and law enforcement legal response functions. Prior to Twitter, Amy was part of Google, Inc.’s legal team and began her legal career as an associate at Bingham McCutchen LLP.

      • Building Extension APIs with Friend of Add-ons Oriol Brufau

        Please meet Oriol Brufau, our newest Friend of Add-ons! Oriol is one of 23 volunteer community members who have landed code for the WebExtensions API in Firefox since the technology was first introduced in 2015. You may be familiar with his numerous contributions if you have set a specific badge text color for your browserAction, highlighted multiple tabs with the tabs.query API, or have seen your extension’s icon display correctly in about:addons.

        While our small engineering team doesn’t always have the resources to implement every approved request for new or enhanced WebExtensions APIs, the involvement of community members like Oriol adds considerable depth and breadth to technology that affects millions of users. However, the Firefox code base is large, complex, and full of dependencies. Contributing code to the browser can be difficult even for experienced developers.

        As part of celebrating Oriol’s achievements, we asked him to share his experience contributing to the WebExtensions API with the hope that it will be helpful for other developers interested in landing more APIs in Firefox.

      • L10N Report: August Edition

        After a quick pause in July, your primary source of localization information at Mozilla is back!

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • This powerful free office program can replace Microsoft Office

      Even better, as we said, LibreOffice can open and edit the documents you made in Office and can save new files in Office formats. LibreOffice is also compatible with the most popular document formats, not just Office documents. It’s also compatible with OpenDocument Format (ODF) and you can even sign PDF documents without having to involve your printer!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Musical Space: Open Source Music

      The term “open source” was coined 20 years ago this month by some software engineers who had the radical idea of allowing their code to be freely shared, copied and modified by anyone else. They realized they could make more money by giving away their product instead of selling it, and selling the support services instead. The open source model is a growing part of the arts, and nowhere more than in music. Recordings make so little money that creators now offer them for free and make their money from live shows instead.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Hobbyist 3D prints open source CNC machine for under $200

        Hobbyist and Reddit 3D printing community contributor Marioarm has built an “almost fully” 3D printed CNC machine for milling electronic chipboards.

        Marioarm built the Cyclone PCB CNC machine with 3D printed parts downloaded from file sharing sites such as Thingiverse and the GitHub repository Cyclone PCB Factory. With minimal, prefabricated parts, the project in total cost Marioarm under $200 to build.

  • Programming/Development
    • [Older] Julia 1.0 release Opens the Doors for a Connected World

      Today Julia Computing announced the Julia 1.0 programming language release, “the most important Julia milestone since Julia was introduced in February 2012.” As the first complete, reliable, stable and forward-compatible Julia release, version 1.0 is the fastest, simplest and most productive open-source programming language for scientific, numeric and mathematical computing.

    • This Week in Rust 247
    • BARR-C Aims to Make Us Better Programmers

      Look up “panacea” and you’ll find a bunch of C programming tools. Everyone and his dog has ideas about how to create better, more reliable C code. Use an ISO-certified compiler. Follow MISRA C guidelines. Write the comments first. Agile Programming. Energy crystals. The late-night remedies never end.

      Or, you could learn from the master. Michael Barr does embedded programming. He’s got a Masters in electrical engineering; was an adjunct professor of EE/CS; was Editor-in-Chief of Embedded Systems Programming magazine; founded consulting company Netrino to teach people how to write better code; then founded Barr Group to do it again. The man knows a few things about writing embedded software, mostly by watching his clients and students doing it badly. There’s no substitute for experience, and this guy has collected decades worth of it.

      So it’s no surprise that he’s come up with his own little black book of programming pointers. These are the rules, guidelines, and suggestions gleaned from years of reviewing other peoples’ bad code and then fixing it. Best of all, a PDF download of the book is free. If you’re a traditionalist, you can buy the paperback version from Amazon.

Leftovers
  • In Defense Of Slow News

    Many years back, I remember seeing Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, being interviewed about that site (which at the time was on its way to becoming the first “mainstream” tech news blog). I’m paraphrasing, and possibly misremembering, but what stuck with me was that he suggested that, as a blog, you basically had to focus on one of three things to succeed: being first, being funny, or being insightful. And he had chosen “being first” as the strategy for TechCrunch — trying to break news as quickly as possible. And while that makes sense as a business strategy if you can do it, it had absolutely no appeal to me for how we ran Techdirt. We always hoped to focus on adding more insight into various issues, than breaking news. That’s not to say we don’t break news every so often, but it’s certainly not the focus.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Flint, Michigan Still Has Polluted Water: Here’s How To Help

      Perhaps the biggest lesson to take away from Flint’s water crisis is this: Don’t for a second think this couldn’t have been your town. This didn’t happen on some faraway island or in a Third World country, but right in America’s own backyard. “From every objective measure that is out there, Flint’s water is like any other US city with old lead pipes,” adds Virginia Tech’s Siddhartha Roy, one of the researchers who brought the scandal to light. So take note and stay in the fight, because if you don’t and your elected officials one day decide that your water looking and smelling like orc blood isn’t their problem, you’ll spend a really long time picking chunks out of your teeth after every brushing. And if that sentence isn’t enough for you to take an interest in local politics, we don’t know what will.

    • Illinois Lawmakers Search for Solutions for Children Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals

      Illinois lawmakers Tuesday heard testimony from nearly a dozen doctors and child welfare advocates describing circumstances facing children who languish in psychiatric hospitals even after they had been cleared for discharge — circumstances so harrowing that some children chose jail over another night at a psychiatric facility.

      State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, called for the Senate Human Services Committee hearing following a ProPublica Illinois investigation that revealed that hundreds of children in care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services spent weeks or months at a time locked in psychiatric hospitals after doctors had cleared them for release.

      The investigation, published in June, found that children in DCFS care were trapped inside psychiatric hospitals between 2015 and 2017 for a total of more than 27,000 days beyond what was medically necessary. During that time, the state spent nearly $7 million on unnecessary psychiatric care for children as young as 4.

      And the problem, ProPublica Illinois found, has only been getting worse. In 2014, only 88 psychiatric admissions were not medically needed compared with 301 last year.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • How Militaries Should Plan for AI

      Today we are publishing a new EFF white paper, The Cautious Path to Strategic Advantage: How Militaries Should Plan for AI. This paper analyzes the risks and implications of military AI projects in the wake of Google’s decision to discontinue AI assistance to the US military’s drone program and adopt AI ethics principles that preclude many forms of military work.

      The key audiences for this paper are military planners and defense contractors, who may find the objections to military uses of AI from Google’s employees and others in Silicon Valley hard to understand. Hoping to bridge the gap, we urge our key audiences to consider several guiding questions. What are the major technical and strategic risks of applying current machine learning methods in weapons systems or military command and control? What are the appropriate responses that states and militaries can adopt in response? What kinds of AI are safe for military use, and what kinds aren’t?

      Militaries must make sure they don’t buy into the machine learning hype while missing the warning label.

      We are at a critical juncture. Machine learning technologies have received incredible hype, and indeed they have made exciting progress on some fronts, but they remain brittle, subject to novel failure modes, and vulnerable to diverse forms of adversarial attack and manipulation. They also lack the basic forms of common sense and judgment on which humans usually rely.

    • ‘Do We Deserve to Kill?’ The Answer Is ‘No’ After Nebraska’s Latest Execution

      Nebraska’s fentanyl execution was only possible because the state delayed Moore’s execution for nearly four decades — depleting his will to fight.

      “The death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit,” as Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, frequently explains. “The real question of capital punishment in this country is, ‘Do we deserve to kill?’” For those of us who are most familiar with the legal deficiencies and human cruelties of capital punishment, the answer is a resounding no.

      Nebraska’s execution of Carey Dean Moore this morning proves the point.

      As a society, we have determined that a death sentence requires that our process for determining who is guilty, for determining whom should be executed, and for executing humanely are transparent and above reproach. By any standard, Nebraska should not have had the authority to kill Moore today with an experimental fentanyl drug protocol.

      Moore’s case is remarkable for several reasons. First, he has spent 38 years on death row, the longest known period between death sentence and execution in American history. Second, six years ago, he gave up all appeals and refused to fight for his life.

      On the surface, it may appear that Nebraska could execute Mr. Moore without judicial oversight or safeguards because Moore agreed to be executed. But looking more deeply, we know Moore’s decision to stop fighting for his life is the result of Nebraska holding him for decades on death row without executing him.

    • Defense Inspector General to Investigate Military’s Toxic Open Burning

      The Department of Defense’s internal watchdog is launching an investigation into the military’s heavily polluting practice of open burning and detonating hazardous explosive materials on its properties, as well as its frequent reliance on federal contractors to carry out that work.

      The inquiry, announced Aug. 10 on the website of the department’s Office of Inspector General, will examine whether the department’s practices are legal, and whether the contractors charged with handling dangerous materials — often close to the public — have proper oversight.

      “Robust oversight of these contractors is essential for protecting the health and well-being of all who work and live near these installations,” Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire wrote to ProPublica in an email. “But it is clear that this oversight did not take place.”

    • 10 Questions on Secret Israeli Report Over 2014 Killing of Four Children on Gaza Beach

      Findings raise questions about decision-making process that led to shooting at children when they didn’t pose a threat. This requires clarification on use of drones, IDF’s open-fire policy and responsibility of those involved

    • Police take former MEIO director- general’s statement over CIA letter

      Police have taken the statement of the former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid on a letter she wrote to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      Without revealing when Hasanah’s statement was taken, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police had also called several other MEIO officers to assist investigations.

      He said police would also be taking the statements of several MEIO officers in Washington.

      “We will later send the investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor for further action,” he told reporters after Bukit Aman Monthly Assembly here yesterday.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • DNC lawsuit against WikiLeaks served via Twitter

      The Democratic National Committee has used Twitter to serve a lawsuit against WikiLeaks that accuses the website of participating in a conspiracy to hack into DNC emails and denigrate Hillary Clinton.

      U.S. District Judge John Koeltl of Manhattan granted the motion to serve via Twitter and mail on Aug. 6. The DNC’s law firm, Cohen Milstein, served the suit on Aug. 10 through a Twitter account that was apparently created for that purpose, report CBS News, Gizmodo and TechCrunch.

      The DNC had told the court in a July 20 motion to allow the alternate service that WikiLeaks “has more of a virtual than a physical presence.” The motion cited a California case in which a federal court allowed service via Twitter of a suit against a Kuwaiti national accused of financing ISIS activities.

      The DNC had not been able to serve the lawsuit by other methods, the motion said. DNC lawyers tried sending emails to an address provided on the WikiLeaks website and contacting lawyers who had represented WikiLeaks in other matters. The emails were returned as undeliverable, and the lawyers who responded said they no longer represented WikiLeaks and were not authorized to accept service.

    • Mueller investigation seeks to implicate WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in “Russian interference”

      The investigation headed by Special Counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election has entered a new stage.

      Mueller is seeking to substantiate the case he advanced last month—as part of the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers—that Trump campaign insider Roger Stone and WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange were part of a conspiracy to hack and publish emails sent by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairperson John Podesta (see: “In run-up to Trump-Putin summit, Mueller charges 12 Russian officers with DNC email hack”).

  • Finance
    • ‘There is a Strong Reason for All Americans to Feel more Economically Insecure than they Did Before the Great Recession’

      Last September, elite media were heralding numbers suggesting that incomes were up among middle class Americans, but tiptoeing around the fact that the rising tide was not lifting all boats. Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is Senior Fellow, Racial Wealth Divide, at the group Prosperity Now. He told CounterSpin about a report he co-authored, called The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Wealth Divide Is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class, from Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies. I asked why they chose to focus on racial disparities in wealth.

    • Why Isn’t Blockchain Technology Adoption Soaring?
    • Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck. Here’s why

      But the official rate hides more troubling realities: legions of college grads overqualified for their jobs, a growing number of contract workers with no job security, and an army of part-time workers desperate for full-time jobs. Almost 80% of Americans say they live from paycheck to paycheck, many not knowing how big their next one will be.

      Blanketing all of this are stagnant wages and vanishing job benefits. The typical American worker now earns around $44,500 a year, not much more than what the typical worker earned in 40 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Although the US economy continues to grow, most of the gains have been going to a relatively few top executives of large companies, financiers, and inventors and owners of digital devices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • If Collusion Is in the Eye of the Beholder…

      …then the person observing gets to decide what collusion is, right?

    • ‘People are terrified’: Trump staffers live in fear of Omarosa’s next tape

      A daily trickle of revealing internal conversations between staffers. Growing anxiety about what one might have once said. No sense of how long it will go on.

      Omarosa Manigault Newman’s slow release of secretly taped conversations from inside the Trump campaign and White House is having the same effect on staffers as the daily dumps from WikiLeaks had on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, when chairman John Podesta’s emails were trickled out during the final stretch of the race.

    • Trump-Omarosa feud rooted in her allegations of racism
    • The Latest: Omarosa tells AP: ‘I will not be silenced’

      Omarosa Manigault Newman declared “I will not be silenced” by the Trump campaign.

      Manigault Newman spoke to The Associated Press hours after the president’s campaign announced it was filing an arbitration action against the former aide alleging she broke a secrecy agreement.

      In an interview with AP, Manigault Newman said she believes the action was intended to keep her from telling her story. She says she “will not be intimidated.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • What You Should Know Before Buying a Wired Security Camera System

      One huge benefit of having a wired security camera system is that you don’t need to connect it to the internet to use it—unlike most Wi-Fi cams, which require an internet connection to do anything.

      The downside to an off-the-grid camera system, however, is that you won’t be able to access it remotely from your phone if you’re away from home. Instead, you can only view and manage your camera system from the DVR box and the connected monitor and peripherals.

    • Australian Gov’t Floats New Batch Of Compelled Access Legislation With An Eye On Encryption

      The Australian government is looking to revamp its compelled access laws to fight encryption and other assorted technological advances apparently only capable of being used for evil. It’s getting pretty damn dark Down Under, according to the Department of Home Affairs’ announcement of the pending legislation.

      [...]

      There’s the limitation of lawmaking. Lawbreakers break laws and they’re not going to stop just because you’ve told them not to with a government mandate. Legislation [PDF] like this does little more than make life more difficult for service providers and device makers while undermining the privacy and security of millions of law-abiding citizens.

      The explanation sheet [PDF] notes the government is not seeking to mandate encryption backdoors. That being said, it would like providers of encrypted services/devices to leave the door cracked open so the government can step inside whenever it feels the need to look around.

    • A quick reminder on HTTPS everywhere

      HTTPS Everywhere! So the plugin says, and now browsers are warning users that sites not implementing https:// are security risks. Using HTTPS everywhere is good advice. And this really means “everywhere”: the home page, everything. Not just the login page, or the page where you accept donations. Everything.

      Implementing HTTPS everywhere has some downsides, as Eric Meyer points out. It breaks caching, which makes the web much slower for people limited to satellite connections (and that’s much of the third world); it’s a problem for people who, for various reasons, have to use older browsers (there are more ancient browsers and operating systems in the world than you would like to think, trust me); domain names and IP address are handled by lower-level protocols that HTTPS doesn’t get to touch, so it’s not as private as one would like; and more. It’s not a great solution, but it’s a necessary one. (Meyer’s article, and the comments following it, are excellent.)

    • Turning off Location History Won’t Help You! Google Will Track You Anyway

      The “location history” option on Google accounts claims in its description to be responsible for collecting data on a user’s movements, but it turns out that switching it off still won’t help if someone wants to track you down via your account.

    • Google tracks your movements, like it or not
    • What you can do to prevent Google—and others—from tracking your phone
    • EBGAP: Error Between Google and Privacy
    • Google tracks users who turn off location history
    • Google can track your location in ways you may not expect. But you can turn it off.
    • Australian parliament will debate bill to weaken encryption by end of 2018

      Australia’s government will debate proposed legislation before the end of this year that could force Apple and other companies to introduce backdoors into their products and services, such as the iPhone or iMessage, under the guise of assisting with national security and law enforcement investigations.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Iowa Supreme Court Thinks Things Are Too Tough For Bad Cops, Adopts Qualified Immunity Defense

      The Iowa Supreme Court has decided to lower standards for law enforcement officers in its state. The ruling [PDF] issued earlier this summer gives state officers the opportunity to dismiss lawsuits against them by asserting qualified immunity. Prior to this decision, there was no qualified immunity defense state actors could raise in court. They were actually forced to actually defend themselves in court, making it easier for plaintiffs’ claims to survive an early motion to dismiss and bringing them closer to justice. (via Bleeding Heartland)

      The case — Baldwin v. City of Estherville — involves an arrest for a crime that didn’t exist. It involves driving an ATV through a city-owned ditch, something that’s illegal under state law but not under the City of Estherville’s laws. An arrest for something that wasn’t actually illegal was followed by this lawsuit. It’s a weird origin for a Fourth Amendment lawsuit, but the outcome makes holding officers accountable for their misdeeds much more difficult with the court’s addition of qualified immunity to local government’s litigation toolbox.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • On Thursday, Ajit Pai Has To Explain Why His FCC Made Up A DDOS Attack And Lied To Congress

      So FCC boss Ajit Pai will need to don some tap-dancing shoes this Thursday, when he’ll be forced to explain to a Senate oversight committee why his agency not only made up a DDOS attack, but lied repeatedly to the press and Congress about it.

      As we recently noted, e-mails obtained by FOIA request have proven that the FCC completely made up a DDOS attack in a bizarre bid to downplay the fact that John Oliver’s bit on net neutrality crashed the agency website last year. A subsequent investigation by the FCC Inspector General confirmed those findings, showing not only that no attack took place, but that numerous FCC staffers misled both Congress and the media when asked about it.

      Pai initially tried to get out ahead of the scandal and IG report by issuing a statement that threw his employees under the bus while playing dumb. According to Pai’s pre-emptive statement, the entire scandal was the fault of the FCC’s since-departed CIO and other employees who mysteriously failed to alert him that this entire shitshow was occurring (you can just smell the ethical leadership here)…

    • Ajit Pai grilled by lawmakers on why FCC spread “myth” of DDoS attack

      Today, four Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Pai “demanding to know when he and his staff learned that the Commission had provided inaccurate information about why its comment system went down during the net neutrality repeal public comment period,” the Democrats said in an announcement.

    • Court Rejects Ajit Pai’s Bid To Reduce Broadband Subsidies For Tribal Areas

      For a while now we’ve been noting that while Ajit Pai professes to be a huge proponent of “closing the digital divide,” most of his policies are doing the exact opposite. Pai’s attacks on net neutrality, for example, will likely only act to drive up broadband prices for everyone as ISPs enjoy their newfound ability to creatively abusive captive customers in uncompetitive markets. And Pai has repeatedly attempted to fiddle with FCC data collection methodology with an eye toward obfuscating the industry’s competitive failures (be that skyrocketing prices or poor coverage).

      That’s of course when he hasn’t been busy slowly-but-surely gutting programs designed to help bring broadband to the nation’s less affluent areas.

      One of Pai’s core policies has been a relentless attack on the FCC’s Lifeline program. Lifeline was created under the Reagan administration and expanded under the George W. Bush administration, and provides low-income households with a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to chose one). The FCC under former FCC boss Tom Wheeler had voted to expand the service to cover broadband connections, something Pai (ever a champion to the poor) voted down.

      Traditionally this program had broad, bipartisan support and was never deemed even remotely controversial. But ever since Trump and Pai stumbled into town, the current FCC has slowly waged war on the program. For example Pai’s FCC voted 3-2 last November to eliminate a $25 additional Lifeline subsidy for low-income native populations on tribal land. Pai’s FCC also banned smaller mobile carriers from participating in the Lifeline program, a move opposed by even the larger companies (Verizon, AT&T) Pai’s FCC normally nuzzles up to.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Joinder of Inventor/Principal of Patentee to Assertion of Fees for Exceptional Case Liability

      A while back, I suggested here that defendants start thinking, early on, about joining sole-shareholders (and the like) of asset-less patentees if 285 liability was an issue. In a recent case, the district court allowed joinder of such a person, finding he was a necessary party under Rule 19. (I seriously doubt that is correct (what is the claim against the person being joined?), but Genentech managed to convince a judge to join such a person in Phigenix, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., (N.D. Cal. Aug. 13, 2018) (here). (I’ve also written about counsel’s liability under 285, and the conflicts it can create, here.)

    • France: Upset in practice of the seizure: withdrawal of the seizure order due to lack of impartiality of the patent attorneys

      On March 27th, 2018, the Court of Appeal of Paris issued a decision on withdrawal of the seizure order on the grounds that the principle of impartiality had been violated since the patent attorneys (“CPIs”) assisting the bailiff wrote a report on the probability of the infringement annexed at the seizure request.

      It will thus be advisable to rely on a patent attorney which did not know the case at all in order to practice a seizure without taking the risk of a withdrawal of the order.

      [...]

      The decision of the Court was appealed. We will see if the French Supreme Court will follow the reasoning initiated by the Court of Appeal regarding the lack of impartiality of the patent attorneys who previously acted as experts in the context of the seizure.

      The scope of this decision could be moderated since, in this case, several factual arguments on the drafting conditions of the expert report with the assistance of the seizing party were raised as reported above. In this context, if the patent attorney who prepared a preliminary report for the seizing party had access to some information about the alleged infringing material may not be considered impartial, we may ask ourselves what the measure of impartiality should be. The decision of the Court of Appeal does not set a clear limit on this point; it does of course reiterate that patent attorneys are independent and from that point of view are allowed to assist during seizures.

      Therefore, in order to avoid withdrawal of a seizure order, the seizing party will not refer in its request to a patent attorney who intervened previously as an expert in the same case, e.g. as an expert having participated in a private expert report filed as supporting evidence for obtaining the seizure as in the present case. The risk would be the characterization of the impartiality of the designated patent attorney and, correspondingly, the possible withdrawal of the seizure order. Whether this position would extend to any type of private expertise is unknown; hopefully the Supreme Court will provide guidance.

      We would recommend to use a patent attorney who had no relationship with the seizing party beforehand for assisting during seizures.

    • New survey highlights emerging trends in IP operations management

      The day-to-day tasks of managing a global IP portfolio form the backbone of any IP strategy. The most high-level corporate IP policy can falter if a company lacks robust operations processes for securing and maintaining patents and other rights. In a recent survey, Clarivate Analytics set out to investigate how organisations approach these management tasks, and what challenges they face. This month’s guest piece from the firm breaks down some of the key findings and what they may mean.

    • China: Supreme People’s Court Provides Guidance on Amendment and Inventiveness Evaluation for Markush Claims

      A Markush claim is a type of claim commonly used in chemical and pharmaceutical fields. On December 20, 2017, in Beijing Winsunny Harmony Science & Technology Co., Ltd. v. Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd, (“Daiichi Sankyo Case”), the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”) resolved a long standing-split among Chinese courts regarding the interpretation and amendment of Markush claims. In combination with examination practice in China, this article will discuss the guidance of the Daiichi Sankyo case and provide strategic suggestions for readers’ reference.

    • Apple’s Declaratory Judgment Backfires, Turns Into $145.1M Damages Verdict Wi-LAN

      Though this is not the only lawsuit fought out between Wi-LAN and Apple, this particular action began in June 2014 when Apple filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment of invalidity on the ‘145 and ‘757 patents along with three other Wi-LAN patents.

    • Tesla IP chief jumps to automotive rival

      Jeff Risher has left his post as Tesla’s head of IP to join rival electric car manufacturer Faraday Future as vice president, technology and IP. According to his LinkedIn profile he joined Faraday last month after a little more than two years at Tesla where he was chief IP and litigation counsel. Prior to that he spent almost a decade at Apple, most recently as director of patent licensing and strategy.

    • USA: BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. v. Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc., United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2017-1265, 31 July 2018

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has granted BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc.’s motion to remand to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board a consolidated appeal of the Board’s final decisions upholding the patentability of three Aquestive Therapeutics patents for water-soluble drug-dosage films incorporating anti-tacking agents.

    • Jury Finding of Willful Infringement Does Not Satisfy Section 287 Notice Requirement

      Following remand, the court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment to preclude plaintiff from seeking pre-suit damages and rejected plaintiff’s argument that the jury’s willful infringement finding satisfied plaintiff’s obligation to establish actual notice.

    • Design Protection In Europe

      A design is defined in the Community Design regulation and in the Design directive as the outward appearance of a product or a part of a product which results from the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials and/or its ornamentation. In order to qualify for protection, designs must be new and must have individual character. Furthermore, a design shall not subsist in features of appearance of a product which are solely dictated by its technical function. Designs make a product attractive and appealing; hence they may add significantly to the commercial value of a product and increase its marketability. Design protection is a significant element of IP law. Designs as unique creations with individual character require and deserve protection against imitators just as copyrighted works or trademarks.

    • California jury awards LED company $66m in trade secrets case

      Chinese competitor Elec-Tech found to have stolen trade secrets related to Lumileds technology for making high power LEDs used in flash phones and headlights

    • Copyrights
      • Bruce Lee’s Estate Gets Stiff Roundhouse Kick After Trying To Block Theater Company’s Trademark

        Those steeped in ownership culture often have the wrong idea when it comes to trademark laws. In the minds of some, trademark laws can be used like publicity rights laws, wherein a famous somebody — or that somebody’s heirs — can use that fame to control all uses of references to that somebody for ever and ever. That, of course, is not how trademark laws work. Instead, trademark law is designed to protect the public from confusion by allowing some monopolistic use of names and terms in some markets and only if actual commerce is taking place.

        This is a lesson the management company of the late renowned martial arts star Bruce Lee has now learned the hard way. Bruce Lee Enterprises attempted to both block the trademark registration for production company Barisons in the UK, which applied for a mark covering its forthcoming Jun Fan: the Bruce Lee Musical, and also to apply for a “Jun Fan” mark in the theatrical designation itself. Jun Fan, if you’re not aware, was the birth name of Bruce Lee.

      • Facebook Bans Kodi Boxes And Other Jailbroken Devices

        Kodi has gained quite a notorious reputation as the users continue to stream illegal content from it. Recently, Facebook expressed their criticism of illegal video streaming content by banning Kodi boxes and other jailbroken or loaded devices.

        Adding Kodi to the list of the prohibited content, Facebook has put up a post explicitly stating that posts promoting the sale of illegal video streaming devices, jailbroken devices, wiretapping devices would not be entertained on the platform.

      • SevenTorrents Shuts Down After 10 Years; Transfers Database To WatchSoMuch

        The disappearance of websites in the torrent world is very common. While many services shut down and pirates move on to their alternatives, sometimes sites also transfer their data to other sites.

        A similar retirement development (Via: TF) has recently taken place in the case of SevenTorrents. If you’re only familiar with biggies like The Pirate Bay, YTS, or KAT, let me tell you that SevenTorrents has been around for more than ten years; just last year only, it served more than 5 million visitors.

      • Disney (yes, Disney) declares war on “overzealous copyright holders”

        On the other hand, they’re right, and this is exactly what fair use is for: to allow for third parties to comment on copyrighted works and their creators, especially when the creators object. Sure, maybe Disney could buy licenses to the Michael Jackson videos they’re quoting in this doc, but if the Jackson estate objects because Disney is portraying Jackson in an unflattering light, do we really want to give them a veto? Shouldn’t the discussion of culturally significant figures be the subject of legitimate debate, without partisans (whose own income is dependent on maintaining the reputation of the dead entertainer) being able to decide who can criticize that figure and how?

Antiquated Patenting Trick: Adding Words Like ‘Apparatus’ to Make Abstract Ideas Look/Sound Like They Pertain to or Contain a ‘Device’

Wednesday 15th of August 2018 09:20:29 AM

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) still maintains that abstract ideas are not patent-eligible; so applicants and law firms go out of their way to make their ideas seem as though they’re physical

THE examiners at the USPTO have been instructed (as per Section 101/Alice and examination guidelines) not to grant abstract patents, which include software patents. This means that applicants and the law firms whom they pay to ‘game’ the system will go out of their way to rephrase things, making life harder for examiners.

RichmondBizSense‘s patent listings, published only a few hours ago, include “Method and apparatus for context based data analytics” (analysis or analytics using algorithms).

“We certainly hope that examiners are clever enough to spot these tricks; the underlying algorithms do not depend on a device and aren’t strictly tied to any; they can run on any general-purpose computer.”Notice how they titled it; “apparatus” is just the same old trick (like “device”) for making abstract ideas seem physical. Lawyers’ tricks like these fool the examiners. “Device”, at least in the EPO, is the weasel word quite often used to make patents look less “as such” (or “per se” as they phrase it in India). We certainly hope that examiners are clever enough to spot these tricks; the underlying algorithms do not depend on a device and aren’t strictly tied to any; they can run on any general-purpose computer.

Watchtroll’s latest attack on 35 U.S.C. § 101 (this time Jeremy Doerre again, for the second time in a week) shows that patent quality is the real threat to these maximalists/extremists. They dislike justice, love litigation, and Section 101 is therefore a threat to them. Maybe they will just attack SCOTUS again later this week. Judge-bashing has become pretty common at Watchtroll.

Janal Kalis, another patent maximalist, wrote about “apparatus” this week:

The PTAB Affirmed an Examiner’s 101 Rejection of Claims for an Apparatus for Material Analysis: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017010532-07-31-2018-1 …

Maybe the applicant thought that a generic/broad word like “apparatus” would be enough; maximalists like that word, but in this particular case it fooled neither the examiner nor the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), even without an inter partes review (IPR). There are many more like this; it’s quite the norm these days, tackling software patents and other abstract patents at the examination level with help/affirmation from PTAB.

Yesterday Dennis Crouch wrote about PTAB and an examiner rejecting a lousy Facebook patent. He probably (cherry-)picked it because this time, for a change, the Federal Circuit did not fully agree; it reversed and remanded the decision.

“Maybe the applicant thought that a generic/broad word like “apparatus” would be enough; maximalists like that word, but in this particular case it fooled neither the examiner nor the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), even without an inter partes review (IPR).”To quote: “Facebook’s U.S. Patent Application No. 13/715,636 claims a method for displaying a set of images after reshuffling or resizing the images. The Examiner rejected Claim 1 (below) as anticipated; and that rejection was affirmed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Now on appeal, the Federal Circuit has reversed and remanded — finding that the USPTO had too loosely interpreted the prior art.

“The claimed image rendering process begins with a sequence of images. Each image is assigned a “first position” within an “array of contiguous image elements” — in other words, the images are put in a particular order. When a user adjusts the position or size of an image — there may be a need for reshuffling of the images into “second positions.” The claimed method includes a requirement that the reshuffled sequence “be contiguous.” — i.e., no gaps in the array.”

How is that not abstract? Never mind prior art, which was the basis for the original rejection…

Open Invention Network (OIN) Member Companies Need to Become Unanimous in Opposition to Software Patents

Wednesday 15th of August 2018 08:31:19 AM

OIN still going with the flow of millionaires and billionaires who fund it, not Free/libre software developers

Summary: Opposition to abstract software patents, which even the SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit nowadays reject, would be strategically smart for OIN; but instead it issues a statement in support of a GPL compliance initiative

THE USPTO is still granting software patents, never mind if courts continue and persist in rejecting these. OIN still generally supports software patents, albeit shyly. It doesn’t talk about that ‘too’ much. Just look at the member companies of OIN, especially founding members; some of these companies actively pursue their own software patents and IBM is blackmailing companies with these.

“OIN still generally supports software patents, albeit shyly.”Yesterday OIN issued this press release [1, 2] under the title “Open Invention Network Member Companies Unanimous in Support of GPL Cooperation Commitment” and what’s odd about it is that they talk about software licences rather than patent licences. The GPL is dealing with copyright (mostly), albeit GPLv3 indirectly deals with patents too. So it’s interesting that OIN now talks about the GPL rather than patent policy. From the opening paragraph:

Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today that its eight funding members – Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, Sony, NEC, Philips, Toyota – have committed to rejecting abusive tactics in the enforcement of open source licenses by adopting the GPL Cooperation Commitment. The unanimous support of OIN’s funding members to this commitment reflects the strong belief that responsible compliance in open source licensing is important and that license enforcement in open source ecosystems comes with a cultural expectation that all parties will behave reasonably. OIN encourages each one of its over 2,500 licensees, as well as all participants in the open source community, to follow the example of the OIN funding members and adopt the GPL Cooperation Commitment.

Well, if you support GPL, dear OIN leadership, you will also push for abolishing software patents. As things stand at the moment, serial GPL infringer Microsoft uses software patents against OIN members. This malicious company is still pursuing such patents — abstract patents with which it is blackmailing companies. To give an example from yesterday’s news, Microsoft now uses/rides the “blockchain” hype [1, 2] to patent software. “To this end,” said one article, “Microsoft filed two patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in June last year. The report came to light Thursday via a report published by the Office. [...] A trusted execution environment could also be very crucial in the verification of blockchain transactions on a common network or platform. This is especially reliable in the environment where the various pre-authorized transactions must interact.”

“Maybe if OIN bothered putting its weight behind the movement to abolish such patents, there would be better legal certainty/security for “Open” things (OIN stands for “Open Invention Network” after all, so surely it should care).”This is so obviously software and our next post will deal with examiners failing to reject these sorts of patents. Maybe if OIN bothered putting its weight behind the movement to abolish such patents, there would be better legal certainty/security for “Open” things (OIN stands for “Open Invention Network” after all, so surely it should care).

President Battistelli ‘Killed’ the EPO; António Campinos Will ‘Finish the Job’

Wednesday 15th of August 2018 07:52:25 AM

Reducing jobs, only months after outsourcing jobs at EU-IPO (sending these overseas to low-salaried staff, even in defiance of EU rules)

Summary: The EPO is shrinking, but this is being shrewdly disguised using terms like “efficiency” and a low-profile President who keeps himself in the dark

THE number of granted patents continues to decrease (a steady decline) at the USPTO, representing improvements (restrictions) imposed there by the courts. We’ll say a little more about that later.

“These people don’t care about scientists, whom they merely view/perceive as “human” “resources” (not to mention who has been put in charge of “human resources”).”At the office in Munich, however, patent maximalism reigns supreme. The agenda has nothing to do with science and technology; the management lacks background in science and technology. The President is a former banker and his predecessor is a politician. These people don’t care about scientists, whom they merely view/perceive as “human” “resources” (not to mention who has been put in charge of “human resources”). It’s all about money. All. About. Money. Short-term gain. What doesn’t count to them is the long-term survival of their ‘company’ (it’s actually not a company but an institution with a monopoly, which should not strive for profits but instead serve public interests).

“The official announcement is that target per examiner still increases, but the EPO shall have less examiners. Recruitment is halted and retirement shall not compensated.”
      –MärpelAnyway, Märpel says that the EPO is “closing shop.” (that’s her headline). It is not literally but metaphorically doing so; it was ‘killed’ by Battistelli and his friend António Campinos (French successor of choice) ‘finishes the job’.

Here are some details from last night (some of this is new to us):

As discussed in the last post, the EPO experiences difficulties in finding candidates. Recruitment is stopped.

The tipping point was last spring, when President Battistelli had a project to move all staff to 5-years contracts. That project shocked the staff, especially staff from Germany. They spread the news to their friends and relatives, far beyond the borders of the Office: in Munich, even the lay person on the street knows that there is a problem at the big building near the Isar. Märpel was actually surprised to hear that message from distant relatives, even her doctor!

The project was put on hold, but this will not be sufficient to undo the damage done to the reputation of the EPO as an employer. Nowadays, prospective employees know that work contracts with the Office can be changed any moment to their disadvantage.

[...]

Instead, one of the first announcements of President Campinos was that the target for 2019 shall be lower than the one for 2018 (that announcement is not public but was told in several meetings). Why that surprising announcement when each preceding year saw the target increase by stunning numbers? The official announcement is that target per examiner still increases, but the EPO shall have less examiners. Recruitment is halted and retirement shall not compensated.

This is, in general, how institutions get diminished. Maybe Campinos hopes to covertly reduce the size of the workforce without having to announce layoffs, instead relying on people to leave (because their salary gets halved), their now-limited contract ending and so on. The net effect is the same.

What if this office wound up being just a big pile of stakeholders’ money (tied to toxic mortgages), lots of low-quality patents (of questionable validity), no high-quality staff, and a construction site?

Links 14/8/2018: Virtlyst 1.2.0, Blender 2.8 Planning Update, Zorin OS 12.4, FreeBSD 12.0 Alpha

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 04:27:55 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Kernel Space
    • XArray Proposed For Merging In The Linux 4.19 Kernel

      Matthew Wilcox who most recently has been employed by Microsoft is looking to get the new XArray data structure added to the Linux 4.19 kernel.

      Earlier this year Wilcox was hoping for XArray in Linux 4.17 but that didn’t pan out but he believes it is ready for Linux 4.19. XArray is intended to eventually replace the radix tree data structure in the Linux kernel. XArray’s advantages include locking support as part of its design, memory not being pre-loaded, and page cache improvements in using XArray.

    • Btrfs Gets Fixes & Low-Level Improvements With Linux 4.19

      David Sterba of SUSE sent in the Btrfs file-system updates today for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window.

      The most noticeable change with Btrfs for Linux 4.19 is that it now supports defragging opened read-only files that have read-write permissions. Btrfs in Linux 4.19 is also carrying some validation improvements, error code handling improvements, tree checker improvements, some fsync fixes, a possible deadlock fix, resetting the on-disk device stats value after replacing a drive, and a variety of other code clean-ups and bug fixes.

    • Linux 4.18 Benefits from Energy-Aware Scheduling on ARM

      The fourth major milestone release for the Linux kernel was officially announced by Linus Torvalds on Aug. 12 with the general availability of Linux 4.18.

      Linux 4.18, required a somewhat uncommon eight release candidates and follows the Linux 4.17 release that was announced on June 3.

      “One week late(r) and here we are – 4.18 is out there,” Linus Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. “It was a very calm week, and arguably I could just have released on schedule last week, but we did have some minor updates.”

      [...]

      Linux 4.18 also integrated a new asynchronous I/O interface that improves system polling performance.

    • Linux Kernel 4.18 Keeps Things Solid and Secure

      Linus Torvalds published the 4.18 kernel on Sunday, one week later than expected. This has a been a rocky release… and it’s all Android’s fault (more or less).

      You see, Android systems lack tmpfs, the temporary file systems you usually see hanging off your /tmp directory. In regular Linux systems, a tmpfs is stored in memory and holds data that applications may need to retrieve at short notice or share with other programs. Instead, Android allocates a chunk of memory (called ashmem) that does the same thing. However, a change introduced to ashmem in 4.18-rc7 made the open source version of Android crash. Unfortunately, all this came to light the week before the final release of 4.18 was due. Nine patches later and the problem was still not totally resolved, so Linus decided to roll back the whole thing and wait another week for the things to calm down.

    • EXT4 & XFS File-System Updates Submitted For Linux 4.19

      The pull requests updating the XFS and EXT4 file-system driver code have been sent in for the recently started Linux 4.19 kernel merge window.

      On the EXT4 file-system front, the documentation on the project’s Wiki has been converted into documentation files within the kernel tree. Additionally, there is now 64-bit timestamp support for EXT4′s superblock fields, a Spectre gadget fix, hardening against maliciously corrupted file-systems, and various other bug fixes and code improvements.

    • Linux 4.19 Will Fend Off Stack Attacks With STACKLEAK Plugin

      As expected, Linux 4.19 is getting STACKLEAK as a GCC plug-in for the Linux kernel that will fend off various form of stack attacks.

      STACKLEAK is ported from the last open-source code of the GrSecurity/PaX modified kernel and wipes out the kernel stack before returning from system calls.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Open Source cleaning up at the Oscars

        Over the last 25 years, software, and particularly open source software (OSS), has played an increasingly important role in the most successful movies of our time.

        Now this contribution is set to grow, boosted by the introduction on Friday, of the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), a joint venture of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the organisation behind the annual Oscar awards and the Linux Foundation.

        This follows a recently concluded two-year investigation by the Academy which found that more than 80% of the motion picture industry uses OSS, particularly for animation and visual effects.

      • AMPAS, Linux Foundation Launch Academy Software Foundation

        “Developers and engineers across the industry are constantly working to find new ways to bring images to life, and open source enables them to start with a solid foundation while focusing on solving unique, creative challenges rather than reinventing the wheel,” said Rob Bredow, SVP, Executive Creative Director and Head of Industrial Light & Magic and Member of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, Open Source Investigation Committee. “We are very excited to launch the Academy Software Foundation and provide a home for open source developers to collaborate, regardless of where they work, and share best practices which we believe will drive innovation across the industry.”

      • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation Launched the Academy Software Foundation, Linux 4.18 and GNU Linux-libre 4.18-gnu Kernels Are Out, DXVK 0.65 Released and Canonical Live Patch Update

        The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation launched the Academy Software Foundation late last week. The ASF’s mission is to “increase the quality and quantity of contributions to the content creation industry’s open source software base; to provide a neutral forum to coordinate cross-project efforts; to provide a common build and test infrastructure; and to provide individuals and organizations a clear path to participation in advancing our open source ecosystem”. Interested developers can sign up to join the mailing list here.

    • Graphics Stack
      • May the Source Be with You: NVIDIA Open Sources Material Definition Language SDK

        Security, customizability, flexibility and cost are a few of the benefits of open-source software for developers.

        They’ll get all these and more from NVIDIA’s Material Definition Language software development kit, which is available starting today as open source.

        MDL software — a set of tools that integrate the precise look and feel of real-world materials into rendering applications — has long been supported by developers. It gives end-users the freedom to share physically based materials and lights between supporting applications.

        For example, an MDL material — such as a specific piece of carpeting, upholstery or clothing — created in Allegorithmic Substance Designer can be saved to a library and then used in any other supporting application, like Adobe Dimension CC.

      • NVIDIA Announces Open-Source MDL SDK

        In addition to announcing the Turing-based Quadro RTX GPUs with GDDR6 memory, NVIDIA used SIGGRAPH 2018 to announce their open-sourcing of the MDL SDK.

        The MDL SDK is the Material Definition Language and is a programming language for defining physically-based materials for rendering, The MDL code can then be converted into GLSL, NVIDIA PTX, x86 instructions, or LLVM IR for making these assets more portable.

      • Mesa 18.1.6 Released With Build System Updates, Various OpenGL/Vulkan Driver Fixes

        Mesa 18.1.6 is now available as the latest point release for Mesa 18.1 as the Q2’2018 release of this collection of open-source graphics drivers/infrastructure.

        Mesa 18.1.6 just ships with over three dozen fixes compared to v18.1.5 from a few weeks back. The Mesa 18.1.6 release includes various Gallium3D fixes, different Autotools/Meson build system updates, corrections to MSAA corruption with AMD Vega, a DRIRC option to allow Metro Redux to work properly (again), support for using INTEL_DEBUG for setting Intel shader disk cache flags, and various other random fixes throughout.

      • Vulkan 1.1.83 Released With Minor Documentation Updates For SIGGRAPH

        The Khronos Group has released Vulkan 1.1.83 as a routine maintenance update to the Vulkan 1.1 graphics/compute API to coincide with the start of ACM SIGGRAPH 2018 in Vancouver.

        Vulkan 1.1.83 doesn’t introduce any new extensions but just corrects a variety of documentation issues. It does prepare for some new extensions though as some extra bits are now reserved for pending vendor extensions. These reserved bits appear to be for some NVIDIA extension work.

    • Benchmarks
      • A Look At The Windows 10 vs. Linux Performance On AMD Threadripper 2990WX

        Complementing the extensive Linux benchmarks done earlier today of the AMD Threadripper 2990WX in our review (as well as on the Threadripper 2950X), in this article are our first Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks of this 32-core / 64-thread $1799 USD processor. Tests were done from Microsoft Windows 10 against Clear Linux, Ubuntu 18.04, the Arch-based Antergos 18.7-Rolling, and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

  • Applications
    • Virtlyst 1.2.0 released

      Virtlyst – a Web Interface to manage virtual machines build with Cutelyst/Qt/C++ got a new release.

      This new release includes a bunch of bug fixes, most importantly probably being the ability to warn user before doing important actions to help avoid doing mistakes.

      Most commits came from new contributor René Linder who is also working on a Bootstrap 4 theme and Lukas Steiner created a dockerfile for it. This is especially cool because Virtlyst repository now has 4 authors while Cutelyst which is way older has only 6.

    • Blender 2.8 Planning Update

      At this point we will not have a feature complete Beta release ready in August as we had hoped. Instead, we invested most of our time improving the features that were already there and catching up with the bug tracker. This includes making the viewport and EEVEE work on more graphics cards and platforms.

      The Spring open movie team is also using Blender 2.8 in production, which is helping us ensure the new dependency graph and tools can handle complex production scenes.

    • Blender 2.80 Now Coming In Early 2019 With Many Improvements

      The Blender 3D modeling software is facing a slight set-back in their release schedule for the big Blender 2.80 release, but it’s moving along and they intend to have it ready by early next year.

    • HTTP request routing and validation with gorilla/mux

      The Go networking library includes the http.ServeMux structure type, which supports HTTP request multiplexing (routing): A web server routes an HTTP request for a hosted resource, with a URI such as /sales4today, to a code handler; the handler performs the appropriate logic before sending an HTTP response, typically an HTML page.

    • Blender 2.8 Alpha 2 Just Released, but Full Release Pushed to Early 2019

      The free and open-source Blender 3D modeling software, a popular alternative to more expensive suites like Maya LT and 3DS Max, is facing a bit of a delay in their release schedule for Blender 2.80 – however, the developers intend to release it by early next year 2019.

      The devs had hoped to have a feature complete beta ready this August 2018, but that doesn’t look like a possibility either – the team spent most of their time “improving” the currently existing features, and eliminating current bugs within the software. However, a Blender 2.80 Alpha 2 was released just today.

    • Browsh – A Modern Text Browser That Play Videos and Everything

      Browsh is an open source, simple and modern text-based browser that renders in TTY terminal environments. It is made up of a minimal Golang CLI front-end and a browser web-extension (headless Firefox) which actually offers most of the functionality to create a purely text-based version of web pages and web apps.

      This browser renders anything that a modern browser can; HTML5, CSS3, JS, video as well as WebGL. It is importantly a bandwidth-saver, designed to run on a remote server and accessed via SSH/Mosh or the in-browser HTML service so as to notably reduce bandwidth.

    • Chronos Timetracker – An Open-Source Desktop Client for JIRA

      JIRA is an Agile-based management tool that provides developers, designers, and team members with bug tracking, issue tracking, and other project management functions including customizing workflows, collaborating with external teams, and releasing software.

    • Proprietary
      • Dropbox will only Support the Ext4 File System In Linux in November

        Dropbox has announced that starting on November 7th 2018, only the ext4 file system will be supported in Linux for synchronizing folders in the Dropbox desktop app. Those Linux users who have synch on other file systems such as XFS, ext2, ext3, ZFS, and many others will no longer have working Dropbox synchronization after this date.

        This news came out after Linux dropbox users began seeing notifications stating “Dropbox Will Stop Syncing Ext4 File Systems in November.” You can see an example of this alert in Swedish below.

      • Dropbox scares users by shrinking synching options

        Dropbox has quietly announced it will soon stop synching files that reside on drives tended by some filesystems.

        The sync ‘n’ share service’s desktop client has recently produced warnings that the software will stop syncing in November 2018.

        Those warnings were sufficiently ambiguous that Dropbox took to its support forums to explain exactly what’s going on, namely that as of November 7th, 2018, “we’re ending support for Dropbox syncing to drives with certain uncommon file systems.”

      • DaVinci Resolve 15 Video/Effects Editor Released With Linux Support

        DaVinci Resolve 15 has been released by Blackmagic Design as the company’s professional-grade video editing, visual effects, motion graphics, and audio post-production software.

      • DaVinci Resolve 15 Released for RedHat Enterprise and CentOS Systems

        Video editing on Linux platform just got a whole lot easier, as Blackmagic Design just released their long-awaited DaVinci Resolve 15 software update – a free to use professional-grade video editing, visual effects, motion graphics, and audio post-production software suite.

      • Professional Video Editor DaVinci Resolve 15 Stable Released

        DaVinci Resolve 15 stable has been released for Linux, Windows, and macOS. The new release brings native audio support on Linux and a long list of new features and improvements.

        DaVinci Resolve is a professional video and effects editor. The tool, which can be used for editing, color correction, audio post production and visual effects, has two versions: free to use and paid (DaVinci Resolve Studio).

        The free to use version does not support h26x so you’ll need to transcode any such clips before using them in DaVinci resolve. DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio costs $299 and it includes multi-user collaboration features along with 3D tools, dozens of Resolve FX and more.

      • Dropbox plans to drop encrypted Linux filesystems in November

        Linux users are calling on Dropbox to reverse a decision to trim its filesystem support to unencrypted EXT4 only.

        The company’s supported file system list, here, is missing some formats – including various encrypted Linux filesystems.

        Until that list was revised, Dropbox said it supported NTFS, HFS, EXT4, and APFS on Linux; as the new requirements makes clear, Linux users will only be able to run unencrypted EXT4.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
      • DXVK Merges Direct3D 10 API Support

        Separate from the “DXUP” initiative, the popular DXVK project for accelerating Direct3D 11 atop Vulkan now has support itself for Direct3D 10.

      • DXVK expands with Direct3D 10 over Vulkan in Wine, also info on the new Direct3D 9-to-11 project

        There’s so many incredible things going on around Wine right now it’s hard to keep track. DXVK is now expanding to support Direct3D 10 over Vulkan in Wine.

        Talking about it on the official GitHub account in this issue, the main developer of DXVK said it works in a similar way to DXUP with it being a “very thin wrapper around the existing D3D11 interfaces, while allowing for better interoperability between the two APIs.”.

      • DXVK Brings Merged DX10 Support, Benchmarks Show Good Performance

        The approach being used is somewhat similar to DXUP, by means of using a wrapper around the DX3D11 interfaces – which is enough to run DX3D10-based games such as Crysis, Assassin’s Creed 1, and basically any other game that uses DX3D10 (though games are still being tested, and the dev asks for bug reports via the issue ticket if you can pinpoint the issue to the DXVK wrapper).

    • Games
      • Play It Now – Invisible Inc

        Welcome to the another review in the PIN (Play It NOW) series. Conscious that all previous PINs have been action games, this time I’m covering Invisible Inc from Canadian studio Klei Entertainment, a superb stealth/strategy hybrid in the mould of XCOM.

      • A small update on the status of BATTLETECH for Linux

        Back in June, Harebrained Schemes stated that they were making “good progress” with the Linux version. However, we haven’t really heard from them since then and so it seems Linux gamers were starting to get a little worried.

      • Blood will be Spilled, a narrative spaghetti western platformer with tactical turn-based combat is coming to Linux

        Blood will be Spilled has you follow Jack, a mosquito bounty hunter on his path of revenge voiced by Elias Toufexis (Adam Jensen from Deus Ex) and it’s coming to Linux.

      • 5 open source strategy and simulation games for Linux

        Gaming has traditionally been one of Linux’s weak points. That has changed somewhat in recent years thanks to Steam, GOG, and other efforts to bring commercial games to multiple operating systems, but those games are often not open source. Sure, the games can be played on an open source operating system, but that is not good enough for an open source purist.

        So, can someone who only uses free and open source software find games that are polished enough to present a solid gaming experience without compromising their open source ideals? Absolutely. While open source games are unlikely ever to rival some of the AAA commercial games developed with massive budgets, there are plenty of open source games, in many genres, that are fun to play and can be installed from the repositories of most major Linux distributions. Even if a particular game is not packaged for a particular distribution, it is usually easy to download the game from the project’s website to install and play it.

      • Open-world vehicle builder ‘TerraTech’ has left Early Access

        I absolutely love games that let me build something, drive around and blow stuff up so I’ve been enjoying my time with TerraTech which is now out.

        Unlike Robocraft, TerraTech isn’t just about building a powerful vehicle and destroying everyone. While it does have a PvP multiplayer mode, the main dish is actually the open-world single-player environment. That’s not all it has to offer, as it also has creative mode to do whatever you want, a sumo fighting mode and a gauntlet challenge mode as well.

      • Rings of Saturn is a hard sci-fi, top-down space simulator coming soon to Linux

        Space sim Rings of Saturn [Official Site] was announced earlier this month, with a promise of a realistic top-down experience and it actually looks surprisingly good.

        Seems to have come out of nowhere, at least to me, I can’t remember hearing literally anything about this before discovering it today. While the trailer doesn’t really offer all that much, what it does show makes me firmly want to know more.

      • SC Controller, incredibly useful UI/Driver for the Steam Controller has a new release

        If you ever have issues with games not picking up your Steam Controller correctly, you should probably take a look at the excellent SC Controller [GitHub] project.

        The latest release v0.4.4, that was made available yesterday adds in some interesting new features. A pretty important one, is the new “relative joystick camera” mode, which acts just like the Joystick Camera mode on Steam. Some games (like twin-stick shooters) don’t always hold the position of your thumb on the right pad to continually fire, this mode should fix it for games where it doesn’t work as expected.

      • Insurgency: Sandstorm is looking real good in the latest videos, Linux version should come in the first couple updates

        Insurgency: Sandstorm [Steam] is the new tactical FPS from New World Interactive that will be coming to Linux. There’s new videos out to show it off and we have an update for you about Linux support.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Velt/OS: A Material Design-Themed Desktop Environment

      When it comes to desktop environments, there is a set of popular DEs like GNOME, KDE, Xfce etc. Perhaps Lumina was one of the newest addition to the desktop environment family, until now.

      Let me introduce Velt/OS to you. It’s a material design inspired desktop environment mainly for Arch Linux. The project is in the experimental phase and being ‘slowly’ developed.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • The Joy of GSoC

        Wooo… this is the last day of coding phase of GSoC. I am writing this blog to share my experience and work done in the coding phase. I want to specially thank my mentor David Rosca for his help, suggestions and reviews. This was my first exposure to the KDE community and I am proud that it was great. I really enjoyed the whole program from proposal submission – intermediate evals – then now this final evaluation. Also, I had learned a lot working on my project. Frankly speaking, I didn’t knew about i18n and l10n much but with the help of my mentor now I have a quite good understanding of how these works and are implemented. I can truly say this was one of my best summer vacations.

      • What’s next for WikiToLearn?

        Google Summer of Code is finishing and many things have been done on WikiToLearn since previous post. A little recap is needed.

        Talking with mentors has been crucial because they told me to focus on finishing CRUD interaction with API backend instead of working on “history mode” viewer.

      • Akademy 2018 Monday BoF Wrapup

        Monday was the first day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GSoC 2018 Final Evaluation

        As GSoC is coming to an end, I am required to put my work altogether in order for it to be easily available and hopefully help fellow/potential contributors work on their own projects.

        [...]

        At its prestige, through this project we will have tests both for most critical and used operations of Nautilus, and for the search engines we use. Further on, I’ll provide links for all of my merge requests and dwell a bit on their ins and outs while posting links to my commits:

      • GTK+ 4 and Nautilus </GSoC>

        Another summer here at GNOME HQ comes to an end. While certainly eventful, it unfortunately did not result in a production-ready Nautilus port to GTK+ 4 (unless you don’t intend to use the location entry or any other entry, but more on that later).

      • Pitivi Video Editor Gains UI Polish, Video Preview Resizing

        The latest Google Summer of Code 2018 is allowing some excellent work to be done on some excellent open source projects.

        Among them Pitivi, the non-linear video editor built using GTK and Gstreamer and offering up a basic video editing feature set.

        Over the past few months, Harish Fulara, a Computer Science student, has worked on improving the application’s greeter dialog and on adding support dynamic resizing of the video preview box.

      • GSoC’18 – Final Report

        Some of the tasks I had originally planned took a lot more time than expected. My last task was to add stats to games that track and store your overall game statistics. I’ve already began working on this and will get it merged after thoroughly getting it reviewed by my mentors.

        [...]

        I had a wonderful time contributing to GNOME since I started this February. The amazing community and even more amazing mentors helped me learn new things and guided me all along the way which I would like to thank them for. I will surely keep contributing to GNOME.

  • Distributions
    • Legacy OS 2017 – Ghost of Linux past

      I am quite sad. I was really looking forward to testing Legacy OS. I like quirky, unique stuff, and the Magic Scripts impressed me so much back in the day that I was more than enthused giving this distro a go. Alas, all my expectations were shattered. From boot problems to network problems to basic browsers, the karma just wasn’t there. This feels like an ancient project resurrected into the modern era, but not well adapted to it.

      Hopefully, these issues can be ironed out, and then I’ll take Legacy OS for another spin. At the moment, the 2017 edition feels wrong, and it doesn’t have enough critical quality to warrant testing and tweaking and trying to work around some of the inherent issues. Just too much trouble. Ah well. Maybe some day. Take care.

    • New Releases
      • Zorin OS 12.4 Released – More Secure and Compatible than Ever Before

        We are pleased to announce the release of Zorin OS 12.4. This new release brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance enhancements and hardware support out of the box.

        Zorin OS 12.4 introduces an updated hardware enablement stack. The newly-included Linux kernel 4.15, as well as an updated X server graphics stack, add compatibility for newer computers and hardware in Zorin OS. In addition, new patches for system vulnerabilities are included in this release, so you can have the peace of mind knowing that you’re using the most secure version of Zorin OS ever.

        After installing Zorin OS 12.4, you will have the latest versions of the pre-installed packages. That means fewer software updates will need to be downloaded after installing Zorin OS onto your computer.

      • Linux 4.18 And Zorin OS 12.4 Released With Big Changes: Get Them Here

        The developers of the beginner-friendly Linux distro Zorin OS have released the latest version — Zorin OS 12.4. Just as you’d expect, it brings better hardware support, bugs and security fixes, and performance improvements.

        Powered by Linux kernel 4.15 and updated X server graphics stack, 12.4 aims to serve users in a better manner.

        It’s worth noting that Zorin OS 12.4 is the last point release before the next major Ubuntu 18.04.1-based release, which is scheduled to arrive in upcoming months.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat’s Adam Clater Provides Recommendations for DevSecOps Practices in Government

        Adam Clater, chief architect for Red Hat’s North American public sector, has said there is a need for federal agencies to accept the integration of security in software development processes as a cultural change, MeriTalk reported Monday.

        Clater believes it is important that agency managers grasp the need to standardize their way of creating software systems to add stability and security in development and operations or DevOps practices, leading to a new concept called DevSecOps.

        The Red Hat official told agency managers to begin with undertaking easy and uncomplicated steps to determine how they should adapt to DevSecOps.

      • Could your team be managing itself?

        I was engaged recently in a passionate conversation ignited by a simple comment: “A team has to be managed.” The comment made me think I wasn’t on the same page as my interlocutor.

        I was discussing the importance of designing organizational roles that won’t become bottlenecks (roles that won’t prevent the organization from delivering efficiently or to adapting quickly to changes). In classic organization design, we tend to think that designing boxes on an organizational chart and putting great people in charge will solve all our problems. That approach could work in static environments, where what you have to deliver is defined once and for all.

      • Improving rsync performance with GlusterFS

        Rsync is a particularly tough workload for GlusterFS because with its defaults, it exercises some of the worst case operations for GlusterFS. GlusterFS is the core of Red Hat Gluster’s scale-out storage solution. Gluster is an open, software-defined storage (SDS) platform that is designed to scale out to handle data intensive tasks across many servers in physical, virtual, or cloud deployments. Since GlusterFS is a POSIX compatible distributed file system, getting the best performance from rsync requires some tuning/tweaking on both sides.

        In this post, I will go through some of the pain points and the different tunables for working around the pain points. Getting rsync to run as fast on GlusterFS as it would on a local file system is not really feasible given its architecture, but below I describe how to get as close as possible.

      • Advice For New Leaders From The CEO Of Red Hat
      • Finance
    • Debian Family
      • Google Summer of Code 2018 with Debian – Final Report

        My project is Wizard/GUI helping students/interns apply and get started and the final application is named New Contributor Wizard. It originated as the brainchild and Project Idea of Daniel Pocock for GSoC 2018 under Debian. I prepared the application task for the same and shared my journey through Open Source till GSoC 2018 in two of my blogs, From Preparations to Debian to Proposal and The Application Task and Results.

      • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #172
      • Google Summer of Code 2018 Final Report: Automatic Builds with Clang using Open Build Service

        Debian package builds with Clang were performed from time to time through massive rebuilds of the Debian archive on AWS. The results of these builds are published on clang.debian.net. This summer project aimed to automate Debian archive clang rebuilds by substituting the current clang builds in clang.debian.net with Open Build System (OBS) builds.

        Our final product consists of a repository with salt states to deploy an OBS instance which triggers Clang builds of Debian Unstable packages as soon as they get uploaded by their maintainers.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter 540
          • Deploying Kubernetes on Public Clouds is hard – or is it?

            Recently, there’s been talk about how Kubernetes has become hard to deploy and run on virtual substrates such as those offered by the public clouds. Indeed, the cloud-specific quirks around infrastructure provisioning, including storage, networking assets such as load balancers, and overall access control (IAM) differs from cloud to cloud provider. It is safe to assume that it also differs between your on-prem IaaS implementation or virtualized infrastructure and the public cloud APIs.

            With all the public Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) offerings available to you, why would you deploy Kubernetes to a generic IaaS substrate anyway? There are many reasons for doing so.

          • Design and Web team summary – 13 August 2018

            Welcome to the latest work and updates from the design and web team.

            The team manages all web projects across Canonical. From www.ubuntu.com to the Juju GUI we help to bring beauty and consistency to all the web projects.

          • MacBuntu 18.04 Transformation Pack Ready for Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

            MacBuntu (Macbuntu Mojave/High Sierra/El Capitan/Yosemite) transformation pack is ready for Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver, we were constantly asked for this pack to be available on our site, so here it is for you guys. In this transformation pack we are featuring many themes for almost every desktop, so you don’t have to worry about the desktop you are using whether it is Gnome Shell, Mate, Xfce, Cinnamon or any other desktop. You can simply install it in Ubuntu/Linux Mint or any other Ubuntu based distribution and make your desktop look like Mac OS X. The Unity desktop is still supported in case you are using unofficial version of Unity desktop. In this pack you will find plenty of light variants as well as dark versions, which is managed by different creators and I would like to thank all of them for contributing these themes (McOS-themes, macOS High Sierra, macOS 11, macOS High Sierra – ELBULLAZUL). There are two themes for cursors, for dock we recommend you to install Plank dock and we are providing themes for it as well (credits: KenHarkey and erikdubois. Also we are including themes for Gnome Shell, for Cinnamon, and three icon packs in this transformation pack.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Open-source tech has gained significance in powering startup tech infrastructure

    In the last decade or so, there has been an explosion in the number of mobile applications with the total number of apps available on the App Store reaching 2.2 million in January 2017. Mobile experience reached the next level after the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. Since then, there have been a lot of companies creating excellent smartphones enabling users to seamlessly use these applications. A majority of these mobile applications are B2C in nature, i.e they target consumers and not businesses. There is a distinctive characteristic of these consumer-facing apps—SCALE.

  • Tesla Will Open Up Vehicle Security Software To All Automakers
  • Elon Musk says Tesla will open part of its self-driving software to the public as a safety measure

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a hacker conference in Las Vegas he plans to “open source” the software Tesla uses to secure autonomous-driving features from hacks or takeovers, eventually allowing other carmakers to use it.

    It’s a bid to make autonomous vehicle software safer by opening the software to more scrutiny, he told a private audience of around 100 people on Friday at DEFCON, an annual cybersecurity defense conference held in Las Vegas.

  • Elon Musk plans to open source Tesla’s self-driving software

    The Tesla code, once licenced to manufacturers, could turn out to be the beginning of an open standard which would drive down costs. Plus of course every firm that licenced the tech would be adding its expertise to locking it down securely, such is the beauty of the open source.

  • Tesla’s Open Source Security Could Protect Against an Autonomous Car Hack
  • Why critics who bash Musk’s open source Tesla security project are wrong

    While some have characterized this move as self-serving, a way to make Tesla “look good from a marketing standpoint,” this completely misses the point. While some have used open source as a vapid marketing gesture, Musk’s move here would have far deeper significance for the industry and, of course, for Tesla.

  • Tesla Plan To Release Source Code For Their In-Car Security Technology

    Elon Musk posted on Twitter that he is planning to open-source Tesla vehicle security software so other car makers can take advantage of their code and potentially collaborate when improving security features.

  • Talend Heads to Open Source Summit to Speak on Apache Beam and Apache Spark

    Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a global leader in cloud integration solutions, announced today that two of its technology experts, Mark Balkenende and Alexey Romanenko, will be speaking at the Open Source Summit held in the Vancouver Convention Centre from August 29-31. The summit brings together developers, architects and others open source and industry leaders to cover cornerstones in open source technologies, help navigate open source transformation, track business and compliance needs, and delve into the newest technologies and latest trends touching open source.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Licensing Edgecases

        While I’m not a lawyer – and I’m definitely not your lawyer – licensing questions are on my plate these days. As I’ve been digging into one, I’ve come across what looks like a strange edge case in GPL licensing compliance that I’ve been trying to understand. Unfortunately it looks like it’s one of those Affero-style, unforeseen edge cases that (as far as I can find…) nobody’s tested legally yet.

        I spent some time trying to understand how the definition of “linking” applies in projects where, say, different parts of the codebase use disparate, potentially conflicting open source licenses, but all the code is interpreted. I’m relatively new to this area, but generally speaking outside of copying and pasting, “linking” appears to be the critical threshold for whether or not the obligations imposed by the GPL kick in and I don’t understand what that means for, say, Javascript or Python.

      • Chatting with your website visitors through Chatra

        When I started the blog, I didn’t add a message board below each article because I don’t have the time to deal with spam. Due to broken windows theory, if I leave the spam unattended my blog will soon become a landfill for spammers. But nowadays many e-commerce site or brand sites have a live chatting box, which will solve my problem because I can simply ignore spam, while interested readers can ask questions and provide feedbacks easily. That’s why when my sponsor, Chatra.io, approached me with their great tool, I fell in love with it right away and must share it with everyone.

      • Send: Going Bigger

        Send encrypts your files in the browser. This is good for your privacy because it means only you and the people you share the key with can decrypt it. For me, as a software engineer, the challenge with doing it this way is the limited API set available in the browser to “go full circle”. There’s a few things that make it a difficult problem.

        The biggest limitation on Send today is the size of the file. This is because we load the entire thing into memory and encrypt it all at once. It’s a simple and effective way to handle small files but it makes large files prone to failure from running out of memory. What size of file is too big also varies by device. We’d like everyone to be able to send large files securely regardless of what device they use. So how can we do it?

        The first challenge is to not load and encrypt the file all at once. RFC 8188 specifies a standard for an encrypted content encoding over HTTP that is designed for streaming. This ensures we won’t run out of memory during encryption and decryption by breaking the file into smaller chunks. Implementing the RFC as a Stream give us a nice way to represent our encrypted content.

      • TLS 1.3 Published: in Firefox Today

        On friday the IETF published TLS 1.3 as RFC 8446. It’s already shipping in Firefox and you can use it today. This version of TLS incorporates significant improvements in both security and speed.

        Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the protocol that powers every secure transaction on the Web. The version of TLS in widest use, TLS 1.2, is ten years old this month and hasn’t really changed that much from its roots in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, designed back in the mid-1990s. Despite the minor number version bump, this isn’t the minor revision it appears to be. TLS 1.3 is a major revision that represents more than 20 years of experience with communication security protocols, and four years of careful work from the standards, security, implementation, and research communities (see Nick Sullivan’s great post for the cool details).

      • Firefox Now Supports The Latest Version of Internet Security Protocol

        Internet Engineering Task Force released the final version of TLS 1.3, the latest version of internet security protocol, last week. Today, Mozilla has announced that Firefox now supports TLS 1.3.

      • Symantec Distrust in Firefox Nightly 63

        As of today, TLS certificates issued by Symantec are distrusted in Firefox Nightly.

        You can learn more about what this change means for websites and our release schedule for that change in our Update on the Distrust of Symantec TLS Certificates post published last July by the Mozilla security team.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Hortonworks Supports JIDO Effort to Adopt Open Source for Capability Dev’t; Shaun Bierweiler Comments

      Hortonworks has helped the Defense Department‘s Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization deploy an enterprise information technology platform built on the Hadoop data management software and other open source technologies, ExecutiveBiz reported July 30.

      Federal News Radio reported July 27 that the open source project is in line with JIDO’s effort to deliver capabilities to warfighters and provide updates more quickly amid emerging threats.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeBSD 12.0 Alpha Hits The Web

      The first alpha release of FreeBSD 12.0 was quietly uploaded a few days ago to the project’s download servers as the first step to shipping this next major update to the FreeBSD operating system.

      FreeBSD 12.0-ALPHA1 was successfully made back on 10 August as what begins the project’s “code slush” period whereby new commits can continue being merged for 12.0 but they shouldn’t be introducing new features. The actual code freeze is what’s beginning later this month followed by the code branching and then the beta releases start towards the end of September.

    • Badness, Enumerated by Robots

      After my BSDjobs.com entry was posted, there has been an uptick in interest about the security related data generated at the bsdly.net site. I have written quite extensively about these issues earlier so I’ll keep this piece short. If you want to go deeper, the field note-like articles I reference and links therein will offer some further insights.

      There are three separate sets of downloadable data, all automatically generated and with only very occasional manual intervention.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GSoC 2018 – GNUnet Web-based User Interface

      In the context of Google Summer of Code 2018, my mentor (Martin Schanzenbach) and I have worked on creating and extending the REST API of GNUnet. Currently, we mirrored the functionality of following commands:

      gnunet-identity
      gnunet-namestore
      gnunet-gns
      gnunet-peerinfo

      Additionally, we developed a website with the Javascript framework Angular 6 and the design framework iotaCSS to use the new REST API. The REST API of GNUnet is now documented with Sphinx.

    • GSoC 2018 report: Cuirass Web interface

      For the last three months I have been working with the Guix team as a Google Summer of Code intern. The title of my project is “GNU Guix (Cuirass): Adding a web interface similar to the Hydra web interface”.

      Cuirass is a continuous integration system which monitors the Guix git repository, schedules builds of Guix packages, and presents the build status of all Guix packages. Before my project, Cuirass did not have a web interface. The goal of the project was to implement an interface for Cuirass which would allow a user to view the overall build progress, details about evaluations, build failures, etc. The web interface of Hydra is a good example of such a tool.

      In this post, I present a final report on the project. The Cuirass repository with the changes made during the project is located at http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/guix/guix-cuirass.git. A working instance of the implemented interface is available at https://berlin.guixsd.org/. You can find more examples and demonstrations of the achieved results below.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Run a Linux Terminal on Cheap E-Ink Displays

        If you haven’t kept up with the world of e-ink displays, here’s some good news: they are pretty cheap now. For as little as $15 you can get a small e-ink display that has good enough performance and contrast to actually do something useful. There’s only one problem: figuring out how to drive them in your project.

        Tired of seeing nothing but wiring diagrams and sample code when it came to actually putting these e-ink modules to use, [Jouko Strömmer] decided to try his hand at creating a turn-key application for these gorgeous little displays. The result is PaperTTY, a Python program that allows the user to open up a fully functional Linux virtual terminal on an e-ink display.

      • Open Sourcing Martian Engineering

        One of the more impressive feats accomplished by NASA in recent years has been the plethora of data provided by the Mars Rover. This highly specialized ATV has not only provided some amazing video and images, but its look and maneuverability are just really cool.

        The folks at NASA’s Joint Propulsion Lab agree, and recently unveiled the JPL Open Source Rover (OSR) kit that provides specs and a bill of materials for making a scaled down rover of your very own. The open source Rover follows up on the interest garnered from the ROV-E, an educational model of the Mars Rover that made the rounds of high schools, museums, and universities. The biggest appeal of the OSR is that it can be assembled from commercial off-the-shelf parts for about $2,500.

  • Programming/Development
    • Never patterns, exhaustive matching, and uninhabited types (oh my!)

      One of the long-standing issues that we’ve been wrestling with in Rust is how to integrate the concept of an “uninhabited type” – that is, a type which has no values at all. Uninhabited types are useful to represent the “result” of some computation you know will never execute – for example, if you have to define an error type for some computation, but this particular computation can never fail, you might use an uninhabited type.

    • [Rust] Diagnosing A Weak Memory Ordering Bug

      For the first time in my life I tracked a real bug’s root cause to incorrect usage of weak memory orderings. Until now weak memory bugs were something I knew about but had subconciously felt were only relevant to wizards coding on big iron, partly because until recently I’ve spent most of my career using desktop x86 machines.

      Under heavy load a Pernosco service would assert in Rust’s std::thread::Thread::unpark() with the error “inconsistent state in unpark”. Inspecting the code led to the disturbing conclusion that the only way to trigger this assertion was memory corruption; the value of self.inner.state should always be between 0 and 2 inclusive, and if so then we shouldn’t be able to reach the panic. The problem was nondeterministic but I was able to extract a test workload that reproduced the bug every few minutes. I tried recording it in rr chaos mode but was unable to reproduce it there (which is not surprising in hindsight since rr imposes sequential consistency).

    • IEEE Survey Ranks Programming Languages

      It’s been said that programming languages are akin to religion. Engineers and developers will go out of their way to defend the use of their favorite language. (Perhaps it’s more the pain of learning a new language that keeps us using the old). Surely you’ve seen many surveys on programming language preferences. As with all surveys, the results depend on who was asked.

    • Programming Languages May Finally Be Reaching a Status Quo

      The analyst firm RedMonk has tracked programmers’ interest in various programming languages since 2011. During that time, Swift and Kotlin grew faster than any other language the firm tracked, including Google’s Go and Mozilla’s Rust. Earlier this year Swift, which Apple released in 2014, managed to tie with Apple’s much more established Objective-C language for tenth place in RedMonk’s rankings.

    • Machine learning algorithms can identify anonymous programmers

      Rachel Greenstadt, associate professor of computer science at Drexel University, and Aylin Caliskan, an assistant professor at George Washington University, have found that code can be a form of stylistic expression, a bit like writing, reported Wired.

      As such, the researchers developed a machine learning algorithm to recognise the coding structure used by individual programmers based on samples of their work and spot their traits in compiled binaries or raw source code.

Leftovers
  • Free Airline Tickets: The Latest Internationalized Domain Name-based Homograph Scam

    As part of our continuous monitoring of the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) space, Farsight recently found evidence of what appears to be an ongoing IDN homograph-based phishing campaign targeting mobile users. The suspected phishing websites purport to be those of commercial airline carriers offering free tickets, but, instead, appear to subject the user to a bait-and-switch scam.

  • JAL Flight 123: When a Seven Year Old Shoddy Repair Job Brought Down a 747

    The accident had a wide-reaching effect in Japan. JAL paid $6.7 million to victim’s relatives without admitting liability for the accident. JAL’s president resigned and a maintenance manager committed suicide. The engineer who inspected the jet and signed off on the repair also committed suicide. Flight number 123 was never used by JAL again. The route became Flight 127. JAL gradually switched from flying 747s to Boeing 767 and 767 aircraft and sent their few remaining 747s to the boneyard in 2011. This video with cockpit voice recorder (CVR) audio of the last minutes of JAL 123 was uploaded to YouTube by KaykEigh. WARNING: Not for the faint of heart.

  • 5 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Past Self

    Hindsight is 20/20, so what’s the point if you don’t share it with the world? Here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about recently that I wish I could go back and tell fresh-out-of-college Kim. ‘Cause man, she could have used a lot of help.

  • When Things Become Bizarre

    This also means I cannot travel to OggCamp. Essentially I have to stay within close range of my Post of Duty right now. Leave grants may be getting revoked soon. Getting shifted over to mandatory training status shortly makes that happen when the stakes are becoming as high as they are right now. Nobody has said this yet at work: “Failure Is Not An Option.” With senior ranks in the chain of command coming to the Post of Duty in less than a week, we’ll be learning how close things are to running aground. What makes me feel worse is that this was the year I specifically made provision to travel to England. Moving up the ranks at work means I can’t escape responsible roles because I’m slowly becoming one of the persons others look up to because everybody else at my rank has either retired or left.

  • Science
    • iSpeak: Automated Authorship and Accountability in the Digital Age

      Automated authors generate content that impacts nearly every part of civil society. Children watch automatically–generated YouTube videos to learn language and social skills. Corporations use automated authors to create logos, slogans, poems, artwork, and even entire books in a multibillion dollar industry. And federal courts increasingly rely on reports generated by automated authors in making life and death decisions for criminal defendants. Despite the growing ubiquity of automated authorship, courts and commentators have yet to successfully theorize attribution for works generated by automated authors. Can a work have a nonhuman author? If so, should the law treat its works differently than works created by humans? The majority of courts simply avoid the question; others simply assume that only humans can be authors; still others do not even recognize a question exists. The result is a dangerous jurisprudential blindspot that rests on unstated, untheorized, and unscrutinized assumptions about speech produced by automated authors.

  • Hardware
    • NVIDIA CUDA 10 Adding nvJPEG, Turing Support

      NVIDIA is capitalizing upon SIGGRAPH 2018 as now in addition to launching the Quadro RTX GPUs and open-sourcing the MDL SDK they have announced their work on CUDA 10.

      CUDA 10 is being geared for release with many improvements over CUDA 9 for building GPU-accelerated applications with this proprietary API alternative to OpenCL.

    • Nvidia Unveils Turing Architecture Based Quadro RTX GPUs

      Introducing parts of the new Quadro RTX family, the Quadro RTX 8000, RTX 6000, and RTX 5000 now stand as Nvidia’s fastest cards and are expected to arrive in Q4 this year. Nvidia says that the Turing-based Quadro RTX is the “world’s first ray-tracing GPU.”

    • AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 Is 16% Faster Than The Nvidia Quadro P5000 In Adobe Premier

      AMD has officially announced the Radeon™ Pro WX 8200 at SIGGRAPH 2018. We had earlier reported in an article that the new card would be announced in SIGGRAPH, which you can check out here.

    • NVIDIA Announces Turing-Based Quadro RTX GPUs As The “World’s First Ray-Tracing GPU”

      This morning AMD announced the Vega-based Radeon Pro WX 8200 graphics card as the “best workstation GPU under $1,000 USD” while tonight NVIDIA is trying to steal the thunder by announcing the Quadro RTX series as the “world’s first ray-tracing GPU” that is also based on their new Turing architecture.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Trusted Health Sites Spread Myths About a Deadly Pregnancy Complication

      Preeclampsia, a dangerous form of hypertension that can develop during pregnancy or in the days and weeks after childbirth, is one of the most common causes of maternal death and severe complications in the U.S. The large majority of deaths occur after delivery, often from strokes.

      But you’d never know it from the incomplete, imprecise, outdated and sometimes misleading information published by some of the most trusted consumer health sites in the country.

      Instead, you might come away with the impression that, as Harvard Health Publishing says, preeclampsia “occurs only during pregnancy.”

    • Sensors to Smartphones Bring Patent Wars to Diabetes Monitoring

      Fortune and other diabetics are benefiting from an explosion in technology and innovation, from under-the-skin sensors that eliminate the need for painful finger pricks, to smartphone alerts when glucose levels rise too high. But the technology, and its integration with mobile devices, has brought the types of lawsuits typically seen by Silicon Valley companies.

    • Agribiotech Patents in the Food Supply Chain: A U.S. Perspective

      This chapter highlights U.S. agribiotech patent issues as they relate to the food supply chain. Agribiotech patents challenge how we think about fundamental issues of seed ownership, innovation, and when downstream uses are or should be permissible. Part II of this chapter sketches the arc of agribiotech developments in the U.S. from its colonial past to the current day and observes the evolution of protection over seed traits transition from an open socialist-style franchise to a tightly controlled oligarchy subsisting on patent rights. Part III assesses patent exhaustion through the lens of Bowman and the Court’s more recent decision in Impression Prod., Inc. v. Lexmark Int’l, Inc. Part IV offers observations on three issues: (1) patentees and generic seed companies will remain invested in maintaining compliance for transgenic seed exports; (2) the recent spate of mega-mergers continue the transformation set in motion by the privatization of agriculture more than a century ago, with these mergers benefiting agribiotech companies and farmers abroad, unfortunately, at the expense of U.S. farmers at home; and (3) developments such as retaliatory tariffs on transgenic seed exports will affect agribiotech innovation as surely as developments in patent law, and should be part of any comprehensive analysis of dynamic trends in the food value chain. Part V highlights key areas for future study and concludes.

  • Security
    • 25 Smartphone Models Found Shipping With Severe Firmware Flaws: Defcon 2018

      Smartphones from small as well as big OEMs are under the radar. OEMs such as ZTE, Leagoo, and Doogee have been included in the list of insecure Android device manufacturers previously as well. Leagoo and Doogee have been reported to come preinstalled with apps that have banking trojans.

    • Aporeto Security and Red Hat OpenShift in Action

      In this short video, we demonstrate how Aporeto integrates with Red Hat OpenShift and leverages the platform’s native capabilities to extract application identity metadata to enforce security.

      Aporeto enforces security uniformly in hybrid and multi-cloud environments and abstracts away the complexities of the underlying infrastructure. As you leverage OpenShift to expand beyond the data center, you can use Aporeto to extend your security policies no matter where your application and its services run.

    • Oracle has flagged a vulnerability that could “completely compromise” customer databases

      Oracle is calling on its customers to immediately patch a security vulnerability that can lead to “complete compromise of the Oracle Database”.

      The vulnerability was found in the Java VM component of the vendor’s database server, but attacks may “significantly impact additional products”, according to a notice on the US National Vulnerability Database.

    • Hacknet gets ‘Educational’ pricing plan to help teach students about cyber security

      Although primarily intended for entertainment, Hacknet’s simulation is based on real cyber-security principles, while its user interface implements actual Unix commands

    • Security updates for Monday
    • OpenPGP key expiration is not a security measure

      There seems to be some recurring confusion among Gentoo developers regarding the topic of OpenPGP key expiration dates. Some developers seem to believe them to be some kind of security measure — and start arguing about its weaknesses. Furthermore, some people seem to think of it as rotation mechanism, and believe that they are expected to generate new keys. The truth is, expiration date is neither of those.

    • Vulnerability in Java VM Component of Oracle Database allows for Whole System Compromise
    • #DEFCON Vote Hacking Village Refute NASS ‘Unfair’ Claims

      DEFCON has hit back at criticisms levied at it by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) over the introduction of an area designed to test voting machines.

      In a statement released on 9th August, the NASS said that while it applauded “the goal of DEFCON attendees to find and report vulnerabilities in election systems” it felt it was important to point out that work has been done by states’ own information technology teams, and also named the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), the private sector, the National Guard and universities as being involved “to enhance and reinforce their cyber postures with penetration testing, risk and vulnerability assessments and many other tools.”

    • How to hack an election, according to a former NSA hacker

      As we find out more about Russia’s interference in the 2016 United States presidential election, former NSA hacker and TrustedSec CEO David Kennedy reveals what it would take to hack an election. Kennedy also reveals how France was able to protect themselves. Following is a transcript of the video.

      David Kennedy: What’s interesting with the election systems is that as they become more and more electronic, and people can use computer systems to actively go in and cast your votes at the actual ballots, those are all susceptible to attack.

      What the government has tried to do is a technique called air gapping, which means that they’re not supposed to be hooked up to the internet or have the ability to communicate the internet, so they can be not hacked by hackers. Essential databases that are used to count the ballots and actually cast votes is connected to multiple networks and the internet. And we’re seeing intrusions occur, and so as we’re using electronic voting as a method to conduct actual voter ballots, it’s a very, very susceptible system. Most of the systems are out of date. Most of the systems aren’t protected against hacks. There’s definitely possibilities for other influences to have a direct impact on our elections themselves.

    • Faxploit: Breaking the Unthinkable
    • HP Fax Protocol Flaw Exposes Whole Enterprise Network to Exploit

      Check Point has discovered a new vulnerability in HP’s range of office fax machines that allow hackers to exploit a fax number related flaw and gain access to the remainder of the company’s enterprise network. This exploit is not limited to any one product or any particular company’s setup, but it encompasses all of HP’s office fax machines and all-in-one devices that have a faxing system integrated within them.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Ex-NSA staffer demonstrates malware bypassing security checks in High Sierra
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Arrest warrant issued for former CIA agent allegedly involved in a failed Russian-backed coup in Montenegro SOFREP Original Content

      Late last week, the government of Montenegro issues an international arrest warrant for Joseph Assad, a U.S. citizen born in Egypt and a former CIA agent, for his alleged role in a failed coup that aimed to prevent Montenegro’s accession into the NATO alliance in 2016. Assad’s was not the only warrant issued, as Montenegro levied 14 other warrants, mostly for allegedly involved Serbs and at least two Russian military officials believed to be the leaders of the endeavor. According to Montenegro’s claims, the coup attempt was organized and backed by Russian military and intelligence agencies, in keeping with Russia’s aggressive rhetoric pertaining to Montenegro’s decision to join NATO.

    • Venezuelan President Asks FBI For Help After Surviving Assassination Attempt
    • UAE responds to AP report on deals with al-Qaida in Yemen

      The United Arab Emirates on Monday said it was actively fighting al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen after an Associated Press report outlined how Emirati forces cut secret deals with the militants to get them to abandon territory.

      An Emirati general denied the report while speaking to journalists in Dubai, saying it was based on “nothing.” The AP spoke to two dozen witnesses, tribal leaders, mediators, militants and security officials who all described the practice.

      Meanwhile, a top Emirati diplomat acknowledged that war is not a “clean operation” when asked about a Saudi-led airstrike last week in Yemen that killed dozens, including schoolchildren.

    • Montenegro Takes On Russia, America and a Former CIA Officer

      It sounds like a spy novel. A former CIA case officer joins a cabal of pro-Russian rebels attempting to kill the prime minister of a small Balkan country. The coup fails, the officer returns to the U.S. – and now authorities in the Balkans want the former spy for questioning.

      Last week Montenegro announced it is seeking extradition of the retired U.S. spy, Joseph Assad, for his role in an attempted coup there in 2016. If the allegations are true, this story has a twist worthy of an airport-bookstore thriller: The U.S. and Russia may be rivals, but when it comes to Montenegro, they are secret collaborators.

    • Cops record statement of ex-MEIO chief on CIA letter

      Police have taken the statement of the former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid on a letter she wrote to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Letter to CIA: Cops record statement from boss of intelligence body

      Police have taken the statement of former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid on a letter she wrote to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      Without revealing when Hasanah’s statement was taken, the Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police had also called several other MEIO officers to assist in the investigations.

      He said police would also be taking the statements of several MEIO officers in Washington.

    • Leaked letter to CIA: Cops waiting to record statements from Washington-based officers

      Police are waiting to interview several officers based in Washington DC as part of its investigation into a leaked confidential letter from a top government intelligence agency that has raised security concerns in the country.

      Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the police were waiting for a couple of officers from the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) to return from their pilgrimage to Mecca to record their statements into a leaked letter to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ahead of GE14.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Whistleblowers will get five years jail under new cyber law

      Under the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, a draft of which was released this morning for public comment, a wide range of people are covered by this part of the proposed legislation.

      The law appears to aim at discouraging whistleblowers by including public servants — employees of the Federal, State or Territory Governments — among those who could be sent to jail for disclosing information of this kind.

    • The DNC’s legal team just subpoenaed WikiLeaks on Twitter

      In a case sure to give “slide into my DMs” a whole new meaning, WikiLeaks just got subpoenaed via Twitter.

      On Friday, a law firm representing the Democratic National Convention in its civil lawsuit against WikiLeaks and other defendants formally notified the organization that it is being sued, CBS News reports. The Twitter account that served Wikileaks online appears to have been set up this month by the DNC’s law firm, Cohen Milstein, for the sole purpose of serving papers to Julian Assange’s organization.

    • WikiLeaks was summoned to court via Twitter

      In a civil lawsuit addresses the fact of interference in the presidential elections in America and work with the Russian government. A Federal court in Manhattan last month several times sent e-mails to WikiLeaks, but to no avail. Then, the lawyers decided to act through social networks. Although the agenda via Twitter not an official document, America was already a similar precedent. The U.S. district court in the Northern district of California held that the defendant can be notified via the social network only if their active use.

    • US Court Authorizes Service By Twitter on Wikileaks

      The Democratic National Committee has obtained leave of court to serve process on Wikileaks via Twitter in its lawsuit against Russia, Wikileaks, Julian Assange and others. I have written previously about the FSIA issue in the case and the issues about serving process on Mr. Assange in the Ecuadoran embassy in London. But serving process on Wikileaks poses difficulties, too.

      The DNC’s motion gives several reasons for seeking leave to serve process by Twitter rather than by a more traditional means. Wikileaks, it says, is an “organization of unknown structure” that has “more of a virtual than a physical presence.” It has post office boxes in California and in Australia, but it is unclear to the DNC whether Wikileaks uses them for business. Lawyers who have represented Wikileaks in prior US litigation have said they no longer represent the organization or are not authorized to accept service. And Wikileaks, or someone purporting to act on its behalf, does have an active Twitter presence.

    • ‘Too Big to Fail’: Russia-gate One Year After VIPS Showed a Leak, Not a Hack

      A year has passed since highly credentialed intelligence professionals produced the first hard evidence that allegations of mail theft and other crimes attributed to Russia rested on purposeful falsification and subterfuge. The initial reaction to these revelations—a firestorm of frantic denial—augured ill, and the time since has fulfilled one’s worst expectations. One year later we live within an institutionalized proscription of proven reality. Our discourse consists of a series of fence posts and taboos. By any detached measure, this lands us in deep, serious trouble. The sprawl of what we call “Russia-gate” now brings our republic and its institutions to a moment of great peril—the gravest since the McCarty years and possibly since the Civil War. No, I do not consider this hyperbole.

      Much has happened since Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity published its report on intrusions into the Democratic Party’s mail servers on Consortium News on July 24 last year. Parts of the intelligence apparatus—by no means all or even most of it—have issued official “assessments” of Russian culpability. Media have produced countless multi-part “investigations,” “special reports,” and what-have-yous that amount to an orgy of faulty syllogisms. Robert Mueller’s special investigation has issued two sets of indictments that, on scrutiny, prove as wanting in evidence as the notoriously flimsy intelligence “assessment” of January 6, 2017.

    • Whistleblower org chief quits over Assange critic boot demand

      The director of whistleblower support outfit the Courage Foundation has quit after being told to pull support from Barrett Brown following some barbed comments he made about Julian Assange.

      Naomi Colvin walked out of the foundation after “three of Courage’s trustees wrote to me demanding that I inform Barrett Brown that he could no longer be a Courage beneficiary, on the basis of ‘nasty adversarial remarks’ about WikiLeaks,” she wrote in a blog post.

    • Can You Serve A Subpoena Over Twitter? Yes, And It Just Happened To WikiLeaks

      Perhaps @Jack should consider a new promotional tag for his company — “Twitter: Not Just For Verifying White Supremacists Anymore.” The microblogging social media platform has let its users double the lengths of their screeds and still gives us a healthy dose of Alex Jones and his gang of morons who can’t figure out what publicly traded companies are, so it’s about time we got something useful out of the product. You can use Twitter to serve subpoenas.

      The DNC, still suing Russia and Donald Trump and the rest of the collusion cadre, has had a hard time getting WikiLeaks to hand over discovery material since Julian Assange is holed up in an embassy overseas. With Assange not answering his emails, Cohen Milstein, representing the DNC, sought and received permission to serve a subpoena over Twitter.

    • The Internet Is Crowdfunding the Release of 4,358 Secret CIA Mind Control Documents

      John Greenewald has spent his life trying to pry secrets out of the US government. Now, he’s asking for some help to get his hands on some of the most elusive documents he’s ever tried to nab.

      On Wednesday of last week, Greenewald, who runs the declassified-document clearinghouse the Black Vault, started a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to raise money for the fee the Central Intelligence Agency is charging him for his latest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. He’s hunting for documents related to the notorious MKUltra program (often referred to as the CIA’s “mind control” project), an endeavour he embarked on after realizing that the agency had left out thousands of pages from a FOIA request Greenewald filed about the program back in 2004.

      The fee, based on reproduction costs set at ten cents per page, comes out to $425.80. Greenewald said he was denied a waiver, usually given to members of the media or FOIAs that pass a public-interest test. “There’s really not much I can do besides cut the check,” he told me over the phone.

  • Finance
    • ‘A National Disgrace’: Port Truckers Demand an End to Misclassification

      “The company is the only one who benefits,” Zelaya told me. “It’s my truck, but they put a GPS on it, they tell me what to do, and if I want to work for another company, they retaliate against me.”

    • ‘The Vast Majority of Tipped Workers in America Suffer from Three Times the Poverty Rate of the Rest of the US Workforce’

      Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. She’s author of the books Behind the Kitchen Door and Forked: A New Standard for American Dining. When we spoke with her in 2015, we asked what she thought people should know about the tipped wage for restaurant workers.

    • Peter Phillips Returns

      The product of years of research, Giants identifies the members of the ‘transnational capitalist class,’ which includes the institutions and individuals that control trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth, and wield the political power that these riches confer.

    • Rise of Enterprise

      Fast-forward to 2018, and Dell’s prospects seem far better. Dell is now worth an estimated $70 billion — nearly triple what the buyout valued it at five years ago — and it has announced a bid to return to the public sector in a $22 billion buyout. It’s an astounding transformation. Dell and his investment partners at Silver Lake transformed the company from a struggling consumer electronics company into an enterprise powerhouse.

    • New NAFTA agreement should keep with critical investment protections

      Nothing is more important than modernizing and renegotiating NAFTA and including strong, common sense protections for business.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Archivist rejects Democrats’ demand for Kavanaugh documents

      The National Archives is doubling down on its refusal to respond to Democratic requests for documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s White House tenure.

      Archivist David Ferriero wrote in a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, that it is the agency’s policy to only respond to requests from a committee chair, all of whom are Republicans.

    • FBI Fires Agent Who Sent Anti-Trump Texts
    • Technocrats Rule: Democracy Is ‘OK’ As Long As The People Rubberstamp Our Leadership

      We are in a very peculiar ideological and political place in which Democracy (oh sainted Democracy) is a very good thing, unless the voters reject the technocrat class’s leadership. Then the velvet gloves come off. From the perspective of the elites and their technocrat apparatchiks, elections have only one purpose: to rubberstamp their leadership.

      As a general rule, this is easily managed by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and bribes to the cartels and insider fiefdoms who pony up most of the cash.

    • Facebook news chief to media: ‘Work with Facebook or die’

      The Australian reports that Facebook media relations chief Campbell Brown privately disclosed that Mark Zuckerberg is indifferent to publishers and offers the news media a simple choice: “Work with Facebook or die.”

    • Facebook exec: media firms that don’t work with us will end up ‘in hospice’

      During the four-hour meeting, Brown also talked about the company’s decision to prioritise personal posts from family and friends over journalistic content within the news feed. The move has hit some publishers who rely heavily on referrals from Facebook hard.

    • With attacks on independent media, the “thaw” in Belarus is over

      After the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2014, Belarus gradually began to shed its image as the “last dictatorship of Europe”. The country’s relative liberalisation was expressed through a decreasing level of repression against activists and politicians.

      For Belarus’ independent press, though, the rules of the game have only got worse. Media that didn’t profess a clear political position could rely on a relative level of freedom. But everything changed overnight on 7 and 8 August, when Belarusian law enforcement conducted searches at five editorial offices — including Tut.by and BelaPAN, two of the country’s biggest media resources.

      In Belarus, a journalist’s work was always complicated by a range of legal restrictions. A favourite method of pressure is fining non-accredited journalists working for foreign media — any freelancer can fall foul of this. In this year alone, journalists working for Belsat TV channel, which broadcasts from Poland, have been fined in Belarusian courts 70 times at a cost of $25,000. Moreover, the homes of Belsat journalists are regularly searched by Belarusian law enforcement.

    • Trump Attacks ‘Wacky Omarosa’ on Twitter — Fmr CIA Director Responds With Comment on What’s ‘Presidential’

      Former CIA Director, John Brennan, lodged yet another criticism of President Donald Trump on Monday after the president issued a series of tweets attacking former White House adviser, Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

      [...]

      “You’re absolutely right. If you were ‘presidential,’ you would focus on healing the rifts within our Nation, being truthful about the challenges we face,” he said.

      He appeared to attack Trump’s controversial immigration tactics, arguing that it would be presidential for Trump to show that the United States “welcomes all.”

    • Cops to question Washington-based officers over CIA letter
    • IGP: Embassy officers in Washington to be quizzed over leaked CIA letter

      Several Malaysian embassy officers based in Washington will be called up to assist investigation into the leak of the letter to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), says Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun (pic).

      The Inspector-General of Police said police have so far recorded the statements of several persons of interest, including Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid, who is the former head of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO).

      “We will wait for the officers based in Washington to return, and we will record their statements.

    • Leaked letter to CIA: Cops waiting to record statements from Washington-based officers
    • Stop Telling Yourself Trump’s Supporters Are Turning On Him
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Can poetry survive outrage culture?

      Sadly, Carlson-Wee also issued an apology on Twitter, which read like a confession at a North Korean showtrial. I have sympathy for him. If you’re not used to dealing with conflict, being attacked by an angry crowd on Twitter can be quite disorientating. He seems a gentle soul who truly meant well, and someone who is probably particularly sensitive to accusations of bigotry. His apology indicates how deeply his faith in his own work has been shaken, showing how much free expression can be hampered by the vitriol of social media.

    • Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well

      How America learned to stop worrying and put Mark Zuckerberg in charge of everything

      [...]

      Jones is the media equivalent of a trench-coated stalker who jumps out from from behind a mailbox and starts whacking it in an intersection. His “speech” is on that level: less an idea than a gross physical provocation. InfoWars defines everything reporters are taught not to do.

    • Alex Jones is far from the only person tech companies are silencing
    • Social Media Censorship: A Growing Risk to Tech Stocks
    • True democracy is more valuable than censorship
    • Letters: Banning Alex Jones dangerous censorship

      The recent removal of Alex Jones’s Infowars content from many social media platforms, and the Apple podcast service, sets a bad precedent.

      I completely disagree with Jones’ divisive rhetoric, but does that mean he should be censored? Where does this stop? Will other conservative content creators, like Glenn Beck and Ben Shapiro face the same fate, or will we set a standard of open communication?

    • Fake News is Nothing New: Censorship in the First World War

      Fake news is nothing new. 100 years ago, censorship restrictions in place during the First World War saw newspaper headlines portray disastrous battles like those at Gallipoli as decisive victories.

      A new campaign from WW100 (First World War Centenary Programme) puts wartime censorship itself under the spotlight. The online campaign features a series of animated videos, essays and cartoons which investigate the impacts of censorship historically, as well as considering some of the issues which affect the free flow of information in New Zealand today.

    • Broward County School Board Gets Hit With Anti-SLAPP Suit After Trying To Punish Paper For Exposing Its Redaction Failure

      Last week, the Broward County School Board went after a Florida newspaper, claiming it should be held in contempt of court for publishing information the school district didn’t properly redact. The Sun Sentinel obtained a copy of the Parkland school shooter’s educational records as the result of a public records suit. Certain information was redacted — or at least was supposed to be — to comply with state and federal privacy laws.

      What was delivered to the Sun Sentinel by the district had black redaction bars covering two-thirds of the document. Unfortunately, the redactions were merely cosmetic. Anyone with a copy of the PDF could select the “redacted” text in the PDF and paste it into a text editor to see what was supposed to have been withheld. The school board screwed up, making it possibly liable for privacy law violations, but it went to court claiming it was all the Sun Sentinel’s fault anyone’s privacy got violated.

      The Sun Sentinel has now responded — both with an editorial middle finger and a filing in court. (h/t Brittany Wallman) If everything goes the Sun Sentinel’s way, not only will it not face contempt charges (there’s been no ruling on the motion, so it appears the judge doesn’t believe closing barn doors post-livestock exodus qualifies as an emergency), but might collect some cash from the school district for trying to silence the paper.

    • Reddit’s co-founder knows trolls. He has advice moderating the noise

      Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian is no stranger to the content moderation debate roiling social media. The popular discussion platform, which calls itself the front page of the internet, has long struggled with trolls, misinformation and extremism.

      That gives Ohanian a unique perspective on the national discussion prompted by the recent expulsion of InfoWars founder Alex Jones from several platforms. And it leads him to believe that every platform ought to craft clear content moderation strategies, and have a team of employees dedicated to enforcing them.

      “It’s going to be imperative that every one of these social platforms understands what their role is and what their policies are so that they’re not subject to the whims of whatever frenzy swirls around at a given moment,” he told CNNMoney in a phone interview Monday.

    • Other View: Beware the digital censor
    • Talking Twitter Censorship on FOX
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Tech companies earn White House praise for committing to easier health data access

      Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle, along with the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), all pledged their support to improving healthcare data interoperability. The pledges came during Monday’s Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference.

    • NSA watchdog details privacy concerns and moves to protect whistleblowers

      The National Security Agency’s open source intelligence collection process, which gathers publicly available information from the internet, has “an increased risk of jeopardizing the civil liberties and privacy of [US persons] and compromising classified information,” concluded the agency’s top watchdog in its first public report for Congress.

      The NSA watchdog criticized facets of the digital spy agency’s “Emerging Open Source Activities Branch,” which analyzes the information collected. Areas of concern highlighted included insufficient “guidance and training” for analysts to adequately protect Americans’ personal data. The IG did not go into further detail about specific violations.

      But the agency is also prioritizing whistleblower protection in new ways, the report revealed, highlighting progress for the secretive spy unit after several high-profile whistleblowers criticized internal protections for those who report wrongdoing.

    • Russian Military Spy Software is on Hundreds of Thousands of Home Routers

      The Russian military is inside hundreds of thousands of routers owned by Americans and others around the world, a top U.S. cybersecurity official said on Friday. The presence of Russian malware on the routers, first revealed in May, could enable the Kremlin to steal individuals’ data or enlist their devices in a massive attack intended to disrupt global economic activity or target institutions.

    • Samsung Galaxy S10′s Rumoured Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner Detailed in New Patent

      Samsung has been reported earlier to integrate an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner under the display of the upcoming Galaxy S10 flagship, a system that is much more sophisticated than the optical in-display fingerprint reading solution we have seen so far. Now, the US Patent and Trademark Office has published a Samsung patent application that details the in-display fingerprint sensor system, giving us an idea of how it will be integrated on to the Galaxy S10 next year. The smartphone is expected to release in March 2019.

    • We’re Bad At Regulating Privacy, Because We Don’t Understand Privacy

      It’s been an interesting year for those of us who support strong privacy for the public — in part because we’ve seen lots of movement on attempts to regulate privacy. However, you may have noticed that we’ve also regularly criticized almost every attempt to regulate privacy. We’ve been highly critical of the GDPR, Europe’s big privacy regulation that is impacting basically every website globally. And we were even more critical of California’s disaster of a privacy bill, that was a rush job with tremendous problems. And now that the news has come out that the White House is working on a domestic version of the GDPR (perhaps in an attempt to preempt California and other states from making a mess of things) we should, perhaps, clarify why nearly all attempts at regulating privacy, are likely to be complete disasters.

      And I know that many people who advocate in favor of privacy issues are supportive of at least some aspects of these bills. And I completely understand where they’re coming from. So let’s set some parameters: privacy is incredibly important — and it’s something that is often undervalued by those services that collect other people’s private information, and a failure to protect privacy can have massive, life-changing consequences. But, I believe that almost everyone is confused about what privacy really is. We’ve discussed this a few times before, but I think it’s important to recognize that the more we fail to properly understand privacy, the more likely it is that every attempt to regulate it will fail badly, often creating significantly bad consequences that will do a lot more harm than good. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect privacy, however, and towards the end of this post, I’ll suggest a better path forward on that front.

      The basic issue is this: privacy is not a “thing,” it’s a trade-off. Yet, nearly all attempts to regulate privacy treat it as a thing — a thing that needs “protecting.” As such, you automatically focus on regulating “how do we protect this thing” which generally means prohibitions on sharing information or data, or even being willing to delete that data. But, if we view privacy that way, we also lose out on all sorts of situations where someone could benefit greatly from sharing that data, without the downside risks. When I say privacy is a trade-off I mean it in the following way: almost everything we do can involve giving up some amount of private information — but we often choose to do so because the trade-off is worthwhile.

    • How to find and delete where Google knows you’ve been

      Even if you have “Location History” off, Google often stores your precise location.

    • Google tracks your movements, like it or not

      An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used privacy settings that say they will prevent it from doing so.

      Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.

    • AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not

      Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

      An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.

      Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.

    • Disabling Location History Doesn’t Stop Google From Tracking Your Location

      Disabling Google’s Location History doesn’t stop Google from tracking your location on Android and iOS devices.

    • Google Is Tracking You Non-stop Even If You Tell It Not To: Report

      While using your Android or iOS device, if you choose the option to pause the location sharing, what are your expectations? While this option seems pretty straightforward and apparently tells you that your smartphone isn’t collecting your location history, the reality is much scarier.

    • Greens claim new law would undermine privacy

      The Australian Greens appear to be unimpressed with the Federal Government’s new cyber law, saying that it would “completely undermine the point of end-to-end encryption and the privacy of every single Australian’s personal information online”.

      [...]

      “Installing malware on people’s devices to read encrypted data is not a solution to catching criminals, but it is weakening the defences of every single device that receives encrypted messages, therefore making it easier for criminals who want to steal data!”

    • Govt leaves door open to crack encrypted messages

      The Australian Government has left open the door for enforcement agencies to use specific cracks to gain access to encrypted communications on specific devices, given the language it has used in a draft of a new cyber law.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • A Man Wanted to Speak at His Trial. The Judge Taped His Mouth Shut

      All criminal defendants have a right to speak at their sentencing, yet one Ohio judge decided to silence a young Black defendant with duct tape.

      Franklyn Williams is a 32-year-old Black Ohioan who, at his sentencing hearing, was talking. Judge John Russo thought he was talking too much. So with Williams surrounded by six officers, Judge Russo ordered them to place red tape over Williams’ mouth.

      The judge explained his reasoning for having tape put over Williams’ mouth. It was to “maintain decorum.” After silencing Williams with duct tape, Russo proceeded to sentence Williams to 24 years in prison, in absentia, for aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards, and unlawfully possessing weapons.

      What Russo did to Williams isn’t just humiliating and unnecessary — it’s against the law.

      All criminal defendants have a right to speak at their sentencing hearing. Under both federal and Ohio law, a judge at sentencing must address the defendant personally and ask if he wishes to make a statement on his own behalf or present any information that the judge should take into account before delivering punishment.

      This is why the requirement is so important — it’s the last opportunity for a defendant to influence a judge’s decision about the punishment to be imposed. If the defendant chose not to testify at trial, or go to trial at all, then the sentencing hearing is oftentimes the only opportunity for the judge to hear directly from the person she or he is about to punish.

    • A Fatal Accident Leads to Broader Questions About NYC Trash Hauler’s Operations

      Shortly after a wheel came loose from a Century Waste garbage truck in Brooklyn, killing a motorist in an oncoming car, the New York City agency that oversees the private sanitation industry announced it would help the police investigate the crash.

      There would seem to be much to investigate, for Century Waste trucks have routinely failed safety inspections in recent years. Federal records show that 65 percent of the company’s 32 trucks subjected to government inspection were pulled off the road for safety violations over the past two years.

      But ProPublica has discovered something else the city agency, known as the Business Integrity Commission, could look into as well: Records show that Century Waste’s headquarters sit on land owned by a man the city had run out of New York’s private sanitation industry years ago during a crackdown on mob influence and corruption. The Business Integrity Commission, which oversees New York City’s trash collection industry, bars companies from doing business of any kind with such individuals. In fact, the agency was created with the express purpose of keeping such people out of the garbage industry.

    • Appeals Court: No Immunity For Border Patrol Agent’s Murder Of 16-Year-Old Mexican Citizen

      Earlier this year, US Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz was acquitted of second degree murder for killing a 16-year-old Mexican resident by firing sixteen bullets across the border into a Nogales, Mexico street. Ten of those hit Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, killing him in Mexico, but with bullets fired from the United States.

      The excuse for emptying a clip into another country (and another country’s citizen) was that Rodriguez and others were “throwing rocks” at Border Patrol agents. Considering there’s a fence separating the US and Mexico side of Nogales — and a decently sized one at that — and the BP officers were free to move out of range of the rocks, it would appear there was no physical threat to Swartz’s safety. Nonetheless, he felt compelled to shoot across the border 16 times. He may have escaped jail time, but he’s not going to escape a lawsuit. (h/t Kevin Gosztola of ShadowProof)

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the lower court’s stripping of Swartz’s qualified immunity. The decision [PDF] points out several things about how far the Constitution expands into Mexico when it involves an American on American soil firing deadly projectiles into another country.

    • Appeals Court: No Reason Why US Border Patrol Officer Should Have Shot And Killed Mexican Boy

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a United States Border Patrol agent did not have “qualified immunity” and could be sued for violating the Fourth Amendment, when he shot across the border and killed a boy in Mexico.

      “The court made clear that the Constitution does not stop at the border, and that agents should not have constitutional immunity to fatally shoot Mexican teenagers on the other side of the border fence,” declared Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “The ruling could not have come at a more important time, when this administration is seeking to further militarize the border.”

      The ACLU was among attorneys that brought the suit on behalf of the family of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. The 16-year-old boy was killed on October 10, 2012, in Nogales, Mexico, while walking on a street that “runs parallel to the border.”

      According to the allegations against Border Patrol Officer Lonnie Swartz, Rodriguez fired at least 14 bullets across the border. The boy was hit by about 10 bullets.

    • Court Tells Government It Can’t Search A House Just Because A Suspected Drug Dealer Once Parked In Its Driveway

      The “good faith” exception can be difficult to overcome. Courts seem willing to grant the government this Fourth Amendment workaround even when it seems apparent the government operated in bad faith.

      Take, for instance, the FBI’s Playpen investigation. On the strength of a single warrant issued in Virginia, the FBI, in essence, searched computers all over the nation (and all over the world) to extract identifying info about the devices’ users. Even when courts found the warrant to be invalid because of its blatant disregard for jurisdictional limitations (warrants can only be executed in the district they’re issued), they still granted the government “good faith” because the FBI agent had relied on the judge’s approval of the warrant to execute the search.

      But this was happening while the FBI was petitioning the rest of the government to remove jurisdictional limitations with amendments to Rule 41. So, this warrant was obtained while limits the FBI wanted lifted were in place, but its execution took place before the limits were lifted. Somehow, this was still considered “good faith,” even if those overseeing the warrant and investigation knew the FBI planned to violate jurisdictional limitations with the deployment of its PII-scraping malware.

    • 12 Things Other Countries Have Done to Promote Gender Equity

      “You’ve come a long way, baby.” That was a slogan of my youth. It was a marketing campaign for Virginia Slims, a cigarette marketed to women. The ads featured sexist images of the past — “Give women the right to vote and, by heavens, next thing you know, she’ll want to smoke like a man” — to mark progress.

      Now, nearly two decades into the 21st century, I wonder how far we have really come. More than 20 states explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people; a Black woman is the candidate of a major party to be governor of Georgia; and sex discrimination is banned in employment, education, housing, and federally funded health care.

      But in America today, a woman makes on average 80 cents to a man’s dollar. A Black woman makes only 62 cents to a white man’s dollar. Federal law prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation based on race, religion, and other categories, but not based on sex, including sexual orientation or transgender status. There are still police departments in this country that don’t make clear in policies or training materials that on-duty sexual misconduct against civilians is prohibited.

    • US’s Largest Organization of Lawyers Agrees That Courts Must Stop Treating People Like ATMs

      Last week, the ABA unanimously adopted 10 guidelines on ending debtors’ prisons and other practices that criminalize poor people.

      Last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled federal government retrenchment on ending debtors’ prisons — the unlawful incarceration of poor people who cannot afford to pay court fines and fees — when he withdrew a critical 2016 guidance on the constitutional principles violated by this practice.

      But civil society has stepped in to take the lead.

      Last week, the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates voted unanimously to adopt 10 guidelines on ending debtors’ prisons and related practices that criminalize poor people, marking the 400,000-member organization’s most expansive policy position on a criminal justice issue taken in the past 15 years. This move signals growing bipartisan agreement that no court should lock people up or take away their driver’s licenses or voting rights simply because they do not have money — and that the integrity of our country’s legal system and law enforcement depends on this.

      The ABA’s “Ten Guidelines on Court Fines and Fees” are the outgrowth of a task force convened in 2016 to tackle the problem of growing public distrust in the justice system in the wake of high-profile killings of Black people by police. To counter this distrust, a subsequent working group decided the ABA needed to take a strong stand against court practices that treat poor people like ATM machines — the collection of payments toward court fines and fees through warrants, illegal jailing, the coercive suspension of driver’s licenses, voting prohibitions, and even the separation of children from parents who are simply too poor to pay. The ACLU has exposed these modern-day debtors’ prisons in at least 15 states, including through ongoing federal lawsuits like Brown v. Lexington County, South Carolina, which challenges a county system that locks up hundreds of impoverished people each year simply because they cannot pay fines and fees to courts.

    • ‘Hulking muscled guards’: CIA cable gives steamy description of ‘enhanced’ interrogation

      Haspel’s nomination to head the CIA was opposed by human rights groups and lawmakers who argued that her involvement in the CIA’s clandestine torture program disqualified her from leading the agency. Dubbed the “torture queen” and “bloody Gina” by US media outlets, Haspel vowed that the CIA would not engage in torture under her watch – although declined to describe such techniques as “immoral.”

    • CIA cables detail interrogation at base run by CIA director

      Newly declassified documents released Friday graphically describe how an accused al-Qaida operative was stripped naked, repeatedly slammed against walls, waterboarded and confined in boxes for hours at a covert detention site that CIA Director Gina Haspel briefly oversaw after 9/11.

      The harsh treatment of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri at the secret lockup in Thailand has been revealed before, and came under the spotlight during Haspel’s contentious Senate confirmation this spring. About a dozen new documents, obtained by the nonprofit National Security Archive, provide more detail.

    • Gina Haspel’s CIA Torture Cables From Thailand Black Site Finally Declassified After Lawsuit
    • This Woman’s Endless Ordeal Shows How the Watchlisting System Harms Innocent People

      We’re filing a complaint with the government to stop unfair treatment by TSA and U.S. border officers every time she travels.

      Zainab Merchant has a long and growing list of achievements. She is the Orlando-based founder and CEO of ZR Studios, a multimedia site about current affairs, politics, and culture. She is also a graduate student at Harvard University and mother to three young children.

      But for the last two years, Zainab, who is a U.S. citizen, has been subjected to excessive and humiliating searches, questioning, and detention by federal officers every time she has traveled by air or reentered the United States from a trip abroad. This abusive treatment — most likely because she has been placed on a government watchlist — has affected her in profoundly negative ways, both psychologically and professionally. Yet the government refuses to tell her why it keeps happening or give her a meaningful chance to correct whatever error is causing it.

      That’s why we’re filing a formal complaint on Zainab’s behalf with the Department of Homeland Security. You can read more about Zainab’s ordeal and the steps we’re taking to defend her rights here.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Oh Look, Yet More Efforts To Strangle Broadband Competition

      A major component of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the idea of line sharing, or local loop unbundling. Simply put, the rules set forth required that incumbent telcos needed to share their networks with smaller competitors, providing wholesale access to bandwidth. It was an effort to foster something vaguely resembling competition in the broadband space by letting smaller companies piggyback on existing network infrastructure. The thought was that because the barriers to market entry were so high (both politically and financially), this could help smaller competitors gain footholds that would otherwise be impossible.

      The effort didn’t work out for several reasons.

      One, incumbent ISPs quickly got to work trying to make the process as difficult as possible, often causing intentional delays as smaller ISPs (CLECs) attempted to connect to incumbent networks (ILECs). Big ISPs also got quickly to work lobbying to kill the effort, and by the early aughts had largely succeeded. Big ISP executives then proudly proclaimed the effort was a failure from conception, ignoring that other countries, like France, took the idea and utilized it to great success (users in Paris can now get TV, broadband and phone service for a small fraction of what users in the States pay).

      That said, there were plenty of terribly-run ISPs from that era that died thanks to their own incompetence and terrible business plans. But by and large line sharing was a concept we never truly tried to make work. Still, some smaller ISPs not only survived, but thrived thanks to the rules.

    • The FCC lied to Congress about an alleged cyberattack and didn’t come clean until now

      It’s been over a year since Ajit Pai and the Federal Communications Commission claimed that the agency’s comment filing system was subjected to a cyberattack during the height of last year’s net neutrality debate. But after waves of speculation from both the public and Congress, the commission has finally come clean. According to a report published by the agency’s inspector general yesterday, there was no distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, and this relaying of false information to Congress prompted a deeper investigation into whether senior officials at the FCC had broken the law.

    • Ajit Pai admits FCC lied about “DDoS,” blames it on Obama administration
    • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Passes Blame Over Lying About Public Comment System Being DDoSed
    • Court blocks FCC from cutting broadband subsidies in tribal lands

      The FCC has hit a snag in its plan to curb broadband subsidies for low-income homes. A DC appeals court has issued a stay order temporary blocking the regulator from limiting the $25 monthly Lifeline subsidy in tribal lands, arguing that native groups and small carriers are likely to win their case opposing the cuts. The court agreed with plaintiffs that the FCC’s move would likely lead to a “major reduction, or outright elimination” of vital communication for many tribal residents, and “substantial, unrecoverable losses” for providers that might lead to them going out of business.

    • Ajit Pai loses in court—FCC can’t kill broadband subsidy in Tribal areas

      “Petitioners have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their arguments that the facilities-based and rural areas limitations contained in the Order are arbitrary and capricious,” said the stay order issued by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “In particular, petitioners contend that the Federal Communications Commission failed to account for a lack of alternative service providers for many tribal customers.”

      The tribes and small carriers that sued the FCC “have shown a substantial risk that tribal populations will suffer widespread loss of vital telecommunications services absent a stay,” the court said. The FCC hasn’t proven that its plan won’t result in “mass disconnection,” the court also said.

  • DRM/’Rental’
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • CJEU’s failure to clear up SPC mess highlights difficulties with non-specialist judges [Ed: Judge bashing by the patent trolls' lobby. The judges didn’t give the SPC extremists what they wanted?]

      Pharmaceuticals rights holders waited anxiously for the Court of Justice for the European Union’s (CJEU’s) judgment regarding the dispute over the validity of Gilead’s supplementary protection certificate (SPC) for Truvada. It was a decision that many hoped would clear up significant legal confusion surrounding the conditions under which SPC rights can be granted.

      However, the ruling recently issued by Europe’s highest court seems to have raised as many questions as it has answered, being described by one of Europe’s top SPC experts as “bitterly disappointing”.

    • Oh why, oh I, wonder if it is a substantial part…

      Ed Sheeran is considered by many in the UK as something of a national treasure, and by others around the world an international star. He’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and actor, who has sold more than 26 million albums and 100 million singles worldwide, making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Sheeran as won 100 music awards, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2017 for services to music and charity, and earlier this year, recognised by Forbes as the 9th top earning celebrity in the “Celebrity 100 List of The World’s Highest-Paid Entertainers”.

    • Counsel’s Removal of Non-Disclosure Footer From Purported Prior Art Document Warrants Award of Monetary and Evidentiary Sanctions

      The court imposed monetary sanctions against defense counsel for removing a non-disclosure footer from an exhibit in support of defendant’s motion to dismiss on the ground that the accused device was publicly disclosed prior art.

    • Interview: Duncan Willson, US IP attaché in China, identifies trends to watch
    • Trademarks
      • Chicago Court: Yeah, Billy Goat Tavern Is Probably Going To Lose Trademark Case, But It Can Go Forward Anyway

        Earlier this year, we discussed a trademark lawsuit brought by the famous Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago against a chip company in Missouri called the Billy Goat Chip Co. At issue was the tavern’s claim that the chip company’s name and logos infringed on its trademarks. Interestingly, Billy Goat Chip Co. countersued with seemingly important information, including that it had been operating for a decade, had trademarks for its business for a decade, and that its branding differences were such that the potential for public confusion didn’t exist. The Billy Goat Tavern, on the other hand, only had trademarks for its name for the tavern industry and didn’t begin selling packaged food until 2017, at which time the tavern applied for marks in that industry as well.

        Honestly, the whole thing seems fairly cut and dry. Different markets, different products, and the very real potential that the chip company could get the tavern’s trademarks cancelled based on its own first use. Yet, despite the Chicago judge presiding over the case essentially agreeing when ruling on Billy Goat Chip’s motion to dismiss, the court is allowing all of this to go trial.

      • Protected or Not? Uncertainty Shrouds Louboutin’s $800 Million-Plus Red Soles in India

        Christian Louboutin’s red sole shoes are some of the most famous and easily identifiable on the planet. As of last year, 27 years after setting up shop, the Paris-based brand was selling more than 1 million pairs of its $700+ heels, sneakers, and flats, all of which bear a lacquered Chinese red sole, enabling consumers to easily distinguish its products from other shoes on the market. Yet, rights in the red sole – Louboutin’s most valuable asset, with shoes amounting for a reported 95 percent of its annual sales (which amounted to a reported $850 million in 2013) – are influx across the globe, especially India after a court issued 3 different rulings in 3 different cases over the past 9 months.

        In line with the larger trademark infringement litigation tear that Louboutin’s legal team has been on since filing suit against Yves Saint Laurent in a New York federal court in 2011 to protect its red sole, the famed footwear brand filed suit against a handful of Indian defendants in 2016, accusing them of selling red soled shoes without Louboutin’s authorization.

    • Copyrights
      • Use Based Copyright Terms

        I didn’t blog last week because, well, I was at Disneyland. But I love IP, and when you’re a hammer, everything is a nail. So, I couldn’t help but think as I looked at the gigantic Mickey Mouse on the Ferris wheel that things are going to start getting messy when the copyright in Mickey runs out.

        It occurs to me that serial, long term uses of copyrighted works are different than one time publications. To the extent that copyright is intended to incentivize investment in creative works, then losing protection over time can limit the incentive to develop quality long term work. I’m not just talking about Mickey – Superman (and the additional complication of rights clawback) and other serial comics create issues. Star Trek is 50, Rocky and Star Wars are 40, and even Jurassic Park is 25 years old. The solution we got to this problem, a longer term for everything, was not the right one. A better solution is that terms should last as long as copyrights are in use, plus a few years. Works that are simply “sold” without any new derivative work would be capped, so works without improvement could not last forever.

        Now, this is not to say there aren’t costs to protecting copyrights while they are still in use. There is a path dependency that can reduce incentives to come up with new works (in other words, bad sequels instead of new creativity). There is also value associated with the public being able to use works in their own ways.

        I’m personally not worried about either of these. On the first, there are plenty of incentives for new entrants to create new works (we got Star Trek, then Star Wars, then Battlestar Galactica (I and II), and now the Expanse), and even serial works become stale after a while (there was no Rocky 50, as some parodies predicted). On the second, I think it is inconsistent with the first concern to worry about path dependence while also worrying that others should be able to use the works. Of course, fresh eyes can bring new ideas to the expression, but hopefully the original owners do that. At this point, non-utilitarian concerns come into play. As between a party who has invested in making a work valuable over a long period of time and a party who would like to use that value, I side with the investor and say newcomers can create their own new value. I realize that many disagree with me on this point. That said, I think there are some noncompetitive uses – fan fiction, say – that can bring new ideas and allow some new works.

      • 6 Best Torrent Search Engine Sites To Find Your Favorite Torrents | 2018 Edition

        If you have been living close to the torrent ecosystem, you might realize the fact that tons of torrent sites exist where you can search torrent files. But if you remember, when FBI nabbed the operators of KAT, many people heard the term torrent search engine for the first time.

        Amid the rising scrutiny, many torrent sites have started calling themselves a search engine for torrents, saying they only provide a way for people to search torrents. It’s a category of torrent sites that don’t host any torrent files but provides a way for the users to find torrents on other torrent sites.

      • Nintendo Using Copyright To Erase Video Game History

        Just recently, Tim Geigner wrote about how Nintendo’s success with the relaunched Nintendo NES Classic showed how the company successfully competed with free, because there are plenty of NES emulators that can play ROMs for free. And yet, the NES Classic comes in a neat, easy to use package. And it’s worth buying if only because it looks cool — just like the original, but… tiny. I should know: I have one and it’s great. And my wife can’t stop playing Mario Bros. on it, though she keeps complaining about other games from her youth that are missing.

      • Facebook Bans The Sale of All Kodi Boxes, Legal or Not

        Facebook has expanded its ban on the sale of piracy-enabling streaming devices. According to the company’s latest commerce policies, all streaming devices that use Kodi software are now outlawed, which logically also applies to the many legal streaming boxes that are available.

Berkheimer Changed Nothing and Invalidation Rates of Abstract Software Patents Remain Very High

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 12:31:15 PM

Summary: Contrary to repetitive misinformation from firms that ‘sell’ services around patents, there is no turnaround or comeback for software patents; the latest numbers suggest a marginal difference at best — one that may be negligible considering the correlation between expected outcomes and actions (the nature of risk analysis)

THE QUALITY of patents at the USPTO (existing and newly-awarded ones) isn’t great, but at least it seems like it’s improving and the number of patent grants is declining (at long last).

“Sadly, some people who write on patent matters are willfully clueless…”The psyche or mentality surrounding patents ought to change. Not all patents represent innovation and some kinds of patents actively suppress innovation. It’s not even a controversial premise as many scholars have shown just that, even empirically.

“Microsoft’s New Patent Will Let You Communicate With Others In 3D,” said a headline from yesterday, but patents don’t “let” anything. They restrict. Sadly, some people who write on patent matters are willfully clueless (this site is generally awful in its coverage on most topics because the writers don’t specialise in the areas they cover; they do Microsoft ‘ads’ a lot of the time, under the banner of “FOSS”)

“Apple Could Let You Store Your Passport on an iPhone,” said another new headline, misusing that word “let” again. Patents are not about “letting” but about monopolising. Another new article about Apple patents talks about so-called ‘Augmented Reality’ (buzzword); it’s a patent or at least an application that we wrote about over a weekend. It’s abstract, sure, but with trendy terms like ‘Augmented Reality’ (or AR for short) will examiners see that? Andrew Rossow, in the meantime, found the “blockchain” hype; he uses it to advance his professional agenda, which he calls “Intellectual [sic] Property [sic] Rights [sic]” right there in the headline. It’s outright ridiculous, but this is the kind of press coverage we find about patents. Some of it is composed by lawyers and the rest just repeats claims made by companies (without applying some critical thinking). A lot of it is just “buzzwords salad” — a subject we tackled on Sunday and Monday in relation to software patents.

“For all we can tell, irrespective of the misguided Iancu, judges continue to reject software patents.”What we really care about isn’t what patent examiners say but what patent judges say; it’s them (the latter) who have the final word, provided the accused can afford legal defense and a day (sometimes a year or more) in court.

For all we can tell, irrespective of the misguided Iancu, judges continue to reject software patents. They do so after Iancu’s appointment as much as (or almost as much as) they did a year ago, i.e. before his name was even brought up. Christopher King (writing in Fenwick & West Blogs) has just published another one of these dishonest #ALICESTORM posts. Those are not objective at all. Do they even try to hide their bias?

Here’s the key figure (among more):

The overall percentage of decisions invalidating patents under § 101 since we started tracking statistics in July 2014 has fallen slightly—from 67.5% to 66.0%—year over year.

The decline is very minor and there may be simple explanations for it. This may be noticeable (albeit barely) simply because fewer software patent ‘owners’ even bother anymore. They know they haven’t much of a chance ‘against’ § 101, so only the ‘stronger’ patents wind up in court.

As for caselaw, virtually nothing has changed. Nowadays some law firms attempt to attribute the minor decline to Berkheimer. That now looks foolish, especially in light of detailed statistics. “Berkheimer Effect” (as some patent maximalists wanted to dub it) or ‘pulling a Berkheimer‘ is useless. To quote: “Ironically, however, of the 25 decisions citing Berkheimer, 15 found invalidity, with only 10 finding validity, a higher invalidation rate than that of the recent cases not citing Berkheimer. Apparently courts primarily cite Berkheimer in order to acknowledge it before distinguishing it!”

“Iancu seems to be just another David Kappos and if he continues to defy courts/caselaw (or selectively applies law), US patents will simply lose their value, i.e. legal certainty associated with them will continue to decline.”So bringing up Berkheimer — one might semi-joke — actually reduces the chance of a favourable (to the plaintiff) judgment. Isn’t that hilarious? The numbers don’t support the assertions made by lawyers over the past 6 months. The numbers themselves suggest so. And so they spin facts. Next time someone like Iancu brings up his Berkheimer ‘memo’ we’ll surely point out that underlying facts aren’t on his side (pun intended, given the nature of the Berkheimer decision). Iancu seems to be just another David Kappos and if he continues to defy courts/caselaw (or selectively applies law), US patents will simply lose their value, i.e. legal certainty associated with them will continue to decline. He cannot just abolish Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) either, not after SCOTUS defended IPRs in Oil States.

Lockton Insurance Brokers Exploiting Patent Trolls to Sell Insurance to the Gullible

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 11:40:44 AM

Summary: Demonstrating what some people have dubbed (and popularised as) “disaster capitalism”, Lockton now looks for opportunities to profit from patent trolls, in the form of “insurance” (the same thing Microsoft does [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20])

EARLIER THIS month (at the very start of it) Managing IP surprised us by speaking of “IP insurance”; there are actually companies out there that offer insurance from lawsuits over things that don’t even exist (unlike car accidents or natural disasters). We hadn’t quite seen this before. Then, only yesterday, San Francisco Business Times published this ‘article’ (more like an ad, ending with “Questions about patent infringement insurance for your company? Give us a call at 415-[redacted].”) and it was composed by Adam McDonough, “Executive Vice President, Lockton Insurance Brokers” (by his own words).

“They create threats and fears in order for them to sell their ‘solutions’.”So they’re now using/leveraging patent trolls for profit; they are selling the scam which is ‘insurance’ for patents. It’s similar but not identical to things like RPX, which nearly collapsed because patent trolls are on the demise/decline in the US. It’s a form of ‘protection’ money; they’re selling mercenaries in a village with the Mafia embedded in it; once the authorities weed out the trolls (the Mafia), demand for the mercenaries is no longer there.

The headline of the above article is “Patent insurance allows companies to focus on innovating, not competitors and trolls”; this is similar to Microsoft’s “IP Advantage”; Microsoft keeps feeding trolls while offering ‘protection’ from them.

If or when we spot more articles (ads) along those lines, we’ll surely point these out. It is ridiculous if not outrageous, and in some sense it’s an extension of a parasitic ‘industry’ akin to the one Black Duck is exploiting. They create threats and fears in order for them to sell their ‘solutions’.

Patent Lawyers Writing Patent Law for Their Own Enrichment Rather Than for Innovation

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 11:03:09 AM

Anathema, antithetical to the very concept/purpose of patents

Summary: We have become detached from the original goals and come to the point where patent offices aren’t necessarily run by people qualified for the job of advancing science and technology; they, unlike judges, only seem to care about how many patents get granted, irrespective of their quality/merit

THE conundrum which lawmakers sometimes face depends on who pays (or bribes) them. We recently wrote about Orrin Hatch, sponsored the most by the pharmaceutical industry, trying to make pharmaceutical patents immune/exempted from Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs). The USPTO is itself run by a lot of lawyers, not just scientists; look who has been appointed its Director.

There has always been this danger that nontechnical people (like Battistelli and Campinos) would doom patent offices, making them little more than litigation pipelines, preparing the patents for lawsuits, even frivolous ones.

“There has always been this danger that nontechnical people (like Battistelli and Campinos) would doom patent offices, making them little more than litigation pipelines, preparing the patents for lawsuits, even frivolous ones.”“The UK will also be excluded from the EU’s unitary patent framework,” says a British magazine this week, perpetuating the false belief that something constructed by lawyers for personal gain is actually worthwhile for all of us. But more importantly, however, there is no such framework. The Unified Patent Court is dead, irrespective of Brexit. It never existed and it doesn’t seem as though it ever will.

The EPO has said virtually nothing about the UPC for over a month now. Moreover, it’s not desirable to Britain or any other country. Only to patent lawyers and trolls. These ‘unitary’ patents are of no real value for SMEs, for instance, and more often than not companies that aren’t even European want these.

Here’s the relevant part:

33. The UK will depart the EU’s intellectual property regime, with EU trademarks ceasing to have British application. The UK will also be excluded from the EU’s unitary patent framework.

Which doesn’t even exist?

Over in the US, Watchtroll constantly complains. It moans, even on Monday, about anything at all which reduces patent scope and improves the quality of patents (based on obviousness in this case). Such is the nature of the litigation ‘industry’. It always wants more and more patents — even low-quality ones — to saturate the system and hammer on the dockets (of courts).

Gene Quinn is again lobbying the PTO, trying to tell it what the rules should be. He said “the rule the MPEP should be revised to contain is this: “The prior art reference (or references when combined) must teach all the claim limitations. Only in the most extraordinary of situations where the missing claim limitation is ‘unusually simple and the technology particularly straightforward’ is it appropriate for common sense to be relied upon to supply a missing claim limitation.””

Dennis Crouch said that “[t]he USPTO has quietly proposed adding new annual bar dues ($240 – $410) for patent practitioners as well a continuing legal education (CLE) requirement. The proposal is buried in the Table of Proposed Fees that will serve as the basis for an upcoming September 6, 2018 PPAC meeting on fees.”

These are indoctrination programs for patent maximalists (“practitioners”). They’re people who look to make money out of patents without actually creating anything, i.e. they’re not practitioners per se. Joseph Herndon wrote about the fee increases over at Patent Docs:

On August 8, 2018, Director Iancu issued a letter to the Patent Public Advisory Committee notifying of proposed fee increases at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and institution of new annual fee for active patent practitioners.

The Director stated that the fee increases are needed to ensure commitment to fiscal responsibility, financial prudence, and operational efficiency.

This is a patent fee proposal open for comment at this stage, and the Director stated that it is anticipated that the fee adjustments resulting from this effort will not be implemented until the January 2021 timeframe. Generally, there are across the board fee increases, and the USPTO stated that given the nearly three-year gap between the implementation of the last fee adjustments and the anticipated effective date of this fee setting effort, a five percent increase to fees is similar to fees rising by 1.6 percent annually.

At the end of last year two scholars, Michael Frakes and Melissa Wasserman, explained why the patent office lost touch with reality. If wasn’t for SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit issuing judgments that reduce confidence in granted patents, the patent office would still be awarding loads of nonsensical patents. In Europe the courts have come under an unprecedented attack; the patent office waged a war on judges and made it harder to reach justice for judges might dare point out the decline in the quality of patents.

Links 13/8/2018: Linux 4.18 and GNU Linux-libre 4.18 Arrive

Monday 13th of August 2018 04:24:25 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Kernel Space
    • New ARM SoCs & Boards To Be Supported By The Linux 4.19 Kernel

      Hardware support improvements coming for Linux 4.19 aren’t limited to the x86 space but a lot of new ARM hardware support is also being introduced in this imminent kernel cycle.

      While the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window isn’t quite open yet — it should open tonight, following the release of Linux 4.18 — the new feature work is already staged. There is the for-next arm-soc.git branch.

    • F2FS In Linux 4.19 Will Fix Big Performance Issue For Multi-Threaded Reads

      The Linux 4.19 kernel updates for the Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) should bring much faster performance for multi-threaded sequential reads — as much as multiple times faster.

      Two years ago F2FS dropped its write-pages lock on the basis it could improve multi-threading performance… 4KB writes across 32 threads went up from 25 to 28MB/s on some tests done on the developer’s hardware. While it was a minor win for multi-threaded writes, it turns out dropping the write-pages lock took a major toll on the multi-threaded read performance. Now with Linux 4.19, that write-pages lock is being restored.

    • SoundWire For Linux Preps Support For Multiple Masters

      Back in Linux 4.16 the SoundWire subsystem was added to the staging area as the MIPI standard for a low-power, two-wire sound bus that can support multiple audio streams and primarily utilized by small audio peripherals like IoT and mobile devices. With the next Linux kernel cycle, the SoundWire support is being improved upon.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.18-gnu

      Two new drivers had blob requests and were cleaned up (psp-dev crypto
      and icn8505 touchscreen), one was removed (atom isp), plenty needed
      adjustments.

      There are some new firmware loading interfaces starting with
      firmware_request (rather than request_firmware). The deblob-check
      script was adjusted to look for uses thereof. firwmare_request_nowarn
      is one of the new interfaces, and it almost looks like we could use it,
      since it doesn’t log any errors if the firmware is not there, but it
      still looks for and asks for non-Free Software, so I decided to disable
      it just like request_firmware.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.18-gnu Released As The Latest Deblobbed Kernel

      Hot off the release of the upstream Linux 4.18 kernel, the GNU folks have released GNU Linux-libre 4.18-gnu that is their deblobbed version that strips out any “non-free” device driver support, removes the ability to load binary-only kernel modules and not being able to load firmware blobs either.

      With the Linux-libre 4.18 release they had to clean-up some new drivers to fit their strict standards on code freedom, removed one more driver (Atom ISP), and make adjustments to other existing code.

    • Linux 4.18

      One week late(r) and here we are – 4.18 is out there.

      It was a very calm week, and arguably I could just have released on
      schedule last week, but we did have some minor updates. Mostly
      networking, but some vfs race fixes (mentioned in the rc8 announment
      as “pending”) and a couple of driver fixes (scsi, networking, i2c).
      Some other minor random things (arm crypto fix, parisc memory ordering
      fix). Shortlog appended for the (few) details.

      Some of these I was almost ready to just delay to until the next merge
      window, but they were marked for stable anyway, so it would just have
      caused more backporting. The vfs fixes are for old races that are
      really hard to hit (which is obviously why they are old and weren’t
      noticed earlier). Some of them _have_ been seen in real life, some of
      them probably need explicit help to ever trigger (ie artificial delays
      just to show that “yes, this can actually happen in theory”).

      Anyway, with this, the merge window for 4.19 is obviously open, and
      I’ll start pulling tomorrow. I already have a couple of dozen pull
      requests pending due to the one-week delay of 4.18, but keep them
      coming.

      Linus

    • The 4.18 kernel is out

      Linus has released the 4.18 kernel. “It was a very calm week, and arguably I could just have released on schedule last week, but we did have some minor updates.

    • Linux 4.18 Kernel Officially Released

      Following the one week setback, the Linux 4.18 kernel is now officially available just a little more than two months since the cycle officially began.

      Linux 4.18 is now shipping and the latest kernel carrying the continued “Merciless Moray” codename.

    • New Linux kernel debuts, adds more suspect NSA-sourced crypto

      Adds more Spectre fixes, better power management and a hint of all-day-battery PCs.

      Linux creator and lead developer Linus Torvalds has released a new version of the Linux kernel.

      Version 4.18 went through eight release candidates – one more than usual – on its way to release.

      The biggest change this time around is the omission of the Lustre filesystem, software popular in the high-performance computing community because it helps storage to scale.

      Lustre’s developers emphasized work on the standalone version of the software and it was never fully-integrated with Linux, so this release dumped it.

    • Linux 4.18 Arrives With Some Big Changes
    • IBM S/390 Linux 4.19 Kernel Code Sees More Spectre Updates, Boot Code Rework

      The IBM System/390 “s390″ architecture code has seen a number of improvements for Linux 4.19.

      Highlights of the s390 code updates sent in today for the just-opened Linux 4.19 kernel merge window include:

    • Linux Foundation
      • Hollywood Casts Open Source Software in Starring Role

        Amazing news out of Variety, the entertainment website, this weekend: Hollywood is going open source. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — best known for ‘The Oscars’ award ceremony — has teamed up with the Linux Foundation to launch the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF).

    • Graphics Stack
      • XDC2018 Will Have Many Interesting Talks On Vulkan, AR/VR, Wayland & More

        Just over one month away is XDC2018 as the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference where a variety of X.Org, Wayland, Mesa, Vulkan, and OpenGL talks will take place. This year’s schedule is particularly packed and full of interesting information.

        XDC2018 is being hosted in Spain and running from 26 to 28 September at the University of A Coruña. The proposal for talks at XDC2018 are now over and the proposed sessions can be found on this Wiki page. Below is a look at some of the interesting talks slated for this open-source graphics/driver conference next month.

      • Radeon Pro WX 8200 Launches As “Best Workstation Graphics Performance Under $1,000″

        It’s SIGGRAPH week and AMD has used this annual graphics conference to announce the Radeon Pro WX 8200, which they are saying is able to offer the best workstation graphics card performance in the sub-$1,000 USD category.

        The Radeon Pro WX 8200 is intended to be used for visualizations, VR, photo-realistic rendering, and other professional graphics workloads. The Pro WX 8200 features a High Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC), enhanced pixel engine on, ECC memory, and is built on their Vega GPU architecture. The WX 8200 features 8GB of HBM2 memory and the graphics card is rated for a 230 Watt TDP.

      • SIGGRAPH 2018: OpenCL-Next Taking Shape, Vulkan Continues Evolving

        It’s a busy week folks as besides the AMD Threadripper 2 performance embargo expiring, it is also SIGGRAPH 2018 week in Vancouver and as well the start of the Linux 4.19 kernel cycle… No longer under wraps are the Khronos announcements from this annual graphics conference. Continue reading to learn about the latest happenings for the various Khronos industry-standard APIs and efforts like Vulkan and OpenCL-Next.

    • Benchmarks
      • Threadripper 2900 Series Temperature Monitoring Sent In For Linux 4.19 Then Backported

        As expected, the CPU temperature monitoring support within the “k10temp” hwmon driver has seen the patches sent in today to be updated for the AMD Threadripper 2900 series CPU support. These patches are going into the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window but slated to be back-ported to the currently supported stable kernel series.

      • AMD Threadripper 2950X Offers Great Linux Performance At $900 USD

        The embargo has expired now for talking about Threadripper 2 performance figures… First up are our initial Threadripper 2950X Linux benchmarks. In this article are the most interesting metrics for this 16-core / 32-thread processor while in the just-published AMD Threadripper 2990WX Linux Benchmarks are a lot more figures complemented by the 2950X and other CPUs plus power consumption numbers, etc. This article is most useful if specifically focused on the performance of the Threadripper 2950X that comes in at $899 USD.

      • AMD Threadripper 2990WX Cooling Performance – Testing Five Heatsinks & Two Water Coolers

        The 32-core / 64-thread AMD Threadripper 2990WX carries a 250 Watt TDP rating, thus the cooling performance is quite important especially if you don’t want to hit any thermal throttling with this $1799 USD processor. Fortunately, the 2990WX doesn’t require water cooling but actually can work quite well with high-end air heatsinks too. For adding some perspective on the cooling requirements of the Threadripper 2990WX, here are benchmarks of five heatsinks and two all-in-one water cooling systems.

      • AMD Threadripper 2990WX Linux Benchmarks: The 32-Core / 64-Thread Beast

        Whether you are compiling a lot of code, rendering models with Blender, or running various scientific workloads with OpenMP or MPI, the AMD Threadripper 2990WX is capable of delivering immersive Linux performance with its 32-cores and 64 total threads. While coming in at $1800 USD, the AMD Threadripper 2990WX can deliver better performance than the more expensive Intel Core i9 7980XE. Beyond being mesmerized about the performance today with this high-end desktop/workstation processor with the many thread-happy Linux workloads we encounter daily, this 32-core Zen+ processor has us even more eager to see AMD’s next-generation Zen2-based EPYC CPUs next year.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Akademy 2018 Day 1

        Akademy 2018 got off to a wet start with rains accompanying all attendees pouring into Vienna for KDE’s largest annual community conference. Although the Pre-Registration event was held on Day Zero (Friday the 10th) and it was a fun-filled affair, Akademy kicked off in earnest on Saturday, with talks, panels and demonstrations. Read on to find out about Day 1 of Akademy and all that transpired:

      • Akademy 2018 Day 2

        Day 2 of Akademy started with a wonderfully insightful keynote by Claudia Garad, the Executive Director of Wikimedia Austria. She focused her talk on some of the challenges that organizations like hers face when trying to bring about more inclusivity and diversity within their communities.

        She emphasized the importance of making underrepresented communities feel more welcome and heard within the organization, then went on to speak about how she perceived KDE as being quite ahead of Wikimedia in some aspects, especially when it came to reaching these goals.

        [...]

        Meanwhile, David Edmundson was not only predicting where KDE’s Plasma desktop would be going next, but also numbering the potential pitfalls it would have to avoid on its way getting there. One of the things in store for Plasma users is full browser integration.

        Kai Uwe Broulik explained what is working (quite a lot), and how you will be able to control every aspect of your web browser with Plasma’s integrated tools. Already working are controls for playback of videos and music on many popular sites using desktop widgets, including the likes of KDE Connect.

        Talking of playing music, Camilo Higuita told us about the progress of VVAVE, a next generation audio player that is fully convergent (it integrates both with your Plasma desktop and on your mobile phone), and is but one part of Camilo’s idea for an open audio streaming service.

      • Qt1 CMake port and more Akademy crazyness

        So, my plans was always finish the full KDE1 port, and now on Akademy i have some time to get back to this pet project. Starting on Qt1 porting entirely to CMake because the experience on Qt2 was so good that i decided going back to that and do some of the same love on Qt1.

        KDE 1 for that new port next. For now, i’m working on github, so https://github.com/heliocastro/qt1

      • KDE Plasma 5.14′s Lock Screen Will No Longer Eat Your CPU Resources On Old Hardware

        With KDE Plasma 5 right now it turns out that if you have relied upon CPU-based software rendering, when hitting Plasma’s lock-screen it would actually go CPU-wild — as far as maxing out the CPU to 100% utilization, thereby consuming a lot of power and generating excess heat. That will be fixed for KDE Plasma 5.14.0.

        Since May has been a bug report about the KScreenLocker greeter process going to 100% CPU usage and needing to wait 5~10 seconds after entering the user password before the screen would actually unlock. Several others also reported similar issues of this lock-screen managing to consume a lot of the CPU resources, including on ARM boards and older hardware.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Let’s share

    “Information wants to be free” goes the slogan of the social movement encouraging open-source software, file sharing and a permissive legal environment for modifying and distributing the creative works in the form of open content or free content by using the internet and other forms of media. The free software and open access movements are among the most important developments after the rise of the world wide web. Swartz was not the only internet activist who believed in the concept of an open and free internet. There were people like Richard Stallman, who gave birth to the term “free software”, free as in freedom, not free as in no cost.

    The aura of the information age is not just about new ideas but about a shift in the paradigms of communication and control. In this age of digital feudalism, we do not actually own the products we buy, but we are merely granted limited use of them as long as we continue to pay the rent. The radical expansion of intellectual property (IP) rights threatens to reach the point where they suppress any and all other rights of the individual and society. The current copyright laws have hindered creativity and resulted in a read-only internet culture in which we only consume information/content, despite technology advances that make it easy to create and contribute to culture. Copyright law doesn’t extend neatly to the digital world and the digital rights management tools the industry is endeavouring to develop to maintain copyright control are dampening the growth of a rich read-or-write culture.

    We need to bring that open-source mentality to the content layer. Two-thirds of all websites run on open-source software, but most of the premium academic resources remain closed behind digital gates. The Directory of Open Access Journals reports that nearly 4,000 publications are available to the masses via the internet, a number that grows rapidly each year. It is essential to liberate data, liberate knowledge — especially data that taxpayers have already paid for.

    Thanks to the Free Culture movement, vast knowledge repositories like Wikipedia and Stack Exchange and open access efforts like the science article sharing site arXiv.org have flourished as they permit content to be re-used for free and built upon, and many major websites offer Creative Commons (CC) licensing as part of their user interfaces (UI). In 2012, Google launched a worldwide campaign named Take Action for building a free and open world wide web. Here is the kernel of Google’s argument: “A free and open world depends on a free and open internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the internet should have a voice”.

  • Tesla Will Open-Source Its Vehicle Security Software In Push For Safer Vehicles

    Tesla has also directly communicated with hackers to improve its vehicles’ software. Back in 2016, Keen Security Lab, a white hat hacker group based in China, was able to remotely hack a Model S through a compromised WiFi hotspot, conducting one of the first known instances of a Tesla being hacked. Keen Security Lab contacted Tesla after they successfully compromised the electric car, and Tesla promptly pushed an update to address the vulnerability.

  • Tesla Plans to Open-Source Its Vehicle Security Software for Free to Other Automakers

    Believing he has the best solution, Elon Musk plans to make Tesla’s vehicle security software open source so other automakers can adopt the technology for “a safe self-driving future for all.” On top of “specialized encryption” for “multiple sub-systems,” future Tesla vehicles will ensure drivers always have “override authority” in the event their cars become “wacky.”

  • Elon Musk Plans To Open Source Tesla Software Code

    One of the biggest advantages of open sourcing your software is allowing the independent security researchers to access the code and spot the vulnerabilities that might go unnoticed during the internal auditing.

  • Tesla plans to open source its car security software to other automakers for free

    According to the Electrek, with the rise of autonomous driving and car networking technology, the risk of malicious attacks on cars increased. Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that the company’s car safety software is the best solution, and he plans to open source car safety software to other automakers for a safer autopilot future.

    Musk has publicly expressed concern about hackers attacking car systems. He said that fully blocking ” hacking” is Tesla’s primary security task.

  • Tesla plans to open-source vehicle security software

    In the past Musk has stated that preventing a fleet-wide hack is Tesla’s top security priority “I think one of the biggest concerns for autonomous vehicles is somebody achieving a fleet-wide hack,” on which he elaborated by saying “in principle, if someone was able to say, hack all the autonomous Teslas, they could – just as a prank – say ‘send them all to Rhode Island’ from across the United States… and that would be the end of Tesla and there would be a lot of angry people in Rhode Island!”

  • Tesla to release vehicle security source code

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk has voiced his intention to release the source code for Tesla’s car security software in an effort to improve the security of future self-driving cars.

  • Blockchain as an “Open Source Language for Wealth”: Sacred Capital Founder Speaks

    Siddarth Sthalekar explains how Sacred Capital is using blockchain build a system of reputational wealth.

  • Events
    • Why log analytics should be ‘metrics first’

      Open source log file analytics specialist InfluxData is insistent that we should take a ‘metrics first’ approach to log analysis.

      The company says believes in a metrics first approach that provides developers with the means to ingest, correlate and visualise all time series data at three levels:

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • TenFourFox FPR9b2 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 9 beta 2 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). This version tightens up the geometry on the date/time pickers a little, adds some more hosts to basic adblock, fixes a rare but easily wallpapered crash bug and further tunes up hash tables using a small patch from Firefox 63 (!). I am looking at a new JavaScript issue which does not appear to be a regression, but I’d like to fix it anyway since it may affect other sites. However, I’m not sure if this is going to make FPR9 final, which is still scheduled on or about September 4 due to the American Labor Day holiday on the usual Monday.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Running LibreOffice 6.1 on All Distros in AppImage Format

      The latest LibreOffice 6.1 has been released at 8 August 2018 with a bunch of improvements and you can install it on any GNU/Linux distro if you download the AppImage version. As you may know, application in AppImage format is “portable”, you do not need to install anything in your OS except give it permission and double-click it! Here’s how to download and run it regardless your GNU/Linux distro. Enjoy!

  • BSD
    • Review: NomadBSD 1.1

      One of the most recent additions to the DistroWatch database is NomadBSD. According to the NomadBSD website: “NomadBSD is a 64-bit live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery.”

      The latest release of NomadBSD (or simply “Nomad”, as I will refer to the project in this review) is version 1.1. It is based on FreeBSD 11.2 and is offered in two builds, one for generic personal computers and one for Macbooks. The release announcement mentions version 1.1 offers improved video driver support for Intel and AMD cards. The operating system ships with Octopkg for graphical package management and the system should automatically detect, and work with, VirtualBox environments.

      Nomad 1.1 is available as a 2GB download, which we then decompress to produce a 4GB file which can be written to a USB thumb drive. There is no optical media build of Nomad as it is designed to be run entirely from the USB drive, and write data persistently to the drive, rather than simply being installed from the USB media.

    • Happy Bob’s Libtls tutorial

      libtls is shipped as part of libressl with OpenBSD. It is designed to be simpler to use than other C based tls interfaces (especially native OpenSSL) to do “normal” things with TLS in programs.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GIMP Photo Editor: Fine-Tune Your Images Like Never Before

      Who doesn’t like to fine-tuning their images and the perfect way for a lot of users is to opt for popular image editing tools. While the count of these offerings is continuing excessively, we are here to talk specifically about GIMP or (the GNU Image Manipulation Program). The free alternative to Adobe Photoshop is no less than its counterparts owing to the set of features it offers to the users.

      The professional is there for the users for adding the perfect shades of color, texture, and highlights in the image. It is a tool that you can use for developing your photos from the scratch. Use the tool for professional quality effect and you will have a whole new set of images to flaunt before others.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • OTTO Raspberry Pi Powered Open Source Music Production Box

        Musicians searching for a compact music production box may be interested in a Raspberry Pi based open source device called the OTTO which has this week been featured on the Hackaday website. The portable synthesiser workstation created by Topisani started as a clone of the well-known Teenage Engineering OP-1. However over time Topisani has pushed the music box in a new direction and is currently designing a new user interface while still maintaining the small form factor inspiration of the OP-1.

  • Programming/Development
    • Vector Tile Support for OpenStreetMap’s iD Editor

      Protocolbuffer Binary Format(.pbf) and Mapbox Vector Tiles(.mvt) are two popular formats for sharing map data. Prior to this GSoC project, the iD editor in OSM supported GPX data. GPX is an XML schema designed as a common GPS data format for software applications. It can be used to describe waypoints, tracks, and routes.

    • Beautiful maps in minutes: Meet Kepler.gl

      Shan He may hold Silicon Valley’s most meta job.

      “When I started out, I was building maps. Then I moved on to build tools to build maps, and now I’m doing tools to do tools that build maps.”

      He, who dumped brick-and-mortar architecture studies for computational design, joined Uber as founding member of the data visualization team in 2014. She went on to construct Kepler.gl, a tool that helps make “beautiful maps in like 10 seconds”—without any coding. Built using the deck.gl WebGL data visualization framework, the ride-sharing company recently open sourced the geospatial toolbox that can be used with QGIS, Carto, and Mapbox Studio. Given its origins, it’s easy to see why Kepler excels at large-scale visualizations centering on geolocations.

    • Machine Learning Can Uncover Programmers’ Identity

      Just like a painter or author, programmers tend to have their unique style in which they code. As they line up thousands of lines of code, they leave behind a sort of personal “signature” in it.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Adshir enables real-time ray tracing on mobile devices

      Adshir is announcing that it can demonstrate the holy grail of computer graphics: real-time ray tracing on mobile devices. That means that it can show physically accurate computer animations in real time on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.

      Ray tracing has been possible in high-end computer-animated movies, such as Pixar films, but those films sometime require months of computer processing in high-performance data centers before the animations can be properly rendered. Doing this kind of task in real time requires much more processing, and Adshir’s announcement bodes well for real-time applications, such as realistic games and other interactive apps.

  • Security
    • #DEFCON DHS Says Collaboration Needed for Secure Infrastructure and Elections

      Speaking at DEFCON 26 in Las Vegas on the subject of “Securing our Nation’s Election Infrastructure”, Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications from the Department of Homeland Security stressed the need for public and private sector collaboration.

      She said that “instead of thinking of individual risk and your own part, try to think about enterprise and government as a whole.”

      In terms of critical infrastructure, Manfra said that this is “purely voluntary in the private sector” and includes “everyone working for yourself or your company, and this includes academic institutions and the broader private and public partnership to work together to figure our critical infrastructure.”

      She went on to talk about the concept of collective defense, saying that government is “one player in the community,” and with companies and citizens on the front line with government sectors “we have to share information and be transparent and build trust with individuals and entities that we have not done before.”

    • The Enigma of AI & Cybersecurity

      We’ve only seen the beginning of what artificial intelligence can do for information security.

      Alan Turing is famous for several reasons, one of which is that he cracked the Nazis’ seemingly unbreakable Enigma machine code during World War II. Later in life, Turing also devised what would become known as the Turing test for determining whether a computer was “intelligent” — what we would now call artificial intelligence (AI). Turing believed that if a person couldn’t tell the difference between a computer and a human in a conversation, then that computer was displaying AI.

      AI and information security have been intertwined practically since the birth of the modern computer in the mid-20th century. For today’s enterprises, the relationship can generally be broken down into three categories: incident detection, incident response, and situational awareness — i.e., helping a business understand its vulnerabilities before an incident occurs. IT infrastructure has grown so complex since Turing’s era that it can be months before personnel notice an intrusion.

    • Open-source snafu leaves patient data exposed [Ed: They never generalise like this about proprietary software]

      Researchers at cyber security outfit Project Insecurity discovered dozens of security bugs in the OpenEMR system, which is described as the “most popular open source electronic health records and medical practice management solution”.

      Many of the flaws were classified as being of high severity, leaving patient records and other sensitive information within easy reach of would-be hackers.

      One critical flaw meant that an unauthenticated user was able to bypass the patient portal login simply by navigating to the registration page and modifying the URL, Project Insecurity reported in its findings.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 109 – OSCon and actionable advice
    • 11-Year-Old Changes Election Results On Florida’s Website: DefCon 2018

      Defcon 2018, one of the most popular hacking conferences, is going on in Las Vegas. The conference, every year, sees famous hackers from around the world exhibiting their skills.

      This year, an 11-year-old shook the whole United States after he hacked and altered election results on a replica of Florida state election website within just 10 minutes.

    • NASS Statement on DEFCON Voting Machine Hacking Events

      As DEFCON 26 attendees begin to gather in Las Vegas this week, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) would like to address the Voting Machine Hacking Village events. While we applaud the goal of DEFCON attendees to find and report vulnerabilities in election systems it is important to point out states have been hard at work with their own information technology teams, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), the private sector, the National Guard and universities to enhance and reinforce their cyber postures with penetration testing, risk and vulnerability assessments and many other tools.

    • Defcon 2018: Hacker Exploits Vulnerabilities In macOS With “Invisible Clicks”

      The popup that asks user’s permission to grant or deny the access appears despite getting the approval from synthetic clicks. If this happens, the user will get alert automatically. To this, Wardle says that the malware could wait for the inactivity when the user is not sitting in front of the system to notice the permission granted from synthetic clicks. It is also possible that malware could lower the brightness of the screen during that moment to make it almost unnoticeable for the users.

    • Open Sesame Vulnerability in Windows 10 Cortana Allows Hackers to Execute Command using Voice on Locked Device
    • Windows 7 & 10 Face Faulty “Not Enough Virtual Memory” Error Message
    • Critical Oracle Database Flaw Paves the Way for Complete System Hijack
    • Critical vulnerability in Oracle Database, patch without delay!
    • The Ethics of Security

      In the 2018 Stack Overflow Developers’ Survey they asked whether developers felt ultimately responsible for unethical usage of their own code. 80% said no. They presumably left it in the hands of boards, shareholders and Product Owners.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • The French Secret Service Jammed and Crashed a Drone Flying Near the Summer Residence of President Macron

      Terrorist attempt, paparazzi, intrusive droner, or unaware tourist? Whoever conducted a drone flight near the summer residence of French President Macron lost their drone, as the secret service managed to jam the aircraft before it crashed into the sea.

      The Agence France-Presse reported on August 6 that an unknown type of drone flew over the Fort de Brégançon, the official summer retreat of French presidents since the 60s, located on the French Riviera, 20 miles west of Saint-Tropez. President Emmanuel Macron and his wife are currently on vacation in the Fort, but the presence of the president at the time of the incident has not been confirmed. The area is officially marked as a no-fly zone by the French authority (zone R60 and R64A1), but surprisingly, a quick look at the no-fly zone map of DJI reveals that the area is not restricted by geofencing (the model of drone is still unknown at this point). Ironically, the no-fly zones were first introduced by DJI in 2015 after an inebriated intelligence employee crashed his DJI Phantom on the lawn of the White House.

    • Drone strikes on Yemen don’t make my country safer – or yours

      On the bad days, I think my job must be one of the hardest in the world. My country, Yemen, is in the midst of civil war. My government is fighting two extremist groups: al-Qaida and the Houthis. As the minister of human rights, it is my responsibility to ensure that the fundamental rights of Yemenis, spelled out in our constitution, are protected.

    • Montenegro is looking for ex-CIA agent because of a coup attempt

      The Montenegrin authorities issued an international warrant for the arrest of former CIA agent Joseph Assad. Reported by the Associated Press.

      He is suspected of involvement in the attempted coup in Montenegro during the elections of 16 October 2016.

    • NATO’s newest member thinks an ex-CIA agent was involved in a Russian-backed coup attempt meant to keep it from joining the alliance

      Montenegro on Thursday issued an international arrest warrant for a former CIA agent for alleged involvement in what the government said was a failed pro-Russia coup designed to prevent the Balkan country’s NATO membership.

    • Maduro assassination attempt highlights drone threats

      With the proliferation of consumer-grade drones in recent years, there have been a number of influential voices within the security industry who have expressed concern over the potential threats posed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the wrong hands. From close encounters with jetliners to their use as weapons on the battlefields of the Middle East, the destructive capabilities of drones have already been well-demonstrated in real-world scenarios.

      If these malicious use cases weren’t bad enough, security practitioners can now count drones as tools that can be leveraged for targeted assassination attempts after a group of conspirators attempted to kill Nicolas Maduro, the much-maligned president of Venezuela, using UAVs outfitted with plastic explosives on Sunday. According to reports, security officials were able to bring the drones down using radio signal jamming technology. Although no one was killed in the incident, seven soldiers were wounded, including three who were seriously injured.

    • Secret Israeli Report Reveals Armed Drone Killed Four Boys Playing on Gaza Beach in 2014
    • Secret Israeli Report ‘Reveals Armed Drone Killed’ Four Children Playing on Gaza Beach in 2014

      According to a confidential Israeli military police report obtained by The Intercept, four cousins were killed in two separate drone strikes after they were mistaken for Hamas fighters

    • Officer killed, 16 injured in Jordan terror attack

      A security officer was killed in an exchange of fire with terrorists in the Jordan’s capital Amman, government officials said late on Saturday.

      Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat said the terrorists hiding in a building in Al Salt city opened fire on security forces who were chasing them.

    • Drone strike kills Taliban key commander in E. Afghanistan

      The air attack, according to the statement, was conducted on a tip off early Sunday, killing the commander and injuring three of his guards.

    • Russia Downs Drone Near Its Syria Air Base

      Russia’s military said it had shot down a drone that came close to its Syrian air base at Hmeimim on Saturday and was launched from the Idlib “de-escalation” zone controlled by what Moscow calls “illegal military groups”, TASS agency reported.

      The drone caused no casualties or damage, and the Hmeimim air base is operating as normal, the agency said.

      On Sunday, Syrian opposition activists say an explosion in the country’s north has killed at least 18 people and wounded many others. The cause of the blast wasn’t immediately known.

    • Ex-CIA officer faces arrest over alleged Montenegro coup plot

      Prosecutors in Montenegro have called for the arrest of a former CIA officer, accusing him of involvement in an alleged Russian-backed coup attempt in 2016.

      The former CIA operative, Joseph Assad, has rejected the charges, saying he had been in Montenegro to provide personal security advice to a western political consultant, and calling on the US to reject any extradition request.

      “This is a deception campaign against a loyal American who had no role in any crimes or coup in Montenegro,” Assad said in a statement issued on Saturday through his lawyer.

      The accusation against Assad is the latest twist in a convoluted year-long trial in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, of 14 suspected coup plotters, including two Russians, nine Serbs and three Montenegrins accused of a conspiracy to bring down the country’s pro-Nato government and assassinate its then prime minister Milo Đjukanović.

    • Montenegro seeks ex-CIA agent in alleged pro-Russia coup attempt

      Former operative Joseph Assad was a security adviser to Aron Shaviv, an Israeli-British consultant who was assisting a pro-Kremlin party in country’s 2016 elections

    • Montenegro Demands Extradition of Ex-CIA Agent Said to Be Involved in Coup Plot

      In a bizarre twist concerning a convoluted year-long trial into an alleged 2016 Montenegrin coup plot, which Podgorica claims involved “Russian state agencies,” Montenegrin prosecutors have called for the arrest of a former CIA officer they say was involved.

      [...]

      According to the former agent, the only “conspiracy” in the coup plot case was one by authorities against the Democratic Front, a Montenegrin opposition alliance, which Podgorica has accused of involvement in the alleged coup plot.

      In a statement, Assad implied that the coup plot case had been turned into a political circus, pointing to the prosecution’s destruction of evidence, and other issues, such as the release of an individual earlier claimed to be the plot’s leader.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter after struggling to track the group down
    • DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter

      The DNC filed a motion last month in federal court in Manhattan asking for permission to serve the lawsuit to WikiLeaks on the social media platform, which the DNC argued the group remains active, CBS reported at the time. The judge approved of the method.

      A Twitter account associated with the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll was established Friday. The account wrote to WikiLeaks that it was being served with several legal documents.

      A spokesman for the law firm directed the Washington Examiner to a spokeswoman for the DNC, who confirmed the account was associated with the law firm.

    • Are you being served? DNC officially gives notice of lawsuit against WikiLeaks via Twitter

      The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has officially served its lawsuit to WikiLeaks through the unconventional means of Twitter.

      The suit, which alleges that the Russian government, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks conspired to influence the 2016 presidential election in favour of Donald Trump was filed last April. However, due to the group’s elusive nature, lawyers were unable to officially serve the whistleblowing organization.

      [...]

      Earlier this week, its founder Julian Assange was called to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee – an offer that WikiLeaks say is being considered.The letter was delivered to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has been living since he was granted asylum six years ago.

    • DNC lawyers serve lawsuit documents to WikiLeaks via TWITTER accusing it of election cyber attack
    • ‘Machinations around Julian are a disgrace especially when it comes to Australian gvt’- journalist by Radio Sputnik

      The US government must guarantee Julian Assange’s security if he agrees to give a testimony in the case of alleged Russian meddling in the US elections. This according to the WikiLeaks founder’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Ms Robinson said that the request by the US Senate Select Committee indicates US interest in Mr Assange’s testimony. Earlier, the US Senate Intelligence Committee requested the whistleblower to testify on the purported Russian meddling. Radio Sputnik discussed the ultimate motive behind the request by the US Senate Intelligence Committee for Julian Assange to testify in its probe into Russia’s alleged 2016 election tampering with journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger.

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Invites WikiLeaks’ Assange To Testify

      It was signed by Chairman Richard Burr (R) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D).

      WikiLeaks’ tweet says the letter was “delivered via the U.S. Embassy in London,” addressed to Assange at the Ecuador Embassy in London.

    • Report: Mueller Subpoenas Roger Stone Associate Randy Credico

      Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed an associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and longtime Republican operative Roger Stone to appear before a grand jury next month.

    • Fidel Narváez: “Those who think that they will break Julian Assange are mistaken”
    • The DNC’s lawyers subpoena WikiLeaks with a tweet

      In a very unusual move, WikiLeaks has been subpoenaed via Twitter. In a tweet on Friday, a law firm representing the Democratic National Convention in its civil lawsuit against WikiLeaks and other defendants served legal documents formally notifying the non-profit that it is being sued. The lawsuit also names a long list of other people and organizations, including the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, that the DNC claims worked together to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

    • Julian Assange Went After a Former Ally. It Backfired Epically.

      A botched power play by Julian Assange has led to a split within a key organization supporting whistleblowers and leaves the WikiLeaks founder more isolated than ever among his core constituency of radical transparency activists.

      Assange has grown furious at a one-time ally with substantial moral authority within their movement: the journalist and activist Barrett Brown.

    • Workers and youth in UK speak out against continued persecution of Julian Assange

      August 16 will mark six years to the day since WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange was granted political asylum by the Ecuadorian government, after seeking refuge in Ecuador’s London Embassy on June 19, 2012.

      In recent months, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno, who is seeking closer relations with Washington and US investment, has stepped up moves to remove Assange from Ecuador’s Embassy in London. In a tweet and television interview August 6, Moreno declared he will “take measures” against Assange unless he stops “intervening” in the politics and affairs of countries.

      [...]

      “The world is not a safe place. They want to cover up the violations of human rights by the United States that Julian Assange has exposed. The UK is killing democracy and consequently has no right to lecture the developing countries on these issues. They have an 18th century mentality.

      “We live in a digital age where information can be exchanged freely. That is what democracy is meant to be about.

      “The UK is following Trump on everything. This is bad. He denies global warming and argues for trade war. There is the danger we will be dragged into further wars.

      “Under Obama the wars continued. His drone killings claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. The US is backing Saudi Arabia in its war against Yemen. The Saudi rulers are worse than Saddam Hussein. This whole mess has got to stop.”

      Stephen, a self-employed gardener, was critical of the silence of Jeremy Corbyn and the officially designated left.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • A climate revolution

      While working in tropical crop research in east Africa in the late 1960s I got interested in issues of resource conflict over food, energy, and strategic commodities. It was a bit of a change from my own science background in plant pathology, and one result was that I hoped in the future to work more in the field of environmental security.

      Back in the UK in 1971, I was lucky to do this by getting a post at one of those newly designated and expanded urban technology colleges, the polytechnics. This was a period of relatively well-funded educational initiatives, included the pioneering Open University, that owed a lot to the Labour government of 1964-70.

      [....]

      By the end of the decade, climate change was entering the political agenda, at least in a small way, as new climate models were beginning to confirm early fears. The idea of global impacts was supported in 1983 by confirmation of the specific problem of CFC damage to the ozone layer. Since that threat was so substantial and immediate, and because CFCs could be replaced quite easily, the “ozone-hole” issue resulted in rapid action in the form of the Montreal protocol of 1987. That said, three decades on the problem is only just receding in severity.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Keith Ellison denies allegations of domestic violence

      Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on Sunday denied allegations that he had abused an ex-girlfriend — allegations which surfaced after the woman’s son posted about the alleged incident on Facebook.

    • When politics blocks hope

      Our politics continue to go in full cycles, but our dreams are stalled. It is either we are cursed or we are just stupid.

    • Is VIPS Working for Russia?

      A fellow named Duncan Campbell, who many years ago reported on UK officialdom, clearly has had too much free time lately. He has concluded that VIPS is working for the Russians — perhaps as useful idiots…

    • Did You Go to a Washington Nationals Game With Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh?

      Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accrued as much as $200,000 in debt buying tickets to Washington Nationals baseball games.

      White House spokesman Raj Shah told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh would go to games with a “handful” of friends. These friends then reimbursed him for the tickets, the White House says, and the debts have been paid off.

      But the White House and Kavanaugh are not answering questions about what happened. Who did Kavanaugh buy tickets for? How did they reimburse him? Was this properly disclosed? And how was all of this treated for tax purposes?

      Kavanaugh is up for one of the most powerful positions in the land. A lifelong position.

      We think it’s important to figure out as much as we can about a nominee’s background before he is confirmed. So we’re turning to you.

    • Ex-CIA analyst blasts ‘disregard for national security’ after Omarosa revelation

      Manigault Newman unveiled the 20-second audio clip on Sunday, depicting Kelly firing her inside the Situation Room — the highly sensitive space where phones and electronic devices are prohibited for security reasons.

      Ned Price, a former Obama special assistant and CIA official, tweeted that it wouldn’t be that difficult to sneak a phone into the office because the system is “built on trust.”

      “Those are supposed to be the finest public servants we have,” Price tweeted. “The WH wasn’t signed for the Omarosas of the world. Sad we now have to accommodate them.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Exposure Of Secret TSA Surveillance Program Nets The Government More Terrorist Watchlist Litigation

      The recent exposure of the TSA’s “Quiet Skies” program by the Boston Globe is leading to more terrorist watchlist litigation. The “Quiet Skies” program sends air marshals all over the US to watch travelers swallow, shop, use the restroom, and stare at things. It’s suspicionless surveillance even the air marshals disagree with, with some quoted by the Globe calling the program a worthless waste of tax dollars, if not just a vehicle for repeated Constitutional violations.

      The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is using this information in two of its lawsuits against the government. Its lawsuit against the Terrorist Screening Center — which originated in 2016 — will hopefully be aided by the Globe’s reporting. A motion to compel discovery [PDF] seeks details on the program for use in this litigation. The filing notes the government continues to hide information about its many watchlists from the plaintiffs it represents, forcing it to rely on leaked documents to obtain information it has already requested from the government.

    • Reality Winner to be sentenced in NSA leak case on Aug. 23

      Reality Winner, who pleaded guilty in June to leaking top-secret government documents about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, is scheduled to be sentenced in a federal court in Augusta on Aug. 23.

      The first leaker to be prosecuted by the Trump administration, the former National Security Agency contractor’s plea agreement with prosecutors calls for her to serve five years and three months behind bars plus three years of supervised release.

    • An Airline Scans Your Face. You Take Off. But Few Rules Govern Where Your Data Goes.

      The problem confronting Mr. Frankle, as well as thousands of travelers, is that few companies participating in the program, called the Traveler Verification Service, give explicit guarantees that passengers’ facial recognition data will be protected.

      And even though the program is run by the Department of Homeland Security, federal officials say they have placed no limits on how participating companies — mostly airlines but also cruise lines — can use that data or store it, opening up travelers’ most personal information to potential misuse and abuse such as being sold or used to track passengers’ whereabouts.

    • 5 tips for helping children think critically about privacy

      Also, while we often think of “sharing” in the context of social media and the Internet, it can also be helpful to consider more analog applications, like updating relatives in phone calls or sharing pictures and home movies when they come to visit. Thinking about analog sharing can be an important exercise in itself – in an earlier series of blog posts, PIA’s former Head of Privacy, Rick Falkvinge discussed how in the transition from analog to digital, our children are losing some fundamental rights when it comes to privacy.

      Regardless of how much or how little your child engages with the Internet, there are some steps that you can take to help your child understand their privacy rights and feel agency in how they present themselves to the world. Below, we’ve included some suggestions for helping your child analyze and think critically about how and what they share with others.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Ajit Pai Does Something Right, Will Reform Stupid Utility Pole Rules To Speed Up Fiber Deployment

      There’s several reasons that the hype surrounding Google Fiber has stalled; most notably Alphabet executives growing weary of the slow pace and high costs of traditional fiber deployments (something they should have understood going in). But another major obstacle for Google Fiber was the boring old utility pole. Google Fiber attempted expansion in numerous cities like Nashville and Louisville, but ran face first into an antiquated utility pole attachment process that traditionally favored incumbent operators, and lawyers for AT&T and Comcast, who were eager to sue to keep their dominance intact.

      As it stands, when a new competitor tries to enter a market, it needs to contact each individual ISP to have them move their own utility pole gear. This convoluted and bureaucratic process can take months, and incumbent ISPs (which often own the poles in question) have a long and proud history of then slowing things down even further by intentionally dragging their feet. After all, the very last thing purportedly “free market” adoring entities like AT&T and Comcast want to deal with is honest to goodness competition.

      To help fix this problem, Google Fiber and several other companies proposed new “one touch make ready” rules that would dramatically streamline the pole attachment process. Under this proposal, just one licensed and insured contractor would be allowed to move any company’s gear, provided they give advanced notice. When several cities tried to pass such rules regionally, they found themselves on the receiving end of lawsuits by AT&T and Comcast.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

PTAB is Loathed by Patent Maximalists Because It Can Potentially Invalidate Thousands of Software Patents (More Than Courts Can Handle)

Monday 13th of August 2018 07:29:15 AM

It’s nowadays needed more than ever because of examination sloppiness

Summary: The US patent system has become more resistant to software patents; courts, however, are still needed to invalidate such patents (a potentially expensive process) because the USPTO continues to grant these provided some fashionable buzzwords/hype waves are utilised (e.g. “facial recognition”, “blockchain”, “autonomous vehicles”)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), increasingly dealing 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) barriers (based on SCOTUS rulings), no longer grants software patents quite so easily; the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its inter partes reviews (IPRs) sometimes prevents examiners from granting such patents, so software patents are prevented from even existing in the first place. The Federal Circuit (CAFC) typically approves all this. So where can the patent maximalists turn? Who can they blame? Who will they attack?

“”Blockchain patents” are another type of bunk patents on algorithms, i.e. patents that should not be granted as per Section 101/Alice. Existing ones should be invalidated en masse, e.g. one by one at PTAB.”Jeremy Doerre is the latest to moan about Section 101. He does this in Watchtroll. These people just want software patents because they want more patent litigation, not because of any other reason. Remember that Watchtroll routinely attacks PTAB, CAFC and even SCOTUS. This is what we have come to expect because nothing else has worked. Attacking courts and judges won’t help either; that’s just likely to alienate.

Another site of patent maximalists has just promoted a patent maximalists’ ‘event’ about PTAB (among other things). “Webinar” is what they call it; there’s also a FCBA webinar about the USPTO being promoted/advertised there (a day ago). In spite of its name, FCBA has nothing to do with CAFC; it’s arguably against CAFC’s interests because patent maximalism is the goal. What troubles us is that these sites and groups basically strive to undo all the patent progress. All they want is litigation; lots and lots of it! In order to better facilitate such litigation they need to broaden patent scope and make courts more plaintiff-friendly.

We’re still seeing all sorts of abstract patents being granted and then bragged about. This example from a few days ago is a press release and there was plenty of press coverage about a new Intuit patent on Bitcoin stuff (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and lots more — perhaps dozens — like that). These are software patents (likely invalid, abstract); why grant these? Generally speaking, software patents are abstract and thus bunk. These should never be granted as courts would not honour them. That merely reduces confidence in patents and lowers certainty associated with patent litigation. Some of the applicants try to work around Section 101, falsely believing that fooling examiners would also mean that judges and experts can be fooled. In practice it doesn’t work that way because in the courtrooms (or even at PTAB) they quickly catch the errors; examiners are inclined to grant, unlike PTAB and the courts.

“On a car” patents, which are basically software patents, are showing up again. Apple, based on other reports [1, 2], patents new ways to distract drivers. Even European Patent (granted by the EPO). “Over the last eight months a wide range of patent applications covering autonomous vehicles have come to light,” said a news site citing a pro-Apple site, “with many of them discovered in Europe. In that time frame we also learned that Apple is working with Volkswagen on an autonomous vehicle. Earlier today Patently Apple discovered yet another European Patent application from Apple that was published on Wednesday August 1, 2018.”

But once again, these are just software patents which the EPO should not have granted. Where are the oppositions and the appeal boards? EPO examiners told us specifically about Apple that they were pressured to grant bogus patents to it. It’s like they have no choice (otherwise the job is at risk).

“Blockchain patents” are another type of bunk patents on algorithms, i.e. patents that should not be granted as per Section 101/Alice. Existing ones should be invalidated en masse, e.g. one by one at PTAB.

Mind this new report titled “Blockchain Patents Will Shape Innovation – and That’s a Little Bit Scary”, stating that “[t]here were 1,240 blockchain patents filed last year. That’s not normal. The number of blockchain patent applications, in fact, has grown over 600 percent since 2016. This year, retailing giant Wal-Mart secured blockchain patents for crypto household energy payments, wearable medical records, and a security system. They also filed patents for drone delivery and “autonomous ground vehicle” delivery systems.”

See that pattern of “autonomous ground vehicle” patents? This is, once again, software. They’re just pursuing software patents by another name/label, “fintech” if not stuff like “blockchain”. “Tech Giants Lead the Way on Fintech Patents, Ahead of Banks,” Watchtroll wrote. Sadly, the USPTO actively promotes software patents under the guise of “blockchain” (abstract); the EPO facilitates similar tricks, but courts won’t fall for it. As one site put it some days ago: “The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published on Thursday a series of patent applications, some of which were related to distributed ledger technology (DLT), also called blockchain. Among the applicants, we noticed companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Northern Trust Corporation, British Telecommunications, and JPMorgan.”

What’s curious here is that the USPTO willfully promotes patents which it probably knows would be invalidated under Section 101 (if assessed properly). Also mind this new report about “IBM facial recognition patents”. These too should be invalidated as they’re on algorithms, not just because IBM is "trolling" many companies with many such bogus patents. To quote: “The media has gone into a frenzy over Google’s latest facial recognition patent that shows an algorithm can track you across social media and gather your personal details. We thought, we’d dive further into what other patents Google has applied for in facial recognition tehnology in 2018. What we discovered was an eye opener (pun intended). Google is only the 3rd largest applicant with IBM and Samsung leading the patents race in facial recognition. As of 10th Aug, 2018, 1292 patents have been granted in 2018 on Facial recognition. Of those, IBM received 53. Here is the summary comparison of leading companies in facial recognition patents in 2018.”

Well, facial recognition patents are patents on algorithms. Why are they being granted at all? “As of 10th Aug, 2018, 1292 patents have been granted in 2018 on Facial recognition,” the above says. What does that mean for software developers and what does that say about the USPTO?

Many software developers despair at the sight of such ‘thickets’ of patents; they cannot practically read thousands of patents (for just one single domain of theirs) and they don’t want to risk litigation. PTAB and courts need to make it clear to examiners that patent maximalism should not be tolerated. It’s better to reject in haste than to wrongly grant an abstract patent.

Gene Quinn and ‘Dallas Innovates’ as Couriers of Agenda for Patent Trolls Like iPEL

Monday 13th of August 2018 06:03:17 AM

Dallas Litigates

Summary: Failing to hide their real purpose and malicious agenda, sites whose real purpose is to promote a lot of patent litigation produce puff pieces, even for patently unethical trolls such as iPEL

THE UNITED STATES’ patent office, the USPTO, is a subject we wrote perhaps 5,000 articles about, directly or indirectly. Back in the old days software patents were a regular thing there. Not anymore. It has been getting a lot harder to get these and even when/if one gets these it is hard to enforce these in court; this, in turn, reduces ‘demand’ (applications) for such patents and reduces their value, e.g. in case they’re sold.

It is not hard to see who’s upset by the above and why.

While we generally prefer not to entertain Watchtroll too much (not everything is poison; Gene Quinn sometimes gives advice as opposed to attacks on judges), yesterday we saw Watchtroll writing about “US Inventor” as though it’s separate from Watchtroll (it’s not really; there are overlaps) and actually worth the publicity (it's not worthy of any; in fact it pretty much vanished last year). A few days beforehand Gene Quinn was pushing purely promotional fluff for iPEL; this patent trolls’ propaganda site (Watchtroll) is now doing a puff piece for the patent troll iPEL, just like IAM does. Recall more of IAM’s ‘coverage’ (puff pieces) about this patent troll [1, 2], which IAM and Watchtroll keep promoting, the former doing so like it’s a “media partner” of the troll. It’s reputation laundering of an extortion racket.

Here’s what Quinn wrote:

Six weeks ago, iPEL, Inc. announced a revolutionary concept into the patent licensing ecosystem. What if those who own large patent portfolios decided to actually help start-ups by opening up their patent portfolios to those start-ups rather than have those companies operate without a net and worrying about what has become an omnipresent threat of patent litigation? After all, a patent owner with a well formulated licensing program is not one who is interested in going after cash starved start-up companies anyway.

This is not what they actually do; they’re lying and they’re not ethical at all. They’re quite the opposite. It’s a racket. We expect to hear a lot more about iPEL once there are plenty of lawsuits. Their trademark on “Ethical NPE” would then seem like an utter joke.

Let’s face it; trolls (so-called ‘NPEs’) have had to evolve after TC Heartland. It’s getting hard for them to access trolls-friendly courts. Yesterday Patent Docs advertised a webcast which “will address economic damages in patent infringement cases, trends in patent filings since TC Heartland, and patent damages implications from recent rulings in Ericsson v. TCL and Power Integrations v. Fairchild.”

Things have changed now that it’s not so easy to file lawsuits in Texas and keep these lawsuits there. Texas will truly suffer because as a result of TC Heartland it becomes a massive liability to operate near there. A site called “Dallas Innovates” (should say “Litigates”) is still celebrating software patents (which is what many of them are) and is posting this marketing/spam disguised as news about patents. This is where all the patent trolls like to roam (Dallas is in north-eastern Texas). To quote:

“Patents are a great way to measure innovation, especially with respect to geographic areas and companies and individuals residing in these areas,” Adam Rehm, a Polsinelli PC shareholder, told Dallas Innovates. “In most cases, the companies have armed their employees with tools enabling them to innovate and conceive inventions, which are disclosed via patent applications.”

Well, law firms like Eastern Texas because there used to be plenty of patent litigation there (still the case, but to a lesser degree). For real companies, however (i.e. those with products), Eastern Texas has become the place to escape.

What’s noteworthy is that trolls receive puff pieces from sites associated with the patent litigation ‘industry’; they’re not even doing a decent job disguising their true agenda.

Software Patents, Secured by ‘Smart’ and ‘Intelligent’ Tricks, Help Microsoft and Others Bypass Alice/Section 101

Sunday 12th of August 2018 09:11:30 PM

Native American tribes (so-called ‘Indians’) are exploited by patent maximalists and India gets it right on software patents

Summary: A look at the use of fashionable trends and buzzwords to acquire and pass around dubious software patents, then attempting to guard these from much-needed post-Alice scrutiny

THE USPTO has limited somewhat the sorts of patents or number of patents it grants, partly owing to restrictions on abstract patents, which include software patents. This is the correct thing to do and software development powerhouses such as India got it right (there are almost no software patents in India).

Seeing the usual nonsense of LexOrbis (e.g. [1, 2]) the other day, we’re still meeting a familiar old pattern. Watch how Anil Kumar (LexOrbis) is promoting software patents under the guise of “mobile” (or “on a phone”). “In other words,” he said, “to be patent eligible, the mobile application should make the mobile device function in a certain way. The software code itself that achieves the function is not patent eligible. However, the functionality achieved by means of the software is patentable. On the other hand, the software code doing it can be protected under copyright.”

Copyright is the only thing software developers need and want. Looking at this other new article from India (one of a large bunch), it says that TCS wants to branch out a firm that “has more than 75 patents filed in the artificial intelligence (AI), machine-learning and intelligent-automation space..,”

These are abstract software patents that should not have been granted. India’s TCS somehow managed to get those. What would courts say? There is still lots of "AI" hype in patent boosting circles, trying to paint algorithms as “smart” or “intelligence” (“intelligent”) because of Section 101/Alice. Sometimes they mention “AI” in relation to prior art search (new example here; it’s the same old snake oil and this really does not deal with underlying understanding of antonyms etc.) and timetimes they basically allude to algorithms by calling them “AI” or “machine learning” or whatever.

Here is the patent trolls’ lobby (Timothy Au, IAM) writing about this in relation to Microsoft:

Microsoft and Alphabet currently own the most – and the highest quality – patents relating to machine learning, research commissioned by IAM has revealed. However, the data also shows that most companies are being outpaced by the technology’s rapid rate of development, and at this stage anyone could come from anywhere to claim a leadership position. Jointly produced by IP analytics platform PatentSight and ip-search, a commercial patent search service provider of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, the research provides a detailed look at the machine learning landscape from a patent perspective.

Those are software patents. I know because I worked in that area.

The patent trolls’ lobby (Richard Lloyd in this case) also wrote about Microsoft-connected patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures (IV) using more proxies, e.g. Dominion Harbor, when he said: “This blog has closely followed the patent divestments that Intellectual Ventures has undertaken since the firm stopped buying for its most recent fund and looked to slim down its giant portfolio. Many of those assets have ended up in the hands of some familiar hands, with Dominion Harbor picking up the lion’s share and others going to entities linked to serial patent monetiser Leigh Rothschild. However, two recent assignments (seen here and here) recorded with the USPTO show the range of acquirers that have been looking to pick up what IV has on offer.”

“IV assignments to Native American tribe shows just how far it is casting sales net,” says the headline, but American tribes provide no protection from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), so what’s the point? An inter partes review (IPR) can still be filed against such patents. Earlier today Patent Docs advertised an upcoming “Webinar on Sovereign Immunity before the PTAB,” so basically they have a webinar on something that does not exist. Great! What a waste of time and money.

The general trend we’re seeing here is an attempt to sneak software patents through the system and then avoid reassessment of such patents. In effect they dodge justice itself.

Keep Boston (and Massachusetts in General) From Becoming an Infestation Zone for Patent Litigation

Sunday 12th of August 2018 08:23:29 PM

“Although the District of Delaware saw the largest increases by number of cases in 2017, other districts including the District of Massachusetts, the Western and Southern Districts of Texas, and the Western District of Washington all saw significant increases in terms of percentage over 2016.” (Source: Lex Machina)

Summary: Boston, renowned for research and innovation, has become somewhat of a litigation hotbed; this jeopardises the state’s attractiveness (except perhaps to lawyers)

THE EPO seems eager to attract patent trolls, having clearly failed to heed warnings from the United States. China has made similar mistakes and belatedly realised that.

In the United States the District of Delaware is overtaking East Texas as the ‘capital’ of patent litigation and last week we took note of Massachusetts becoming increasingly attractive to it as well. We keep hearing of more and more cases from Massachusetts, Boston in particular.

“A lot of the research in question was funded by taxpayers; this begs the question, why were patents pursued in the first place and why are these being litigated over (through a sort of proxy, the “Trustees of Boston University”)? It’s unjust.”A few days ago Kluwer Patent Blog wrote about the High Court in the UK dealing with Boston Scientific Scimed, which deals with medical devices and is formally based in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Just shortly before that we saw Boston University mentioned in relation to a District Court and the Federal Circuit, especially in the case of Everlight Electronics (recently, as in last week, covered here in passing, taking note of Boston University's past with patents). Patent Docs wrote about it some days ago, speaking about the patent’s (granted by the USPTO) particulars:

The ’738 patent describes a method for producing GaN semiconductors using a form of epitaxy termed molecular beam epitaxy, which is “a two step process comprising a low temperature nucleation step and a high temperature growth step.” This produces a first buffer layer of amorphous GaN when heated in the second step to “crystallize the amorphous layer.” This permits monocrystalline GaN to be grown on the crystallized substrate layer.

The District Court construed the term “grown on” to mean “formed indirectly or directly above,” and construed the term “a non-single crystalline buffer layer” to mean “a layer of material that is not monocrystalline,” i.e., one that is polycrystalline, amorphous, or a mixture of amorphous and polycrystalline, and that is “located between the first substrate and the first growth layer.” The parties’ disagreement, and the Federal Circuit’s opinion, concerned construction of the term “grown on.”

A lot of the research in question was funded by taxpayers; this begs the question, why were patents pursued in the first place and why are these being litigated over (through a sort of proxy, the “Trustees of Boston University”)? It’s unjust.

As we have repeatedly noted here lately, East Texas with its appeal for trolls has become a deterrent against businesses operating there. A lot of true innovation has happened in Massachusetts for centuries; if the state becomes a hotspot for patent litigation, however, this advantage can be put at risk/peril. There’s plenty of research on that, including some from Boston itself (e.g. Professor Bessen).

Links 12/8/2018: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mesa 18.1.6 Release Notice, New Linux Imminent

Sunday 12th of August 2018 03:31:34 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Tesla plans to open-source its vehicle security software for free to other automakers for safer self-driving future

    With the upcoming rise of self-driving and more connected vehicles come an increased risk of hacking those vehicles with ill-intent.

    Elon Musk thinks that Tesla’s vehicle security software is the best solution and he plans to open-source it for free to other automakers for a safer self-driving future.

    Musk has expressed concerns about hackers gaining access to Tesla system in the past.

  • Elon Musk Announces Plan to Open-Source Tesla’s Self-Driving Software

    Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk took to Twitter to share more news about the company’s self-driving technology. According to the entrepreneur, plans are in place to make the autonomous software found in Tesla units available on open-source platforms.

  • Tesla will open its security code to other car manufacturers
  • Tesla may Open Source Vehicle security Software to Other Car Manufacturers

    The best explanation to Tesla’s decision to give away its patents in good faith was written by Bin Hu, Ming Hu, and Yi Yang on Informs.Org. They wrote, “We believe that Tesla opened up its patents to tip the scale between the two competing technologies in its favor. This is the logic: if Tesla’s patents are more likely to be adopted by other auto makers because they are free, the electric vehicle technology is more likely to become mainstream, and holding on to this belief, component suppliers (including energy companies by extension) are more likely to make investments into the electric vehicle technology rather than the competing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology.”

  • Openbook is the latest dream of a digital life beyond Facebook

    As tech’s social giants wrestle with antisocial demons that appear to be both an emergent property of their platform power, and a consequence of specific leadership and values failures (evident as they publicly fail to enforce even the standards they claim to have), there are still people dreaming of a better way. Of social networking beyond outrage-fuelled adtech giants like Facebook and Twitter.

    There have been many such attempts to build a ‘better’ social network of course. Most have ended in the deadpool. A few are still around with varying degrees of success/usage (Snapchat, Ello and Mastodon are three that spring to mine). None has usurped Zuckerberg’s throne of course.

    [...]

    The team behind Openbook includes crypto(graphy) royalty, Phil Zimmermann — aka the father of PGP — who is on board as an advisor initially but billed as its “chief cryptographer”, as that’s what he’d be building for the platform if/when the time came.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Unifont 11.0.02 Released

      Unifont 11.0.02 is now available. This is an interim release, with another released planned in the autumn of 2018. The main addition in this release is David Corbett’s contribution of the over 600 glyphs in the Sutton SignWriting Unicode block.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Badgy is an open source E Ink badge

        Squaro Engineering has just developed their first e Ink product called Badgey. It features a 2.9 inch e-paper display with a resolution of 296×128 E and a five-way tactical switch for user input. The default firmware includes support for WiFiManager and OTA updates. This device retails for $29.99 and they offer volume pricing options, but it does not come with a battery, it has to be purchased separately.

  • Programming/Development
    • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.0

      Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: June 2018

      They’re a month overdue, and from the volume of inbound questions about when the language rankings would drop, it’s been noticed. As always, these are a continuation of the work originally performed by Drew Conway and John Myles White late in 2010. While the means of collection has changed, the basic process remains the same: we extract language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction. The idea is not to offer a statistically valid representation of current usage, but rather to correlate language discussion and usage in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.

Leftovers
  • Secretly Handmade for CIA: Pottery From Poland

    A newly declassified secret of the CIA’s is the handiwork of experts in Poland: custom-made plates, bowls and other pieces of tableware painted with the U.S. intelligence agency’s official seal.

    Helena Smolenska, the head of the craft-maker cooperative in the town of Boleslawiec that produced the ceramic set, said workers met the order with “joy and disbelief” and saw it as a chance to do “something exceptional.”

  • Hardware
    • Intel has no chance in servers and they know it

      Intel is flying press to an Analyst day to discuss their impending server meltdown. SemiAccurate has been detailing this impending catastrophe for over a year now, it is now time for the details.

  • Security
    • Practical Web Cache Poisoning

      In this paper I’ll show you how to compromise websites by using esoteric web features to turn their caches into exploit delivery systems, targeting everyone that makes the mistake of visiting their homepage.

      I’ll illustrate and develop this technique with vulnerabilities that handed me control over numerous popular websites and frameworks, progressing from simple single-request attacks to intricate exploit chains that hijack JavaScript, pivot across cache layers, subvert social media and misdirect cloud services. I’ll wrap up by discussing defense against cache poisoning, and releasing the open source Burp Suite Community extension that fueled this research.

    • IBM’s proof-of-concept ‘DeepLocker’ malware uses AI to infect PCs
    • Hack causes pacemakers to deliver life-threatening shocks

      At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts said they first alerted medical device maker Medtronic to the hacking vulnerabilities in January 2017. So far, they said, the proof-of-concept attacks they developed still work. The duo on Thursday demonstrated one hack that compromised a CareLink 2090 programmer, a device doctors use to control pacemakers after they’re implanted in patients.

    • Bad infrastructure means pacemakers can be compromised before they leave the factory [iophk: "Windows kills"]

      The new research is some of the most chilling to date. Rios and Butts have found vulnerabilities in Medtronic’s infrastructure for programming and updating the pacemakers and their programming terminals (which run Windows XP!) (Windows XP!!). By attacking Medtronic’s cloud infrastructure, the pair can poison all the devices as they leave the factory, or corrupt them once they’re in the field.

    • Hackable implanted medical devices could cause deaths, researchers say

      To take control of the pacemaker, Rios and Butts went up the chain, hacking the system that a doctor would use to program a patient’s pacemaker. Their hack rewrote the system to replace the background with an ominous skull, but a real hack [sic] could modify the system invisibly, while ensuring that any pacemaker connected to it would be programmed with harmful instructions. “You can obviously issue a shock,” Butts said, “but you can also deny a shock.” Because the devices are implanted for a reason, he added, withholding treatment can be as damaging as active attempts to harm.

    • AWS does a guff in a bucket and exposes GoDaddy’s dirty laundry

      Details included usage stats from GoDaddy, pricing and negotiated discounted rates from Amazon. More worryingly, there’s also server config information, CPU specs, hostnames, operating systems and server loads.

      [...]

      GoDaddy was given a chance to plug the leaks, but after five weeks, UpGuard decided to act, as GoDaddy still hadn’t locked things down.

    • Amazon AWS error exposes info on 31,000 GoDaddy servers

      Data leaks are par for the course these days, and the latest company to be involved in one is GoDaddy. The company, which says it’s the world’s top domain name registrar with over 18 million customers, is the subject of a new report from cybersecurity firm UpGuard that was shared exclusively with Engadget. In June, cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery discovered files containing detailed server information stored in an unsecured S3 bucket — a cloud storage service from Amazon Web Services. A look into the files revealed multiple versions of data for over 31,000 GoDaddy systems.

    • Hackers [sic] Could Cause Havoc By Pwning Internet-Connected Irrigation Systems

      The researchers studied three different Internet of Things devices that help control irrigation and found flaws that would allow malicious hackers [sic] to turn them on remotely in an attempt to drain water. The attacks don’t rely on fancy hacking techniques or hard to find vulnerabilities, but to make a real, negative impact on a city’s water reserves, the hackers [sic] would need to take control of a lot of sprinklers. According to the researcher’s math, to empty an average water tower, hackers [sic] would need a botnet of 1,355 sprinklers; to empty a flood water reservoir, hackers [sic] would need a botnet of 23,866 sprinklers.

      The researchers say their attacks are innovative not because of the techniques, but because they don’t rely on targeting a city’s critical infrastructure itself, which is (or should be) hardened against hackers [sic]. Instead, it attacks weak Internet of Things devices connected to that infrastructure.

    • Windows BitPaymer ransomware scores a hole in one: US PGA takes a hit

      Malicious attackers have launched a Windows ransomware attack on the servers of the PGA of America golf tournament which began at the Bellerive County Club in St Louis on Thursday.

      Allan Liska, a ransomware expert from security form Recorded Future, told iTWire that the ransomware in question appeared to be BitPaymer.

    • Hacking [sic] a Brand New Mac Remotely, Right Out of the Box

      That attack, which researchers will demonstrate Thursday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, targets enterprise Macs that use Apple’s Device Enrollment Program and its Mobile Device Management platform. These enterprise tools allow employees of a company to walk through the customized IT setup of a Mac themselves, even if they work in a satellite office or from home. The idea is that a company can ship Macs to its workers directly from Apple’s warehouses, and the devices will automatically configure to join their corporate ecosystem after booting up for the first time and connecting to Wi-Fi.

    • In-the-wild router exploit sends unwitting users to fake banking site

      The vulnerability works against DLink DSL-2740R, DSL-2640B, DSL-2780B, DSL-2730B, and DSL-526B models that haven’t been patched in the past two years. As described in disclosures here, here, here, here, and here, the flaw allows attackers to remotely change the DNS server that connected computers use to translate domain names into IP addresses.

    • In-vehicle wireless devices are endangering emergency first responders

      In late 2016, security researcher Justin Shattuck was on assignment for an organization that was under a crippling denial-of-service attack by a large number of devices, some of which appeared to be hosted inside the network of a large European airport. As he scanned the airport’s network from the Internet—and later, with the airport operators’ permission, from inside the network—he was eventually able to confirm that the devices were indeed part of several previously unseen botnets that were delivering record-setting denial-of-service attacks on websites.

    • Breaking Down the Door to Emergency Services through Cellular IoT Gateway

      Nearly two years have passed since we first started observing cellular gateways distributing packets across the internet. Today, we are only scratching the surface of what will inevitably turn into years of future research and discoveries before the world has tackled the problem of IoT devices being deployed without security considerations. For now, this article includes the following, and will be followed up with future research and discoveries.

      • The existence of cellular IoT devices that are not properly configured is allowing attackers to easily leverage remote administration for nefarious purposes.
        • The improperly configured devices we discovered and tested had either default administration credentials (such as admin:12345), or they required no authentication at all.
      • The absence of logging capabilities on these devices ensures that nefarious activities cannot be tracked.
      • Because most of the use cases for cellular IoT are for moving fleets, devices that need tracking, or remote critical infrastructure, virtually all of them have GPS coordinates. Excessive information disclosure, such as providing GPS coordinates publicly without requiring authentication (as some devices we discovered do) is giving attackers the ability to track fleet vehicles without ever breaking the law with unauthorized access. Yes, police cars can be tracked without breaking the law.
      • There is no bias on which industries or cellular device manufacturer will fall victim to threats emerging from cellular devices. Virtually every industry that requires some form of long-range, constant connectivity is impacted (and likely, most manufacturers) as development standards apply unilaterally.
      • As of July 28, 2018, we have identified more than 100,000 devices that are impacted online. 86% of the devices identified exist within the United States.
      • Attackers have been exploiting many of these systems since August 2016, if not earlier.
      • We have a defined list of impacted Sierra Wireless makes and models, however, we believe the problem to be widespread across all manufacturers of cellular IoT devices.
    • David Tomaschik: I’m the One Who Doesn’t Knock: Unlocking Doors From the Network

      Today I’m giving a talk in the IoT Village at DEF CON 26. Though not a “main stage” talk, this is my first opportunity to speak at DEF CON. I’m really excited, especially with how much I enjoy IoT hacking. My talk was inspired by the research that lead to CVE-2017-17704, but it’s not meant to be a vendor-shaming session. It’s meant to be a discussion of the difficulty of getting physical access control systems that have IP communications features right. It’s meant to show that the designs we use to build a secure system when you have a classic user interface don’t work the same way in the IoT world.

    • Google security specialist booted from Vegas hotel over ‘threat’
    • Google Spectre whizz kicked out of Caesars, blocked from DEF CON over hack ‘attack’ tweet
    • A Tweet About Hacking Gets a Google Engineer in Trouble
    • Stylistic analysis can de-anonymize code, even compiled code

      A presentation today at Defcon from Drexel computer science prof Rachel Greenstadt and GWU computer sicence prof Aylin Caliskan builds on the pair’s earlier work in identifying the authors of software and shows that they can, with a high degree of accuracy, identify the anonymous author of software, whether in source-code or binary form.

    • Even Anonymous Coders Leave Fingerprints

      Rachel Greenstadt, an associate professor of computer science at Drexel University, and Aylin Caliskan, Greenstadt’s former PhD student and now an assistant professor at George Washington University, have found that code, like other forms of stylistic expression, are not anonymous. At the DefCon hacking conference Friday, the pair will present a number of studies they’ve conducted using machine learning techniques to de-anonymize the authors of code samples. Their work could be useful in a plagiarism dispute, for instance, but it also has privacy implications, especially for the thousands of developers who contribute open source code to the world.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Swedish Nazi arrested for planned murder of journalists

      A member of Sweden’s neo-Nazi party the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) has been arrested after police found proof that he was planning to murder two journalists.

    • Wikileaks: Rwandan Reconciliation Is a Lie

      On Sunday I joined the three-day YouTube vigil for imperiled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The next day I realized that I must have sounded obsessive because I’d kept returning to a single classified diplomatic cable from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, sent to the US State Department. This is one of the many thousands of diplomatic cables that Wikileaks released between February 18, 2010, and September 1, 2011. I know I didn’t fully explain it although I kept returning to it because I kept turning it over in the back of my mind. Apologies to the YouTube vigil producers and listeners for any inexplicable redundancy. I’m going to do my best to clear that up now that I’ve had more time to think about.

      The cable’s title is “ETHNICITY IN RWANDA – - -WHO GOVERNS THE COUNTRY?” It’s dated August 5, 2008. Its overall classification is “SECRET,” second only to “TOP SECRET,” and “NOFORN,” no distribution to foreign nationals. Those parts of it which describe Rwandan reality in general terms are marked “CONFIDENTIAL, NOFORN.” Passages naming specific individuals holding various positions in Rwanda are marked “SECRET, NOFORN.” The latter seem to explain why the cable is marked “SECRET, NOFORN” overall.

    • No, Assassination By Drone Isn’t A New Concept, I Have Been Warning Of It For Years
    • The Day of the Drone Assassin Has Arrived

      Unknown forces attempted to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro last Saturday in Caracas. The weapon of choice: a pair of powerful M600 quadcopters, each armed with more than two pounds of C4 explosive, and equipped with remote-control detonators.

    • ‘Real assassins!’: Venezuela targets opposition after drone blasts

      Venezuela confirmed the arrest of one lawmaker and ordered the detention of another on Wednesday, accusing the opposition politicians of scheming to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro with explosives-laden drones at a rally last weekend.

      Two drones detonated during a military parade on Saturday, injuring seven officers and sending soldiers scurrying for cover during a Maduro speech broadcast live. Maduro himself was unharmed.

    • Danger Ahead: The Game-Changer Drone

      A quick survey of some of the well known victims illustrates the targeted killings. Phillip II of Macedonia was assassinated in 336 B.C. and Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. For a number of centuries, the 8th through the 14th, an Islamic sect called the Assassins was active in the areas of what is now Iran and Syria, killing, often under influence of hashish, caliphs, viziers, sultans, and Crusaders for political and religious reasons.

    • ‘CIA kept changing story on losing the nuclear device in Nanda Devi’

      After the Chinese carried out their first nuclear test in 1964, the US decided to spy on China’s nuclear capabilities via India. The CIA asked the Indian government if it could plant a sensor. The government, which at the time blindly followed the CIA, agreed. On June 23, 1965, we did a trial run on Mount McKinley in Alaska, and then went to Nanda Devi, but had to turn back because of bad weather conditions. Unable to carry it back, we left the device there. We went back in May 1966 to search for it, and again in 1967 but had no luck. In 1968, we finally abandoned the search. Because it was a top-secret mission, we were not allowed to disclose what we were doing even to our families. The American agents used aliases. The whole thing was quite exhausting, but we were in the service of the nation.

    • Israel pounds Gaza, killing a pregnant woman and her child

      At least three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old child, were killed by Israeli air attacks and artillery shelling on the besieged Gaza Strip.

      Israeli launched more than 140 attacks after about 150 rockets were fired from the coastal enclave, injuring at least six people in Israel.

    • He flew secret CIA missions with Hmong fighters in Laos. A new play tells their story.

      Yang said the play will not only be enjoyable to those who may not have know about the Secret War, but it will also shed light on the war for younger generations of Hmong.

      “The younger Hmong generation who were born here after 1975, they had no idea how hard, how bad their parents went through,” Yang said. “They had no idea what happened in the Secret War.”

      Following the play, Hansen and Yang will hold a question and answer segment. Yang hopes this will allow people, young and old, who want specific answers to what exactly happened all those years ago in Laos to get a chance to ask people who have a deep connection to it.

    • Stephen Gutowski: Censorship of gun-rights group is ‘far more aggressive than anything we’ve seen with Alex Jones’

      2nd Amendment reporter Stephen Gutowski has a must-read piece over at the Free Beacon on the censorship of CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, a coalition of gun-rights groups that published the now infamous 3D-gun design files.

    • At least 29 children killed in strike on Yemen bus

      An attack on a bus at a market in rebel-held northern Yemen killed at least 29 children Thursday, the Red Cross said, as the Saudi-led coalition faced a growing outcry over the strike.

      The coalition said it had carried out a “legitimate military action”, targeting a bus in response to a deadly missile attack on Saudi Arabia on Wednesday by Huthi rebels.

      Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told AFP that claims by aid organisations that children were inside the bus were “misleading”, adding that the bus carried “Huthi combatants”.

      The International Committee of the Red Cross said the strike hit a bus filled with children at the Dahyan market in the Huthi stronghold of Saada.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Finance
    • Oracle Accused of Defrauding Investors on Cloud Sales Growth

      After a few years, the effort is still nascent and Oracle trails market-share leaders in key segments. The Redwood Shores, California-based company stopped disclosing specific cloud sales metrics as of June, giving investors less insight into its transition to [I]nternet-based software.

      The suit claimed that Oracle’s executives lied in forward-looking statements, which are never guaranteed, during earnings calls and at investor conferences in 2017 when they said customers were rapidly adopting their cloud-based products and cloud sales would accelerate.

    • Microsoft CEO Sells $36 Million in Stock; Starts Trading Plan

      Nadella will continue to divest shares in the next year through the structured plan in which he doesn’t control the timing or amounts sold, the company said Friday. He will sell fewer than half his Microsoft shares through the plan, according to the company.

    • Maybe MoviePass Shouldn’t Compare Itself to Uber

      One thing the two companies do have in common is that neither one has shown any signs of turning a profit.

    • More than 100 seats that backed Brexit now want to stay in EU

      More than 100 Westminster constituencies that voted to leave the EU have now switched their support to Remain, according to a stark new analysis seen by the Observer.

      In findings that could have a significant impact on the parliamentary battle of Brexit later this year, the study concludes that most seats in Britain now contain a majority of voters who want to stay in the EU.

      The analysis, one of the most comprehensive assessments of Brexit sentiment since the referendum, suggests the shift has been driven by doubts among Labour voters who backed Leave.

      [...]

      One seat has switched support in Scotland and 97 have switched in England, while 14 of the 40 seats in Wales have changed from Leave to Remain. Overall, the model puts Remain on 53% support, with 47% backing Leave.

      It suggests that there is now a majority for Remain in Scotland and Wales – meaning greater pressure on the union following the UK’s departure. Young voters and those from ethnic minorities have also driven the switch to Remain.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Dems want GOP chairman to subpoena State Department over cyber docs

      “The Department has not produced a single document in 2018 in response to our request,” Cummings and Kelly wrote, arguing that the dearth of documents has prevented lawmakers from understanding “the basis of the Department’s decision to shutter” the office and from “planning for the reorganization of these functions.”

    • Bill would ban House members from serving on boards of publicly held companies

      The resolution from New York Reps. Tom Reed (R) and Kathleen Rice (D) would amend House rules to mirror a Senate provision banning lawmakers from sitting on the boards of “any publicly-held or publicly regulated corporation, financial institution, or business entity.”

    • Twitter Fact-Checking Won’t Free Us From Our Baseless Convictions

      We drop faulty beliefs not when they’re disproven by scientists or lawyers, but when—and only when—they cost us our relationships, our professional standing, our freedom, and even our chances for survival. We’re humans in a world of natural selection. The prospect of exile, isolation, and death can be keenly persuasive.

    • The Sinclair/Tribune Merger Is Dead

      A merger that would have given a conservative broadcasting company access to 73 percent of US households is now officially dead. Today, the Tribune Media Company announced that it has terminated its $3.9 billion merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, and is now suing Sinclair for $1 billion for breach of contract.

    • We analyzed every QAnon post on Reddit. Here’s who QAnon supporters actually are.

      Late on a recent Thursday night, a Reddit user posted a comment in a forum (or subreddit) devoted to the game Magic: The Gathering about how the company that makes the game is hiring with diversity in mind — and how that was ruining the quality of its cards.

    • We Have the CIA to Thank for the QAnon Conspiracy Theory

      As the editor of the JFK Facts blog, I try not to spend a lot of time on stupid conspiracy theories, but given widespread ignorance and confusion on the subject, unpleasant journalist duty often calls.

      Who killed JFK? The Federal Reserve? Nah. The Secret Service man? A hoax. Ted Cruz’s father? Pure B.S. George H.W. Bush? Heavy breathing is not the same as credible evidence. On a recent Black Vault podcast, the most common JFK question I heard was, “Was Kennedy assassinated because of his interest in UFOs?” Um, no, he was not.

      Which brings me to QAnon, the imaginative conspiracy theorist now dominating the internet, attracting followers of President Trump, and obsessing the Washington Post, which has published a dozen articles about QAnon in the span of four days. Like many conspiracy theories, the QAnon fever dream can be traced back to the assassination of JFK.

    • The dark conspiracy theory that helped create QAnon

      A shadowy group of powerful figures are secretly in control of the United States. They’re abducting children and subjecting them to lurid, Satanic abuse. Our only hope lies with a single brave source, one with first-hand experience of the horrifying conspiracy, to expose the plot.

      This may sound like a brief description of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which, after spending a year bubbling at the fringes of the internet, suddenly burst into the mainstream last week at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. But it’s actually a description of another conspiracy theory that gripped America in the early 1980s, one that led to the most expensive trial in California’s history and was eventually proven to be utterly false.

      In 1980, Canadian psychiatric patient Michelle Smith co-wrote a book with her psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder — whom she later married — titled Michelle Remembers. In the book, Michelle claimed to “remember,” via hypnosis, that her mother was actually a member of a Satanic cult and had forced her to endure horrific abuse. Michelle claimed that she was caged, was forced to watch the cult slaughter kittens, and endured 81 straight days of abuse in an effort to summon Satan himself.

    • CLARENCE PAGE: QAnon: When reality is just too much
    • Down the ‘QAnon’ rabbit hole
    • Fearmongering is fueling QAnon: This is not a dangerous cult, at least yet
    • Why young white men are abandoning the Democrats

      The Democrats’ embrace of identity politics is turning off a generation of voters.

    • “Absolute Failure”: DNC Passes Perez Resolution Reversing Ban on Donations From Fossil Fuel PACs

      Just two months after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was celebrated by environmentalists for banning donations from fossil fuel companies, it voted 30-2 on Friday to adopt a resolution from Chair Tom Perez that critics said effectively reverses the ban and represents “an absolute failure by the DNC.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Woman held in Dubai with daughter after drinking wine on flight
    • Senator Richard Burr: a Longtime Fan of Torture

      Newly released official documents obtained by the National Security Archive showing that CIA Director Gina Haspel directly supervised waterboarding at the first CIA “Black Site” simply confirm what Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) already knew as he orchestrated the charade that was Haspel’s confirmation hearing. Burr allowed her to “classify” her own direct role in waterboarding and other torture techniques so that it could be kept from the public and secure her confirmation–further proof that this Senate oversight committee has instead become an overlook committee.

      That Haspel supervised the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the first CIA “black site” for interrogation was already clear to those who had followed Haspel’s career, but she was able to do a song and dance when Sen. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) asked her about it. Haspel declinded to reply on grounds that the information was classified. It was of course because Haspel herself had classified it. All the senators knew that only too well. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) had strongly objected to this bizarre practice only minutes before.

      Witnessing this charade from the audience is prompted me to stand up, excuse myself for interrupting, and suggest that the committee members were entitled to an honest answer since this was a public hearing with thousands watching on TV. The American people were also entitled to know whether or not she was directly involved in torture. As I was calmly pointing out that any Senate Intelligence Committee member who prepared for the hearing already knew the answer, I was “escorted out,” man handled and charged with disrupting Congress and resisting arrest.

    • Shining a Light on CIA Torture

      OFFICIALLY REGISTERED AS business charter jets, two aircraft based at North Carolina’s rural Johnston County Airport—a Gulfstream V and a Boeing 737 with the original tail numbers N379P and N313P—secretly conducted some ghastly “business.”

      They were U.S. “torture taxis” in the years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

      Playing a key role in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition,” detention, and interrogation program, the two aircraft flew at least 34 separate “rendition circuits” that resulted in the kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture of at least 49 individuals, according to the U.K.-based Rendition Project, a coalition of academics, human rights investigators, legal teams, and investigative journalists who waded through reams of data, including falsified and redacted flight plans and other reports, to uncover the truth about the CIA program and its victims.

      [...]

      The commission against torture is following the lead of previous truth commissions, including its own state’s Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission and another focused on the 1898 Wilmington race riot—both of whose members and staff provided advice. The independent, nongovernmental torture commission held public hearings in November and December to investigate and encourage public debate about the role North Carolina played in facilitating the U.S. torture program between 2001 and 2006.

    • When the CIA Learned Cats Make Bad Spies

      The most famous kitty in spy history is probably the white Persian of James Bond flicks. The image of a faceless villain stroking the cat in the early 1960s films is now a meme (see: Inspector Gadget, Austin Powers). Lesser known is the cat whom, during the same decade, the CIA attempted to turn into a spy.

      “Operation Acoustic Kitty” was a secret plan to turn cats into portable spying devices. However, the CIA only ever produced one Acoustic Kitty because it abandoned the project after a test with this cat went horribly wrong.

      The Acoustic Kitty was a sort of feline-android hybrid—a cyborg cat. A surgeon implanted a microphone in its ear and a radio transmitter at the base of its skull. The surgeon also wove an antenna into the cat’s fur, writes science journalist Emily Anthes in Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts.

    • Iran arrests dozens in crackdown on ‘immoral’ Instagram models

      Iran has arrested dozens of people, including Instagram models and beauty salon owners, for posting photos online, in the latest crackdown against “immoral” behaviour.

      More than 40 people, including at least eight women, have been rounded up in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, 630 miles south of Tehran, according the official IRNA news agency.

    • Malaysia government ‘demonising’ LGBT people by censoring art exhibit
    • Stop censoring LGBT people from the M’sian picture
    • Stop censoring us: LGBT people are part of the Malaysian picture — 47 civil society organisations
    • Removal of activists’ portraits is censorship, says ex-Bar president
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • DRM
    • The JPEG Committee is “exploring Blockchain” — to put DRM into JPEG

      The Twitter reaction was “lol what,” and even the cryptocurrency press ignored it — but there’s more to this than slapping on a buzzword, and it’s not good. They seem to think they can advance the cause of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for JPEG images — automated copy protection and access control — with a bit of applied blockchain. And that this will make DRM work — rather than be an idea that fundamentally doesn’t work, despite sounding interesting and potentially useful to some people.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • United Kingdom: Edwards Lifesciences LLC v Boston Scientific Scimed Inc, High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Chancery Division, Patents Court, [2018] EWHC 1256 (Pat), 24 May 2018

      The Court ordered a twelve month stay of the injunction granted when it found one of Boston’s patents concerning a transcatheter heart valve (THV) valid and infringed by Edwards’ medical device, in order to allow for the re-training of clinicians to use non-infringing THVs.

    • Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights, Oh My! What’s the Difference? [Ed: "Intellectual property" does not exist. This article tries to group together different laws under this same, misleading umbrella.]

      Intellectual property might seem esoteric, but it’s important to protect it like you would any other asset. To do so, you’ll need to understand some basics about intellectual property rights first.

      Two of the most common forms of intellectual property protections are the copyright and the trademark. While the two are often confused, they protect very different types of intellectual property. Learning the differences, and how you can use both to protect your own creative output, is essential to securing your assets.

    • Germany: Ultrasonic Transducer, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 4/16, 20 March 2018

      The FCJ confirmed that the cited prior art should, generally, provide concrete suggestions, hints or at least provide other reasons beyond the recognisability of the technical problem to seek the solution to a technical problem in the way as presented in the patent.

    • Trademarks
      • Disparaging, Immoral, and Scandalous Trademarks Since Matal v. Tam

        A little more than one year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause as unconstitutional in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (June 19, 2017). The case involved Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants, who sought “to ‘reclaim’ and ‘take ownership’ of stereotypes about people of Asian ethnicity.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected the band’s application to register its name under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, finding that the mark “[c]onsists of . . . matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt.” After the case made its way through the court system, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the disparagement clause as viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment’s free speech clause. This article explores Tam’s impact over the past year and related developments on the horizon.

    • Copyrights
      • Kodi Addon Repo Operator Shuts Down Following Threats from BREIN

        A Dutch-based developer and Kodi addon repository administrator has shut down his operation following threats from anti-piracy outfit BREIN. Due to the XvBMC-NL repo offering addons including Covenant and IPTV Bonanza, BREIN accused its operator of facilitating access to infringing content. He is now required to sign an abstention agreement and pay a settlement of 2,500 euros.

      • Intercept Music Debuts Globally, Offers Tools for Artists to Get Noticed

        Intercept Music’s highly organized tools and artist-focused systems empower musicians to build quality fan bases in a short time, leaving them more time to focus on their art. The cornerstone of Intercept Music is its sophisticated social media scheduling system, which not only integrates posts across multiple social networks, but also offers a balance of content to keep the fan base engaged and growing. The powerful software also enables artists to market music, promote shows and sell merchandise, as well as connect to industry professionals, all at the touch of a button.

      • People are taking to the streets on August 26th to #SaveYourInternet – join in!

        We’ve stopped the train – but the job is not finished: Now we must put it on the right track.

        Decision Day: September 12th

      • The Pirate Bay Turns 15 Years Old

        Founded in 2003 by a group of hackers and activists, The Pirate Bay aimed to bring file-sharing to the masses. In the fifteen years that followed, the site transformed from a small community to Hollywood’s resilient arch-rival, serving millions of users. And that’s not the only thing that changed.

Thomas Massie’s “Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2018” (RALIA) Would Put the US Patent System in the Lions’ (or Trolls’) Mouth Again

Saturday 11th of August 2018 08:28:28 AM

Patent maximalism would gradually corrode if not doom the patent system, making US patents obsolete and lawsuits frivolous

Summary: An anti-§ 101 and anti-PTAB bill from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) strives to remove quality control; but by handing the system back to patent trolls he and his proponents simply strive to create more business of litigation, at the expense of innovation

THE Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), typically affirmed by the Federal Circuit and largely defended by management of the USPTO, which is more than just Iancu, is a little bit like the appeal boards at the EPO. The job of PTAB is assuring quality of patents. PTAB is used to stop or prevent frivolous patent litigation with abstract patents — something which increasingly happens in Europe, as we've just noted.

Earlier this month PTAB accomplished the following thing, which was celebrated yesterday by Unified Patents. Mr. Jain wrote:

On August 3, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) terminated IPR2017-01672 pursuant to a joint request filed by Quantum Stream Inc. (a subsidiary of XpresSpa, AKA Form Holdings) and Unified Patents. U.S. Patent 9,047,626, the subject of the IPR petition, relates to systems for delivering content, such as a digital video program, to a user device.

This is seemingly a software patent. It should not have been granted. But patent maximalists beg to differ; they mislead the media and mislead politicians about this. Only days ago Odessa American celebrated with the “Cult of Patents” as if “innovation” and “patent” (monopoly) are the same thing (see “Marketing Evolution Awarded Patent Recognition for Latest Innovation”), not to mention spin with “Smart…Smart…Smarter” in headlines such as this new article’s headline. Sadly, these patent maximalists still have a grip on the media. Rep. Thomas Massie wants to make a mess of the US patent system [1, 2, 3] and the media helps him promote his new bill, “Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2018” (RALIA). It’s a misnomer (should say “Litigation”, not “Innovation”), as Josh Landau (CCIA) has just explained, arguing that “RALIA Would Take Us Back To The Patent Law Stone Age” because:

At the end of June, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced the “Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2018,” H.R. 6264 (RALIA). RALIA, rather than restoring American innovation, aims to overturn the advances in American patent law that help protect innovation. Last week, I addressed Rep. Rohrabacher’s ‘Inventor Protection Act’ (IPA) [1][2], and I’ve previously covered the STRONGER Patents Act[1][2]. Now we can turn to the third member of this group of anti-innovation bills, RALIA.

Here’s the gist of it. The AIA? Gone. Decades of court decisions fine-tuning the balance between the patent reward and the impacts of the government-granted monopoly that a patent represents? Gone. RALIA even gets rid of the 18 month publication rule, which makes no sense if you want to promote progress—it only matters when it comes to promoting patents, a fact the bill actually admits.

[...]

RALIA includes an amendment to § 101 as well. This amendment appears to be based on the IPO and AIPLA proposals, which Patent Progress has covered in the past.[1][2]. The basic idea? Let’s make everything patentable, no matter if it would prevent anyone from accessing a basic scientific building block or represents nothing more than an abstract idea stripped of any structure.

These proposals come from interest groups that claim that § 101 “is not meant to provide the standard for deciding whether a particular technical advance should receive patent protection.” But that statement is wrong—that’s exactly what § 101 is for. And I’m not alone in this view. Back in June, USPTO Director Andrei Iancu agreed, describing § 101 as a determination of “what specifically, as a country, do we want to exclude from patenting.” There’s active discussion on what falls into that category, but it simply isn’t serious for AIPLA to suggest that § 101 isn’t intended to prevent certain types of patents.

As Patent Progress stated when these proposals first came out, they don’t promote progress, just patents that will block basic research and overbroad patents that claim an abstract idea. The only beneficiaries will be those who assert low-quality patents; it certainly won’t benefit progress of the useful arts.

RALIA is still being promoted in some media circles, we’re assuming at the behest of law firms. Those who value innovation in the US know that PTAB and § 101 aren’t the problems; they’re part of the solution.

EPO-Style Problem-Solution: Tackling Backlog by Granting Lots of Low-Quality (Bogus) European Patents, Causing a Surge in Troll/Frivolous Litigation

Saturday 11th of August 2018 07:52:27 AM

Related: The Patent Trolls’ Lobby, Bristows and IAM Among Others, Downplays Darts-IP/IP2Innovate Report About Rising If Not Soaring Troll Activity in Europe

Summary: The EPO’s lack of interest in genuine patent quality (measuring “quality” in terms of speed, not actual quality) may mean nothing but a litigation epidemic; many of these lawsuits would be abusive, baseless; those harmed the most would be small businesses that cannot afford a legal defense and would rather settle with those who exploit questionable patents, notably patent trolls

THE decline/demise of patent quality at the Munich-based patent office isn’t just an hypothesis; firms and examiners speak about it. They’re concerned. They even pen open letters with many signatures. Sometimes petitions. They rightly worry and they understand the long-term ramifications, knowing that the Munich-based patent office (other locations too) relies on its reputation and the high legal certainty once associated with patents assessed to be awarded/granted. Those who understand how the patent system works (either as examiners or law firms’ staff) want what’s best not only for themselves but also for their country/ies. As we last stressed a few days ago, patent maximalism is generally a threat to the entire patent system. Greed can cause the entire thing to collapse.

“…patent maximalism is generally a threat to the entire patent system. Greed can cause the entire thing to collapse.”Frivolous litigation is nowadays being reported in Europe; we privately hear some stories and the EPO is to blame. “Opposition proceedings in the EPO are currently under appeal to the Technical Bureau of Appeal (“TBA”),” say Matheson’s Michael Finn and Deirdre Kilroy. It’s about Ireland. Yesterday they wrote:

The Irish Commercial Court has departed from a long standing precedent and refused to suspend national patent revocation proceedings whilst parallel opposition proceedings are ongoing in the European Patents Office (the “EPO”). This has the potential to result in an increase in litigating national patents devolved from European patents in Ireland. In this article, IP litigator Michael Finn highlights some of the key aspects of the decision.

[...]

On 31 July 2018, the Court refused to suspend the entire proceedings. The Court suspended the trial until late 2019. However, in a departure from previous Irish case law, the Court directed that all pre-trial steps in the proceedings should go ahead.

[...]

In deciding to suspend the trial until November 2019, the Court was influenced by the prospect that the EPO proceedings could potentially be resolved completely within 12 months, and the potential waste of court resources would outweigh other considerations.

Some of these European Patents should never have been granted in the first place. Once granted, they can form the basis for frivolous lawsuits, causing a lot of trouble and costing a fortune.

We have always been particularly concerned about software patents. The USPTO moves away from software patents, whereas the EPO is actively promoting software patents in Europe (several times per day lately; it got worse after António Campinos had taken over).

“They’re “politely” if not “silently” destroying what used to be the world’s best patent office.”FB Rice’s Eddie Walker, Jeremy Dobbin, Madeleine Kelly, Steve Gledhill, Andrea Ruhrmann, Will Morgan and Toby Thompson now have this new article. It is about Australia, which disallows software patents, imitating Europe’s loopholes rather than be inspired by Alice (SCOTUS). Does Australia not know that the EPO does not follow European law, EPC etc.? They’re alluding to what’s often used as a ‘trick’ by which to patent algorithms.

To quote:

A new consultation regarding legislation that will change the way inventive step is considered for Australian patents has been announced, with the intention being to raise the threshold by aligning with European standards. In future, the EPO “problem-solution” test will usually be adopted when assessing inventive step in Australia, which is a different assessment from the lower level problem-solution assessment currently used here.

It remains to be seen whether other aspects of the European inventive step assessment will also be imported into Australian practice. A principal reason for the current difference in standards is that the circumstances under which two prior art documents can validly be mosaicked to sustain an obviousness attack are much broader in Europe. Unless this aspect of Australian practice also changes, the legislative amendments may not have as significant an effect as desired.

[...]

Whilst an EPO-style problem-solution approach may become the norm for assessing inventive step in Australia, the Draft Explanatory Memorandum sets out that there will be flexibility to adopt other tests in some circumstances.[ix] This is also welcome, since although the rigid approach of the EPO in following problem-solution provides relative legal certainty, it is not necessarily the best approach for all situations.

The approach of “problem-solution” is, in our humble assessment, unhelpful. It dodges underlying tests like Section 101 in the US — a subject which we’ll explore again later this weekend. The most distressing thing is Campinos and his silence on these matters; there’s zero transparency, zero accountability and almost zero words from Campinos. They’re “politely” if not “silently” destroying what used to be the world’s best patent office. In the process they harm European firms.

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