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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Links 20/6/2018: Qt 5.11.1, Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 33, HHVM 3.27.0, Microsoft Helping ICE

8 hours 59 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Sculpt for The Curious

    Sculpt for The Curious is the second development stage of the Genode-based general-purpose OS used at Genode Labs. Compared to the initial version, which was targeted at early adopters only, the new version invites a broader user base to explore the system. It comes in the form of a ready-to-use disk image for a bootable USB thumb drive.

  • Genode-Based Sculpt OS Now Available With Easy-To-Use Disk Image

    Sculpt OS is striving to become a general purpose operating system built off the Genode OS framework. The second release of Sculpt OS is now available and it’s much easier now to try out.

    Sculpt OS relies upon Genode’s micro-kernel architecture, sandboxed drivers, and other modern approaches for providing a unique OS on commodity PC hardware.

  • Bitfi and McAfee Announce First Truly Unhackable and Open Source Crypto Wallet

    Bitfi, a global payments technology company working to enable businesses and consumers to participate in the digital currency economy, today announced Bitfi Wallet – the first unhackable, open source hardware wallet with an accompanying dashboard that features wireless setup and support for many popular cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, including Monero, a fully decentralized private cryptocurrency that has previously never had a hardware wallet solution.

  • Events
    • Call for Code is open and organizations are lining up to join the cause

      Today is the first official day of Call for Code, an annual global initiative from creator David Clark Cause, with IBM proudly serving as Founding Partner. Call for Code aims to unleash the collective power of the global open source developer community against the growing threat of natural disasters.

      Even as we prepare to accept submissions from technology teams around the world, the response from the technology community has been overwhelming and today I am thrilled to announce two new partners joining the cause.

    • Getting started with Open edX to host your course

      Now in its seventh major release, the Open edX platform is a free and open source course management system that is used all over the world to host Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as well as smaller classes and training modules. To date, Open edX software has powered more than 8,000 original courses and 50 million course enrollments. You can install the platform yourself with on-premise equipment or by leveraging any of the industry-leading cloud infrastructure services providers, but it is also increasingly being made available in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model from several of the project’s growing list of service providers.

      The Open edX platform is used by many of the world’s premier educational institutions as well as private sector companies, public sector institutions, NGOs, non-profits, and educational technology startups, and the project’s global community of service providers continues to make the platform accessible to ever-smaller organizations. If you plan to create and offer educational content to a broad audience, you should consider using the Open edX platform.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Call for Feedback! Draft of Goal-Metrics for Diversity & Inclusion in Open Source (CHAOSS)

        In the last few months, Mozilla has invested in collaboration with other open source project leaders and academics who care about improving diversity & inclusion in Open Source through the CHAOSS D&I working group. Contributors so far include:

        Alexander Serebrenik (Eindhoven University of Technology) , Akshita Gupta (Outreachy), Amy Marrich (OpenStack), Anita Sarma (Oregon State University), Bhagashree Uday (Fedora), Daniel Izquierdo (Bitergia), Emma Irwin (Mozilla), Georg Link (University of Nebraska at Omaha), Gina Helfrich (NumFOCUS), Nicole Huesman (Intel) and Sean Goggins ((University of Missouri).

      • Introducing A-Terrain – a cartography component for A-Frame

        Have you ever wanted to make a small web app to share your favorite places with your friends? For example your favorite photographs attached to a hike, or just a view of your favorite peak, or your favorite places downtown, or a suggested itinerary for friends visiting?

      • Setting up Arcanist for Mozilla development on Windows
      • Taming Phabricator

        So Mozilla is going all-in on Phabricator and Differential as a code review tool. I have mixed feelings on this, not least because it’s support for patch series is more manual than I’d like. But since this is the choice Mozilla has made I might as well start to get used to it. One of the first things you see when you log into Phabricator is a default view full of information.

      • This Week in Rust 239

        This week’s crate is SIMDNoise, a crate to use modern CPU vector instructions to generate various types of noise really fast. Thanks to gregwtmtno for the suggestion!

      • WebRender newsletter #20
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • BSD
    • 25th Anniversary for FreeBSD

      On June 19, 1993 the name FreeBSD was officially agreed on and has been used ever since. Find out more about how to celebrate this important day with us.

    • June 19 Has Been Declared National FreeBSD Day, Happy 25th Anniversary FreeBSD!

      The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce today that June 19 has been declared National FreeBSD Day to celebrate the project’s official name 25th anniversary.

      Exactly 25 years ago on this day, on June 19, 1993, David Greenman sent an email to one of the mailing lists available at that point in time to suggest “FreeBSD” as the name for the Unix-like operating system used by billions of people all over the world, which continues to have a positive impact on us every single day.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Purism’s Librem 5 To Rely On Secondary Processor For Binary Blobs

      With not being able to deliver a 100% fully free software / libre system, the Librem 5 smartphone will rely upon a secondary processor for dealing with the necessary binary blobs for hardware initialization to keep them out of touch from the U-Boot boot-loader and Linux kernel.

      The first road-block in their effort to make the Librem 5 smartphone as open as possible is the DDR PHY with firmware blobs needed for the DDR4 memory training process at boot time. With it not being realistic for them to rewrite the firmware blob to do the DDR4 PHY training, they are planning to punt the binary-only blobs out to a secondary processor. In doing so, they can also apply for an exclusion with the Free Software Foundation for still having a device that “Respects Your Freedom” while still having necessary binary blobs at play.

    • Solving the first FSF RYF hurdle for the Librem 5

      While investigating using the i.MX 8 for the Librem 5 phone we found an issue that would have been problematic for us to obtain the Free Software Foundation’s “Respects Your Freedom” (RYF) hardware endorsement…

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: June 22nd starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Xapian Joins Conservancy as a Member Project

      Software Freedom Conservancy proudly welcomes Xapian as Conservancy’s newest member project. Xapian is a probabilistic information retrieval library that allows developers to add advanced indexing and search facilities to their own applications.

      Conservancy, a public charity focused on ethical technology, is the home of over forty member projects dedicated to developing free and open source software. Conservancy acts as a corporate umbrella, allowing member projects to operate as charitable initiatives without having to independently manage their own corporate structure and administrative services.

      “We’ve spent the past 18 years at Xapian developing a technologically mature software package,” said Olly Betts, Xapian’s Project Lead. “We’re excited about how Conservancy can help us extend that maturity to our project governance.”

  • Programming/Development
    • HHVM 3.27 Released With More Mature HackC Compiler Front-End

      Just over one month after the release of HHVM 3.26 that introduced the new HackC compiler front-end for Hack and PHP languages, HHVM 3.27 is now available.

    • HHVM 3.27.0

      HHVM 3.27 is released!

    • Has Agile Programming Lost its Way?

      Programmers are passionate about which development methodology is the best. Is it Agile? Waterfall? Feature Driven Development? Scrum? So everyone took notice when one of the 17 authors of the seminal Agile Manifesto wrote a blog post last month headlined “Developers Should Abandon Agile.”

      Further down in his post, Ron Jeffries made a clear distinction between Manifesto Agile — “the core ideas from the Manifesto, in which I still believe” — and its usurping follower, “Faux Agile” (or, in extreme cases, “Dark Agile”). Jeffries ultimately urged developers to learn useful development methods — including but not limited to Extreme Programming — that are true to the Manifesto’s original principles, while also detaching their thinking from particular methodologies with an Agile name.

    • Write fast apps with Pronghorn, a Java framework

      In 1973, Carl Hewitt had an idea inspired by quantum mechanics. He wanted to develop computing machines that were capable of parallel execution of tasks, communicating with each other seamlessly while containing their own local memory and processors.

      Born was the actor model, and with that, a very simple concept: Everything is an actor. This allows for some great benefits: Separating business and other logic is made vastly easier. Security is easily gained because each core component of your application is separate and independent. Prototyping is accelerated due to the nature of actors and their interconnectivity.

    • What’s all the C Plus Fuss? Bjarne Stroustrup warns of dangerous future plans for his C++

      Earlier this year, Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++, managing director in the technology division of Morgan Stanley, and a visiting professor of computer science at Columbia University in the US, wrote a letter inviting those overseeing the evolution of the programming language to “Remember the Vasa!”

      Easy for a Dane to understand no doubt, but perhaps more of a stretch for those with a few gaps in their knowledge of 17th century Scandinavian history. The Vasa was a Swedish warship, commissioned by King Gustavus Adolphus. It was the most powerful warship in the Baltic Sea from its maiden voyage on the August 10, 1628, until a few minutes later when it sank.

    • Systems Languages: An Experience Report

      Recently, there’s been a lot of turmoil in the systems language community. We have the Rust Evangelism Strikeforce nudging us towards rewriting everything in Rust. We have the C++17 folks who promise the safety and ease of use of modern programming languages with the performance and power of C. And then there’s a long tail of other “systems” programming languages, like Nim, Reason / OCaml, Crystal, Go, and Pony.

      Personally, I’m super excited we’re seeing some interesting work in the programming language theory space. This got me excited to learn more about what’s out there. A lot of the problems I solve are usually solved in C. Recently, Go has begun to encroach on C’s territory. I enjoy C and Go as much as the next person — They’re good languages for getting shit done. Often times, they leave a lot to be desired, and leave me envious of other programmers with tools like Flow, Typescript, and Dialyzer. Coming from developing in Erlang, even with its rudimentary type system, functional programming just came far more easily to me.

    • Python and Bash – Contenders for the most used scripting language

      Packt Publishing, publisher of software learning resources, has revealed the results of its 2018 Skill Up survey in a new report.

      From what programming languages, frameworks, and libraries are most used, to job satisfaction, attitudes to management and what it’s like to work in the software industry today, the report offers a snapshot of what matters to software developers in 2018.

Leftovers
  • How paranoid parenting fuels kids’ ‘[I]nternet addiction’

    It is understandable that parents are concerned with what their children are up to in their digital bedrooms. But the current one-dimensional focus on the [I]nternet confuses the symptom with the underlying problem. When I interviewed a group of parents recently, they complained that their children spend all their time either texting or online, and rarely engage directly with other children. When I asked about what opportunities they have provided for their children to explore the physical world, and to have direct offline experiences with other children, there was a hesitant silence.

  • How I got my attention back

    The main principle behind getting my attention back was making a decision: I’m not going to do any tasks unless I think it’s a good time to do them worth doing in the first place.

    So instead of being reactive to everything that was coming from the outside world, I needed to decide if, why and when I’m going to do anything.

    In order to start as I meant to go on, I cut out all of the distractions that could interfere with my actions.

  • Apple fined $9m for misleading Australian customers with faulty iPhones and iPads

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched legal action in April 2017, claiming Apple had misled consumers about their warranty rights by routinely refusing to inspect or fix faulty devices without charge if they had been repaired by a third party.

  • Apple hauled into US Supreme Court over, no, not ebooks, patents, staff wages, keyboards… but its App Store

    The US Supreme Court will scrutinize an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, opening the door for the computing giant to escape censure over its app store policies and potentially millions of dollars in claims.

    The lawsuit claims that Apple – which has had its fair share of legal challenges from alleged wage fixing to defective keyboards – has a monopoly on the app market, partly demonstrated by the fact it is able to claim a 30 per cent commission on all sold applications.

    That monopoly is used to kill off competition, the suit claims, by only allowing apps that are approved by Apple onto the App Store, with Apple insisting on exclusive distribution through its store as a condition of approval.

  • Apple’s HyperCard was inspired by an acid trip

    In 1985, Atkinson dropped acid and came up with HyperCard, the groundbreaking multimedia authoring program that was really a precursor to the first Web browser. Atkinson recently told Leo Laporte the story of this incredible LSD-fueled eureka moment.

  • The Psychedelic Inspiration For Hypercard

    I thought if we could encourage sharing of ideas between different areas of knowledge, perhaps more of the bigger picture would emerge, and eventually more wisdom might develop. Sort of a trickle-up theory of information leading to knowledge leading to wisdom.

    This was the underlying inspiration for HyperCard, a multimedia authoring environment that empowered non-programmers to share ideas using new interactive media called HyperCard stacks.

  • Science
    • Why collaborative thinking beats individual smarts

      THREE decades ago Thomas Malone modernised how the business world thought about digital communications in organisations with a seminal paper, “Electronic Markets and Electronic Hierarchies”. It was 1987, before the commercialisation of the [I]nternet, yet he and his co-authors predicted “an overall shift toward proportionately more use of markets—rather than hierarchies—to co-ordinate economic activity”.

      Evidence confirming that thesis is now everywhere. His book “The Future of Work” in 2004 foresaw “hyperspecialisation” in business, which has also come to pass. As a professor of management at MIT, Mr Malone has built on his earlier works to consider how new technologies and people can combine to create new kinds of productive entities, which he calls “superminds”—the title of his latest book.

    • This Week in Numbers: Discrimination in the Tech Industry

      According to the Dice survey, more tech professionals experienced or witnessed discrimination due to age compared to gender, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. …In fact, among those 55 or older, 88 percent are worried that their age can hurt their continuing career.

    • Predatory publishers: SciencePG

      I got spammed again by SciencePG (“Science Publishing Group”).

      One of many (usually Chinese or Indian) fake publishers, that will publish anything as long as you pay their fees. But, unfortunately, once you published a few papers, you inevitably land on their spam list: they scrape the websites of good journals for email adresses, and you do want your contact email address on your papers.

  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #164
    • PyRoMineIoT cryptojacker uses NSA exploit to spread

      Larry Trowell, principal consultant with Synopsys Software Integrity Group, said the government shares some of the blame for the NSA exploit.

      “It’s in every country’s interest to develop systems enabling offensive and defensive strategies to protect individuals and national services,” Trowell wrote via email. “There is no fault in that. If the NSA does have some blame to share in this situation, it is for allowing secrets to be exfiltrated — not in developing them.”

      Jett said although the NSA exploit was stolen, “they didn’t create the vulnerabilities that allow for the malware to exploit devices.”

      “As such, you can’t hold them responsible for the malware that has emerged from the EternalRomance exploit. Vendors whose products are vulnerable to EternalRomance are responsible for resolving the exploit problem,” Jett wrote. “Additionally, it has been more than a year since the NSA exploits were released, and vendors have created patches. It becomes incumbent on the users to make sure they are properly patching their software and reducing the threat surface for these exploits.”

    • Can Hackers Crack the Ivory Towers?

      While both researchers agreed that their colleagues would gain from incorporating hackers’ discoveries into their own work, they diverged when diagnosing the source of the gulf between the two camps and, to a degree, even on the extent of the rift.

    • 6-Year-Old Malware Injects Ads, Takes Screenshots On Windows 10

      A sneaky and persistent malware has surfaced which spams Windows 10 PCs with ads and takes screenshots to eventually send it to the attackers.

      Security researchers at Bitdefender found this malware named Zacinlo which first appeared in 2012. About 90% of Zacinlo’s victims are from the US running Microsoft Windows 10. There are other victims too from Western Europe, China, and India with a small fraction running Windows 7 or 8.

    • OpenBSD Disabling SMT / Hyper Threading Due To Security Concerns

      Security oriented BSD operating system OpenBSD is making the move to disable Hyper Threading (HT) on Intel CPUs and more broadly moving to disable SMT (Simultanious Multi Threading) on other CPUs too.

      Disabling of Intel HT and to follow with disabling SMT for other architectures is being done in the name of security. “SMT (Simultanious Multi Threading) implementations typically share TLBs and L1 caches between threads. This can make cache timing attacks a lot easier and we strongly suspect that this will make several spectre-class bugs exploitable. Especially on Intel’s SMT implementation which is better known as Hypter-threading. We really should not run different security domains on different processor threads of the same core.”

      OpenBSD could improve their kernel’s scheduler to workaround this, but given that is a large feat, at least for now they have decided to disable Hyper Threading by default.

      Those wishing to toggle the OpenBSD SMT support can use the new hw.smt sysctl setting on OpenBSD/AMD64 and is being extended to cover CPUs from other vendors and architectures.

    • Linux malware threats – bots, backdoors, trojans and malicious apps [Ed: Ignoring back doors in Windows and other proprietary platforms to instead focus on malicious software one actually needs to install on one's machine or choose a trivial-to-guess password (when there are open ports)]
    • Does Open Source Boost Security? Hortonworks Says Yes

      Organizations are best served security-wise if they favor and adopt open source technology — especially enterprise open source — over proprietary alternatives, according to Hortonworks. However, not everybody agrees that open source software intrinsically is more secure.

      It’s tough to argue that open source hasn’t brought significant benefits to the IT industry and the tens of thousands of organizations that rely on IT products to automate their operations. Starting with the introduction of Linux in the late 1990s, major swaths of the tech industry have shifted to open source development methodologies. That includes the vast majority of the big data ecosystem, which has been largely bootstrapped by various Apache Software Foundation projects.

    • Don’t Neglect Open Source Security [Ed: Well, if you have chosen proprietary software, then you have already given up on security altogether. With FOSS there's at least control and hope.]
    • How to build a strong DevSecOps culture: 5 tips [Ed: Red Hat is still promoting dumb buzzwords that help employers overwork their staff]
    • Where in the DevOps cycle do you do security?
    • A Framework to Strengthen Open Source Security and Compliance [Ed: Firms that profit from perceived insecurity of FOSS push so-called 'white papers' into IDG]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The American Who Says He’s Been the Target of Five Air Strikes

      He was born Darrell Lamont Phelps. He grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, moved down to the city, tried his hand at comedy, and later converted to Islam, adopting the name of Bilal Abdul Kareem. Now 46 years old, he lives in the Middle East, where he has a wife, five children, and a controversial freelance-journalism career focused on Islamist fighters in the Syrian civil war.

      In his estimation, the United States government has tried to kill him five times. Last week, he won the ability to proceed with a lawsuit that could save his life. It may also constrain the president’s ability to order other Americans killed.

    • Target Castro! Some of the CIA’s most bizarre attempts to kill the Cuban leader were dreamed up by the man whose granddaughter is now dating Poldark star

      The great man and his army of bodyguards would suspect nothing, CIA operatives assured the would-be assassin at a secret meeting in Paris on November 22, 1963. Major Rolando Cubela Secades, a Cuban army officer and revolutionary comrade of Castro who was plotting to replace him, wasn’t too impressed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Julian Assange health fears: UK forcing Wikileaks chief to ‘make impossible choice’

      As they prepared to hold a vigil they called for the UN to intervene on his sixth anniversary as an asylum-seeker.

      Mr Assange’s team of lawyers claimed doctors have confirmed his protracted confinement in the Ecuador’s London embassy is having a severe impact on the journalist’s physical and mental health.

      Calling for the intervention of the UN’s Human Rights Council, they argued the UK is forcing Mr Assange, 46, to make an “impossible” choice.

      Human rights barrister Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers, representing the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, said: “The UK shows a deliberate disregard for his medical needs by forcing him to choose between his human right to asylum and his human right to medical treatment.

    • Threatened by the truth – Julian Assange anniversary

      Today marks the sixth anniversary of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s effective house arrest in London. He cannot move around in public, because he fears he will be arrested and extradited to America — a daunting prospect, since a UN special rapporteur described Chelsea Manning’s treatment by that country’s justice system as torture.

      Assange is divisive. Hawks wish him nothing but misfortune and a stretch in jail. According to journalist John Pilger, a leaked official memo says: “Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.”

      If you stand at the other end of the spectrum, Assange is a hero who revealed how our world really works. Consequently, he has been relentlessly targeted. Hilary Clinton has contributed to this process, as Assange highlighted the Clintons’ links with Saudi Arabia and the multimillion donations that kingdom made to their foundation, after she, as secretary of state, sanctioned an $80bn Saudi arms deal.

    • Workers and young people speak out after Sydney rally to defend Julian Assange

      The Socialist Equality Party held a powerful rally yesterday at Sydney’s Town Hall Square, demanding that the Australian government of Malcolm Turnbull take immediate action to secure Julian Assange’s freedom and return to Australia, with a guarantee that he will not be extradited to the United States.

      Hundreds of workers and young people attended the event, under conditions of a media blackout of the protest and the growing dangers facing the WikiLeaks editor. Attendees travelled from as far away as Hobart, the Tasmanian capital—a trip of 1,500 kilometres. Contingents came from Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne, as well as Newcastle, a working-class regional centre of New South Wales, and other cities and towns.

    • Julian Assange’s lawyer appeals for UNHRC assitance

      A lawyer for Julian Assange has urged the United Nations to make an official visit to see first hand the impact living inside of the Ecuadorian embassy for six years has had on the WikiLeaks founder. Jennifer Robinson told the UN Human Rights Council that Mr Assange was unable to obtain proper medical attention and was being denied sunlight. British authorities have made it clear to Mr Assange if he were to leave the embassy, even for medical treatment, he would be arrested.

    • Bay Area political events: Women in politics, Assange rally

      Pro-Assange rally: Rally outside the British Consulate to support Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is detained at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. 4-6 p.m., 1 Sansome St., San Francisco. More information is here.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange Threatens Corporate Media’s Narrative ‘Monopoly’

      On June 19, thousands of WikiLeaks supporters will hold rallies in Washington, DC, to protest against the conditions to which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being subjected to inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, an activist group based in Maryland that tackles a broad range of social issues, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear that the rallies for Assange are a vital fight against big corporations and the US government monopolizing the media.

    • Former CIA worker charged with leaking top-secret hacking tools to WikiLeaks
    • Ex-CIA engineer accused of leaking hacking docs to WikiLeaks charged in massive ‘Vault 7′ security breach
    • Former CIA engineer charged with leaking classified information to WikiLeaks
    • Ex-CIA employee charged in leak of classified hacking tools
    • Ex-CIA employee charged in major leak of agency hacking tools
    • Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking classified information
    • Alleged CIA leaker charged with disclosing classified information
    • Ex-CIA employee charged in major leak of agency hacking tools
    • US charges ex-CIA employee with leaking classified data, child porn offenses
    • CIA engineer, 29, charged with possessing child pornography is now charged with leaking THOUSANDS of classified documents to WikiLeaks

      A former CIA engineer who was charged with possession of child pornography has also been charged with leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

    • Man who allegedly gave Vault 7 cache to WikiLeaks busted by poor opsec

      According to the new superseding indictment, which was made public on Monday, Schulte faces numerous charges, including illegal gathering of national defense information, transmission of this information, obstruction of justice, among others.

    • Ex-CIA worker charged with disclosing classified information
    • US Feds Charge New Yorker With Criminally Leaking Classified Info from CIA

      On Monday, ex-CIA officer Joshua Schulte was charged by the US Attorney’s Office from the Southern District of New York for child pornography offenses and for stealing classified national defense information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sending the material to an organization that disseminates such information publicly.

    • The Implications of Assange’s Persecution for Journalism and Democracy

      If the U.S.-led campaign to extradite and silence Assange is successful, it will invariably become the blueprint used by powerful governments like the U.S. to silence independent journalists the world over, and bludgeon them into submission.

    • UK Should Reject Extraditing Julian Assange to US

      It has been six years since Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to seek asylum from possible extradition to the United States to face indictment under the US Espionage Act.

      At the time, Assange, an Australian national, was wanted by Sweden for questioning over sexual offense allegations. Assange had also broken the terms of his UK bail. Since then, he has become even more controversial, having published US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails and internal emails from Democratic Party officials.

      While some admire and others despise Assange, no one should be prosecuted under the antiquated Espionage Act for publishing leaked government documents. That 1917 statute was designed to punish people who leaked secrets to a foreign government, not to the media, and allows no defense or mitigation of punishment on the basis that public interest served by some leaks may outweigh any harm to national security.

    • For Our Rulers, Smearing A Dissident Journalist Is As Good As Killing Him

      As I write this, demonstrations around the world are taking place in protest of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange’s arbitrary detention and silencing by the US-centralized power establishment that has been actively pursuing his destruction for over a decade. The demonstrations will be well-attended, but not a fraction as well-attended as they should be. They will receive international attention, but not a fraction as much attention as they should.

      This is because the manipulators and smear merchants who have made their careers paving the way for oligarchic agendas have been successful in killing off sympathy for the plight of Assange. As we discussed yesterday, sympathy is key for getting narratives to take hold in public consciousness. This is why western corporate media will circulate pictures of dead children all day long when it’s in the interests of advancing longstanding imperialist agendas, but never when those children were killed by western weapons. If you can tug at someone’s heart strings while telling them a story, the story you tell them will slide right in with minimal scrutiny. And it works the other way, too: if you can prevent someone’s heart strings from being plucked while hearing about a legitimately heartbreaking story, you can prevent that story from taking hold. Kill all sympathy for a dissident journalist and you kill all belief in his side of the story.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • How the Case for Voter Fraud Was Tested — and Utterly Failed

      From a new Supreme Court ruling to a census question about citizenship, the campaign against illegal registration is thriving. But when the top proponent was challenged in a Kansas courtroom to prove that such fraud is rampant, the claims went up in smoke.

      [...]

      The trial had a significance that extends far beyond the Jayhawk state. One of the fundamental questions in the debate over alleged voter fraud — whether a substantial number of non-citizens are in fact registering to vote — was one of two issues to be determined in the Kansas proceedings. (The second was whether there was a less burdensome solution than what Kansas had adopted.) That made the trial a telling opportunity to remove the voter fraud claims from the charged, and largely proof-free, realms of political campaigns and cable news shoutfests and examine them under the exacting strictures of the rules of evidence.

      That’s precisely what occurred and according to Robinson, an appointee of George W. Bush, the proof that voter fraud is widespread was utterly lacking. As the judge put it, “the court finds no credible evidence that a substantial number of noncitizens registered to vote” even under the previous law, which Kobach had claimed was weak.

    • There Is Another England

      My grandfather Henry was a lifelong socialist who had no illusions about the British Empire and its role in the World. Yet he was also a patriotic Englishman whose life, like so many of his generation, was largely defined by the struggle against Nazism, in which his only son had been killed. That focus on the Second World War partly explained his fondness for the Soviet Union, in discussing the abuses of which he would always remark “But you have to consider what came before. Given where they started, they are making progress”. He would recite “A man’s a man for a’that” to me as a small child and explain its meaning. Yet Henry would fly his St George’s flag proudly when occasion warranted it. I do not therefore automatically associate that flag with UKIP or with Essex man.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • [Older] A purity test for artists is the end of art

      Consider for a moment the range of behaviours that cinema sponsors. Rape, arson and pillage. Defenestration, disembowelment, drawing and quartering, amputation and flaying alive. Hanging, electrocution and crucifixion. Enslavement, political persecution, assassination and genocide. Treachery, betrayal, humiliation and heart-breaking. Wife-beating, serial killing and cannibalism. Incest, castration, and police brutality. Mass slaughter on battle-fields or western frontiers and even in outer space. Stabbing, strangling, poisoning and bludgeoning to a bloody pulp. Oh, but never mind that. Just so long as nobody smokes.

    • [Older] Millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring

      Accordingly, the young casually assume not only that they’re the cutting-edge, trend-setting arbiters of the acceptable now, but that they always will be. The students running campuses like re-education camps aren’t afraid of being muzzled, because they imagine they will always be the ones doing the muzzling — the ones dictating what words we can use (cis, not heterosexual), what books we can read (Tom Sawyer is out), what practices we can embrace (white people may not wear dreadlocks). These millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring.

    • 50 artists, 50 limited edition t-shirts on “censorship” to raise money for Amnesty International

      Everpress and Amnesty International have joined forces to launch 50/50, a collaborative exploration of a single topic – censorship. Fifty limited-edition t-shirts have been designed and produced by 50 leading artists on this theme, including Liam Hodges, Careaux, Octavian, Thierry Noir, Hetty Douglas – all to encourage discussion and raise crucial funds for the human rights organisation.

      The t-shirts are on display at an exhibition at Protein Studios in Shoreditch and are on sale at everpress.com until 28 June. Each t-shirt costs £25 and half the profits will go to the designers while the remaining will go to Amnesty.

    • London police have banned a rap group from making music without their permission

      The Kingston Crown Court gave its ruling on June 15. For three years, each of 1011′s five members must seek permission before creating music. They are prohibited from rapping about violence or death in their lyrics, and “mentioning named postcodes in a gang context.” The group must inform the police 24 hours before releasing new music videos, and 48 hours before any performance or filming, which police must also be present for.

      The five members of 1011 were arrested in November 2017 and charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder. The group admitted to the charge, leading to the new court order.

    • Courts And Police Accused Of ‘Censorship’ As Drill Music Group Faces Ban

      A human rights group has criticised a landmark court decision banning a drill group from making music with violent lyrics, claiming the focus on the genre “highlights the danger that racial bias infects the criminal justice system”.

      Recorder Ann Mulligan on Friday banned Yonas Girma, 21, Micah Bedeau, 19, Isaac Marshall, 18, Jordan Bedeau, 17, and Rhys Herbert, 17, from mentioning death or injury in songs or on social media after a hearing at Kingston Crown Court.

    • The banning of ‘Active Shooter’ reveals the balance between censorship and freedom

      Recently, controversy and criticism have fallen upon Active Shooter, an early-access tactical first-person shooter in which players can either be a SWAT member or the eponymous “active shooter” during a fictitious school shooting. The game was developed by Ata Berdiyev, who has been disparaged as a known troll and caustic developer. He had previously released other games with inflammatory titles such as White Power: Pure Voltage and Tyde Pod Challenge, used purely for shock value for otherwise benign and simple games. After significant backlash, Active Shooter was pulled by Valve from its digital distribution platform, Steam, and Berdiyev was subsequently barred from doing business with Valve.

    • Coming to a movie studio near you: Chinese censorship

      Two subjects were off limits at a major gathering of top Chinese and Hollywood movie producers and financiers in Shanghai this week.

      Journalists covering the Global Film Industry Value Chain Development Forum event were told not to ask questions about tax avoidance or the US trade war. Both issues are topical and present major challenges to the next phase of growth for China’s booming movie industry.

      The request itself highlights another challenge for western movie-makers seeking to profit from the world’s second-largest box office – censorship.

      China’s box office is poised to take over Hollywood as the world’s largest next year as US movie studios increasingly target Chinese audiences. However, that often involves skirting around Beijing’s tough censorship rules, which means plots or characters which are critical of China or touch on sensitive issues such as Tibet are unlikely to be screened in the country. An extreme example of this was casting white Scottish actor Tilda Swinton as a Tibetan monk in Doctor Strange in 2016 to avoid upsetting Beijing.

    • Crunch Day as EU Copyright Reform Threatens Internet Censorship

      The European Parliament will tomorrow vote on a reformed Copyright Directive, which among other things features provisions mandating online platforms to install automated upload filters that many fear could result in significant “over-blocking” of lawful content (censorship) and restrictions on news linking.

      The proposed “content recognition technologies” appear to form part of the proposed Article 13, which makes intermediaries (instead of just end-users) liable for uploads by their users and seems to circumvent the existing E-Commerce Directive. It would essentially require businesses to implement automated filters that scan for and then block copyrighted videos, photos, music, text or code in user submitted content.

    • GAIKA on the censorship of drill music

      Writing for Dazed, the Warp artist takes aim at the Met Police’s new court order against the genre.

    • A TV Mega-Merger That’s Bad for the First Amendment

      The Sinclair deal combines unprecedented market control with a pattern of forcing local TV stations to run propaganda.

      The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a corporate acquisition that would make a single company — Sinclair Broadcasting Group — the largest owner of local TV stations in history.

      Americans watch more local news than cable news or network news, making that medium key for informing the public about important issues. In a public comment submitted Tuesday, we formally urged the FCC to block the deal. This unprecedented concentration of control, which contradicts the FCC’s own policies about how wide a broadcasting company’s reach can be, would stifle the diversity of views in the press that’s essential for a healthy democracy.

      You may have heard of Sinclair before, because it has been exposed for repeatedly injecting politically charged segments into local news, which otherwise typically avoids ideological punditry.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • How To Turn Off Targeted Ads Using Google’s New Ad Personalization Settings [Ed: Google would still spy on you, but it might not be obvious about the outcome of all that spying]

      Until now, the year 2018 had been all about the security of user data and its misuse by big tech giants. In the past where advertisers profited from our data through targeted marketing, the recent European Union GDPR regulations and Cambridge Analytica scandal forced the corporations into updating their privacy policies. In short, adding restrictions on advertisers thus prompting more digital data control for users.

    • Wireless Carriers Hope You Won’t Notice Their Location Data Scandal Makes The Facebook, Cambridge Fracas Look Like Amateur Hour

      When the Facebook, Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, we noted that however bad you thought that scandal was (and it certainly was bad), it couldn’t hold a candle to the routine privacy abuses that have occurred in the telecom sector for the better part of the last few decades. From charging consumers hundreds of additional dollars annually to opt out of snoopvertising, to the use of private user financial data to justify providing even worse customer service, the broadband industry has long been the poster child for privacy abuses without much in the way of practical public penalty.

      It’s just as bad on the wireless side, where carriers like Verizon have routinely have been caught modifying user data packets to track users around the internet (without telling them or providing opt out tools), and selling user browsing, app-usage and location data to everyone that comes calling. That’s before you even touch on the fact that these companies are practically bone grafted to the NSA and other intelligence services.

      As such, we noted how if you were part of the #DeleteFacebook set but were still rolling around using a stock phone on an incumbent carrier network, you failed to understand that Facebook’s casual treatment of private consumer data was the cross-industry norm, not some errant exception.

    • Facebook Adds Annoying Autoplay Ads In Personal Messenger Conversations

      Advertisers who wish to run their ads on the messenger can do so by opting for paid Facebook ad campaigns. As of now, no option has been provided to run ads only on the Messenger.

    • Now Facebook is putting autoplay video ads inside Messenger

      Messenger first started selling ads inside Messenger 18 months ago, but they were static ads, not video. The benefit of video ads is that they’re usually more expensive, which means they’re more valuable to Facebook. The company has said in the past that it’s running out of room for ads inside its flagship Facebook app, so we’ve seen Facebook expand ads into more places, like Messenger and Facebook’s Craigslist competitor, Marketplace.

    • The demotivating week

      This week I will continue to integrate pgpainless into Smack. There is also still a significant lack of JUnit tests in both projects. One issue I have is, that during my project I often have to deal with objects, that bundle information together. Those data structures are needed in smack-openpgp, smack-openpgp-bouncycastle, as well as in pgpainless. Since smack-openpgp and pgpainless do not depend on one another, I need to write duplicate code to provide all modules with classes that offer the needed functionality. This is a real bummer and creates a lot of ugly boilerplate code.

    • Think The GDPR Only Regulates Big Internet Companies? The EU Says It Regulates You Too.

      People tend to think of the GDPR as regulation companies must comply with. But thanks to a decision by the Court of Appeals for the EU earlier this month, there’s particular reason to believe that ordinary Internet users will need to worry about complying with it as well.

      In this decision the court found that the administrator of a fan page on Facebook is jointly responsible with Facebook for the processing of its visitors’ data. And, as such, the administrator must comply with applicable data processing regulations – which necessarily include the GDPR.

    • The GDPR and Browser Fingerprinting: How It Changes the Game for the Sneakiest Web Trackers

      Browser fingerprinting is on a collision course with privacy regulations. For almost a decade, EFF has been raising awareness about this tracking technique with projects like Panopticlick. Compared to more well-known tracking “cookies,” browser fingerprinting is trickier for users and browser extensions to combat: websites can do it without detection, and it’s very difficult to modify browsers so that they are less vulnerable to it. As cookies have become more visible and easier to block, companies have been increasingly tempted to turn to sneakier fingerprinting techniques.

      But companies also have to obey the law. And for residents of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force on May 25th, is intended to cover exactly this kind of covert data collection. The EU has also begun the process of updating its ePrivacy Directive, best known for its mandate that websites must warn you about any cookies they are using. If you’ve ever seen a message asking you to approve a site’s cookie use, that’s likely based on this earlier Europe-wide law.

      This leads to a key question: Will the GDPR require companies to make fingerprinting as visible to users as the original ePrivacy Directive required them to make cookies?

      The answer, in short, is yes. Where the purpose of fingerprinting is tracking people, it will constitute “personal data processing” and will be covered by the GDPR.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Immigration Divides Europe and the German Left

      Freedom of movement is the founding value of the European Union. The “four freedoms” are inscribed in the binding EU treaties and directives: free movement of goods, services, capital and persons (labor) among the Member States.

      Of course, the key freedom here is that of capital, the indispensable condition of neoliberal globalization. It enables international finance to go and do whatever promises to be profitable, regardless of national boundaries. The European Union is the kernel of the worldwide “Open Society”, as promoted by financier George Soros.

      However, extended to the phenomenon of mass immigration, the doctrine of “free movement” is disuniting the Union.

    • Fact-Checking Family Separation

      The Trump administration made a policy choice, but doesn’t want to own the consequences. Here’s what you need to know.

      With nearly 2,000 immigrant children separated from their parents in just six weeks alone, there is an unprecedented human rights disaster unfolding at our border. As public outrage mounts, members of Congress demand access to government-run facilities, and the United Nations condemns us, the Trump administration is attempting to shift the blame — fast.

      In the past week, the administration has made several misleading statements, trying to justify the systematic separation of children from their parents. On Monday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen held a press briefing where she doubled down on family separation, denying that the separation of children from their parents amounts to child abuse because, “We give them medical care. There’s videos; There’s TVs.”

      All the while, horror stories are emerging: among them, Marco Antonio Muñoz, a Honduran father, who killed himself after being separated from his wife and child; three siblings taken from their parents who were told that they couldn’t hug each other in the shelter they were placed in; and parents who were deported four months ago and are still waiting for the U.S. to return their baby.

      The level of cruelty is difficult to comprehend, and that’s how the administration wants it. Here’s what you need to know to understand family separation.

    • Video: The Voices Missing From the Immigration Debate

      As the Trump administration continues to defend its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which, since April, has separated more than 2,300 children from their parents at the border, ProPublica obtained an audio recording from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. The recording captured the voices of kids as young as 4, crying for “Mami” and “Papá” as if those were the only words they knew.

    • Behind the Criminal Immigration Law: Eugenics and White Supremacy

      Amid a bipartisan backlash, President Trump has tried repeatedly to shift blame to Democrats for his own administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has resulted in more than 2,300 migrant children being taken from their families along the U.S.-Mexico border. “The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

      The president didn’t specify which law he was talking about. But the statute at the center of his administration’s policy is the work of Republicans — with origins dating back all the way to World War I — albeit with substantial Democratic support along the way. Known originally as the “Undesirable Aliens Act,” the statute would not exist without support from, respectively, a eugenicist and a white supremacist.

      The law in question was the foundation of a memo Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued in early April that laid out the administration’s new, zero-tolerance policy. In the memo, Sessions instructed federal prosecutors in the southwestern United States to file criminal charges against any adults caught entering the country illegally. His order stripped officials of discretion over whether to place migrant families seeking asylum into civil proceedings, which allow families to stay together. (Court rulings limit how long the government can detain migrants in civil proceedings. There’s also no guarantee they’ll return for future hearing dates once they’re let out, a phenomenon that has prompted the president’s complaints about “catch and release.”)

    • Americans Are At Risk of Forgetting Slavery and Repeating Our Mistakes

      Juneteenth is a celebration of African-Americans’ emancipation and a reminder of the horrors the U.S. can’t afford to forget.

      Even historians find themselves startled by the past.

      My blood ran cold on a recent visit to Montgomery, Alabama. I was there to experience something that didn’t exist anywhere in America just a few months ago, but which deeply resonated with me as a Black man: a museum and memorial site dedicated to recognizing our nation’s grisly history of slavery, lynchings, and mass incarceration.

      The stunning new project spearheaded by NYU Law Professor Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative boldly confronts the legacy of the U.S. carceral state. Upon entering a dark tunnel, holograms of enslaved Africans speak to the museum visitor from behind the bars of an early 19th-century Montgomery jail, where they awaited the auction block. Passing into the light of day, one enters a timeline chronicling U.S. racial terrorism.

      This project fills a critical void given an endemic lack of knowledge in this country of systemic cycles of inequality and the erasure of history surrounding anti-Blackness. Like the Legacy Museum, Juneteenth — the nation’s biggest celebration of Black freedom, marked every year on June 19 — offers an opportunity to remember the brutalities that have been hidden in plain sight from so many Americans.

      A report published earlier this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project revealed that only 8 percent of U.S. high school seniors know the Civil War occurred because of slavery. Some textbooks have softened the language about the inhumane institution. So have some of our leaders. In 2017, HUD Secretary Ben Carson publicly referenced Black people who’d been kidnapped and transported to America via the Middle Passage as “immigrants” rather than slaves.

      It is this willful blindness that enables the perpetuation of slavery’s legacy. Some of our nation’s top legal minds — such as Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson, and Jeff Robinson — have revealed how slavery and segregation have evolved into new methods of racial torture and alienation. The racially biased war on drugs and disparate sentencing have led to more Black people being encaged by the criminal justice system today than were ever enslaved in America. Even in liberal cities like New York City, Black people are eight times more likely to be put in handcuffs for marijuana-related charges than white people, despite studies showing that they use the substance at the same rates.

    • President Trump Directs Pentagon To Create A ‘Space Force’ In What Is Surely Not Any Kind Of Distraction From Crying Children

      You may recall that about this time last year, the House of Representatives put together a budget that included funding for a brand new military branch dubbed the Space Force. At the time, our take is that this was always inevitable, as humanity tends to carry its war-making luggage everywhere we go and, since we go to space, we’re going to have a Space Force. More surprising was the pushback from those who have a thing or two to say about military matters, such as Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who noted that setting up a new military branch was hellishly complicated, and required congressional approval.

    • Fellow alum: Kirstjen Nielsen should resign now

      I have known Kirstjen Nielsen for nearly 30 years — since we were both incoming freshman at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, or SFS, in Washington. The program is considered to be a training ground for the diplomats, policymakers and global business leaders of tomorrow. As the school’s website says, “SFS undergraduates enter a prestigious program with a legacy of academic excellence combined with a devotion to humanitarian service.”

      [...]

      But Nielsen needs to think this through more than one chess move ahead. If we have learned anything in the past year and a half of the Trump presidency, it is that Donald Trump never takes responsibility or blame for anything. As this crisis at the border grows in scale and magnitude, and as his claims that this is all the “Democrats’ fault” fail to stick anywhere outside of far-right media, Trump will look for a new scapegoat — and there is none more obvious than his arguably underqualified secretary of Homeland Security. That clock is already ticking.
      If there is but a scintilla of good left in Kirstjen Nielsen’s soul — and we who have known her for several decades think there is — she has only one good option and that is to resign her post as secretary of Homeland Security, a move suggested Monday afternoon by California Sen. Kamala Harris.

    • Just Following Orders…

      A crime against humanity is still a crime against humanity if it is committed by one trying to please the boss. Neither the boss nor the minion get to deny the harm they do.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Chairman Santiago to Weaken California Net Neutrality for AT&T and Comcast

      Senators Kevin de Leon and Wiener had recently joined forces to push their net neutrality bills through the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance tomorrow as a joint package. Such a unified effort represented the most powerful way to move both S.B. 460 and S.B. 822 together to present Governor Brown the strongest net neutrality bill in the country.

      However, EFF has learned that their effort to move a strong package has been rejected by Communications and Conveyance Chairman Miguel Santiago. In essence, it appears now that the Chair of the Assembly Committee is ready to strike key provisions out of the legislative package on behalf of AT&T and Comcast rather than allow an up or down vote on the bills as they stand.

    • ISPs Lobbying California Lawmakers In Bid To Weaken State’s Looming Net Neutrality Law

      More than half the states in the nation now pursuing individual net neutrality rules, either in the form of executive orders (banning state contracts with net-neutrality violating ISPs) or new state laws. And while ISPs have been whining about the unfairness of having to adhere to independent requirements in each state, that’s probably something their lobbyists should have thought more deeply about when they worked to kill what, despite all the prattle about heavy-handed regulation, were probably some of the more modest net neutrality rules worldwide.

      ISPs first tried to stop states from protecting consumers by lobbying the FCC to include language in its “Restoring Internet Freedom” repeal attempting to ban states from doing so. But in the process of gutting their authority over ISPs Ajit Pai’s FCC may have also, amusingly, completely neutered its ability to tell states what to do.

      As such, ISP lobbyists have been forced to run, state to state, trying to convince state lawmakers that giving consumers, small businesses and internet competition a giant middle finger is the smart political play here with midterms looming.

    • Ajit Pai Now Trying To Pretend That Everybody Supported Net Neutrality Repeal

      By now it’s abundantly clear that the Trump FCC’s repeal of net neutrality was based largely on fluff and nonsense. From easily disproved claims that net neutrality protections stifled broadband investment, to claims that the rules would embolden dictators in North Korea and Iran, truth was an early and frequent casualty of the FCC’s blatant effort to pander to some of the least competitive, least-liked companies in America (oh hi Comcast, didn’t see you standing there). In fact throughout the repeal, the FCC’s media relations office frequently just directed reporters to telecom lobbyists should they have any pesky questions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Mexican stand off shaping over Taco Tuesday trademark

        It’s the most Melbourne of Mexican stand-offs – a food-court chain staring down a punk rock pub over its temerity to hold a Taco Tuesday.

        A stone’s throw into the city’s wild west sits Footscray’s Reverence Hotel, famed for its live music and cheap Tuesday tacos.

        After six years of dishing up the spicy fare, the landmark corner hotel is suddenly feeling the heat over a claim that it is infringing a trademark held by Mexican food chain Salsas Fresh Mex, which has outlets dotted across Melbourne including a site at Highpoint shopping centre.

        A letter from Salsas Holdings marketing manager Rebecca Woods to The Reverence Hotel demanded it stop using the phrase ”Taco Tuesday” on its website and social media accounts.

      • More Taco Tuesday Trademark Stupidity, This Time Down Under

        Some of us believe that all the different nations of the world are filled with people that are mostly the same, that share the same values, and the same troubles. If only we could find some unifying issue or force that could fully bring us together, then we could finally live in a kind of Lennon-esque harmony with one another. I submit to you that perhaps stupid trademark stories revolving around “Taco Tuesdays” could well be that thing. In America, for instance, a chain called Taco John’s has spent the past few years waving around the trademark the USPTO stupidly gave it on the both generic and descriptive term “Taco Tuesdays”, insisting that every other business that uses it stop immediately. How this mark was ever granted, given that it describes a good offered on the day it is offered — tacos on a tuesday — is a question that has kept me up many a night. Despite the trouble Taco John’s has caused with this, the trademark remains registered and in place.

      • Judge Cock(y)blocks Author Faleena Hopkins’ Demand Other Authors Stop Using The Word ‘Cocky’ In Their Titles

        Romance novelist Faleena Hopkins recently turned the rest of the genre against her by deciding — with the USPTO’s blessing — she was the only person who could use the word “cocky” in a book title. Given the nature of romance novels, the striking of the word “cocky” left precious few terms capable of describing a certain blend of bravado and sexual prowess.

        The backlash was not only immediate, but thorough. Authors hit with cease-and-desist notices posted these to social media. One writer filed a petition with the USPTO to have the recently-acquired trademark invalidated. To top everything off, the Authors Guild of America joined forces with two of the authors Hopkins sued. What Hopkins likely felt would be an easy win in a trademark infringement case is turning into another cautionary tale about questionable IP and heavy-handed enforcement.

        As The Guardian reports, Hopkins has already been handed a loss in her lawsuit against author Tara Crescent and publicist Jennifer Watson.

    • Copyrights
      • EU legal affairs committee adopts controversial copyright directive

        The draft includes controversial provisions set out in in articles 11 and 13 – also known as the press publishers right and value gap proposal – which were approved by small majorities

        The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) approved the proposed text for the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive today.

      • Copyright Directive: Let’s Fight Automated Filtering… and Web Centralisation!

        On 20 June, the European Parliament will make its decision regarding the Copyright Directive, symbol of a new era of Internet regulation. La Quadrature is calling on you to call the Members of European Parliament and demand they act against automated censorship in the name of copyright protection and, more broadly, against centralisation of the Web.

        To understand the complex ruling which will take place on 20 June, we first need to revisit the basics of the regulation of content distributed over the Internet.

      • Boston Globe Posts Hilarious Fact-Challenged Interview About Regulating Google, Without Any Acknowledgement Of Errors

        The Boston Globe recently put together an entire issue about “Big Tech” and what to do about it. I’d link to it, but for some reason when I click on it, the Boston Globe is now telling me it no longer exists — which, maybe, suggests that the Boston Globe should do a little more “tech” work itself. However, a few folks sent in this fun interview with noted Google/Facebook hater Jonathan Taplin. Now, we’ve had our run-ins with Taplin in the past — almost always to correct a whole bunch of factual errors that he makes in attacking internet companies. And, it appears that we need to do this again.

        Of course, you would think that the Boston Globe might have done this for us, seeing as they’re a “newspaper” and all. Rather than just printing the words verbatim of someone who is going to say things that are both false and ridiculous, why not fact check your own damn interview? Instead, it appears that the Globe decided “let’s find someone to say mean things about Google” and turned up Taplin… and then no one at the esteemed Globe decided “gee, maybe we should check to see if he actually knows what he’s talking about or if he’s full of shit.” Instead, they just ran the interview, and people who read it without knowing that Taplin is laughably wrong won’t find out about it unless they come here. But… let’s dig in.

      • Dear EU Parliament: Why Are You About To Allow US Internet Companies To Decide What EU Citizens Can Say Online?

        We’ve pointed this out over and over again with regards to all of the various attempts to “regulate” the internet giants of Google and Facebook: nearly every proposal put forth to date creates a regulatory regime that Google and Facebook can totally handle. Sure, they might find it to be a nuisance, but its well within the resources of both companies to handle whatever is thrown their way. However, most other companies are then totally fucked, because they simply cannot comply in any reasonable manner. And, yet, these proposals keep coming — and people keep celebrating them in the false belief that they will somehow “contain” the two internet giants, when the reality is that it will lock them in as the defacto dominant internet players, making it nearly impossible for upstarts and competitors to enter the market.

        This seems particularly bizarre when we’re talking about the EU’s approach to copyright. As we’ve been discussing over the past few weeks, the EU Parliaments Legal Affairs Committee is about to vote on the EU Copyright Directive, that has some truly awful provisions in it — including Article 11′s link tax and Article 13′s mandatory filters. The rhetoric around both of these tends to focus on just how unfair it is that Google and Facebook have so much power, and are making so much money while legacy companies (news publishers for Article 11 and recording companies for Article 13) aren’t making as much as they used to.

      • Creative Commons Announces New Board Members: Delia Browne and Amy Brand

        Today, CC is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members of the Board of Directors, both prominent leaders and advocates in their fields. Congratulations to Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press, and Delia Browne, National Copyright Director for the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Education Council and Copyright Advisory Group.

      • BitTorrent Is Reportedly Selling for $140 Million

        BitTorrent Inc, the parent company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent, recently made a deal to sell to Justin Sun, the founder of cryptocurrency TRON. According to new information, Sun has agreed to pay $140 million for the company. While no details have yet been confirmed, a shareholder notes that BitTorrent will in part be used to “legitimize” TRON’s business.

Patent Extremists Are Unable to Find Federal Circuit Cases That Help Them Mislead on Alice

19 hours 19 min ago

Freedom to develop software (code) with lower risk of patent litigation in the US

Summary: Patent extremists prefer talking about Mayo but not Alice when it comes to 35 U.S.C. § 101; Broadcom is meanwhile going on a ‘fishing expedition’, looking to profit from patents by calling for embargo through the ITC

IN RECENT years the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) guided the USPTO into a harder approach towards software patents; if there’s nothing “hard” (as in non-abstract), then a patent isn’t suitable ‘protection’, maybe copyrights at best. This has always made perfect sense to actual software developers, but policy was perturbed by lawyers for their selfish interests.

“This has always made perfect sense to actual software developers, but policy was perturbed by lawyers for their selfish interests.”The Federal Circuit has taken SCOTUS decisions such as Mayo and Alice into account; so did the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which is basically a lot more efficient and is technically part of the Office.

“This case had nothing to do with software.”At the start of the year there were a few Federal Circuit outcomes (decisions) which patent maximalists were able to spin in order to market software patents; but nothing of that kind has happened for months. Watchtroll, failing to cherry-pick any ‘convenient’ cases, would rather speak of Vanda Pharmaceuticals — a case that we’ve mentioned here before (albeit not much because it’s really about Mayo, not Alice). John M. Rogitz (Rogitz & Associates) wrote about this USPTO “memo [which] dives into the Federal Circuit’s holding, noting that “[t]he Federal Circuit distinguished Mayo, stating: ‘The inventors recognized the relationships between iloperidone, CYP2D6 metabolism, and QTc prolongation, but that is not what they claimed. They claimed an application of that relationship. Unlike the claim at issue in Mayo, the claims here require a treating doctor to administer iloperidone.’…As a result, the Federal Circuit held the claims in Vanda patent eligible under the first step of the Alice/Mayo framework…because the claims ‘are directed to a method of using iloperidone to treat schizophrenia,’ rather than being ‘directed to’ a judicial exception.””

This case had nothing to do with software. The following day Theodore Chiacchio (also in Watchtroll) persisted with Mayo:

This article examines Supreme Court and Federal Circuit analyses of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 where the patent claims at issue were directed to Life Sciences-related technologies. I first examine this topic in the context of composition of matter patent claims and then in the context of method claims. As reflected in the below discussion, while the § 101 case law is fairly straightforward with respect to composition claims, the case law is murkier when it comes to method claims.

Suffice to say, this has nothing to do with software or even computing. We’re watching that domain closely and there’s no rebound there of any kind; software patents are pretty much dead.

“We’re watching that domain closely and there’s no rebound there of any kind; software patents are pretty much dead.”Patent Docs too has meanwhile cherry-picked just one case (so far this week): Akeso Health Sciences, LLC v Designs for Health, Inc.

This one does not even related to § 101 but to § 286. “Patentee Equitably Estopped from Asserting Patent Due to 10-Year Delay in Filing Suit,” their outline says. Here are some portions:

Earlier this year, in Akeso Health Sciences, LLC v. Designs for Health, Inc., District Judge S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Designs for Health, Inc. (“DFH”), in which DFH argued, inter alia, that Plaintiff Akeso Health Sciences, LLC should be equitably estopped from asserting U.S. Patent No. 6,500,450 due to Akeso’s ten-year delay in filing suit. Akeso had filed suit against DFH for infringement of the ’450 patent, which relates to a dietary supplement for the treatment of migraine headache, asserting that DFH’s manufacture and sale of the migraine treatment product Migranol indirectly infringed the asserted claims due to various instructions and implications on the label.

[...]

The Court indicated that its finding was further bolstered by 35 U.S.C. § 286, which precludes a patentee from recovering for any infringement committed more than six years prior to the filing of the complaint. In particular, the Court explained that “the patentee’s failure to preserve over four years’ worth of potential lost profits is reasonably interpreted as an abandonment of its claims.” With respect to the first element of equitable estoppel, the Court therefore found that “the patentee, through misleading conduct (or silence), [led] the alleged infringer to reasonably infer that the patentee [did] not intend to enforce its patent against the alleged infringer,” quoting Radio Sys. Corp. v. Lalor, 709 F.3d at 1130.

We don’t typically write about the absence of something, but it’s certainly noteworthy that these patent maximalists fail to find anything ‘positive’ (to them) to report about Alice. No news is good news in that regard…

“Any time there’s a lawsuit or a call for embargo they pounce at the opportunity to promote it. They don’t care about technology, only legal bills.”Then there’s Broadcom’s ITC complaint that we covered last week (after Reuters had covered it). We covered ITC issues a week earlier and Broadcom’s flirtation with this strategy early last month, not too long after Qualcomm merger/takeover attempts (stopped some months ago and it looks like NXP will be the one to get devoured). Watchtroll’s take on this is pretty revealing. Any time there’s a lawsuit or a call for embargo they pounce at the opportunity to promote it. They don't care about technology, only legal bills.

What Use Are 10 Million Patents That Are of Low Quality in a Patent Office Controlled by the Patent ‘Industry’?

Wednesday 20th of June 2018 06:36:51 AM

“To technology companies, NPEs [patent trolls] are a drag on innovation, taxing them tens of billions of dollars every year while achieving no social purpose” –Mark Lemley and Robin Feldman


Image source: Stanford Law School

Summary: The patent maximalists are celebrating overgranting; the USPTO, failing to heed the warning from patent courts, continues issuing far too many patents and a new paper from Mark Lemley and Robin Feldman offers a dose of sobering reality

THIS post is not another rant about the EPO but purely about the USPTO, which is now being run by patent maximalists (see/recall the Director's selection, which seems to have involved nepotism). As the USPTO’s “CIO Watchdog” put it yesterday (amid pretty substantial rumours of endemic USPTO nepotism): “PTO is sending Patent SES (David Wiley) back to Patents and bringing another (Debbie Stephens) to serve as the DCIO for a couple of months, this sounds odd? Rumors are flying about a new CIO selection but nothing official. Wiley seemed to be well thought of, Stephens not sure?”

“A meaningless — symbolic at best — ‘milestone’ will be celebrated. 10 million patents!”Nobody in the media has been covering the spousal connections there; barely anyone bothered pointing out that the USPTO’s new Director headed a firm that used to work for Donald Trump before Trump nominated/appointed him. Either way, the news sites will be full of pieces like this one in the coming days. A meaningless — symbolic at best — ‘milestone’ will be celebrated. 10 million patents! As one site put it (the first we have seen on this):

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued its 10 millionth patent.

The patent, Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection, was the first to receive a new patent cover design, which was unveiled back in March.

The first patent was signed 228 years ago by George Washington in 1790. It was issued to Samuel Hopkins and was for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer.

Commenting on the historic occasion, Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, said: “Innovation has been the lifeblood of this country since its founding.”

Wilbur Ross has been part of the so-called ‘swamp’ which put a Trump-connected patent maximalist in charge of the Office. And 228 years after it all started the USPTO issues patents at a laughable scale/pace which makes it rather clear that it issues a lot of patents wrongly. It has financial incentive to do so.

Examiners who try to do a good job and properly scrutinise applications receive “shaming” treatment from patent extremists like Anticipat, which now (yesterday) advises wrestling with patent examiners over rejections as if anything that renders patents void — like PTAB for the most part — is an abomination and wrong. Anticipat if just looking to profit from patent extremism. ‘Stalking’ examiners, too. Doxing next? Here’s what they wrote:

The Examiner Answer can be a very important stage of the ex parte appeal process. It is at this stage that Examiners may want to make up for weak Office Action positions and set themselves up for getting affirmed at the Board. Understanding the incentives and tactical options, however, can give the patent practitioner the upper hand.

The Examiner Answer is technically optional (“The primary examiner may, within such time as may be directed by the Director, furnish a written answer to the appeal brief.” 37 CFR 41.39). Examiners usually prepare them because of the disposal credits that they receive. Outside of this most obvious incentive, Examiners also have an opportunity to present their case most favorably to the Board panel that will decide the case. Sometimes these analyses can improperly go out of bounds. Since an appellant only gets 60 days to respond to an Examiner Answer (no extensions), a timely assessment of the Examiner Answer is critical.

Professor Lemley (whom patent extremists hate) and a co-author less familar to us, Robin Feldman, have meanwhile published this new paper. “My latest paper with Robin Feldman,” Lemley wrote, “surveys tens of thousands of companies about the patent licensing demands they receive (fewer than you think) and whether those patent licenses drive innovation (not often).”

From the abstract:

Patent reform is a hotly contested issue, occupying the attention of Congress, the Supreme Court, and many of the most innovative companies in the world. Most of that dispute centers on patent enforcement, and in particular on the role of non-practicing entities (NPEs) or “patent trolls” – companies that don’t themselves make products but sue those that do. To technology companies, NPEs are a drag on innovation, taxing them tens of billions of dollars every year while achieving no social purpose. To NPEs and their supporters, they are enabling the first inventor to get paid and creating a working market for the transfer of technology.

Which is it?

In this paper, we present the first full empirical of the effect of patent licensing demands on the economy. With the help of a National Science Foundation grant and experts in survey design, we sent our survey out to every US-based business with at least one employee and revenue of $1 million or more – over 45,000 companies. Our results provide important insights into the nature and limits of patent licensing demands and their role (or lack thereof) in driving innovation.

So the bottom line is, this whole Cult of Patents as we habitually call it does not actually help innovation; it mostly helps the patent ‘industry’, which conflates litigation with innovation. How about a saner patent system which actually seeks to maximise innovation rather than the number of granted patents?

The Eastern District of Texas is Where Asian Companies/Patents/Trolls Still Go After TC Heartland

Wednesday 20th of June 2018 06:06:54 AM

Summary: Proxies of Longhorn IP and KAIST (Katana Silicon Technologies LLC and KAIST IP US LLC, respectively) roam Texas in pursuit of money of out nothing but patents and aggressive litigation; there’s also a Microsoft connection

THE decision on TC Heartland (SCOTUS) dealt with the venue at which companies operate and what this means for the venue of litigation (where patent lawsuits get filed). Weeks ago there were some new cases related to this, especially when it comes to foreign (non-US) companies from somewhere like South Korea or Taiwan. We wrote about that.

For those who haven’t been keeping track, KAIST has generally become a patent parasite masquerading as “education” or “research” (that’s how it’s known or recognised around Korea or Seoul, like CSIRO in Australia). Jacob Schindler of IAM (the patent trolls’ lobby) now celebrates litigation in the Eastern District of Texas by KAIST’s proxy in another country (KAIST IP US LLC). It’s a shell entity of an entity that produces nothing. This shell has won the case, but we certainly hope that Samsung will appeal this decision to the Federal Circuit, overriding the notorious biases of the Eastern District of Texas (biases which is openly advertises). As IAM makes clear, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) was already involved prior to this. From the summary (outside the paywall) it’s made apparent that a nontechnical jury decided on this technical case (we explained many times why such trials may be unsuitable for patents):

Last Friday, a jury in the Eastern District of Texas ordered Samsung Electronics to pay $400 million to the IP licensing arm of South Korea’s top technology university. KAIST IP US LLC, an affiliate of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, saw its patent survive multiple IPRs and a dispute over its proper ownership en route to a courtroom victory over South Korea’s most prominent technology company. While US litigation watchers will be wary of a reversal on appeal, the big award signals that top Asian university IP owners like KAIST cannot be ignored.

We have meanwhile seen/come across yesterday’s article titled “Samsung Threatens U.S. Prosperity By Disregarding Intellectual-Property Rights” (this author apparently doesn’t know that Samsung has the most US patent grants per annum and held the same title at at the EPO in the past).

Anyway, what’s worthy about the above case is that a Korean entity used the US courts to go after another Korean entity, but only because it’s the Eastern District of Texas, which openly brags about being friendly towards plaintiffs, welcoming patent trolls such as Dominion Harbor with many Asian patents (almost expired).

It has meanwhile emerged, also based on the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), that a Japanese company has had its patents passed to patent trolls. Guess where…

“Foxconn transfers former Sharp patents to Texas-based NPE,” said the tweet and the article said:

Longhorn IP, the Texas-based NPE, has launched its fifth portfolio, a collection of semiconductor patents originally owned by Sharp. The licensing company, run by Khaled Fekih-Romdhane and Chris Dubuc, is calling its new vehicle Katana Silicon Technologies LLC – a name hinting at the Japanese source of the patents, which USPTO assignment records reveal is Sharp.

Notice how Longhorn IP uses shells, as is so typical in Texas (Dominion Harbor does this as well). There’s a bit of a connection between those two; at the end of last year IAM said that “Dominion Harbor and Longhorn IP [had] both formed partnerships with Beijing East IP…”

The “Founder and Managing Member” of Longhorn IP/Katana Silicon Technologies LLC used to work for the Microsoft-connected Acacia, according to this page. Dominion Harbor receives the lion’s share of patents from the Microsoft-connected Intellectual Ventures. Guess where the other founder came from; he was “Licensing Program lead at Intellectual Ventures.”

EPO Insiders Correct the Record of Benoît Battistelli’s Tyranny and Abuse of Law: “Legal Harassment and Retaliation”

Wednesday 20th of June 2018 05:09:37 AM

Battistelli himself broke the law, discrediting any notion that EPO complements patent law

Summary: Battistelli’s record, as per EPO-FLIER 37, is a lot worse than the Office cares to tell stakeholders, who are already complaining about decline in patent quality

YESTERDAY afternoon the EPO published its latest nonsense (warning: epo.org link). “EPO publishes Quality Report 2017,” the headline said. That’s like North Korea releasing its “democracy” report. Remember that the EPO now has something called the “Working Party for Quality” [1, 2] because the Office has been reduced to just lying (left right and centre) before crooked Battistelli leaves the helm.

The timing of this publication might not be a coincidence considering last week’s letter and resultant press coverage (bemoaning patent quality). Staff generally agrees with concerned stakeholders thar patent quality has sunk. Alas, as usual, the EPO is just taking the piss and is nowadays ‘googlebombing’ the word “quality” with the sole intention of lying, lying, and lying. In the face of facts all they can do is lie. Repeatedly. A lot.

“The EPO has published the second edition of its dedicated Quality Report,” it wrote in Twitter. “Compared with the 2016 edition, the report provides more extensive information on existing and new measures to deliver high-quality products and services.”

They conflate stuff like “timeliness” (i.e. how quickly they recklessly grant or reject) with “quality”. In many ways, quick grants (permitting less time for public input) are likely of a lower quality, but never let “nasty” facts get in the way of “good” propaganda. In the EPO’s own words (same as in Twitter):

The EPO has today published the second edition of its dedicated Quality Report. Compared with the 2016 edition, the report provides more extensive information and details on existing and new measures to deliver high-quality products and services.

Are there really “high-quality products and services”? Not according to stakeholders. What does staff say? Look no further than EPO-FLIER 37, which is new and we have decided to reproduce below. It serves to show how detached the EPO really is from the Rule of Law. It even attacks judges.

EPO FLIER No. 37

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict

Battistelli’s record: legal harassment and retaliation

12 June 2018

The EPO’s current president, Mr Battistelli will long be remembered for riding roughshod over staff’s rights and for his acts of revenge against anyone who tried to stop him. Simultaneously acting as accuser, prosecutor and judge, he could count on the zealous assistance of PD-HR Elodie Bergot. His brutal management methods have transformed a former model international civil service organisation into an Orwellian dystopia.

Interference with the internal appeals system

In 2014, the workload of one of the members of the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC)1 had (been) increased to a point where there was not enough time to fulfill his duties as an IAC member. These duties include “completing opinions or dissenting opinions following the hearings and sessions within the deadlines provided.”2 The member, who had been nominated by the Central Staff Committee (CSC), informed the IAC chairman that he was not able to attend a number of oral hearings because his workload was too heavy, including a significant backlog of dissenting/minority opinions2. VP4 and VP5 then publicly accused the CSC’s nominees and claimed that they would “not duly support the procedure”3. The CSC nominees subsequently resigned from the IAC. PD-HR suspended the (former) member who had suffered from his heavy backlog and threatened another one with a disciplinary measure3. The staff made its voice heard through five demonstrations within a single month. They claimed respect for the rule of law and freedom of association.

The IAC continued in a three-member composition – without members nominated by the CSC. Probably not a coincidence: the overall success rate for internal appeals dropped from 25% in 2013 to 11% in 2014 (see table).

In 2015, Mr Battistelli nominated two staff representatives to the IAC who had volunteered for the job upon his request. While the IAC then acted again in a five-member composition, the overall success rate dropped further to 2%.

The three-member composition and the five-member composition with volunteers were both successfully appealed3,4. In ILO Judgments No. 3694 and 3785 the Tribunal found that the composition was not balanced and sent the cases back to the EPO so that they could be examined by an IAC “composed in accordance with the applicable rules”5.

The non-functioning of the IAC left visible traces in the appeal statistics:

2013

2014

2015

IAC opinions

25%3

11% (20/175)1

2% (4/194)6

Final decisions

10% (14/141)2

2% (18/139)6

1% (2/243)6

Table: Development of the success rate of internal appeals (allowed or allowed in part): opinions of the IAC and final decisions taken by the president (the number of cases are indicated in brackets).

The president’s decisions on internal appeals

The final success rate, i.e. after decision by the president, dropped from 10% in 2013 over 2% in 2014 to a miserable 1% (!) in 2015. The EPO’s Board of Auditors commented the 2015 numbers with the following words: “The number of cases in which the Appeals Committee opinion and the final decision of the President differed was lower than last year.”6 What they did not say was that the IAC had left only a few occasions where Mr Battistelli could deviate from their recommendation, unless he wanted to reverse some of the IAC’s negative opinions to demonstrate his ‘immeasurable goodwill’ towards his staff.

Investigations, suspensions and disciplinary proceedings

In December 2014, President Battistelli suspended a Boards of Appeal (DG3) member and imposed a house ban on him. During the preceding secretive investigation, the Office had made use of cameras and keylogging in a semi-public area, and the investigative unit had consultated the data protection officer retroactively to have their covert surveillance action authorised8. In 2015 and 2016 the president and the Administrative Council (AC) made three attempts9, all spectacularly unsuccessful, to have the board member removed from office.10 They retroactively changed the regulations so that the DG3 member could be suspended for longer. During the disciplinary proceedings, the president refused the accused the right to hear witnesses10 – demonstrating a terrifying disregard for legal process in what is in effect an organisation set up to implement a set of laws. In December 2017, through Judgments No. 3958 and 3960 the Tribunal quashed the suspension, and observed – in highly critical tones for the ILO – that the president had a major conflict of interest so that he should not have been involved in the matter.

2015 saw public demonstrations of Munich staff, organised by the staff union SUEPO, in an almost monthly rhythm. In November 2015 president Battistelli suspended three staff representatives (committee members of SUEPO Munich) and imposed a house ban. A few days later, two officials of SUEPO The Hague were summoned to make statements before the EPO’s Investigation Unit, sent by the president. The Register noted that “it was the mass protest that appears to have been the spark that lead the heavy legal response from the EPO.”11

In January 2016, after disciplinary proceedings based on secretive investigations, President Battistelli fired two of the suspended Munich staff representatives and downgraded the third12.

Various newspapers and TV programmes13 became aware of the situation and reported on the continued staff protests and the machinations at the EPO. In a letter14 to the AC, the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys criticised Mr Battistelli for his “intolerant and destructive people management style” and expressed that they “sincerely believe that the current situation at the EPO has spun out of control by the actions of its President.” They urged the Administrative Council “to stop the President of the EPO from continuing these unproductive and destructive practices.”

In March 2016, the AC passed a resolution15 instructing the president “to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so” and “before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to […] make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions”.

But in November 2016, despite the Council resolution and all other protests, President Battistelli fired another staff union representative, this time an official of SUEPO The Hague.16,17

In a letter18 to the Netherlands Parliament, Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders claimed that the social situation at the EPO would have to improve soon and the disciplinary measures taken against staff union officials should be reconsidered.19

What comes next?

The ILO-AT has the final say. It held its 126th Session from 23 April to 18 May 2018. The Tribunal’s judgments on several prominent cases will be delivered in public on 26 June 2018 at 3 p.m.

The pattern of institutional harassment and retaliation against staff union officials cannot have escaped the judges’ attention.

But the last batch of ILO judgements caused more than a few raised eyebrows as they seemed, if not to condone the aggressive actions of the EPO management, at least to avoid expressing any strong criticism, let alone providing anything that would resemble any meaningful relief to the appellants. Hopefully this was just a “blip” and more measured decisions will be handed down in the 126th Session.
_____

1 The IAC is composed of five members, the chair and two members being nominated by the president, and the remaining two members being nominated by the CSC

2 ILO Judgment No. 3971 (see eg considerations 12 and 16)

3 Non-functioning of the Internal Appeals Committee – the story behind Communiqué 12/16 (SUEPO Munich, 06.12.2016); in a Communiqué of 30.09.2014, VP4 and VP5 said that “CSC appointees are putting artificial hurdles to the daily functioning of the IAC, e.g. providing minority views by documents redoing the opinion, thus duplicating the work already done.

4 ILO Decisions Said To Confirm EPO Staff Lack Fair Legal System (IP-Watch, 01/12/2016)

5 These judgments forced the EPO to reform its internal justice system. This was done through CA/D 7/17 which stipulates that the IAC shall be chaired by external judges or lawyers. But the current system still contains some significant flaws; see eg EPO-FLIER No. 31 Reform marathon continues, 27.06.2017 (www.epostaff4rights.org)

6 Reports of the Board of Auditors of the European Patent Organisation on the 2015 and 2016 accounting periods (CA/20/16; CA/20/17)

7 Report on the European Patent Office’s review and internal appeal procedures (CA/21/15)

8 The so-called data protection officer of the EPO signed off on keylogging, hidden cameras (FOSS Patents, 14.06.2015); https://www.scribd.com/doc/268613394/EPO-Data-Protection-Officer-Authorizing-Surveillance

9 Art. 23 1/15, Art. 23 2/15 and Art. 23 1/16 (Wikipedia)

10 Remember the House Ban? How two years flies past (The IPKat, 17.11.2016)

11 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/11/30/european_patent_office_launches_lawyers/

12 Sanctions contre les représentants syndicaux à l’OEB : une honte et une profonde injustice (Pierre-Yves Le Borgn, 17.01.2016)

13 Protest tegen ‘intimidatie’ bij Europees Octrooibureau (NOS Nieuwsuur, 28.01.2016); TV report with subtitles

14 Letter on behalf of the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys (Orde) to AC chairman Jesper Kongstad (12.02.2016)

15 RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL ON 16 MARCH 2016

16 Firings will continue until morale improves – Merpel revisits the EPO (The IPKat, 07.11.2016)

17 Report From Yesterday’s EPO Protest at The Hague, Which Several Politicians Attended (25.11.2016)

18 Letter of Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders to the Netherlands Parliament (23.02.2017)

19 President Battistelli under pressure to improve ‘unacceptable’ social situation at EPO (Kluwer blog, 21.03.2017)

Articles About a Unitary Patent System Are Lies and Marketing From Law Firms With ‘Lawsuits Lust’

Wednesday 20th of June 2018 04:15:49 AM

Lying has become a norm

Summary: Team UPC has grown louder with its lobbying efforts this past week; the same lies are being repeated without much of a challenge and press ownership plays a role in that

EARLIER this week we warned about two lies about UPC — lies that we see perpetuated almost daily by Team UPC and sometimes the EPO as well. Amid expectations of layoffs the Office is looking for a replacement.

The UPC won’t start in a matter of months; this is a blatant lie from corrupt Battistelli and Team UPC, which has a lot of money at stake. They need this lie repeated ad infinitum in order to make sales (telling customers to pursue their ‘unitary’ offerings). As for Battistelli, if all his abuses were in vain (resulting in 8 years of immeasurable damage, corruption and unprecedented abuses), how would he be remembered?

“The UPC won’t start in a matter of months; this is a blatant lie from corrupt Battistelli and Team UPC, which has a lot of money at stake.”We’d like to draw attention to the latest lies and respond to these very quick. Well, marked as “(press release) (blog)” in Google News yesterday was this utter garbage titled “Patent Translation in Europe: How to Deal with IP Protection” (they mean patents, not “IP”). Rae Steinbach is trying to tell the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) what to do. And what for? To basically harm the whole of Europe for the interests of some patent law firms (like his). Great example of the arrogance and greed of Team UPC? Still willing to lie and break laws, constitutions etc. to make a buck/euro?

from the ‘article’ (flagged by Google as “press release” and “blog”):

The European Unitary Patent package also aims to address these complications and make the system easier for businesses and individuals to navigate. As a result, the organization is looking to reduce the costs associated with patent and other IP related applications.

It is expected that the Unitary Patent package will come into effect in 2019…

[...]

As the largest EU economy, it is essential that Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court decides in favour of ratifying the Unitary Patent System. Doing so will make it an attractive alternative to individual EU state’s patents for persons and businesses wishing to obtain legal protection for intellectual property, inventions, and innovations across Europe.

Notice the above claims; these fit perfectly the pattern of lies we’ve been speaking about. They write these lies and then pay sites to carry these lies (so that Google News perpetuates their lies). And they don’t just embed themselves in the media as sometimes they literally own it. Here’s an example from yesterday, stating upfront, in Out-Law.com, that “Dublin-based Ann Henry of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com,” is lobbying for the UPC using the media — its very own media — spreading lies in its financial interests again. Here are the relevant passages, pressing the Irish authorities to embrace something there was no referendum on in Ireland (this was indefinitely delayed):

Dublin-based Ann Henry of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said a new report published by the Irish government highlighted the range of concerns pharma-chemical businesses in Ireland have about the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

[...]

“Clients in the sector are particularly concerned about divergence in technical specifications and products standards making product authorisation potentially more costly and protracted,” Henry said. “In addition, Brexit throws up a raft of intellectual property law related issues such as customs watch notices and the future of the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court. These are all concerns for the sector, as is the logistics and supply chain disruption Brexit creates for pharmaceutical and chemical businesses in circumstances where the UK has been effectively Ireland’s ‘bridge’ to continental Europe.”

So under the guise of “news” what we have here is a law firm pushing its own interests, demonstrating issues of media control.

“Marks & Clerk has been one of the loudest UPC lobbyists out there, outdone only by Bristows, at least in the UK.”Another new example from yesterday (albeit unrelated to the UPC) came from Physics World, which acts as a megaphone for lawyers rather than actual physicists. Latest example of patent marketing disguised as advice? We wrote about this phenomenon only a few days ago and we’ve gotten some feedback since, e.g. from people who said they had experienced the same thing (lawyers looking to exploit them like that). From the so-called ‘article’ (summary): “Every company wants to attract investors and deter competitors. Patent attorney David Robinson explains how a good intellectual property strategy has helped biomedical physics firm Bioxydyn do just that” (the bottom says “David Robinson is a partner and patent attorney at Marks & Clerk in Manchester, UK”).

What we have here are proponents of software patents and UPC not far from where I live. Marks & Clerk has been one of the loudest UPC lobbyists out there, outdone only by Bristows, at least in the UK.

Hours ago we saw “Karl Barnfather chairman of IP firm Withers & Rogers” pretending that patents and innovation are the same thing. He just cited EPO data:

New figures suggest innovation in the UK has increased, but we are lagging behind other parts of Europe and Brexit could yet turn the clock back writes Karl Barnfather chairman of IP firm Withers & Rogers

A site called The Engineer is now being composed by patent lawyers. Great!

“How many articles have been written over the past 3 years saying that the UPC was about to start? They were all wrong.”And if that’s not bad enough, across the Atlantic we have Watchtroll advertising software patents of SafeBreach under the guise of “investment” news. This vaguely-titled spam/ad in ‘article’ form (for DLA Piper) is also noteworthy.

The media, at least as far as patent matters are concerned, is a joke. It’s mostly marketing if not spam from law firms. A lot of it is also lobbying disguised as news. We have been writing about this problem for many years. Bemoaning it may not accomplish much, but at least we hope that readers are made aware. How many articles have been written over the past 3 years saying that the UPC was about to start? They were all wrong.

The Decline in Patent Quality at the EPO Causes Frivolous Lawsuits That Only Lawyers Profit From

Wednesday 20th of June 2018 03:32:50 AM

But only as long as their clients still believe that European Patents have predictability associated with them

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) will continue granting low-quality European Patents under the leadership of the Battistelli-’nominated’ Frenchman, António Campinos; this is bad news for science and technology as that quite likely means a lot more lawsuits without merit (which only lawyers profit from)

THE USPTO — unlike the EPO — is actually trying to improve patent quality (it has to, seeing what the courts have been doing). We will write about that separately later today.

“All the key managers will remain in place; it will be Team Battistelli, led by a Battistelli-picked President.”Based on what we have been hearing (sources close to the EPO), António Campinos will be another Battistelli but a much younger Battistelli. All the key managers will remain in place; it will be Team Battistelli, led by a Battistelli-picked President.

Now, we totally understand that EPO staff is hoping for a surprise, but optimism can sometimes lead to disappointments. Dugie Standeford from IP Watch has just published “EPO Staff, Users List Priorities For Incoming President” — an article behind a paywall that starts as follows:

As the European Patent Office (EPO) prepares to welcome a new president, staff members and patent practitioners are setting out their priorities and suggestions for the newcomer, António Campinos. Topping the list for patent examiners is ending the contentious relationship between management and employees. Patent attorneys and litigators, meanwhile, want to see more attention paid to creating a fair balance between the speed of patent grants and patent quality.

They would be wrong to assume that Campinos may pursue a turnaround. As far as he’s concerned, Battistelli has done nothing wrong and patent quality is fine (Dr. Erst, his upcoming boss, says the same thing). But patent quality is not fine; examiners say so and so do stakeholders, who are definitely noticing.

Yesterday (last night in fact) we caught this new press release that says:

IntelGenx Corp. (TSX-V:IGX) (OTCQX:IGXT) (the “Company” or “IntelGenx”) today announced that the European Patent Office (“EPO”) has issued a “Notice of Intention to Grant” for the Company’s European Patent Application Number 14832172.2 entitled, “Instantly Wettable Oral Film Dosage Form Without Surfactant or Polyalcohol.” This is the first key patent allowed in Europe for the Company’s VersaFilm™ technology.

We don’t know much about the “oral” patent in question, but many questionable patents have been granted lately, including one on chewing gum (examiners amused themselves over this one) and also yesterday there was another press release. This one was about invalidated European Patents. Yes, again. But it took a big court battle to show it. The lawsuit was thus frivolous. Only parasitic law firms in Germany ‘won’ the case. To quote:

It should be noted that on March 29, 2018, the European patent Office (EPO) had already issued a preliminary non-binding opinion that the patent asserted in the name of Antoine Turzi and licensed to Regen Lab SA, EP 2073862 B1, is invalid. In its preliminary opinion, the opposition division of the EPO found the Turzi and Regenlab patent to be invalid on the grounds of (i) added matter, (ii) lack of novelty, and (iii) lack of sufficient disclosure. With respect to the prior disclosure issue, the Opposition Division of the EPO found that “it is shown beyond any reasonable doubt that the product was available prior to priority, a prior use had taken place and the features of the product could be investigated.”

Unless the Opposition Division of the EPO changes its views at an oral hearing, the result will be the complete invalidation and revocation of the Turzi PRP patent in all contracting states of the European Patent Convention.

How many more lawsuits of these kinds are in the ‘pipeline’ and how much worse would they be if there ever was a Unitary Patent System? We’ll say more about Unitary Patent in our next post.

What Battistelli’s Workers Think of His Latest EPO Propaganda

Wednesday 20th of June 2018 02:44:45 AM

Summary: “Modernising the EPO” is what Battistelli calls a plethora of human rights abuses and corruption

Links 19/6/2018: Total War: WARHAMMER II Confirmed for GNU/Linux, DragonFlyBSD 5.2.2 Released

Tuesday 19th of June 2018 12:56:43 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • 5 open source alternatives to Dropbox

    Dropbox is the 800-pound gorilla of filesharing applications. Even it’s a massively popular tool, you may choose to use an alternative.

    Maybe that’s because you’re dedicated to the open source way for all the good reasons, including security and freedom, or possibly you’ve been spooked by data breaches. Or perhaps the pricing plan doesn’t work out in your favor for the amount of storage you actually need.

    Fortunately, there are a variety of open source filesharing applications out there that give you more storage, security, and control over your data at a far lower price than Dropbox charges. How much lower? Try free, if you’re a bit tech savvy and have a Linux server to use.

  • Cooperative Learning

    I’ve got some under-utilised KVM servers that I could use to provide test VMs for network software, my original idea was to use those for members of my local LUG. But that doesn’t scale well. If a larger group people are to be involved they would have to run their own virtual machines, use physical hardware, or use trial accounts from VM companies.

    The general idea would be for two broad categories of sessions, ones where an expert provides a training session (assigning tasks to students and providing suggestions when they get stuck) and ones where the coordinator has no particular expertise and everyone just learns together (like “let’s all download a random BSD Unix and see how it compares to Linux”).

    [...]

    There is a Wikipedia page about Cooperative Learning. While that’s interesting I don’t think it has much relevance on what I’m trying to do. The Wikipedia article has some good information on the benefits of cooperative education and situations where it doesn’t work well. My idea is to have a self-selecting people who choose it because of their own personal goals in terms of fun and learning. So it doesn’t have to work for everyone, just for enough people to have a good group.

  • Chinese search giant Baidu creates an open-source A.I. for detecting cancer

    “We hope this open-sourced algorithm can serve as a high-quality baseline for future research in this area,” Li said. “The algorithm is only evaluated on a limited number of public datasets at this stage. However, the algorithm needs to be further assessed using much more clinically relevant data to prove it still maintains higher accuracy than experienced pathologists. Our team will continue improving the algorithm and collaborating with researchers with whom we can share new datasets.”

  • Fynd organizes Hackxagon Open Source Challenge for its Engineers

    As an initiative to give back to the open source community, Fynd, the unique fashion e-commerce portal had launched gofynd.io, a few months ago. This project enabled the engineers of the fashion e-commerce portal to learn new technologies, improve the core infrastructure and enhance the Fynd platform.

  • Events
    • Netfilter Workshop 2018 Berlin summary

      Lots of interesting talks happened, mostly surrounding nftables and how to move forward from the iptables legacy world to the new, modern nft framework.

      In a nutshell, the Netfilter project, the FLOSS community driven project, has agreed to consider iptables as a legacy tool. This confidence comes from the maturity of the nftables framework, which is fairly fully-compliant with the old iptables API, including extensions (matches and targets).

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox has a motion team?! Yes we do!

        Motion may sometimes feel like an afterthought or worse yet “polish”. For the release of Firefox Quantum (one of our most significant releases to date), we wanted to ensure that motion was not a second class citizen and that it would play an important role in how users perceived performance in the browser.

        We (Amy & Eric) make up the UX side of the “motion team” for Firefox. We say this in air quotes because the motion team was essentially formed based on our shared belief that motion design is important in Firefox. With a major release planned, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to have a team working on motion.

      • Firefox 61 new contributors

        With the upcoming release of Firefox 61, we are pleased to welcome the 59 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 53 of whom were brand new volunteers!

      • QMO: Firefox 61 Beta 14 Testday Results

        As you may already know, last Friday – June 15th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 61 Beta 14.

        Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place!

      • IOActivityMonitor in Gecko

        This is a first blog post of a series on Gecko, since I am doing a lot of C++ work in Firefox these days. My current focus is on adding tools in Firefox to try to detect what’s going on when something goes rogue in the browser and starts to drain your battery life.

        We have many ideas on how to do this at the developer/user level, but in order to do it properly, we need to have accurate ways to measure what’s going on when the browser runs.

        One thing is I/O activity.

        For instance, a WebExtension worker that performs a lot of disk writes is something we want to find out about, and we had nothing to track all I/O activities in Firefox, without running the profiler.

        When Firefox OS was developed, a small feature was added in the Gecko network lib, called NetworkActivityMonitor.

      • San Francisco Oxidation meeting notes

        At last week’s Mozilla All Hands meeting in San Francisco we had an Oxidation meeting about the use of Rust in Firefox. It was low-key, being mostly about status and progress. The notes are here for those who are interested.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Mixed Reaction
    • After Github purchase, Microsoft remains a relatively untrusted open source player to some
    • What is GitHub?

      GitHub is now the de facto home of open-source software. But Microsoft’s acquisition reignited a debate over the platform’s centrality. Microsoft assures users the service is safe under its stewardship, but many are wary. When Mr Ballmer spoke of developers, he had a specific sort in mind: those using Microsoft’s tools to build projects for Microsoft products. He once called open-source Linux a “cancer”, which would spread uncontrollably. In a sense, his words proved prophetic: today, open-source software is everywhere, from websites to financial markets to self-driving cars. Under Mr Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft has embraced open-source development. In buying GitHub it hopes to gain the trust of developers it once spurned. But some wonder if the change is complete, or if Microsoft will use its newly bought dominance of open-source hosting to push its own products. Alternatives to GitHub—some themselves open-source—wait in the wings. If it is not careful, Microsoft may find the developers it just paid so much to reach slipping from its grasp.

    • Using W10Privacy To Boost Ubuntu WSL Performance On Windows 10
  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD 5.2.2 Released To Fix The Lazy State Save/Restore Bug

      DragonFlyBSD 5.2.2 is now available as the latest stable release to this popular BSD operating system.

      While there aren’t usually two point releases per cycle for DragonFlyBSD, the v5.2.2 release is coming to address the recent “Lazy FPU” vulnerability affecting Intel CPUs due to Lazy State Save/Restore as the newest CPU speculation bug.

      DragonFlyBSD began patching their kernel earlier this month and now those fixes are available in stable form with the DragonFlyBSD 5.2.2 release. The OpenBSD folks have also been changing around their kernel and FreeBSD 11.2 RC3 is also mitigated.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Free software is at risk in the EU — take action now

      Members of the European Parliament want to turn upload platforms like GitLab into “censorship machines” that require user-uploaded materials to be monitored and automatically filtered, a process which would prevent modified and reused code from being uploaded. This provision is covered under Article 13 of the Copyright Directive.

      If Article 13, embedded within the proposal, becomes official policy, it will be impossible for developers to build off of one another’s code — which is not only a blow to the collaborative development of free software, but a push against the basic freedoms of free software. Software isn’t free unless it can be modified and shared. Article 13 will affect all users of free software — as development of free software suffers, the quality and availability of updates, new features, and new programs will also suffer.

    • Open Source Industry Australia Says Zombie TPP Could Destroy Free Software Licensing

      Without the ability to enforce compliance through the use of injunctions, open source licenses would once again be pointless. Although the OSIA is concerned about free software in Australia, the same logic would apply to any TPP-11 country. It would also impact other nations that joined the Pacific pact later, as the UK is considering (the UK government seems not to have heard of the gravity theory for trade). It would presumably apply to the US if it did indeed rejoin the pact, as has been mooted. In other words, the impact of this section on open source globally could be significant.

      It’s worth remembering why this particular article is present in TPP. It grew out of concerns that nations like China and Russia were demanding access to source code as a pre-requisite of allowing Western software companies to operate in their countries. Article 14.17 was designed as a bulwark against such demands. It’s unlikely that it was intended to destroy open source licensing too, although some spotted early on that this was a risk. And doubtless a few big software companies will be only too happy to see free software undermined in this way. Unfortunately, it’s probably too much to hope that the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade will care about or even understand this subtle software licensing issue. The fate of free software in Australia will therefore depend on whether TPP-11 comes into force, and if so, what judges think Article 14.17 means.

    • Red Hat changes its open-source licensing rules

      From outside programming circles, software licensing may not seem important. In open-source, though, licensing is all important.

      So, when leading Linux company Red Hat announces that — from here on out — all new Red Hat-initiated open-source projects that use the GNU General Public License(GPLv2) or GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)v2.1 licenses will be expected to supplement the license with GPL version 3 (GPLv3)’s cure commitment language, it’s a big deal.

    • The GPL cooperation commitment and Red Hat projects

      As of today, all new Red Hat-initiated open source projects that opt to use GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1 will be expected to supplement the license with the cure commitment language of GPLv3. The cure language will live in a file in the project source tree and will function as an additional permission extended to users from the start.

      This is the latest development in an ongoing initiative within the open source community to promote predictability and stability in enforcement of GPL-family licenses. The “automatic termination” provision in GPLv2 and LGPLv2.x is often interpreted as terminating the license upon noncompliance without a grace period or other opportunity to correct the error in compliance. When the Free Software Foundation released GPLv2 in 1991, it held nearly all GPL-licensed copyrights, in part a consequence of the copyright assignment policy then in place for GNU project contributions. Long after the Linux kernel and many other non-GNU projects began to adopt the GPL and LGPL, the FSF was still the only copyright holder regularly engaged in license enforcement. Under those conditions, the automatic termination feature of GPLv2 section 4 may have seemed an appropriate means of encouraging license compliance.

    • From here on, Red Hat’s new GPLv2 software projects will have GPLv3 cure for license violators

      Red Hat on Monday said all of its newly initiated open-source projects that adopt GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1 licenses will be expected to include the GPLv3 “cure” provision.

      The move follows Red Hat’s announcement last November, in conjunction with Facebook, Google and IBM, that the four companies intended to extend the GPLv3 violation remediation language to existing projects under GPLv2, LGPLv2.1 and LGPLv2, except when defending against lawsuits.

      In March, CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, SAP and SUSE joined the group of companies working to make the licenses more friendly to accidental violators.

  • Programming/Development
    • Introducing PyInstaller

      If you’re used to working with a compiled language, the notion that you would need to have a programming language around, not just for development but also for running an application, seems a bit weird. Just because a program was written in C doesn’t mean you need a C compiler in order to run it, right?

      But of course, interpreted and byte-compiled languages do require the original language, or a version of it, in order to run. True, Java programs are compiled, but they’re compiled into bytecodes then executed by the JVM. Similarly, .NET programs cannot run unless the CLR is present.

      Even so, many of the students in my Python courses are surprised to discover that if you want to run a Python program, you need to have the Python language installed. If you’re running Linux, this isn’t a problem. Python has come with every distribution I’ve used since 1995. Sometimes the Python version isn’t as modern as I’d like, but the notion of “this computer can’t run Python programs” isn’t something I’ve had to deal with very often.

Leftovers
  • Why Is a Documentary About Mister Rogers a Hit? Because It Turns Him Into a Rock Star for Our Time

    A lot of people wondered if he was gay (Tom Snyder, in his fumbling and fulminating way, basically comes out and asks him that in an interview clip we see), but the glorious upshot of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is that Rogers’ real secret was the secret of all religious feeling: that it is radical, that the call to love your neighbor as yourself isn’t a slogan to hang in your kitchen with flowers around it — it’s a decision you make at every moment, to view every man, woman, and child on earth as your neighbor. If you don’t see and feel that, and act on it, then you’re just another narcissist with a kitchen slogan.

  • Nearly 60% Australians read news on smartphones: Reuters study

    Fifty-eight percent of those who consume news in Australia do so on their smartphones, the first time this percentage has overtaken the consumption on computers and tablets, according to the seventh annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Lab-Grown Meat Startups Backed by Bill Gates, Tyson Foods Face FDA Oversight

      The FDA plans to hold a meeting July 12 to get input from the industry on the safety of the technology as well as considerations for how to possibly label the products so consumers know they’re getting meat from a lab — not a cow. There had been some debate over whether the FDA or the U.S. Department of Agriculture should regulate lab-grown meat.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Israeli Drone Fires A Missile At A car In Gaza

      An Israeli military drone fired, on Sunday at dawn, a missile at a Palestinian car which was parked near a mosque, east of Gaza City.

      The missile destroyed the car, which was empty at the time of the attack, and caused fire around it, but did not lead to any casualties, media sources in Gaza said.

      According to the Israeli army, the targeted car was used by what it called “the leader of a cell that launches incendiary kites and balloons into Israel.”

    • Palestinian killed in Gaza border fence blast: Israeli army

      The 24-year-old man’s death in northern Gaza followed a more than two-month surge in tensions along the frontier, where Israeli troops have killed at least 125 Palestinians during sometimes violent mass demonstrations.

    • Suspected explosive carried by Gazan balloon discovered on Israeli rooftop

      Police sappers headed to the site in a village in the Sdot Negev Regional Council area; six brush fires set by Gaza incendiary kites today

    • Former CIA Chief Compares Trump Administration To Nazi Germany Over Border Policy
    • Former CIA Chief Compares Trump Admin To Nazis Over Separating Children From Parents
    • Former NSA director compares U.S. immigration policy to Auschwitz

      Former director of the National Security Agency Michael Hayden issued a statement on his personal Twitter account Saturday comparing recent US immigration policy with the policies of Nazi Germany.

      Hayden posted on his Twitter account a murky photo of the train tracks entering the concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz- Birkenau with a somber caption: “Other governments have separated mothers and children.”

    • Former NSA/CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden compares U.S. border policy to Nazi extermination camps

      Have you noticed that in the last few days the issue of children separated from parents arrested while illegally crossing the Mexican border has become the latest anti-Trump fury and obsession. This is not a new issue, but is now dominating the media and social media landscape as so many other issues have filled a slow news cycle void.

      The problem of separating children is a problem caused entirely by people crossing the border illegally with their children, which puts U.S. border enforcement in a terrible dilemma of either not enforcing immigration laws or separating families.

    • Ex-CIA head compares US immigration policy to Nazi Germany
    • Ex-CIA chief explains Nazi reference to criticize family separations

      Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Monday that his tweet invoking a Nazi concentration camp to criticize the separation of families at the US border was a warning of where the country could be headed.

      “I was trying to point out we need be careful not to move in that direction,” Hayden, a CNN national security analyst, told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”

      Over the weekend, Hayden tweeted out a photo of the Birkenau death camp at Auschwitz, writing, “Other governments have separated mothers and children.”

    • U.S.-Russia Relations Worse Than During Cold War, Former CIA Moscow Chief Says

      Relations between the United States and Russia may be worse than they were during the Cold War, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is intentionally stoking divisions within the U.S. political system to undermine American democracy, according to a former top CIA official.

      Dan Hoffman, who previously served as station chief for the CIA in Moscow, claimed the two superpowers were very much at risk during the tense nuclear standoff that dominated the global stage for most of the 20th century, but that the countries could be “in a worse place today,” according to an interview with Australian outlet ABC released Sunday.

      “As dangerous as things were between our countries during the Cold War, as much risk as there was of conflict, you might argue that we’re in a worse place today,” Hoffman said.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Bringing Julian Assange Home: John Pilger

      Tomorrow marks the 6th anniversary of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s application for political asylum with Ecuador, and his effective house arrest in London. John Pilger take up the case, again.

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

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

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

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

    • Watch: Rally to Free Julian Assange held in Sydney

      Hundreds of people participated in Sunday’s demonstration in Sydney Town Hall Square to demand Julian Assange’s safe return to Australia. The rally, organised by the Socialist Equality Party, featured speeches from SEP Australia national secretary James Cogan and independent journalist and filmmaker John Pilger.

    • Julian Assange’s Lawyer on 6 Years of Arbitrary Detention & Humans Causing the End of Earth (E624)

      In this episode, we ask Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson if Australia will rescue its citizen – as this week marks six years of his incarceration in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Plus, Professor Simon Lewis and Professor Mark Maslin, two award-winning scientists, explain how the mass movement of people, exacerbated by NATO wars, has precipitated a global re-ordering of all life on Earth.

    • Grenfell Fire Forum endorses vigils to demand freedom for Julian Assange

      The Grenfell Fire Forum, initiated by the Socialist Equality Party, held its monthly meeting Sunday, just three days after commemorations to mark the first anniversary of the inferno.

      Seventy-two people died as a result of the fire at Grenfell Tower, West London on June 14, 2017—the worst high-rise fire in British history.

      The entirely preventable tragedy was the outcome of the deregulatory policies carried out by successive Labour and Conservative-led governments, which left residents living in a death trap. Yet, still no one has been charged, let alone prosecuted.

      As a statement by the SEP on the anniversary pointed out, “The refusal of the ruling elite to pursue the real criminals guilty of the Grenfell atrocity is also in stark contrast to their determination to silence anyone fighting to establish the truth about events.” Those speaking out about responsibility for the fire have been subjected to hysterical witch-hunts. The aim is to silence the truth and shield the guilty.

    • WikiLeaks: James Clapper ‘Gets Literally Everything Wrong’ About DNC Hack Timeline

      Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seemed to lack a grasp of basic details of the hack that led to WikiLeaks publishing the Democratic National Committee’s emails, and WikiLeaks said Friday that “Clapper gets literally everything wrong.”

      “In April, Russia used a third party ‘cut-out’ to send more than 19,000 DNC emails and more than 8,000 documents to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, attempting to cover its tracks and to give WikiLeaks some degree of deniability in knowing the source of the leaks,” Clapper wrote in his new book “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence.”

    • The Sydney rally to defend Julian Assange: An important step forward

      Yesterday, Sunday June 17, a demonstration was held in Sydney’s Town Hall Square to fight for the immediate and unconditional freedom of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. The rally demanded that the Australian government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull secure the release of Assange from his confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and his safe return to Australia.

      The rally was introduced and chaired by longstanding Socialist Equality Party (SEP) leader Linda Tenenbaum. It was addressed by SEP National Secretary James Cogan; Evrim Yazgin, the president of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at the University of Melbourne; and Sue Phillips, the national convener of the Committee For Public Education (CFPE). It concluded with a powerful speech by well known journalist and documentarist John Pilger, who has been a tireless fighter for the freedom of Julian Assange and the media.

    • Supporters Prepare To Speak Out On Sixth Anniversary Of Assange’s Entrance Into Embassy

      On June 19th, Julian Assange will mark the sixth year since he entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking refuge from the efforts of the US and UK governments to persecute him in retaliation for his journalistic work as Editor-In-Chief of WikiLeaks.

      Julian Assange’s voice has proven so effective that the most powerful forces on earth have coalesced to silence him: on June 19th, the public must respond by becoming Julian Assange’s voice, by raising that unified voice to resonate until the glass halls of power are shattered by its force.

      That the Ecuadorian government has silenced Assange for over 70 days makes the sixth anniversary of his asylum more significant than ever. Assange entered the embassy as a sanctuary, not a site of imprisonment.

      In order to realize the significance of all this, the public must understand the real circumstances that undergird Assange’s need for asylum from the ire of Western governments, in order to then realize that in fighting for Julian Assange, we are fighting for our own voices to be heard. For justice in the face of injustice around the world, for the truth to be known in an era of institutionalized ignorance.

    • New Charges in Huge C.I.A. Breach Known as Vault 7

      Federal prosecutors have charged a former software engineer at the center of a huge C.I.A. breach with stealing classified information, theft of government property and lying to the F.B.I.

      The engineer, Joshua A. Schulte, 29, of New York, had been the main suspect in one of the worst losses of classified documents in the spy agency’s history.

      [...]

      Mr. Schulte worked in the C.I.A.’s Engineering Development Group, which designed the hacking tools used by its Center for Cyber Intelligence. In late 2016, he left the spy agency and moved to New York to work for Bloomberg.

      In a previous statement, WikiLeaks said the source of the damaging disclosure had hoped to “initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”

    • Julian Assange and the Mindszenty Case

      During World War II Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was a huge critic of fascism and wound up in prison. In Oct. 1945 he became head of the Church in Hungary and spoke out just as strongly against Communist oppression. He wound up back in prison for eight more years, including long periods of solitary confinement and endured other forms of torture. In 1949 he was sentenced to life in a show trial that generated worldwide condemnation.

      Two weeks after the trial began in early 1949, Pope Pius XII (having failed to speak out forcefully against the Third Reich) did summon the courage to condemn what was happening to Mindszenty. Pius excommunicated everyone involved in the Mindszenty trial. Then, addressing a huge crowd on St. Peter’s Square, he asked, “Do you want a Church that remains silent when she should speak … a Church that does not condemn the suppression of conscience and does not stand up for the just liberty of the people … a Church that locks herself up within the four walls of her temple in unseemly sycophancy …?”

      When the Hungarian revolution broke out in 1956, Mindszenty was freed, but only for four days. When Soviet tanks rolled back into Budapest, he fled to the U.S. embassy and was given immediate asylum by President Eisenhower.

      [...]

      In 2010, while he was still a free man, the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity gave its annual award to Assange. The citation read:

      “It seems altogether fitting and proper that this year’s award be presented in London, where Edmund Burke coined the expression “Fourth Estate.” Comparing the function of the press to that of the three Houses then in Parliament, Burke said: “…but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sits a Fourth Estate more important far then they all.”

      The year was 1787—the year the U.S. Constitution was adopted. The First Amendment, approved four years later, aimed at ensuring that the press would be free of government interference. That was then.

      With the Fourth Estate now on life support, there is a high premium on the fledgling Fifth Estate, which uses the ether and is not susceptible of government or corporation control. Small wonder that governments with lots to hide feel very threatened.

    • Julian Assange is a journalist, not Putin’s bitch

      “Journalism is not a crime”. Really? I’d say this slogan is hardly unassailable. I’d say this slogan, which began to appear in hashtag and t-shirt form when the Australian journalist Peter Greste was detained for his journalism practice, needs a second, a third, a seventeenth unflinching look.

      Surely, Sarah Ferguson’s fantasy Putin trilogy, which concluded last night on Four Corners, is a form of public assault. Surely, the pages of The Australian that continue to argue for the upward redistribution of wealth in a time of great precarity are indecent. Surely at the time of Greste’s arrest, the refusal of local journalists to name our national support for US policy in Egypt was colossal negligence. Apparently, it was fine to bankroll the coup without which Greste would never have been interned.

    • Confinement in Ecuadorian embassy ‘having severe impact on Assange’

      A lawyer for Julian Assange has urged the United Nations to make an official visit to see the impact on the WikiLeaks founder of living inside the Ecuadorian embassy for the past six years.
      Jennifer Robinson told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Mr Assange was unable to obtain proper medical attention and was being denied sunlight or outdoor access.
      A vigil will be held outside the embassy in London on Tuesday evening, six years to the day since he arrived, later to be granted political asylum.
      Ms Robinson told the UN that the British authorities had made it clear that if Mr Assange leaves the embassy to seek medical treatment he will be arrested.

  • Finance
    • Who is Satoshi? CIA can neither confirm nor deny, FBI and NSA are unresponsive
    • Satoshi Nakamoto Known to CIA? FBI? Created by NSA? Search Intensifies
    • Why Are Millions Paying Online Tax Preparation Fees When They Don’t Need To?

      As internet use took off at the turn of the millennium, the Office of Management and Budget asked the Internal Revenue Service to create no-cost electronic tax-filing options for low- and moderate-income taxpayers. The tech-challenged agency turned to the online tax-preparation industry for help and soon struck a deal with companies such as Intuit (the maker of TurboTax) and H&R Block, which had organized as a 12-member consortium called the Free File Alliance.

      The Free File Alliance agreed to offer tax-prep service to millions of Americans at no charge. In exchange, the IRS pledged to “not compete with the Consortium in providing free, online tax return preparation and filing services to taxpayers.”

      The arrangement went into effect in 2003 and the IRS and the alliance have kept the framework in place ever since. Today the Free File system appears on track to become permanent. In April, the House voted unanimously to enshrine the provision in law, and the Senate is now considering whether to follow suit.

    • Google to Invest $550 Million in China E-Commerce Site JD

      Alphabet Inc.’s Google will buy newly issued Class A shares at $20.29 per share, equivalent to $40.58 per ADS, the companies said in a joint statement Monday. The pair plan to explore joint development of retail solutions in regions, including Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe. The deal comes just a week after Google struck an alliance with Carrefour SA to sell groceries online in France through the U.S. company’s platforms including Home and Assistant.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • A Longer View

      Meantime the rich get richer at an unprecedented rate. The concentration of wealth is mirrored by a concentration of the ownership of housing. Media ownership concentration into an ever-tightening circle continues to exert social control, while the gatekeeper role of the big new media corporations of twitter, facebook, google and wikipedia is now being very openly abused to maintain the Establishment narrative.

      In the international world, the interests of the City of London and the armaments industry shamelessly and openly drive British foreign policy, with the continuing economic dependence of the flimsy UK construct on the pandering services to the global 1% offered by the City of London remains always at the front of the government’s mind. At the front not in acknowledgement of the fact that London’s days as a major global financial centre are very plainly numbered as economic gravity moves East, but rather in desperate attempts to avoid the need for an economic re-orientation that would affect the distribution of wealth in the UK away from the core of the Tory Party.

      The days of the United Kingdom itself are now numbered in a very short series of figures. Tory hubris at having climbed, on the back of an incredible concerted propaganda deluge, to 25% electoral support in Scotland, appears to have convinced them that Scots will endure any humiliation at all and not have the courage to stand up. The incredible arrogance involved in the Tory abrogation of devolved powers, against the express vote of the Scottish parliament, was captured by the jeers of “Bye-bye” at SNP MPs leaving the Commons in protest at the lack of debate. That “Bye-bye” will have a significance they did not intend.

    • No, President Trump, You Are Not Above the Law

      No one, including the president, is above the law. But you wouldn’t know that if you listened to a number of recent assertions from President Trump and his legal team.

      “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” President Trump announced last week on Twitter. His lawyers have made similarly far-reaching claims of executive power. “[I]t is abundantly clear,” they assert, that “no FBI investigation … even could have been obstructed by the President.” It is their view that “the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.”

      These claims raise three questions: As the chief law enforcement official, is it impossible for the president to obstruct justice? Can the president pardon himself? And, more specifically, can he use the pardon power in a way that obstructs justice?

      The answer to all three questions is no. The Constitution gives the president broad powers to pardon people and direct Justice Department investigations — but it does not give him the power to undermine the democratic safeguards enshrined there.

    • The 500-Page Inspector General’s Report In 900 Words

      The long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s inspector general examining the department’s conduct in the Hillary Clinton email investigation came out on Thursday, and, if nothing else, it’s exhaustive. At more than 500 pages, it carefully and meticulously unpacks how organizations and individuals acquitted themselves before and after the 2016 election. Of course, very quickly, much of the nuance was stripped out; interested parties — President Trump, his supporters, former FBI Director James Comey — all found in the report plenty of ammunition to load the gun they were already holding. Cherrypicking aside, however, the report did come to some conclusions.

    • Trump’s Meeting With Kim Jong-Un Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

      Last week, social media was awash in commentary about the historic meeting between the US president and the North Korean leader.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • SEP (UK) meetings on war and censorship: “War preparations are powered by lies”

      These meetings were called immediately after the April 14 missile strikes on Syria by the US, UK and France. The strikes, which took place with no discussion in parliament, let alone a vote, were presented as a limited measure in retaliation for a supposed chemical attack by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad on Douma. This is an attribution that is highly dubious and for which, like the Skripal affair that preceded the air strikes, there is still no coherent, let alone plausible, account.

      You will remember the comments of Theresa May and others that the strikes were simply to send a message to the Assad regime and nothing else. That wasn’t just the line of the government, but also of the so-called “left.” The Stop the War Coalition, for example, spoke of the major powers not really having the stomach for a war, as did Alex Callinicos of the Socialist Workers Party.

      We took a very different approach. In the advert for these meetings we warned that the Syrian air strikes were not the end, and that “the imperialist powers will not be satisfied without further bloodshed. A campaign is growing in the political and military/intelligence establishments in the UK and US for a wider war that would threaten a nuclear conflict with Russia.”

    • ‘Campaign of fear’ drives Pakistan’s journalists to self-censorship as pressure mounts ahead of General Election

      “Militant organisations, who call them non-state actors, are active,” said former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif in an interview to Dawn, one of the country’s oldest and leading English dailies. In the interview published on 12 May, the former prime minister went on to ask: “Should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me.”

    • Moderate Islam Falters in the Face of Silicon Valley Censorship

      In April, a federal court ruled that President Trump’s Twitter account serves as a public forum, meaning that his account may not block other Twitter users. Writing in the New York Times, law professor Noah Feldman declared: “This is the first time, to my knowledge, that the First Amendment has ever been applied to a private platform.”

      In Silicon Valley, however, the thinking is currently very different. Social-media companies favor censorship, especially as a means to deal with the topical issues of “hate speech” and “fake news.” Facebook, for example, recently published its “community standards” policy on censoring “hate speech” in the wake of many months of bad press and public inquiries. The tech giant promises its users protection from attacks on race, ethnicity, disability, gender, and so on. Facebook even inadvertently released a proposed new feature that asked users whether each social-media post they encountered qualified as “hate speech.”

    • Lessons From Making Internet Companies Liable For User’s Speech: You Get Less Speech, Less Security And Less Innovation

      Stanford’s Daphne Keller is one of the world’s foremost experts on intermediary liability protections and someone we’ve mentioned on the website many times in the past (and have had her on the podcast a few times as well). She’s just published a fantastic paper presenting lessons from making internet platforms liable for the speech of its users. As she makes clear, she is not arguing that platforms should do no moderation at all. That’s a silly idea that no one who has any understanding of these issues thinks is a reasonable idea. The concern is that as many people (including regulators) keep pushing to pin liability on internet companies for the activities of their users, it creates some pretty damaging side effects. Specifically, the paper details how it harms speech, makes us less safe, and harms the innovation economy. It’s actually kind of hard to see what the benefit side is on this particular cost-benefit equation.

      As the paper notes, it’s quite notable how the demands from people about what platforms should do keeps changing. People keep demanding that certain content gets removed, while others freak out that too much content is being removed. And sometimes it’s the same people (they want the “bad” stuff — i.e., stuff they don’t like — removed, but get really angry when the stuff they do like is removed). Perhaps even more importantly, the issues for why certain content may get taken down are the same issues that often involve long and complex court cases, with lots of nuance and detailed arguments going back and forth.

    • [Older] Russian Censorship of Telegram

      Internet censors have a new strategy in their bid to block applications and websites: pressuring the large cloud providers that host them. These providers have concerns that are much broader than the targets of censorship efforts, so they have the choice of either standing up to the censors or capitulating in order to maximize their business. Today’s Internet largely reflects the dominance of a handful of companies behind the cloud services, search engines and mobile platforms that underpin the technology landscape. This new centralization radically tips the balance between those who want to censor parts of the Internet and those trying to evade censorship. When the profitable answer is for a software giant to acquiesce to censors’ demands, how long can Internet freedom last?

    • Section 230 Can’t Save Snapchat From Lawsuit Involving Its ‘Speed Filter’

      Section 230 of the CDA gave us the internet we know today. It has allowed hundreds of tech companies and dozens of social media networks to flourish. To some people, however, Section 230 immunity is the internet’s villain, not its hero. Recent legislation has created some damaging holes in this essential protection, but it’s still insular enough to fend off most legal action in which plaintiffs choose to sue service providers rather than the end user who did/said whatever the plaintiff finds tortiously offensive.

      Similar to what has been argued in multiple piracy-related lawsuits, the plaintiff in this lawsuit filed against Snapchat alleged one of the company’s photo filters encouraged users to break the law. This lawbreaking had particularly tragic consequences.

    • French Political Party Voting For Mandatory Copyright Filters Is Furious That Its YouTube Channel Deleted By Filter

      It’s been a long tradition here on Techdirt to show examples of politicians and political parties pushing for stricter, more draconian, copyright laws are often found violating those same laws. But the French Rassemblemant National (National Rally Point) party is taking this to new levels — whining about the enforcement of internet filters, just as it’s about to vote in favor of making such filters mandatory. Leaving aside that Rassemblemant National, which is the party headed by Marine Le Pen, is highly controversial, and was formerly known as Front National, it is still an extremely popular political party in France. And, boy, is it ever pissed off that YouTube took down its YouTube channel over automatically generated copyright strikes.

      [...]

      So… we have a major political party in the EU, whose own YouTube channel has been shut down thanks to automated copyright filters in the form of YouTube’s ContentID. And that party is complaining that ContentID, which is the most expensive and the most sophisticated of all the copyright filters out there, was unable to recognize that they were legally “quoting” another work… and their response is to order every other internet platform to install their own filters. Really?

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • UK Lawmaker Who Quizzed Facebook On Its Privacy Practices Doesn’t Seem To Care Much About His Own Website’s Privacy Practices

      Jason Smith, over at Indivigital has been doing quite a job of late in highlighting the hypocrisy of European lawmakers screaming at internet companies over their privacy practices, while doing little on their own websites of what they’re demanding of the companies. He pointed out the EU Commission itself appeared to be violating the GDPR, leading it to claim that it was exempt. And now he’s got a new story up, pointing out that the website of UK Parliament member, Damian Collins, who is the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee… does not appear to have a privacy policy in place, even though he took the lead in quizzing Facebook about its own privacy practices and its lack of transparency on how it treats user data.

      Now, there are those of us who believe that privacy policies are a dumb idea that don’t do anything to protect people’s privacy — but if you’re going to be grandstanding about how Facebook is not transparent enough about how it handles user data, it seems like you should be a bit transparent yourself. Smith’s article details how many other members of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee don’t seem to be living up to their own standards. They may have been attacking social media sites… but were happy to include tracking widgets from those very same social media sites on their own sites.

    • Over 150,000 People Tell Amazon: Stop Selling Facial Recognition Tech to Police

      By making this technology cheaply available, Amazon is empowering police to track vulnerable groups with staggering ease.

      On Monday afternoon, civil rights, religious, and community organizations are taking their demand that Amazon stop providing face surveillance technology to governments, including police departments, to the company’s headquarters in Seattle. The groups will deliver over 150,000 petition signatures, a coalition letter signed by nearly 70 organizations representing communities nationwide, and a letter from Amazon shareholders.

      Monday’s action is a part of a nationwide campaign to stop the spread of face surveillance technology in government before it is unleashed in towns, cities, and states across the country.

      By making this dangerous technology cheaply and easily available, Amazon is uniquely positioned to spread face surveillance throughout government agencies, and it has been working behind the scenes to do so for years. Documents obtained by the ACLU reveal Amazon is aggressively marketing its Rekognition face surveillance tool to law enforcement in the United States, and even helping agencies deploy it.

      Amazon’s size and power — and its nearly ubiquitous Amazon Web Services cloud system — make it easy for the company to offer its face surveillance software as a service for very little money, lowering the bar for even small-town police departments to track people going about their daily lives. App developers can also build easy-to-use face surveillance software for police using Rekognition.

    • GCHQ spymasters advertise for gay codebreakers 60yrs after Alan Turing was hounded to death over homosexuality

      The intelligence agency listed an advert in this month’s issue Pride Issue of online magazine Fyne Times saying potential recruits would “see things differently.”

      The service has appealed to gay men and women to join, saying: “Alternative perspectives spark the innovative thinking needed to achieve our mission.”

      [...]

      But the intelligence service relationship with the LGBT community has a far muddier history.

      Openly gay men were barred from joining the security services until 1991.

      A ban on joining the Armed Forces remained in place until 2000.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Fired FBI Official Now Discovering The ‘Civilian’ Delight Of Being Jerked Around By Govt’ Agencies

      FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s career came to a sudden end earlier this year. Following in his predecessor James Comey’s footsteps, McCabe swiftly found himself on the front sidewalk with a Sessions footprint on his ass. An Inspector General’s report followed soon after, detailing many reasons McCabe might have been fired — lying to investigators, leaking stuff to the press, evading concerns about his investigative neutrality in light of his wife’s acceptance of donations from a Clinton-linked PAC… We don’t know if any of these are why Trump fired McCabe, but pretty much any one of these things makes a firing justifiable.

      Lying to the FBI is serious business, even when it’s just its oversight. Ask anyone who’s been charged with nothing but lying when the FBI fails to build a better case. For McCabe, though, it was just a little “administrative misconduct.” Something that could be addressed with a writeup or, in this case, a firing. That the trigger was pulled hours away from McCabe’s retirement sucks for McCabe, but I find it very difficult to sympathize with career government employees who feel they’re still owed a lifetime of retirement benefits after they’ve been fired for cause.

    • U.S. expected to retreat from main U.N. rights forum: activists, diplomats

      - Talks with the United States over how to reform the main U.N. rights body have failed to meet Washington’s demands, activists and diplomats say, suggesting that the Trump administration will quit the Geneva forum whose session opens on Monday.

    • Majority oppose policy that causes family separation, but Republicans approve

      Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the Trump administration’s practice of taking undocumented immigrant children from their families and putting them in government facilities on US borders, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. Only 28% approve.
      But among Republicans, there is majority support for the policy that has resulted in an uptick of children being separated from their families.
      The separations are the end result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of criminally charging people who cross the border illegally.

    • Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border

      The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream “Mami” and “Papá” over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.

    • DHS Chief is Confronted With ProPublica Tape of Wailing Children Separated from Parents

      Minutes after ProPublica posted a recording of crying children begging for their parents, Kirstjen Nielsen stepped up to the podium in the White House briefing room to answer questions from reporters, as well as a growing chorus of criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

      Nielsen, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, blamed Congress for the Trump administration’s policy of separating children detained at the border from their parents. Nielsen said the administration would continue to send the children to temporary detention centers in warehouses and big box stores until Congress rewrites the nation’s immigration laws.

      At one point, a reporter from New York magazine, Olivia Nuzzi, played the tape ProPublica obtained from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, according to tweets she posted.

    • How Police Can Stop Being Weaponized by Bias-Motivated 911 Calls

      Police departments should instruct dispatchers and officers to exercise independent judgment when responding to biased calls.

      Too often, law enforcement lets itself be hijacked by a biased call to 911 — usually a caller reporting a “suspicious person” who is actually just Black. In response to a spate of well-publicized incidents, many are saying that white people should avoid calling the police when an actual crime is not being committed. That’s a start. But police departments also need to retool how they respond to these calls.

      Black people and other people of color shouldn’t have to endure police intrusions that lack a legal basis. When police enforce the racial biases of private citizens, they convert those biases into governmental discrimination. Furthermore, such arrests undermine the legitimacy of the police and carry disturbing historical echoes of when the law explicitly relegated nonwhite people to second-class status. By enforcing the will of white people to exclude Black and brown people from public space and everyday activities, these officers recall the role of law enforcement in maintaining Jim Crow and, before that, slavery.

      Thanks to the internet and cellphones, the nation at large has seen numerous examples of police acting on the racial biases of those who called them.

      At a Starbucks in Philadelphia recently, a white manager called the cops on two Black men waiting for a business meeting, just minutes after they arrived at the coffee shop — the police responded by arresting the two men. In a Yale University dorm, a white graduate student called the cops on a Black graduate student for napping in a common room — the police responded by detaining the Black student for nearly 20 minutes before letting her back inside her own dorm room. At Colorado State University, a white woman on a campus tour called the cops on two Native American teens because they “just really stand out” from the others on the tour — the police responded by pulling these prospective students from the tour to interrogate them.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC, Big Telcos Take Aim At Line Sharing Rules In Bid To Further Hamstring Broadband Competition

      So you might recall that part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the concept of line sharing, or local loop unbundling. Simply, the rules set forth by that law 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, this could help smaller competitors gain footholds that would otherwise be impossible.

      Unsurprisingly incumbent telcos utterly loathed this idea, and quickly got to work dismantling it. First by ensuring that the coordination between incumbent telcos (ILECs) and smaller competitors (CLECs) was as clunky, cumbersome and annoying as possible (something you probably noticed if you ever waited for installs from one of these smaller ISPs in the late 90s or early aughts), then by lobbying to have the rules dismantled. Incumbent telcos then used the resulting failure as evidence that the idea was doomed from the start, despite the fact we never truly gave it a chance.

      The idea of opening incumbent networks to competitors is pretty common in some parts of the world. France for example managed to take the same concept and made it work quite successfully in cities like Paris, where to this day users can get TV, phone, and 100-500 Mbps broadband connections for a tiny fraction of what American consumers pay ($40 to $50 or so). A variation on this theme is open access, where multiple ISPs come in and compete over a core (sometimes government co-run) network; an idea that works well here and abroad, but also sees fierce incumbent ISP opposition for obvious reasons.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Volkswagen Claims Ownership of an Entire Group of Insects

      Using word searches to find infringement is a bad way to go about things. It is likely why Volkswagen filed three takedown requests for art of beetles. Not Beetles with four wheels and headlights. Beetles with six legs and hard, shiny carapaces. For the record, Volkswagen holds no rights to literal bugs.

      Peggy Muddles is a scientist and an artist who marries her two lives by making science-themed art. Among her many digital prints are a number of works featuring beetles—the type of insect. And, well, Volkswagen was not having any of that.

      Muddles sells some of her prints through the website RedBubble. On December 1, 2017, she received a takedown notice for her rove beetle art from Volkswagen. Now, the rove beetle is a common insect found throughout Europe. A Volkswagen Beetle is a car.

      Volkswagen, it turns out, does not own beetles the insect, the largest group of animals on this planet. Nor does it own rove beetles, the largest group of beetles alive. And it does not own the depiction of the species Paederus fuscipes, the species Muddles depicted in her art.

      In response, Muddles did the right thing: she consulted a lawyer, crafted a counter-notice explaining that her bug was not the same as a car named for a bug, and sent it to RedBubble and Volkswagen. “After VW’s option to pursue expired, I repeatedly attempted to contact RedBubble to have my listing reinstated, but received only automated replies indicating that my email had been received,” Muddles told EFF. “After about two months, I chalked it up to a simple error and re-uploaded the design.”

    • Evidence on Patent Disclosure via Depository Libraries

      When I first started practice, the place to go for patents was the Patent Depository Library at the Sunnyvale Public Library. Not only did they have copies of all the patents, they had other disclosures, like the IBM Technical Disclosure series. For those who wonder whether people actually read patents, I can attest that I never went to that library and found it empty. Many people, mostly individual inventors who did not want to pay for Delphion or some other electronic service, went there to look at the prior art. Sadly, the library ceased to be at the end of 2017. Widespread free availability on the Internet, plus a new USPTO center in San Jose siphoned off all the traffic.

      Rather than rely on my anecdotal evidence, a new NBER paper examines the role of Patent Depository Libraries as evidence of patent disclosure. Jeffrey Furman (Boston U. Strategy & Policy Dept), Markus Nagler, and Martin Watzinger (both of Ludwig Maximillian U. in Munich) have posted Disclosure and Subsequent Innovation: Evidence from the Patent Depository Library Program to NBER’s website (sorry, it’s a paywall unless you’ve got .gov or .edu rights).

    • Body/Performance art loses in court

      Last month, the Paris Court of Appeal handed down its decision in the case between Lady Gaga and the French body and performance artist Orlan (Paris Court of Appeal, 1st ch. 5th pole, 15 May 2018, No 16/1477: Porte k/a Orlan v Germanotta k/a Lady Gaga and others). In this dispute, the French performance artist argued that Lady Gaga’s album cover and video clip for the record ‘Born this way’ reproduced a number of her works and traits of her personality – most notably some of her body transformation including her face implants.

    • The Myth Behind Health And Trade Agreements – Q&A With Othoman Mellouk

      Intellectual property exporters and intellectual property importers do not have the same interests. Countries which export intellectual property, whether it be in pharmaceuticals or software, will be interested in protecting what they produce nationally and globally, whereas those who import them have a different set of interests and should develop a policy to suit their own interests. Developing countries which rely on others’ intellectual property want minimum safeguards, which is laid down in TRIPS. Now, TRIPS is not perfect but at least while it guarantees minimum protection for IP rights holders, countries still have policy space to adapt national laws with their level of development. So it is not surprising that the United States and the European Union are pushing for stringent IPR regimes with ‘TRIPS plus’, because they are protecting their own industries. The big mistake is when countries which rely on others’ intellectual property also apply TRIPS plus, because it does not benefit them. This happens because of propaganda and the the big myth that intellectual property promotes innovation.

    • Copyrights
      • BitTorrent is selling for $140M to Justin Sun and Tron

        BitTorrent, an early mover in concept of building a business around decentralised computing architecture to distribute and store data, is being sold for $140 million in cash to Justin Sun and his blockchain media startup Tron, TechCrunch has learned.

        Variety yesterday reported that a sale of the company to Sun closed last week, without naming a price, following rumors that circulated for at least a month that the two were in negotiations.

      • BitTorrent Acquired By Tron Cryptocurrency Founder For $140 Million: Report

        Even though the popularity of peer-to-peer file sharing platform BitTorrent might be taking a hit these days due to the rise of video streaming services, it remains a powerful force in the internet world. In an interesting development, Justin Sun, the founder of Tron decentralized platform and its TRX cryptocurrency, has acquired the company.

        The rumors of BitTorrent’s sale first appeared online last week, thanks to Variety, but the terms of the deal remained unknown. However, as per a new TechCrunch report, Sun’s company has finalized the acquisition for $140 million in cash.

      • In two days, an EU committee will vote to crown Google and Facebook permanent lords of internet censorship

        On June 20, the EU’s legislative committee will vote on the new Copyright directive, and decide whether it will include the controversial “Article 13″ (automated censorship of anything an algorithm identifies as a copyright violation) and “Article 11″ (no linking to news stories without paid permission from the site).

        These proposals will make starting new internet companies effectively impossible — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and the other US giants will be able to negotiate favourable rates and build out the infrastructure to comply with these proposals, but no one else will. The EU’s regional tech success stories — say Seznam.cz, a successful Czech search competitor to Google — don’t have $60-100,000,000 lying around to build out their filters, and lack the leverage to extract favorable linking licenses from news sites.

        If Articles 11 and 13 pass, American companies will be in charge of Europe’s conversations, deciding which photos and tweets and videos can be seen by the public, and who may speak.

      • Norwegian Court Orders Website Of Public Domain Court Decisions Shut Down With No Due Process

        What’s up Europe? We’ve been talking a lot about insanity around the new copyright directive, but the EU already has some pretty messed up copyright/related rights laws on the books that are creating absurd situations. The following is one of them. One area where US and EU laws differ is on the concept of the “database right.” The US does not grant a separate copyright on a collection of facts. The EU does. Studies have shown how this is horrible idea, and if you compare certain database-driven industries in the US and the EU, you discover how much damage database rights do to innovation, competition and the public. But, alas, they still exist. And they continue to be used in positively insane ways.

        Enter H&‌aring;kon Wium Lie. You might know him as basically the father of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Or the former CTO of the Opera browser. Or maybe even as the founder of the Pirate Party in Norway. Either way, he’s been around a while in this space, and knows what he’s talking about. Via Boing Boing we learn that: (1) Wium Lie has been sued for a completely absurd reason of (2) helping a site publish public domain court rulings that (3) are not even protected by a database right and (4) the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff (5) in 24 hours (6) before Lie could respond and (7) ordered him to pay the legal fees of the other side.

More Media Reports About Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

Monday 18th of June 2018 10:09:53 PM

Summary: What the media is saying about the letter from Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner whilst EPO communications shift attention to shallow puff pieces about how wonderful Benoît Battistelli is

FOUND among the puff pieces from European Inventor Award (here’s the latest example with a uniquely French flavour, “Michelin”) there’s some EPO scandals coverage. It’s not so easy to find however; the EPO wasted a lot of money on several external PR agencies, which are ghostwriting a bunch of nonsense to drown out actual, real news.

“…the EPO wasted a lot of money on several external PR agencies, which are ghostwriting a bunch of nonsense to drown out actual, real news.”This morning in Google News the article “EPO under pressure not to lower quality standards” came up. Well, unlike EPO-bribed publications that look the other way while Europe’s system burns, this one has said:

In a letter send to the outgoing EPO president Benoît Battistelli, four reowned law firms – Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald und Vossius&Partner – critisise that the time for the examination of patents has been cut drastically on cost of quality. While the goal of establishing a higher productivity at the EPO through its Early Certainty Initiative in Examination was good, working routines, which incentivise a high throughput of patent searches and examinations have led to lower quality. “When the aim is to terminate proceedings as quickly as possible within specific allowed times, the quality of the search and examination of applications must suffer,” the patent attorneys write in their letter. “The fees for search and examination, which are rather high when compared internationally, can only be justified by giving the examiners sufficient time for an indepth assessment of each single application.”

Decreasing quality of patents has been a major concern of EPO users in the past, as decreasing quality jeopardises industry investments and revenues. As an answer to concerns of technology companies,and patent experts that quality of patents and thus litigation might suffer from shorter examination times, the EPO in February presented a proposal (“UDEC” – user-driven early certainty) at an on-invite meeting. It allows exemptions from the goal of Battistelli’s Early Certainty in Examination initiative to half the time for patent examination from currently 22 months to 12 months on average. In March, however, the EPO cancelled implementation of UDEC by 1 July following critics from Business Europe, the only industry association that has observer status both in the EPO Committee on Patent Law and the EPO‘s Administrative Council. UDEC foresaw to allow applicants to postpone the start of substantive examination for a maximum of three years.

Battistelli’s corruption and maladministration are pretty noteworthy and newsworthy, so it should be considered a big surprise that almost no publication in Europe — certainly not the large ones — would cover that. We’ve covered it here a couple of times before [1, 2], taking note of less than a handful of articles about it, primarily blog posts. None of them wish to talk about rumours of impending layoffs, Judge Corcoran who is rumoured to be hospitalised, and the one thousand examiners who jointly signed a petition bemoaning Battistelli's maladministration and the low patent quality.

“Battistelli’s corruption and maladministration are pretty noteworthy and newsworthy, so it should be considered a big surprise that almost no publication in Europe — certainly not the large ones — would cover that.”Suffice to say, the EPO has said nothing about the above (ever!); instead it has just unleashed (warning: epo.org link) and then immediately promoted this latest EPO ‘ad’ for the insecure tyrant, Battistelli. As usual, it’s all about “President Battistelli,” attempting to derive credibility from association with others. It’s that same old modus operandi again. The EPO wrote about SMEs a few hours ago, repeating its old lies and perhaps googlebombing news to better hide its obvious discrimination against SMEs (these leaks were covered by major media in 2015, whereupon the EPO started siccing its lawyers at me, threatening to sue me multiple times).

“When creating and maintaining an IP portfolio,” the EPO wrote, “it is vital to keep costs down without sacrificing quality.” (with #IPforSMEs appended)

The EPO severely ruined and majorly compromised patent quality however (and costs are still far too high). But facts do not matter anymore. It’s just pure marketing, not science or even integrity.

Beware Team UPC’s Biggest Two Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

Monday 18th of June 2018 09:21:24 PM

France stands to benefit, as usual

Summary: Claims that a Unified Patent Court (UPC) will commence next year are nothing but a fantasy of the Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli, who keeps telling lies to French media (some of which he passes EPO money to, just like he passes EPO money to his other employer)

THE EPO has not been saying much about the UPC. There was mere repetition of Battistelli’s lies in French media a month ago (e.g. about UPC timeline [1, 2]) and it’s all the same nonsense about UPC getting ready to commence. Team UPC has not said much, either. For weeks!

“This whole pursuit of unitary ‘patents’ has been one big lie on top of serious political corruption and continental-scale entryism by the patent microcosm.”Earlier today, however, we saw this new article from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s Mary Bagnall, who perpetuates popular (among Team UPC’s greedy echo chamber) myths. Amid Brexit negotiations and a serious constitutional complaint (related to EPO scandals and Brexit) they pretend that nothing is amiss.

As we said several weeks ago, the main two lies which Team UPC keeps telling/spreading/copy-pasting about UPC these days are as follows: 1) UPC will definitely start in 2019. 2) the only question is, can the UK participate?

One is wishful thinking and the second is a loaded statement/question. This whole pursuit of unitary ‘patents’ has been one big lie on top of serious political corruption and continental-scale entryism by the patent microcosm. Thankfully, German judges are seeing all that and we expect the UPC to languish in years to come. It remains to be seen when António Campinos brings up the subject and what he will say (or how much he will lie).

Regarding Bagnall’s article, here she is repeating these two tiresome lies in two consecutive paragraphs:

Unified Patent Court:16 countries (including the UK) have now ratified the UPCA. With the UK’s ratification on 26 April, it is now only a legal challenge to ratification currently before the German Constitutional Court that is adversely impacting on the timetable for the introduction of the new regime. Assuming the challenge fails and Germany ratifies, this would potentially allow the UPC to open in early 2019.

The interesting question is whether the UK can continue to participate in the UPC regime after its exit from the EU. The UK Government has noted that the UPCA is an international treaty and that the international court will have jurisdiction over patent disputes across its contracting states. However, the Government has also noted that the unique nature of the proposed court means that the UK’s future relationship with the UPC will be subject to negotiation with European partners as the UK leaves the EU. The continuing participation of the UK and any participation of other non-EU countries, such as Switzerland, would certainly require amendment of the UPCA. It is thought that this is a possibility, but the question is whether there is enough support to make this happen?

The Unitary Patent is pretty much dead (they might rename it and retry one day), but they refuse to move on. Too greedy to accept the fact that they cheated and people are belatedly seeing it? If Mr. Campinos perpetuates this scam, we will surely be around to spot it and call him out on it. Low-quality patents are bad enough; low-quality legal process (e.g. in a language the defendant cannot understand) is another.

Diversity at the EPO

Monday 18th of June 2018 08:36:01 PM

“At the EPO, we already know that diversity – of any kind – can be great for an organisation. Our Office benefits from the dedication of staff that come from 35 countries. And we draw strength from our many different cultural backgrounds.” –Benoît Battistelli, earlier this month.

Summary: Two decades of EPO with 16-17 years under the control of French Presidents (and nowadays predominantly French management in general with Inventor Award held in France almost half the time) is “diversity at the EPO”

Orrin Hatch, Sponsored the Most by the Pharmaceutical Industry, Tries to Make Its Patents Immune From Scrutiny (PTAB)

Monday 18th of June 2018 09:03:01 AM

American (US) pharmaceutical patents on Canadian soil are meanwhile at risk as a result of Trump’s trade war that invites retaliation


Source: OpenSecrets

Summary: Orrin Hatch is the latest example of laws being up for sale, i.e. companies can ‘buy’ politicians to act as their ‘couriers’ and pass laws for them, including laws pertaining to patents

THE SCOTUS issued some important rulings such as Alice and Mayo, which meant that patents granted by the USPTO may, in retrospect, be invalid. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is attempting to shield Allergan from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the only tribunal that can render Allergan’s patents invalid unless Allergan sues. All sorts of pharmaceutical patents are under a similar threat from PTAB and Mr. Kyle Bass made headlines some years ago when he used PTAB as a ‘weapon’. His ‘threat’ was ending a monopoly.

The subject of immunity from PTAB is now at the Federal Circuit and we need to question the motivation of politicians who take Allergan’s side, even based on their sources of funding alone.

“Watchtroll likes to heckle politicians who receive money from technology firms, but what about pharmaceutical firms?”To be clear, in the area of technology pretty much all the companies — both large and small — support PTAB, except a few like IBM, which nowadays relies on patent shakedowns rather than sales (we have been saying this for years [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). Watchtroll likes to heckle politicians who receive money from technology firms, but what about pharmaceutical firms? Or law firms (third in Orrin Hatch’s list)? We’ll come to that in a moment. In case it’s not obvious, in the pharmaceutical sector the notion of patent trolls is rare and practically ineffective because the number of producing firms is relatively small. It just doesn’t scale. So PTAB is of virtually no use for large pharmaceutical firms; it mostly puts them under the ‘threat’ from generics (we use scare quotes because this the real threat is a threat to people’s lives due to the price of certain medicine — monopolised medicine).

The USPTO’s SAS decision “isn’t good for the efficiency of the PTAB inter-partes review (IPR),” Florian Müller wrote a short time ago (as noted in yesterday's post of ours), unlike Oil States. Here are some passages:

Samsung challenged multiple claims of two of Huawei’s patents-in-suit. The USPTO decided to institute reexamination with respect to some of them, but it had to issue a supplemental order in the wake of SAS and look–nolens volens–at all challenged claims, though it encouraged Samsung to drop its challenge to the ones with respect to which the USPTO was originally unconvinced.

Huawei had actually focused, for the purposes of infringement litigation, on the claims the USPTO viewed more favorably, but the SAS decision changed everything.

As I wrote in my commentary on SAS, this isn’t good for the efficiency of the PTAB inter-partes review (IPR) process, but the conservative Supreme Court majority was right that the way the law was worded didn’t leave room for any other decision, short of legislating from the bench, which most justices declined to engage in.

There have long been attempts to slow down if not shut down PTAB. These attempts came mostly from pharmaceutical giants and the patent microcosm. Days ago we named involvement by Hatch. This anti-PTAB move is now being covered by Dennis Crouch and Watchtroll, who spent his Sunday badmouthing the cause of generics. To quote Crouch’s take (something we already covered twice in recent days, saying we’d check Hatch’s contributions to know if indeed he’s in the pockets of big pharmaceutical companies):

The basics of the amendment is that the results of an IPR/PRG proceeding cannot serve as its Paragraph IV certification that the patent is invalid. A parallel provision is designed for biologics under the BCPIA.

Suddenly everyone starts talking about this; it’s seen as the latest anti-PTAB angle. See Bryan Helwig’s “Life Sciences Court Report” (published hours ago) and this Twitter exchange involving Senior Lecturer Luke McDonagh (who comments a lot on UPC), patent attorney Alexander Esslinger (Team UPC), and Jonathan Kimmelman (Bioethicist/Meta-scientist). “Canada is discussing to make pharmaceutical patents unenforceable in Canada aiming at US pharmaceutical industry as retaliatory action against Donald Trump‘s tariffs IP [sic] trade war,” Esslinger wrote in relation to this article from CBC (Canada). To quote:

And so Attaran is suggesting that Canada take aim at U.S. drug patents.

The U.S. holds more pharmaceutical patents and other intellectual property licences than any other country. But that strength could become a vulnerability if Canada took action to suspend American patents on Canadian soil. Canadian companies would then be able to produce those drugs.

“You hit us on tariffs, we hit you on patents,” he said.

Hours ago Keith Speights published “Big Pharma Stock Investors Beware: Another $250 Billion Patent Cliff Is Coming” — an article in which he says:

How scary is the impending patent cliff? It’s not as bad as you might think.

The worst brunt won’t be felt until 2023. Total sales at risk due to patent expiration will actually be much lower than in recent years in 2020, 2021, and even 2024.

Also, just because sales are at risk doesn’t mean that those sales will completely be lost. EvaluatePharma projects that roughly $139 billion in sales will be lost between 2018 and 2024 for drugs that go off-patent. That’s a big number, but it’s also much lower than the $250-plus billion in sales that are at risk during the period.

Humira, for example, is still expected to be the world’s No. 1 drug in 2024, with sales of more than $15.2 billion. EvaluatePharma thinks that Revlimid will slip a spot from No. 2 to No. 3, but will still grow robustly and generate revenue of close to $8.2 billion annually seven years from now.

Johnson & Johnson has demonstrated the ability to hold on to most of the revenue for Remicade despite losing patent exclusivity. However, J&J’s tactics have been controversial and spurred Pfizer to sue for alleged violation of antitrust laws.

EvaluatePharma’s report noted that many analysts aren’t too concerned about Novo Nordisk’s patent cliff. The firm stated that sales expectations for Novo’s drugs that have or will lose patent protection continue to remain relatively high, probably because of “the historical sales erosion seen for injected diabetes therapy.”

The bottom line is, the value of many companies associated with medicine depends greatly on patents. We do not generally oppose such patents, but we certainly oppose making such patents immune from PTAB. This effort from Hatch is currently being exploited by the anti-PTAB lobby and Hatch seems to be motivated by bribes rather than concerns for public health. Millions of dollars for Hatch to help guard multi-billion monopolies certainly make “business sense”.

Links 17/6/2018: Linux 4.18 RC1 and Deepin 15.6 Released

Sunday 17th of June 2018 08:58:17 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
  • Server
    • Five Supercomputers That Aren’t Supercomputers

      A supercomputer, of course, isn’t really a “computer.” It’s not one giant processor sitting atop an even larger motherboard. Instead, it’s a network of thousands of computers tied together to form a single whole, dedicated to a singular set of tasks. They tend to be really fast, but according to the folks at the International Supercomputing Conference, speed is not a prerequisite for being a supercomputer.

      But speed does help them process tons of data quickly to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Summit, for example, is already booked for things such as cancer research; energy research, to model a fusion reactor and its magnetically confined plasma tohasten commercial development of fusion energy; and medical research using AI, centering around identifying patterns in the function and evolution of human proteins and cellular systems to increase understanding of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, or addiction, and to inform the drug discovery process.

    • Office 365 is suffering widespread borkage across Blighty

      Some users are complaining that O365 is “completely unusable” with others are reporting a noticeable slowdown, whinging that it’s taking 30 minutes to send and receive emails.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.17.2
    • Linux 4.16.16
    • Linux 4.14.50
    • Linux 4.9.109
    • Linux 4.4.138
    • Linux 4.18-rc1

      You may think it’s still Saturday for me, and that I should give you
      one more day of merge window to send in some last-minute pull
      requests, but I know better. I’m in Japan, and it’s Sunday here. Plus
      I hope to spend much of this Sunday on a boat (assuming the swells
      allow it), so I’m closing the merge window early morning rather than
      in the afternoon.

      So here we are – no more merge window, so please don’t even try to
      send me updates any more. Just fixes, please.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux Kernel 4.18, First RC Is Out Now

      A day early than expected, Linus Torvalds kicked off the development cycle of the next kernel series, Linux 4.18, with the release of the first RC (Release Candidate) milestone.

      The Linux 4.18 kernel series promises to be more light than previous branches as it does away with even more of that old, unused code than Linux kernel 4.17 did, which removed support for eight hardware architectures. One of the things removed in this release is the Lustre parallel distributed file system, as well as a few hardware drivers.

      “We actually have managed to shrink things a bit more this release too,” said Linus Torvalds in the mailing list announcement. “The removal of Lustre may not be all that notable, because it does look like a lot of the development has been happening out of tree, which may be why it never really ended up working as well as people hoped in the staging tree.”

    • Linux 4.18-rc1 Kernel Released
    • AppArmor In Linux 4.18 Supports Audit Rule Filtering

      Sent out earlier this week were the AppArmor feature updates for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window.

    • The Changes & New Features For Linux 4.18, Benchmarks Are Incoming

      With the early release of Linux 4.18-rc1, feature development on Linux 4.18 is over and it’s onto roughly eight weeks worth of testing and bug fixes. For those that are behind in their Phoronix reading with our extensive and original reporting on the Linux 4.18 merge window happenings, here is our recap of the big changes that made it into Linux 4.18. We are also in the process of firing off the start of our Linux 4.18 kernel benchmarks.

    • Features That Didn’t Make It For The Mainline Linux 4.18 Kernel

      There are many changes and new features for Linux 4.18 with the merge window having just closed on this next kernel version, but still there are some prominent features that have yet to work their way to the mainline tree.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • What’s New in openSUSE Leap 15 KDE Edition

        openSUSE Leap 15 has been released by OpenSUSE project. This released based on the upcoming SUSE Enterprise Linux 15 series that offers better stability and long-term support, also features updated components and technologies designed for power users.

        Major highlights of the openSUSE Leap 15 operating system include a new partitioner implemented in the installer, integration with the Kopano open-source groupware application suite, Firewalld as the default firewall management tool, a new classic “server” and “transactional server” system roles with read-only root filesystem and transactional updates, cloud optimizations, and a brand-new look that’s been closely aligned with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

      • [Falkon] Fifth week of coding phase, GSoC’18

        The week was totally involved in developing the GUI for QML Plugins.

        [...]

        Everything is fine upto this until I found that this didn’t worked. My Mentor (David Rosca) explained that this is because the QWindow is not grabing mouse and keyboard events – which means that the window is not activated – so I added QWindow::requestActivate and It works like a charm!

      • [Slackware] Ktown in June ’18 – Plasma 5.13 in the ‘testing’ repo

        It’s that time of the month again. KDE tarballs have all been refreshed, and so this presents the opportunity to release a new package set for the Plasma 5 Desktop Environment… but then I found out that the new Plasma 5.13 depends on a minimum Qt5 version number of 5.10. Currently I have Qt 5.9.5 in my repository, and this is a LTS release (Long Term Support). The next LTS release will be 5.12 and this will not be available before end of 2018. Also, the current Plasma 5.12 has Long Term Support and the new Plasma 5.13 has not.

      • It’s not a good bye

        As you might have heard I decided to step down from my maintainer positions in KDE, especially KWin. Unfortunately I had to read very weird things about it and so I think it’s time to write about what it means that I am no longer maintainer of KWin.

        First of all: I’m not leaving KDE. I’m still contributing in form of code, bug management and reviews. And I intend to continue to do this.

        Second of all: I did not step down as maintainer because of the VDG or the usability group. I understand that my mail read like this, but it’s not the case. That I would step down as maintainer was inevitable and I’m sure it didn’t come as a general surprise to my fellow Plasma and KWin hackers. Personally I decided to step down as maintainer once the Wayland port is finished years ago. In my opinion KWin reached that state about two years ago. I continued to be maintainer to prepare for a good hand over. I deliberately reduced my involvement and passed responsibility to others. This was a long process and worked great in my opinion. As an example I want to point out the new and awesome blur effect introduced in 5.13. My first comment on the phabricator code review was that I’m not going to review it, but leave it to others. I think the result is great and I’m very happy how this worked out.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 23

        This has been a bit of a light week for KDE’s Usability and Productivity initiative, probably because everyone’s basking in the warm glow of a well-received release: KDE Plasma 5.13 came out on Tuesday and is getting great reviews!

      • Kraft Version 0.81 Released

        I am happy to announce the release of Kraft version 0.81. Kraft is a Qt based desktop application that helps you to handle documents like quotes and invoices in your small business.

        Version 0.81 is a bugfix release for the previous version 0.80, which was the first stable release based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks5. Even though it came with way more new features than just the port, it’s first release has proven it’s stability in day-to-day business now for a few month.

      • Giving Konsole some love

        I started to hack in Konsole, and first I was afraid, I was petrified. You know, touching those hardcore apps that are the center of the KDE Software Collection.

        I started touching it mostly because some easy to fix bugs weren’t fixed, and as every cool user knows, this is free software. So I could pay for someone to fix my bugs, or I could download the source code and try to figure out what the hell was wrong with it. I choosed the second approach.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Gnome 3.28 review – Minimalism gone wrong

        Gnome 3.28 brings in a few interesting changes to the Gnome table – not too many, though, this version isn’t a radical revamp, more sort of a gradual progression of the basic idea behind the Gnome desktop environment. Not bad in that regard. Bad in every other regard.

        Unfortunately – and this is nothing personal, all I care for is to be happy and productive with my desktops, and Gnome 2 was my favorite thing for years and years – Gnome 3.28 is a sterile, counterproductive pseudo-touch concept that serves little purpose on the desktop. It requires significant tweaking and immense changes under the hood to make presentable and usable, and even then, it works hard against the user. Performance is really bad, a decade-old laptop with anything other than Gnome works better than a contemporary model with Gnome, and you feel the sluggishness with every little thing you do. It’s life-sapping. The more you multi-task the worse it gets.

        All in all, Gnome 3.28 has changed little from the original Gnome 3 a few years ago. It is still not suited for purpose, it has not evolved in any way, and in fact, there are fresh new functional regressions in the product. It’s getting more and more difficult to achieve simple things, and you’re fighting against the desktop. Not how it’s meant to be. Maybe Linux will make it big on the phone and tablet one day, and then Gnome could be a blast. But on traditional computing devices, it’s a flop. Not recommended, I’m afraid. Take care.

  • Distributions
    • Red Hat Family
      • Lazy FPU Vulnerability Now Patched for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, CentOS 7 PCs

        Red Hat promised to release patches for the new speculative execution security vulnerability (CVE-2018-3665), which affects the “lazy restore” function for floating point state (FPU) in modern processors, leading to the leak of sensitive information, and the patches are now available for all Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 users. The company urges everyone using any of the systems listed below to update immediately.

        Affected systems include Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server – Extended Update Support 7.5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 for IBM System z, POWER, ARM64 systems, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Scientific Computing 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux EUS Compute Node 7.5, and Red Hat Virtualization Host 4.

      • Finance
    • Debian Family
      • Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” Artwork Proposals Call Welcomes Talented Artists

        If you’re a talended artist and you want the millions of Debian users to see your work, you are invited to submit your best artwork for the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system, due for release in mid-2019. Submissions are opened until September 5, 2018, and need to meet some requirements.

        While not the most important crieria, artworks are usually picked based on how they look more “Debian.” Secondly, your artwork must integrate into the operating system without the need to patch any core software. And lastly, all submitted artworks must be clean and well designed to not annoy users.

      • Debian Artwork: Call for Proposals for Debian 10 (Buster)

        This is the official call for artwork proposals for the Buster cycle.

        For the most up to date details, please refer to the wiki.

        We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Juliette Taka Belin for doing the Softwaves theme for stretch.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Releases Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Kernel Security Update for Raspberry Pi 2

            Earlier this week, Canonical released an important kernel security update for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, as well as other supported Ubuntu releases like Ubuntu 17.10, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, to address various vulnerabilities affecting the kernel packages for 64-bit machines, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) systems, and cloud environments.

            Now, the same kernel patch that was made available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users on 64-bit, AWS, GCP, and cloud environments is now available for Raspberry Pi 2 devices too, fixing an issue (CVE-2018-1092) in Linux kernel’s EXT4 file system implementation discovered by Wen Xu, which could allow an attacker to crash the affected system by mounting a specially crafted EXT4 file system.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Deepin 15.6 Linux OS Launches with Improved HiDPI Support, Light and Dark Themes

              Coming more than six months after the previous release, Deepin 15.6 is here with a series of new desktop improvements to allow users to disable the display scaling function for HiDPI (High Dots Per Inch) screens, a revamped Deepin Manual to help newcomers accommodate better with the operating system, as well as yet another layer of desktop optimizations.

              “Its clean user interfaces and the convenient interactions reduce the browsing and searching time, allowing users to have more time to work and study. The new release – deepin 15.6, offers the dedicated interfaces and easy-to-understand logics to help users start quickly. No matter which operating system was used before, you can get started easily,” said the devs.

            • Deepin 15.6 Released, Features New App Menu, Dark Mode, & More

              A new version of the Deepin Linux distribution is available to download. Deepin 15.6 improves on last year’s Deepin 15.5 release in a number of ways, adds a new-look app launcher, and include a crop of core app updates.

            • Debian-based deepin Linux 15.6 now available

              deepin Linux is controversial because its developers are in China. You see, some people are suspicious of a Linux distribution that comes from that country. If you feel that way, that’s your business. But you know what? I am personally sick and tired of such xenophobia these days. Let’s not forget, many goods come from China — including personal computers and associated components. Not to mention, the OS is largely open source.

              Controversy aside, deepin is a great operating system for both Linux beginners and experts alike. Not only is it stable thanks to its Debian base, but it has a very polished and focused user experience. Today, version 15.6 becomes available, and it is loaded with improvements.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • GitHub as the Latest Example of Microsoft Entryism in Free/Libre Software

    THE recent GitHub takeover, which has not formally been approved just yet (although there are no foreseen barriers to it), is definitely bad news; it is a lot of things to Microsoft however. It is good news only to Microsoft and GitHub shareholders, who basically sold out many developers without rewarding/compensating them for this unwanted (to them) takeover.

  • Events
    • Linux Accra: A haven for open source software enthusiasts

      If you’re a community-minded software enthusiast with some free time on Saturday afternoons then, the Linux Accra Users Group (LAUG) is probably the most important institution you may be hearing about only now.

      Consisting of open source and Linux hobbyists, professionals, enthusiasts, developers, as well as newbies, LAUG members meet over their shared interest in Linux and other software—to undertake related projects as well as offer assistance and resources to individual members’ projects.

    • SouthEast LinuxFest 2018 Recap

      SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) just wrapped up, and we had a great time getting to visit with our friends on the East Coast. We had a steady stream of people stop by our booth to tell us how much they enjoy using FreeNAS. We answered questions about what’s new in FreeNAS, iXsystems storage solutions, and Project Trident (a new Open Source project focusing on BSD desktop development). TrueOS and Lumina Desktop also sparked the interest of many SELF attendees. A demo system was on display to showcase the current state of the Open Source projects we support and to emphasize the differences between FreeBSD-based projects and standard Linux Distributions.

    • BSDCan 2018 Recap

      BSDCan is special for starting at connecting airports around the world and ending informally at cafes around ByWard Market in Ottawa. Celebrating its 15th year, BSDCan 2018 tied with BSDCan 2015 for the record number of attendees at 280. This made for a busy, but never crowded, event where the hallway track is always just as important as the sessions tracks. Choosing which concurrent sessions to miss and deciding where to eat are probably the two most difficult decisions that BSDCan attendees face.

    • Using Open Source Software in a SecDevOps Environment

      On 21 June 2018 the Open Source Software3 Institute is hosting a discussion that should be of high interest to enterprise technologists in the DC/Northern Virginia, Maryland area. From their invite:

      Come hear from our panelists about how the worlds of Open Source Software and the Secure Development / Operations (SecDevOps) intersect and strengthen one another. SecDevOps seeks to embed security in the development process as deeply as DevOps has done with operations, and Open Source Software is a major factor in Security, Development, and Operations.

      Tickets are free, but you need to register soon because seating is limited.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • TenFourFox FPR8b1 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 8 beta 1 is now available (downloads, release notes, hashes). There is much less in this release than I wanted because of a family member in the hospital and several technical roadblocks. Of note, I’ve officially abandoned CSS grid again after an extensive testing period due to the fact that we would need substantial work to get a functional implementation, and a partially functional implementation is worse than none at all (in the latter case, we simply gracefully degrade into block-level divs). I also was not able to finish the HTML input date picker implementation, though I’ve managed to still get a fair amount completed of it, and I’ll keep working on that for FPR9. The good news is, once the date picker is done, the time picker will use nearly exactly the same internal plumbing and can just be patterned off it in the same way. Unlike Firefox’s implementation, as I’ve previously mentioned our version uses native OS X controls instead of XUL, which also makes it faster. That said, it is a ghastly hack on the Cocoa widget side and required some tricky programming on 10.4 which will be the subject of a later blog post.

  • BSD
    • FreeBSD 11.2-RC3 Released, Enables Eager FPU Context Switching For Latest CPU Bug

      The newest weekly release candidate of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.2 is now available for testing.

      Most notable about FreeBSD 11.2-RC3 is the enabling of eager FPU context switching for the FreeBSD i386/AMD64 builds. The eager FPU context switching is for the recently disclosed Lazy State Save/Restore speculative execution bug. Linux has been covered by default for the past two years while OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD were recently mitigated while now FreeBSD 11.2 will be covered too.

    • More Mitigations for (potential) CPU Vulnerabilities
    • LDAP client added to -current
    • Nomadic Working with NomadBSD 1.0.1 – BSD on a stick

      Recently I found a bit of time to poke around in the world of Linux and BSD distributions and possibly even get back in to the reviewing business now and then. NomadBSD seemed like an interesting project to try for somebody partial to the Slackware and BSD way of doing things, but still searching for a BSD that is actually working as a day to day OS while being reasonably responsive, i.e. not bloated and running well on old hardware. That means trim and fast, without the desktop environment and a browser gobbling up all the resources.

      VirtualBSD was a fine piece but since its demise there hasn’t been anything similar to dip your toes into FreeBSD to my knowledge, let alone the other flavors. I reviewed it here seven years ago. How many? Yes, time flies. To say it right away in order not to waste anybody’s time, NomadBSD works, and it works beautifully. Well, with a small caveat in terms of connectivity, but we’ll come to that.

      As alluded to, “NomadBSD is a 64bit 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” according to their website. It fits on a 4GiB USB flash drive and can be booted via BIOS and UEFI. Which is just as well as an old 4GiB Corsair Flash Voyager pen drive is all I had. Additional information on their Github account.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU dbm 1.15

      GDBM tries to detect inconsistencies in input database files as early as possible. When an inconcistency is detected, a helpful diagnostics is returned and the database is marked as needing recovery. From this moment on, any GDBM function trying to access the database will immediately return error code (instead of eventually segfaulting as previous versions did). In order to reconstruct the database and return it to healthy state, the gdbm_recover function should be used.

  • Programming/Development
    • Zapcc Caching C++ Compiler Open-Sourced

      Remember the Zapcc compiler that focused on lightning fast compiler times? It’s now been open-sourced.

      Zapcc is the LLVM/Clang-based C++ compiler that we have been covering since 2015 when it began promoting itself as a much faster C++ compiler than Clang itself. Zapcc employs aggressive caching and other techniques in an effort to significantly speed up compile times while being a drop-in replacement to GCC or Clang. Last year Zapcc reached the v1.0 milestone, but we haven’t heard much since until finding out this weekend that it’s been open-sourced.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • NASA’s Lunar Orbiter pics from 1967/8 were deliberately fuzzed and downsampled to hide US spying capabilities

      But it turns out that the Orbiters’ photos were actually super-high-rez, shot on 70mm film and robotically developed inside the orbiters, with the negs raster-scanned at 200 lines/mm and transmitted to ground stations using an undisclosed lossless analog image-compression technology. These were stored on tapes read by fridge-sized $300,000 Ampex FR-900 drives. These images were printed out at 40′ x 54′ so the Apollo astronauts could stroll over them and look for a landing spot.

      But these images were not revealed to the public because NASA feared that doing so would also reveal the US’s spy satellite capabilities. Instead, NASA deliberately downrezzed and fuzzed the images that the public got to see.

    • McMoon: How the Earliest Images of the Moon Were so Much Better than we Realised

      These spacecraft were Lunar Orbiter I to V, and they were sent by NASA during 1966 and 67. In the late 1960’s, after the Apollo era, the data that came back on analog tapes was placed in storage in Maryland. In the mid 1980’s they were transferred to JPL, under the care of Nancy Evans, co-founder of the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS). The tapes were moved around for many years, until Nancy found Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing. They decided they needed to be digitised for future generations, and brought them to NASA Ames Research Centre. They set up shop in an abandoned McDonalds, offered to them as free space. They christened the place McMoon. The aim was to digitise these tapes before the technology used to read them disappeared, or the tapes destroyed.

    • Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control?

      Technology is starting to behave in intelligent and unpredictable ways that even its creators don’t understand. As machines increasingly shape global events, how can we regain control?

  • Hardware
    • Sony’s PS5 will reportedly launch in 2020 powered by an AMD Navi GPU

      While it was previously reported that the much-anticipated console will be using AMD’s Ryzen CPU tech, it looks like the chip maker will have some involvement in the PS5′s graphics chip, too.

    • Exclusive: The AMD Inside Story, Navi GPU Roadmap And The Cost Of Zen To Gamers

      The world’s first 7nm GPU demo that AMD showcased at Computex last week was always meant for the professional GPU market and not for gamers. This is the market that can afford a much higher cost for the same SKU and allows the company to make do with low yields. But Lisa Su also said that “7nm GPUs are coming to gamers”, so we should see 7nm Vega sometime next year right? As it turns out, that isn’t what she meant.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Blame opioids for a fifth of young adult deaths in the United States

      Opioids have quickly become a major cause of death among young Americans aged 25 to 34, with one in five deaths in 2016 tied to the drugs, researchers report online June 1 in JAMA Open Network.

    • Chief justice takes suo motu notice of water shortage across the country

      Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday took suo motu notice of water shortage and its lack of supply throughout the country.

    • Water crisis deepens in Thar as firm warns of shutting RO plants

      A private firm operating 513 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in Tharparkar on Monday warned of shutting them down by June 7 if its payments are not cleared, deepening the prevalent water crisis in the area.

    • Coke claims to give back as much water as it uses. An investigation shows it isn’t even close

      As the enormity of the task the company had set for itself sunk in, Coca-Cola and other working group members pressured Hoekstra to allow them to engage in an act of water accounting sleight of hand that would shave off nearly half of the Water Footprint for every half-liter of Coke, according to people at the meetings.

    • South West Water boss gets paid a lot more than the Prime Minister

      The GMB and Corporate Watch figures show that through a combination of salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits that the average package for a privatised water company chief executive in 2017 was £1,254,000 – a figure six times higher than the pay and pension of the UK Prime Minister.

      And consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40% above inflation since privatisation in 1989 according to a report by the National Audit Office.

    • Flint Teens Describe Growing Up Without Clean Water

      “Having contaminated water has affected me and my family in many ways,” Cierra says. “There is and will always be a trust issue about the water here in Flint. Even if they say that they fixed the water, you will never know if they are lying or not.”

    • Flint water crisis: Race ‘was factor’ in authorities’ slow and misleading response, says city’s black mayor

      The group concluded that a mix of “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” led to decisions, actions and consequences in Flint that would not have been allowed to happen in primarily white communities such as Ann Arbor or East Grand Rapids.

    • See where all of the Flint water crisis court cases stand a year after charges

      The attorneys said they still have to look through more information and evidence they received on May 18. They have received a total of 146 gigabytes of information related to the case since March.

    • City’s inaction is keeping GM off Flint water system, Snyder aide claims

      GM was an early indicator of problems with Flint’s water supply in 2014 when it switched over its engine plant to water supplied by Flint Township because of concerns that city water contained so much chloride it was causing corrosion in engine parts.

    • Doctor pens book on her role in revealing Flint water crisis

      Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha had hard evidence that thousands of people in Flint had been exposed to toxic lead in their drinking water. The pediatrician and public health expert figured city and state officials would share her shock and join her in alerting residents.

      They did not.

    • Suicide rates have shot up in almost every U.S. state

      Among suicide victims counted in 2015 in 27 states, 54 percent had no known mental health condition, researchers say in the June 8 report. For those who died, circumstances surrounding their suicide included relationship or job problems, the loss of a home, legal troubles and physical health issues. These factors played a role whether suicide victims had a diagnosed medical condition or not.

    • America’s rising suicide rate

      Research suggests that poor, white men may be particularly at risk

    • FGM Shouldn’t Have a Place in the U.S. — or Anywhere

      Only 26 states ban FGM, although it was made a federal crime in 1996. The United States is currently undergoing its first criminal trial related to FGM. In Detroit, doctors are accused of performing this brutal operation of female circumcision on six- and seven-year-old girls. The accused doctors are part of an India-based Muslim sect, Dawoodi Bohra.

    • Danish circumcision ban to go to parliament

      The petition, which cites the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, calls for a six-year prison sentence for those carrying out circumcisions on boys under the age of 18, unless there is a medical reason.

      The same penalty has existed since 2003 for the internationally condemned practice of excision, or female genital mutilation.

    • With deal to close this week, Bayer to retire Monsanto name

      Germany’s Bayer (BAYGn.DE) will wrap up the $63 billion takeover of Monsanto (MON.N) on Thursday and also retire the U.S. seeds maker’s 117 year-old name.

    • Drug access law Trump just signed will cripple FDA—senator is making sure of it

      As it stands, the right to try bill signed into law, which Johnson sponsored, will cut out the FDA’s role in approving and overseeing the use of experimental drugs in patients with life-threatening diseases. Such patients will be able to work directly with a doctor and a drug company to gain access—outside of a clinical trial—to an experimental therapy that has only made it through early clinical trials and not obtained FDA approval.

    • Theranos Founder Holmes Is Out as CEO of Scandal-Ridden Startup
    • The Theranos Indictments Expose the Soul of Silicon Valley

      The indictment, which comprises 11 counts, alleges that Theranos misled investors—one of whom sent Theranos nearly $100 million in a single wire transfer October 31, 2014—as well as doctors and patients with its promises of a blood test that delivered quick results with a single finger-prick, rather than the more demanding requirements of conventional methods.

    • Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes indicted on criminal charges

      Further Reading
      SEC charges Theranos with “massive fraud,” CEO Holmes stripped of control
      In the new court filing—submitted Thursday, June 14 in federal court in San Jose, and unsealed on Friday—prosecutors allege that Holmes and Balwani engaged in a scheme to mislead investors about the state and capabilities of the company’s blood-testing technology and defrauded them out of more than $100 million. The prosecutors also allege that the pair defrauded doctors and patients by knowingly misleading them with false advertising and marketing that stated that their company could provide accurate and reliable health tests on just drops of blood from a finger-prick with their proprietary technology.

  • Security
    • Vendors, Disclosure, and a bit of WebUSB Madness

      Was there any specific bug to report before we gave the talk? No, because it was widely discussed in the security scene that WebUSB is a bad idea. We believe we have demonstrated that by showing how it breaks U2F. There was no single issue to report to Google or Yubico, but a public discussion to trigger so WebUSB is fixed.

      [...]

      I do not know what “private outreach” means and why Yubico lied about being unable to replicate our findings in a call on March 2nd, even though they had it apparently working internally.

    • Librarian Sues Equifax Over 2017 Data Breach, Wins $600

      “The small claims case was a lot more about raising awareness,” said West, a librarian at the Randolph Technical Career Center who specializes in technology training and frequently conducts talks on privacy and security.

      “I just wanted to change the conversation I was having with all my neighbors who were like, ‘Ugh, computers are hard, what can you do?’ to ‘Hey, here are some things you can do’,” she said. “A lot of people don’t feel they have agency around privacy and technology in general. This case was about having your own agency when companies don’t behave how they’re supposed to with our private information.”

    • On the matter of OpenBSD breaking embargos (KRACK)
    • The UK’s worst public sector IT disasters
    • Hackers May Have Already Defeated Apple’s USB Restricted Mode For iPhone

      Recently, the iPhone-maker announced a security feature to prevent unauthorized cracking of iPhones. When the device isn’t unlocked for an hour, the Lightning port can be used for nothing but charging. The feature is a part of the iOS 12 update, which is expected to launch later this month.

    • Cops Are Confident iPhone Hackers Have Found a Workaround to Apple’s New Security Feature

      Apple confirmed to The New York Times Wednesday it was going to introduce a new security feature, first reported by Motherboard. USB Restricted Mode, as the new feature is called, essentially turns the iPhone’s lightning cable port into a charge-only interface if someone hasn’t unlocked the device with its passcode within the last hour, meaning phone forensic tools shouldn’t be able to unlock phones.

      Naturally, this feature has sent waves throughout the mobile phone forensics and law enforcement communities, as accessing iPhones may now be substantially harder, with investigators having to rush a seized phone to an unlocking device as quickly as possible. That includes GrayKey, a relatively new and increasingly popular iPhone cracking tool. But forensics experts suggest that Grayshift, the company behind the tech, is not giving up yet.

    • How Secure Are Wi-Fi Security Cameras?
    • Trump-Kim Meeting Was a Magnet For Russian Cyberattacks
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The stark relationship between income inequality and crime

      A new survey by Gallup, a polling organisation, appears to go some way to verifying Becker’s theory. It asked 148,000 people in 142 countries about their perceptions of crime and how safe they feel across four measures: whether they trust the local police; whether they feel safe walking home alone; if they have had property or money stolen; and whether they have been assaulted over the past year. Testing the correlation between these questions and the amount of income inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) in any given country shows a strong and positive relationship (see chart above).

    • Pakistan violates ceasefire again, kills 2 BSF jawans

      This comes days after India and Pakistan mutually agreed to undertake sincere measures to improve the existing situation ensuring peace and avoidance of hardships to the civilians along the borders.

    • London Bridge attack hero feels ‘abandoned’

      Florin Morariu helped people hide in his bakery then confronted the three men when they launched their van and knife attack on 3 June last year.

    • Underwater bombs pose toxic risk in Gulf of Finland

      “Historical data shows that about 60,000 naval mines were dumped into the Gulf of Finland during the postwar decades, although no chemical weapons are reportedly present there,” says project leader Anu Lastumäki from Syke. “There are more mines in the Gulf than in almost any other sea area in the world.”

      The metallic shells housing more than 50,000 tonnes of chemicals such as TNT and mustard gas have corroded over the decades, and toxins are seeping out into the Baltic Sea each year.

    • Huge explosives recovered from suspected Jihadi house in Birbhum

      Police is quite perplexed with this recovery of huge amount of explosives.

    • Trump Says He Gave Kim Jong Un His Direct Number. Never Do That

      “I wouldn’t be surprised if everybody has malware on Trump’s smartphones,” says Dave Aitel, a former NSA researcher who now runs the penetration testing firm Immunity.

      Furthermore, a CNN report from late April indicated that Trump has recently increased his personal smartphone use, including for conversations with GOP lawmakers, partly in an effort to circumvent the White House switchboard altogether.

    • Suspected Islamists behead 10 in Mozambique

      Ten people including children were beheaded in a village in northern Mozambique in a weekend attack blamed on suspected Islamists, local sources said on Tuesday.

    • Half pupils flunk school in crime-hit Swedish districts
    • Hand Grenades and Gang Violence Rattle Sweden’s Middle Class

      Part of the reason is that Sweden’s gang violence, long contained within low-income suburbs, has begun to spill out. In large cities, hospitals report armed confrontations in emergency rooms, and school administrators say threats and weapons have become commonplace.

      [...]

      “Crime is increasing and increasing, and they aren’t doing anything about it,” Mr. Garrido said. “It’s denial. Swedes are very good people and they want to change the world. They want the rest of the world to be like Sweden. And the reality is that it’s completely different.”

    • Sweden: “It’s Fun to Build a Mosque”

      In December 2017, Lise Tamm, Head of the National Unit against International and Organized Crime, said, “Rinkeby is almost like a war zone. When the police work there, they work as the military defense would”.

    • Sweden’s violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image

      Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities. News of attacks are quickly replaced with headlines about sports events and celebrities, as readers have become desensitized to the violence. A generation ago, bombings against the police and riots were extremely rare events. Today, reading about such incidents is considered part of daily life.

      [...]

      In response, the Swedish government has launched an international campaign for “the image of Sweden” playing down the rise in crime, both in its media strategy and through tax-funded PR campaigns.

    • A CIA agent, North Korea and Pak. bomb

      The project to unmask the Pakistani nuclear supply network in the U.S. began in 1986 when the CIA appointed Mr. Barlow as in charge of a project to find the people helping Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project in Kahuta. They began tracking any suspicious demand for dual-use material and technology from Pakistan. The CIA found a Canadian of Pakistani origin, Arshad Parvez, who frequently visited the steel makers in Pennsylvania. As surveillance on the visitor increased, the Department of Energy received a tip-off from Carpenter Technology, a steel-making company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The DoE reached out to Mr. Barlow with the information.

    • Sure, CIA called VHP and Bajrang Dal ‘militant’, but the agency is way worse

      The world came crashing down for far-right Hindutva outfits like the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) after news got out that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of America had categorised them as “militant religious organisations” in their “World Factbook”.

      For shame!

      And while this categorisation has added zero value to what a sizable chunk of the liberal population have already been saying for a long time, it did manage to annoy members of the organisations themselves. After all, what gives an American federal intelligence body the right to call a spade a spade? The VHP, which claims it’s a nationalist group that works for the betterment of the country, has called the CIA’s allegations “baseless” and “false”, and has gone so far as to threaten to launch an “international movement” against the CIA, should it refuse to reclassify the Hindu groups.

      [...]

      In a statement, the VHP’s Surendra Jain said: “The CIA is the one that propagated terrorism in the world. They are the ones who trained Osama Bin Laden and are responsible for destabilising governments.”

      It would seem as if the pot is indeed calling the (saffron?) kettle black. And while there is no denying that the kettle, here, is as black as it gets, let us take a look at the pot and ask the question in earnest: what gives an American federal intelligence body the right to call a spade a spade, especially when it has been the same spade for the most part of its terrible history?

    • Saudi-led coalition conducts air strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah airport

      A Saudi-led coalition conducted air strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah airport on Sunday to support forces trying to seize control from Iran-aligned Houthi fighters, who are facing their biggest challenge in the war, Saudi and Houthi-run media reported.

      Warplanes carried out five strikes on the port city of Hodeidah, a lifeline to millions of Yemenis, according to SABA, the official Houthi news agency. Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya also reported strikes on the airport.

      Ground troops, including United Arab Emiratis, Sudanese and Yemenis from various factions, surrounded the main airport compound on Saturday, said a source in the coalition-allied Yemeni military.

    • The future is African — and the United States is not prepared

      Washington’s policies toward the continent are becoming increasingly militarized. But that’s not the kind of help Africa needs.

    • Swedish man charged with complicity in 2015 Paris terror attacks

      Investigators also accuse Krayem of being part of the cell that carried out the 2016 Brussels bombings which left 32 people dead and like the Paris attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.

    • Erdogan warns Austria imam crackdown will lead to holy war

      His comments came the day after the Austrian government announced it could expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families and would shut down seven mosques as part of a crackdown on “political Islam,” triggering fury in Ankara.

    • Atheist Poet and Publisher Shahzahan Bachchu Shot Dead in Bangladesh
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Join the June 17 demonstration in Sydney and June 19 rallies to defend WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange

      The World Socialist Web Site urges its readers internationally to join the demonstrations and vigils being held over the coming days to defend WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and demand his immediate release from involuntary confinement in Ecuador’s London embassy.

      The near eight-year persecution of WikiLeaks and Assange by the combined forces of the American state apparatus and its allies is one of the sharpest expressions of a global onslaught on freedom of speech, an independent and critical media, and all the democratic and social rights of the working class.

    • Sri Lankan artists speak out in defence of Julian Assange

      He has done a great service to mankind by exposing the conspiracies of the imperialist powers driven on a warpath. In particular, he has made us aware of the rapidly growing threat of nuclear war.

      His life is currently in great danger. We have learnt from the WSWS that Assange’s communication with the outside world has been shut down and he is under 24/7 surveillance inside the Ecuadorean embassy. This is a gross violation of his basic rights. Ecuadorean authorities have knelt down before US pressure. Australia, being an ally of the US, has not defended Assange.

      In Sri Lanka, we are facing censorship and attacks on freedom of speech. Even though the government was forced to pass a parliamentary act on the right to information, it refuses to reveal the names of financial fraudsters. The government continues to violate the rule of law.

      Despite these vicious attacks launched by governments, many others will come forward to expose these conspiracies in the future. The step taken by Assange is only the beginning.

    • UK workers demand release of Julian Assange, support international vigils

      The Socialist Equality Party has received support from workers in the UK in opposition to the British government’s effective detention of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy on phoney breach of bail charges, and the demand for his immediate freedom and guaranteed safe passage to a country of his choosing.

      Their backing for the WikiLeaks founder is in stark contrast to the wall of silence imposed by the so-called media, the pseudo-left organisations and the Labour Party, including leader Jeremy Corbyn.

      In Bradford, the SEP organised a WSWS readers meeting to build support for Assange.

    • Writer Steven Brust on Assange: “I salute his personal courage and integrity”

      I send my fraternal greetings to those attending the Socialist Equality Party rally in Sydney to demand the Australian government stop the persecution of Julian Assange. The information Assange has worked to make public has been of immeasurable help in informing the world of the specifics of the crimes of the US government and its allies, and of the internal workings of its political machinery.

      This is a service to everyone committed to the fight for freedom and equality, and it is the only reason he is hounded and threatened and silenced. Indeed, one cannot help but wonder: what atrocities are being committed right now that we haven’t learned of because the unceasing harassment of this whistle-blower?

    • Film critic, cinema professor and journalist Joseph McBride: Julian Assange “should be freed”

      All journalists depend on inside sources and documents to help tell the truth about what really goes on behind the facade of governments. Often those documents are ones governments do not want revealed, but they are crucial for us to have to expose crimes and other social problems. The same goes for the information provided by inside sources. History, true history, is replete with examples of how such information has benefited the public good. Naturally governments tend to demonize people who provide the truth to the public.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Polar Ice Is Live-Blogging Human History

      Scientists reading layers of pollution can now tell what year Romans minted a lot of silver coins, what year a plague struck, and what year the Montreal Protocol cut CFCs.

    • Pope warns oil executives: Climate change may ‘destroy civilization’
    • Big Oil CEOs needed a climate change reality check. The pope delivered

      What’s really “worrying”, though, “is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground”. And in that small sentence he calls the bluff on most of what passes for climate action among nations and among fossil fuel companies. Yes, Donald Trump notwithstanding, most countries have begun to take some steps to reduce demand for energy over time. Yes, oil companies have begun to grudgingly issue “climate risk reports” and divert minuscule percentages of their research budgets to renewables.

      But no one has been willing to face the fact that we have to leave more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves underground if we have any chance of meeting the Paris targets. No company has been willing to commit to leaving the coal and oil and gas in the earth, and almost no nation has been willing to make them do so. Instead, the big fossil fuel countries continue to aid and abet the big fossil fuel companies in the push for more mining and drilling. In Australia, the Turnbull government backs a massive new coalmine; in Canada, the Trudeau government literally buys a pipeline to keep the tar sands expanding; in the US, the federal government might as well be a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel companies.

    • Decades needed to restore trees lost in fire: national park official

      When asked about the identities of those involved in the fire, Mr Khan from the national park said the main suspects were the timber mafia and hunters.

    • How the media ignored Puerto Rico, in one chart

      This week, we learned that Hurricane Maria may be the deadliest natural disaster on US soil in the past 100 years, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that most of the estimated 4,600 deaths were because of delayed medical care.

    • President Trump orders Energy Department to stop coal retirements [updated]

      This afternoon White House Secretary Sarah Sanders said that President Trump told Energy Secretary Rick Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to prevent coal plants from early closure.

    • Solar Has Overtaken Gas and Wind as Biggest Source of New U.S. Power

      The growth came even as tariffs on imported panels threatened to increase costs for developers. Giant fields of solar panels led the growth as community solar projects owned by homeowners and businesses took off. Total installations this year are expected to be 10.8 gigawatts, or about the same as last year, according to GTM. By 2023, annual installations should reach more than 14 gigawatts.

    • Trump’s environmental policies could lead to an extra 80,000 deaths per decade, say Harvard scientists

      In an essay published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, public health economist David Cutler and statistician Francesca Dominici argue that, even when using an “extremely conservative estimate,” Trump’s policies would cause respiratory problems for more than a million people over a decade, many of them children.

    • Yellowstone superintendent officially learned of dismissal through press release

      Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk found out he was officially being replaced by the Trump administration when he saw a press release announcing the news.

      A little later Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted photos of the man replacing him, Cameron Sholly, meeting with members of Congress.

    • Judge to EPA: you are legally required to turn over Pruitt’s documentary evidence for climate denial

      So the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the EPA to turn over documents Pruitt relied on to form this view, which is wildly out of step with the scientific consensus.

      Instead of complying, the EPA refused, so PEER sued. In court, the EPA argued that complying with the request would be unduly burdensome, consuming “countless hours researching and analyzing a vast trove of material on the effect of human activity on climate change” which is “a subjective assessment upon which reasonable minds can differ.”

    • Judge orders EPA to disclose any science backing up Pruitt’s climate claims

      On Tuesday, a US District Court Judge for the District of Columbia issued a memo (PDF) saying that the EPA must comply with PEER’s request by July 2, offering any EPA documents that helped Pruitt come to the conclusion that he shared on CNBC last year. If certain documents can not be provided, an explanation for their absence must be provided by July 11.

    • EPA close to finish line on rolling back auto emissions standards

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hit a major milestone today in its move to roll back auto emissions standards that would have had a major impact in lowering the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the EPA’s move reportedly sets it up for conflict with California, the only state in the nation that has an exemption from the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules under the Clean Air Act.

    • E.P.A. Takes a Major Step to Roll Back Clean Car Rules

      Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the E.P.A., confirmed on Thursday that the agency had sent its proposed regulatory rollback to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. Typically that is the final step before a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. The rules are then open for public comment before taking effect, during which the terms could still be modified.

    • Whale that died off Thailand had eaten 80 plastic bags

      The bags, weighing about 8kg (17lbs), had made it impossible for the whale to eat food, a marine expert said.

    • Why Are So Many Dead Whales Washing Up in the Bay Area?

      But by proving that ships are killing whales—by slicing through rotten flesh and hunting for rib fragments and crawling atop massive bodies—Halaska and her team can help influence policy. Getting ships to slow down in certain areas, for instance. “Every case that we do just helps to further inform the public and inform policymakers what’s happening in the oceans,” Halaska says.

    • How to spot the secretive activities of rogue fishing boats

      Vessels may take too many fish ­– overfishing – which is causing our fisheries to collapse. Then there is the problem of illegal fishing, which can occur in protected areas, in other country’s waters or on the high seas. Many countries simply don’t have the capacity to enforce fishery management rules. As a result, illegal fishing has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, worth up to $23bn each year. Because of overfishing – both legal and illegal – one third of fisheries assessed in a study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation were overfished and over half were fully fished. This threatens jobs and food security for millions of people, all around the world.

    • Ecological “law” turns out to just be the result of us fishing

      All the species in which older, bigger fish are found in deeper water have something else in common: we eat them. Could it be, some Canadian scientists wondered, that all the big fish are found in deeper water because we fished them out of shallower water? Apparently (and somewhat astonishingly) this possibility had never been evaluated. And the scientists found that not only could this be the case—it in fact was.

    • A Third of the World’s ‘Protected’ Areas Are Under Threat

      An international team of researchers parsed global satellite data to reveal that many legally designated “protected” natural areas are directly threatened by expanding habitat destruction, displacement and destruction of local biodiversity. Researchers found that, worldwide, “6 million square kilometers (32.8%) of protected land is under intense human pressure.” Western Europe and Southern Asia were particularly under threat; satellite imaging revealed that “[o]nly 42 percent of protected land was found to be free of measurable human pressure.” That means in many of the world’s most densely populated and fastest developing regions, the majority of supposedly protected lands are besieged by the march of human progress—through our farming increasingly depleted terrains, hunting their endangered wildlife, or extracting resources from the ground.

    • Puerto Rico’s power grid is in worse shape than it was before Hurricane Maria

      It’s the largest blackout in US history. It’s the second-largest power outage in the world on record. It has fueled a housing shortage, a suicide crisis, a spike in the murder rate, and likely more than 4,600 deaths. That a territory that’s home to more Americans than 21 states should suffer with so little for so long is a national disgrace. A hurricane is a force of nature, but a blackout is a human disaster, compounded by failures at every tier of government.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • How Did the Supreme Court Give a Green Light to Massive Voter Suppression?

      Now Justice Gorsuch has answered. On Monday, the Court released its ruling in the case of Hustad v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, an essential test of the Court’s stance regarding voting rights. With the critical 2018 election just months away, the Court’s activist majority gave Republican secretaries of state a go-ahead to resume the antidemocratic practice of purging fully qualified voters from registration rolls.

    • Facebook Fabricates Trust Through Fake Intimacy

      They instill trust by getting 2.2 billion users to forget about the platform and make trusted “friends” (and, of course, “friendly” brands and organizations) the center of attention.

    • The court’s decision to let AT&T and Time Warner merge is ridiculously bad

      To spare you the pain of reading the 170-page opinion yourself, I went through and pulled out some highlights. You will note again and again that Judge Leon goes into incredible detail about the businesses of the past, like how the deal might affect cable TV negotiations, while naively glossing over the details of how media works in the present and future. (Buying Time Warner will allow AT&T to… put together clips of CNN to show on phones? Very innovative.) You will also note that the government put on what seems like a very, very weak case. Here’s my condensed summary:

    • AT&T Is Changing Time Warner’s Name to WarnerMedia

      The business, which includes HBO, Turner Broadcasting and the Warner Bros. studio, was christened with the moniker in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg on Friday. As part of the changes, Turner Chief Executive Officer John Martin will be leaving the company — a widely expected move.

      AT&T took over Time Warner on Thursday after a drawn-out antitrust battle. The deal, originally announced in 2016, will let the telecom giant offer new packages of wireless data and entertainment content. AT&T executive John Stankey will now be running WarnerMedia, which has offices in New York and Los Angeles.

    • My Europe: Orbanism is sweeping across the continent

      Slovenia, with just 2 million inhabitants, is a small and little-known country. So when Europe’s leading media outlets announced that right-wing populist Janez Jansa had emerged as “the clear winner” in the country’s parliamentary elections, hardly anyone was surprised. But even with this election success, Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) still did not garner the levels of support it had back in 2011, when he won a second stint as prime minister.

    • AP: Trump campaign working with former Cambridge Analytica employees

      The AP reported on Friday that the campaign is working with at least four former staffers now affiliated with Data Propria, a new consulting firm led by Cambridge Analytica’s former head of product Matt Oczkowski.

    • Trump 2020 working with ex-Cambridge Analytica staffers

      A company run by former officials at Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm brought down by a scandal over how it obtained Facebook users’ private data, has quietly been working for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election effort, The Associated Press has learned.

    • Ex-Cambridge Analytica Employees Are Reportedly Handling Trump’s 2020 Campaign

      Cambridge Analytica was taken down after it was heavily accused of manipulating the results of America’s 2016 Presidential Elections. The firm also faced massive criticism for stealing the data of 87 million Facebook users without the consent.

      It has been reported by The Associated Press that the alumni of Cambridge Analytica who have set up a new company named Data Propria, are working on Trump’s 2020 election campaign.

    • Oprah Winfrey, Apple Sign Multi-Year Content Partnership

      Winfrey recently extended her contract with Discovery through 2025. Sources tell Variety that Apple’s deal with Winfrey does not conflict with the Discovery agreement. Winfrey remains exclusive in an on-screen capacity to OWN with limited carve-outs, such as her role as a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes” and her recent acting work for HBO.

    • Apple Partners With Oprah Winfrey for Original Content Push

      Apple will fund all the projects, which could include scripted TV series, unscripted programming and film, according to a person familiar with the matter. Winfrey will do some on-camera work and will retain ownership of all the programs, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing details of the pact.

    • Oprah Winfrey Inks Content Deal With Apple

      Sources say the pact includes everything from film, TV, applications, books and other content that could easily be distributed on Apple’s all-encompassing platform. (The deal does not include podcasts, as Winfrey has her own platform for that.) Sources note that Winfrey landed at Apple in a competitive situation with other tech giants, likely including Netflix and Amazon, all pursuing similar deals. Apple is said to have aggressively pursued Winfrey as part of a larger push to reach a broad audience.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Pak-Christians remember Asia Bibi on the 9th anniversary of her arrest

      Brave legislators, lawyers and judges have lost or risked their lives for speaking up for her or for opposing the archaic blasphemy law, the list of martyrs includes:

      Former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and former Minister for Minorities Shabbaz Bhatti both of whom were martyred for attempts to raise concerns over her incarceration and calling for a review of the infamous blasphemy laws. An early timeline of events leading up to Shabbaz Bhatti’s assassination can be read (here) .

    • The High Price of Stale Grievances

      Many black progressives use the myth of collective, intergenerational transfers of suffering to exempt themselves from the rules of civil discourse. Dyson, for instance, responded to Peterson’s criticism of the concept of ‘white privilege’ with the finger-wagging rebuke: “You’re a mean, mad white man!” Despite hurling this racialized insult, Dyson will likely face no consequences. The question naturally arises—what would have happened to Peterson if he had called Dyson a “mean, mad black man”? I think it’s fair to say that Peterson would have received something less pleasant than the round of applause with which Dyson was rewarded.

    • Vanity Von Glow: the left eats its own

      But this automatic association of free speech with the political right now seems to be ubiquitous, causing many on the left to abandon the principle altogether. One columnist for the Guardian goes so far as to argue that free speech is ‘not a value’ but ‘a loophole exploited with impunity by trolls, racists and ethnic-cleansing advocates’. To defend the right of unpleasant people to speak their minds is frequently, often wilfully, misinterpreted as a defence of the sentiments expressed.

    • Lebanese tourist referred to criminal trial for insulting Egypt on Facebook

      Mona el-Mazboh has been held since Thursday when she was arrested at Cairo airport at the end of her stay in Egypt after her outspoken video went viral on social media.

      In the video, Mazboh complains of being sexually harassed by taxi drivers and young men in the street, as well as poor restaurant service during the holy month of Ramadan and an incident in which money was stolen from her during a previous stay.

      [...]

      In a statement, the public prosecutor said Mazboh was charged with “deliberately spreading false rumors that are harmful to society and infringe upon religions.”

    • Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain’s Official Account

      This week the Twitter handle @Bitmaintech was locked down because Twitter administrators claimed the account belongs to a 4-year-old. The Twitter handle’s owner and Bitmain’s head of marketing have complained to the social media company’s support team and Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey. The account lockdown marks the second high profile bitcoin-related account that’s been banned from Twitter in just a few months.

      [...]

      The account removal comes at an awkward time for the Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who has been asked to address multiple issues tied to the social media platform. For instance, just recently the @Bitcoin account was banned and the topic was very controversial. The account with over 750,000 followers was initially suspended and then the account was restored with a much lower follower count than it had prior to the ban. Some people accused Dorsey of being biased and showing a conflict of interest towards supporters of the Lightning Network (LN) by allowing the banning of the @Bitcoin account. The reason for this speculation is due to Dorsey’s recent investment into the LN project.

    • Twitter Loses Round One of Anti-Censorship Suit Brought By Supremacist
    • White nationalist Jared Taylor can sue Twitter for banning him, judge rules

      Kahn was also sympathetic to Taylor’s claim that Twitter had misled the public by saying its platform was open to everyone, then allegedly banning people based on their political viewpoints. (In Taylor’s case, this would be the viewpoint that white people must maintain control over the United States, and that “when blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”) Twitter at one point described itself as the “free speech wing of the free speech party,” but last year it changed its rules to prohibit accounts affiliated with hate groups. The company declined to comment on Taylor’s suit.

    • Yandex and Google Put on Notice Over ‘Pirate’ Search Results

      Russia’s most powerful entertainment producers and distributors have written to Yandex, the country’s leading search provider, demanding the removal of ‘pirate’ sites from search results. The letter, signed by movie, music, and TV bosses, demands both detection and deletion of content. According to one of the signatories, Google will receive the same letter.

    • UK Govt Mulls Options to Make Anti-Piracy Enforcement Easier

      The Intellectual Property [sic] Office has published its latest corporate plans and strategies. In addition to improving services, the IPO wants to enhance the climate for rightsholders by making enforcement options, such as site blocking, both cheaper and easier. The IPO also wants to forge deals with Internet intermediaries while making piracy socially unacceptable to all.

    • French president Macron pushing for pre-election censorship of all news articles to combat “fake news”

      French president Macron, in an attempt to have the Power of Narrative stay with the offline-born old guard, is pushing a law that will reintroduce regular news censorship — even in old-style newspapers — in the period of time three months immediately before an election, in an effort to combat so-called “Fake News”. In this context, it’s important to remember that the most enthusiastic dealers of Fake News have always been governments themselves, usually assisted by loyal media.

      [...]

      Macron isn’t fighting against fake news with a censorship measure like this. He’s fighting for the power to monopolize fake news.

    • Action against Russian meddling cannot threaten our civil liberties

      The greatest threats to civil liberties often occur in the name of “national security.” History has shown that free political speech is almost always among the first rights to be curbed. In the ongoing debate surrounding appropriate remedies and responses to foreign election campaign interference, we must remain skeptical of any proposal that risks repeating this shameful history.

    • How China censors the net: by making sure there’s too much information

      One of the axioms of the early internet was an observation made by John Gilmore, a libertarian geek who was one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The internet,” said Gilmore, “interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” To lay people this was probably unintelligible, but it spoke eloquently to geeks, to whom it meant that the architecture of the network would make it impossible to censor it. A forbidden message would always find a route through to its destination.

      Gilmore’s adage became a key part of the techno-utopian creed in the 1980s and early 1990s. It suggested that neither the state nor the corporate world would be able to censor cyberspace. The unmistakable inference was that the internet posed an existential threat to authoritarian regimes, for whom control of information is an essential requirement for holding on to power.

      In the analogue world, censorship was relatively straightforward. It merely required state control of all the main communications media – print, radio and television – plus fear of draconian punishment for anyone daring to circumvent the resulting restrictions on information citizens were allowed to see. The 20th century provided numerous instances of how this worked – in fascist dictatorships, the Soviet empire and Mao’s China, for example – and how effective it could be in the pre-digital age.

    • British government extends censorship of online activity

      One year on from the June 2017 attack by Islamist terrorists at London Bridge, Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid used the anniversary to announce new authoritarian and anti-democratic “counter-terrorism” powers.

      The measures incorporate “the lessons learnt from the attacks in 2017 and our responses to them,” he said. One of the key lessons learnt, he said, was that the authorities could “do better” in sharing information more widely and locally.

      The WSWS has noted the intense collusion between British security services and Islamist terror groups. What is clear from the evidence that emerged in the aftermath of last year’s terror attacks is that the reason they were not prevented from their brutal assault was not due to “intelligence” failures.

    • Academics for Peace – Imprisonment, censorship continue

      In 2012, the Turkish government announced that it had participated in peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This was followed by a mutual ceasefire in 2013. However, this peace process was subsequently called off and the Turkish government introduced curfews in several Kurdish towns, most notably in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre and Silopi.

      A group of academics formed the initiative called Academics for Peace in 2012 to monitor the peace process and to contribute to the search for a peaceful solution from an academic perspective.

      The curfews in Kurdish towns brought about extreme violations of civilian human rights. In response to these dreadful violations, on 11 January 2016 the Academics for Peace released a petition entitled ‘We will not be a party to this crime’. The primary purpose of this petition was to urge the different parties to find a peaceful solution. In particular it called on the Turkish government to end the curfews in Kurdish provinces.

    • Interior Department’s Screen of Meeting Abstracts Called Censorship

      USGS scientists need approval from a political appointee before they can present research at two big geological conferences.

    • Modern Journalism: Huffington Post Reporter Doxes Counter-Jihadi

      But her primary sin has nothing to do with her personal life, however lavishly O’Brien exposes it. The main reason why Luke O’Brien hates Amy Mek and wants you to hate her, too, is because she “tirelessly spewed far-right propaganda and, above all, Islamophobia.” He also says, predictably, that she is “racist.” As evidence, O’Brien points out that she has praised Milo, who is so “racist” that he is in a gay marriage with a black man; as for “Islamophobia,” of course O’Brien means that she opposes jihad mass murder and Sharia oppression of women, non-Muslims, and others — in O’Brien’s mind, as a doctrinaire Left-fascist, all those who oppose such things are “bigots.”

    • Tommy Robinson Drew Attention to ‘Grooming Gangs.’ Britain Has Persecuted Him.

      The controversy around him continued. In March, Robinson was suspended from Twitter, where he had almost half a million followers. The social-media site (which merrily allows terrorist groups like Lashkar e-Taiba to keep accounts) decided that Robinson should be suspended for tweeting out a statistic about Muslim rape gangs that itself originated from the Muslim-run Quilliam foundation. And it is on this matter that the latest episode in the Robinson drama started — and has now drawn worldwide attention.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • In nearly 500 pages of answers, Facebook stonewalls some senators’ questions

      Facebook did not answer Ars’ questions on Thursday evening as to why it did not always clearly answer the senators’ questions.

    • FBI recovers WhatsApp, Signal data stored on Michael Cohen’s BlackBerry

      In a letter to the presiding judge in the case against Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s long-time personal attorney, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York revealed today that it had obtained additional evidence for review—including a trove of messages and call logs from WhatsApp and Signal on one of two BlackBerry phones belonging to Cohen. The messages and call logs together constitute 731 pages of potential evidence. The FBI also recovered 16 pages of documents that had been shredded, but it has not yet been able to complete the extraction of data from the second phone.

    • Ross Ulbricht’s alleged confidant “Variety Jones” extradited to US

      Federal prosecutors allege that the 54-year-old Canadian was paid “at least hundreds of thousands of dollars” to work for Ulbricht. Over two years ago, Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for owning and operating the notorious Silk Road website, an online marketplace for drugs or other illicit materials. The operation is now defunct.

    • Senators press Amazon for answers on improper Echo recording incident

      Two senators are demanding answers from Amazon following an incident where an Echo device reportedly recorded a couple’s conversation and sent it to an acquaintance.

    • Amazon Faces Senators’ Questions About Echo Privacy

      U.S. Senators Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, and Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, wrote Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos requesting information about the technical design and privacy features of Echo devices and the Alexa digital assistant platform. Flake is chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, and Coons is a member.

      “Recent reports have raised serious questions about how Amazon collects and stores voice data, and what steps are being taken to make sure this information is not shared without consumers’ consent,” Coons said in a statement. “People have the right to know how their data is being used and protected.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Half of women in science have experienced harassment, study finds

      More than half of female faculty members in the sciences have experienced harassment based on their gender, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

      The report also finds between 20 to 50 percent of female students in science, engineering and medicine have experienced sexual harassment, with female medical students being the most likely to experience harassment by faculty or staff.

    • Amid rampant sexual harassment in science, academies aren’t ejecting abusers

      The report, released Tuesday, June 12, is two years in the making. In an opening statement broadcast at the report’s public release today in Washington, DC, Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, called it a “landmark” study arriving at the “right moment” amid the international Me Too movement against sexual harassment and assault. Yet the academies own policies regarding harassers within its ranks may highlight the challenges ahead for effecting change.

    • TV’s Top Female Directors Reveal How They Broke Down Barriers

      Variety gathered several top helmers with a range of directing experiences: Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”), Jodie Foster (“Black Mirror”), Linka Glatter (“Homeland”), Mary Harron (“Alias Grace”), Helen Hunt (“Feud,” “Splitting Up Together”), Melina Matsoukas (“Insecure”) and Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”). What ensued was a frank, funny discussion about the challenges they’ve faced, the barriers that lie ahead and what they’ve learned along the way.

    • 9 girls with fake tournament pass rescued from traffickers

      The victims have been secured at a shelter run by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Naptip), says the BBC who noted that five others were saved after they were spotted with a one-way ticket.

    • 5 Things About Self-Defense Every Woman Should Know

      Last week, a woman in my self-defense class said that she’d been walking around like Edward Scissorkeys every day for over 40 years. I asked her to demonstrate. She held up her mighty key-claws. I snuck up on her and shouted “Boo!” so loudly that she was startled and dropped them. Then I scooped them up, stole her car, drove to her house, and hid under her bed until I could jump out in the night and return them. Or, you know, I could have.

      That’s the most obvious problem: You risk losing the very things you need to escape safely. A lot of cars need keys to, well, be cars, and when you’re using keys for melee tactics, there’s a great chance you’re going to drop them. If you’re walking home and those are your house keys, well, now you’ve locked yourself out of your own house.

    • How a Rape Trial in Spain Ignited a Feminist Movement

      Women are pushing to change the country’s narrow rape law, which requires proof that an assailant used “violence or intimidation” and often leads to a lesser sentence.

    • Spain now has the most female cabinet in Europe
    • Indian chess star says no to headscarf, pulls out of event in Iran

      “I do not wish to be forced to wear a headscarf or burqa. I find the Iranian law of compulsory headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic human rights, including my right to freedom of expression and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is to not go to Iran,” the 29-year-old, who is India No. 5 and world No. 97 among women, posted on her Facebook account.

    • Go to hell: Philippines President tells UN human rights expert

      Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told a UN human rights expert who said the country’s judicial independence was under threat to “go to hell”, warning against interference in domestic affairs.

    • Being sued

      And this is exactly what Lovdata did when they sued me and the founder of the rettspraksis.no project. On Thursday the 31st of May, the lawsuit was sent to the Oslo courts and in less than 24 hours the judge had issued a verdict (PDF, in Norwegian) which closed down our site.
      Classic discs

      This is quite shocking. First, I’m very surprised that Lovdata didn’t contact us to ask us where we had copied the court decisions from. In the lawsuit, they speculate that we have siphoned their servers by using automated «crawlers». And, since their surveillance systems for detecting siphoning were not triggered, our crawlers must have been running for a very long time, in breach of the database directive. The correct answer is that we copied the court decisions from the old discs I found in the National Library. We would have told them this immediately if they had simply asked.

      Second, I find it shocking that the judge ordered the take down of our website, rettspraksis.no, within 24 hours of the lawsuit being filed and WITHOUT HEARING ARGUMENTS FROM US. (Sorry for switching to CAPS, but this is really important.) We were ready and available to bring forth our arguments but were never given the chance. Furthermore, upon learning of the lawsuit, we, as a precaution, had voluntarily removed our site. If the judge had bothered to check he would have seen that what he was ordering was already done. There should be a much higher threshold for judges to close websites that just the request of some organization.

      Third, the two of us, the volunteers, were slapped with a $12,000 fee to cover the fees of Lovdata’s own lawyer, Jon Wessel-Aas. So, the judge actually ordered that we had to pay the lawyer from the opposite side, WITHOUT HAVING BEEN GIVEN A CHANCE TO ARGUE OUR CASE.

    • I’m an abortion provider — Trump administration’s gag rule is an attack on poor women

      The gag rule, which the Department of Health and Human Services is now collecting public comment on, is little more than an extension of the Hyde amendment. The Hyde amendment bars Medicaid coverage for low-income women seeking abortion care.

      Its author, Henry Hyde, said in 1977, “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the…Medicaid bill.”

    • EXPOSED: 257 baby factories in Imo

      In its bid to eradicate the illegal orphanages, the Imo State Government uncovered 157 social homes which serve as baby factories across the state and recovered a number of children.

    • Over 160 children rescued from Lagos baby factory
    • New Jersey Assembly Shelves Vote on Banning Child Marriages

      The bill (A865/S2528) was scheduled for final legislative approval but was held over objections from the orthodox religious community and over concerns that the bill doesn’t make exceptions for young members of the military, said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a primary sponsor of the bill.

    • The multiculturalism umbrella: Made in Islam wool

      The West has been tolerant, but “tolerance in the face of evil is not tolerance, it is a crime.” It wasn’t long ago, we were defending ourselves at the Gates of Vienna from a Muslim invasion. Now, we welcome Muslims with open arms and generous welfare policies. Any push back to these open immigration practices is labeled Islamophobia, racism, bigotry, etc. But what cost do these changes bring?

    • Survey: More than half of young women in Finland have faced sexual harassment

      The survey, which was conducted in 2017, found that young women in particular reported that they had been the target of unwanted advances with sexual overtones. More than half of women under the age of 35 said that they had experienced such harassment over the past two years.

    • A Secular Muslim’s Guide To Drinking Alcohol During Ramadan

      When it comes to drinking during Ramadan, though, I’m lucky to be a Belgian citizen, not a Tunisian: Foreigners here are allowed to order alcoholic beverages at the few licensed restaurants and bars that stay open during the holy month, but Tunisians generally can’t. Merely looking Arab or possessing a Muslim-sounding name may lead a server to object.

    • Rajasthan Man Allegedly Kills Daughter To “Appease Allah”, Goes Off To Sleep

      Nawab Ali’s elder daughter Rizwana, 4, was found dead with her throat slit at their home on Friday morning, Superintendent of Police (Jodhpur Rural) Rajan Dushyant said.

    • Man Blinded by Father, Brothers for Falling in Love

      Abdul Baqi, 22, thought his family would help him get married. Instead, his father and four brothers accused him of violating Islamic values and removed his eyes to punish him.

      [...]

      The brother “went on to say that we are making a mistake by going to Afghanistan for jihad. ‘Actual Jihad is here in our house. The first jihad is here against this infidel.’ He was talking about me as I was bleeding from my wounds,” Baqi added.

    • In Iran, Christian converts face 10 year prison sentences

      Catholic churches within the country are closely monitored with surveillance cameras to ensure that Muslims do not enter, and religious schools are limited in what they can teach, an Iranian-born journalist, Sohrab Ahmari, explained to CNA.

    • Turkey Turns On Its Christians

      Under Erdoğan’s leadership, especially after the 2016 coup, Turkey’s religious minorities find themselves marginalized and isolated from the Sunni majority. Anti-Western and anti-EU rhetoric often morphs into rabid anti-Christian incitement with the clear message that the country’s Christian citizens are not true Turks, a message that the state-controlled media and government officials have either actively promoted or refused to denounce. Exacerbated by government policies such as the addition of jihad teaching to the school curriculum, these measures place Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities in an increasingly precarious situation.

    • Secret Christians in Saudi Arabia at greater risk during Ramadan

      If discovered, Christians risk excommunication, imprisonment and even honour killings.

    • Sonia Kruger to face tribunal over Muslims stance
    • Heads turn away when it comes to the Islamization of Europe

      This does not mean, though, that we should support all in this “populist” tide. Decent people should shun those who hate all Muslims, or really are neo-Nazis, or are thugs who may hide their contempt for the rule of law behind spurious claims of being martyred for the anti-Islamist cause.

      But the threat from such unsavory types is minimal compared to the scale of the threat from Islamization and the desperate battle now underway to defend the West. And the only reason such types are gaining traction at all is that, when it comes to the defense of Western civilization, just about the entire political establishment has given up.

    • French-Muslim website posts ‘hit list’ of famous Jews

      The Al Kanz staffer who wrote the reply added nine more names, including the Jewish philosophers Raphael Enthoven and Alain Finkielkraut; the French-Jewish historian Eric Zenmmour; the French-Jewish journalist Elisabeth Levy; and several other writers with critical views on Islam and radical Islam.

    • Border Angels Fight Trump’s Borderland Brutality

      America’s “National Pastime” used to be the heart of the matter for Enrique Morones. But in 1986, Morones turned his back on an impressive and lucrative career in Major League baseball, as the Vice President of Latino & International Marketing for the San Diego Padres, and became a “water carrier” on the desert. He soon founded the Border Angels, whose key purpose was the life and death delivery of water to those women and children and men who found themselves lost and stranded on the dessert, after fleeing their counties for a better safer life in El Norte.

      Morones, the first person to gain dual United States and Mexican Citizenship, has since joined forces with the United Farm Workers, Ethel Kennedy (the widow of Robert Kennedy) and others to give voice and a human face to the struggle of undocumented people, now under extraordinary attack by a bluntly and actively anti-immigrant Trump administration.

      In 2006, producers for the Flashpoints show traveled with Morones in a caravan that included thousands of activists, protesters and organizers across the entire country in the first “Marcha Migrante”, an action that inspired many spirited protests and demonstrations across the country, and in what came to be known as the “immigrant spring.”

      I caught up with Morones in San Diego just after a protest at an ICE detention center. just a few blocks from the US/Mexico border, between San Diego and Tijuana. The prison itself is relatively new, built in the last five or ten years. It is a private prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest prison company in the world. They warehouse over a thousand detainees in their San Diego facility.

    • Former CIA Chief Compares Trump’s Border Policies to Nazi Germany
    • Former CIA director compares Trump admin’s ‘zero tolerance’ border policy to Nazi Germany
    • Former CIA Head Compares Trump’s Border Separation Policy to Nazi Germany
    • Why Brits are turning against the police

      Yet the police are now widely disliked beyond those two demographics. These days, even conservatives and the respectable middle class don’t like the rozzers. A story beyond the hoo-ha over Lush and its anti-police ads might help to explain why.

    • Feds indict Florida police chief who framed a teen for burglaries so he could boast about perfect record

      Raimundo Atesiano was chief of the Biscayne Park Police Department in 2013, and he was proud to boast about his department’s 100% clearance rate for burglaries — but according to federal prosecutors who just indicted him, Atesiano conspired with two of his officers to frame a 16-year-old child for unsolved burglaries so that they could impress local officials.

    • Bodycam films moment when Emily Weinman was punched in head by New Jersey officer
    • Public university organizes Muslim religious celebration, claims it’s ‘cultural’

      Perry’s email correspondence with Zemore, also shared with The Fix, shows that he inquired about the university’s role in the event after business hours on Friday, asking how it can serve as organizer when the University of Michigan itself includes a disclaimer that “as a public institution [it] does not observe religious holidays.”

    • Migrants form “Mosque Route” in Balkans; Serbia also blamed

      Austrian media also point out to a number of videos in Arabic posted on the [I]nternet describing in detail the route through the region, towards the EU. Webinger pointed out that there is “a possibility of such a development of a situation that could lead to an increase in the refugee wave.”

    • The wind in my hair: one Iranian woman’s courageous struggle against being forced to wear the hijab

      The authorities are watching me, and my campaign, because they know how powerful it is that ordinary women are protesting. We’re like the suffragettes, we’re risking breaking the law for something we absolutely know is right.

    • The anti-woman violence feminists are afraid to confront

      We must depoliticize women’s rights. We don’t have to agree with each other’s political views but protecting individual human rights must be a given. In a world where half of American women are marginalized, we all lose.

    • West Papua Desk opens in Tāmaki Makaurau

      The West Papuan independence movement seeks liberation from Indonesian rule. Indonesia inherited the resource-rich region from Dutch colonists and has been criticised for its violent political repression of West Papua’s Melanesian inhabitants.

    • Green co-leader slams human rights ‘obscenity’ over West Papua

      Indonesia has just been elected to the UN Security Council for a two-year term.

      [...]

      She added that the people of West Papua were facing militarised oppression by the Indonesian government in order to seize their resources.

      “West Papuan culture and heritage is violently suppressed for access to their natural minerals,” she said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Deference, Not Delegation! – WIPO PCT Negotiations

      For developing countries like India, which have a reasonably strong patent examination cadre, it may not make sense to opt for this outsourcing mechanism.

    • Copyrights
      • Who should control the 1500-year old monastery manuscript of the Garima Gospels?

        As reported (“Gospel truths”, The Economist, March 24, 2018), the issue involves illuminated Christian manuscripts of the Garima Gospels, estimated to be 1,500 years old and maintained at the Abba Garima monastery in an isolated part of northern Ethiopia. According to tradition, these manuscripts, written in the ancient South Semitic language of Ge’ez, were the work of a Byzantine prince, Abba (Father) Garima, who is said to have founded the monastery in the 5th or 6th century. They were apparently unknown until the 1940’s, when they were first disclosed to an English artist, Beatrice Playne. Subsequent efforts at restoration of the manuscripts, funded by a British heritage charity, took place a decade ago, but only a few scholars have been permitted to examine them in situ at the monastery in Ethiopia.

        [...]

        In modern terms, the clash between the “aura” of the manuscripts in the context of their intended use for a small population of believers versus display to potentially a large public population is the issue of agency (what the article calls “heritage’). Are the manuscripts a piece of tangible property (copyright not being an issue) belonging to the monastery or can some foreign body claim control over them by arguing that such body is acting as a steward on behalf of the broader “universal” interest? Does such a claim extend to the need of scholars for access to the manuscripts? And finally– should the IP community take a greater interest in issues of this kind (just as innovation is not strictly an IP issue, but is still of keen concern)?

      • Politicians, about to vote in favor of mandatory upload filtering in Europe, get channel deleted by YouTube’s upload filtering

        French politicians of the former Front National are furious: their entire YouTube channel was just taken down by automatic filters at YouTube for alleged copyright violations. Perhaps this will cause them to reconsider next week’s vote, which they have announced they will support: the bill that will make exactly this “arbitrary, political, and unilateral” upload filtering mandatory all across Europe.

      • What is Kodi? Is it illegal and what are the real dangers of using popular TV player?

        Despite this, Kodi itself is entirely legal and it is perfectly within the law to have Kodi on any of your devices.

        It works in the same way as having a torrent program on your PC, which again is legal to have on your computer.

        The problem comes when illegally uploaded content is distributed across the network.

        The open-source nature of Kodi allows for anyone to upload and watch anything they wish, with the responsibility on the individual user to choose what media they consume.

      • The UN’s top free speech expert just denounced the new EU copyright plan as a “potential violation of international human rights law”

        Kaye’s report points out the grave deficiencies with the plan: that it throws fair dealing (the right to reproduce copyrighted works for parody, commentary, criticism, etc) under the bus, because computers can’t tell whether you’re reproducing a work to comment on it or to just make it available; that it leaves users who get improperly censored out in the cold, with no judicial review of the machines’ orders to block their speech; and that it tilts the internet to favour the (mostly US-based) giant internet companies, while imposing an undue burden on EU competitors who are just getting started.

To Keep the Patent System Alive and Going Practitioners Will Have to Accept Compromises on Scope Being Narrowed

Sunday 17th of June 2018 05:55:25 PM

They want to keep the pie and eat it as well

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 still squashes a lot of software patents, reducing confidence in US patents; the only way to correct this is to reduce patent filings and file fewer lawsuits, judging their merit in advance based on precedents from higher courts

THE USPTO has undergone quite a few changes in recent years, triggered initially by AIA and then SCOTUS downwards (‘trickling’ down to lower courts over time).

“The patent microcosm prefers to cherry-pick cases based on their outcome.”Among the main casualties? Software patents. The patent microcosm prefers to cherry-pick cases based on their outcome. The latest such example is Zeroclick v Apple, a Federal Circuit (CAFC) case from the very start of this month [PDF]. We wrote about it a couple of days later and Watchtroll did too (a relatively long time afterwards); it’s said to be about “(G)UI code” even though there’s no such thing (in programming there’s a callback function associated with pertinent GUI elements, but the GUI itself is just a layout, which could possibly be seen as copyrighted). Anyway, this isn’t a case about software patents or even § 101/Alice. Some say it is about § 112. Those same people (or a colleague, Charles Bieneman) speak of DDR Holdings, which is utterly desperate to salvage some abstract patents from § 101; the ‘famous’ case of DDR Holdings was mentioned a lot in 2016 (even here, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]), but it was rarely cited since. The word “Saves” (not “Survives” as patent maximalists typically put it) was used to describe the following move:

The Federal Circuit’s famous (or infamous) decision that one DDR Holdings’ patent was not invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 was used to support a district court’s denial of a motion for judgment of § 101 for three other DDR Holdings’ patents. In DDR Holdings, LLC v. Priceline.com, LLC, No. 17-498 (D. Del. June 5, 2018), the court denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings, because the three present patents-in-suit share the same inventive concept” as U.S. 7,818,399, which the Federal Circuit held patent-eligible in its 2014 decision in DDR Holdings, LLC v. Priceline.com, LLC.

The previously-litigated ’399 patent is entitled “Methods of expanding commercial opportunities for internet websites through coordinated offsite marketing,” and claims, in a nutshell, one online merchant to presenting retail opportunities framed with branding of another online merchant.

If business methods or software patents are being authorised by the district court, it oughtn’t necessarily mean that CAFC will agree. In fact, it seems quite likely that an appeal would void these patents, judging by the deviation in views and interpretations (CAFC is a lot harsher or stricter than any of the district courts). Ideally, in order to improve certainty around patent eligibility, the district courts will need to become more like CAFC, which itself became more like SCOTUS. That’s just how application of law works. The precedents cascade downwards, not upwards.

“If business methods or software patents are being authorised by the district court, it oughtn’t necessarily mean that CAFC will agree.”Staying with that same law firm/site, which is actually not bad at all (pretty moderate), here they give a new example of 35 U.S.C. § 101 in action. It still puts an end to a lot of patents wrongly granted by the Office, especially software patents. Well, the ‘famous’ case of DDR Holdings was brought up to no avail:

Patent claims directed to monitoring Internet activity “to increase the objectivity of the search results returned responsive to a search for talented original content creators” were held invalid under the Alice/Mayo abstract idea test and 35 U.S.C. § 101. Accordingly, in Talent Broker Tech. LLC v. Musical.ly, Inc., CV 17-08532 SJO (MRWx) (C.D. Cal. May 22, 2018), the Court granted the defendant’s Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss, finding claims of US 8,510,154 and US 8,630,894 patent-ineligible.

This was the defendant’s second motion to dismiss, the first having been granted with the plaintiff given the significantly more than an old and fundamental idea. As before, on the present motion the court found “that the claims of the Patents-in-Suit are directed to the abstract idea of organizing, differentiating and retrieving information.” For example, claim 1 of the ’894 patent, said the court,

It was a software patent and now it’s gone. Bieneman’s colleague Daniel Hegner meanwhile covered a district court case regarding a major patent troll, Uniloc. This troll is losing yet another software/abstract patent, owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101. To quote Hegner:

N. District Court of California grants Apple’s 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings (following full briefing and oral argument) finding claims of U.S. Pat. No. 6,661,203 ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 based on broad functional claim language that does not recite how to achieve the claimed process beyond what is known in the admitted prior art. Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., Civil No. C 18-00358 WHA (N.D. Cal. May 18, 2018).

Uniloc (Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg) sued Apple for infringement of its battery charging and discharging system.

There have been other examples lately, especially at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Sooner or later Uniloc might go out of ‘business’. It operates via rather dodgy proxies (like the one in Luxembourg, Europe) and its patents are being axed one by one, sometimes owing to the bounties-offering Unified Patents.

“For law firms, as well as for courts, predictability is very important. They otherwise look like fools or cheats to their clients.”Seeing that such patents mostly perish in the face of § 101 we have to wonder how long it will be before: 1) the USTPO will quit issuing such patents. 2) patent law firms will stop advising clients to pursue such patents (or clients themselves lose interest). 3) no more lawsuits of this kind will be filed, knowing the the outcome will be favourable to the defendant or neither side (both sides just having to pay legal bills, potentially with the plaintiff footing both sides’ bills).

The sooner (1)-(3) may happen, the more rational, sane and predictable the US patent system will become. For law firms, as well as for courts, predictability is very important. They otherwise look like fools or cheats to their clients.

The Affairs of the USPTO Have Turned Into Somewhat of a Battle Against the Courts, Which Are Simply Applying the Law to Invalidate US Patents

Sunday 17th of June 2018 03:24:53 PM

Poor assessment of patent applications can now be stopped or compensated for by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and, failing that, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC)


A “death squad” is what patent maximalists nowadays call a court (where the only casualty is a piece of paper, or a low-quality patent which US law renders invalid)

Summary: The struggle between law, public interest, and the Cult of Patents (which only ever celebrates more patents and lawsuits) as observed in the midst of recent events in the United States

THE ideology of patent maximalism is a toxic one and it is infectious only within circles that sell, trade, and exploit patents for litigation, not innovation. It’s all about financial motivations and those motivated to spread patent maximalism typically profit from mass litigation. It’s their most expensive “product” or “service” as it can last several years (appeals, discovery, so-called ‘damages’ with a ‘cut’ for respective law firms).

“They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.”Earlier this year we started habitually referring to “patent maximalism” (of the “patent microcosm”) as “Cult of Patents” because it has become almost like a religion to these people. They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.

“A reader suggested this chart as we approach U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000,” Patently-O wrote on Friday. As we said before, it’s a pretty meaningless milestone from this Cult of Patents (the patent maximalists). Half a decade or so after Alice and nearly a decade after the Bilski case the Office just granted far too many patents far too fast. Look at the rate of expansion of grants; do people invent twice as many things today as they did about a decade ago? Or a hundred times more than a century ago? Or maybe it’s just patent maximalism taking over, dubbing just about anything an “invention” and justifying/ permitting a monopoly on it?

“Earlier this year we started habitually referring to “patent maximalism” (of the “patent microcosm”) as “Cult of Patents” because it has become almost like a religion to these people. They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.”Juvan Bonni at Patently-O is now promoting Koch-funded patent lobbying from Adam Mossoff. These are patents-maximising boosters/nuts who promote billionaires’ agenda and defend patent trolls. Bonni is also promoting ISDS for patents. Look what Patently-O is being reduced to; it’s like another Watchtroll or IAM. The more their agenda gets curtailed, the more extreme they seem to become. They already call judges “death squads”, so what next? “Nazis”? They then ‘interview’ USPTO officials like Michelle Lee, later to sort of attack them (after they had met them); the following old meme comes to mind, only in reverse (reality first, then Internet):

To repair the reputation of USPTO-granted patents Mr. Iancu will need to ignore lobbyists like David Kappos and work towards granting less, based on solid eligibility criteria (such as § 101 and beyond, taking note of Federal Circuit cases/caselaw). As the CCIA’s patents person put it the other day:

Here’s another fun one from the Kappos/Sachs database: 14/118458. Rejected in the US under § 101. Except it’s rejected under § 101 because its an “e-cat” fusion claim, the modern equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. I think we can all agree that the PTO can reject those.

Timothy Au, who recently helped the EPO‘s tyrant Battistelli lie about patent "quality", now speaks about Delaware and East Texas. It’s just the latest TC Heartland spin basically. “Delaware is now the US’s number one patent litigation venue,” IAM said, “but there are several reasons why it is unlikely to become the Eastern District of Texas, mark 2.” That is what a “study claims,” according to IAM’s headline. The name of the firm/person behind this ‘study’ is blocked by a paywall unfortunately (likely intentional). To quote:

Research into the increase in patent suits in the District of Delaware following TC Heartland has found that the venue shift is likely to result in less litigation from patent assertion entities (PAEs), while also revealing that firms incorporated in Delaware have been impacted by the changes resulting from the Supreme Court’s landmark decision most positively. The TC Heartland ruling reinterpreted venue selection rules in the US and drastically reduced the choices a patent owner faces when deciding where to file an infringement lawsuit.

Not too long ago they boosted the likes of “4iP Council”, basically attempting to deny growth of patent trolls' activity in Europe. We’ve sadly entered this ugly phase where amid efforts to improve patent quality in the US, notably owing to PTAB, USPTO officials like Michelle Lee get defamed and ousted (we won’t attribute that to chauvinism, but with people like Watchtroll anything is possible). In Europe, those who speak out in favour of patent quality (or proper examination) are being painted “Nazis” by Battistelli and in the US it’s “death squads” (with Nazi Germany connotations).

“In Europe, those who speak out in favour of patent quality (or proper examination) are being painted “Nazis” by Battistelli and in the US it’s “death squads” (with Nazi Germany connotations).”Frankly, speaking for myself, I have lost count of the number of threatening letters I’ve received in recent years (either death wishes or threats to sue me), but this is the kind of climate we now have in the patent world (more like a patent Hell).

In light of SAS Inst., Inc. v Iancu, another SCOTUS case among many, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. et al v Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is being revisited right now. “Institution of Claims Based on SAS Mandate May Not Simplify Issues for Trial Such That a Stay of Litigation is Warranted,” Docket Navigator wrote before the weekend. To quote:

Following the PTAB’s supplemental institution decision in light of SAS Inst., Inc. v. Iancu, ___ U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 1348, 1352–54 (2018) instituting inter partes review of all challenged claims of the patents-in-suit, the court granted defendants’ motion to stay because the potential for simplification of issues, the stage of the litigation, and lack of prejudice to plaintiff weighed in favor of a stay.

This is PTAB’s efficiency being challenged, in addition to PTAB members/staff being smeared if not defamed almost every single day. As we noted a couple of days ago, one US politician is currently trying to deny PTAB's involvement in the pharmaceutical sector (we suspect because large pharmaceutical companies ‘contributed’ to him). Earlier today the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO), basically a front group for such corporations (like BIO, an anti-PTAB group), advertised this upcming “discussion of how the Supreme Court’s recent to grant cert in Oil States and SAS decisions could impact PTAB invalidity proceedings in the bio/pharma space.”

“They attempt to undermine — not merely shape — the law.”Oil States actually reiforced PTAB’s role, quite strongly in fact. What they hope to do is undermine PTAB’s reach (bar “scams” such as Allergan’s), especially for their sector. They attempt to undermine — not merely shape — the law.

Here we are in the middle of 2018 and it almost looks like a ‘civil war’ in the US; the courts are applying the law, hinged on the US Constitution, but then come a bunch of patent profiteers bashing their own country in an effort to create a state of panic, rationalising profound changes to the law.

Patent Marketing Disguised as Patent ‘Advice’

Sunday 17th of June 2018 02:22:51 PM

Summary: The meta-industry which profits from patents and lawsuits claims that it’s guiding us and pursuing innovation, but in reality its sole goal is enriching itself, even if that means holding science back

WE’D LIKE to take a moment aside from the usual EPO and USPTO focus. Something ought to be said which was said here many times before but merits extra emphasis.

“The problem is, such patent consultants or practitioners or whatever they call themselves are rarely independent and impartial observers.”When it comes to patent advisors, their motivation is usually to get more business or “returning customers”. This means that advice would likely gravitate towards lawsuits, even futile ones that cannot be won. The problem is, such patent consultants or practitioners or whatever they call themselves are rarely independent and impartial observers. They’re personally involved and they’re immersed in a particular industry that relies on certain activities — a subject we shall cover separately in our next post.

Patent attorneys and lawyers are typically in the ‘business’ of advising on how to manage the mess which they themselves create (or at least perpetuate); we say so with no intention of offending anyone in particular. It’s just putting the simple truth out there. Sure, there are some attorneys and lawyers who are honest and with great integrity (some of them send us information and material); some are willing to express the occasional dissent towards patent maximalism — at great risk of being framed “traitors” to their profession. But they’re the exception rather than the norm. They won’t be the ones to become abundantly wealthy.

“The latter — prior art — is very important as it helps document the history of science and credit/attribute the correct people for their contribution to the sciences.”To give a couple of examples from several hours ago, over at Patent Docs they now market or promote some upcoming ‘webinars’ (“Patent Portfolio Management” and “Post-Sale Restrictions”), as they typically do on a Sunday. The real (underlying) purpose of these is to spur more patent activity, e.g. applications, sales, lawsuits. It’s quite a departure from the original/intended goal of patents. Nowadays it’s not even inventors who write their patents; it’s typically law firms.

Another blog which is more moderate (in our experience it is neither dishonest nor extremist at all) speaks of general tips, e.g. Charles Bieneman on drafting of patents and prior art (relevant to 35 U.S.C. § 102). The latter — prior art — is very important as it helps document the history of science and credit/attribute the correct people for their contribution to the sciences. As Florian Müller noted when the EPO blocked Techrights (with tens of thousands of articles that sometimes potentially cover prior art), denying examiners access to information which may be relevant to prior art means that the EPO quit caring about facts and is nowadays in bed with the patenting and litigation ‘industry’. We’re quite certain some EPO insiders can relate to this sentiment. Well, two weeks from today their President will be António Campinos, who does not come from a law firm (unlike Mr. Iancu in the US) but has background in banking, i.e. money-making. Once upon a time EPO Presidents were scientists.

Microsoft is Still ‘Cybermobbing’ Its Competition Using Patent Trolls Such as Finjan

Sunday 17th of June 2018 09:27:32 AM

‘Protection’ offered only to those who pay Microsoft for “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]

Summary: In the “cybersecurity” space, a sub-domain where many software patents have been granted by the US patent office, the patent extortion by Microsoft-connected trolls (and Microsoft’s ‘protection’ racket) seems to carry on; but Microsoft continues to insist that it has changed its ways

LAST NIGHT I wrote my personal thoughts on the GitHub takeover (having been approached by British media for comments on the subject). I remain rather concerned, bearing in mind that there are some people out there who might fall for the elaborate PR campaign and actually believe Microsoft-funded voices.

I’ve decided to modify the following meme for illustrative purposes:

“Entryism is not a new strategy (see Novell and Nokia for example) and only the PR strategy has evolved.”Microsoft has not really changed. Entryism is not a new strategy (see Novell and Nokia for example) and only the PR strategy has evolved. For those who bring up the patent aspects of it, here’s a reminder from the Microsoft-funded IAM (funded by Microsoft as recently as this month, yet again).

They speak of “cybersecurity” in this blog post and corresponding tweet, but don’t fall for buzzwords; they speak mostly about software here. To quote:

New research has revealed that IBM owns the largest portfolio of cybersecurity patents, with a little over 2,500 families. Big Blue is closely followed by Microsoft and Samsung; while Canon, Intel and Google also feature prominently among the largest players in the space, the full list of which contains many of the world’s leading patent owners. But perhaps the biggest story from the new analysis is the growth of Chinese companies in the cybersecurity sector. Companies from the clountry [sic] take nine places in the top 25.

IAM refers to China as a “clountry” rather than a country. I guess some Chinese people would find that offensive. Are they “clowns” to this patent trolls’ lobby? Surely a typographical mistake, but still potentially amusing. As for the content, IBM and Microsoft pass software patents and money to patent trolls like Finjan which bully their rivals in the security space and are paying IAM for support (Finjan pays IAM, gets paid by Microsoft and Microsoft too pays IAM to promote the likes of Finjan). Are there any Microsoft competitors left (in the security space) that haven’t yet been blackmailed and/or sued by Finjan? Microsoft would likely exempt from such litigation only those who pay Microsoft ‘rents’ for “Azure IP Advantage”. That’s the ‘new’ Microsoft, selling ‘protection’ money. It did the same thing with SUSE 11.5 years ago.

“When will the patent office fully catch up with caselaw and stop facilitating these extortion rackets of companies like IBM and Microsoft, which carry on actively promoting software patents (as recently as last week)?”In other news, the following new article from the financial media speaks of a “Mystery Stock Surge”. This has nothing to do with patents however. Nevertheless, it reveals something about software patents of Dropbox, which could be an attractive litigation target for patent trolls after the IPO. Or maybe a plan to sell such patents in the future, offloading these to trolls?

A study from the intellectual property [sic] analytics firm Relecura notes that Dropbox holds a range of key intellectual properties, including patents to share files through a link and other ways that files interact with cloud applications. Its number of patent applications and acquisitions spiked in 2017, with the Relecura describing Dropbox’s portfolio as “highly focused” on two categories: data processing and transmission.

A handful of recent patents granted this week to Dropbox deal with syncing data with content management systems, an area that could be particular interest to a range of companies looking to build out capabilities in data management or data sharing.

These are clearly software patents, so why would examiners at the USPTO grant them after Alice? Why were software patents granted to Finjan? When will the patent office fully catch up with caselaw and stop facilitating these extortion rackets of companies like IBM and Microsoft, which carry on actively promoting software patents (as recently as last week)?

Links 16/6/2018: LiMux Story, Okta Openwashing and More

Saturday 16th of June 2018 11:12:04 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • The LiMux desktop and the City of Munich

      There has been a lot of back and forth around the use of Free Software in public administration. One of the latest initiatives in this area was started by the Free Software Foundation Europe, FSFE. It focuses on the slogan: Public Money – Public Code. There are various usage scenarios for Free Software in public administration. The span ranges from the use of backend technology over user-facing software, e.g. LibreOffice, up to providing a whole free desktop for the administrative staff in a public service entity such as a city council. In this article we will focus on the latter.

      When the desktops in an administration are migrated to Linux, the administration becomes a distribution provider. An example for this is the LiMux desktop, that powers the administration of the city of Munich since 2012.

      LiMux is a distribution, maintained by the central IT department of the City of Munich. Technically, it builds upon Kubuntu. It provides specific patches, a modified user experience and an automatic distribution system, so all desktops in all departments of the city can be easily administered and offer a consistent user experience.

      Distributions in the Free Software ecosystem have different roles, one of them surely being the provider of the finishing touches, especially to important software for its own users. Obviously public administration has special demands. Workflows and documents for example have a totally different importance than for the average Kubuntu user.

      In Munich for example, architects in one department complained that Okular, the LiMux and KDE pdf reader, would freeze when they tried to open large construction plans. When the city investigated this issue further, they found out that actually Okular wouldn’t freeze, but loading these large maps would simply occupy Okular for quite a while, making the user think it crashed.

    • The 10 Most Beautiful Linux Icon Themes of 2018

      You might think it will take you forever to settle on the ideal icon theme for your Linux desktop because there are a thousand and one options to choose from. And although that might be the case, it doesn’t have to be.

      Below is a list of the 10 most beautiful icon themes you can set up on your Linux machine this year. You can install some of them together with the themes they come bundled as a large project (like in the case of Paper,) or install them to use with different GTK and/or Gnome shell themes completely.

    • Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

      A fella in the United States is taking Microsoft to court to get Windows 7 put back on his PC.

      Frank Dickman, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking damages from both Microsoft and CEO Satya Nadella for what were termed “civil rights violations” that occurred when his Asus laptop was automatically updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

      He seeks either a new copy of Windows 7 or $600m.

      (Well, the lawsuit states “$6,000,000,000.00 (six hundred million dollars)” – so take your pick, $6bn or $600m.)

      According to the complaint – submitted to the US district court in Denver, Colorado – the trouble for Dickman began when his Asus 54L notebook, which had been shipped with Windows 7, updated to Windows 10 and “became non-functional immediately.”

    • Samsung Unveils Chromebook Plus V2 Convertible with New Processor, Rear Camera

      Samsung has unveiled on Thursday the second generation of its Samsung Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 convertible laptop powered by Google’s Chrome OS Linux-based operating system.

      Designed to help you be more productive on the go while remaining a thin, lightweight and stylish 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook, the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is here with a secondary, rear-facing 13MP f1.9 camera with autofocus, mounted on the keyboard deck. It comes with a new, more efficient CPU to prolong the battery life of the devices, as well as a built-in pen, which can be used for all sort of things from signing a document to writing a note or drawing a sketch and edit documents.

    • Purism’s Future Plans for PureOS, Malicious Docker Images, Samsung’s New Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop and More

      Samsung yesterday announced its new Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 convertible laptop, running the Linux-based ChromeOS. The Chromebook Plus “is equipped with a built-in pen and offers a light, thin and stylish design that delivers versatility, portability and a premium experience at a competitive price point”. It will be available starting June 24 from Best Buy for $499.99.

    • Here’s a list of Chromebooks with Linux app support

      Linux apps on Chrome OS made their debut on the Pixelbook at Google I/O this year. Since then, support has come quietly to more Chromebooks, new and old. Here’s a list of all the Chromebooks that support the functionality.

  • Server
    • How Docker Is Helping to Save The World (Literally)

      There are many different things that individuals might consider to be a life threatening event and then there are extinction level events, for example an asteroid hitting Earth.

      While the idea of an asteroid hitting Earth and ending all life is the stuff of Hollywood movie like Armageddon, it’s an actual, though remote, possibility that NASA is investigating, with the help of Docker containers.

      NASA is currently developing a mission known as DART – the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which is a spacecraft that will deploy a kinetic impact technique to deflect an asteroid. Christopher Heistand, DART Flight Software Lead, at the The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) that is helping to build the DART ship, detailed how his group is using Docker.

    • Canonical Cuts Its Own Path To Put Linux In The Cloud

      Linux has gradually grown in importance along with the Internet and now the hyperscalers that define the next generation of experience on that global network. Most of the software running at the hyperscalers – with the exception of Microsoft, of course, is built upon Linux and other open source technologies. In turn, this means that Linux and open source have started to become more important in the enterprise arena, as trends such as cloud computing and large scale data analytics drove the need for similar technologies in the corporate datacenter.

      Adapting the collection of open source packages that comprise a typical Linux build and making it suitable for enterprise consumption has led to carefully curated distributions that emphasise reliability and stability, plus paid technical support services and maintenance updates. These are typified by Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), distributions that have a long product lifecycle of ten years and thirteen years, respectively.

    • Team USA Fans Set to Celebrate Expected Supercomputer Win
    • How Docker’s CEO Is Growing the Container Pioneer for the Future

      Steve Singh has a very succinct vision for Docker. He wants to enable companies to modernize traditional applications with the Docker container platform. It’s a vision that is already transforming into market success for Docker as the company has grown from what Singh said was single-digit million-dollar revenue in 2016 to being on track for triple-digit million-dollar revenue for 2018.

      Since becoming CEO of Docker in May 2017, Singh has helped transform the container pioneer itself. In October 2017, at his first DockerCon, Singh’s company announced that it was embracing the once rival Kubernetes container orchestration system. At DockerCon 18, Docker announced new multicloud federation capabilities and developer improvements to the Docker Desktop.

    • imagine you no longer own your infrastructure

      Sounds crazy and nobody would ever do that, but just for a moment imagine you no longer own your infrastructure.

      Imagine you just run your container on something like GKE with Kubernetes.

      Imagine you build your software with something like Jenkins running in a container, using the GKE provided docker interface to build stuff in another container.

      [...]

      But this time it’s not your infrastructure and you can not modify the operating system context your docker container are running in.

      Sounds insane, right? Luckily we’re just making up a crazy story and something like that would never happen in the real world, because we all insist on owning our infrastructure.

  • Kernel Space
    • RISC-V Changes Merged For Linux 4.18, Early Perf Subsystem Work

      Initial RISC-V architecture support was added to the Linux 4.15 kernel and in succeeding kernel releases have been mostly modest updates. With Linux 4.18 the RISC-V changes are on the small side still, but with a few notable additions for this open-source, royalty-free processor ISA.

    • Intel Icelake Bringing New MIPI DSI Controller, Linux Driver Patches Posted

      While Intel Icelake hardware is quite a ways out from making its debut, the open-source Intel Linux developers working on the hardware enablement for its “Gen 11″ graphics continue working dilligently on this hardware enablement.

      Preparations for Intel Icelake support began with the Linux 4.17 kernel, have continued with the current 4.18 development cycle, and will continue for the next several cycles as all of the support gets squared away, just not for the graphics hardware.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Mesa Rolls Out Support For ARB_sample_locations

        Mesa has been plumbed in to support the ARB_sample_locations OpenGL extension and is now exposed with the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver.

        ARB_sample_locations was part of the “OpenGL 2015″ update but hasn’t made it into a released version of OpenGL, hence why it wasn’t a priority for Mesa developers. But now it’s been wired up within core Mesa and is currently flipped on for NVC0 in Mesa 18.2-devel.

      • Mesa’s VirGL For OpenGL Within VMs Now Supports Tessellation Shaders

        It was just days ago that the VirGL driver stack — which is used for supporting OpenGL hardware acceleration within guest VMs that is passed onto the host’s driver — picked up FP64 support while now its latest addition is ARB_tessellation_shader support.

        With the latest Mesa Git and the VirGL renderer library code is updated (as well as your host OpenGL driver supporting GL4), there is now support for tessellation shaders. The support has landed in Mesa 18.2 Git for this popular OpenGL 4.0 feature.

      • NVIDIA Contributes EGLStreams Improvements For GNOME’s Mutter Wayland Support

        GNOME’s Mutter Wayland compositor support is among the few Wayland implementations offering support for EGLStreams so it can play along with the approach used by the NVIDIA proprietary driver as an alternative to the GBM API used by the open-source graphics drivers. One of the NVIDIA engineers has just furthered along Mutter’s EGLStreams support.

      • Mesa 18.1.2 Released With Several RADV & Intel Driver Fixes

        New Mesa release manager Dylan Baker has issued the second point release of the Mesa 18.1 series.

        Mesa 18.1 has many exciting features and continues to see new bi-weekly point releases until after Mesa 18.2 has been released around the middle of August and then sees its subsequent Mesa 18.2.1 point release before that kills off the 18.1 release stream.

  • Applications
    • PIMP My GIMP – Season 2 Episode 10

      GIMP 2.10 is a steady, incremental update to a very solid and mature baseline. GIMP works well, and it offers the familiar tools of the trade to its users. New features come in small chunks, and you don’t need to fight the program. It works with you. I am less keen on the dark-theme modernization, but that’s something you can easily change. Performance is good, you can use hardware acceleration, and you have the rich, colorful range of filters and plugins, although this – mind – depends on the specific version of the program. Different installation methods will lead to slightly different results, but this is an implementation-specific issue and not something inherent that we can blame on GIMP.

      There are still problems, regardless. For instance, the macro functionality is virtually non-existent. And some things remain stubbornly difficult, whereas I’d expect them to be simple, trivial and accessible. Like creating paths. Very frustrating. Why not just offer pre-formatted SVG shapes, like speech balloons or traffic signs or whatever? Why do I need so many steps to make trivial objects? This is definitely an area that GIMP can improve. At the moment, it’s mostly intended for advanced users, and some options truly require a twist of mind that most people just do not possess. It would be nice to see GIMP offer more newb-friendly methods of image manipulation.

      In general, if you’re looking for a free and powerful image manipulation program, with an intermediate level of learning curve difficulty, a wealth of options and extensible features, and a reasonable workflow, GIMP 2.10 is a good choice. You won’t become a pro overnight, but you just might make your photos a little prettier. Worth testing, especially since version 2.10 only makes the good better. Take care.

    • NetworkManager Finally Supports Wake On Wireless LAN (WoWLAN)

      NetworkManager has finally landed support for dealing with Wake On Wireless LAN (WoWLAN) as the WoL-like functionality for wireless adapters.

      WoWLAN support for NetworkManager has been worked on by Canonical developers and there have been patches floating around for more than one year while just two hours ago, the triumphant milestone was reached of merging the WoWLAN support to NetworkManager. Wake On WLAN allows for systems to be woken from standby power similar to Wake On LAN with Ethernet, but instead using wireless. This support though does require WoWLAN support by the kernel drivers.

    • 13 Best Free Linux Voice Over IP (VoIP) Software – Updated 2018

      Voice over IP (VoIP) software enables telephone-like voice conversations across IP based networks. A VoIP phone service is often cheaper than a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone service and removes geographic restrictions to telephone numbers.

      SIP is the most popular VoIP protocol. This protocol enables two or more people to make phone calls to each other using the Internet to carry the call. SIP to SIP calls on a broadband internet connection are high quality, always free regardless of distance, and offer additional functionality such as free voicemail to email and phone numbers, caller ID, 3-way conference, speed dialing, call forwarding, simultaneous ring, call waiting, call return, caller ID block, and anonymous call rejection.

    • Calibre 3.26.1 EBook Manager Fix PDF files Conversions and Brings Faster loading of HTML files

      Calibre is a free and open source E-Book manager for cross platforms. The development team announced the new maintenance release Calibre 3.26.1. It brings several bugs fixes and some new features for managing book listing and book editor as well. Check the key features, the recent bug fixes and installation instructions down below.

      Calibre is one of the most advanced and well maintained e-book manager support many ebook file formats. Transferring e-books library from many of currently commercial e-Book readers with wired connection or wireless connection. It support fetching news feed and magazines from multiple major sources. Editing e-books with different file formats and many more Check Calibre features.

    • Proprietary
      • Google releases Mac, Linux app for converting VR180 into standardized editing format

        Meanwhile, “Prepare for Publishing” takes that edited footage and re-injects VR180 metadata so that it can be uploaded to YouTube and Google Photos for viewing in 2D or VR.

        The VR180 Creator tool can be downloaded directly from Google and supports macOS 10.9+ and 64-bit Linux.

      • Google releases VR180 Creator for Linux and Mac only — sucks for you, Windows users!

        When you are a Linux desktop user, it can be very frustrating when popular programs are not available for your platform. The same can be said for macOS, but to a lesser extent — at least it has access to things like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Like it or not, Windows often gets premium programs as an exclusive. It’s not hard to see why — on the desktop, Microsoft’s operating system reigns supreme from a marketshare perspective. Developers will simply follow the money, and who can blame them?

      • Google now has a Creator app for Mac & Linux that turns VR180 video into standard video

        The rollout of the VR180 format is well under way with the launch of the Mirage Camera in the US, and possibly soon in Australia, and Google is now working to make working with the video format easier for content creators by today launching Mac and Linux apps which can convert them into standard videos for distribution.

        The VR180 Creator app has been released for both Mac and Linux – sorry Windows fans – and is fairly bare bones, simply offering creators two options: ‘Convert for Publishing’ and ‘Prepare for Publishing’.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • In Defense Of Ubisoft: Crowdsourcing Game Content Creation Is Actually Fun And Non-Exploitive

        Crowdsourcing has obviously now been a thing for some time. Along internet timelines, in fact, crowdsourcing is now something close to a mature business practice and it’s used for all manner of things, from the payment for goods created, to serving as a form of market research for new products and services, all the way up to and including getting fans involved in the creation and shaping of an end product. The video game industry was naturally an early adopter of this business model, given how well-suited the industry is to technological innovation. Here too we have seen a range of crowdsourcing efforts, from funding game creation through platforms like Kickstarter to empowering supporters to shape the development of the game.

        [...]

        I’ll end this with a thought experiment. Imagine for a moment if I had written this same post, except I did a find/replace for “Ubisoft” and replaced it with “Sole game creator.” Does anyone really think the same level of outrage would exist? If not, then this isn’t a moral question at all, but a monetary one. And if that’s the case, it should go without saying that Ubisoft’s reputation shouldn’t prevent it from being able to try something good and cool with its fans.

      • You Can Now Play ‘TrackMania Nations Forever’ on Ubuntu

        A popular PC racing game has sped its way on to the Ubuntu Snap store — and I think you’re gonna dig it.

        It’s called ‘TrackMania Nations Forever’ (TMNF) and, for some of you, it will need zero introduction.

      • The Underhollow, a Battle Royale-like mode for Dota 2 is live and it’s damn fun

        Dota 2 [Official Site, Steam], the free MOBA from Valve has been updated with The Underhollow, a Battle Royale-like mode that’s exclusive for Battle Pass owners. It’s so good, it should be in the game.

        This new mode pits eight teams of three, to be the last team standing in a fight for cheese. You can bring two friends or you can queue up to be matched up with strangers. Even while playing it with people I didn’t know, it was an interesting experience.

      • Croteam are having a big sale to celebrate 25 years

        Croteam, developer of the Serious Sam series and The Talos Principle have stuck around for 25 years and so they’re celebrating with a big sale.

      • Oxygen Not Included just got a major update & a new animated short

        Oxygen Not Included, the space colony sim from Klei has a new major update out with another lovely animated short to watch. This is the same update I wrote about before while it was in beta, it’s just pushed out to everyone now.

      • Beyond Blue is an undersea exploration game from the developer of Never Alone

        While it’s sad we don’t have Subnautica, it seems we will be getting to explore the oceans with Beyond Blue [Official Site, Steam] due out next year.

        Beyond Blue, from the developer of Never Alone plans to release in “Early 2019″ with Linux support. Check out the trailer below:

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • GSoC 2018 – First month status

        Hi all, I am Chinmoy and I am working on the GSoC project Verifying signatures of pdf files. This is my very first post and in this I intend to inform about the progress I have made since May 14.

        Now due to some unforeseen problems I had to deviate from my proposed timeline. Initially my plan was to implement all non-graphical components in the first half of coding period and in the later half implement the graphical components. But while coding RevisionManager (this would have enabled to view a signed version of document before an incremental update like Adobe Reader does) I ran into some issues while designing its API. So I postponed my work on RevisionManager and started working on the graphical components. So as a result I was able to add basic GUI support needed to verify signed PDF. The patches are listed in T8704.

      • How to Enable the Blur Effect in KDE Plasma 5.13

        The new blur effect in KDE Plasma 5.13 is wowing a lot of people, us included, but a few of you have been in touch to ask how you can enable or configure the blur on your own system.

        Plasma 5.13 should (as I understand it) come with the swish new gaussian blur effect enabled by default provided you use the Breeze theme. Provided you’re on a Linux distro that has the latest Plasma release (like KDE Neon) you should see it.

        If you don’t have it, or if you want to adjust the blur strength and opacity, read on. In this post, we’ll show you what you need to do to get it working.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist

        Modicia O.S. Desktop Ultimate 18 LTS lives up to its name in terms of being an ultimate computing platform. It offers a very pleasing user experience that is ideal for office or home functions.

        It has the potential to be ranked among the best of the general-purpose Linux distros. I tend to favor Linux Mint’s homespun Cinnamon desktop as my primary computing workhorse. I keep a few winners on my various computers for variety and different productivity options.

        Modicia has been my preferred OS the last few weeks after I stumbled upon its smile-creating capabilities. Its combination of panel types and other user-enhanced tricks soon may qualify it for the default boot choice on my primary computer.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian Is Looking For Help Coming Up With The Artwork For 10.0 Buster

        If you are more the artistic type than a software developer, Debian is looking for your help. They are soliciting proposals for the artwork/theme for next year’s Debian 10 “Buster” release.

      • Third GSoC Report

        Regarding the functionality of nacho i’ve added the possibility to delete an account. SSH keys are now validated on upload and it is possible to configure the key types that are allowed. I initially just checked if the key string consists of valid base64 encoded data, but that was not really a good solution so i decided to use sshpubkeys to check the validity of the keys. Nacho now also checks the profile image before storing it in the LDAP database- it is possible to configure the image size and list allowed image types, which is verified using python-magic. I also made a big change concerning the configuration: all the relevant configuration options are now moved to a seperate configuration file in json format, which is parsed when nacho is started. This makes it also a lot easier to have default values and to let users override them in their local config. I also updated the documentation and the debian package.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Mir 0.32 Is Inching Close To Release With Many Improvements

            Canonical’s developers working on the Mir display server are putting the finishing touches on the Mir 0.32 release.

            Mir 0.32 is another big release as the developers remain focus on getting their Wayland support squared away. Additionally, Mir developers have been working on Logind support that is needed so Mir shells like the EGMDE example shell or Unity 8 can be easily accessed from the GDM3 log-in/display manager.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Why open source is good for business, and people

    Open source is all about freedom. The freedom to share, to collaborate, and ultimately, to innovate. It’s a concept that goes back way before the internet, but sometimes seems at odds with our online world and its demanding business imperatives. In open source, no one person or company owns a project; instead, it’s influenced by everyone involved – that’s what gives it strength.

    As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” — and it takes a community to create a healthy open source project. Everyone in an open source ecosystem has the opportunity to shape and improve the software and help with its development. Some will make a large contribution, some a relatively small one. But they’ll all be involved and they’ll all benefit. Away from these project contributors, the project’s end users can then identify the features they need, and pass new code upstream for consideration. Everyone can make a difference.

    An open source project has the best chance of growing successfully if everyone around it gets involved. From code committers to users, documentation writers to software vendors, platform vendors to integrators — all have a part to play.

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

    Data-as-a-Service platform provider Dremio announced a new open-source initiative for Apache Arrow this week. The Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow aims to speed up and improve the performance of in-memory analytics using Apache Arrow.

    The project will leverage the open-source compiler LLVM, and apply any changes to programming languages and libraries starting with C++ and Java, with Python, Ruby, Go, Rust and JavaScript changes to follow. With LLVM, Dremio says it will be able to optimize Arrow’s libraries, and low-level operations for specific runtime environments as well as improve resource utilization and provide lower-costs operations.

    “Apache Arrow was created to provide an industry-standard, columnar, in-memory data representation,” said Jacques Nadeau, co-founder and CTO of Dremio, and PMC Chair of Apache Arrow. “Dozens of open source and commercial technologies have since embraced Arrow as their standard for high-performance analytics. The Gandiva Initiative introduces a cross-platform data processing engine for Arrow, representing a quantum leap forward for processing data. Users will experience speed and efficiency gains of up to 100x in the coming months.”

  • Dremio Launches the Open Source Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow

    Data-as-a-Service Platform company Dremio recently announced an open source initiative for columnar in-memory analytics underpinned by Apache Arrow. The Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow utilizes open source compiler LLVM Project to substantially enhance the speed as well as efficiency of performing in-memory analytics using Apache Arrow, thus making these enhancements widely available to several languages and popular libraries.

  • Working in open source: part 1

    Three years ago on this day I joined Collabora to work on free software full-time. It still feels a bit like yesterday, despite so much time passing since then. In this post, I’m going to reconstruct the events of that year.

    Back in 2015, I worked for Alcatel-Lucent, who had a branch in Bratislava. I can’t say I didn’t like my job — quite contrary, I found it quite exciting: I worked with mobile technologies such as 3G and LTE, I had really knowledgeable and smart colleagues, and it was the first ‘real’ job (not counting the small business my father and I ran) where using Linux for development was not only not frowned upon, but was a mandatory part of the standard workflow, and running it on your workstation was common too, even though not official.

  • 5 Free Open Source Testing Tools You Can Trust

    Free open source testing tools have never been more popular, necessary or front of mind. Recent news coverage of the open source Kayenta suite of canary testing tools launched by Google and Netflix not only demonstrates that industry has an increasing appetite for automated testing, but also that the need for such tools is far more widely accepted.

    There are a few major pitfalls for the unwary when choosing open source testing tools, perhaps the most important being to be clear about is the difference between ‘free’ tools and open source tools, a distinction that often gets muddied. Indeed, there are legions of ‘free’ tools that are not truly open source, which can be an unwelcome discovery – too late – if not checked carefully first.

  • These top 8 open source monitoring tools will help you keep an eye on your containers

    Containerized applications are all the rage in the world of software delivery today. From startups to traditionally run enterprises, regardless of industry, there is an increasing dependency on Docker containers. But a broader view shows the growing complexity and challenges with containers. One of these challenges is the methods of monitoring containers. Monitoring tools are vital for the maintenance of the IT infrastructure of a business. This is where open source comes in. Open source is both technology and business friendly. This feature has proven so beneficial that even highly innovative companies like Google have chosen open source over other options. Open source ensures that innovation is an ongoing process so that the company does not miss out on technological advances of the time. With the growing importance of containers, monitoring tools, and open source software certain tools have emerged as the cream of the crop that many DevOps teams worldwide rely on. Let’s discuss the top eight open source monitoring tools that are considered effective in the market today.

  • ‘Talon For Twitter’ Paid Twitter Client Goes Open Source

    Developer Luke Klinker is taking the second iteration of his paid Twitter client – Talon for Twitter – open source, giving fellow developers inspiration and a deeper look at how it was made. Specifically, Klinker wanted to share the knowledge he’s gained over the years regarding the implementation of various features and code. Not all of the code is going to be great, Klinker says, since he started building it out as a high-schooler. However, there will undoubtedly be some eloquent pieces of code for devs to draw from as well – especially given that the app has technically been around since 2014 and undergone regular updates.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Microsoft begins rolling out a simplified ribbon for Office [iophk: "This Microsoft's gratuitous loss of productivity for those who have failed to move to LibreOffice"]

      Changes will arrive on Office.com starting immediately, with Outlook Insiders who are blessed appropriately will take part in a limited rollout in July. No plans are in place for the rest of the Office ecosystem, but we’d place a small side-wager on it happening to coincide with Office 2019. In all cases, the old ribbon won’t disappear, but it won’t be default anymore.

    • Microsoft’s Office UI update includes a simpler, cleaner ribbon

      Microsoft has given its infamous Office ribbon a much simpler, much less cluttered look as part of its interface redesign for Office.com and Office 365 applications. The tech giant has updated the element to only show the most basic options — if you need any of the commands the redesign hides, though, you can always expand it to go back to its more familiar 3-line predecessor and make sure you can quickly accomplish your tasks.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Is Okta®️ Open Source?

      What’s more, unlike Okta, most open source solutions aren’t delivered as a cloud service. Instead, open source solutions are delivered as self-manageable software that you can host and customize yourself, altogether defeating the purpose of an IDaaS (Identity-as-a-Service) solution. The outsourcing of the installation, managing, and maintenance of an SSO solution, like Okta, simply doesn’t apply well to the nature of open source.

    • Facebook releases its load balancer as open-source code
    • Database shift: Start with open source but finish with AWS
    • Microsoft’s New Operating System Based On Linux [Ed: Same GNU/Linux that Microsoft is blackmailing using software patents when it's not Microsoft's]

      Microsoft says that Linux kernel has been reworked with security innovations that were pioneers in Windows to create a highly secure environment. We are seeing something that many would never have imagined, Microsoft applying what they have learned from security working in Windows to a Linux kernel implementation.

  • BSD
    • FreeBSD Work (week #2)

      As I mentioned two weeks ago, I’ve transitioned into a new role at Intel. The team is very new and so a lot of my part right now is helping out in organizing the game plan.

      Last week I attended BSDCan 2018 as well as the FreeBSD dev summit. That trip in addition to feedback I got both here on my blog and twitter has helped me compile a decent list of things to do. Thank you all for the feedback so far. For the sake of soliciting possibly more feedback, here is the list. Do remember that I’m employed by Intel and that if you want to recommend something there should be at least some way to tie that back for being good for Intel’s product, and reputation.

    • Some Of The Early Ideas For Intel’s New FreeBSD Improvement Effort

      Two weeks back we shared the news that one of Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver veterans decided to change roles and is now focused on improving FreeBSD for Intel hardware. Ben Widawsky is working on FreeBSD improvements that can at least relate to Intel and it turns out the company has a new team of developers on the task.

      Ben Widawsky has published a second blog post about his new role at Intel. it turns out that “the team is very new”, so it’s more than just him working on refreshing the Intel FreeBSD support. He has shared a list of some of the early feedback collected for what Intel-related areas could be better improved on this BSD operating system.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • A GCC Compiler Port For TI’s PRU Processor

      Patches exist for taking the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to yet another processor.

      The Texas Instruments PRU is a programmable real-time unit made up of two 32-bit RISC cores for both general purpose computing and industrial applications. The PRU is clocked around 200MHz and has full access to the system’s internal memory. The TI PRU is found on ARM boards like the Beagle Board series most notably.

    • GNUMail + Pantime 1.3.0

      A new release for GNUmail (Mail User Agent for GNUstep and MacOS) and Pantomime (portable MIME Framework): 1.3.0!

      Panomime APIs were update to have safer types: mostly count and sizes were transitioned to more Cocoa-like NSUinteger/NSInteger or size_t/ssize_t where appropriate.
      This required a major release as 1.3.0 for both Pantomime and GNUMail. In several functions returning -1 was replaced by NSNotFound.

    • OresmeKit initial release: plotting for GNUstep and Cocoa

      Started many years ago, it has finally come the moment for a first public release, since I put together even a first draft of documentation. Stay tuned for improvements and new graph types.

      Oresme is useful for plotting and graphing data both native on Cocoa/MacOS as on GNUstep.

      OresmeKit is a framework which provides NSView subclasses that can display data. It is useful to easily embed charts and graphs in your applications, e.g. monitoring apps, dashboards and such.
      OresmeKit supports both GNUstep and Cocoa/MacOS.

    • The questions you really want FSFE to answer

      As the last man standing as a fellowship representative in FSFE, I propose to give a report at the community meeting at RMLL.

      I’m keen to get feedback from the wider community as well, including former fellows, volunteers and anybody else who has come into contact with FSFE.

      It is important for me to understand the topics you want me to cover as so many things have happened in free software and in FSFE in recent times.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Source University: an ICO to revolutionise the world of education and recruitment

      The online education market is seriously big business. Forbes valued it at $165 billion in 2016 and predicted that it’d be worth as much as $240 billion by 2023. The recruitment industry is even bigger, bringing in $150 billion in 2016 in the USA alone.

      However, both sectors are also riddled with inefficiencies and are ripe for disruption by the correct technology, properly applied. The Open Source University believes that it can transform two industries in dire need of overhaul.

  • Programming/Development
    • BLUI: An easy way to create game UI

      As part of an indie game development studio, I’ve experienced the perks of using open source plugins on proprietary game engines. One open source plugin, BLUI by Aaron Shea, has been instrumental in our team’s development process. It allows us to create user interface (UI) components using web-based programming like HTML/CSS and JavaScript. We chose to use this open source plugin, even though Unreal Engine (our engine of choice) has a built-in UI editor that achieves a similar purpose. We chose to use open source alternatives for three main reasons: their accessibility, their ease of implementation, and the active, supportive online communities that accompany open source programs.

      In Unreal Engine’s earliest versions, the only means we had of creating UI in the game was either through the engine’s native UI integration, by using Autodesk’s Scaleform application, or via a few select subscription-based Unreal integrations spread throughout the Unreal community. In all those cases, the solutions were either incapable of providing a competitive UI solution for indie developers, too expensive for small teams, or exclusively for large-scale teams and AAA developers.

      After commercial products and Unreal’s native integration failed us, we looked to the indie community for solutions. There we discovered BLUI. It not only integrates with Unreal Engine seamlessly but also maintains a robust and active community that frequently pushes updates and ensures the documentation is easily accessible for indie developers. BLUI gives developers the ability to import HTML files into the Unreal Engine and program them even further while inside the program. This allows UI created through web languages to integrate with the game’s code, assets, and other elements with the full power of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web languages. It also provides full support for the open source Chromium Embedded Framework.

    • Why (some) agile teams fail

      Teams are different because they are made up of different people with different situations. Certain practices can be easily shared across teams, but in my experience, trying to standardize processes doesn’t actually work and adds unnecessary overhead on teams. To make matters worse, the introduction of certifications in the industry has over-emphasized the idea that implementation of agile is the only thing that matters, rather than the idea that teams experiment and learn together what works for them. This is the same danger we face with capturing metrics on teams and using them without understanding their intent and purpose.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • The Broad’s CRISPR patent: The curious case of the missing declaration

      An eagle-eyed Katfriend yesterday alerted IPKat to a curious declaration published on the EP register for The Broad’s European CRISPR patent (EP2771468). Earlier this year, the opposition board revoked the patent for invalid priority (IPKat post here).

      The Declaration, which has now disappeared from the register, purports to be in the name of Thomas Kowalski, the US Patent Attorney who filed the PCT application from which the EP patent is derived (PCT/US 2013/074819). The declaration was posted to the EPO with an accompanying letter on headed note paper from a European patent attorney firm.

    • South Africa commits to substantive search and examination for pharma patents, amidst fears system could grind to a halt [Ed: evergreening means that in addition to patent monopolies they use tricks to indefinitely extend the monopoly]

      Pharmaceutical patent owners may have been concerned to read some of the key features of South Africa’s new IP policy. Recently adopted by the country’s cabinet, it seeks to clamp down on perceived “evergreening” by life sciences companies – raising the prospect of changes to patentability criteria – and suggests an increased role for compulsory licensing. However, the policy contains no concrete provisions to curtail or prohibit patents on incremental pharmaceutical innovations; and its only firm commitments – introducing substantive search and examinations as well as oppositions procedures – bring the country more closely in-line with international best practices.

    • After Two-Week Review, St. Luke’s in Houston Reopens Its Heart Transplant Program

      Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center said Friday it has reopened its storied heart transplant program, two weeks after suspending it to conduct an internal review of two recent deaths.

      In a written statement, the hospital said its review of the deaths “did not identify systemic issues related to the quality of the program” but that it had nonetheless reorganized its transplant surgery team, refined the criteria for which patients it would accept for heart transplants, and made other improvements to strengthen the program. It did not provide details.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • The Democratic National Committee lawsuit against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: A major attack on press freedom

      In late April, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a civil lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Russian government, Russian intelligence agents, Donald Trump election campaign officials and WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

      The 66-page complaint claims that Trump’s presidential campaign collaborated with Russian intelligence agents who stole information from DNC email servers in the summer of 2016 and arranged for WikiLeaks to publish the information in order to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and secure the election of a US president more amenable to the Kremlin.

      The lawsuit is largely based on circumstantial evidence and innuendos about Trump’s business ties with Russia. Salacious details about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow, Russian real estate deals and Florida mega-mansions sold to Russian oligarchs are offered to suggest that a criminal conspiracy must exist.

      However, the complaint provides no new evidence. The lawsuit merely recycles the unsubstantiated allegations of “Russian meddling” contained in a January 2017 report from the office of the US director of national intelligence.

    • Ecuador in talks to remove Julian Assange from London embassy

      Under conditions of a growing international campaign to demand freedom for Julian Assange, Ecuador’s foreign minister has indicated moves are underway to force the WikiLeaks editor out of Ecuador’s London embassy, where he was granted political asylum six years ago.

      Ecuador is negotiating an “exit” plan with authorities in Britain, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said on Wednesday. Valencia told the Associated Press the plan would be “one that encourages an exit, that we do not want to be traumatic… we do not want it to be an exit that may cause dissonance with international law.”

      Valencia’s appointment as foreign minister on June 11 was praised by right-wing media outlets in Ecuador. While saying he wants to avoid anything “traumatic” and illegal under the international law of political asylum, he has moved quickly to meet their demands to resolve the Assange “problem.”

    • Indian workers and students demand freedom for Julian Assange

      Indian supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) have won important backing from workers, youths and students for the World Socialist Web Site campaign in defence of Julian Assange.

      Indian Trotskyists will demonstrate to demand Assange’s freedom at the central bus terminal in Sriperumbudur, a global auto and electronics manufacturing hub just outside Chennai, the Tamil Nadu state capital, at 5 p.m., on June 19. On the same day, the Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality in Sri Lanka will protest outside Colombo’s Fort Railway Station at 4 p.m.

      The corporate media and pseudo-left in India have not reported on the situation facing the WikiLeaks editor in recent years, especially since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-supremacist Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) came to power in 2014 and strengthened New Delhi’s relationship with Washington. As a result, many people are unaware of the dangers facing Assange, and have learnt about it only from the Indian Trotskyists.

      In Kolkata, the state capital of West Bengal, campaigners spoke with students at Jadavpur University.

    • SEP Australia national secretary demands Australian government act to free Julian Assange

      The Socialist Equality Party has organised a political demonstration in Sydney Town Hall Square at 1pm this Sunday June 17 in defence of WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange.

      [...]

      The Australian government must immediately exercise the undeniable diplomatic power it has, and the undeniable legal discretion that it has, and intervene on behalf of Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and citizen.

    • From Pinochet To Assange: A Tale Of Two Extraditions

      The plethora of crimes committed during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile between 1973 and 1990 were exactly the type of abuse of power that Julian Assange would uniquely expose through Wikileaks. Both Assange and Pinochet have battled against extradition from the UK, with vastly different outcomes and contrasting positions taken by the UK government. Astoundingly, the UK supported Pinochet, a human-rights abuser, and persecuted Assange, a journalist who has exposed crimes of the powerful. Adding to this, the UK paid for the same barrister to defend Pinochet from extradition, and to later argue for Swedish authorities during their attempts to extradite Assange.

      The reality of the UK’s role in protecting a despot and prosecuting a journalist reveals the true face of a self-perpetuating, corrupt power structure which, based in part on the perception of freedom of the press, has falsely claimed moral authority on the world stage.

      The more attention we pay to the facts and history surrounding the UK’s part in the arbitrary detention of Assange and the protection of Pinochet from exposure, the more evident the corruption becomes.

      Julian Assange has never been publicly charged with a crime, much less convicted of one. Last year, Swedish authorities finally dropped their investigation, years after the UK successfully pressured Swedish authorities to string out the matter in 2013. Despite all of this, Julian Assange has remained arbitrarily confined by British authorities for almost six years, according to the findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD).

    • Whistleblowers defend democracy, say rights advocates

      Rhode Island Rights held a rally Wednesday outside the Federal Building near Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence to support whistleblowers facing jail time, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Terry Albury, who revealed government secrets to protect democracy from governmental overreach.

      Albury may be the least well known, so activist Randall Rose spoke about him in the video below.

      Terry Albury, a black Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent in Minneapolis, was required to carry out FBI directives that “profiled and intimidated minority communities in Minnesota and other locations.” Albury leaked FBI secret manuals to The Intercept, manuals that show how the FBI allows itself to discriminate, pressure people into becoming informants, and infiltrate groups. Albury was caught, had to plead guilty to unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and is now awaiting sentencing of up to 10 years in jail.

    • Letter: Free Julian

      It has been almost 11 weeks since Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange had his communication and internet connection access rescinded by the Ecuadorian government. The powers that be have made it clear that there is nothing they find to be more dangerous and harmful to them than being exposed to us. They feel threatened by the very idea that we might become less subordinate and more informed.

      This is partially why what Assange and Wikileaks stand for and have done for us all is so important and so dangerous. Every person who values transparency, justice, truth and accountability should be calling for and demanding freedom and justice for Julian and exoneration from prosecution for publishing leaked documents.

    • The Liberal Agenda – free Julian Assange – Tue 19 June, Wellington

      Thousands of Wikileaks supporters worldwide will hold protests at U.K and U.S Embassies on June 19th, 2018 to demand that the Governments of Australia, United States and United Kingdom pardon Assange and free the publisher from any potential indictment or charges in the U.S.

    • Clinton tries to troll Comey, gets butt kicked by WikiLeaks

      Hillary Clinton’s latest attempt at what appears to be a joke about her infamous emails fell flat on its face after WikiLeaks responded with an awkward reminder of just how significant those emails were.

      Clinton, who still hasn’t accepted the many factors which contributed to her losing the presidential election to Donald Trump, thought it would be a good idea to take to Twitter. However, she succeeded only in reminding everyone that (a) she can’t let things go, (b) she can’t really do humor and (c) she put national security in danger by using a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

    • Assange’s Ecuadorian Cave

      For over two months Julian Assange had no internet access and no contact with anyone besides his lawyer. Fifteen days is prohibited by the UN as prolonged solitary confinement under the Mandela Rules.

      His situation now appears unchanged except that he was visited on Thursday by two officials from Australia’s High Commission. It has not yet been reported what was discussed, but if consistent with that government’s action to date this would be an exercise to wash their hands of him, much as Ecuador appears to be doing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Easiest Way To Counterattack Russia — Go Electric

      I’ve actually had this draft started for weeks, and it rose to the top of the story list today by coincidence — seriously. The only thing I changed in the title was the word “hit” to the word “counterattack,” since the latter fit the day (the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia), the former seemed too personally aggressive in general, and counterattack really is what we’re talking about here anyway.

      [...]

      But that last bit gets to the crux of the matter. Russia is highly dependent on its oil & gas industry. Its economy is already quite weak and its people suffer under a low quality of life as a result, but it’ll get worse if Russia’s oil & gas business is harmed. And, more importantly for the Russian oligarchs running the show over there, it gets much worse for them if they can’t hoard another billion or 10 from oil & gas sales.

    • The Ocean Is Getting More Acidic—What That Actually Means

      Thanks to carbon emissions, the ocean is changing, and that is putting a whole host of marine organisms at risk. These scientists are on the front lines.

  • Finance
    • People Outraged After Amazon Found To Secretly Profit From “Unethical And Illegal” Chinese Sweatshops

      China Labor Watch revealed how dispatch workers made up more than 40 percent of the Hengyang Foxconn’s workforce, a significant rights violation of the legally mandated 10 percent ceiling. Chinese dispatch workers, kind of like America’s temporary workers, are given remarkably different working conditions between regular workers.

    • [Older] A Worrying Number of Amazon’s Warehouse Workers Are Reportedly Living Off Food Stamps

      The issue of Amazon workers relying on food stamps may be more widespread, as this news only represents the data that’s been furnished publicly so far. But in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Washington, Ohio, and Arizona, Amazon is among the top 20 beneficiaries of SNAP—and in Arizona things are particularly dire, with one out of every three Amazon employees needing food stamps to eat.

    • Microsoft tie-up with Walmart could emulate self-serve success of Amazon Go

      The Microsoft team, meanwhile, is said to include a former Amazon Go developer who is working on a way of using the shopping trolley as a camera mount for watching the products being picked up.

    • Exclusive: Microsoft takes aim at Amazon with push for checkout-free retail

      The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is developing systems that track what shoppers add to their carts, the people say. Microsoft has shown sample technology to retailers from around the world and has had talks with Walmart Inc (WMT.N) about a potential collaboration, three of the people said.

    • Microsoft reportedly working on rival Amazon Go tech for cashier-free stores
    • Microsoft tech may help Walmart get rid of cashiers and checkout lines
    • What if the NSA Invented Bitcoin (BTC)?
    • The NSA helped to invent Bitcoin, founder of world’s second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum claims

      The founder the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency has claimed US intelligence services may have played a role in the creation of Bitcoin.

      Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-born creator of Ethereum, suggested the National Security Agency (NSA) was involved in the development of the virtual currency.

      A person or group called Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper in 2008 which first set out the mechanics of Bitcoin.

      But although several people have been identified as the ‘real’ Satoshi, his identity has never been unequivocally proven.

    • Report: CIA Neither Confirms nor Denies Knowledge of True Identity of Satoshi Nakamoto
    • CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ They Know Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto
    • CIA Doesn’t Deny Having Files on Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

      The identity of the person or group of persons that created Bitcoin remains one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. Nakamoto’s creation has gone on to become the number one digital currency in the industry. Many have tried to unearth the Nakamoto’s identity without any success.

      Over the years, researchers have suggested some candidates such as Nick Szabo and Ross Ulbricht as being Nakamoto. In 2015 and again in 2016, Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist claimed that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He even declared that he had proof to that effect. However, many in the cryptocurrency community believe Wright’s claims to be false.

    • The CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ It Has Documents on Satoshi Nakamoto

      Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Ever since this pseudonymous person or group unleashed Bitcoin on the world in 2008, Nakamoto’s real identity has been one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. And based on a response to my recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, if the CIA knows anything, it’s not talking.

      People have claimed to have found Nakamoto on several occasions, without much success. The New York Times reported in 2013 that there was strong evidence that Nakamoto was actually Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the Silk Road dark web marketplace. Perhaps the most infamous unmasking was in 2014, when Newsweek tracked down a man in California named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto who was definitely not the guy who created Bitcoin. And who could forget the time that Craig Wright, current chief scientist of the blockchain company nChain, claimed to be Nakamoto, but didn’t produce satisfactory evidence to back up his claim.

    • Brexit crisis intensifies as “Remain” Tories reject bogus compromise on parliament having “meaningful vote”

      A supposed “ compromise ” amendment to the European Union Withdrawal Bill proposed by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Theresa May to head off a potential rebellion by around 15 pro-Remain Tory MPs unravelled yesterday.

      May is beholden to her hard-Brexit wing, led by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson , and Jacob-Rees Mogg. But even a small rebellion by Remain Tories would endanger her minority government reliant on the votes of 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs. Therefore, the first day of voting on Tuesday concerning 15 amendments to the Withdrawal Bill by the House of Lords centred on the most potentially damaging—agreeing that parliament must have a “ meaningful vote ” on any Brexit deal concluded.

    • Actually, NYT, Hurting Growth Is the Whole Point of Raising Interest Rates

      The Federal Reserve Board raised interest rates on Wednesday. According to comments from Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed board members, they believe that the unemployment rate is approaching, if not below, levels where it could trigger inflation. The hike this week, along with prior hikes and projected future hikes, was done with the intention of keeping the unemployment rate from getting so low that inflation would start to spiral upward.

      This is not the same as “express[ing] confidence that raising borrowing costs now won’t hurt growth,” which is the view attributed to Fed officials in the New York Times‘ “Thursday Briefing” section (6/14/18). The point of raising interest rates is to slow growth, so they absolutely believe that higher interest rates will hurt growth. The point is that the Fed wants to slow growth, because it is worried that more rapid growth—and the resulting further decline in unemployment—will trigger inflation.

    • West Virginia Paid for a CEO to Go on a Trade Delegation to China. Turns Out, He Was Promoting His Company’s Interests, Too.

      Last November, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping looked on in Beijing as officials from the state of West Virginia and a Chinese energy company signed what was hailed as a landmark deal for the state.

      Under the deal, China Energy Investment Corporation would invest more than $80 billion over the next 20 years in West Virginia’s natural gas industry.

      West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and other state leaders have been banking on the China deal, predicting it would create tens of thousands of additional jobs in the state. It was also described as a victory for Trump, the largest in a series of Chinese investments in the U.S. that totaled $250 billion.

      But on Friday, Justice revealed that an ethical cloud has appeared over the China deal: At least one member of the state’s trade delegation — a gas industry executive — was also working to help his private company on the trip.

      Brian Abraham, the governor’s general counsel, said the state was “using someone who probably shouldn’t have been involved in the negotiations” as part of its trade delegation.

    • Bitfi Knox Wallet: Open Source Unhackable Monero Hardware Wallet

      An international payments technology firm is developing a system that will enable businesses and consumers to take part in the cryptocurrency economy. The company, known as Bitfi, announced the introduction of the Bitfi Knox Wallet, which is not only unhackable, but also an open source hardware wallet with a dashboard which has a wireless setup.

      The wallet also supports other cryptocurrencies like Monero, being a fully decentralized private crypto which beforehand did not have a hardware wallet solution. After setting up the wallet, the devise will have access to up-to-the-minute software information. This will be instrumental in eliminating corrupt software which may be used by phishing criminals.

    • US Imposes USD 50B In Tariffs On China For Forced IP/Tech Practices, Cybertheft

      There will be a hearing in July and a comment period on the new lines facing tariffs.

      Of particular concern is China’s “Made in China 2025” program, which the US says will further accentuate the already offending policies. “This is simply a dagger aimed at the hear of the US manufacturing sector,” he said.

      The official pointed to the solar industry where it says China’s unfair practices resulted in making the market uncompetitive for US companies. When China targets an industry they have a tendency to create over-capacity and excess supply, he said, making it difficult for US companies, which work on market-based returns, to get the returns on capital they need.

    • Trump Raises Taxes on Chinese Goods, Eyes Foreign Cars Next
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Democrats choose former CIA agent for congressional nomination

      Primary elections in five US states Tuesday chose the Democratic and Republican nominees for three US Senate seats, four governorships and 25 seats in the House of Representatives.

      The results confirmed the main political trends in the two corporate-controlled parties, with both parties moving further to the right. The Republican Party is embracing candidates who echo the fascistic demagogy of the Trump White House, particularly directed against immigrants. The Democratic Party continues to select candidates drawn to an extraordinary extent from the national security apparatus—ex-CIA, military intelligence and combat commanders, as well as civilian national security officials.

    • Inspector General Not Too Happy With James Comey’s Handling Of The Clinton Email Investigation

      The damning report the President has been waiting for has arrived. The Inspector General’s report covering everything from James Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation (terribly with bonus insubordination) to a couple of FBI agents forming a two-person #Resistance (stupid and made the FBI look bad, but not illegal) runs almost 600 pages and won’t make anyone looking to pin blame solely on one side of the partisan divide very happy.

      It’s been claimed the report would finally show the FBI to be an agency filled with partisan hacks, further solidifying “Deep State” conspiracy theories that the government Trump runs is out to destroy Trump. It was somehow going to accomplish this despite many people feeling the FBI’s late October dive back into the Clinton email investigation handed the election to Trump.

      Whatever the case — and whatever side of the political divide you cheer for — the only entity that comes out of this looking terrible is the FBI. That the FBI would engage in questionable behavior shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the anti-Trump “resistance” has taken Trump’s attacks on the FBI as a reason to convert Comey, the FBI, and the DOJ into folk heroes of democracy.

      The summary of the report [PDF] runs 15 pages by itself and hands out enough damning bullet points to keep readers occupied for hours. Then there’s the rest of the report, which provides the details and may take several days to fully parse.

      Here are some of the low lights from Inspector General Michael Horowitz, possibly the only person who should be touting “Deep State” theories since he’s spent his IG career being dicked around by the DEA, DOJ, FBI, and DEA.

    • The Meaning of the Recent Lebanese Election (and How Hariri Suffered a Stinging Defeat)

      One can’t evaluate the results of last month’s Lebanese elections without understanding the real power of the legislative branch, namely that Lebanon’s bizarre sectarian system is a deformed version of a parliamentary democracy.

      The president ruled supreme prior to the 1989 Ta’if reforms, which ended the 15-year civil war and restructured the Lebanese political system. He was able to tailor the results of the Lebanese elections to his liking. This was done either through outright rigging (as Kamil Sham`un did in 1957 with U.S. help) or by gerrymandering.

      Furthermore, the Lebanese president (who has to be a Maronite Christian) had absolute power and would often push the parliament in the direction he wanted.

      But the Lebanese political system was thoroughly changed after 1989, and the powers of the president were greatly diminished, reflecting the changes in the balance of power between the various warring sects and factions in the war.

      New powers were given to the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet), although there is still an unending constitutional debate over whether the Ta’if reforms really shifted the powers of the president to the Council of Ministers or to the office of the prime minister (who has to be a Sunni Muslim). The speaker of parliament (who has to be a Shi`ite Muslim) was awarded an extension of his term from one year to four, although he remains largely without meaningful authority.

    • Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians

      One ad couldn’t have been more obviously political. Targeted to people aged 18 and older, it urged them to “vote YES” on June 5 on a ballot proposition to issue bonds for schools in a district near San Francisco. Yet it showed up in users’ news feeds without the “paid for by” disclaimer required for political ads under Facebook’s new policy designed to prevent a repeat of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Nor does it appear, as it should, in Facebook’s new archive of political ads.

      The other ad was from The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news outlet, promoting one of its articles about financial aid for college students. Yet Facebook’s screening system flagged it as political. For the ad to run, The Hechinger Report would have to undergo the multi-step authorization and authentication process of submitting Social Security numbers and identification that Facebook now requires for anyone running “electoral ads” or “issue ads.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Twitter to Face Claims by ‘White Advocate’ Over Banned Accounts

      But he said Taylor properly supported his allegations that Twitter’s policy of suspending accounts, in the judge’s words, “at any time, for any reason or for no reason” may be unconscionable and that the company calling itself a platform devoted to free speech may be misleading and therefore fraudulent.

    • Amnesty urges Pakistan to end rights violations, media censorship

      Amnesty International said on Thursday that the Pakistani authorities must end the current “crackdown” on human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other members of the civil society and ensure that human rights are fully respected and protected in the lead up to the upcoming general elections.

      The statement read, “On 25 July 2018, in general elections held across the country, Pakistanis will elect their next civilian government. Amnesty International is alarmed by the ongoing wave of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

    • What It Was Like Living With Communist Censorship of Books and Media

      One of my few prized possessions left from Romania is a tattered copy of the May 1977 best seller, “Greyhound’s America,” by Romulus Rusan, published under the brutal communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. I’ve never met the author until recently, during a reception in Washington, D.C.

      In 1977 communist Romania, the child of a blue collar family who did not belong to the Communist Party had zero chance of meeting any esteemed authors simply because we were not allowed to move in such circles. We were lucky if the labor union allowed my parents to purchase subsidized tickets to a play or an opera showcasing the “advantages” of living under communism and the tragedy of being subjugated by the “evil capitalists.”

    • Group Blasts Trump Administration “Censorship” Of Scientific Studies

      In response to reports this week that the Department of Interior is requiring USGS scientists to submit their presentation titles for political review and that the Interior Department watchdog found no basis for canceling a study into the health effects of mountaintop removal mining, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Advocacy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn…

    • Scientists at USGS face new scrutiny from interior secretary on research presentations
    • Amazon’s censorship ‘masquerading as commerce’?

      The sudden and unexplained disappearance from Kindle of a new book by Juanita Broaddrick, who claims Bill Clinton raped her in 1978, is raising anew questions about the online retail giant’s control of information.

    • Censorship Board revokes decision to ban film hours after announcing it

      Egypt’s Censorship Board went back on a prior decision to ban director Khaled Youssef’s latest film, Karma, on Tuesday.

      The Censorship Board had ruled on Monday to withdraw the film’s screening license, stating that it “violated the licensing terms granted,” without elaborating on the nature of these violations.

    • Tanzania Forces ‘Unregistered Bloggers’ To Disappear Themselves
    • Tanzania orders all unregistered bloggers to take down their sites

      Tanzania ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums on Monday to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution, as critics accuse the government of tightening control of internet content.

      Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, said on Monday they had temporarily shut down after the state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) warned it would take legal action against all unlicensed websites.

      Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license. Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.

    • Tomahawk HS valedictorian said censorship was the reason she didn’t speak at graduation

      A Tomahawk high school valedictorian decided against speaking at commencement after school administrators required she not reference discrimination, school shootings and gender inequality.

      The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the 18-year-old student said administrators at Tomahawk High School wanted to censor some topics for fear of provoking disagreement, judgment and making others feel attacked.

      Her speech was later published in the Tomahawk Leader newspaper.

    • DOJ Lets Cops Know SESTA/FOSTA Is For Shutting Down Websites, Not Busting Sex Traffickers

      SESTA/FOSTA was pushed through with the fiction it would be used to target sex traffickers. This obviously was never its intent. It faced pushback from the DOJ and law enforcement agencies because pushing traffickers off mainstream sites would make it much more difficult to track them down. The law was really written for one reason: to take down Backpage and its owners, who had survived numerous similar attempts in the past. The DOJ managed to do this without SESTA, which was still waiting for presidential approval when the feds hits the site’s principal executives with a 93-count indictment.

      The law is in force and all it’s doing is hurting efforts to track down sex traffickers and harming sex workers whose protections were already minimal. Sex traffickers, however, don’t appear to be bothered by the new law. But that’s because the law wasn’t written to target sex traffickers, as a top DOJ official made clear at a law enforcement conference on child exploitation. Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan’s comments make it clear SESTA/FOSTA won’t be used to dismantle criminal organizations and rescue victims of sex traffickers. It’s there to give the government easy wins over websites while sex traffickers continue unmolested.

    • Leonard Pitts: Petaluma High learns that censorship doesn’t work

      Here’s an axiomatic truth:

      If you want to make sure people see or hear something, ban people from seeing or hearing something. That predates the internet, as any former teenager who ever hid under the covers listening to “Louie Louie” with the volume down can surely attest.

      We are talking about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If censorship didn’t work then on something as inconsequential as a pop song, you can imagine how ineffective it would be now on something as important as sexual assault.

      Somebody at Petaluma High in Petaluma, Calif. should have figured that out. Instead, the school apparently cut the microphone on its valedictorian, 17-year-old Lulabel Seitz, at her graduation ceremony earlier this month. Lulabel says officials had warned her not to mention being the victim of an alleged sexual assault on campus and what she claims was the school’s failure to take action when she reported it.

    • ‘Free the nipple’: Naked basketball game used to protest Instagram censorship (VIDEO, POLL)

      Instagram’s censorship of female nipples is being challenged by a gender fluid model who uploaded a video of them playing basketball topless to protest the restrictive rules, which have been branded sexist.

    • Censorship is a political tool in India but I’ll keep fighting till the end, says Anurag Kashyap
    • Facebook execs to meet with GOP leaders over concerns about anti-conservative bias

      Facebook will be represented by a group of former GOP officials: Kevin Martin, who served as FCC chairman during the George W. Bush administration; Joel Kaplan, Bush’s former deputy chief of staff; Greg Maurer, who was an aide to former Speaker John Boehner; and former Republican digital strategist Katie Harbath.

    • Scoop: Facebook to meet GOP leaders to hash out censorship complaints

      Following complaints about censorship of conservatives, Facebook execs will meet today with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and Trump reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale.

    • Pentagon Papers lawyer James Goodale on DNC lawsuit: “The Democrats are establishing possibly a precedent that diminishes First Amendment freedoms”

      James Goodale: The overview is that the leaker, you’re dealing with a leaker and a leakee, and the leaker in the DNC case is, say, the Russian government, which leaks to Wikileaks. Wikileaks is the leakee—they publish the leaked material. The way the law works out as a consequence of the Pentagon Papers case is that the leaker is thought in the United States to be subject to criminal penalties under the Espionage Act. The leakee has what is known as the New York Times defense, and has no criminal liability.
      EH: That refers to the case in which you were lead counsel?
      JG: That’s right, New York Times Co. v. US, which came out in 1971. What the DNC has done in its infinite wisdom is undermine the New York Times defense by saying that WikiLeaks, the leakee, has conspired with the person who is subject to the Espionage Act, namely, the leaker. So the bottom line is that the DNC, with that theory, made the leakee subject to Espionage Act criminal liability.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Do Amazon’s Movement-Tracking Wristbands Violate Workers’ Privacy Rights?

      The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Amazon two patents directed to remote control of human hands. The Amazon patents are able to obtain and record users’ location and the detailed movements of their hands. Therefore, highly private information such as when an employee takes a bathroom break or pauses to scratch may be obtained and recorded by the patented system. That, in turn has led to concerns that the patents could violate protected privacy rights of employees under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment applies to government actions, and would be implicated in a legal challenge to the Amazon patents, since patents are issued and enforced by the government. In addition, Amazon patents can run afoul of state statutes and common law privacy protections, which have adopted similar Fourth Amendment privacy standards.

    • NY Senate Passes Bill That Would Make It A Crime To Publish Photos Of The Elderly Without Their Consent

      The New York State Senate just keeps pitching unconstitutional law-balls over the plate, apparently assuming legislators’ good intentions will overwhelm judges asked to determine just how much the new laws violate the First Amendment.

      The senate recently passed an anti-cyberbullying bill — its fifth attempt to push this across the governor’s desk. The law couldn’t be bothered to cite which definition of “cyberbullying” it was using, but once the definition was uncovered, it became apparent the bill has zero chance of surviving a Constitutional challenge should it become law.

      Eugene Volokh’s post on the bill passed along several examples of criminalized speech the bill would result in, including one with its finger directly on social media’s pulse.

    • Common Career Change: Batman Comic Writer Tom King Admits to CIA Spying Past

      “Most of my colleagues, bless them, wore suits, looked very much like James Bond. I would always cross [borders] as the super nerd comic book writer. I’d go on an airplane, spill on myself, read comic books, I’d have graphic novels with me. I’d basically be me, and they’d be like ‘That guy could not ever be CIA. Let him in, please. No, he could do no damage to anything!’” King boasted.

    • Vintage US security posters range from bizarre to terrifying

      Formed by a secret presidential memo in 1952 amid growing Cold War tensions, the fledgling National Security Agency commissioned posters to remind its employees to keep mum about their top-secret work.

      Government Attic, a website that requests historical government documents under the Freedom of Information Act and then shares them online, first made the request for the vintage posters in 2016.

    • China mandates radio-tracking beacons in all cars
    • Facebook’s chief of communications, policy to step down

      Facebook Inc said on Thursday that Elliot Schrage, who as head of communications and public policy has led the social network’s response to scandals about privacy and election meddling, would step down from the company after a decade.

    • Facebook Policy and Communications Chief to Step Down From Role

      Schrage said the job wasn’t just about promoting a positive image for the company.

    • Police face legal action over use of facial recognition cameras

      Two legal challenges have been launched against police forces in south Wales and London over their use of automated facial recognition (AFR) technology on the grounds the surveillance is unregulated and violates privacy.

      The claims are backed by the human rights organisations Liberty and Big Brother Watch following complaints about biometric checks at the Notting Hill carnival, on Remembrance Sunday, at demonstrations and in high streets.

    • If You’re A Facebook User, You’re Also a Research Subject

      Other academics got these gifts, too. One, who said she had $25,000 deposited in her research account recently without signing a single document, spoke to a reporter hoping maybe the journalist could help explain it. Another professor said one of his former students got an unsolicited monetary offer from Facebook, and he had to assure the recipient it wasn’t a scam. The professor surmised that Facebook uses the gifts as a low-cost way to build connections that could lead to closer collaboration later. He also thinks Facebook “happily lives in the ambiguity” of the unusual arrangement. If researchers truly understood that the funding has no strings, “people would feel less obligated to interact with them,” he said.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Due Process For All — Not Special Treatment For Some Who Share Your Viewpoint

      I’m also very firmly against these Title IX kangaroo courts. For all. Not just when I happen to like and/or agree with the person who’s been fed into the mill.

      I also think colleges and others are making a huge mistake — a society-warping one — going after adults for talking about sex or telling a joke. Sure, if somebody is doing it persistently, and somebody tells them to stop — they don’t want to hear it — and there’s no stopping; well, that’s harassment.

    • How a Letter Defending Avital Ronell Sparked Confusion and Condemnation

      It also listed her many accomplishments in the fields of philosophy and literature and seemed to suggest that her stature in those fields and at the university should be considered in the investigation. Though the letter’s signatories said they didn’t have access to a “confidential dossier” from a Title IX investigation, they stated their “objection to any judgment against her.”

    • AI Drone Learns to Detect Brawls

      Drones armed with computer vision software could enable new forms of automated skyborne surveillance to watch for violence below. One glimpse of that future comes from UK and Indian researchers who demonstrated a drone surveillance system that can automatically detect small groups of people fighting each other.

      [...]

      The drone surveillance system developed by Singh and his colleagues remains far from ready for primetime. But their work demonstrates one possibility of combining deep learning’s pattern-recognition capabilities with relatively inexpensive commercial drones and the growing availability of cloud computing services. More details appear in a 3 June 2018 paper that was uploaded to the preprint server arXiv and will appear in the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Workshops 2018.

    • People in Jail Deserve Effective Drug Treatment Not Forced Withdrawal

      Under the ADA, opioid addiction is not a character flaw — it is a disability that requires treatment during incarceration.

      Nearly 30 years ago, when he was 18 years old, Sy Eubanks had surgery for a knee injury he got while competing on his high school’s wrestling team. His doctor prescribed him opioid painkillers, the dangers of which are now widely known. All Sy knew was that he liked the feelings his prescription gave him, and he wanted more.

      After graduation, Sy got a job as a logger. It was then he realized he couldn’t stop taking opioids. Whenever he did, he’d get so sick from withdrawal that he couldn’t work. To support his opioid addiction, Sy resorted to increasingly desperate measures: shoplifting, stealing, and pawning items to get money or drugs. By his mid-20s, Sy was using heroin, too.

      Opioids reduce pain, produce euphoria, and are highly addictive. They include prescription painkillers and street drugs heroin and illicit fentanyl. People who are unable to stop using them may have opioid use disorder (OUD), a chronic condition often accompanied by changes to brain chemistry.

      [...]

      To someone with a life-threatening medical condition, treatment isn’t optional — it’s critical. MAT can be as life-saving to a person with OUD as insulin is to a person with diabetes. Withholding necessary medical treatment from one group of people — non-pregnant people with addictions — while giving the very same treatment to a different group of people — pregnant women — is discriminatory and dangerous.

      It’s also shortsighted.

      When people with OUD get the treatment they need, they are better able to take care of themselves and their families and to contribute to their communities. Whatcom County should be doing all it can to help people with opioid use disorder get access to MAT, instead of obstructing them.

    • Oregon Court System Shields Evaluation of Alleged Killer

      Oregon officials last year fought to keep the public away from records about a man accused of two murders following his early release from state mental treatment.

      They lost, and those public records raised troubling questions about the state’s handling of Anthony W. Montwheeler, who asserted he had been faking a mental illness for 20 years to avoid prison.

      Montwheeler, now 50, had told officials he was tired of living off the dole and in state institutions and wanted to be freed. When doctors said they could find no signs of mental illness, Montwheeler won his bid.

    • Howard Bryant on Black Athletes & Activism

      Surrounded by reporters eager to talk about the cancellation of the White House visit and new NFL policy on standing during the National Anthem, Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Super Bowl–winning Philadelphia Eagles, chose not to speak, instead holding up signs with information on racism in the criminal justice system and community work players are doing. “Before the anthem even started, players were involved in these types of social justice issues,” Jenkins said afterward. “And so for us, it’s staying on topic, doing the work, supporting those who are doing the work and pushing forward.”

    • ‘Religion Cannot Be Used to Justify Discriminatory Conduct in the Marketplace’

      We will be talking about the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission for a long time. Denver baker Jack Phillips was determined not legally liable for refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. But we’re told that doesn’t mean discrimination against LGBTQ people is now legal, because in this case, the Court’s majority said, the behavior and statements from some members of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission indicated “hostility” to Phillip’s religion—and that situation might not obtain in other cases. Is that reassuring?

    • Faulty Field Tests And Overblown Drug Raid Claims: The War On Drugs In Clay County, Florida

      Yet another Florida sheriff with a penchant for publicity is using his office (and manpower) to start some garbage viral War on Drugs. Hence, every bust made by his department — utilizing armored vehicles and deputies that look like they shop at military surplus stores — is splashed across the department’s Facebook page. Fine, if that’s what gets your blood flowing, but these scenes of busts, featuring the Sheriff front and center, contain claims that just aren’t backed up by the actual paperwork. George Joseph of The Appeal has the details.

    • Dads Are Stepping Up Their Fight to Receive Fair Parental Leave

      I launched a legal battle, filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Although I was navigating uncertain terrain, previous victories won by civil rights advocates such as the ACLU demonstrated that justice for new fathers was attainable. Support for my case came flooding in from all over the country and around the world. That’s when I came to understand why my case was such a touchpoint: As long as workplaces push women to always be caregivers and men to stay at work, women will never have equal opportunities in the workplace.

      The forces that make it tougher for women at work also make it tougher for men to have equal opportunities at home. As Sheryl Sandberg says in my book about this, “All In,” women can’t “lean in” until men and women can be all in at home. (Ultimately, my employer changed its policy, making it much better.)

      After my case, more men started launching battles of their own. The Center for WorkLife Law saw a spike in calls from dads. Male caregivers now file 28 percent of discrimination cases that involve childcare. The EEOC announced a lawsuit against Estee Lauder, noting that equal benefits for equal work “applies to men as well as women.”

      My attorney Peter Romer-Friedman has taken on these issues in collaboration with the ACLU, which has pointed out that true family leave must be inclusive of fathers. “The Supreme Court has made clear that employers can’t treat men and women differently when providing paid leave, other than giving birth mothers six to eight additional weeks of leave as disability-related recovery time,” he says. “Employers who ignore this rule can face huge liabilities. We stand ready to go to court so that fathers and mothers get the paid leave and equality they deserve.”

    • Veteran CIA Interrogator Training ICE Officers

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has contracted a private security firm run by a former top CIA interrogator to train ICE officers in “intelligence collection” and “counterterrorism elicitation,” federal documents show. The documents indicate that the training is to help ICE officers collect information from “terrorist suspects.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Charter Spectrum Claims The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Magically Provide Better, Faster Broadband

      We’ve noted how ISPs are worried about losing the looming court case over net neutrality, as well as the dozens of states that are now imposing state-level net neutrality protections. As such, the hope is that they can push forth a loophole-filled net neutrality law in name only; one with so many loopholes as to effectively be useless, but which will pre-empt any tougher state or federal rules (including the restoration of the FCC’s 2015 rules). It’s a gambit that’s not really working, in large part because these companies have obliterated any last vestiges of public trust they may have had with this latest lobbying assault.

    • Eero promises not to brick routers if you don’t pay a subscription

      Eero is responsible for introducing two major trends to Wi-Fi routers: mesh networking and subscriptions. But after Plume — another mesh router startup — said earlier this week that it’s going to start requiring a subscription just to buy a router and keep it fully functional, Eero has said it doesn’t plan to follow suit. “We’ve never had plans ever at Eero to do that,” Eero CEO Nick Weaver said on a phone call. “We’ve never had plans and certainly don’t have any future aspirations for requiring a subscription with the core product we sell.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • U.S. ITC says probing Toyota, others in patent infringement case

      Other companies to be investigated are Denso Ten America Ltd, a subsidiary of Denso Corp (6902.T); Renesas Electronics Corp (6723.T); and Japan Radio, a unit of Nisshinbo Holdings Inc (3105.T).

    • With FRAND high on India’s agenda, Anand links with competition firm in market-first JV

      As first reported on Indian legal site Bar & Bench, leading IP firm Anand & Anand has launched a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with a competition law boutique Gaggar & Associates to address hybrid cases. I recently had a chance to catch up with the former firm’s managing partner Pravin Anand, and he explained that the FRAND focus in India is only going to grow stronger. High end patent work in India, including on the litigation side, is dominated by boutique IP firms.

    • En Banc Denied: Walker Process Claims Stay out of the Federal Circuit

      When Xitronix sued KLA-Tencor, it raised only one cause of action – “a Walker Process monopolization claim under § 2 of the Sherman Act and §§ 4 and 6 of the Clayton Act based on the alleged fraudulent prosecution of a patent.” See Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corp., 382 U.S. 172 (1965). The basic allegation was that KLA fraudulently obtained its U.S. Patent No. 8,817,260 with claims identical-to or broader than claims of KLA’s previously invalidated U.S. Patent No. 7,362,441.

      [...]

      In its 2013 decision in Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that a state-law attorney malpractice case did not trigger federal court patent jurisdiction. Newman distinguishes that case on several grounds: (1) that case involved a “long dead patent” and so the outcome would not change any other patent litigation cases; (2) Gunn involved a State interest in adjudging the state cause of action – while here there are only federal interests at stake. According to Judge Newman, the underlying dispute is about “the validity and enforceability of the patent” – questions that should be heard by the Federal Circuit.

    • What BT v Cartier means for rights holders

      The UK Supreme Court has ruled that brand owners must pay the costs of ISPs blocking sites that sell counterfeit goods. But how big are these costs and will the ruling apply to copyright injunctions?

    • Copyrights
      • UN Free Speech Expert: EU’s Copyright Directive Would Be An Attack On Free Speech, Violate Human Rights

        We’ve been writing a lot about the EU’s dreadful copyright directive, but that’s because it’s so important to a variety of issues on how the internet works, and because it’s about to go up for a vote in the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee next week. David Kaye, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression has now chimed in with a very thorough report, highlighting how Article 13 of the Directive — the part about mandatory copyright filters — would be a disaster for free speech and would violate the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights…

      • Anti-Piracy Lawyers Sentenced to Years in Prison For Defrauding Copyright Holders

        Three lawyers who specialized in anti-piracy litigation on behalf of the movie and TV industries have been convicted of defrauding them out of millions. The trio, from the Johan Schlüter law firm, were required to manage registration, collection and administration rights. But after siphoning off almost $16m, a Danish court has handed down sentences totaling more than 10 years.

      • Danish Anti-Piracy Lawyers Jailed For Real, Actual Stealing From Copyright Holders

        There’s an old saying: once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend. It seems now we are officially in the coincidence part of that mantra. You will recall that we recently discussed famed author Chuck Palahniuk’s apology for blaming piracy for his stagnant finances when the real story was that a business partner at his literary agency was simply stealing money from him. We noted at the time that this business partner was the one feeding Palahniuk the false story that piracy was responsible for his dwindling money and that such a story was made believable in part because of the efforts of the copyright industry and its lawyers demonizing the internet and copyright infringement at every turn.

        Well, recent news reports detail the sentencing of three Danish lawyers to years in prison for defrauding their copyright holder clients, while supposedly working for them on anti-piracy efforts. The organization now known as Rights Alliance, previously Antipiratgruppen, had hired lawyers from the Johan Schluter law firm for representation in piracy cases. The firm worked on these efforts for Rights Alliance for years before an audit showed just how shady these beacons of justice for rightsholders actually were.

      • TVAddons: Telco Bailiffs Enter Operator’s Home Over Unpaid Attorney’s Fees

        Exactly a year after Canada’s largest telecoms companies executed a warrant against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman, unwelcome visitors have again attended his home. After a court order to pay attorney’s fees of CAD$50,000 went unsettled, bailiffs representing Bell, Rogers, and Videotron turned up at Lackman’s home Wednesday in an effort to seize property.

      • YouTube Download Sites Throw in the Towel Under Legal Pressure

        Several video downloading and MP3 conversion tools have thrown in the towel this week, disabling all functionality following legal pressure. Pickvideo.net states that it received a cease and desist order, while Video-download.co and EasyLoad.co reference the lawsuit against YouTube-MP3 as the reason for their decision.

The EPO’s Response to the Open Letter About Decline in Patent Quality as the Latest Example of Arrogance and Resistance to Facts, Truth

Friday 15th of June 2018 09:16:24 PM

Sums up the attitude of the Office under Battistelli, who uses (or wastes) the EPO‘s savings on media puff pieces and so-called ‘studies’, commissioned (i.e. funded) by the EPO to invert reality

Summary: Sidestepping the existential crisis of the EPO (running out of work and issuing many questionable patents with expectation of impending layoffs), the PR people at the Office choose a facts-denying, face-saving ‘damage control’ strategy while staff speaks out, wholeheartedly agreeing with concerned stakeholders

THE WORLD’S patent offices/systems, with the exception of China’s (SIPO), are doing reasonably OK. The USPTO is nowadays in the process of improving patent quality and we commend US courts for that, notably SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit below it.

“The EPO isn’t just above the law; it actively exploits that to break the law, so it has no credibility talking about courts.”The EPO, by contrast, is quite a monster. The EPO repeatedly disobeyed court orders. Corruption at the EPO is just outstanding, not to mention violations of the law, constitutions, and the EPC. The EPO isn’t just above the law; it actively exploits that to break the law, so it has no credibility talking about courts. It seems incapable of grasping the notion of justice. It also assaulted a judge, who is now rumoured to be hospitalised. Several hours ago the EPO wrote: “Next week we’ll explain how to use the European Case Law Identifier to access court decisions on patents across Europe.”

The EPO talking about “court decisions” is as laugh-worthy as dietary advice from Stalin, especially in Ukraine.

But anyway, the arrogance of the EPO is ever more visible in light of the now-famous open letter *, which was published towards the end of this week. We wrote about this back when (or right after) only Kluwer Patent Blog and then IPPro Patents had reported on the matter. There has since then been more, but nothing in ‘mainstream’ media. Battistelli has given enough payments (not at his personal expense) to motivate self-censorship among some of the largest publishers which cover patent matters and used to cover EPO scandals.

Kudos to IPPro Patents for covering this. It’s still rewriting and reposting pure PR/press releases (e.g. today for ANAQUA, as it does for other firms), but at least it covers EPO scandals occasionally. So does World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR), which has been rather useful and interested in SUEPO’s side of the story. This morning it published this article (the sole article about this today, at least as far as we can tell/see; there is also coverage in German with Thorsten Bausch in the mix; Mathieu Klos was reporting). Spotted via news search and via SUEPO and insiders was a seemingly complete list of coverage. Here’s WIPR, which waited for the EPO’s response and then said this:

Four German law firms have published an open letter citing concerns over developments at the European Patent Office (EPO), just two weeks before António Campinos is due to become president of the office.

In particular, patent law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner are concerned about “modifications to the incentive systems for the examination of patent applications”.

Published last week, the letter is addressed to both outgoing EPO president Benoît Battistelli and future president Campinos, along with Christoph Ernst, chairman of the Administrative Council, and principal director of user support and quality management Niclas Morey.

[...]

As for recommendations for improvement, the firms “urgently” suggested the creation of new incentive systems for examining European patents so that the “high-quality of searches and examinations for which the EPO used to be known will be guaranteed again”.

A spokesperson for the EPO said that surveys carried out by the EPO and independently, as well as an annual quality report, show that the high-quality levels for which the office is known continue to increase further.

IAM-supported lies, as expected, have come back from the propaganda department of the EPO — the PR team with the ‘usual suspects’ (whose nature we covered here in past years). SUEPO and the Central Staff Committee were right all along. And now the EPO is being shamed by its own stakeholders. Notice the EPO’s vain response. As “Benoit Escobar” put it:

But guys face it: you are all wrong with your comments here!

See what the EPO told to WIPR : this letter is nothing else but “unsubstantiated claims”

https://www.worldipreview.com/news/german-law-firms-raise-concerns-over-epo-patent-quality-16193

They dare!

And to which the response was: “That is what Mr. Ernst (Chairman of the Administrative Council of the EPOrg) told German representatives: bring statistics, otherwise nothing has changed. And the EPO delivers a (self-measured) statistic. As that is the only one readily available, it is the only one he considers to be relevant. To ensure a minimum of independence/ability to counter pressure, change from one VP1 to three VPs (imstead of COOs), the office has grown considerably, these two additional VPs are well defendable within the range of the organisations structure. Then the “Chiefs of Operartions” could actually decide themselves and not fear direct repercussions from PD4.1 and her connection to the president.”

We commented on Ernst’s stance yesterday. He’s acting more like a protector of Battistelli’s propaganda efforts and it makes one wonder what kind of ‘boss’ Ernst will be to António Campinos.

The EPO is alluding to the IAM 'survey' which it immediately cited (after its publication). We’ve commented several times already about what’s wrong with it. By “quality” they do not mean patent quality but things like speed, which can be detrimental for all sorts of reasons that we covered here before.

Looking or navigating through the comments in Kluwer Patent Blog (which is aggressive with censorship nowadays), we’ve picked some more comments that we want to copy to highlight key parts and preserve them (Kluwer Patent Blog had all sorts of technical troubles this past year, with several downtimes lasting as much as a day if not longer).

Here’s a comment on the IAM ‘survey’: “Had they sent around this letter before, maybe le monsieur would have not dared publishing this last Monday: “Delivering High Quality Services – […] User feedback has been gathered through a multitude of channels and has confirmed increasing levels of satisfaction with the EPO’s products and services, year after year”.” (this links to the EPO’s Web site)

It received the following response from “Save the EPO from destruction”: “sure but hey : who believes in Battistelli’s prose ? everybody knows that this is pure PR (euphemism for propaganda) and that the situation is catastrophic. Now at least we have reputed, credible IP professionals who know what they talk about, who clear pull the brakes. So yes, better late than never and again Mr Campinos will face a dire situation with a bloodless EPO in which folly is the new norm.”

Then “MaxDrei”, who used to comment a lot at IP Kat (not many comments there anymore), gave his long message/thoughts:

My comments on the perceived “problems” a) to f):

a) why “must” quality suffer, merely because of a “aim” (which President Brimelow also had) to get to a grant or refuse decision “as quickly as possible”? And as for “within specific allowed times” I never heard it argued that the UK 1949 Patents Act’s hard limit on time to grant has an adverse effect on “quality” in the UK. That said, quality “must” inevitably suffer, if you impose unreasonable productivity targets on hard-working and conscientious Examiners. Worse, the imposition of such targets will generate a shoulder-shrugging “so what” mentality which is the enemy of “quality”.

b) the EPO is not the only Patent Office where its shareholders milk the Applicant community. That Patent Office fees are used a covert tax revenue operation is a different problem from giving Examiners enough time and resources to do a “quality” job of search and examination.

c) What, for goodness’s sake, is an “erroneous” scope of protection? Again, consider the UK Patents Act 1949. It required rigorous examination of clarity and novelty but no examination of obviousness. Everybody knew the Rules of the Game. Nobody complained, that the Office was issuing over-wide claims. My problem at the moment is that Examining Divisions of the EPO are setting too high a standard of clarity under Art 84 EPC. To much “quality” here, rather than not enough. Why that? Because the zealous in-house EPO Quality Police have to be seen (by Chairs of Exam Divisions) to be ferocious, and that is easier accomplished under Art 84 than under Art 54 or 56.

d) What? Patent owners at risk of not succeeding with claim 1 in an infringement action? When in the history of patents was this ever not the case? Upon issue, there is a Presumption of Validity, regardless of whatever level of “quality” the EPO runs at. What more do you want, for goodness’ sake? Spare a thought for the accused infringer, usually smaller than the Big Corp patent owner. Is his protestation, that the asserted claim is invalid, to be greeted with a shoulder shrug and a retort that if the EPO issued it, well then it must be valid? Of course when the Applicant is David and the accused infringer is Goliath, we need a system that delivers “Equality of Arms” to save Little David from obliteration. But merely giving an EPO Examiner unlimited time to examine David’s patent application is nowhere near enough to deliver that necessary objective.

e) See d) above. To nurture the patent system what is needed is a high level of confidence that, if you have an issued claim that is not invalid, you can enforce it speedily and economically, regardless how Big and Ugly the accused infringer is. Complain somewhere else if, in your country, that is not the case. It isn’t the EPO’s fault.

f) I agree. This grotesque surplus suggests opacity and corruption on an industrial scale. But hey, with supra-national organisations that’s the rule, not the exception. Nobody knows yet, how to stop it.

Overall, this Open Letter strikes me as a manifestation of I) German craving for certainty ii) German deference to “authority” and iii) a yearning for the Good Old Days, when if the DPMA granted your patent you were then the proud possessor of an “examined right” which, by definition was valid. Those days are gone. Life today is too complex. There is too much prior art these days, for the Office to know it all. A public prior use somewhere in the middle of Asia is just as novelty-destroying as a patent specification of a German competitor.

One last comment. I’m puzzled by the reference to “incentive systems”. Is this alluding to the idea of “One point for an allowance but two for a refusal”? Is this what troubles you so much? Or is it the never ending “bar raising” of the output productivity targets being imposed on Examiners? If the latter, I agree with you: it’s counter-productive, Mr Campinos. It has got to stop.

Thorsten Bausch I admire your work on this blog. My remarks above are deliberately provocative, to try to whip up a vigorous discussion here. I hope you don’t see my remarks as so offensive that they must be suppressed and denied publication here.

There’s a correction to this.

On why EPO management can barely reject applications (or penalises examiners for it): “One correction – in the middle of the year, the 2 counts for a refusal has been removed. Now examiners get one product for a grant and one for a refusal, irrespective of the amount of work required. Since a refusal has to cover all arguments raised and a grant only has to find one reason to grant, you can guess which is easier to achieve per unit time.”

More on this point and why in light of rumours of layoffs this may mean lower patent quality:

By the “incentive system” the open letter may be referring to the EPO’s career system which currently ties any career progression almost exclusively to the number of “actions” delivered in a given year by an examiner (in other departments, i.e. for staff other than examiners, it is more opaque). Someone here has already pointed out that a refusal has the same weicht as a grant which already has implications for quality. In this context, it is not just an examiner’s career that is affected: Any teammanager’s, director’s or principal director’s career depends entirely on whether a team, directorate or principal directorate has reached the expected number of actions (this now also applies for the BoAs btw).

But worse than the above: Those that are considered to be low performers of underperformers are targeted and threatened with disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal.
If you bear in mind the rumours that werde going around a while ago that the administration was planning mass lay-offs than it should be easy to understand what is going on and the impact this may have on quality.

Also in response to “MaxDrei”:

MaxDrei, don’t you get it? These days, the “incentive” is just not getting thrown out. Grant, don’t ask questions, don’t be difficult, OR ELSE. You’re gonna “do” whatever figure we throw at you.

Many, if not most, who are not anchored down with a mortgage, or are otherwise able to sustain their family, have already left.

Those who stay on have to put up with micromanagement, perpetual harassment, and contempt.

The EPO has deep structural problems that long predated BB, and I think that the alleged “good” results obtained from scapegoating and brutalizing the staff are a nothing but a flash in the pan which will be followed by a painful reckoning.

Alexander wrote about SUEPO’s foresight:

It is nice to see that applicants now realize what SUEPO has been denouncing for several years.
However, what they see as happening with search, examination and opposition has extended also to the Boards of Appeal. The pressure for reducing the backlog is leading to measures which clearly have an impact on the quality of the decisions. The quality of a decision is the quality of the reasoning leading to the decision and nothing else. Hastly and badly reasoned decisions are arbitrary and deteriorate the confidence in the judicial system.
There are still many experienced board members that deliver well reasoned decisions. However, in some years they will retire and be replaced by younger board members that never experienced a working environment in which quality and not quantity is the determining parameter. Reversing this will prove to be a steep mountain.

Here’s a response to that:

Whether and to what extent excessive administrative pressure might prevent members of the Boards of Appeal from taking considered and balanced decisions is central to the issue of their statutory independence, as will probably be examined in the pending German constitutional complaints.
In this respect a very interesting decision by the Bundesverfassungsgericht has just been published, which relates to the constitutionality of the appointment of judges for a limited period of time; see

https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/DE/2018/03/rs20180322_2bvr078016.html

There are numerous considerations there in relation to the required judicial independence which if applied to the Boards – in view inter alia of Judge Corcoran´s sad fate – might result in very dramatic conclusions in the EPO and UPC cases.
The decision has been issued by the second senate which is also in charge of the latter complaints, with the participation of Prof. Dr. Huber, the rapporteur in the same ….

Someone called “epo observer” then spoke of other issues:

Some of the points in this open letter are well taken. For example, the pressure to increase examiners’ production has led to summons to oral proceedings immediately following the applicant’s response to a first communication of the EPO, which is clearly premature.
However, the EPO should also be criticised for failing to consider simple measures targeting the practices of applicants and patent professionals :
– heavily increase filing fees linked to excessive length of applications and/or number of claims
– subject the 2-month extension of the deadline to a response to a fee
– make the fee for “continuation of proceedings” much more expensive than today’s derisory amount.
The EPO should also consider dissuading auxiliary requests, a practice regrettably endorsed by the Boards of Appeal (a patent office has no reason to “baby-sit” applicants).

“Experienced Examiner” (we presume an insider at present) gave these thoughts:

As a prerequisite, please bear in mind that the EPO is a kind of its own. The most striking difference from the point of view of staff is the lack of effective legal remedies. The only independent instance in disputes is the Adminisrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation, to reach a decision takes years. This is simpy too long for a labour dispute. I believe you all recall the case of the Board of Appeal member who waited more than 2 years for a judgment, got the case against him thrown out, and was subsequently transferred to another location and job. By the same President who should not have been involved in the handling of the case in the first place. A President enjoying diplomatic immunity and therefore outside and above prosecution, even if making public derogatory comments on the Board member concerned.

The same applies for applicants, opponents and appellants. Early – premature? – summons to oral proceedings, excessive costs for the applicant, the EPO will not cover them. Cancellation of oral proceedings by the EPO, costs incurred, the EPO will not cover them. Financial shenenigans “on industrial scale” as put by Max, nobody aside from the Administrative Council can intervene. And as long as these guys get their renewal fees and some technical cooperation funds, they will not intervene.

The basic message is: the EPO and its top management may do whatever they want, they are unlikely to have to face any consequences, provided they keep the majority of the Administrative Council flooded with cash.

a) Of course it is reasonable to aim for “as quickly as possible”. The EPO puts much more emphasis on the second part “within specific allowed times”. It is not relevant whether a particular case would deserve more time. And believe me, the time we examiners get is pretty short. Some of us stopped reading the description. This will have an impact on quality.

b) I believe the point of the letter is that you pay premium and get mediocre in return. Stated differently, you pay for a Porsche and get a Fiat (no offense intended).

c, d) The EPO is supposed to grant patents with a high presumption of validity. We cannot determine the full scope of protection conferred by a claim and accordingly we cannot examine in this full scope on novelty and inventive step. And as Max correctly says, in any infringement you risk an attack on the patent based on new prior art. Still, the amount of uncertainty you face will depend on whether search and examination were thorough or sloppy. The letter mentions an “increased risk”.

But I believe the letter means more. Patents place restrictions on competitors, and if your products suddenly fall in the scope of a sloppy patent, you need to take action. You will not necessarily file an opposition or start nullity proceedings, but you will need to check whether the patent is valid in the whole claim range, collect prior art, maybe start negotiations. All that could have been avoided by thorough search and examination. Briefly, an undue scope of protection creates additional overhead costs.

e) I see a political message here, that the law firms in question may start recommending to their clients to go national with their patents. The EPO is routinely emphasizing the number of applications received and concludes that everything is fine because the numbers keep rising. Well, once the numbers drop it may be too late.

f) full agreement

Concerning the “German” aspects touched upon, I seriously disagree. In my opinion, the letter does not include anything in this regard. Looks like Max misinterpreted points c) and d). He appears to have overlooked the impact a patent with erroneous scope has on the competitors, as well as the “increased risk”. The law firms are aware that there is and will always be a risk. They question why this risk should be increased. A fair question, if you ask me, considering in particular the “high presumtion of validity” the EPO shall deliver.

Coming to the incentives. The reporting of examiners has changed, it is now “products” only, regardless of how much time you have (I never understood this “product” stuff, we deliver a service). As of now, a refusal which takes much longer than a grant wil be rewarded below the time needed. And you will have to deliver at least the same number of products as last year. Do the math: if you had 10 refusals last year, translating into 20 products, you do again 10 refusals this year and you need 10 additional products to keep up. I venture to say this is quite some increase which does not appear on the balance sheet as such. You need to take a look at the details.

Max mentioned a “shoulder shrugging so what mentality”. I can confirm such a mentality is spreading. If the management decision is to reduce the time we may spend on search, well, we will follow that decision. It is not advisable to deviate or to voice concerns. According to our management, quality is fine, so what? We follow the prescribed routines, and if there is a bit of time left once we are through with that, we do some additional steps – on a good day.

Rumour has it even EPO management has started to notice a drop in quality. Our in-house metrics, as shoddy or as good as they are, seem to indicate a decline, a quite rapid one over the last two years, from 98% compliance to 92% compliance, with a negative trend for the future. According to what I hear, the countermeasure proposed is to lower the benchmark. The quality indicator must remain above the benchmark, regardless of measured quality.

We hope to find more such “insider” thoughts; it helps refute the claims from the PR department and puts greater pressure on it to quit lying.

Curiously enough, even though Hoffmann Eitle has complained about patent quality, “Dominik Scheible of Hoffman Eitle opens the AI panel with a mock-up of a patent for C-3PO,” wrote patent maximalists today. "AI" is a buzzword (revived by the media last year) and it means software patents in Europe i.e. bunk patents that oughtn’t be granted. Examiners at the EPO ought to familiarise themselves with the 4 or so acronyms that the EPO’s management likes to use in an effort to justify granting patents on algorithms (thinly veiled as “IoT”, “4IR”, “ICT” and so on).

Those who found themselves pressured to grant because of some buzzwords (perhaps Line Managers/Directors push towards that) are encouraged to speak out anonymously. We’d love to hear such stories, similar to the leaked E-mails from the EPO's Roberto Vacca.
________
* The full letter reads:

Open Letter: Quality of Examination Proceedings at the EPO

Dear President Battistelli, Dear Dr. Ernst, Dear Mr. Morey, Dear Mr. Campinos,

Each year our law firms file more than 9500 patent applications with the EPO.

For several years now we have followed with great concern the developments at the European Patent Office, in particular the modifications to the incentive systems for the examination of patent applications. The incentive systems and internal directives appear to be increasingly directed towards rewarding or even requesting rapid “termination” of proceedings and a correspondingly higher productivity. This has resulted in penalization of detailed and thorough assessment of cases.

While we do appreciate the increased average speed of the proceedings, such an overreaching desire for high productivity has led to the following, specific problems regarding the examination of patents:

a) When the aim is to terminate proceedings as quickly as possible within specific allowed times, the quality of the search and examination of applications must suffer.

b) The fees for search and examination, which are rather high when compared internationally, can only be justified by giving the examiners sufficient time for an indepth assessment of each single application.

c) Patents that have been examined less thoroughly tend to have an erroneous scope of protection. This distorts and hinders economic competition within the EPC Member States.

d) Proprietors of inadequately examined patents are exposed to an increased risk of their patents not being able to be successfully asserted against competitors in their full scope.

e) If the users of the European system gain the impression that granted EP patents cannot be relied upon anymore due to insufficient search and examination, the users may increasingly be discouraged from filing European patents. This might unhinge the entire patent system.

f) The core task of the EPO is the examination and grant of European patents. This is an important public task, where the EPO needs to balance the interests of the public against the interests of patent applicants. The official fees are supposed to self-fund the EPO. However, in contrast to an industrial company, we cannot see why the profit of the EPO needs to be increased beyond the level of self-funding. From our perspective, the high surplus is rather an indication that the fees are too high and that a further, problematic increase of productivity is not appropriate.

We have observed that our perception of endangered quality of the examination of European patent applications is shared by a large number of patent examiners. As you know, a petition was recently published in which more than 900 examiners at the European Patent Office revealed that they are prevented by the internal directives from a thorough, complete search and examination.

In view of this background, we urgently suggest setting up new incentive systems for examining European patents so that the high-quality of searches and examinations for which the European Patent Office used to be known will be guaranteed again.