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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 15 min ago

IBM’s Manny Schecter is Wrong Again and He is Attempting to Justify Patent Trolling

4 hours 31 min ago

Published last week: Famed Journalist Dan Gillmor Calls IBM the Inventor of Patent Trolling

Summary: In yet another dodgy effort to undermine the US Supreme Court and bring back software patents, IBM’s “chief patent counsel” (his current job title) expresses views that are bunk or “alternative facts”

TECHRIGHTS used to be very supportive of IBM. In fact, IBM used to be helpful to Free software, open standards, and GNU/Linux (especially at the back end and high-performance computing). But that was IBM a decade ago, managed by other people and adhering to different principles/strategies.

Do not be misled by what IBM used to be.

“In several areas/domains of technology IBM does nothing but patent predation.”IBM is attempting to attack/discredit Alice. It’s doing it like no other company does. IBM’s Manny Schecter, who is in charge of patents, says Alice is bad “because if the company fails, the investor must leverage its patent assets to return the investment.”

“Because if the company fails, it has to be turned into a troll” is how the FFII’s President translated/interpreted that. Yes, a troll. Like IBM right now… even some veteran technology journalists now call IBM a “troll”. In several areas/domains of technology IBM does nothing but patent predation.

Manny Schecter is an exceptionally harmful public face. It’s no good for IBM. Even if his tweets and talks he is attempting to distance from his employer, his expression of his own views is a projection of IBM policies. He’s not a low-level engineer; he’s management. Top-level management.

“How low is IBM willing to sink in an effort to shore up software patents?”IBM rapidly became a liar of a company. It’s so eager to blackmail new/small companies and its Patent Chief (or whatever they call him these days, putting aside fancy job titles) just makes them look vile. We used to support IBM, but now we just hope that IBM goes bust soon. The sooner, the better. Its activities on the patent front are ruinous and they concern a growing number of developers.

Regarding IBM’s (or Schecter’s) position, well… first of all, for a massive company to pretend to care for and speak for small companies is laughable or at least dubious. IBM attacks several such companies. Secondly, Alice made many such companies safer from trolls, hence a safer investment. Thankfully, WIPR decided to assess Schecter’s claims. Unfortunately, the article is quoting/citing extremists.

Here are portions from that article:

The number of venture capital (VC) investment rounds in technology companies has nearly halved, according to merchant bank Magister Advisors, sparking debate about the causes behind the decline.

Some commentators have discussed whether Alice v CLS Bank has played any role in this.

Citing data and research firm PitchBook, Magister Advisors noted that since 2014, the number of VC rounds in technology companies worldwide has fallen from 19,000 to 10,000.

For Manny Schecter, chief patent counsel at IBM, this decrease may correlate with the US Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Alice. The decision led to an increase the number of patents being invalidated under section 101.

In early December this year, WIPR noticed a tweet from Schecter, who linked to a TechCrunch article written by Magister Advisors’ Victor Basta, and decided to investigate.

[...]

Chris Behrenbruch, CEO of radiopharmaceutical company Telix Pharmaceuticals, who replied to Schecter’s tweet, offered a different view.

“I don’t think it’s nefarious—it’s just fund-raising cycles. A lot of VC was raised back in 2006-2008 and then the impact of the financial crisis significantly reduced capital raised during 2009-13,” he said.

It’s rather sad that a company which prides itself on science cannot get something so fundamental right. In fact, even on the surface alone these claims that it’s Alice which harmed investment smell funny.

How low is IBM willing to sink in an effort to shore up software patents?

EPO Administrative Council Disallows Discussion About Violations of the Law by Benoît Battistelli

5 hours 34 min ago

Summary: The EPO crisis is not ending for the Administrative Council does not want to tackle any of the obvious problems; Patrick Corcoran is a taboo subject and Ernst is coming across as another protector of Benoît Battistelli, based on today’s meeting (the second meeting he chairs)

TEAM Battistelli continues to reinforce negative perceptions about itself. It’s not only abusive but also oppressive when it comes to free speech. So far this week the EPO has said absolutely nothing about the meeting of the Administrative Council (perhaps preferring for nobody to pay attention). It obviously said nothing at all about the protest. The latter is at least understandable.

“So far this week the EPO has said absolutely nothing about the meeting of the Administrative Council (perhaps preferring for nobody to pay attention).”We’ve been tracking quite closely how the EPO‘s media strategy developed/(d)evolved so far this week and how it worked throughout the day. What it did today is noteworthy as the EPO does, in our assessment, at least subconsciously hide the discrimination against SMEs, the declining patent quality, the likely death of the UPC and so on. Earlier today the EPO was pushing its UPC ‘study’ (that it corrupted academia for) and #IPforSMEs. This is consistent with what has been happening for about a month.

The EPO’s day, however, began with the latest distraction from the latest scandal. It’s their PR strategy. They’re on fire and they try to get people to look away from the flames. The EPO retweeted people first thing in the morning [1, 2, 3] to distract from the major scandals. It’s just their PR stunt (intended to shift attention). The EPO’s PR team added its own to the mix later in the day [1, 2]. Nothing at all about the meeting. So much for “news” from the EPO…

“The EPO’s day, however, began with the latest distraction from the latest scandal.”Thankfully we heard from some insiders that Ernst, chairing the Council’s meeting, did what we expected him to do all along. The EPO “staff representation tried to speak about Patrick Corcoran,” a source told us. “Chairman would not allow him to speak…”

Moreover, based on what a source told us, Corcoran “is not reappointed and is in DG1 from January. Unlikely he lasts long. German constitutional court will be watching. ILO too.”

So this post of ours (making a “claim”) turns out to have been correct all along. We could not confirm it at the time, but the same information is mentioned here too: (new comment)

A non-renewal under these circumstances seems to be problematic in itself.
The disciplinary procedures have not been finished, and the decision to not reappoint has been taken while the disciplinary procedures were running.
This sounds like all ingredients for a hidden disciplinary measure are present, which would again fail to meet the requirements of the EPC and the Service Regulations.

IMHO, a reappointment (possibly under conditions) must be done while disciplinary proceedings are still ongoing.

But he is not on the list the President of the BoA published now.

This story will continue, as the poor chap will now fall under the authority of the president of the EPO as of 1. of January 2018, being an examiner again.

We have heard it from three sources so far, so it’s likely true (unless they have all been fed from the same source). Any documents relating to this would be greatly appreciated.

“Any documents relating to this would be greatly appreciated.”Merpel is alive again. At long last. There was a post this morning and it notes that the fate of Corcoran might not be good:

The problem is, however, that Mr Corcoran has not been reinstated. As further reported by the Irish Times, when Mr Corcoran went to the EPO “last Thursday afternoon he was refused admission and was told the ILO’s judgments had not yet been implemented”.

This is however perhaps not as simple as it may appear. Because the appealed suspensions were not the end of the matter. The Administrative Council repeatedly sought, and failed to achieve, from the Enlarged Board of Appeal, a proposal for Mr Corcoran’s removal from office. That is the only manner, according to Article 23(1) of the European Patent Convention, that a Board of Appeal member can be sacked while in service. But Board of Appeal members are appointed for 5 years, and their appointment can be not renewed. Tucked away in the Report on the 152nd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (available here) from 28 and 29 June 2017 is the innocuous-looking paragraph:

“The Council also decided to reappoint 12 members of the Boards of Appeal, and not to reappoint any other person, hence following the reasoned opinion of the President of the Boards of Appeal. It further agreed to the procedure for designating the deputy of the President of the Boards of Appeal in the future, and took note of the intended procedure to handle after-service activities of former board members.”

The phrase “and not to reappoint any other person, hence following the reasoned opinion of the President of the Boards of Appeal” is understood by Merpel to mean that the new (and first-ever under the new arrangements for the governance of the Boards of Appeal) President of the Boards of Appeal has proposed Mr Corcoran’s non-reappointment and the Administrative Council has accordingly not reappointed him. This seems to leave him in legal limbo – if the EPO declines to readmit him, Mr Corcoran may have to appeal yet again to the ILO-AT in regard to this latest decision.

“Noticeable that they are very narrow decisions,” the first comment noted. The following is not correct: “The IPO has singularly failed to say that Mr Corcoran is innocent of the accusations made against him. If I made similar pseudonymous posts against the CEO and a deputy CEO of the company I worked for, I would fully expect to be sacked immediately. So would anyone at any other company. But the CEO and deputy CEO would stay out of it and leave it to someone else. As a result my sacking would stick. No-one comes well out of this sorry story.”

The EPO is not a company with a CEO and the appeal boards are not subservient to the Office. An EPO insider, moreover, responded to (or refuted) the above by saying/quoting (perhaps Corcoran’s/SUEPO’s lawyer): “The two ILOAT judgments and several decisions of the Regional Court of Munich and the State Prosecutor of Munich have confirmed without any doubt that Mr. Battistelli’s accusations against my client are unfounded.”… So, for the German law he is innocent.”

“The whole situation is a travesty which ought to be noticed (and then noted) by the German constitutional court.”Notice the next comment, which says: “Could the issue be that the BoA member, after initially having suspended by the President, was removed from his duties by the AC and therefore cannot be reinstated until the AC reconvene?”

We’re leaving until the weekend. We depart quite soon (Christmas party far away from home), so this may be the last EPO post for a while. We won’t be able to cover day 2.

For information about today’s protest see this short report from World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR). Here’s a portion:

Staff members at the European Patent Office (EPO) are holding a demonstration at the EPO’s Munich office today.

The EPO’s Administrative Council is meeting today and tomorrow, December 14, also in Munich.

One of the items on the agenda is the reinstatement of a suspended EPO Board of Appeals judge to his former post.

The International Labour Organization’s Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) handed down five decisions last week, with two of the judgments ordering the “immediate reinstatement” of the judge, who had been suspended because of alleged misconduct.

The reinstatement looks like it’s temporary and as we said this morning, he's incapable of doing any meaningful work. The whole situation is a travesty which ought to be noticed (and then noted) by the German constitutional court.

Links 13/12/2017: GIMP 2.9.8, Fedora 25 End Of Life, AltOS 1.8.3

7 hours 25 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • What Open Means to OpenStack

    In his keynote at OpenStack Summit in Australia, Jonathan Bryce (Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation) stressed on the meaning of both “Open” and “Stack” in the name of the project and focused on the importance of collaboration within the OpenStack ecosystem.

    OpenStack has enjoyed unprecedented success since its early days. It has excited the IT industry about applications at scale and created new ways to consume cloud. The adoption rate of OpenStack and the growth of its community exceeded even the biggest open source project on the planet, Linux. In its short life of 6 years, OpenStack has achieved more than Linux did in a similar time span.

    So, why does OpenStack need to redefine the meaning of the project and stress collaboration? Why now?

    “We have reached a point where the technology has proven itself,” said Mark Collier, the CTO of the OpenStack Foundation. “You have seen all the massive use case of OpenStack all around the globe.”

  • Asynchronous decision-making: Helping remote teams succeed

    In contrast, asynchronous decision-making, which is often used in large open source projects—for example, at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), where I’m most active—provides an efficient way for teams to move forward with minimal meetings. Many open source projects involve only a few meetings each year (and some none at all), yet development teams consistently produce high-quality software.

  • Events
    • Linux Foundation Continues to Emphasize Diversity and Inclusiveness at Events

      This has been a pivotal year for Linux Foundation events. Our largest gatherings, which include Open Source Summit, Embedded Linux Conference, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Open Networking Summit, and Cloud Foundry Summit, attracted a combined 25,000 people from 4,500 different organizations globally. Attendance was up 25 percent over 2016.

      Linux Foundation events are often the only time that developers, maintainers, and other pros who contribute to Linux and other critical open source projects — like AGL, Kubernetes and Hyperledger to name a few — get together in person. Face-to-face meetings are crucial because they speed collaboration, engagement and innovation, improving the sustainability of projects over time.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Early Returns on Firefox Quantum Point to Growth

        When we set out to launch Firefox Quantum earlier this year, we knew we had a hugely improved product. It not only felt faster — with a look and feel that tested off the charts — it was measurably faster. Thanks to multiple changes under the hood, we doubled Firefox’s speed while using 30% less memory than Chrome.

        In less than a month, Firefox Quantum has already been installed by over 170M people around the world. We’re just getting started and early returns are super encouraging.

      • Mozilla Joins Net Neutrality Blackout for ‘Break the Internet’ Day

        We’re joining with others across the web — from Github and Reddit to Etsy and Imgur — for a Break the Internet Day of Action. The idea: to show how broadly we all value an open internet. And to ask Americans to call their members of Congress and urge them to stop the FCC’s plan to end net neutrality.

  • Databases
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • I’m Brian Fox, Author of the Bash Shell, and This Is How I Work

      Brian Fox is a titan of open source software. As the first employee of Richard Stallman’s Free Software Foundation, he wrote several core GNU components, including the GNU Bash shell. Now he’s a board member of the National Association of Voting Officials and co-founder of Orchid Labs, which delivers uncensored and private internet access to users like those behind China’s firewall. We talked to him about his career and how he works.

  • Public Services/Government
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Know Before You Grow: Proprietary Transportation Systems and Open Source Software Risk

      We live in the era of gig economies and e-commerce, where supply chains are evolving before our eyes due in part to the speed of technological innovation. All transportation and logistics services are under pressure to deliver highly analytic data-rich solutions in addition to freight. The challenge to gain advantage through information technology systems, let alone to remain competitive, is often met through “homegrown” proprietary IT solutions in addition to those many options available on the market.

      Developing proprietary IT systems, whether for core operating systems or customer-facing applications, can be a costly endeavor and therefore the speed and cost of development tend to be areas of concern. Most IT systems today contain what is known as open source software because using open source is generally much more cost-effective than developing entirely from scratch. While using open source software is advantageous in some ways, it also carries certain risks that must be navigated in order to achieve and protect the full potential of a homegrown system.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • How a maker with Type I diabetes led an open source project to create a free-as-in-code artificial pancreas

        Dana Lewis kickstarted the Open Artificial Pancreas System (previously) by trying to solve her own problems with monitoring her glucose levels, calculating insulin doses, and administering them around the clock — an onerous task that her life depended on, which disrupted her sleep and challenged her to make reliable calculations regarding dangerous substances while her blood-sugar levels were troughing or spiking.

      • LTE NB Internet Of Things Open Source Arduino Shield

        An open-source LTE shield equipped with SIMCOM’s SIM7000-series modules combined with the latest LTE CAT-M technology has been created by Hackaday member Timothy Woo to enable Arduino users to easily connect low-power Internet of Things devices to next-generation cellular technology!

Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • WHO, World Bank Say Half The World Population Cannot Access Essential Health Services

      According to a report released today by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, at least half the world’s population is lacking access to essential health services. Out of pocket expenses related to health care are pushing millions of people into extreme poverty each year, the report says. Both organisations say they are committed to working with countries to increase access to essential health services.

    • Medicines Patent Pool Expands Its Patent Database To Cancer Treatments

      The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced today that MedsPaL, its database of information on the patent and licensing status of selected HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis medicines, now extends to patented treatments on the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. New patents data include medicines for leukaemia, breast cancer and other cancer indications.

      MedsPaL now covers 6,800 national patent applications in more than 110 countries for more than 70 priority treatments, according to a press release. Patent information has been added for seven medications: bendamustine, bevacizumab, dasatinib, imatinib, nilotinib, rituximab and trastuzumab, “as a first step in incorporating additional data on patented medicines on the WHO’s EML [Essential Medicines List],” according to the release.

  • Security
    • Language bugs infest downstream software, fuzzer finds

      Developers working in secure development guidelines can still be bitten by upstream bugs in the languages they use.

      That’s the conclusion of research presented last week at Black Hat Europe by IOActive’s Fernando Arnaboldi.

      As Arnaboldi wrote in his Black Hat Europe paper [PDF]: “software developers may unknowingly include code in an application that can be used in a way that the designer did not foresee. Some of these behaviors pose a security risk to applications that were securely developed according to guidelines.”

    • Kaspersky Antivirus Engine Causing BSOD on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

      Despite the criticism it received in the United States and in the United Kingdom, Kaspersky continues to be one of the leading security vendors for Windows users across the world, with its software protecting millions of systems powered by Microsoft’s OS.

      But it turns out that some of those whose computers were running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Kaspersky Internet Security 2018 have been hit by a bug causing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) since earlier this month.

      BornCity reveals that the issue first appeared earlier this month when some users complained of a BSOD on Windows 10 build 16299.98, which indicates that these systems were running the latest version of the OS with cumulative update KB4051963.

    • ROBOT Attack

      ROBOT is the return of a 19-year-old vulnerability that allows performing RSA decryption and signing operations with the private key of a TLS server.

    • ROBOT Attack: 19-Year-Old Bug Returns With More Power To Target Facebook & Paypal

      The attack can compromise a website’s RSA encryption by decrypting the data using the private key of the TLS server. It was possible because of the vulnerability present in the RSA algorithm used in SSL protocol, exploited by Bleichenbacher.

    • Intel Adding ‘Hardware Lock’ To Prevent ME Chip Hacking In Future

      While you might be thinking about the ways to get rid of the secret (flawed) ME chip Intel puts insider its processors, the silicon giant has announced their plans to prevent the ME chip from getting hacked in the future.

    • NIST Releases Second Draft to Cybersecurity Framework, ANSI Encourages Stakeholders to Comment

      The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued the second draft of the proposed update to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity—also known as the Cybersecurity Framework. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages all relevant stakeholders to submit draft comments to NIST by the deadline on Friday, January 19, 2018.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Trump’s Lethal Decision on Jerusalem

      Protests have broken out across the Middle East against President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — and Western critics complain that the move adds one more brick in the wall against the prospects for peace.

      Professor Francis Boyle, who teaches international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and served as a long-time legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), calls Trump’s announcement a “symbolic but still critical step in Israeli designs to control not just Jerusalem, but all of historic Palestine.” I spoke with Boyle on Dec. 6.

    • Trump, N. Korea & the Phony ‘Terror List’

      In an effort to further tighten the screws on North Korea in what is likely to be another failed U.S. attempt to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program, President Trump put that country back on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism. North Korea will join Iran, Sudan and Syria on the list. In response, North Korea has conducted another ballistic missile test.

    • North Korea’s Understandable Fears

      Like Pavlov’s dog, the mainstream media slobbers predicable reactions every time North Korea launches another test missile. Listening to the blather one would think that once Kim Jong Un has a missile capable of reaching the U.S., he is going to use it in an unprovoked nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland killing millions of Americans.

    • Silencing of Courageous Documentaries

      In the U.S., I first understood the power of the documentary during the editing of my first film, The Quiet Mutiny. In the commentary, I make reference to a chicken, which my crew and I encountered while on patrol with American soldiers in Vietnam.

    • Trump’s Illegal Syrian Mission Creep

      The other day we learned that there are four times more U.S. troops in Syria than any earlier official figure had acknowledged. The discrepancy did not get much public attention, perhaps because the numbers are small compared to some other U.S. military deployments: about 2,000 troops in Syria, with the earlier official figure being 500.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • We Still Don’t Know Why Three Different Outlets “Confirmed” the Same Bogus Russia Story Last Week

      Referring to erroneous reports that the Trump campaign received a file of hacked emails ten days before it was posted on Wikileaks in September 2016, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote this weekend that last Friday was “one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time.” While Greenwald’s rhetoric about the American press is often harsh even by leftist-intellectual standards, it’s hard to say he is wrong about this. Let’s review:

      • CNN reported Friday morning that Donald Trump Jr. and his father received an email on Sept. 4, 2016 which would have allowed them to access hacked Democratic emails that weren’t posted by Wikileaks until Sept. 13. CNN’s report was based on “multiple sources,” and would have been huge news—evidence of the Trumps being given an early look at material that, it’s believed, was originally obtained by Russian intelligence operatives.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Watchdogs Say US Chemical Safety Board Is “Flying Blind”

      In the early hours of August 31, explosions erupted at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, where floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey had cut off the power supply to refrigerated containers containing organic peroxide. Residences in a 1.5-mile radius had been evacuated, and deputies manning barricades began falling ill in the middle of the road one by one. Medics were called, but no further warning was given as columns of black smoke filled the air.

      Arkema knew the fires were coming — organic peroxides burst into flames unless they are kept cool — but company officials had insisted in a press conference prior to the explosions that the chemicals were not toxic or harmful to people, according to a lawsuit filed in September by emergency workers injured at the scene.

  • Finance
    • Apple Just Bought Shazam. Here’s What We Know
    • Merkel ally says Brexit talks have raised UK support for second referendum

      A key ally of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has claimed that a growing awareness of the damaging terms of a future Brexit deal has led to a rise in support in the UK for a second referendum on EU membership.

      Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest party in the European parliament, said a row over the ineligibility of Britain’s cities in the European capital of culture competition was just the latest example of the UK’s losses hitting home.

      “An opinion poll showed 50% of the British people are in favour of a new referendum,” Weber, who leads the centre-right European People’s party, told MEPs in Strasbourg. “The British people realise that Brexit means losing many things, but not gaining anything.”

    • What Is Litecoin? How Has It Beaten Bitcoin’s Growth To Reach All-time High?

      Before knowing about Litecoin and its exponential growth, I’d like to tell you about the term “Altcoin.” As its name tries to give away (alt + coin), altcoins are the alternative digital coins that mushroomed on the scene after Bitcoin’s success. This was inevitable. A notable feature of all the altcoins is that they try to pose themselves as a better option with more features.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Women Accusing Donald Trump of Sexual Abuse Call for Congressional Probe

      In New York, three of the 16 women who have publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual abuse called on Congress Monday to investigate the president. In a press conference in Manhattan, the women shared accounts in which they said Trump groped, fondled or otherwise made unwanted sexual advances toward them. This is Rachel Crooks, who says Trump forcibly kissed her against her will in 2005.

    • [Older] Donald Trump’s mother asked: ‘What kind of son have I created?’

      Mary Trump, the Scottish-born mother of the US President who died in 2000, is reported to have been acutely embarrassed by the antics of her fourth child during the 1990s when his failing marriage and business were the subject of intense tabloid scrutiny.

      Born as the 10th child of the MacLeod family on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis in 1912, Ms Trump was raised in a strict Presbyterian, Gaelic speaking household.

      [...]

      Psychologists who are analysing the President behaviour have wondered whether his thin skin, need for praise and poor treatment of women – particularly those who stand up to him – stems from his relationship with his mother.

      Prudence Gourguechon, from the American Psychoanalytic Association, told Politico: “I’m not talking specifically about any individual, including the president, or his mother”.

    • Alabama Supreme Court stays judge’s order to preserve voting records in Senate election

      The Alabama Supreme Court has reportedly stayed a lower court’s order to election officials that would have required the preservation of voting records in Tuesday’s Senate special election.

      A circuit judge on Monday ordered election officials to set voting machines to save all digital ballot images, which would preserve voting records in the event of a recount.

      Alabama’s AL.com said Tuesday morning that the state’s Supreme Court had blocked the order.

      A group of four Alabama voters filed a lawsuit last Thursday arguing that the state is required by law to preserve the images. The voters’ attorney, Priscilla Duncan, said that the circuit judge’s order would protect votes if there were an “election challenge.”
      “People think that when they mark the ballots and they go into the machine that that’s what counted,” Duncan told AL.com. “But it’s not, the paper ballot is not what’s counted. That ballot is scanned and they destroy [the ballots] after the election.”

    • Trump’s Mining Regulator Nominee Was Once Dropped by the Agency for Doing “Junk” Work

      President Donald Trump’s choice to head a federal coal mine regulator, like more than one of his nominees, is a vocal critic of the very agency he’s being asked to lead. Steven Gardner is a longtime coal industry consultant, and he has called the agency’s marquee Obama-era regulation the product of “one of the most disingenuous and dishonest efforts put forward by a government agency.”

      But in Gardner’s case, there is an unusual — and contentious — twist: He runs an engineering firm that produced a report as part of the process of preparing that regulation, and the agency deemed it so shoddy that it cut ties with Gardner’s company. Now he’s the nominee to head that agency, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. (In broad terms, OSMRE — pronounced “oz-muhr” — focuses on mining’s effect on the environment, while the other key regulator, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, focuses on the welfare of miners.)

    • Pedestrian Tickets Lead to Hundreds of Suspended Driver’s Licenses

      More than half the 2,000 people who received pedestrian tickets in Duval County, Florida, from 2012 to 2016 saw their driver’s licenses suspended or their ability to obtain one limited, according to an analysis by the Florida Times-Union and ProPublica.

      The tickets, which carry what can seem like a modest $65 fine, can have more significant consequences for those who get them and refuse to pay or are unable to do so.

      Over five years, a total of 2,004 pedestrian tickets were issued in Duval County, which is comprised almost entirely by the city of Jacksonville. Of those tickets, 982 people who failed or were unable to pay the fine lost their driver’s licenses or their ability to obtain one, according to the analysis.

      The license suspensions help answer a question at the center of a Times-Union/ProPublica investigation of pedestrian tickets in Jacksonville: What are the consequences for individuals swept up in the Jacksonville Sheriff Office’s aggressive enforcement of some two dozen often obscure pedestrian statutes?

      Last month, the Times-Union/ProPublica investigation showed that 55 percent of the tickets given in recent years went to blacks despite the fact that they make up only 29 percent of the city’s population. Blacks were similarly overrepresented in the 932 tickets that led to license suspensions — 54 percent.

      As of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, three elected officials on the body have called on Sheriff Mike Williams to order his officers to stop writing pedestrian tickets. Council member Garrett Dennis asked the Office of General Counsel to review what authority the council had to compel him to do so. In addition to voicing her support for that measure, council member Katrina Brown asked for a noticed meeting focused on pedestrian infrastructure and enforcement.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Censorship as False Morality

      The most recent attempt at censorship came from a petition started by Mia Merrill. Merrill complained about a painting that’s housed at the Metropolitan Art Gallery titled Thérèse Dreaming by a Polish-French painter known as Balthus.

      In the petition, Merrill states that the painting “is an evocative portrait of a prepubescent girl relaxing on a chair with her legs up and underwear exposed.” She goes on to say that the image is “disturbing,” and that Balthus “had a noted infatuation with pubescent girls,” and finally, that “given the current climate around sexual assault and allegations,” the gallery is “perhaps, unintentionally, supporting voyeurism and the objectification of children.” Merrill claims that she’s “not asking for this painting to be censored,” but only for the gallery to consider the “implications” of having such a painting on display.

    • Pittsburgh Councilmember Again Faces Allegations Of Social Media Censorship

      The ACLU of Pennsylvania is again confronting Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris for allegedly censoring a constituent on her new official Facebook page.

      In a letter to the city solicitor Tuesday, the civil liberties organization accused Harris of deleting a post on her official page that included a link to the Facebook group, “Citizens Against Darlene Harris for Pittsburgh City Council.”

    • Meet Canada’s pro-censorship librarians (and their surprising supporters) [Ed: The far right props up the lie that censorship comes only from the "left"]

      Hate is a natural human emotion. It’s not illegal. In fact, it is part of our freedom of thought and belief. Just don’t commit a crime while you’re expressing it.

    • Sudan papers go online for freedom from censors

      Seated in his Khartoum office overlooking the Blue Nile, Sudanese journalist Adil al-Baz no longer fears a crackdown by security agents over his articles since he launched an online newspaper.

      “We are free to publish what we want on our online newspaper,” Baz, a former print newspaper editor, told AFP at the office of Al-Ahdath, the website he launched this year.

      In a country of increasing media censorship, Baz is among several independent journalists who have left newspaper jobs and launched online papers or websites.

    • Theresa May told to make Mark Zuckerburg a national censor

      Reacting to Theresa May’s proposal to make social media companies liable for content, Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group said:

      “This is an attempt to make Mark Zuckerberg a national censor.

      “Facebook and Twitter will censor legal material because they are scared of fines. They are the worst people to judge right and wrong. Theresa May is in danger of removing people’s right to a proper legal decision.”

    • Why China’s Internet Censorship Model Will Prevail Over Russia’s

      Over the last few years, China and Russia have been quietly exporting their models of online information controls through the supply of surveillance and censorship equipment, as well as providing training in the latest information control techniques. However, Beijing and Moscow differ considerably in the way they control information online, and these differences will determine which is more popular with authoritarian regimes in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

      Despots, dictators, and autocrats will pick the model they prefer using two criteria: the ambition of the censorship system (e.g. how much information can a system filter) and the technology and services required to maintain the system. China’s model outcompetes Russia’s model in both categories.

    • Balochistan activists accuse London Mayor of censorship

      LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has been criticised over his office banning an ad campaign relating to a conflict-ridden region in Pakistan.

      The #FreeBalochistan adverts were displayed on London taxis and buses to highlight alleged “war crimes and human rights abuses”, but were later removed by Transport for London (TfL) for allegedly breaching advertising guidelines.

    • Saudi lifts ban on movies but what role will censorship play?
    • Saudis rejoice after decades-long ban on cinemas lifted
    • Saudi Arabia to lift 35-year ban on cinemas
    • The Art of Escaping Censorship

      Three recent documentaries track the ingenious ways that banned literature, films, and music circulated in the Soviet Union.

    • African girls march against Google and Facebook censorship

      About 200 young girls marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday to demand that Google and Facebook respect African culture.

      Organised by local media company TV Yabantu‚ the march was to pressure social media platforms to stop censoring African cultural content. Lazi Dlamini said the companies are insulting African culture and women as they continue to remove cultural videos and images that feature bare-breasted women on their platforms.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • FISC Assurances on Spying Leave Too Many Questions Unanswered

      Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced questions from the House Judiciary Committee about how his department is implementing one of the government’s most powerful surveillance tools. Despite repeated bipartisan requests, Director Wray refused to tell the Members of the Committee how many Americans have been impacted by Section 702, enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act. This isn’t the first time the FBI has refused to answer to Congress.

      EFF has long held that Section 702 is being used to violate the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Section 702 authorizes the acquisition of foreign intelligence information; however, because many Americans communicate with foreign persons outside the United States every day, our communications are also being captured and read without a warrant.

    • ACLU Complaint Warns of Privacy Risks From Kobach’s Voter Data Scheme

      The man at the helm of the White House’s voter suppression efforts has a terrible record that just keeps getting worse.

      The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project today amended our complaint in ACLU v. Donald Trump, our lawsuit against the White House’s voter suppression commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

      In addition to the ACLU’s existing transparency and fair balance claims, the amended complaint charges that the commission has acted arbitrarily and outside the scope of its legal authority. In making its unprecedented decision to aggregate the personal data of every registered voter in the United States, the commission failed to properly consider, for example, the cybersecurity and privacy implications of compiling this sensitive data. In addition, investigating records of individual voters goes well beyond the commission’s mandate to study and make recommendations concerning registration and voting processes.

      Kobach’s record on this matter is extremely troubling. His prized voter monitoring system, Crosscheck, which stores millions of voter files and is ostensibly meant to stop people from voting in more than one state, has serious defects. It not only produces erroneous findings, but it is also open to massive security risks.

      Gizmodo found that “the records passing through the Crosscheck system have been stored on a server in Arkansas operating on a network rife with security flaws” and that “multiple sets of login credentials” have been compromised. ProPublica similarly discovered that security vulnerabilities, like hosting files on an insecure server and sharing login credentials over email, “could imperil the safety of millions of peoples’ records.” And security analysts warned in a recent court brief that Kobach’s plan to collect millions of files containing voters’ personal information “would constitute a treasure trove for malicious actors.”

    • The Internet Went Crazy Over a Sex Toy App “Secretly” Recording Lovemaking

      Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense received some bad publicity the past weekend after someone on reddit accused the company of secretly recording users’ lovemaking sessions with the mobile app allowing for remote controlling of its vibrators.

      Basically, reddit user /u/tydoctor claimed he came across a .3gp file stored on his device that was “a full audio recording 6 minutes long of the last time I had used the app to control my SO’s remote control vibrator.” This way, the user claimed, Lovesense secretly created audio recordings of the sex sessions, obviously making people believe that the company was actually spying on people.

      And since spying is quite a hot topic these days, it’s ten times worse when it involves anything related to sex, so the discussion rapidly made the rounds, with more than 200 users chiming in and debating how and why Lovsense creates the audio recording.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • New York City Takes on Algorithmic Discrimination

      The city will create a task force to review its agencies’ use of algorithms and the policy issues they implicate.

      Invisible algorithms increasingly shape the world we live in, and not always for the better. Unfortunately, few mechanisms are in place to ensure they’re not causing more harm than good.

      That might finally be changing: A first-in-the-nation bill, passed yesterday in New York City, offers a way to help ensure the computer codes that governments use to make decisions are serving justice rather than inequality.

      Computer algorithms are a series of steps or instructions designed to perform a specific task or solve a particular problem. Algorithms inform decisions that affect many aspects of society. These days, they can determine which school a child can attend, whether a person will be offered credit from a bank, what products are advertised to consumer, and whether someone will receive an interview for a job. Government officials also use them to predict where crimes will take place, who is likely to commit a crime and whether someone should be allowed out of jail on bail.

    • ‘You’re Fucked’: The Acquittal of Officer Brailsford and the Crisis of Police Impunity

      The execution of Daniel Shaver demonstrates the importance of police training.

      Two words stick in my mind when I think of the video of Daniel Shaver begging for his life before he was shot and killed by Officer Philip Brailsford of the Police Department in Mesa, Arizona. The two words were written on the dust cover of the AR-15 rifle Braisford used to kill Shaver:

      “You’re fucked.”

      We have seen this movie before. Daniel Shaver was not armed or committing any crime when was he shot to death by Brailsford. Like many previous police shooting videos, this one shows police behaving much more aggressively than Mr. Shaver. And like previous videos, a jury acquitted the officer of all criminal charges. But this video showed us two things about policing culture in America that stand out. First, the video shows Shaver begging for his life while he tried to follow contradictory instructions screamed at him by an officer. And Shaver was white.

      Shaver had a job killing pests. Sometimes he used a pellet gun to get the job done, and he was seen holding the gun by people at the hotel. When the police were called, they were told a man had a gun so they had to be careful.

      I get it. But how far does that information take us?

    • Tough-on-Crime Prosecutors Are Out of Step With Public Views

      The ACLU polled likely voters and found strong support for prosecutors committed to criminal justice reform.

      “Mass incarceration is a myth.” Racial bias in the criminal justice system “is the most ludicrous concept ever.” Data on sexual assault prosecutions should be kept secret because it might be “misinterpreted by the public.”

      These are all real quotes from elected prosecutors, the most powerful people in the criminal justice system. There are approximately 2,400 elected prosecutors in America, and these views may well be common among them. But the public appears to be moving away from these misconceptions.

      A first-of-its-kind poll conducted by the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice shows that voters of every persuasion across the United States — in red states and in blue states alike — strongly prefer elected prosecutors who are committed to reducing incarceration, tackling racial disparities, and being transparent.

      Approximately nine out of 10 likely voters surveyed said that it was important for their prosecutor to prioritize alternatives to incarceration. This includes 83 percent of Republicans polled. Eighty-eight percent of voters also said they were more likely to support a prosecutor who actively works to reduce racial bias in the criminal justice system. And 91 percent want prosecutors to reduce sentences in instances where people were treated unequally because of their race. Respondents also want a prosecutor who makes a commitment to transparency, with 85 percent favoring a prosecutor who shares data and policies with the public.

    • U.N. expert says torture persists at Guantanamo Bay; U.S. denies

      The U.S. Department of Defense denied the allegation, saying there was no credible evidence to support it.

      Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said he had information that Ammar al-Baluchi – accused of being a co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks on the United States – was being subjected to treatment that is banned under international law.

      “His torture and ill-treatment are reported to continue,” a statement from the U.N. human rights office said, without giving details of the source of Melzer’s information.

      “In addition to the long-term effects of past torture, noise and vibrations are reportedly still being used against him, resulting in constant sleep deprivation and related physical and mental disorders, for which he allegedly does not receive adequate medical attention,” it said.

    • Ferguson’s School Board Elections Dilute the African-American Vote

      The Ferguson-Florissant School District was born out of a 1975 federal desegregation order, intended to remedy effects of historical discrimination against African-American students.

      Yet, as recently as 2014, the school board was all white, and its members had not had a racial make-up that reflects the district’s population in the 12 years prior. Slightly less than half of the voting-age residents of the district are African-American, as are roughly 80 percent of the students who attend the public schools. While some African-American candidates have been elected to the school board in the last few years, recent victories do not erase the district’s long history of racial exclusion and inequality.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • 100 million Americans live in areas where every single ISP has admitted to violating net neutrality
    • The FCC’s Democratic commissioners on net neutrality vote: ‘We have a mess on our hands’

      Regardless, the rollback is expected to pass by a 3-2 margin on party lines. In separate phone interviews conducted last week, The Verge spoke with commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel about this week’s vote, and what happens next.

      Interviews were conducted separately. They have been condensed and edited.

    • Requiem for an Internet Dream

      The dream of the Internet is dying. Killed by its children. We have barely noticed its demise and done even less to save it.

      It was a dream of openness, of unprecedented technological and social freedom to connect and innovate. Whilst expressed in technology, it was a dream that was, in essence, political and social. A dream of equality of opportunity, of equality of standing, and of liberty. A world where anyone could connect and almost everyone did.

      No-one controlled or owned the Internet; no one person or group decided who got on it or who didn’t. It was open to all.

    • Net Neutrality: How a Repeal Could Kill the Careers of Indie Musicians

      Repeal will corporatize selection too. A free and open Internet has allowed independent artists like Sturgill Simpson, Drive-By Truckers and Chance the Rapper to grow and cultivate a fan base on their own terms, and for fans to find them. But if Net Neutrality goes away, not only will access to discovery platforms be limited, corporations and providers will have the opportunity to boost artists that have deals with their brands instead. And since the Internet is such an important vehicle behind the genre-less creativity in today’s music – artists grow up with near universal access to music from every corner of the globe through the Web – the end of Net Neutrality could mean more music that is culturally myopic in scope.

    • More than 100 Million Americans Can Only Get Internet Service from Companies That Have Violated Net Neutrality

      This is a problem faced by millions of Americans, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Local Self Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for equitable development and local government rule. Based on the Federal Communications Commission’s own data, the ILSR found that 129 million Americans only have one option for broadband internet service in their area, which equals about 40 percent of the country.

    • Net neutrality repeal means you’re going to hate your cable company even more

      No one wanted to see big service providers turn the Internet into the cable industry, with its high prices and relatively few choices. But that’s what’s about to happen.

    • Internet Governance Forum Next Week: Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data On Agenda

      The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will open in Geneva next week. The United Nations entity, which presents itself as a free electron of internet governance, will host a large number of sessions addressing pressing issues of the digital world, including big data, cyber security, and artificial intelligence. Discussions held at the forum will enhance understanding of the broad issue of internet governance, and help hold actors accountable.

      The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will take place from 18-21 December on the theme “Shape Your Digital Future.” This is the first time the IGF is being held in Geneva, which is the home of the IGF secretariat.

  • DRM
    • Why Linux HDCP isn’t the end of the world

      Recently, Sean Paul from Google’s ChromeOS team, submitted a patch series to enable HDCP support for the Intel display driver. HDCP – or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection to its parents – is used to encrypt content over HDMI and DisplayPort links, which can only be decoded by trusted devices.

      HDCP is typically used to protect high-quality content. A source device will try to negotiate a HDCP link with its downstream receiver such as your TV or a frame-capture device. If a HDCP link can be negotiated, the pixel content will be encrypted over the wire and decrypted by the trusted downstream device. If a HDCP link cannot be successfully negotiated and pixel data remains unencrypted, the typical behaviour is to fall back to a lower resolution, or quality that is in some way less desirable to capture.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Idea for finding all public domain movies in the USA

        While looking at the scanned copies for the copyright renewal entries for movies published in the USA, an idea occurred to me. The number of renewals are so few per year, it should be fairly quick to transcribe them all and add references to the corresponding IMDB title ID. This would give the (presumably) complete list of movies published 28 years earlier that did _not_ enter the public domain for the transcribed year. By fetching the list of USA movies published 28 years earlier and subtract the movies with renewals, we should be left with movies registered in IMDB that are now in the public domain. For the year 1955 (which is the one I have looked at the most), the total number of pages to transcribe is 21. For the 28 years from 1950 to 1978, it should be in the range 500-600 pages. It is just a few days of work, and spread among a small group of people it should be doable in a few weeks of spare time.

      • How The US Pushed Sweden to Take Down The Pirate Bay

        A series of documents released by the US Department of State have revealed how Sweden was pressed to take action against The Pirate Bay. According to US officials, this directly led to law enforcement’s decision to shut down the torrent site more than ten years ago. Sweden, meanwhile, avoided a spot on the feared US Trade Representative’s 301 Watch List.

Judge Corcoran Got His User ID/Desk Back (as ILO Asked), But Cannot Perform Actual Work

18 hours 33 min ago

Summary: The latest update regarding Patrick Corcoran, whose 3-year ordeal is far from over in spite of ILO’s unambiguous rulings in his favour

THINGS are worse than widely believed. We are a couple of hours away from EPO staff protests and there’s no indication that justice will be respected. Well, what we have here is minimal “perception” of independence and minimal “perception” of compliance with the ruling.

“How can anyone decide to not go to protest today?”Corcoran can go into the Haar building, based on a source, but no other building. He has a room, desk, and chair. No phone. No computer. No office equipment. Delegates to Administrative Council have been told anyone in HR who challenges a decision, e.g. at ILO, is disloyal. People with cases at ILO are told by HR that even if they win, EPO will ignore it.

How can anyone decide to not go to protest today?

The End of Software Patents and PTAB’s Role in Enforcing That End

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 12:47:53 AM

It’s finally finished

Summary: Software patents are fast becoming a dying breed and the appeal board (PTAB) of the USPTO accelerates this trend, irrespective of patent immunity attempts

A FEW hours ago Patently-O carried on with its Alice-bashing cartoons, showing the site’s overt support for software patents and growing fear of Alice. It will soon be 4 years since that decision, which earlier today was recalled within this article about ‘apps’. Notice the Alice part:

Utility patents protect inventions for a term of twenty years from filing. The good news is that apps are treated no differently than other types of software inventions, and can thus be protected by utility patents. The bad news, however, is that apps are treated no differently than other types of software, and are thus subject to the same undefined and poorly understood “abstract idea” exception to patentability created by the Supreme Court in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. Since the 2014 Alice decision, many software patents were invalidated, and many patent applications were rejected, for being directed to abstract ideas. But not all software inventions are abstract ideas, and applications on software continue to be allowed, and patents on software continue to be sustained.

The more time goes on, the stronger Alice will become. It has not been effectively challenged by anything. Earlier today FatPipe again showed off its “patents for software-defined networks,” perhaps not realising how silly those patents look in light of Alice.

“4 years ago we could only dream that software patents would be invalidated at this scale and efficiency.”Also revealed earlier today was this PTAB decision citing Alice and doing the usual. Basically it’s like a daily routine. PTAB has just eliminated an abstract patent (yet again) [PDF] and the patent booster responded with “PTAB Rejects Patent Application Directed to Tracking Changes in Patent Ownership with 101/Alice” (abstract).

There’s no escaping PTAB either. As Managing IP pointed out this afternoon, Allergan’s “scammer” is trying to claim otherwise:

The lawyer behind Allergan’s controversial transfer of patents to a Native American tribe says others are “lining up to do deals”. But, Michael Loney asks, will the PTAB rule that sovereign immunity applies in these types of deals?

No. In fact, courts/judges and politicians already move to close the potential loophole. Nobody will be exempted from PTAB, hence any software patent ever granted (and not expired yet) can be subjected to elimination at any time (subject to petition or “IPR” as they call it).

It’s pleasing to see just how quickly things can change. 4 years ago we could only dream that software patents would be invalidated at this scale and efficiency.

No, China Isn’t Most Innovative, It’s Just Granting a Lot of Low-Quality Patents

Wednesday 13th of December 2017 12:16:11 AM

Strategic move from Xi, even if a short-sighted and misguided one (attracts trolls)


From “sewed in China” to “sued in China”

Summary: Patent extremists are trying to make China look like a role model or a success story because China grants far too many patents, spurring an explosion in litigation

Patents and innovation are not the same thing. Everybody knows that, especially patent examiners (not officials). At IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, facts don’t matter. Earlier today it published the headline “US innovation rates could quadruple if women, low-earners and minorities effectively targeted, research finds” (a questionable headline in its own right). So I opened the source paper and the said study does not correspond/agree with IAM’s claims. They should know that patents and innovation are not the same thing and hypothetical assertions aren’t facts (and the paper mentions patents, which correlate/relate to wealth, not innovation). But leaving that aside for a moment (it’s a new IAM writer, they lost a lot of staff lately), let’s consider the other blog post IAM published today. Composed by a more senior writer who advocates patent chaos in China, the post admits that patent “infringement cases in China are skyrocketing,” including many from patent trolls (like those IAM cheers for).

Is this actually a good thing? Self harm, destruction, legal battles and tax in the form of legal bills come to mind. It’s like the United States a decade ago. Before it sobered up and regained some sanity.

“Self harm, destruction, legal battles and tax in the form of legal bills come to mind.”Looking at Watchtroll, another patent extremist, earlier today it published a post titled “WIPO Stats on Patent Application Filings Shows China Continuing to Lead the World” (leading in what? Feuds?).

As we said a week ago, this WIPO data actually shows China granting rubbish patents. That’s over-patenting. WIPO does not weigh these numbers based on quality and SIPO alone received over a million patent applications last year (for the sake of comparison, the US has about 10 million patents since inception a very, very long time ago).

Intellectual dishonesty, in the name of profit, runs deep in the patent microcosm. They try to use “China!” to shame Western countries into a regime of patent maximalism, wherein just about everything that exists (even nature itself) gets patented. Yes, the EPO actually grants patents on life. It would be material of comedy if it wasn’t so real!

“When too many patents get granted nobody is happy except lawyers and attorneys.”Earlier today Managing IP (slightly more moderate than IAM) published this paywalled article wherein “Guanyang Yao and Qi Hu discuss recent cases, issues and developments in patent damages awards in China…”

It’s all about litigation. When I was younger China was renowned for manufacturing and stigmatised as a ripoff artist. Does China wish to become stigmatised as a troll instead? The sad thing is, Xi’s vision for China when it comes to patents is disturbingly short-sighted and it failed to heed the warning from the United States. When too many patents get granted nobody is happy except lawyers and attorneys. They don’t produce anything. They add virtually nothing to GDP. They’re a tax.

Battistelli-Campinos Transition Will Be a Smooth One as the Administrative Council Remains the Same and the Boards Still Besieged

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 11:36:41 PM

The loyal 'chinchilla' changed nationality from Danish to German and the President remains French. Maybe Campinos can inherit that infamous pair of ‘presidential’ bicycles to ride in his massive pub. If he gets drunk and crashes, he can always bring up “immunity!” [1, 2]

Summary: A rather pessimistic (albeit likely realistic) expectation from tomorrow’s meeting of the Administrative Council, which continues to show that no lessons were learned and no strategy will be altered to avoid doom (low-quality patents and stocks running out)

TOMORROW will be an interesting day at the EPO — perhaps the culmination of many scandals and Battistelli getting reprimanded (if that’s not far too optimistic). Nobody expects Battistelli to get fired and perhaps he feels safe knowing that his imminent departure makes him immune to anything — even within the Council. Earlier today it was the Campinos-led EU-IPO helping the EPO distract from scandals. EU-IPO said that the EPO’s “new #patent study confirms growth in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies…”

We are still trying to determine what’s going on with the media because based on a comment we received a few hours ago, Battistelli had time to prepare his ‘damage control’. He knew the outcome in advance or at least intended to disregard the ruling from ILO. This is disturbing (if true).

Something just isn’t right. With the media that is…

“The Boards of Appeal scandals only serve to reinforce and vindicate the complainant for it clearly demonstrates utter dysfunction, including but not limited to deficient separation of powers.”Why isn’t Dutch and German media making a big deal out of it? It is a very big deal, yet hardly a bleep on the radar for some. Notice how IP Kat, for instance, has said nothing — not even a word — about it, having meticulously followed this whole affair for over 2 years.

What has IP Kat turned into? I say this as a former fan. A lot of the patent posts at IP Kat come from Bristows, complete with the pro-software patents, pro-trolls, pro-UPC, FRAND, SEP agenda. Bristows does something similar in Kluwer Patent blog and we suspect this is the latest (today’s article about Tilmann — a subject that we covered earlier than that). This is probably Bristows writing anonymously again, having received some truly harsh comments for its recent spin in that blog. Today it wrote in its sad and lonely blog about France and the UK, but what the staff won’t admit is that it makes no real difference. The cards are now on Brexit and the ball is in Germany’s court (literal court, not just a sports metaphor). Tilmann, Bristows and others (we collectively refer to them all as “Team UPC” — a term they recently chose to adopt) try hard to influence the outcome, which may in fact be years away. The Boards of Appeal scandals only serve to reinforce and vindicate the complainant for it clearly demonstrates utter dysfunction, including but not limited to deficient separation of powers.

Earlier today someone wrote this comment about the Administrative Council (AC), which will be meeting within half a day (in view of protesters, namely EPO staff). To quote:

AC putting its house in order, and growing a set of morals and a backbone? No chance, Simon.

I see the supine and amoral AC as ruined beyond repair. The little countries have found out how much voting power they can exert, against the complacent Big Country Bullies. From now on, it is they that will continue to extract from their beloved Cash Cow, its Golden Goose, what they want, namely fat dividends. It’s called “Shareholder Value” and it destroys even the best companies, particularly the best companies.

What the AC did (or didn’t do) will be a textbook example. It’s case of complicity by inaction or blind compliance with a person they were entrusted to regulate. The tail was wagging the dog for longer than half a decade and bribes were perfumed as “projects” or “cooperation” or “agreements” and so on. It’s just grotesque.

“The tail was wagging the dog for longer than half a decade and bribes were perfumed as “projects” or “cooperation” or “agreements” and so on. It’s just grotesque.”It’s hard to see if/how the Boards will ever recover now that they’re in Haar and in a state of limbo. Earlier today Mark Schweizer wrote about the Technical Board of Appeal and the Enlarged Board of Appeal, alluding to another case which in our humble assessment demonstrates need for more staff (so-called ‘human resources’ — a task assigned to Battistelli’s friends’s wife at the Office). The Boards are so grossly understaffed that one starts to wonder if they have a future at all; Battistelli keeps them besieged while lobbying for the UPC. To quote parts of Schweizer’s post:

Svarovski-Optik’s patent EP 1 746 451 had been upheld with limited claims by the Opposition Division. Upon appeal, the Technical Board of Appeal 3.4.02 revoked the grant of the patent. Svaroski-Optik filed a petition for review by the Enlarged Board of Appeal under Article 112a(2)(c) EPC (fundamental violation of Article 113(1) [right to be heard).

[...]

Neither party had advanced such a claim construction or formulation of the objective problem during the entire proceedings. Since this construction was first advanced by the BoA in the written grounds for the decision, Svaroski-Optik could not have objected to it during the appeal proceedings, and the objection was raised in a timely manner in the petition for review (Rule 106, last part of sentence).

By adopting a surprising claim construction only in the written grounds, without giving the parties the opportunity to comment on it, the Board of Appeal had violated Svaroski-Optik’s right to be heard. While it had been discussed whether a limitation of the zoom level of the telescope IOR-01 could lead to the above discussed feature without inventive step, the discussion did not occur in the context of claim construction and did not change the fact that the newly adopted claim construction was surprising.

In a properly-functioning Organisation the Council would announce the hiring of dozens of people for the Boards, not a handful of interns. But alas, the Council seems all too complicit with Battistelli, so we urge readers to remember who will ‘govern’ Campinos when he arrives. It’s the very same people, including (according to court documents) a Head of Delegation who sleeps/slept with the Vice-President.

Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 06:01:15 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Dedoimedo interviews: Tuxmachines

    Dedoimedo prowls the many corners of the Web, searching for textogenic faces for a fresh new interview. Truth to be told, finding the candidate for today’s slot wasn’t too difficult. Roy Schestowitz is a familiar name round the Tux block. Nowadays, you will most likely find him on tuxmachines.org, a community-driven news site.

    News aggregation can be tricky; finding the right balance of quality content isn’t easy, but even with the relatively recent change of ownership, tuxmachines marches on with solid consistency, ardently trying to offer its readers the best the open-source world has to report. I have always been a great fan and supporter, and I approached Roy for an interview. He agreed.

  • Desktop
    • System76 Enables HiDPI Support on All of Their Linux Laptops and Desktops

      We reported last week on the upcoming support for HiDPI displays coming to System76′s for its Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distro, and it didn’t take long for them to release the new daemon that would enable HiDPI support on all of its laptops and desktops where Ubuntu or Pop!_OS Linux is installed.

      HiDPI support was becoming an urgent necessity for System76 as more and more customers started asking for assistance in setting up their displays. And while the Wayland display server isn’t yet mature enough to be adopted by all GPU vendors and completely replace X.Org, there was a need for a compromise.

  • Server
    • With OPNFV, Orange Plans a Full-Scale Rollout of Network Functions Virtualization

      Over the past few years, the entire networking industry has begun to transform as network demands rapidly increase. This is true for both the technology itself and the way in which carriers — like my employer Orange, as well as vendors and other service providers — adapt and evolve their approach to meeting these demands. As a result, we’re becoming more and more agile and adept in how we virtualize our evolving network and a shifting ecosystem.” keep up with growing demands and the need to virtualize.

    • Oracle joins the serverless fray with Fn

      With its open source Fn project, Oracle is looking to make a splash in serverless computing.

      Fn is a container native serverless platform that can be run on-premises or in the cloud. It requires the use of Docker containers. Fn developers will be able to write functions in Java initially, with Go, Ruby, Python, PHP, and Node.js support planned for later. Applications can be built and run without users having to provision, scale, or manage servers, by using the cloud.

    • DevOps, Docker, and Empathy

      Just because we’re using containers doesn’t mean that we “do DevOps.” Docker is not some kind of fairy dust that you can sprinkle around your code and applications to deploy faster. It is only a tool, albeit a very powerful one. And like every tool, it can be misused. Guess what happens when we misuse a power tool? Power fuck-ups. Let’s talk about it.

      I’m writing this because I have seen a few people expressing very deep frustrations about Docker, and I would like to extend a hand to show them that instead of being a giant pain in the neck, Docker can help them to work better, and (if that’s their goal) be an advantage rather than a burden in their journey (or their “digital transformation” if we want to speak fancy.)

    • This open-source, multicloud serverless framework claims faster-than-bare-metal speed

      The move toward fast, serverless computing technology got a boost this month from Iguazio Systems Ltd. The data platform company (named from the Iguazu waterfalls in South America) announced the release of Nuclio, an open-source, multicloud serverless framework that claims faster-than-bare-metal speed.

      “We provide one platform, all the data services that Amazon has, or at least the ones that are interesting, serverless functions, which are 100 times faster, and a few more tricks that they don’t have,” said Yaron Haviv (pictured), founder and chief technology officer of Iguazio Systems. “We do fewer services, but each one kicks ass; each one is much faster and better engineered.”

    • CORD Says It’s the De Facto Choice for Edge Computing

      The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today released 4.1 of its Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) code. CORD has only been around as an independent project within ONF for about a year and a half, but with this release a couple of things have gelled for the project. First, it has merged its residential-CORD, mobile-CORD, and enterprise-CORD into one overarching project. Secondly, the ONF has realized CORD’s relevance in edge computing and edge cloud data centers.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.14.5
    • Linux 4.9.68
    • Linux 4.4.105
    • Linux 3.18.87
    • Four stable kernel updates
    • SysAdmins and Kernel Developers Advance Linux Skills with LiFT

      The annual Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships provide advanced open source training to existing and aspiring IT professionals from all over the world. Twenty-seven recipients received scholarships this year – the highest number ever awarded by the Foundation. Scholarship recipients receive a Linux Foundation training course and certification exam at no cost.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMD Moving Forward In Their RadeonSI Support For ARB_gl_spirv

        AMD open-source developer Nicolai Hähnle has spent the past few months working on the ARB_gl_spirv extension as mandated by OpenGL 4.6. Some of the prep work for supporting that extension has landed in Mesa 17.4-dev Git.

        ARB_gl_spirv is about bringing SPIR-V support to OpenGL drivers, the IR shared by Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1+. ARB_gl_spirv allows for loading SPIR-V modules into OpenGL programs and allows for GLSL to be a source language in creating SPIR-V modules. This is basically for creating better interoperability between OpenGL and Vulkan/SPIR-V.

      • Mesa Glthread Gets Adds Another Game, AMDGPU Winsys Gets Performance Workaround

        This week has started off to being another busy time in Mesa Git just ahead of the holidays.

        First up, Mount & Blade: Warband is the latest game to be white-listed by the Mesa glthread functionality for enabling OpenGL threading on this Steam Linux game. Mount & Blade: Warband was actually whitelisted back in July but then disabled a few days later as it turned out not to be working.

      • VESA Rolls Out DisplayHDR As Its Latest Standard

        VESA has rolled out DisplayHDR 1.0 as its newest standard. As implied by the name, the standard is in regards to specifying HDR (High Dynamic Range) quality for displays.

      • VC5 OpenGL & Vulkan Driver Advancing

        Broadcom developer Eric Anholt has offered an update on the state of the VC5 Gallium3D driver for OpenGL support as well as the work being done on the “BCMV” Vulkan driver. Additionally, the VC4 Gallium3D driver for existing Raspberry Pi devices continues to get better.

      • Initial Tessellation Shader Support For RadeonSI NIR

        The RadeonSI Gallium3D driver’s NIR back-end is moving one step closer to feature parity with the existing OpenGL capabilities of this AMD GCN graphics driver.

        Timothy Arceri working for Valve has been focusing on the NIR back-end recently for RadeonSI. This NIR intermediate representation handling is being driven in order to add SPIR-V ingestion support to RadeonSI with code sharing for RADV’s existing NIR-based infrastructure.

    • Benchmarks
      • Linux 4.15 I/O Scheduler Tests: BFQ, CFQ, Kyber

        With some BFQ performance fixes included as part of Linux 4.15 along with other I/O scheduler work and block improvements for this latest Linux kernel series, here are some fresh benchmarks of the different I/O scheduler options using the Linux 4.15 Git kernel.

      • Is PowerTop / TLP Still Useful To Save Power On Linux Laptops?

        This system was running Ubuntu 17.10 and the configurations tested included:

        - Ubuntu 17.10 in a “stock” or “out of the box” experience when using its Linux 4.13 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.26.1 with Wayland, and Mesa 17.2.2 atop an EXT4 file-system.

        - Upgrading the Ubuntu 17.10 system to Linux 4.15 Git for showing the power consumption when using the very latest kernel cycle.

        - This Ubuntu 17.10 + Linux 4.15 system then with Intel PowerTop installed and changing all the tunables to their “good” values for maximum power-savings.

        - Installing TLP and using its default power-saving options.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Looking Back at Randa Meetings 2017: Accessibility for Everyone

        Randa Meetings are a yearly collection of KDE Community contributor sprints that take place in Randa, Switzerland. With origins dating back to a Plasma meeting in 2009, Randa is one of the most important developer-related events in the community.

      • KDE Edu Sprint 2017

        Two months ago I attended to KDE Edu Sprint 2017 at Berlin. It was my first KDE sprint (really, I send code to KDE software since 2010 and never went to a sprint!) so I was really excited for the event.

        KDE Edu is the an umbrella for specific educational software of KDE. There are a lot of them and it is the main educational software suite in free software world. Despite it, KDE Edu has received little attention in organization side, for instance the previous KDE Edu sprint occurred several years ago, our website has some problems, and more.

        Therefore, this sprint was an opportunity not only for developers work in software development, but for works in organization side as well.

        In organization work side, we discuss about the rebranding of some software more related to university work than for “education” itself, like Cantor and Labplot. There was a wish to create something like a KDE Research/Science in order to put software like them and others like Kile and KBibTex in a same umbrella. There is a discussion about this theme.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • New Antivirus Live CD Release Is Out Now Based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2

        Every time a new major 4MLinux release is being prepped, Antivirus Live CD gets updated with the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source components that have been included in the respective 4MLinux release. As such, Antivirus Live CD 24.0-0.99.2 is based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2 open-source antivirus software toolkit.

        “Antivirus Live CD is an official 4MLinux fork including the ClamAV scanner. It’s designed for users who need a lightweight live CD, which will help them to protect their computers against viruses,” said Zbigniew Konojacki in the release announcement‏. “The latest version 24.0-0.99.2 is based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2.”

      • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Gets Linux Kernel 4.14.4, Updated Installer

        Coming hot on the BlackArch Linux 2017.11.24 ISO snapshot released two weeks ago with more than 50 new hacking tools, the BlackArch Linux 2017.12.11 ISO images are now available to download incorporating the latest version of the BlackArch Installer utility, which fixes a few critical bugs.

        The bugs were related to a login loop and the supported window managers, and they are now fixed in BlackArch Installer 0.6.2, which is included in the BlackArch Linux 2017.11.24 ISO snapshot. Also included is the Linux 4.14.4 kernel and many of the latest system updates and security patches released upstream.

      • BlackArch 2017.12.11

        Today we released new BlackArch Linux ISOs. For details see the ChangeLog below.

        Here’s the ChangeLog:

        update blackarch-installer to version 0.6.2 (most important change)
        included kernel 4.14.4
        updated lot’s of blackarch tools and packages
        updated all blackarch tools and packages
        updated all system packages
        bugfix release! (see blackarch-installer)

      • Latest Linux Distribution Releases (The Always Up-to-date List)
    • Arch Family
      • If You’re Ready for Arch, ArchMerge Eases the Way

        Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure.

        ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux. I recently reviewed Archlabs and found it to be a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros, in general, are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes.

        ArchMerge Linux brings a few extra ingredients that make trying it well worth your while if you want to consider migrating to the Arch Linux platform. Still, no Arch Linux distro is a suitable starting point for Linux newcomers. That reality does not change with ArchMerge, although it helps ease the process considerably for those who are ready for it.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Devuan ASCII sprint — 15-16-17 Dec. 2017
      • Systemd, Devuan, and Debian
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Devs Work on Demoting Python 2 to “Universe” Repo for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Canonical’s Matthias Klose informed the Ubuntu community in a mailing list announcement last week that getting the Python 2 interpreter demoted from Ubuntu has been an ongoing task for the last few releases, and that Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) is the first to ship with a Desktop ISO image that doesn’t contain Python2.

            However, the next step for them is to prepare to move the Python 2 packages to the “universe” repository in the next few months before the release of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system in April 2018. While Python 2 will be supported for only two more years, Ubuntu 18.04 is an LTS (Long Term Support) release supported for five years, until 2023.

          • Spaceman Shuttleworth Finds Earthly Riches With Ubuntu Software

            He’s best known for being the world’s first “Afronaut,” but since returning to Earth from his 2002 trip on Russia’s Soyuz TM-34 rocket ship, Cape Town native Mark Shuttleworth set about with the conquest of a much more lucrative universe: the internet-of-things.

            Shuttleworth created Ubuntu, an open-source Linux operating system that helps connect everything from drones to thermostats to the internet. His company, Canonical Group Ltd., makes money from about 800 paying customers, including Netflix Inc., Tesla Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG, which pay for support services. Its success has helped boost his net worth to $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

            “It’s destructive to be too focused on that,” Shuttleworth said of his wealth in an interview at Bloomberg’s office in Boston. “It’s just a distraction from whether you have your finger on the pulse of what’s next.”

          • Rocket.chat communication platform enables simplicity through snaps

            Created in Brazil, Rocket.Chat provides an open source chat solution for organisations of all sizes around the world. Built on open source values and a love of efficiency, Rocket.Chat is driven by a community of contributors and has seen adoption in all aspects of business and education. As Rocket.Chat has evolved, it has been keen to get its platform into the hands of as many users as possible without the difficulties of installation often associated with bespoke Linux deployments.

          • The Silph Road embraces cloud and containers with Canonical

            The Silph Road is the premier grassroots network for Pokémon GO players around the world offering research, tools, and resources to the largest Pokémon GO community worldwide, with up to 400,000 visitors per day

            Operating a volunteer-run, community network with up to 400,000 daily visitors is no easy task especially in the face of massive and unpredictable demand spikes, and with developers spread all over the world.With massive user demand and with volunteer developers located all over the world, The Silph Road’s operations must be cost-effective, flexible, and scalable.

            This led the Pokémon GO network first to cloud, and then to containers and in both cases Canonical ’s technology was the answer.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Mint 18.3: The best Linux desktop takes big steps forward

              I run many operating systems every day, from macOS, to Windows 7 and 10, to more Linux desktop distributions than you can shake a stick at. And, once more, as a power-user’s power user, I’ve found the latest version of Linux Mint to be the best of the best.

              Why? Let’s start with the basics. MacOS has been shown to have the worst bug I’ve ever seen in an operating system: The macOS High Sierra security hole that lets anyone get full administrative control. Windows, old and new, continues to have multiple security bugs every lousy month. Linux? Sure, it has security problems. How many of these bugs have had serious desktop impacts? Let me see now. None. Yes, that would be zero.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • What is a blockchain smart contract?

    Now, in a blockchain, the important thing is that once the state has changed, you then ensure it’s recorded on the blockchain so that it’s public and nobody can change or challenge it. But there are other uses for blockchain technology, as I explained in “Is blockchain a security topic?” Permissionless systems, often referred to as distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are a great fit for non-transactional state models, largely because the sort of people who are interested in them are closed groups of organisations that want to have complex sets of conditions met before they move to the next state. These aren’t, by the tightest definition, blockchains. Banks and other financial institutions may be the most obvious examples where DLTs are gaining traction, but they are very useful in supply chain sectors, for instance, where you may have conditions around changing market rates, availability, and shipping times or costs, which may all play into the final price of the commodity or service being provided.

  • Running a successful open source project

    Running an open source project is easy. All you have to do is make your source code available and you’re open source, right? Well, maybe. Ultimately, whether or not an open source project is successful depends on your definition of success. Regardless of your definition, creating an open source project can be a lot of work. If you have goals regarding adoption, for example, then you need to be prepared to invest. While open source software is “free as in beer”, it’s not really free: time and energy are valuable resources and these valuable resources need to be invested in the project.

    So, how do you invest those resources?

  • New package repositories are now enabled by default

    During this year’s coding sprint in Toulouse (which I was able to attend, thanks to being in Europe on a study-abroad program), I spent a lot of time massaging HaikuPorts to generate a consistent-enough state of packages for us to switch to them by default, and then making the in-tree changes necessary for the switch. Thanks to this and mmlr’s comprehensive overhaul of the HaikuPorter Buildmaster over the past couple months, we have finally switched to the new repositories by default as of hrev51620. If you’ve installed a nightly image from after this, you should be able to just pkgman full-sync and upgrade away.

  • Haiku OS Is Very Close To Their Long Awaited Beta, New Repository Working

    The BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system should be issuing its long-awaited beta release by early 2018.

    For months there has been talk of the long-awaited beta for Haiku OS while it looks like roughly within the next month we should be actually seeing this milestone.

  • DeepVariant: Tool to call out variants in sequencing data goes open source

    Megan Molteni, Wired, decoded, at least, the very nature of the challenge to know more about our human puzzle. “Today, a teaspoon of spit and a hundred bucks is all you need to get a snapshot of your DNA. But getting the full picture—all 3 billion base pairs of your genome—requires a much more laborious process. One that, even with the aid of sophisticated statistics, scientists still struggle over.”

    DeepVariant was developed by researchers from the Google Brain team, focused on AI techniques, and Verily, the Alphabet subsidiary focused on life sciences.

    It is based on the same neural network for image recognition, but DeepVariant, is now making headlines not for cat IDs but as a way to scan a genetic code for mutations. DeepVariant has gone open source. The GitHub definition of DeepVariant: “an analysis pipeline that uses a deep neural network to call genetic variants from next-generation DNA sequencing data.”

  • Open source VPN clients vs VPN provider apps: which is better?

    Power users love open source software for its transparency and flexibility – but what about open source VPN software? Are there any open source VPN clients that can stand up to being compared with the more popular VPN apps from premium providers like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, IPVanish or NordVPN?

    The short answer is… not really. But the long answer depends a lot on your level of technical know-how, patience, and where you’re willing to place your trust.

  • Events
    • Coreboot Conference 2017 Videos Now Available

      For those interested in the open-source Coreboot project that serves as a replacement to proprietary UEFI/BIOS, the videos from their European Coreboot Conference are now available.

      The European Coreboot Conference 2017 (ECC’17) was held in Bochum, Germany back at the end of October.

    • Election night hackathon supports civic engagement

      On November 7, 2017, members of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) community came together for the annual Election Night Hackathon held in the Simone Center for Student Innovation. This marked the seventh anniversary of a civic tradition for the FOSS @ MAGIC community, in which students and faculty analyze civic problems in the local community, state, or country and propose a project to address them. MAGIC Center faculty and event organizers are on hand to help students choose open source licenses and publish and share their code.

    • Namaste ! (on the road to Swatantra 2017)

      I’ll have the pleasure to give a talk about GCompris, and another one about Synfig studio. It’s been a long time since I didn’t talk about the latter, but since Konstantin Dmitriev and the Morevna team were not available, I’ll do my best to represent Synfig there.

    • #PeruRumboGSoC2018 – Session 4

      We celebrated yesterday another session of the local challenge 2017-2 “PeruRumboGSoC2018”. It was held at the Centro Cultural Pedro Paulet of FIEE UNI. GTK on C was explained during the fisrt two hours of the morning based on the window* exercises from my repo to handle some widgets such as windows, label and buttons.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Chrome 63 revamps Bookmark Manager w/ Material Design on Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

        Chrome 63 began rolling out to Android and desktop browsers last week with the usual security fixes and new developer features. On the latter platform, this update introduces Material Design to the Bookmark Manager.

        Several versions ago, Google began updating various aspects of the browser with Material Design, including History, Downloads, and Settings.

        Like the Flags page for enabling experiments and in-development features, which Google also revamped in version 63, the Bookmark Manager (Menu > Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager) adopts the standard Materials UI elements. This includes an app bar that houses a large search bar. It adopts the same dark blue theme and includes various Material animations and flourishes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.0 Coming Soon to openSUSE Tumbleweed, Along with KDE Apps 17.12

      A total of six snapshots have been released to the public this month, as OpenSuSE Project’s Dominique Leuenberger announced this past weekend, and they brought lots of goodies, along with some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software components. But first, there’s been a bunch of more python2->python3 conversions lately that you should know about.

      “For the ones that don’t know yet, the python2 -> python3 switches are especially of interest to SLE/Leap 15,” said Dominique Leuenberger. “Minimizing the support surface for Python 2 in favor of Python 3 will lead to a much stronger, supportable product for the future. As Tumbleweed is the leading and trendsetting product, it is but natural that we get those changes as well.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNUstep Takes Another Step Forward For Implementing Apple’s Cocoa Frameworks

      GNUstep is the long-standing free software project working to implement Apple’s Cocoa Objective-C frameworks used by macOS. The GNU project has made new releases of their GUI and Back libraries.

      GNUstep GUI 0.26 is out this morning as the latest update to their graphical user-interface library. GNUstep GUI 0.26 has a number of compatibility improvements, translation updates, mouse tracking logic improvements, bug fixes, and other work.

    • New format in GIMP: HGT

      Lately a recurrent contributor to the GIMP project (Massimo Valentini) contributed a patch to support HGT files. From this initial commit, since I found this data quite cool, I improved the support a bit (auto-detection of the variants and special-casing in particular, as well as making an API for scripts).

      So what is HGT? That’s topography data basically just containing elevation in meters of various landscape (HGT stands for “height“), gathered by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) run by various space agencies (NASA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, German and Italian space agencies…).

  • Programming/Development
    • CSR devices now supported in fwupd

      The BlueCore CSR chips are used everywhere. If you have a “wireless” speaker or headphones that uses Bluetooth there is a high probability that it’s using a CSR chip inside. This makes the addition of CSR support into fwupd a big deal to access a lot of vendors. It’s a lot easier to say “just upload firmware” rather than “you have to write code” so I think it’s useful to have done this work.

    • Skylake Server Scheduler Model Updated In LLVM 6.0 Along With Other Intel CPU Updates
    • Most Software Code Will Be Written By Machines By 2040, Researchers Predict

      Imagine a scenario where a programmer needs to follow a couple of tried and tested procedures to write code that becomes a part of a bigger program that needs some insightful contribution from another programmer. So, is the first programmer really needed? Can’t we find a robotic replacement for the same?

      In the past, GitHub CEO had already made a prediction which says that future of coding is no coding at all. A similar speculation has been made by the researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, who have said that machines will write most of their own code by 2040.

    • Hazelcast joins Eclipse, JCache is key focal point

      Open source In-Memory Data Grid (IMDG) company Hazelcast has joined the Eclipse Foundation – and it has done so for a reason.

      Hazelcast’s primary focus will be on JCache the Eclipse MicroProfile and EE4J.

      In particular, Hazelcast will be collaborating with members to popularize JCache, a Java Specification Request (JSR-107).

      So what place does JCache fill in the universe then?

    • Fruit of an acquisition: Apple AI software goes open

      Apple’s joined other juggernauts of the tech sector by releasing an open source AI framework.

      Turi Create 4.0, which landed at GitHub recently, is a fruit of its 2016 US$200 million acquisition of Turi.

      As the GitHub description explains, it targets app developers that want custom machine learning models but don’t have the expertise to “add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity or activity classification” to their apps.

    • Apple Releases Turi ML Software as Open Source

      Apple last week released Turi Create, an open source package that it says will make it easy for mobile app developers to infuse machine learning into their products with just a few lines of code.

      “You don’t have to be a machine learning expert to add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity, or activity classification to your app,” the company says in the GitHub description for Turi Create. “Focus on tasks instead of algorithms.”

Leftovers
  • Amendment​ ​to​ ​Clause ​173​ ​:​ ​Supporting​ ​Consumer ​Rights ​for ​All

    Open Rights Group campaign for a world where we each control the data our digital lives create, deciding who can use it and how, and where the public’s rights are acknowledged and upheld. With these principles in mind, Open Rights Group calls for amendments to Clause 173 to strengthen enforcement of data subjects rights in the Data Protection Bill.

  • Collective Redress: Cheatsheet
  • Helping kids play with danger: crowdfunding a log-splitter, designed for children

    Risky play is good for kids: it lets them test their boundaries in an exhilarating, vivid way — and it’s been all but entirely engineered out of contemporary child-rearing.

    That’s where Monte Sheppard’s University of Technology Sydney Integrated Product Design honors research comes in: it’s a log-splitter designed for small children to use.

  • Security
    • Script Recovers Event Logs Doctored by NSA Hacking Tool

      Security researchers have found a way to reverse the effects of an NSA hacking utility that deletes event logs from compromised machines.

      Last week, Fox-IT published a Python script that recovers event log entries deleted using the “eventlogedit” utility that’s part of DanderSpritz, a supposed NSA cyber-weapon that was leaked online by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers.

      According to Fox-IT, they found a flaw in the DanderSpritz log cleaner when they realized the utility does not actually delete event log entries, but only unreferences them, merging entries together.

    • Pre-Installed Keylogger Discovered on Hundreds of HP Laptop Models

      A keylogger that can help record pretty much every keystroke on the computer has been discovered on HP’s devices, with a security researcher revealing that hundreds of laptop models come with this hidden software pre-installed.

      Michael Myng says in an analysis of the keylogger that the malicious code is hiding in the Synaptics Touchpad software and he actually discovered it when looking into ways to control the keyboard backlight on his laptop.

      According to his findings, the keylogger isn’t activated by default, but it can be turned on by any cybercriminals that get access to the system. The list of affected models includes hundreds of laptops like EliteBook, ProBook, Spectre, Zbook, Envy, and Pavilion.

    • Laptop touchpad driver included extra feature: a keylogger [Ed: This is the second time in recent times HP gets caught with keyloggers; This is no accident, it's intentional.]

      Flaws in software often offer a potential path for attackers to install malicious software, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a hardware vendor to include potentially malicious software built right into its device drivers. But that’s exactly what a security researcher found while poking around the internals of a driver for a touchpad commonly used on HP notebook computers—a keystroke logger that could be turned on with a simple change to its configuration in the Windows registry.

    • Microsoft Needed 110 Days to Fix Critical Security Bug After First Ignoring It

      Microsoft needed more than 100 days to fix a critical credential leak in Dynamics 365 after the company originally ignored the bug report and only reacted after being warned that details could go public.

      Software engineer Matthias Gliwka explains in a long blog post that he discovered and reported a security flaw in Microsoft’s Customer Relationship Manager and Enterprise Resource Planning software in August, but the software giant refused to fix it on claims that administrator credentials would be required.

      Gliwka says he came across a wildcard transport layer security (TLS) certificate that also included the private key, which would in turn expose communications by anyone who could decrypt traffic. The developer says that extracting the certificate grants access to any sandbox environment, with absolutely no warning or message displayed to clients.

    • UK Spy Agency Finds Severe Flaw in Microsoft Antivirus in Kaspersky Bye-Bye Push
    • Security updates for Monday
    • Open Source Patch Management: Options for DIYers [Ed: "Linux comes with patch management," it says, which defeats much of the point of this article...]

      CVE-2017-5638 is the code vulnerability that will long live in the corporate memory of Equifax, the credit ratings agency. A simple patch management system might have kept that vulnerability from turning into one of the most high-profile data breaches in recent memory.

      CVE-2017-5638 is a remote code execution bug that affects the Jakarta Multipart parser in Apache Struts, an open source application framework for developing Java EE web applications. Remote code execution bugs are generally extremely serious, and for that reason, when the vulnerability was discovered, the Apache Foundation recommended that any developers or users of affected versions of Struts upgrade to later versions that had been patched to close the vulnerability.

    • HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger

      HP said more than 460 models of laptop were affected by the “potential [sic] security vulnerability”.

      [...]

      In May, a similar keylogger was discovered in the audio drivers pre-installed on several HP laptop models.

    • Fingerprinting MySQL with scannerl

      The goal here is to identify the version of MySQL running on a remote host.

    • What You Need To Know About The Intel Management Engine

      Over the last decade, Intel has been including a tiny little microcontroller inside their CPUs. This microcontroller is connected to everything, and can shuttle data between your hard drive and your network adapter. It’s always on, even when the rest of your computer is off, and with the right software, you can wake it up over a network connection. Parts of this spy chip were included in the silicon at the behest of the NSA. In short, if you were designing a piece of hardware to spy on everyone using an Intel-branded computer, you would come up with something like the Intel Managment Engine.

      Last week, researchers [Mark Ermolov] and [Maxim Goryachy] presented an exploit at BlackHat Europe allowing for arbitrary code execution on the Intel ME platform. This is only a local attack, one that requires physical access to a machine. The cat is out of the bag, though, and this is the exploit we’ve all been expecting. This is the exploit that forces Intel and OEMs to consider the security implications of the Intel Management Engine. What does this actually mean?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Hurricane Maria Exposed the U.S.’s Long Neglect of Puerto Rico

      The United Nations’ poverty expert will visit Puerto Rico today to survey the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the structural issues it unveiled. The storm exposed the brutal and historic neglect of the island and its 3.5 million U.S. citizens.

      The ACLU and other organizations advocated for the U.N. to visit the island and submitted a letter urging them to do so back in early October. The U.N. poverty expert will meet with communities, local groups, and government officials on the ground in Puerto Rico. He will report back his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

  • Finance
    • Fed set to raise rates as Yellen gives final news conference

      Investors seem certain about this: The Federal Reserve is going to raise interest rates this week for the third time this year.

      They’re less sure about what the central bank might have in store for 2018, and they will look to Janet Yellen’s final news conference as Fed chair Wednesday for any clues.

      Will the Fed’s policymaking change once Yellen steps down in February and is succeeded by Jerome Powell? Powell was a Yellen ally who backed her cautious stance toward rate hikes in his five years on the Fed’s board. Yet no one can know how his leadership or rate policy might depart from hers.

      What’s more, Powell will be joined by several new Fed board members who, like him, are being chosen by President Donald Trump. Some analysts say they think that while Powell might not deviate much from Yellen’s rate policy, he and the new board members will adopt a looser approach to the regulation of the banking system.

    • Bitcoin fees are skyrocketing

      The cost to complete a Bitcoin transaction has skyrocketed in recent days. A week ago, it cost around $6 on average to get a transaction accepted by the Bitcoin network. The average fee soared to $26 on Friday and was still almost $20 on Sunday.

      The reason is simple: until recently, the Bitcoin network had a hard-coded 1 megabyte limit on the size of blocks on the blockchain, Bitcoin’s shared transaction ledger. With a typical transaction size of around 500 bytes, the average block had fewer than 2,000 transactions. And with a block being generated once every 10 minutes, that works out to around 3.3 transactions per second.

    • ZeMarmot project got a Liberapay account!

      We were asked a few times about trying out Liberapay. It is different from other recurring funding platforms (such as Patreon and Tipeee) that it is managed by a non-profit and have lesser fees (from what I understand, there are payment processing fees, but they don’t add their own fees) since they fund themselves on their own platform (also the website itself is Free Software).

    • WaPo Nostalgic for Good Old Days of Trump Campaign Tax Lies

      A Washington Post article (12/9/17) on the Republican tax proposals being considered by Congress implies that they are a sharp departure from the plans Donald Trump put forward in the campaign in the benefits they provides to the rich. The headline is “As Tax Plan Gained Steam, GOP Lost Focus on the Middle Class.”

      This description is pretty much 180 degrees at odds with reality. While Donald Trump always promised to help the middle class, the proposals he put forward during his campaign were hugely tilted toward the rich. The Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the last tax cut plan he proposed before the election showed 50 percent of the benefits going to the richest 1 percent of the population.

    • Fears grow across the Atlantic over Brexit fallout

      Its report argues that Brexit was likely to have a “mostly negative effect” on American interests in Europe, given the UK is a firm ally of the US in security matters and a supporter of free markets.

      “An EU without the UK may be more willing to create barriers for non-EU companies, to the detriment of US companies and the American economy,” the report says.

      “In the development of EU defence policy, for example, the UK aim was often to ensure that EU measures did not undermine NATO and the strong transatlantic partnership.”

      That approach could change once Britain has left the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • National Democrats Resist Reforms

      Still refusing to face why Donald Trump and the Republicans won in 2016, the national Democratic Party rebuffs proposals from progressives to make the party more democratic and less corporate-dominated, writes Norman Solomon.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Facebook, Google, Twitter’s ‘Censorship of Christian, Conservative Speech’ Tackled in NRB Initiative

      National Religious Broadcasters has launched an online effort seeking to highlight what it says is censorship of Christian and conservative speech by online media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple.

      “It is unacceptable for these titans to discriminate against users just because their viewpoints are not congruent with ideas popular in Silicon Valley,” said Jerry A. Johnson, NRB’s president & CEO, on Thursday when announcing the Internet Freedom Watch initiative.

      The website for the initiative, which documents cases of alleged censorship, states that “chillingly, a growing censorship of Christian and politically conservative viewpoints on the internet is happening in America and across the globe.”

    • Letter: The First Amendment applies to government censorship

      Forum opinion columnist Rob Port wrote a blog post Dec. 8 about the decision by Concordia College to rescind funding for an appearance by conservative provocateur Ben Shapiro. Port stated his opinion that this amounts to censorship and seemingly some sort of First Amendment issue since the First Amendment protects controversial forms of speech.

      The problem with this viewpoint is that while Port is correct in that the First Amendment does protect the most controversial forms of speech, but it has no bearing on private entities such as a private university. The First Amendment only serves to protect us from government censorship. If this situation would have occurred at one of our local public institutions, there would possibly be First Amendment implications. But definitely not when it comes to a private institution.

      Port would do well to learn exactly what the First Amendment does and does not do. Especially since his very livelihood as a political commentator is provided by the protections established in that amendment.

    • Video: How the Court System Is Abused to Chill Activist Speech

      One of the most pernicious forms of censorship in modern America is the abuse of the court system by corporations and wealthy individuals to harass, intimidate, and silence their critics.

      We use the term “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” more commonly known as a “SLAPP,” to describe this phenomenon. With a SLAPP, a malicious party will file a lawsuit against a person whose speech is clearly protected by the First Amendment. The strategy isn’t to win on the legal merits, but to censor their victims through burdensome, distracting, and costly litigation. SLAPP suits often make spurious defamation claims and demand outrageous monetary penalties to bully their enemies.

    • Criticizing Balthus Isn’t Censorship

      Imagine that a painting—say, a 1938 painting by Balthus hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York—was revealed as a forgery. Nothing has changed about the painting except that it isn’t authentic. The curators decide to remove it from the museum’s wall. Is this censorship?

      Just about everyone would answer this question negatively. Curators are expected to evaluate the historical and aesthetic quality of the work they put on their walls. Museum space is limited; you can’t show everything, or even everything in the collection, all at once. Deciding to take down a painting if new information becomes available about its provenance is a non-controversial decision.

      The Balthus painting in question, Therese Dreaming, is not a forgery. But many people have argued that it should be taken off the Met’s wall. Mia Merrill is a New Yorker who started a petition asking the Met to consider removing the painting—or provide additional context in the wall text. The petition has garnered some 9000 signatures.

    • Censorship using defamation law escalates under NLD: report

      Myanmar’s notorious online defamation law remains the tool of choice for powerful people in Myanmar who seek to punish those who are trying to hold them accountable, and the amendment of the law in August has had “no discernible impact” on this, says a new report by the rights groups Free Expression Myanmar (FEM).

    • Apple, Google attend China internet conference that promotes control and censorship

      CEOs from Google and Apple participated last week in China’s World Internet Conference, bringing what critics called “credibility” to an annual event used by the country’s Communist government to promote a more controlled and censored internet globally.

      Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook went as far as praising the Communist country during his keynote speech at the conference, saying that China’s vision of cyberspace as promoted by the conference “is a vision we at Apple share.”

    • Interview: Rise Against Talk Politics And Censorship

      Yeah, let me try to sum it up as short as possible. We had a video shoot that we had decided to film on location in Virginia, where a presidential theme park had existed, but after it went out of business the huge statues of the president’s heads, just the busts, just their faces, were moved out to a field somewhere, but they were all falling apart. They were all just haphazardly strewn around this field. So we thought this would be a great place to make the video for ‘The Violence’, and we’d have these symbols of power and also show you all these different things our country had survived, all these people in power that had just come and gone. And everything was going fine, but as we approached video day we were told a board of directors, who owned the field collectively I guess, and somebody decided to look up our band and see what we’re all about and they decided that we were not the right fit for their field of weathered heads. I think the words “anti-government” were thrown around. I wish I had a better explanation as to why they shut us down, but I don’t know what “anti-government” means. I don’t know if they thought we were some of of Lord Of The Flies anarchists. I feel like anybody who’s trying to hold the government accountable for what they do could come down on either side of the argument. But regardless, the thing happened, and it kind of illustrated how polarised America is right now too, where were being shut down because of our message and who we are as a band, it brings up questions around freedom of speech, somewhat at least. But it also made me proud of Rise Against as well. That 18 years later, what we do is still something that the other side considers dangerous.

    • Politicising film censorship

      The Punjab Censor Board’s decision to ban Verna last month made little sense. Most of all because it lasted a day, and all it could achieve was spoil the film’s premiere on Thursday.

      It has since been revealed that the issues the Censor Board officials had was not that it narrated the story of a rape survivor – as had been earlier reported – but the fact that politicians and officials were being targeted. For instance, the Governor, Interior Minister, IG Police were mentioned.

    • Australian charities ‘self-censoring’ political advocacy out of fear of retribution

      Australian charities are avoiding political advocacy and “self-silencing” out of a fear that dissent will attract political retribution, a new report has found.

      Published by Pro Bono Australia and the Human Rights Law Centre, the Civil Voices report found that charities and non-government organisations operate in an “insidious” environment where “self-censorship” is rife because of funding agreements, management pressure and the “implied repercussions” of political speech.

      One of the report’s co-authors, University of Melbourne associate professor Sarah Maddison, said the findings were “fairly insidious”.

    • Amended Version of FOSTA Would Still Silence Legitimate Speech Online
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The throwaway Netflix tweet that reveals a chilling secret

      The streaming service, which has 109 million subscribers, might regret making their anonymising data collection habits public knowledge.

      The fact is Netflix watches you watching it. It’s the trade-off for having a massive online library of film and TV at your fingertips, presented to you as per your viewing habits and preferences.

      The uncomfortable truth remains that if Netflix wants to snoop into your viewing habits, or make a personal point about them, it can.

    • Inside the secret world of the corporate spies who infiltrate protests

      It was perhaps not the most glamorous assignment for a spy. Toby Kendall’s mission was to dress up as a pirate, complete with eye-patch, bandana and cutlass, and infiltrate a group of protesters.

      The campaigners had organised a walking tour of London to protest outside the premises of multinational firms, objecting to what they believed was the corporate plunder of Iraq.

    • Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows

      British Airways, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Porsche are among five large companies that have been identified as having paid corporate intelligence firms to monitor political groups that challenged their businesses, leaked documents reveal.

      The surveillance included the use of infiltrators to spy on campaigners.

      The targets included the grieving family of Rachel Corrie, a student protester crushed to death by a bulldozer, as well as a range of environmental campaigns, and local campaigners protesting about phone masts.

      The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread. However, police chiefs have in the past raised a “massive concern” that the activities of the corporate firms are barely regulated and completely uncontrolled.

    • Battle lines have been drawn over the Data Protection bill.

      The Government have introduced an exemption into the Data Protection Bill that would remove the rights of individuals subject to an immigration procedure to discover what personal data companies and public authorities hold on them.

      The exemption if allowed to pass would set aside fundamental rights such as individuals access to personal data about them, the right to erasure, and the right to rectification, among others. With mistakes commonplace in immigration procedures, it is vital the law retains the power for individuals to hold to account those who collect and process personal data in immigration procedures.

    • FBI Director Complains About Encryption, Offers To Sacrifice Public Safety In The Interest Of Public Safety

      FBI Director Christopher Wray offered testimony to the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing entitled “Oversight of Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Not much in terms of oversight was discussed. Instead, Wray took time to ask for a reauthorization of Section 702 before using several paragraphs of his prepared comments to discuss the “going dark” problem.

      It picks up where Wray left off in October: offering up meaningless statistics about device encryption. Through the first eleven months of the fiscal year, the FBI apparently had 6,900 locked phones in its possession. Wray claims this number represents “roughly half” of the devices in the FBI’s possession. The number is meaningless, but it serves a purpose: to make it appear device encryption is resulting in thousands of unsolved crimes.

    • How Email Open Tracking Quietly Took Over the Web

      According to OMC’s data, a full 19 percent of all “conversational” email is now tracked. That’s one in five of the emails you get from your friends. And you probably never noticed.

    • The Grand Tor: How to Go Anonymous Online

      Tor protects your identity online—namely your IP address—by encrypting your traffic in at least three layers and bouncing it through a chain of three volunteer computers chosen among thousands around the world, each of which strips off just one layer of encryption before bouncing your data to the next computer. All of that makes it very difficult for anyone to trace your connection from origin to destination—not the volunteer computers relaying your information, not your [I]nternet service provider, and not the websites or online services you visit.

    • Facebook Messenger for six-year-olds: need I say why that’s a bad idea?

      Facebook promises that the collection children’s data on Messenger Kids will be limited. But limited to what, and to what end? The company owes parents a much more detailed explanation of what type of data it will be collecting on this app, and how it will be used. Not to generate ads, the company promises (at least for now). OK, but then what kind of data, exactly, will a six-year-old be providing Facebook that it needs to gather?

    • Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society

      Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

    • Facebook is ‘destroying how society works’, former executive says
    • The Hellish Reality Of Working At An Overseas ‘Click Farm’

      They Make Thousands Of Fake Facebook Accounts

      To generate thousands upon thousands of unique clicks/views/likes a day, you’re going to need a lot of accounts. This requires new names, new emails, new passwords, etc. That’s a significant effort, and it’s a big part of what Albert and his colleagues were paid to do. “Before we had technicians [farmers] here, who all they did was create accounts, we would need to create them on the spot.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (2/21): The analog, anonymous letter

      There is no reason for the offline liberties of our parents to not be carried over into the same online liberties for our children, regardless of whether that means somebody doesn’t know how to run a business anymore.

    • France to ban mobile phones in schools from Sept

      The French Government has announced that it will ban the use of mobile phones in primary, junior and middle schools from September next year.

    • France to ban mobile phones in schools from September

      Children will be allowed to bring their phones to school, but not allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Court Holds NYPD In Contempt For Refusing To Hand Over Documents Related To Black Live Matter Surveillance

      The NYPD continues to extend a middle finger to every entity that isn’t the NYPD. The department’s long history of doing everything it can to thwart public records requesters has been discussed here several times. It’s not on much better terms with its oversight, which it routinely ignores when directed to do something about its officers’ routine rights violations and deployment of excessive force.

      If it’s not going to be accountable to the public — either via FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) compliance or respecting the decisions of its oversight — it’s certainly not going to let the judicial branch push it around.

    • Suspect Evidence Informed a Momentous Supreme Court Decision on Criminal Sentencing

      More than 30 years ago, Congress identified what it said was a grave threat to the American promise of equal justice for all: Federal judges were giving wildly different punishments to defendants who had committed the same crimes.

      The worries were many. Some lawmakers feared lenient judges were giving criminals too little time in prison. Others suspected African-American defendants were being unfairly sentenced to steeper prison terms than white defendants.

      In 1984, Congress created the U.S. Sentencing Commission with remarkable bipartisan support. The commission would set firm punishment rules, called “guidelines,” for every offense. The measure, signed by President Ronald Reagan, largely stripped federal judges of their sentencing powers; they were now to use a chart to decide penalties for each conviction, with few exceptions.

    • We Can’t End Mass Incarceration Without Ending Money Bail

      Whether or not you are in jail should not depend on your ability to pay for your freedom. Yet that’s the way our current money bail system works. It is one of the most corrupt and broken parts of our justice system.

      Close to half a million people are in jail today awaiting trial, many of them incarcerated because they are too poor to afford cash bail. The time has come to abolish this system. The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is launching a nationwide campaign today to end this injustice of wealth-based incarceration, deploying all of our tools from our nationwide state affiliate structure to our strategic litigation, communication, and legislative advocacy to support bail reform movements and our partners in states across the country.

      The original purpose of bail was to serve as an incentive to return to court when a person is arrested, released, and their case proceeds. However, the current money bail system has little to do with this original intent. Rather it has mutated into a way to separate people who have money from those who don’t. People with money can almost always buy their way to freedom, regardless of the charges against them. Yet people without access to cash too often end up in jail simply because they cannot afford bail, or alternatively they must take out loans from bail companies that charge exorbitant fees.

    • EFF to Court: Accessing Publicly Available Information on the Internet Is Not a Crime

      EFF is fighting another attempt by a giant corporation to take advantage of our poorly drafted federal computer crime statute for commercial advantage—without any regard for the impact on the rest of us. This time the culprit is LinkedIn. The social networking giant wants violations of its corporate policy against using automated scripts to access public information on its website to count as felony “hacking” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 federal law meant to criminalize breaking into private computer systems to access non-public information.

      EFF, together with our friends DuckDuckGo and the Internet Archive, have urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject LinkedIn’s request to transform the CFAA from a law meant to target “hacking” into a tool for enforcing its computer use policies. Using automated scripts to access publicly available data is not “hacking,” and neither is violating a website’s terms of use. LinkedIn would have the court believe that all “bots” are bad, but they’re actually a common and necessary part of the Internet. “Good bots” were responsible for 23 percent of Web traffic in 2016. Using them to access publicly available information on the open Internet should not be punishable by years in federal prison.

    • Tory MP’s aide ‘raped woman in boss’s office’ after night drinking in parliamentary bar, court hears

      A Tory MP’s aide raped a woman in his boss’s office after a night of drinking in a parliamentary bar, a court heard.

      Samuel Armstrong, 24, the chief of staff to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, is accused of carrying out the attack on October 14 last year.

      The distressed woman later found and told parliamentary cleaners after wandering the corridors of Westminster, it was alleged.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC chair still refuses to help investigate net neutrality comment fraud

      The Federal Communications Commission has again refused to help New York’s attorney general investigate impersonation and other fraud in public comments on the FCC’s net neutrality repeal.

      For the past six months, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been “investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process” by filing fraudulent comments under real people’s names. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s office has “refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession,” Schneiderman wrote in an open letter to Pai last month.

    • The Free Market Argument For Net Neutrality

      On Thursday of this week, the FCC will vote to undo the 2015 Open Internet Order. While the FCC insists that this will just be bringing back the internet to the regulatory framework it had prior to 2015, that is not true. It will be changing the very basis for how the internet works and doing so in a dangerous way. Starting on Tuesday, a bunch of organizations are teaming up for a massive #BreakTheInternet protest. Please check it out. The post below is designed to answer many of the questions we’ve received about “free markets” v. “regulations” on net neutrality, and why we believe that the 2015 rules are consistent with the beliefs of those who support free market solutions.

      I’ve already written about some of the reasons why I changed my mind about net neutrality rules, in which I mentioned that my standard position is to be pretty skeptical of government intervention in innovative markets. But many of the people I know who are opposing net neutrality — including FCC Chair Ajit Pai — like to couch their opposition in “free market” terms. They talk about the “heavy hand of regulation” and “getting government out” of the internet and stuff like that. But as far as I can tell, this is a twisted, distorted understanding of both the telco world and how free markets operate. So, for those folks, let’s dig in a bit and explore the free market argument for net neutrality. And, I should note, this is clearly not the argument that many people supporting net neutrality are making, but this is why I think that even those of us who still believe in free markets helping innovation should still support rules for net neutrality.

    • Congress Took $101 Million in Donations from the ISP Industry — Here’s How Much Your Lawmaker Got

      It’s impossible to quantify the overall influence of this powerful industry, but we can chart some of it. Below you will find contributions to individual members of Congress, and those members’ leadership PACs, from 1989 to the present day. This money came from the telecommunication industry’s own PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. This data was prepared for The Verge by The Center for Responsive Politics: an independent, non-partisan nonprofit research group that tracks money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy.

    • Web pioneers plead to cancel US net vote

      “It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of internet technology,” the open letter read.

    • How You Can Help Save Net Neutrality

      Battle For The Net notes that writing to Congress will hopefully recruit “more members of Congress onto ‘Team Internet,’” particularly Republicans, who currently hold the majority. Since net neutrality has always been a key operating principle of the web, Battle For The Net says it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Showing widespread public support, the organization says, will hopefully inspire legislators to push back against powerful lobbyists.

    • Vint Cerf, Steve Wozniak, and other tech luminaries call net neutrality vote an ‘imminent threat’

      The list includes some of the people responsible for creating the internet as we know it. That includes Steven Bellovin, a former FTC chief technologist who helped develop Usenet; Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Vinton Cerf, who co-created the internet’s underlying TCP/IP protocol; Steve Crocker, who helped develop the protocols for internet predecessor ARPANET; and Stephen Wolff, who helped transform the military ARPANET into a civilian research and communications network.

      Other signatories include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mozilla Foundation executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, and Betaworks CEO John Borthwick.

    • Net neutrality: ‘father of internet’ joins tech leaders in condemning repeal plan

      “The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped,” said the technology luminaries in an open letter to lawmakers with oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday.

    • GitHub’s Santa wishlist: secure infrastructure workflows & net neutrality

      It’s that ‘wonderful’ time of year, when people all across the land exchange presents, meal invitations and predictions for what the open source landscape might look like in the months ahead according to our current understanding of time in relation to space and the wider universe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • MPAA Wins: Australia To Carve Google And Facebook Out Of Its Expanded Safe Harbor Provisions

        Back in November, we discussed some reforms Australia was looking to make to its copyright laws. Chiefly at issue was how safe harbors were incorporated into the law, with those provisions applying only to primary service providers like ISPs due entirely to what appears to be a simple poor choice of words in the law. Under strict reading of the law as written, websites, libraries, and schools that allow internet users to create their own content and engage online would not be subject to safe harbor provisions, unlike the country’s American counterpart. The government initially signaled that it wanted to harmonize its law with EU and American law, before the lobbying dollars of the entertainment industry sprung into action, causing the government to walk this back a bit.

German Media Helps Cover Up — Not Cover — the Latest EPO Scandal

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 04:31:26 PM

Summary: EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO’s biggest scandals to date

THE EPO is in one of its worst situations ever. It’s in crisis if not a total disaster and it’s only a day away from the delegates’ visit and meeting. Some EPO folks believe this is going to get “terse” or “nasty” later this week. One reader expects (or hopes) that Battistelli et al will end up in prison. To quote one message that we received today:

Corsican memorabilia

Let me share some thoughts on the famous Corcoran case. If I am right all actions started by Team Battistelli against the judge were decided on the basis of:
a) a letter that Mr. Cororan sent by postal mail the the deputy Mayor in Saint Germain an Laye, and
b) one e-mail internally sent from a public computer in the EPO premises and that was rather funny that defaming, and
c) nothing else!!!
Now my question is the following: How can the EPO justify that it was spying on THAT computer if the e-mail sent by Mr. Corcoran was his first e-mail? How can they justify the keyloggers?

The answer seems very simple to me: because the EPO was already spying on a public computer mainly used by patent attorneys using a keylogger and Mr. Corcoran was incidentally caught sending a private mail that didn’t please Monsieur le président.

I may be a dreamer by I expect the immunity of the Team Battistelli to be lifted and the whole Team to finish up in jail, that is the place where criminals belong.

As SUEPO points out today, German politicians are starting to get involved. Peter Meyer and Gabi Schmidt, who has long attempted to help EPO staff, published this statement in German. Things are certainly heating up in Bavaria/Germany (because the EPO fails to obey the law), but will German media pay any attention? Any sites other than JUVE (and maybe Heise some time later)? From Meyer and Schmidt:

München. Das Europäische Patentamt (EPA) in München weigert sich, einen zu Unrecht suspendierten Richter der Beschwerdekammer wieder einzusetzen. So verweigert die Amtsleitung dem Richter weiterhin den Zugang zu seinem Arbeitsplatz und hindert ihn damit an der Ausübung seines unabhängigen Richteramts. Ein Gebaren, das gegen zwei letztinstanzliche Urteile des Verwaltungsgerichts der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (ILOAT) vom 6. Dezember 2017 verstößt.

Where is actual press coverage? There seems to have been far more coverage in English than in German even though these affairs are in Germany!

“There seems to have been far more coverage in English than in German even though these affairs are in Germany!”Check out the EPO’s first three (re)tweets on Tuesday [1, 2, 3]. It’s like they live in a different universe even a day ahead of major protests. Even Questel helped the EPO distract from these very major scandals. As we pointed out earlier today, the EPO is paying Handelsblatt yet again (it happened before alongside “media partners”), so don’t expect it to report the latest EPO scandals. This is what the EPO (re)tweets throughout the day. It’s repetitive and unoriginal.

It’s worth noting that Questel has apparently just blocked me in Twitter (for merely pointing out that it helped the EPO shift attention). They probably don’t like it when people tell its EPO story, which is itself a potentially big scandal. But anyway, we digress…

There were several more tweets like these throughout the day, mostly about the Handelsblatt nonsense (commissioned ‘study’). There were even EPO retweets in French: “4e révolution #technologique : l’OEB @EPOorg confirme son essor, +54% demandes #brevet sur 3 ans ; le brevet comme indicateur d’évolution techno rapide #ICT #iA Intelligence artificielle objets connectés #4IR #4RI #innovation #technologie”

“Did the EPO sit on this so-called ‘study’ for a while, just waiting to unleash it as soon as things get hot and heavy?”This is an EPO publicity stunt which is paid for (at the expense of applicants) and is used to distract from massive scandals that applicants deserve and need to know about. We are very disappointed to see how WIPR (media which sometimes covers EPO scandals) plays along with puff pieces/PR (citing EPO/Handelsblatt), possibly for the illusion/perception of “balance”. Knowing how things work in that ‘news’ room, I can’t say I’m surprising…

No day would be complete without the daily #IPforSMEs nonsense (creating or maintaining the false impression that EPO management cares about SMEs), but what worries us a lot more is Handelsblatt‘s role in distracting the media and acting as a ‘damage control’ tool for the EPO. Did the EPO sit on this so-called ‘study’ for a while, just waiting to unleash it as soon as things get hot and heavy? Possibly. It’s a well known PR strategy (attention diversion).

Handelsblatt would probably do for Blatter what it has just done for Battistelli (or Blatterstelli as some EPO insiders used to call him).

PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 12:54:57 PM

Related: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind


The latest in Oil States (Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC), which is very unlikely to stop PTAB but rather reinforce PTAB based on the above oral hearings

Summary: Three Affiliated Tribes probably won’t enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won’t manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit

THE USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has come under various attacks from the patent microcosm. We’ve lost count of the number of attempts to discredit or extinguish PTAB, but the Three Affiliated Tribes "scam" is one that we wrote about quite recently. Sovereign immunity loopholes are being closed by Federal courts and politicians. Seeing all this, Apple now takes aim at patents which were asserted against Apple. The PTAB bashers from IAM explain this as follows:

The debate over the use of sovereign immunity to protect patents from post-issuance reviews at the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has taken another turn. Late last week Apple filed an IPR against a patent held by MEC Resources, an entity owned by the Native American Three Affiliated Tribes, which had previously filed an infringement suit against the iPhone maker in a California district court.

Sovereign immunity as an IPR defence has become one of the patent stories of the year. It was used first (successfully) by several state universities and more recently has been claimed by a number of tribes including the Saint Regis Mohawk, who have taken on patents owned by pharma company Allergan and tech entity SRC Labs.

Allergan has been embroiled in a number of disputes with generics businesses over patents relating to its blockbuster drug Restasis and has been targeted in numerous IPRs filed by generics manufacturer Mylan. The patents assigned to the Saint Regis tribe from SRC have since been asserted in separate lawsuits against Microsoft and Amazon.

MEC Resources and Mohawk/Allergan will both fail to guard these patents (at least from scrutiny). It’s becoming crystal clear that it’s all just a ploy, as a Federal judge put it (“scam” is a more common term than “ploy” and the judge called it a “ sham”, which sounded similar to “scam”).

“MEC Resources and Mohawk/Allergan will both fail to guard these patents (at least from scrutiny).”Irrespective of one’s feelings about Apple, the patent case above is one where we ought to support Apple’s side as it also shields PTAB.

Incidentally, last night Dennis Crouch revisited PTAB in his PTAB-bashing blog. He now bashes PTAB for not giving the right of appeal. To quote:

While the inter partes review (IPR) was ongoing Ariosa/Roche filed a set of three ex parte reexamination requests and the PTO determined that they collectively raised 18 substantial new questions of patentability. However, after siding with the patentee in the IPR, the PTAB also terminated the three pending reexaminations – finding that Ariosa had delayed unreasonably in filing the reexam requests and that the petitions were duplicative of the IPR. This was apparently the first time that the PTAB had ever collaterally terminated an ex parte reexamination. (Remember here, that reexaminations are handled by examiners not by the Board).

[...]

PTAB has the right decision here (I think), but I continue to struggle with the no-appeal result. The argument for no right to appeal here is two-fold: (1) in an IPR only the final written decision can be appealable, and the decision here was separate from that paper; (2) A third-party has no right to appeal dismissal of an ex parte reexamination. What we don’t know is which of these (if either), the Federal Circuit would adopt.

This seems like Crouch's old pattern of trying to slow PTAB down by making the whole process more expensive and cumbersome. Shaming tactics along with Watchtroll. ‘Scholarly’ lobbying… soliciting briefs, too.

“The bottom line is, many more legal disputes are now being ‘settled’ (resolved) without pricey legal proceedings.”PTAB fees have already been raised, potentially accounting for a relative decrease in IPR filings. Does Crouch want them over-encumbered/preoccupied with appeals too? Probably. He also pressured Federal judges to issue written decisions for possibly thousands of PTAB appeals. Easy for him to say, having never written a legal decision; it takes a great deal of time and scales badly/poorly when it comes to the volume of IPRs. He knows that. He has an agenda…

The bottom line is, many more legal disputes are now being ‘settled’ (resolved) without pricey legal proceedings. PTAB typically invalidates low-quality patents before they even reach the courtroom. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s a feature for actual companies, but it’s a “bug” for the litigation ‘industry’. To them (the latter), litigation is just a “product” to be sold. But it’s not a market, it’s a parasite. It’s not an industry but a nuisance. Watch yesterday’s press release which said “growth of the global litigation services market can be attributed to the rise in investments in R&D and for filing patents by organizations in the automotive, FMCG, pharmaceutical, and healthcare sectors.”

“Wanda publicly brags about getting software patents that are null and void (most likely) after Alice.”They say “litigation services market” as if it’s now a real “market”. Ask Crouch about it. Maybe he has actual investments in this “market”, not just amicable relations with that “market”.

And speaking of low-quality patents, see this press release from yesterday [1, 2]. Wanda publicly brags about getting software patents that are null and void (most likely) after Alice. It reads like a a couple of algorithms, one for “Searching of Stationary Datasets” and another for “Detecting Activities and Anomalies in Time Series Data” (they just sneak in words like “Apparatus” to make it appear less abstract than it really is). Worry not, PTAB is very quick to throw away such patents even if they somehow slipped through to the USPTO‘s database.

Team UPC’s Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 11:58:31 AM

What sort of intellectually dishonest person would attempt to defend political corruption followed by cover-up (names of who voted)


Reference: Constructive vote of no confidence

Summary: Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there’s someone ‘courageous’ enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup

A WAVE of autocracy sweeps across Europe, including some elements inside the Bundestag.

Team UPC is just about as crooked and dishonest as the EPO. We have not heard of Tilmann in a long while (he was still very active last year), but moments ago a UPC booster, Thomas Adam‏ (his Twitter handle is dedicated purely to UPC, it’s “UPCtracker”), wrote this: “Tilmann in GRURInt 2017, 1177 quite sceptical about merits of Constitutional complaint, submits in summary: Constitutional complaint cited a “qualified breach” of German Constitution leading to a change of the constitutional identity in order to gain momentum. (cont‘d) [] Such change of constitutional identity Bundestag could not even decide by a 2/3 majority (Art. 79(3) GG). He compares the UPC project to a rationalisation measure “comparable to the merger of the patent district courts of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein”. [] UPC merely centralized tasks decided based on identical subject-matter, facts&law by national courts. ProfT argues this “demonstrates the disproportionate nature of the attack on a project that does not even touch the constitutional identity of the German Constitution from afar”. [] Rather, UPC, in the words of the ECJ and recitals 24 & 25 of the UPC regulation, was of fundamental importance for ensuring the proper functioning of the Unitary Patent, consistent case law and, consequently, legal certainty and cost-effectiveness for patent holders. (end)”

“It’s showing that Tilmann publicly but quietly mocks the rule of law in Germany, just like the EPO does… he tactlessly attempts to justify what happened at 1:30 at night…”Some other hardcore members of Team UPC have embarrassed themselves by writing about it in blog posts, only to be harshly criticised in comments. Tilmann has instead chosen to quietly speak to the courts (deadline is end of this month). This is truly laughable because to attempt to defend the UPC on this basis is to mock democracy itself. Thanks to Thomas Adam, we now know what Tilmann has been up to. It’s showing that Tilmann publicly but quietly mocks the rule of law in Germany, just like the EPO does… he tactlessly attempts to justify what happened at 1:30 at night (or morning, as it’s defined as morning by some). Everyone was asleep. This was the plan.

“The President of the Boards of Appeal has a connection to the UPC, as we noted a year ago when he was appointed.”Another German, Thorsten Bausch, has been rather shocked to see all this. He is rightly concerned that in the name of self interest German law is being ripped apart. Among the latest comments in his blog we see Paul Tauchner, who wrote: “It seems that this affair is a prime example of the way determined dictators in various countries have in the past increased their power, with the rather despicable complicity between control organs (the IC) acting either indifferently or even with incompetence and the leaving President. We may now indeed expect more scandals to become public as it recently happened (in a different context though) with the growing “Me Too Campaign”. Let us hope this will bring satisfaction to those who have suffered from injustice.”

And another person wrote: “Good to hear that at least the President of the Boards of Appeal takes proper account of ILO decisions. A great pity Battistelli has been able to manipulate the Administrative Council so effectively over the years. Let’s hope the Admin Council takes note of the criticisms in the judgments of the ILO.”

The President of the Boards of Appeal has a connection to the UPC, as we noted a year ago when he was appointed. But unlike Tilmann he has not (so far) made a mockery of simple rules. In fact, he appears to be the only person who opened his door to Judge Corcoran.

The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls’ Lobby (IAM)

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 11:07:29 AM

Not only speaking at IAM events and receiving celebrity treatment from IAM


Source: David Kappos 2013 interview

Summary: David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM’s)

THE patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) once again boosts lobbying/lobbyists of patent bullies, courtesy of David Kappos, who used the “China!” scare tactics to pressure for patent maximalism. What’s seemmingly unique this time is that IAM doesn’t just mention Kappos but gives him the entire platform.

Here is the introduction (the rest is mostly copy-paste of his comment on a speech/talk):

David Kappos, who was President Obama’s first USPTO Director and is now a partner at Cravath Swaine & Moore in New York, has put together a brief opinion piece for us on the Delrahim speech. Although he served under the previous administration, Kappos is in no doubt that in its second term, at least, it favoured users of IP over those who created it. Delrahim’s speech, he states, signals that at the DoJ that will now change …

It is very troubling when former USPTO officials (not just Kappos) are proceeding to using their “access” (connections) to get clients in the lobbying sector. Kappos has taken that to new extremes, which reinforces the perception of USPTO corruption.

Also published on the same day was this IAM blog post which debunks Kappos with his China-baiting (examples covered earlier this year). The latest twist in the Veeco tale simply shows how US patent law undermines US companies as they already rely a great deal on Chinese suppliers. By attempting to sue in the US it provoked litigation elsewhere and it has backfired badly. The “US company’s stock [is] falling,” basically because it become overzealous and litigious.

In a patent dispute that seems tailor-made for the Trump era, a US semiconductor company says a Chinese competitor has relied on IP infringement and government subsidies to significantly undercut its business. But although New York-based Veeco won a key preliminary injunction battle in front of a US district judge last month, a court in China hit the US company with an injunction of its own four days ago, causing one analyst to surmise that its patent enforcement campaign has badly backfired.

Veeco makes equipment used to manufacture LEDs, and until recently had about 60% market share in a technology known as MOCVD reactors. It makes the reactors itself, but has licensed German company SGL to manufacture a specific component called a wafer carrier. SGL also supplies wafer carriers to Advanced Microfabrication Equipment (AMEC), a new Chinese player in the MOCVD space.

[...]

It is not clear whether the China injunction is a preliminary or permanent one, or what the next steps are, but Veeco claims the decision was handed down “without providing notice to Veeco and without hearing Veeco’s position on alleged infringement” – which suggests it could be the former. The NASDAQ-listed company told investors that it will appeal the ruling, which it affirned applies only in China and only to some of its products in that market.

China has become fast and loose with embargoes and trolls. This is exactly the sort of thing Kappos wants back in the US, failing to recognise how ruinous it is for small businesses, i.e. not his clients (in his capacity as a lobbyist).

The EPO Protest Tomorrow Isn’t Just About Judge Corcoran But About the EPO as a Whole

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 07:51:56 AM

The Administrative Council has been complicit and the Boards of Appeal (as well as the EPC) are at risk/under an existential threat


EPO protest in Munich last year

Summary: EPO staff is about to protest against the employer, pointing out that “Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal”

AS we already said last week, yesterday and again this morning, there’s another EPO protest lined up and it will take place tomorrow, in order to coincide with the meeting of the Administrative Council (we’ll be personally away those days and thus unable to cover many of the developments therein).

Following the announcement in German four days ago there is now a similar (but shorter) one in English and it says that “SUEPO Munich calls for a demonstration in front of the Isar building on the first day of the meeting of the Administrative Council on Wednesday 13 December at 12:30 in front of the Isar building. The aim is to signal to the Council that their governance is needed – if they want to avoid further criticism from the Tribunal.”

There’s also an accompanying document which sheds light on the legal bullying from Battistelli and his ‘bulldog’:

DEMONSTRATION Wednesday 13 December at 12:30 Isar building

On 13 and 14 December the Administrative Council of the EPO will meet in Munich. The agenda can be found in micado as CA/105/17.

The meeting is likely to be tense:
- Mr Battistelli and Mr Topic have repeatedly accused a Member of the Boards of Appeal of defamation. They even introduced a private complaint for “Beleidigung” (insult) in a German court. The court dismissed the complaint as time-barred. In the second instance the German second instance court, apparently annoyed with the complaint, went further and also dismissed the complaint on the substance. A similar complaint filed in Croatia by Mr Topic has been withdrawn by the accuser, who presumably feared a similar fate.

- The suspended Member of the Boards of Appeal filed several complaints at the ILO-AT. The first two have now been decided. The Tribunal found that the President had a personal interest in the case and was partial. It further stated that the Administrative Council erred in not finding that the President had a conflict of interest in the matter.

- The Tribunal ordered the Office to reinstate the Member of the Boards of Appeal and lift the house ban imposed upon him with immediate effect. The problem: his contract expires at the end of the year and has not been renewed so the “reinstatement” will in practice be for less than two weeks.

- The case is on the agenda of the Council as point 1.7. It is a “C” point meaning that it will again be discussed behind closed doors, again solely on the basis of information provided by the President, including confidential documents that have not been shared with the accused, and without the Board of Appeal Member being heard.

Mr Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal.

SUEPO Munich calls for a demonstration in front of the Isar building on the first day of the meeting of the Administrative Council. The aim is to signal to the Council that their governance is needed – if they want to avoid further criticism from the Tribunal.

SUEPO Munich

It’s rather hard to imagine if/how the Boards of Appeal at the EPO can properly function. They’re not independent anymore. Battistelli gave them a death blow. He killed the EPC too, at least in the process.

There’s this new article from last night regarding the Boards of Appeal and it fails to mention that the Boards of Appeal are at a point of unprecedented crisis after several attack from Battistelli (the Boards are also grossly understaffed).

A guest post at Managing IP has said:

As previously discussed in this column, the Boards of Appeal of the EPO have a few tools at their disposal, which they use to conduct EPO appeal proceedings efficiently. In particular, Article 12(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA) requires appellants to provide their complete case in their statement of grounds of appeal or response to an appeal.

Using this Article, the Boards of Appeal can choose not to admit evidence or amendments to a patent that are filed late in appeal proceedings.

It has generally been accepted, however, that late-filed evidence or claim amendments could be admitted into appeal proceedings, if they are a response to a filing or argument made by another party. So, for example, if a patentee-appellant files new data with their appeal to support an invention, an opponent-appellant should be able to submit counter-evidence, for example in the form of experiments. In effect, a late-filing needs to be justified by a change in circumstances.

How much of this cumbersome process can be afforded now that these Boards have been pushed to the edge and denied resources they need? Incapability/lack of capacity to audit patents (a form of quality control) granted by the Office is a serious peril to the whole Organisation. Shouldn’t that be noted by more writers of/from the patent microcosm? Shouldn’t they be fighting to restore the EPO’s integrity? Apparently they don’t care enough…

Unusually, Marks & Clerk decided to speak out about something rather extraordinary last month. It appeared in at least three places and we mentioned it before. It still circulates among EPO staff as evidence of what Alberto Casado is up to. “This article first appeared in Intellectual Property Magazine,” it notes and it then says that “third parties who may be significantly disadvantaged.”

“Presumably,” it notes, “all deferred applications will be removed from the statistics on average examination time, allowing the EPO an opportunity to drive down the numbers without actually doing any further work.”

Had the Boards of Appeal enjoyed real independence (and sufficient capacity), they would probably be able to say something about it. From Stephen Blake’s article:

An innovative economy is something to be celebrated, but increased numbers of patent applications can cause problems for intellectual property offices tasked with examining them. It has long been known that the European Patent Office (EPO) has a large backlog of patent applications to examine, with applicants waiting years to receive a first examination report. At the meeting of the EPI Council last week in Warsaw, I learned of a new proposal presented to Council by Alberto Casado, Vice President of the EPO, for tackling this backlog. If implemented in its proposed form then it is likely to have implications for applicants, but most notably for third parties who may be significantly disadvantaged.

In recent times, the EPO has introduced a number of initiatives known collectively as “early certainty” initiatives with the aim of speeding up the prosecution of European patent applications and the opposition proceedings for granted European patents. One of these initiatives is that the EPO aims to give preliminary opinion on patents within six months of filing the application. While the EPO has seen success under this initiative, a further initiative to reduce the average time for examination to 12 months has been less successful – the current average time for examination is just under two years. The EPO has therefore considered further measures to alleviate the backlog. One such measure is a proposal to defer examination at the EPO for up to three years on request from the applicant. I understand that the EPO thinks this will mean less time is spent examining applications that the applicants are not too concerned about. Presumably, all deferred applications will be removed from the statistics on average examination time, allowing the EPO an opportunity to drive down the numbers without actually doing any further work.

This whole “early certainty” spiel is a travesty which evades the very principles of patenting; rushed examination is typically as good as no examination at all and patents granted at haste/hurry should be treated with great caution/suspicion.

What ever happened to the Boards of Appeal which used to guard Europe from low-quality (and invalid) patents? Why is Battistelli fighting them tooth and nail? Probably because he has plenty of mischief to hide…

Battistelli is covertly creating another SIPO or INPI. Quality matters no longer…

Claim: Judge Corcoran to Be Put Under Benoît Battistelli’s Control in DG1

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 06:33:37 AM

Would you trust this man near judges?

Summary: Benoît Battistelli, who openly disregards and refuses to obey judges (while intervening in trials and delivering ‘royal decrees’ whenever it suits him), may soon gain direct control over the judge he hates most

THE EPO is in shambles and we welcome Dr. Thorsten Bausch’s criticism of this whole situation. If only more of his colleagues and others in his professional domain found the courage to speak out…

Yesterday Bausch published “Quo usque tandem, Battistelle,” soon to be recommended or at least also cited by JUVE’s Mathieu Klos‏ and Dr. Luke McDonagh, who wrote (and cited the Irish Times along with Bausch’s post): “The European #Patent Office’s labour practices have become incredibly controversial: of interest to the #ECHR (via a complaint made against the Netherlands by its trade union) and the International Labour Organisation (#ILO)…”

Nobody is happy about it. We saw one personal attack on a dismissed staff representative (the typical pretense that EPO staff is rich and spoiled), but everything else is very unflattering to Battistelli and the EPO. Bausch said that Battistelli “is a powerful person, no doubt. But he is not above the law, and he should not be. It must be possible that courts or tribunals set limits to his powers and at times even vacate decisions that he has made. The same is true for the Administrative Council. Both the President and the AC are bound by the European Patent Convention, which has to be interpreted, as the case may be, by an independent court or tribunal.”

More from his article:

If a recent report by JuVe is correct – and they are normally well informed – then Mr. Corcoran has not only won his cases before the ILO, but also before the Regional Court of Munich and the Office of the State Prosecutor in Munich. This is at least what Mr. Corcoran’s attorney told JuVe: “Denn durch die beiden ILOAT-Urteile und diverse Entscheidungen des Landgerichts München und der Staatsanwaltschaft München wurde nun von dritter Seite zweifelsfrei bestätigt, dass die Vorwürfe von Herrn Battistelli gegen meinen Mandanten unbegründet sind” (in English: “The two ILOAT judgments and several decisions of the Regional Court of Munich and the State Prosecutor of Munich have confirmed without any doubt that Mr. Battistelli’s accusations against my client are unfounded.”) – If the EPO has different facts to report, then let us hear them. Otherwise I hope that the decisions by the Munich court will become public some day. They could be interesting.

In any case, the plot seems to thicken. Maybe Mr. Battistelli is really a case for „Krampus“. If he does not change course now and if he continues refusing to do what the ILO ordered the EPO to do, he should be sacked. Otherwise, the Administrative Council risks a serious loss in reputation of the European Patent Office, and I cannot imagine that the German Federal Constitutional Court would firmly close its eyes to such a breach of the constitution and the EPC. Let it not be forgotten that the rule of law is the fundament of the EPO member states’ constitutions and the European patent system as a whole.

And, ceterum censeo, dear Administrative Council, please finally fill the gaps in the technical members of the Boards of Appeal! There are still more than 20 unoccupied positions shown in the business distribution scheme and the duration of appeal proceedings has become truly unbearable.

Someone in the comments then pointed out, correctly, that “ILO decisions in re Judge Corcoran probably mark the beginning of Mr Battistelli´s end.”

To quote:

The recent ILO decisions in re Judge Corcoran probably mark the beginning of Mr Battistelli´s end.
A number of cases of harassement and violations of fundamental rights by him and his minions against various victims are still pending before the Tribunal of the ILO, which expressly justified the extraordinary public announcement last Wednesday by the fact that it would apply the very same considerations in several decisions to come.
The decisions also illustrate how Mr Battistelli made a fool of the AC, bringing both the EPO and the UPC to a point of rupture, with disastrous consequences to be expected from the pending constitutional complaints before the GCC.
Any new proposal from Mr Battistelli in his last months of service is therefore likely to be dumped immediately by the AC.
And once he will have lost power, influence and intimidation capacity, expect dozens of new stories and scandals to emerge. Has he for example really got the Chair of the CEIPI Board tby virtue of his outstanding legal knowledge and brilliant achievements in intellectual property matters rather than perhaps by massively threatening the CEIPI to put a brutal end to EPO´s cooperation and substantial financial support, if he was not elected?

We wrote about CEIPI in the following posts:

Teachers at CEIPI were complaining about Battistelli’s appointment before they even knew about the ILO judgments.

Thorsten Bausch told the above commenter: “Then let us just hope that this reinstatement will also be accepted by the President of the EPO, not just the President of the Boards of Appeal. If so, it would be good news for the rule of law.”

Battistelli and the Office, as we've just noted, have said nothing whatsoever about it. Only Carl Josefsson did.

But mind the next comment, which adds new information/speculation (highlighted in yellow below):

Mr Corcoran was today in Haar (DG3) but it is still unclear whether he can enter other EPO premises (eg Isar, Pschorr Höffe)

I just heard from usually well informed sources that the plan is to now let Mr Corcoran in DG3 until 31.12.2017 and from 01.01.2018 to have in [sic] (him?) back in DG1 under Battistelli !

Suspended 3 years, charges with nothing, a professional life and a reputation totally destroyed by a system incapable to acknowledge its own mistakes plus, cherry on the cake, the brilliant demonstration of the “independence” of the DG3 : Merry Xmas Mr Battistelli !

Can anybody verify/confirm the highlighted text above? We do need independent verification.

Over at The Register many of the comments are not on topic (as usual), but here’s one that is:

Does the ILO’s court have the ability to hand out contempt of court rulings and fines?

Does the ILO’s court have the ability to hand out contempt of court rulings, fines and to jail those individual persons who ignore or unduly delay enacting its rulings? You know, like real courts can do.
If so, then now is the time it is the time for the ILO’s court to start putting individual people in jail until the obey its rulings.
Benoit Battistelli
Benoit Battistelli’s blindly obedient servant, the head of the EPO’s security*
And if that doesn’t do it, then next week the EPO’s executive committee
* Since when did, “I’m just doing what my boss told me to do” justify refusing to obey a court order?

See this reply:

I thought the procedure was that the recipient of the decision could go to the national court to enforce it. In that case the immunity of the organisation would not apply. I could be wrong. Of course the EPO has won a case before the Dutch Supreme Court which was partly based on the EPO’s recognition of the ILO as being a legitimate source of justice for the staff (contrary to the staff’s assertion to the practical application of the right). Failure to apply the ILO decision could well bring that decision back to the table, particularly as the staff Union is currently appealing it to the higher European court for human rights. Ultimately it may rely on the national government (Germany, country of the EPO Chairman) taking steps with regard to the immunity. A ridiculous diplomatic conflict may ensue?
For the want of a nail…

It is going to be interesting to see the ramifications/knock-on effect at ECHR.

Some of the comments are even less polite and suggest law enforcement ought to get involved:

The guy should turn up with a couple of friendly policemen in tow and the minute he is refused access, the police should arrest and handcuff anyone who stops the guy.

Start with the security oik and when he says he has been told to do it, go arrest the person who issued the instruction. Cart them off to a holding cell and remind them that if they repeat it, then they will be arrested again.
Proceed ad finitum until the cops run out of handcuffs and the organisation gets the hnt.

Imagine that. And read the reply:

Except… the EPO buildings are inviolable so any police raid would lead to a call from the EPO to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for back-up. Could lead to a stand-off. And don’t forget BB has personal bodyguards.

Insiders have told us they believe things will get nasty pretty soon. It’s also hard to believe that Corcoran under direct control of Battistelli (and his circle) will be in safe hands. We’re less optimistic than SUEPO and deem Campinos to be an extension of Battistelli’s “circle” (or “swamp” as they nowadays call it across the pond).

The European Patent Organisation Refrains (For Nearly a Week) From Speaking About Battistelli’s Abuses as Judged by ILO Tribunal

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 05:59:00 AM

When they have nothing good to say it seems they’ll say nothing and instead pay the media to say something positive

Summary: The EPO’s silence on the matter of Patrick Corcoran is deafening; to make matters worse, the EPO continues to pollute media and academia with money of stakeholders, with the sole intention of lobbying and misleading news coverage (clearly a disservice to these stakeholders)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is moving from one scandal to another and from one embarrassment to the next. There is, however, a PR/media strategy.

“Not a single word from EPO (at least not yet) about the epic ILO loss or even the UPC setbacks.”Yesterday, for example, the EPO continued with its #IPforSMEs charade (latest tweets to that effect [1, 2]), which is based on a lie because the EPO got caught discriminating against SMEs and they found out.

There was also this puff piece (warning: epo.org link) and accompanying tweet about more bogus ‘studies’ (commissioned by the EPO, as usual, as if it’s a lobbying organisation).

Not a single word from EPO (at least not yet) about the epic ILO loss or even the UPC setbacks. The EPO just simply ignores anything it does not wish applicants to be aware/informed of. This is a symptom of authoritarian regimes, incapable of self-assessment and honesty.

“The EPO just simply ignores anything it does not wish applicants to be aware/informed of.”The latest ‘study’ continues a disturbing pattern. The EPO keeps passing money to media and academia, essentially corrupting both at the expense of applicants. The so-called ‘study’ was done “in co-operation with Handelsblatt Research Institute,” the EPO wrote. We don’t suppose that Handelsblatt (news site which covered EPO scandals in the past) will be covering the latest real news then. The EPO has already passed money to many more publishers (we showed examples and even extracted admissions from journalists).

What a waste of budget. So EPO management pays for some bogus ‘study’, in order to ‘create’ puff pieces about it from WEF; yesterday the EPO retweeted this and linked to this puff piece; as far as we’re aware, William New is the only other person who wrote a puff piece about (or for) this. It’s basically a salad of buzzwords, as usual.

“Is the EPO a real patent office or just a mouthpiece for Battistelli?”It’s worth noting that the EPO has officially said absolutely nothing about the dispute with the judge. Nothing!

It found time to write about the last Patent Information Newsflash webinar, it pushed the UPC ‘study’ at around lunchtime (Monday), and it said that “EPO offices [would be] closed from 23.12.2017 to 1.1.2018,” citing this page (warning: epo.org link) which said: “Please note that all our offices will be closed over the holiday period from 23 December 2017 and will open again on 2 January 2018. During this time no user support will be available, but you may continue to use our contact form to send us an enquiry.”

Well, the EPO already canceled so many holidays this year (at least 3, to take effect soon), so will Christmas be recognised next year? If so, how many days off will staff be given? What kind of break will they receive? The above makes it sound as though staff will get only 6 (working) days off. That’s very little compared to ‘industry standards’. It gets worse over time.

Either way, we still patiently wait for the Office to make any statement whatsoever regarding ILO. It did this before (when it got its way), so why not now? Is the EPO a real patent office or just a mouthpiece for Battistelli?

Carl Josefsson Lets Judge Patrick Corcoran Come Back to Work at the EPO

Tuesday 12th of December 2017 05:21:29 AM


Photo credit: Bird & Bird, 2015

Summary: After initial reluctance to obey/respect the rulings from the ILO (security staff declining access) there is official permission for Patrick Corcoran to enter and resume work (following 3 years of injustice against him)

ONE year ago Carl Josefsson was put in charge [1, 2] of the appeal boards at the EPO. Josefsson, as we noted a day ago, is said to have brought Judge Corcoran back in (at least into Haar; “Not clear about other sites,” a source told us).

We now have the text related to this. To quote:

In a post on the internal page of the Boards of Appeal, dated today, the following can be read:

11.12.2017
Execution of ILOAT judgements

The President of the Boards of Appeal has reistated a member of the Boards of Appeal as of Monday, 11 December 2017, in execution of the judgements No. 3958 and 3960 of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation of 6 December 2017.

Carl Josefsson
President of the Boards of Appeal

There was another article related to this which was published yesterday and said:

He had alleged that the Administrative Council had imposed several measures on him in relation to an alleged misconduct. These included suspension, a “house ban”, a blocking of his EPO user ID, and a request for him to relinquish all EPO property.

The ILOAT awarded the suspended EPO member material damages in an amount equal to the deductions from his remuneration, and moral damages.

It also ordered the EPO to immediately allow the complainant access to the EPO premises and resources, to return any EPO property it requested him to hand over and to unblock his user ID.

So after some pressure there was apparently compliance, too. It remains to be seen if the contract is renewed. Yesterday SUEPO published an outline of this case (and others) in the form of a PDF, which we’ve converted manually to HTML:

11 December 2017
su17024hp

Analysis of the EPO cases issued during ILO-AT extraordinary session of December 6th 2017

Judgment No. 3972

This involved a case where a staff member on certified sick leave was charged, inter alia, with unauthorised absence, failure to cooperate with medical procedures and to be present at normal place of residence as constituting misconduct. After an in absentia disciplinary proceeding, the staff member was dismissed from service.

On appeal, the Tribunal held that the staff member’s actions and behaviour may have been manifestations of a medical condition. The Tribunal specifically noted that the medical evidence before the Disciplinary Committee (and the President) clearly pointed to a conclusion that, at least by the time the Disciplinary Committee was deliberating, the staff member was suffering from a serious medical condition.

Under such circumstances, the Tribunal held that the EPO had a duty of care to order a medical assessment of the staff member’s health condition, so as to determine a nexus between that condition and the staff member’s actions. The EPO’s failure to do so amounted to a breach of duty of care and its response was held by the Tribunal as being inadequate.

Based on the following, the Tribunal has sent the case back to the EPO with instructions for the DC to consider whether the alleged misconduct can be entirely explained by the staff member’s health condition (which the DC ought to do by requesting a medical assessment). EPO has also been asked to assess whether the staff member was entitled to benefits based on an invalidity stemming from the medical condition and service with the EPO. The staff member has been awarded 20,000 Euros moral damages for the moral injury suffered on account of the unlawful dismissal. Costs were awarded at 1000 Euros.

Judgments No. 3958 and 3960

These involved the cases of a member of the Boards of Appeal being suspended and his suspension being extended, pending the completion of disciplinary proceedings against him. These proceedings were in respect of allegations of misconduct which, inter alia, related directly to the President (such as allegations

of spreading defamatory statements against the President). In arriving at these decisions, the Administrative Council was advised by the President, who was involved in the decision making process.

The Tribunal stated that the question of the President’s conflict of interest represented a threshold substantive issue in this case. The Tribunal stated that a conflict of interest occurs in situations where a reasonable person would not exclude partiality, that is, a situation that gives rise to an objective partiality. Even the mere appearance of partiality, based on facts or situations, gives rise to a conflict of interest.

In the present case, there is a conflict of interest on the part of the President. This stemmed from the fact that the alleged serious misconduct, with which the complainant was charged, might reasonably be thought to have offended the President specifically, directly and individually. This situation, by itself, casts doubts on the President’s impartiality. Considering the whole situation, the Tribunal held that a reasonable person would think that the President would not bring a detached, impartial mind to the issues involved.

To the President’s participation in the procedure against the complainant citing the EPO internal laws which provide for his participation in the Administrative Council’s decision, the Tribunal held that the question of a conflict of interest only arises if the official is competent. Accordingly, the question of competency is not an answer to a charge of a conflict of interest. Therefore irrespective of what the internal laws provided for, there was a clear conflict of interest on the part of the President.

As for the house ban against the complainant, the Tribunal held that the President was wrong in stating that he was the final authority in imposing house bans. In so far as it relates to an employee appointed by the Administrative Council, that authority rests with the Council alone and not the President.

The Tribunal quashed both the decisions of the Administrative Council (the suspension, the extension of the suspension, the house ban, the relinquishment of EPO property previously at the complainant’s disposal and the blocking of his UserID). It has ordered that the Complainant shall be immediately reinstated in his former post. EPO has been ordered to immediately allow the complainant access to the EPO premises and resources, return to him any EPO property it requested him to hand over pursuant to his suspension and immediately unblock his UserID. EPO has also been ordered to pay the complainant material damages in an amount equal to the deductions from his remunerations, together with interest at the rate of 5 per cent p.a. Moral damages in the amount of 25,000 Euros (for both cases) and costs in the amount of 10,000 Euros (for both cases) have also been ordered.

Claims relating to Circular No. 342 and Data Protection Guidelines violations, as well as procedural violations during investigation, were held as being irreceivable, as they did not relate to a final decision.

Judgments 3895 and 3896

In Judgments 3694 and 3785, the Tribunal sent back the cases to the EPO so that the Appeals Committee, composed in accordance with the applicable rules, may examine the appeal. The decision was founded on the fact that the Appeals Committee was not composed in accordance with the applicable rules, in force at the time, set out in Article 36(2)(a) and 111(1)(a) of the ServRegs. The EPO amended Article 36(2)(a) of the ServRegs regarding the competence of the CSC as one of the measures to implement Judgment 3785. The Complainants filed an application for interpretation of Judgment 3785, interpretation and execution of Judgment 3694. They requested the Tribunal to clarify whether ‘the applicable rules’ as referred to are to be understood as the rules that were governing the composition of the Appeals Committee at the time of the internal appeal or when the judgment was delivered. The Tribunal has held that this refers to the procedural rules in force at the time of the execution of the judgment (i.e. the new examination of the appeal). In saying this, the Tribunal did not express a view about the lawfulness of the new provisions. The important question was therefore clarified. Otherwise, the applications were dismissed. The consequence of these decisions is that when cases are sent back to the EPO to be heard by the Appeals Committee, they will be heard by the Committee constituted under the new regulations in force. Whether the rules themselves are lawful still remains to be seen.

Benoît Battistelli and his friend Mr. Campinos have meanwhile received a copy of an open letter to the Council (top delegates to it) and here is the full thing, which makes the obvious observations:

To the Heads of Delegations of the
Administrative Council

To the Heads of Delegations the Board of
the BFC

OPEN LETTER

Should future reforms be left to a President having this record of performance?

Date: 07.12.2017

Dear Heads of Delegations,
On 6 December 2017, the ILO Administrative Tribunal delivered Judgments 3958 and 3960 in which it ordered the immediate reinstatement of a suspended member of the Boards of Appeal (BoA). With the early public delivery of these judgments in an exceptional session, in advance of the regular publication date of 24 January 2018, the Tribunal wanted to stress their significance for the Organisation, especially the Administrative Council (AC), just before the AC meeting on 13-14 December.

The Tribunal set forth that the AC based its decisions on the reasons provided by the President of the Office, who had a conflict of interest casting a doubt on his impartiality, and also that “the Administrative Council erred in not finding that the President had a conflict of interest in the matter”1.

We cannot help but interpret the judgments both as a massive motion of no confidence in the President of the Office and a warning letter to the AC.

A decision on disciplinary case D1/15, concerning the now reinstated member of the BoA, is tabled, as a confidential session item, on the agenda of the December AC meeting. It transpires from the judgments2 that the Council was misled about essential points when it relied on the proposals of the President of the Office. It also transpires that the Council should have been aware of this. Deciding case D1/15 on the basis of

____
1 See consideration 13 of Judgment 3958 and consideration 7 of Judgment 3960
2 See considerations 3 and 5 of Judgment 3960

documents and proposals originating from the President of the Office (but without his presence, as ruled out in the judgments) will certainly be a challenge.

We have repeatedly warned against the content and pace of major reforms which have been pushed through without genuine consultation. These reforms have resulted in staff resistance, even up to the point of flooding the Tribunal3. The Tribunal has now announced that some aspects of the reforms will be scrutinised after the AC has made a decision on the disciplinary case 4:

- reform of the Boards of Appeal, especially the crucial issue of the independence of the members, as enshrined in Article 23 EPC5;
- reform of the justice system, including lawfulness of the investigation procedures; and
- data protection.

The AC decision in case D1/15 will also have consequences in pending national proceedings before the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) which concern the EPC and the standing and independence of the BoA.

The judgments do not address the governance problem. In March 2016, the AC adopted resolution CA/26/16 asking for “reinforcement of the AC secretariat and a clarification of its position in terms of governance”. We respectfully suggest that the AC reflect again on this as soon as possible and act accordingly, with the highest priority.

The President of the Office is currently trying to force further decisions on the AC “au pas de charge”, namely:

- new Investment Guidelines of the European Patent Office (CA/F 18/17 Rev.1) for the treasury money (€2,4 billion!) and
-de facto replacement of permanent employment (as enshrined in Article 33 EPC) by chains of fixed-term employment periods, with a so-called “modernisation of the employment framework” in CA/121/17.

Prior to the publication of the judgments, the President of the Office managed to convince the AC to convene two exceptional BFC meetings6
_____
3 The Chair of the AC declared that Mr Battistelli had been “heavy-handed” when pushing his reforms.
4 See consideration 14 of Judgment 3958
5 See consideration 9 of Judgment 3960
6 See B28/10/17

2/3in order to enable him to get his latest proposed reforms approved before the end of his reign in June 2018.

The ball is now with the AC, which urgently has to answer the following question: should these reforms be left to a President and team having such a record of performance?

Yours sincerely,

Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

cc.: Mr Benoît Battistelli; President of the EPO
Mr Antonio Campinos; President-elect of the EPO Council

There’s an EPO protest tomorrow. If anyone takes photos, please consider sending these to us (to accompany our coverage with them and document the unrest). We process the images to guard sources.

Bristows is Being Hammered With Negative Comments For Its Unitary Patent (UPC) Lies

Monday 11th of December 2017 12:37:44 PM

Bristows typically deletes comments it does not like, but too many people would notice if Bristows overdid it

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is practically dead in the UK and Ireland; Bristows, nevertheless, continues with its desperate spin

THE EPO barely mentions the word/term “UPC”. Neither does the media. It’s dead.

Bristows keeps pushing UPC agenda into blogs other than its own, even on a Friday night; we expected criticism to be selectively deleted, as usual (it happened before), but some of it is starting to show up. On Monday morning someone wrote to us: “Kluwer, where have all the comments gone?”

“Did you notice that there are almost no comments (published) on this piece since it was put online on Friday evening although similar posts in the past attracted a lot of feedback, mostly within hours? Why do you think this is?”

Looking at Kluwer Patent Blog this morning, we actually find 3 more critical comments, namely:

RIP

When the UPCA was drafted and signed, the UK’s involvement and the establishment of part of the central division in London were key feature. That the agreement could be open to non-EU members had never been envisaged.
Brexit radically undermines these fundamental elements and, at best, the terms of the agreement need to be changed in a yet undefined way.
So how can it be that the ratification of an agreement that has become obsolete and no longer reflects the will of its authors is still a topic in those countries that have fortunately not yet done so?
And why on earth should the GCC submit such an outdated agreement to the CJEU in the circumstances?

Then someone from France (based on the URL/TLD) posted:

Dear proponents of the UPC and the post Brexit membership of UK,

When I see the problems which have led to an enquiry of of the Justice Sub-Committee of the House of Lords’ EU Committee, see

http://ipkitten.blogspot.fr/2017/12/role-of-cjeu-post-brexit-to-be.html

with respect of UK courts, I would like to hear why there are no problems with the UPC, which first, does not exist yet, and, secondly does not seem concerned by the enquiry, as it is not a UK court.

Please abstain from the standard reply: because it is an international court. If difficulties are foreseen in respect of enforcement for UK courts, it is hard to understand why an international would not be exposed to the same difficulties post Brexit.

The Lords seem to be concerned by legal certainty. Where is the legal certainty for the UPC?

It does not seem that the UPC was mentioned in Phase 1 negotiations, so it is unlikely to be mentioned in Phase 2 negotiations, which should start soon. Quo vadis UPC?

And one last comment (for now):

I am interested in your comment that “It rationalised correctly, however, that the UPC was an international court”. Am I correct to interpret this as meaning that you agree with Gordon & Pascoe’s characterisation of the nature of the UPC (as an “international court”, as opposed to a Benelux-style “court common to the (EU) Member States”)?

If so, could you please explain to me how the UPC can possibly refer preliminary questions to the CJEU? As I understand it, a court is only able to access the procedure under Article 267 TFEU if it is “a court or tribunal of a Member State”. If the UPC is an international court, then this would appear to take it out of the ambit of Art. 267… which would then appear make the UPC non-compliant with EU law.

I may be missing something here, and so any clarity that you can help to bring to this situation would be much appreciated.

But that’s not it. There’s even more from Bristows staff at IP Kat this morning, attracting the following comment:

Worth reading and linking together are the article on Kluwer and the comments posted on that article.

http://patentblog.kluweriplaw.com/2017/12/08/brexit-deal-means-unitary-patent-system/

IP Kat‘s/Bristows’ SPC advocacy (covered here yesterday) is also being mentioned:

For me, SPC law is more important than the UPC. The interpretation of the SPC as absorbed into UK law must still follow the EU approach until it is re-written by parliament. Likely, UK judges will rely on CJEU judgments, both existing and post-Brexit. Referrals to the UK Supreme Court may be required, but may be unwise as there is not even a part-experienced patent judge on the panel. Referrals to the CJEU, if not possible, would leave UK judges to make up their own minds – not a bad thing, possibly.

Team UPC/Bristows is then being called “zealots”:

It appears clearly the their Lordships are worried about legal certainty after the Brexit, and hence their enquiry. This applies to U.K. courts, especially their relationship with the CJEU and in matter of enforcement.

Not a word about the UPC! As it does not even exist, no wonder.

Could at least one of the UPC zelotes explain where they find any form of legal certainty in the post Brexit participation of the UKin the UPC, especially when it comes to enforcement? Please do not come up with the worn out argument it is an international court, and the Administrative Committee of UPC will fiddle a bit, so that everything will be honky dory!

Apparently no word about the UPC in Phase 1 negotiations, so nothing about the UPC in Phase 2.

As another blogger said, the UPC is barely a blip on the government radar.

Dear zelotes, wake up to reality, it is better for you. It will hurt, that is the only certainty.
My grand father used to say, that if you stick your head in the ground, do not be surprised that you then get your bottom smacked!
Still valid today.

Notice how every single comment is hostile. Readers know they are being lied to.

Regarding the UPC, the FFII’s President has asked: “Do they have a constitution in the UK? At least I heard there was a constitutional court #upc #rule_of_law”

With news about the Irish judge rising to the surface last night and earlier this morning (it looks like they’re letting Judge Corcoran back in; a source of ours cites “[t]he President of the Boards of Appeal as of Monday 11 December in execution of the judgements 3958 and 3960 of the administrative board of the ILO of 6 December 2017.”) it’s also worth quoting this new comment about the UPC situation in Ireland, an English-speaking country which indefinitely postponed the UPC referendum. “Ireland has to have a referendum on this patent court and granting if jurisdiction as it clashes with our constitution,” said the comment. “I’ll be thinking long and hard about what I’ll be voting for, that’s for sure.”

Links 11/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC3, Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3

Monday 11th of December 2017 12:14:59 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • The Best Linux Laptop: A Buyer’s Guide with Picks from an RHCE

      If you don’t posses the right knowledge & the experience, then finding the best Linux laptop can be a daunting task. And thus you can easily end-up with something that looks great, features great performance, but struggles to cope with ‘Linux’, shame! So, as a RedHat Certified Engineer, the author & the webmaster of this blog, and as a ‘Linux’ user with 14+ years of experience, I used all my knowledge to recommend to you a couple of laptops that I personally guarantee will let you run ‘Linux’ with ease. After 20+ hours of research (carefully looking through the hardware details & reading user feedback) I chose Dell XP S9360-3591-SLV, at the top of the line. If you want a laptop that’s equipped with modern features & excellent performance that ‘just works’ with Linux, then this is your best pick.

      It’s well built (aluminium chassis), lightweight (2.7 lb), features powerful hardware, long battery life, includes an excellent 13.3 inch Gorilla Glass touchscreen with 3200×1800 QHD resolution which should give you excellently sharp images without making anything too small & difficult to read, a good & roomy track-pad (earlier versions had a few issues with it, but now they seem to be gone) with rubber-like palm rest area and a good keyboard (the key travel is not deep, but it’s a very think laptop so…) with Backlit, two USB 3.0 ports. Most importantly, two of the most common elements of a laptop that can give ‘Linux’ user a headache, the wireless adapter & the GPU (yes the Intel HD Graphics 620 can play 4K videos at 60fps), they are both super compatible with ‘Linux’ on this Dell.

    • HiDPI is Released! Work on Initial Setup continues and the TryPopOS contest

      You can now plug in a LoDPI external display to your Galago Pro or you HiDPI Oryx, Serval, or Bonobo and expect it to just work. The same is true when plugging a HiDPI display into any other System76 laptop. No more complicated tricks every time you plug a second monitor in.

    • System76 Rolls Out Its New HiDPI Daemon

      Linux system vendor System76 has released their new HiDPI daemon for their laptops and desktops to improving the display experience on multi-monitor configurations.

      This HiDPI daemon is geared for offering a better display experience when using both HiDPI and lower DPI displays, e.g. a HiDPI laptop display paired with a lower resolution external monitor, a desktop with multiple monitors of varying resolutions, etc.

      Their HiDPI experience is built around X.Org for now until Wayland is mature and is tested for Intel/NVIDIA graphics given those are the GPUs they are mostly shipping at this point. This daemon will listen for monitor plug/unplug events and then configure the HiDPI/LoDPI experience accordingly, allow you to switch displays between different modes if the application in use doesn’t support HiDPI properly, etc.

  • Server
  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.15-rc3

      Another week, another rc.

      I’m not thrilled about how big the early 4.15 rc’s are, but rc3 is
      often the biggest rc because it’s still fairly early in the
      calming-down period, and yet people have had some time to start
      finding problems. That said, this rc3 is big even by rc3 standards.
      Not good.

      Most of the changes by far are drivers (with a big chunk of it being
      just syntactic changes for some doc warnings) with some perf tooling
      updates also being noticeable. But there are changes all over: core
      kernel and networking, kvm, arch updates and Documentation.

      Anyway, I sincerely hope that things are really starting to calm down now.

      Also, there’s a known issue with x86 32-bit suspend/resume that I just
      didn’t get a good patch for in time for this rc. Soon.

      Shortlog appended.

      Linus

    • Linux Kernel 4.15 Gets Another Big RC, Linus Torvalds Says It’s Not Good at All

      Linux Torvalds announced a few moments ago the release and immediate availability for download of the third Release Candidate (RC) milestone of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel series for Linux-based operating systems.

      If last week’s RC2 was a “bigger than expected” one, than this week the Linux 4.15 kernel saw even more patches and it just got a quite bit RC3 milestone, which Linus Torvalds says it’s big even by RC3 standards and it isn’t a good sign for the development cycle, which could be pushed to the end of January 2018.

      “I’m not thrilled about how big the early 4.15 RCs are, but RC3 is often the biggest RC because it’s still fairly early in the calming-down period, and yet people have had some time to start finding problems. That said, this RC3 is big even by RC3 standards. Not good,” said Linus Torvalds in the mailing list announcement.

    • Linux 4.15-rc3 Kernel Released

      Linus Torvalds has announced the third weekly test release of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel.

      It’s been a rather busy week in the Linux kernel space considering the RC3 space. The level of activity has frighten Linus, but there are still 5~6 weeks left before declaring the Linux 4.15.0 kernel as stable.

    • Linux Kernel 5.0 Will be Coming in the Summer of 2018

      In the recently concluded Open Source Summit in Prague, Linux creator Linus Torvalds discusses sits down with VP of VMware and discussed the issues surrounding the Linux Kernel. I attended the event in person and even covered it in a live video on It’s FOSS Facebook page but since not everyone is going to watch the video for over 30 minutes, I am going to list some of the key takeaways from his talk.

    • Graphics Stack
    • Benchmarks
      • NVIDIA 387.34 vs. Linux 4.15 + Mesa 17.4-dev Radeon OpenGL/Vulkan Performance

        Tested on the Radeon side was the very latest Linux 4.15 Git code as of 6 December, including recent AMDGPU fixes that landed mainline after the 4.15 merge window. The user-space graphics stack was Mesa 17.4-dev built against LLVM 6.0 SVN provided by the Padoka PPA. Fresh AMDGPU-PRO benchmarks will be coming upon the next driver update. The AMD graphics cards tested were the Radeon RX 580, R9 Fury, RX Vega 56, and RX Vega 64.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Elisa 0.0.80 Released

        Elisa is a music player designed to be simple and nice to use.

        Elisa allows to browse music by album, artist or all tracks. The music is indexed using either a private indexer or an indexer using Baloo. The private one can be configured to scan music on chosen paths. The Baloo one is much faster because Baloo is providing all needed data from its own database. You can build and play your own playlist.

      • You Can Now Easily Send/Receive SMS Messages From The KDE Desktop

        A long-standing KDE initiative that hasn’t received as much attention as it deserves is KDE Connect for allowing KDE to interface with other devices — namely smartphones — for being able to display phone notifications on your desktop and more. A new KDE Plasmoid makes it easy now to send/receive SMS text messages.

      • Send SMS messages from your Plasma Desktop

        Once you have it configured to use the correct device, you type in the phone number of the person you wish to send the message to in the first box (as below). Please note this needs to be the international dialling code (ie +44 for the UK, +353 for Ireland). Then type your message and click the Send button, it’s that simple!

      • KDE’s Elisa Music Player Prepares Its First Alpha Release

        The developers working on the KDE Elisa music player, which was announced earlier this year among several ongoing KDE multimedia player projects is out with its first alpha release ahead of Elisa v0.1.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.41.0 Released with More Than 120 Improvements and Bugfixes

        The KDE Project released today a new version of its open-source KDE Frameworks software stack, a collection of over 70 add-on libraries to the Qt application framework, for GNU/Linux distributions.

        Each month, KDE releases a new KDE Frameworks build, and version 5.41.0 is now available for December 2017, bringing a month’s worth of improvements, bug and security fixes, as well as updated translations.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.41 Released Ahead Of KDE Applications 17.12

        KDE Frameworks 5.41 is now available as the latest monthly update to this collection of add-on libraries complementing Qt5.

        KDE Frameworks 5.41 has a number of fixes including some crash fixes, updated translations, improvements to Kirigami, support for the idle inhibit manager protocol in KWayland, many Plasma Framework changes, and other updates.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.41.0

        December 10, 2017. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.41.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

      • [Kubuntu] Testing a switch to default Breeze-Dark Plasma theme in Bionic daily isos and default settings

        Today’s daily ISO for Bionic Beaver 18.04 sees an experimental switch to the Breeze-Dark Plasma theme by default.

        Users running 18.04 development version who have not deliberately opted to use Breeze/Breeze-Light in their systemsettings will also see the change after upgrading packages.

        Users can easily revert back to the Breeze/Breeze-Light Plasma themes by changing this in systemsettings.

      • Kubuntu 18.04 LTS Could Switch to Breeze-Dark Plasma Theme by Default, Test Now

        The latest daily build live ISO images that landed earlier today for Kubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) apparently uses the Breeze-Dark Plasma theme for the KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop environment by default. However, we’ve been told that it’s currently an experiment to get the pulse of the community.

        “Users running [Kubuntu] 18.04 development version who have not deliberately opted to use Breeze/Breeze-Light in their System Settings will also see the change after upgrading packages,” said the devs. “Users can easily revert back to the Breeze/Breeze-Light Plasma themes by changing this in System Settings.”

      • Interview with Rytelier

        The amount of convenience is very high compared to other programs. The amount of “this one should be designed in a better way, it annoys me” things is the smallest of all the programs I use, and if something is broken, then most of these functions are announced to improve in 4.0.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Grow your skills with GNOME

        For the past 3 years I’ve been working very hard because I fulfill a number of these roles for Builder. It’s exhausting and unsustainable. It contributes to burnout and hostile communication by putting too much responsibility on too few people’s shoulders.

      • GTK4, GNOME’s Wayland Support & Vulkan Renderer Topped GNOME In 2017
      • A Lot Of Improvements Are Building Up For GIMP 2.9.8, Including Better Wayland Support

        It’s been four months since the release of GIMP 2.9.6 and while GIMP 2.9 developments are sadly not too frequent, the next GIMP 2.9.8 release is preparing a host of changes.

        Of excitement to those trying to use GIMP in a Wayland-based Linux desktop environment, GIMP’s color picker has just picked up support for working on KDE/Wayland as well as some other Color Picker improvements to help GNOME/Wayland too. GIMP’s Screenshot plugin also now has support for taking screenshots on KDE/Wayland either as a full-screen or individual windows. Granted, GIMP won’t be all nice and dandy on Wayland itself until seeing the long-awaited GTK3 (or straight to GTK4) port.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Manjaro Linux – One Of The Finest Linux Distros

        I must say I am quite impressed with the latest iteration of Manjaro. The experience is fluid and smooth, fast and clean and it is very organized. I even found the experience on the Deepin edition better than on the Deepin distro. Manjaro clearly signifies why Arch-based distros that take them away out of the installation are becoming so popular.

        A simple installation process, access to Arch based features such as AUR and added to the fact that it is a rolling-based distro makes it a winner for me. I also love that all the major desktop environments are available on Manjaro allowing users to choose what they want. If you were on the fence about Manjaro, I believe it’s viable as your working desktop and it is definitely worth checking out. Thanks for reading and share your thoughts and comments with us.

      • Review: heads 0.3.1

        heads is a live Linux distribution which can be run from a DVD or USB thumb drive. The distribution connects to the Internet through the Tor network. This helps protect the identity and location of the person using heads. The heads distribution is very similar to its popular sibling, Tails, in its mission, but heads has some special characteristics which set it apart. The heads distribution is based on Devuan while Tails is based on Debian, which means heads uses the SysV init software rather than systemd. The heads project is also dedicated to shipping a distribution which features free software only, as the heads website explains:

        Non-free software can not be audited and as such cannot guarantee you security or anonymity. On the other hand, with heads you only use free software, meaning you can gain access to any source code that is included in heads, at any time. Using free software it is far easier to avoid hidden backdoors and malware that might be in non-free software.

        heads is available in a single edition which is 831MB in size. When booting from the project’s ISO, we are given the option of booting heads normally from the disc or loading the distribution into RAM. The latter option frees up our removable drive and can make applications load faster after the initial boot process has completed.

        The distribution boots to a command line interface and automatically logs us in as a user called luther. On the screen we are shown the root account’s password along with commands we can run to launch a graphical interface. The default shell for the luther account is zsh, a less common shell than bash, but often loved for its additional features. heads ships with the Awesome and Openbox window managers and we can choose which one we wish to launch from the command line. I focused on using Openbox during my trial.

    • New Releases
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R10 Still Lets You Pick Between KDE 4 & Plasma 5

        For our Russian readers who are fans of the KDE desktop, ROSA Desktop Fresh R10 was released this week as one of the notable Russian Linux distributions that is aligned with a KDE desktop. ROSA Desktop Fresh continues offering both KDE 4 and KDE Plasma 5 desktop options.

        While the distribution is called ROSA Desktop Fresh, not everything is fresh about its packages besides still having around KDE4. ROSA Desktop Fresh R10 is still sadly using the Mesa 17.1 release series. On the kernel front they are shipping Linux 4.9.60 which is an LTS release albeit still rather dated for desktop hardware support.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian 9.3 Released With Bug Fixes, Security Updates

        Debian 9.3 is the latest update to “Stretch” to provide various bug fixes and security updates while Debian 8.10 was also released today as the newest version of their older “Jessie” release.

      • Updated version of Debian Linux 8/9 has been released
      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” Live, Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

        The Debian CD team was pretty quick to bake all those ISO images in less than 24 hours, and users can now download Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” as live and installable ISOs for a wide range of architectures if they were planning on reinstalling their Debian PCs or deploy the OS on new computers.

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” is currently supported on no less than 10 hardware architectures, including 32-bit (i386), 64-bit (amd64), ARM64 (AArch64), Armel, ARMhf, MIPS, Mipsel, MIPS64el (MIPS 64-bit Little Endian), PPC64el (PowerPC 64-bit Little Endian), and s390x (IBM System z).

      • Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3 released – CDs and DVDs published
      • “Rock Solid” Debian 9.3 And “Lightweight” Bodhi Linux 4.4.0 Available — Download Here

        In early 2017, the Debian Release team pushed Debian 9.0 “stretch” release, which would remain supported for the next 5 years. Named after Toy Story’s rubber toy octopus, this release has just witnessed its third update in the form of Debian 9.3 (release notes).

        As expected, Debian “stretch” 9.3 ships with tons of security patches and fixes for some serious issues. Prior to this release, on various instances, security advisories for different issues have already been released.

      • Derivatives
        • The importance of Devuan

          Yes, you read right: too expensive. While I am writing here in flowery words, the reason to use Devuan is hard calculated costs. We are a small team at ungleich and we simply don’t have the time to fix problems caused by systemd on a daily basis. This is even without calculating the security risks that come with systemd. Our objective is to create a great, easy-to-use platform for VM hosting, not to walk a tightrope.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • 3rd Ubucon Europe 2018

            Yes! A new edition for ubunteros around the world!

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Ubuntu-Based ExTiX “The Ultimate Linux System” Now Includes Calamares Installer

              ExTiX 18.0 Deepin 171208 is the latest build of the distro, and it includes the recently released Deepin 15.5 Desktop, the Calamares 3.1.9 universal installer framework, which replaces the old Refracta Installer, as well as Refracta Tools, which lets users create their own live ISO images based on ExTiX or Ubuntu.

              “I’ve released a new version of ExTIX 18.0 Deepin today with Calamares 3.1.9 installed from source,” said Arne Exton in the release announcement. “While running ExTiX Deepin 18.0 live or from hard drive you can use Refracta Tools (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu system. A ten-year child can do it!”

            • New Linux Mint installation guide makes switching from Windows 10 even easier

              There is a notion that installing a Linux-based operating system can be hard. In 2017, this is absolutely false (with the exception of Arch, that is). Many years ago, installing a distribution could be difficult, but nowadays, it can be downright easy. Quite frankly, installing Linux can sometimes be easier than Windows these days, since you don’t have to go hunting for drivers and software all over the web. If you have been fearful of replacing Windows 10 with an operating system like Linux Mint — don’t be.

              But OK, understandably, some people have anxiety about changing their computer’s operating system. If that is you, I am happy to say Linux Mint has a brand new installation guide that should quell any fears. Not only does it help with technical aspects, but it can guide you to the best edition for your needs. Mint in particular is a great alternative to Windows 10.

            • What’s New in Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Edition

              Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon edition is the latest release of Linux Mint 18 series features Cinnamon Desktop 3.6 as default desktop environment. Cinnamon 3.6 is the largest and most important part of the Linux Mint 18.3 release. It includes loads of improvements, new features and bug fixes.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Databases
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • OpenBSD Now Officially Supports 64-bit ARM

      OpenBSD has graduated its 64-bit ARM (ARM64) architecture to being officially supported.

      As outlined in the OpenBSD Journal with a change made this week by lead OpenBSD developer Theo de Raadt, OpenBSD’s ARM64 support is now considered officially supported.

  • Programming/Development
    • LLVM Clang 6.0 Now Defaults To C++14

      Up to now LLVM’s Clang C/C++ compiler has defaulted to using C++98/GNU++98 as its default C++ standard, but fortunately that’s no more.

      Clang’s default C++ dialect is now GNU++14 version of C++14 rather than GNU++98 (C++98).

      The older versions of the C++ standard remain available and can be set via the -std= argument, just as those previously could have specified C++11 / C++14 / C++17, but now in cases where not specified, GNU++14/C++14 is the default.

Leftovers
  • The art of the usability interview

    During a usability test, it’s important to understand what the tester is thinking. What were they looking for when they couldn’t find a button or menu item? During the usability test, I recommend that you try to observe, take notes, capture as much data as you can about what the tester is doing. Only after the tester is finished with a scenario or set of scenarios should you ask questions.

  • The Corruption of College Athletics

    Freshman athletes need 90 percent to be eligible to play their sport, sophomores need 95 percent, and then it is 100 percent for juniors and seniors. OK, that is a bit of a break already, at least for the freshmen and sophomores. And maintaining a minimum GPA should not be that hard. However, with all the money at stake for the institution, most of these schools do not want to take any chances about high-performing athletes staying eligible.

    The result of this pressure was laid bare by a New York Times article of Oct. 14. It appeared in the Sports Saturday section and was entitled “N.C.A.A. Declines to Punish North Carolina for Academic Fraud.” It seems that for nearly the last 20 years the administrators of the highly regarded University of North Carolina were “running one of the worst academic fraud schemes in college sports history, involving [200] fake classes that enabled dozens of athletes to gain and maintain their eligibility.”

    However, the university was not penalized by the N.C.A.A. because the organization has no rules against fraudulent classes as long as they are not open only to athletes. In this case, although really designed with student athletes in mind, the “paper” classes were technically open to everyone. “Similar misconduct has been alleged at Auburn [in Georgia] and Michigan.”

  • Science
    • Voucher Schools Championed By Betsy DeVos Can Teach Whatever They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies.

      It was late morning in an artsy cafe, the smell of coffee and baked goods sweetening the air, and Ashley Bishop sat at a table, recalling a time when she was taught that most of secular American society was worthy of contempt.

      Growing up in private evangelical Christian schools, Bishop saw the world in extremes, good and evil, heaven and hell. She was taught that to dance was to sin, that gay people were child molesters and that mental illness was a function of satanic influence. Teachers at her schools talked about slavery as black immigration, and instructors called environmentalists “hippie witches.”

      Bishop’s family moved around a lot when she was a child, but her family always enrolled her in evangelical schools.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • NHS trust boss resigns in protest over underfunding of health services

      Bob Kerslake, who was the head of the civil service until 2015, is quitting as the chairman of the board at King’s College hospital in London, after a long-running dispute with the NHS watchdog over its finances. Ministers are in denial about the reality of how much extra money the NHS requires, he says.

      In an article for the Guardian, Lord Kerslake, a highly respected crossbench peer and former permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, explains that he is stepping down because hospitals are being asked to agree to meet unrealistically demanding savings targets.

    • How to Save Money on Your Prescription Drugs

      If you’re willing to do a little extra work, it is possible to lower your prescription bills.

      A reporter for The New York Times and a reporter for ProPublica both found instances this year in which drugs prescribed for family members could be purchased for less money without using their insurance coverage.

    • When Buying Prescription Drugs, Some Pay More With Insurance Than Without It

      Having health insurance is supposed to save you money on your prescriptions. But increasingly, consumers are finding that isn’t the case.

      Patrik Swanljung found this out when he went to fill a prescription for a generic cholesterol drug. In May, Swanljung handed his Medicare prescription card to the pharmacist at his local Walgreens and was told that he owed $83.94 for a three-month supply.

      Alarmed at that price, Swanljung went online and found Blink Health, a start-up, offering the same drug — generic Crestor — for $45.89.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • 44,000 US Troops on ‘Unknown’ Deployments Worldwide

      When the Pentagon wants to mislead the public about where US troops are, generally speaking, they just lie. Yet sometimes the number of troops is just too big to claim as a rounding error, and questions start happening.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Australia Seeks New Gag Laws That Could See Journalists And Whistleblowers Jailed for 20 Years

      Australian government and intelligence whistleblowers — and potentially even journalists — may face up to 20 years in jail for disclosing classified information under the most sweeping changes to the country’s secrecy laws since they were introduced.

      The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a broad package of reforms aimed at curbing foreign interference from countries including China and Russia.

      The legislation was introduced by Turnbull in the House of Representatives immediately after marriage equality passed on Thursday evening, and the otherwise full House of Representatives was emptied as celebrations were underway.

      While the reforms have been flagged for many months, they were only introduced on the last sitting day of parliament this year, and go much further than previously believed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • New Conservative Argument: Climate Change Is So Awesome, You Guys

      In my worst post-apocalyptic imaginings, there is a place in my mind where a ravenous sea has encroached over every surface, ankle to knee to thigh to belly to throat. On a lone and desolate promontory clings one last living human who shrieks into the maelstrom a final defiance even as the pitiless rain clogs his throat: “In the church of climate alarmism, there may be no heresy more dangerous than the idea that the world will benefit from warming.”

      His name is Jeff.

      Not “may benefit,” mind you. “Will benefit.” The power of positive thinking meets the end of everything. And in conservative circles, many of the denials that climate disruption is really happening are now being seamlessly replaced with guarantees of coming greatness.

    • Energy Secretary Perry agrees to extension on pro-coal, nuclear rulemaking

      Perry proposed a rule in late September that would require grid operators to change how they value “reliability and resilience attributes” in energy generation. Specifically, generation plants with such attributes were defined by the Energy Secretary as plants that could keep a 90-day supply of fuel onsite. Although the proposed rule was written to appear energy-agnostic, it clearly favors coal and nuclear plants. Natural gas tends to be delivered by pipeline and is rarely stored onsite in large quantities, and wind and solar energy have free but variable fuel sources, though pioneers in the field are trying to mitigate this with the help of stationary storage.

      Without government intervention, coal has become more expensive to burn compared to natural gas in many areas. It’s also a major contributor to climate change, something the president has falsely called a hoax.

    • Scientists use artificial intelligence to eavesdrop on dolphins

      Scientists have developed an algorithm to monitor the underwater chatter of dolphins with the help of machine learning.

      Using autonomous underwater sensors, researchers working in the Gulf of Mexico spent two years making recordings of dolphin echolocation clicks.

      The result was a data set of 52 million click noises.

      To sort through this vast amount of information, the scientists employed an “unsupervised” algorithm that automatically classified the noises into categories.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook allowed political ads that were scams and malware
    • With 2020 Census Looming, Worries About Fairness and Accuracy

      Neither Mr. Brunell nor the Trump administration has addressed that interest, first reported in Politico. Former officials of the bureau said in interviews that Mr. Brunell lacked managerial experience for a position long held by experienced executives. Civil rights advocates said they worried that his appointment would signal partisan meddling in a census whose usefulness in drawing legislative districts depends entirely on its credibility.

    • Alibaba’s Ma Says China Benefits From Stability of One Party

      It is Ma’s second explicitly political declaration this week. At China’s World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Alibaba’s chairman spoke out in support of the government’s tight control online and lectured foreign competitors on their strategies in the country. He said companies like Facebook Inc. and Google that want to operate in China need to “follow the rules,” implying they need to adhere to censorship controls to gain access to its citizens.

    • A Bit about Dossiers: You’ve Been Eating this FUD for Years

      Is there media complicity here? Sure, to some degree; the point of origin may be lost and the first news outlets may not perceive the importance of information’s provenance because to them the origin is still visible; witness this week’s reporting by U.S. news outlets all ultimately relying on a single German business paper’s report. But the news media doesn’t bear all the culpability here. News consumers in the U.S. have been notoriously lax in validating content for decades.

      It’s unsurprising given the antiquity of the admonishment, Caveat emptor. It has long been a problem that consumers of goods whether information or products and services must be more skeptical before committing their wallets and health, let alone their votes.

      Social media has only made the job of laundering information even easier, between the number of washings platforms can offer and the automation of repetition, scale, and dispersion, all for a pittance. Over the last ten years the work I did as a researcher has become incredibly difficult; tracing the origin of a single piece of highly controversial or relatively arcane news originating overseas is like swimming against a mighty current.

    • The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken

      First came the overwhelming shock of Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump, a repulsive, word salad-babbling buffoon with absolutely no political experience who the media had been portraying to liberals as the Second Coming of Adolf Hitler. This was a candidate, let’s recall, who jabbered about building a “beautiful wall” to protect us from the hordes of “Mexican rapists” and other “bad hombres” who were invading America, and who had boasted about grabbing women “by the pussy” like a prepubescent 6th grade boy. While he had served as a perfect foil for Clinton, and had provided hours of entertainment in a comic book villain kind of way, the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency was inconceivable in the minds of liberals. So, when it happened, it was like the Martians had invaded.

      Mass hysteria gripped the nation. There was beaucoup wailing and gnashing of teeth. Liberals began exhibiting irrational and, in some cases, rather disturbing behaviors. Many degenerated into dissociative states and just sat there with their phones for hours obsessively reloading the popular vote count, which Clinton had won, on FiveThirtyEight. Others festooned themselves with safety pins and went out looking for defenseless minorities who they could “demonstrate solidarity” with. Owen Jones flew in from London to join his colleague Steven Thrasher, who was organizing a guerilla force to resist “the normalization of Trump” and the global race war he was about to launch, which “not all of us were going to get out of alive.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Lawmaker Wants Porn Blockers On All Computers Sold In Kentucky
    • Saif Ali Khan is not a victim of censorship

      Saif Ali Khan’s black comedy Kaalakandi was in the news for getting close to 70 cuts by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Eventually, the makers had to take their movie to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) for a rewatch. However, Saif is unperturbed about it. “As far as Kaalakandi goes, I think the FCAT was great. They passed he movie with one cut, which was good,” he says.

    • Google hiring 10,000 reviewers to censor YouTube content

      The requirements to file an appeal against demonetization are extremely demanding, leaving most small producers with zero recourse. To file an appeal, the channel must either have more than 10,000 subscribers, or the video in question must have at least 1,000 views within the past seven days. Producers are also not informed of when or what in their video the system finds inappropriate. Both small and large producers have complained on Twitter of double-digit percentage drops in new views after their videos have been demonetized, making it even more difficult to meet appeal requirements.
      Google is not alone in its expansion of automated censorship. Last week, Facebook announced its newly implemented system to scan users’ posts and contact police and other first-responders, ostensibly to prevent suicide.
      Last month, Google admitted to “demoting” content from RT and Sputnik news in its search engine and news service, confirming allegations by the World Socialist Web Site that the company engages in mass political censorship in the name of fighting “fake news.”

    • Government attempts at censorship futile, says Indonesian poet

      ATTEMPTS by the government to censor the media will end in failure, says Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad.

      The veteran author of Tempo Tempo magazine said based on his experience, such attempts often fail.

      “From my past experience with censorship, I find that it never lasts and always ends in failure.

    • Attempts to censor the media will fail, veteran editor tells Umno

      Any attempts by Umno or the government to crack down on the media would eventually fail, an Indonesian veteran editor cautioned today.

      Goenawan Mohamad, one of the founding editor of Indonesia’s Tempo magazine, noted that it would be impossible to sustain such attempts and as such, it would be a waste of time to even try to do so.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights: Our children should have the same rights as our parents

      In a series of 21 posts on this blog, we’ll examine how privacy rights — essential civil liberties — have been completely lost in the transition to digital. The erosion is nothing short of catastrophic.

    • Uber has settled with a woman whose medical files an executive accessed after she was raped

      The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

    • Uber settles second US lawsuit filed by India rape victim

      According to Friday court filings, Uber has settled a lawsuit filed by an unnamed woman who said her medical records were improperly accessed by an Uber executive after she was raped by her driver in India in 2014.

      That driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015. That same year, the victim sued Uber in federal court in San Francisco and reached a confidential settlement with the company.

    • Champing at the Cyberbit

      This report describes a campaign of targeted malware attacks apparently carried out by Ethiopia from 2016 until the present. I

    • What Happens When the Government Uses Facebook as a Weapon?

      Until it became crushing. Since being elected in May 2016, Duterte has turned Facebook into a weapon. The same Facebook personalities who fought dirty to see Duterte win were brought inside the Malacañang Palace. From there they are methodically taking down opponents, including a prominent senator and human-rights activist who became the target of vicious online attacks and was ultimately jailed on a drug charge.
      And then, as Ressa began probing the government’s use of social media and writing stories critical of the new president, the force of Facebook was turned against her.

      [...]

      Rappler demonstrated its seriousness, however, by dominating the 2012 coverage of the impeachment trial of the chief justice of the supreme court. The next year the company put together a public debate forum for Senate candidates that was livestreamed on Facebook. As each candidate answered questions, audience members clicked on what Rappler called a mood meter, and a line gauging their reactions popped up on a screen next to the candidate. It was a breakout moment for Rappler, even if the candidates vowed never to participate in that setting again—they described the experience as nerve-wracking. (Ressa says that reaction partly explains why Duterte was the only candidate to accept her invitation for her presidential forum.)
      Rappler was given another boost in March 2015 when it entered into a partnership with Internet.org, a free service established by Facebook Inc. aimed at giving the world’s then nearly 5 billion unconnected people access to the internet—and, of course, to Facebook. The program was meant to highlight the company’s expansive vision of itself. Facebook wasn’t just about connecting friends anymore. It was becoming a basic necessity, a powerful tool for poor and sometimes isolated people in Colombia, India, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia—and now the Philippines.

    • German intelligence warns of increased Chinese cyberspying

      Maassen warned that Chinese cybergroups are also using so-called “supply-chain attacks” to get around companies’ online defenses. Such attacks target IT workers and others who work for a trusted service providers in order to send malicious software into the networks of organizations the attackers are interested in.

    • Think twice before buying a connected toy

      Beyond security vulnerabilities, the way these companies treat data is worth considering.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Police Murder of Daniel Shaver

      The background is simple. Shaver was a traveling pest control worker. He was in his hotel room (a La Quinta Inn) showing off to guests a pellet gun he used for work. Police responded to a 911 call claiming that a man was pointing a rifle out a window. When police arrived, Shaver was alone with a woman. They had been drinking. The police ordered them out of the room, and they came out, raised their hands, and got on their knees. So far, thing seem routine. Police responded to a call from a concerned bystander, they were concerned that the suspect may have a gun, so they demanded to clearly see Shaver’s hands. That’s entirely fair and appropriate. Then, however, things got strange — very strange — rather than asking Shaver and his friend to keep their hands visible while police (who, at this point, had guns pointing straight at both of them) approached and applied handcuffs, they ask them to crawl towards police in a highly-specific way.

      [...]

      Essentially, what the police told an innocent, law-abiding, intoxicated American was this: Follow my highly-specific, very strange instructions or die. There was no need to make him crawl. The police were in command of the situation. At no point is there a visible weapon. I have seen soldiers deal with al Qaeda terrorists with more professionalism and poise. When a man is prone, his hands are visible, and your gun is trained upon him, he is in your power.

      [...]

      Arizona law defines second-degree murder as killing a person without premeditation “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person.” In this instance, the charge fit the crime. The jury’s verdict was a gross miscarriage of justice. My heart breaks for Daniel Shaver’s family.

    • After Deadly Vice Sting, Advocates Say End to Prostitution Arrests Is Long Overdue

      Song’s death comes seven months after the NYPD pledged to arrest fewer people on prostitution charges — part of a larger initiative to build trust, particularly in immigrant communities, even as President Trump’s immigration policy stokes fear of deportation. Song had been previously arrested in Queens on September 27, 2017. Her case was referred to the Queens human trafficking court, which handles prostitution-related cases. Her next court date was scheduled for December 1.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Ajit Pai jokes with Verizon exec about him being a “puppet” FCC chair

      On Thursday night in Washington, DC, net neutrality advocates gathered outside the annual Federal Communications Commission Chairman’s Dinner to protest Chairman Ajit Pai’s impending rollback of net neutrality rules.

      Inside the dinner (also known as the “telecom prom”) at the Washington Hilton, Pai entertained the audience with jokes about him being a puppet installed by Verizon to lead the FCC.

    • Net Neutrality isn’t the only thing the current FCC is screwing up

      Lost amid the furor over the Federal Communications Commission’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to reverse net neutrality requirements is another, equally awful decision that has slipped through the cracks.

      In mid-November, the Commission decided to “re-think” it’s Lifeline program, which provides subsidies for broadband internet subscriptions to low-income Americans in cities and tribal regions around the country.

    • This is the future if net neutrality is repealed; the creeping, costly death of media freedom

      There will be a legal argument back and forth, there will be petitions, but if this is how the FCC wishes for things to be, it will stay. So I want to walk you through what potentially could happen to America.

    • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai ‘jokes’ about being a Verizon shill

      Aside from the jokes falling flat, there are all kinds of problems with the routine. To start, FCC officials shouldn’t be joking about being shills. Whether or not they have industry backgrounds (like former Chairman Tom Wheeler), they’re supposed to take corruption allegations seriously instead of turning them into comedy sketches. The humor fails in part because there’s a painful degree of truth to it — it wouldn’t have come up if Pai weren’t pursuing the exact deregulation policies that major telecoms want. And crucially, telecom executives shouldn’t ever be involved. If anything, Grillo’s inclusion in the skit supports accusations that Pai is on the take, since he’s clearly cozy enough with Verizon to recruit one of its VPs for a gag.

    • The Neutrality Network
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

        Oracle’s long-running legal battle to get what it believes is it’s fair share from Google’s Android reopened this week – the second time an Appeals Court on Federal Circuit has examined the issue. The first hour overran with a bumpy ride for Google.

        In under an hour we got an idea of the battle lines, and the judge’s scepticism about both sides.

        While Google quietly writes Android’s replacement in full public view – yes, you can examine progress every night – this case hinges around whether Google should be permitted to copy Java without a licence. The copying is not in question: some 11,000 lines of Sun’s Java code ended up in Android. The absence of a licence is not in question either. And emails show Android developers admitting that it’s so close to Java they needed a licence.

      • Hollywood and Netflix Ask Court to Seize Tickbox Streaming Devices

        A group of major Hollywood studios plus Amazon and Netflix have asked a California court to halt the infringing activities of TickBox TV, a Kodi-powered streaming device. As part of their ongoing lawsuit, the companies request an injunction requiring Tickbox to remove infringing add-ons and for existing devices to be seized.

      • Dutch Film Distributor Wins Right To Chase Pirates, Store Data For 5 Years

        Film distribution Dutch FilmWorks has been successful following its application earlier this year to track BitTorrent pirates and store their data. In a decision handed down Wednesday, the Dutch Data Protection Authority said that permission had been granted for IP address and other information to be stored for up to five years.

Judge Corcoran Turns to His Government for Help and EPO ‘House Ban’ is Finally Lifted

Monday 11th of December 2017 09:16:36 AM

Summary: Sources that are very reliable say that Patrick Corcoran is coming back to work, however it’s now clear when and how long for

“I hear house ban is lifted”, a source told us, but “I do not know when how who.”

We wrote nearly 10 articles about it last week (see the chronological EPO index, which now exceeds 2,000 articles).

Will his contract also be renewed or will he be back at the job only until Christmas (i.e. less than a fortnight)?

This is becoming a political battle. Last night (Sunday evening) the Irish Times published this followup article that said:

An Irish judge at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) who was accused by his employers of bringing weapons and Nazi memorabilia to work and defaming the organisation’s president has written to the Irish government urging them to assist in his case.

[...]

On Sunday, Mr Corcoran’s solicitor said he denies the accusations and that they were based on “assumptions and assertions, but not on evidence”.

[...]

He said Mr Battistelli acted with speed to suspend him from work in December 2014 when the allegations first came to light. Mr Corcoran said he hoped he would act with similar speed to implement the judgment reversing this action.

He wrote that he hopes the “lamentable charade and travesty of due process which has been going on inside the EPO in the present case is finally brought to its long overdue end”.

Mr Corcoran’s central complaint before the ILO was that Mr Battistelli played a key role in the decision to suspend him and to later continue the suspension. He argued that Mr Battistelli was not a “neutral and disinterested party” because he was the subject of the alleged defamatory attacks.

We need feedback and information from insiders. Will the Judge be back to work (at Haar) today? Is he already back? Has Dr. Ernst assured renewal of his contract? If not, he should. That is, if Ernst is interesting in ever restoring the EPO’s reputation — however monumental a task it can be…

Raw: Battistelli’s Control/Domination Over the Boards of Appeal

Monday 11th of December 2017 12:58:08 AM

Full document

Summary: An old EPO document internally voicing concerns about the lack of independence at the Boards of Appeal