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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 17 min 37 sec ago

Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

Saturday 17th of March 2018 05:37:03 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Linux Beats Windows To Become The Most Popular Development Platform: Stack Overflow Survey 2018

    Every year, Stack Overflow conducts its developer survey and shares its results with the public for analysis. Expanding its reach, this year over 100,000 developers took part in the 30-minute survey and told how they learn new technologies, which tools they use to get their work done, and what they look for while hunting some job.

    Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the different findings of the survey with you and telling you how it compares to the past years’ trends. Today, I’ll be telling you about the platforms that were most commonly used by the developers over the past year.

  • Best Linux distros for small businesses in 2018

    Running a small business is no easy task. The last thing you need is extra complexity in your IT infrastructure – so why turn to Linux?

    Well, it could (if you’re lucky) actually turn out to be a less complex choice for many tasks, depending on the distribution you select. And, critically, Linux is free; at least if you don’t figure in support costs. That’s an overhead ticked off the list.

  • Server
    • Container Isolation Gone Wrong

      One of the main advantages of embracing containers is “lightweight virtualization.” Since each container is just a thin layer around the containerized processes, the user gains enormous efficiencies, for example by increasing the container density per host, or by spinning containers up and down at a very fast pace.

      However, as the troubleshooting story in the article will show, this lightweight virtualization comes at the cost of sharing the underlying kernel among all containers, and in some circumstances, this can lead to surprising and undesirable effects that container users typically don’t think about.

      This troubleshooting tale is rather involved. I’ve started from the basics and worked up to the more complex material in the hope that readers at all levels can get value out of it.

    • Varnish 6.0 Released

      It’s that time of March again, and Varnish 6.0.0 is here.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation
      • Linux Foundation unveils open source hypervisor for IoT products

        The Linux Foundation recently unveiled ACRN (pronounced “acorn”), a new open source embedded reference hypervisor project that aims to make it easier for enterprise leaders to build an Internet of Things (IoT)-specific hypervisor.

        The project, further detailed in a press release, could help fast track enterprise IoT projects by giving developers a readily-available option for such an embedded hypervisor. It will also provide a reference framework for building a hypervisor that prioritizes real-time data and workload security in IoT projects, the release said.

      • ONAP Set to Speed Standards, Network Automation [Ed: "This article was sponsored by Huawei and written by" Second time in a week that LF writes adverts for Chinese companies (connected to an autocratic government, CPC) in exchange for money.]
      • CNCF to Host NATS

        Today, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voted to accept NATS as an incubation-level hosted project, alongside Kubernetes, Prometheus, OpenTracing, Fluentd, Linkerd, gRPC, CoreDNS, containerd, rkt, CNI, Envoy, Jaeger, Notary, TUF, Rook and Vitess.

      • The P4 Language Grows Up, Joins the ONF and Linux Foundation

        The P4 Language Consortium is becoming a project of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and, by extension, a project of the Linux Foundation to which the ONF belongs. The P4 Consortium has been a non-profit organization dedicated to writing the P4 programming language since 2013.

        P4 describe how packets are forwarded by networking devices such as switches, routers, and network interface cards (NICs). P4 takes software-defined networking (SDN) to the next level by bringing programmability to the forwarding plane.

      • P4 Joins ONF & Linux Foundation

        “Linux Foundation is thrilled to welcome the P4 community,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director at Linux Foundation. “Networking is a major focus at the foundation and the addition of the thriving P4 community combined with Linux Foundation Networking Projects in similar domains will drive innovation in networking to the next level.”

      • P4 Gains Broad Networking Industry Adoption, Joins Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and Linux Foundation (LF) to Accelerate Next Phase of Growth and Innovation
      • Linux Foundation launches ACRN open-source embedded hypervisor project

        The Linux Foundation announced the ACRN embedded reference hypervisor project at the Embedded Linux Conference earlier this week. ACRN is an open-source framework consisting of two components: a hypervisor and device model, including rich I/O mediators. The small-footprint hypervisor was designed with real-time and safety-critical requirements in mind, and is based on significant contributions from Intel.

      • Top 10 Reasons to Attend Open Networking Summit NA

        In just 2 weeks, you could be one of 2,000 architects, developers, and thought leaders from over 300 companies coming together to drive the future of networking integration, acceleration and deployment.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Linux 4.17 To Enable AMDGPU DC By Default For All Supported GPUs

        Since the introduction of the AMDGPU DC display code (formerly known as DAL) in Linux 4.15, this modern display stack has just been enabled by default for newer Radeon Vega and Raven Ridge devices. With Linux 4.17 that is changing with AMDGPU DC being enabled by default across the board for supported GPUs.

        Building off the earlier DRM-Next material for Linux 4.17, Alex Deucher minutes ago sent in another round of feature updates for targeting this next kernel cycle. This latest batch has continued code refactoring around PowerPlay, support for fetching the video RAM type from the video BIOS, allowing the TTM memory manager to drop its backing store when not needed, DC bandwidth calculation updates, enabling DC backlight control for pre-DCE11 GPUs, various display code fixes, and other bug fixes.

      • AMDGPU / ATI 18.0.1 X.Org DDX Driver Releases, Fixes Infinite Loop & Crashes

        Michel Dänzer of AMD issued bug-fix updates on Thursday for the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers.

        Just two weeks after the AMDGPU 18.0 X.Org driver release as the first version under their new year-based versioning scheme, the 18.0.1 bug-fix release is out. The xf86-video-amdgpu 18.0.1 DDX update fixes a potential infinite loop after a xorg-server reset in some configurations, Xorg crashing when multiple primary screens are configured, and using the TearFree feature could trigger Pixman library debugging spew.

      • Mesa 17.3.7 Nearing Release With 50+ Changes

        While waiting for Mesa 18.0, the Mesa 17.3.7 point release will soon hit stable users of this open-source, user-space graphics stack.

      • RADV Patches Are Closer For Sub-Group Capabilities

        Daniel Schürmann continues hacking on the sub-group patch-set for the RADV Vulkan driver to expose this important feature of the recent Vulkan 1.1 release.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • This week in Discover, part 10

        This week saw many positive changes for Discover, and I feel that it’s really coming into its own. Discover rumbles inexorably along toward the finish line of becoming the most-loved Linux app store!

      • Qt Creator 4.6 RC & Qt 5.11 Beta 2 Released

        The Qt Company has some new software development releases available in time for weekend testing.

        First up is the Qt Creator 4.6 Release Candidate. Qt Creator 4.6 has been working on better C++17 feature support, Clang-Tidy and Clazy warnings are now integrated into the diagnostic messages for the C++ editor, new filters, and improvements to the model editor.

      • LibAlkimia 7.0.1 with support for MPIR released

        LibAlkimia is a base library that contains support for financial applications based on the Qt C++ framework.

        One of its main features is the encapsulation of The GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library (GMP) and so providing a simple object to be used representing monetary values in the form of rational numbers. All the mathematical details are hidden inside the AlkValue object.

      • Last Weeks Activity in Elisa and Release Schedule

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

        We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

        We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Linus Bashes CTS Labs, GNOME 3.28 Released, Project ACRN and More

        GNOME 3.28 “Chongqing” is here, with many new features and fixes. According to the release notes, “the release incorporates 25832 changes, made by approximately 838 contributors.” The new version includes personal organization improvements, new Boxes features, such as automatic downloading of operating systems, and much more.

      • pkg-config and paths

        This is something of a frequently asked question, as it comes up every once in a while. The pkg-config documentation is fairly terse, and even pkgconf hasn’t improved on that.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • SwagArch 18.02 – U Got Swag?

        SwagArch sounds like an interesting concept. The aesthetic side of things is reasonable, although brown as a color and a dark theme make for a tricky choice. The fonts are pretty good overall. But the visual element is the least of the distro’s problems. SwagArch 18.02 didn’t deliver the basics, and that’s what made Dedoimedo sad.

        Network support plus the clock issue, horrible package management and broken programs, those are things that must work perfectly. Without them, the system has no value. So you do get multimedia support and a few unique apps, however that cannot balance out all the woes and problems that I encountered. All in all, Swag needs a lot more work. Also, it will have a tough time competing with Manjaro and Antergos, which are already established and fairly robust Arch spins. Lastly, it needs to narrow down its focus. The overall integration of elements is pretty weak. Eclectic, jumbled, not really tested. 2/10 for now. Let’s see how it evolves.

    • New Releases
      • Zorin OS 12.3 Released – A Stronger, More Versatile System

        We’re excited to announce the release of Zorin OS 12.3. This version focuses on strenghtening the fundamentals of the operating system that contribute towards Zorin OS’s unique user experience: simplicity, security, and functionality.

      • OSMC’s March update is here with Pi 3 B+ support

        OSMC’s March update is ready with a wide range of improvements and fixes to keep your OSMC device running in tip-top shape. We’ve released this update slightly earlier in the month than usual to add support for the new Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Stop streaming music from YouTube with this one weird trick

        Having grown up on the internet long before the average connection speed made music streaming services viable, streaming has always struck me as wasteful. And I know that doesn’t make much sense—it’s not like there’s a limited amount of bandwidth to go around! But if I’m going to listen to the same audio file five times, why not just download it once and listen to it forever? Particularly if I want to listen to it while airborne and avoid the horrors of plane wifi. Or if I want to remove NSFW graphics that seem to frequently accompany mixes I enjoy.

      • dput usability changes

        With these changes, after building a package, you just need to type dput (in the correct directory of course) to sign and upload it.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, February 2018
      • Mentorship within software development teams

        In my journey to find an internship opportunity through Google Summer of Code, I wanted to give input about the relationship between a mentor and an intern/apprentice. My time as a service manager in the automotive repair industry gave me insight into the design of these relationships.

      • Derivatives
        • TeX Live 2018 (pretest) hits Debian/experimental

          TeX Live 2017 has been frozen and we have entered into the preparation phase for the release of TeX Live 2018. Time to update also the Debian packages to the current status.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Has Made its Minimal Images Even More Minimal — Just 28MB!

            The Ubuntu minimal image has been reduced in size for the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver release. Ubuntu devs have reduced the images to just 28MB.

          • Mir 0.31 Is On The Way With MirAL 2.0, Wayland XDG-Shell Support

            Ahead of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS next month the Mir developers are working to release Mir version 0.31.

            The focus of the upcoming Mir 0.31 release is on MirAL version 2.0 and Wayland XDG-Shell support. MirAL 2.0 takes a ABI/API cleansing for this Mir abstraction layer to assist in writing code for Mir. This does result in some simplification for users of MirAL.

          • Your first robot: Sharing with others [5/5]

            This is the fifth (and final) blog post in this series about creating your first robot with ROS and Ubuntu Core. In the previous post we discussed methods of control, did a little math, and wrote the ROS driver for our robot. But it still required several nodes to be running at once, and sharing it with the world involved uploading your source code somewhere and convincing people to install ROS, build your package, and use it. Today we’re going to simplify both of those issues by discussing ROS launch files, and packaging everything we’ve written as a snap that can be installed by your friends with a few keystrokes, even without knowing anything about ROS.

          • Ubuntu Desktop weekly update – 16th March 2018

            We’ve had a busy few weeks, and so this email is a roll up of what’s been going on in Desktopland. Last week we had a team sprint in Budapest where we got to work side by side with our teammates and colleagues across Canonical. Feature Freeze has now passed and we’re working on fixing as many bugs as we can. We still have some additional features to land, and so we will be requesting Feature Freeze Exceptions for those. Meanwhile, here’s a recap of what’s been going on:

          • Winning with OpenStack Upgrades?

            On the Monday of the project teams gathering in Dublin a now somewhat familiar gathering of developers and operators got together to discuss upgrades – specifically fast forward upgrades but discussion over the day drifted into rolling upgrades and how to minimize downtime in supporting components as well. This discussion has been a regular feature over the last 18 months at PTG’s, Forums and Ops Meetups.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Faster Window/Application Launching Is Coming For Cinnamon

              Linux Mint’s GNOME/GTK-derived Cinnamon Desktop Environment will soon be able to launch applications faster.

              Developers of Linux Mint were recently investigating why application launching on Cinnamon felt slower than with desktops / window managers on MATE and Xfce. With a basic test they were able to confirm their feelings and went to work on figuring out the slowdowns.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • NXP IoT platform links ARM/Linux Layerscape SoCs to cloud

      NXP’s “EdgeScale” suite of secure edge computing device management tools help deploy and manage Linux devices running on LSx QorIQ Layerscape SoCs, and connects them to cloud services.

      NXP has added an EdgeScale suite of secure edge computing tools and services to its Linux-based Layerscape SDK for six of its networking oriented LSx QorIQ Layerscape SoCs. These include the quad-core, 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 QorIQ LS1043A, which last year received Ubuntu Core support, as well as the octa-core, Cortex-A72 LS2088a (see farther below).

    • How to build something ‘useful’ with a Raspberry Pi

      In honor of Pi Day, Chaim Gartenberg and I cooked up a tiny little Raspberry Pi project for yesterday’s episode of Circuit Breaker Live.

      We started with a simple concept: a button that says “Why?” when you press it, in honor of our favorite podcast. So we knew we’d need a button, some sound files, a little bit of Python code, and, of course, a Raspberry Pi.

      A new Pi is $35, but we found an old Raspberry Pi 2 in my desk drawer, which was up to the task. (Newer Pis have built-in Wi-Fi and faster processors, but for our simple button project we didn’t need internet or extra horsepower.)

    • Rugged, Kaby Lake based NVR system offers up to eight PoE ports

      Aaeon’s automotive-focused “VPC-5600S” networked video recorder PC runs Linux or Windows on 7th Gen Core chips and offers dual hot-swappable SATA trays and 6x to 10x GbE ports, with 4x to 8x of those supporting PoE.

      Aaeon has launched a rugged VPC-5600S network video recorder (NVR) embedded computer with up to 10x Gigabit Ethernet ports, of which up to 8x support Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). Together with the Linux and Windows supported Intel 7th Gen “Kaby Lake” CPUs, the capability enables users to “receive the highest quality images from multiple sources without any danger of data loss,” says Aaeon. With the additional four USB 3.0 ports, the VPC-5600S can support up to 14x high-grade surveillance cameras, says the Asus-owned company.

    • Fanless system has four PoE and two standard GbE ports

      FCO’s Linux-ready “SmartMod” box PC offers a 7th Gen Intel Core CPU, SATA and mSATA, 5x USB, 6x serial, 3x mini-PCIe, dual display support, and 6x GbE ports, four of which have PoE.

    • Tizen
      • Top 20 Best Tizen Apps in the Tizen Store for February 2018

        Whats happening in the world of Tizen Smartphones? Well, not really that much of late, but that’s probably another post for another time.

        For the last year we have kept a close eye on the Tizen App ecosystem and today we bring you the Top 20 Apps downloaded from the Tizen Store during February 2018 for the Samsung Z1, Z2, Z3, and Z4 mobiles. New entries in the Top 20 are 99 Apps, Hill Driver, Balloon shoot, Music Press MX Music Player, and Jio TV. The rest are the usual suspects. Anyone that has been following this list knows not much really changes from month to month at the moment on the store.

    • Android
Free Software/Open Source
  • Univa Taps Open Source Community to Bolster Enterprise HPC

    Univa is looking to the open source community to help evolve its Navops Launch platform for enterprises migrating high-performance computing (HPC) workloads to the cloud. The open source efforts will run under the Project Tortuga banner, with access available through an Apache 2.0 license model.

    Rob LaLonde, general manager and vice president for Navops at Univa, explained that the open source plan will focus on general purpose cluster and cloud management frameworks. This includes the ability to automate the deployment of clusters in local on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid-cloud configurations. These will be applicable to applications like HPC, big data frameworks, Kubernetes, machine learning, and deep learning environments.

  • Univa Open Sources Project Tortuga

    Univa, a leading innovator in on-premise and hybrid cloud workload management solutions for enterprise HPC customers, announced the contribution of its Navops Launch (née Unicloud) product to the open source community as Project Tortuga under an Apache 2.0 license to help proliferate the transition of enterprise HPC workloads to the cloud.

  • Univa Open Sources Project Tortuga to Accelerate the Migration of Enterprise HPC Workloads to the Cloud
  • Univa open sources Project Tortuga to boost migration of enterprise HPC workloads to the cloud
  • Google Open-Sources Impressive AI Camera Tools

    People use smartphones for lots of different reasons. Some folks like to browse the web. Some like to listen to music. Some like to spend infinite money on bad mobile games. And some people even still like to make phone calls. But one of the biggest selling points of a modern phone is the quality of its camera. Gone are the dark ages of blurry flip-phone images. Phones these days can take pictures professional enough to be screened in theaters or advertised in subway stops. And manufacturers are always looking to get an edge on the competition.

  • Why Open Source & Hardware Integration Can Work for Service Providers
  • Private Internet Access releases software as open source

    Private Internet Access, a company best known for its VPN Service of the same name, announced today that it started the process of releasing all of its software as open source.

    The company plans to release all of its client-side programs, extensions and libraries as open source over the course of the next six month period.

  • Private Internet Access goes Open Source

    Today marks the start of an exciting shift over here at Private Internet Access. As long-time supporters of the Free and Open Source Software community, we have started the process of open sourcing our software, and over the next six months we will be releasing the source code for all our client-side applications, as well as libraries and extensions.

  • World’s Top VPN Provider, Private Internet Access (PIA), Goes Open Source
  • Private Internet Access VPN taking to the Open Source Road

    Popular VPN provider Private Internet Access has unveiled plans to make all of their VPN software open source. In the coming six months the company plans to release the source code to all of their client-side apps and well as various other extensions.

    Private Internet Access made the announcement in a blog posting on the company website in which they announced the opening of a repository with the source code of their Google Chrome extension. That repository can be accessed via GitHub now. More will become available on an ad-hoc basis over the coming months.

  • Government of Jamaica to Actively Pursue Greater Use of Open Source Software – Wheatley

    Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley today outlined the Government of Jamaica’s intention to pursue greater use of Open Source Software as part of its thrust to transform ICT within government while at the same time reducing the attendant costs associated with the use of proprietary software.

    Guided by recommendations outlined in an Open Source Policy Framework report which was completed in late 2016, Minister Wheatley stated that “It is clear that there are huge benefits to be gained from greater use of open source software by developing countries like Jamaica and we intend to take a more active approach to incorporation of these types of software across government.”

    Minister Wheatley in speaking about recurrent enterprise agreements with Microsoft, IBM and other proprietary software vendors said “ for a very long time we have been confined by the strictures and high costs of the license regimes of proprietary software offerings and we will now, in keeping with goals of our Vision 2030 plan, make the move to unleash the innovative capacity of our country by leading the way in the adoption of open source platforms”

  • Introducing Agones: Open-source, multiplayer, dedicated game-server hosting built on Kubernetes

    In the world of distributed systems, hosting and scaling dedicated game servers for online, multiplayer games presents some unique challenges. And while the game development industry has created a myriad of proprietary solutions, Kubernetes has emerged as the de facto open-source, common standard for building complex workloads and distributed systems across multiple clouds and bare metal servers. So today, we’re excited to announce Agones (Greek for “contest” or “gathering”), a new open-source project that uses Kubernetes to host and scale dedicated game servers.

  • What Is Fuchsia, Google’s New Operating System?

    Fuchsia first popped up on the tech world’s radar in mid-2016, when an unannounced open source project from Google appeared on the GitHub repository. According to initial inspection by the technology press, it was designed to be a “universal” operating system, capable of running on everything from low-power smartwatches to powerful desktops. That potentially includes phones, tablets, laptops, car electronics, connected appliances, smarthome hardware, and more.

  • Google created an AI-based, open source music synthesizer

    Move over musicians, AI is here. Google’s ‘NSynth’ neural network is designed to take existing sounds and combine them using a complex, machine learning algorithm. The result? Thousands of new musical sounds, and an instrument you can play them on.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • March Add(on)ness: uBlock (1) vs Kimetrack (4)
      • TenFourFox FPR6 SPR1 coming

        Stand by for FPR6 Security Parity Release 1 due to the usual turmoil following Pwn2Own, in which the mighty typically fall and this year Firefox did. We track these advisories and always plan to have a patched build of TenFourFox ready and parallel with Mozilla’s official chemspill release; I have already backported the patch and tested it internally.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • HHVM 3.25.0, 3.24.4, and 3.21.8

      HHVM 3.25 is released! This release contains new features, bug fixes, performance improvements, and supporting work for future improvements. Packages have been published in the usual places.

    • HHVM 3.25 Released, Now Defaults To PHP7 Mode

      Facebook developers working on the HHVM Hack/PHP language stack have released version 3.25 of the HipHop Virtual Machine.

      HHVM 3.25′s PHP support now defaults to PHP7 rather than the PHP5 mode, which is now in an unsupported state. As expressed previously, Facebook will be focusing more on their Hack language support than PHP7 thanks to all the upstream improvements with PHP 7 especially on the performance front. But the large compatibility with PHP7 will happen to continue at least for the time being. With HHVM 3.25 includes support for PHP7 Throwable/Error/Exception hierarchy, changes to visibility modifiers, and other compatibility work.

    • Developers love trendy new languages but earn more with functional programming

      Developer Q&A site Stack Overflow performs an annual survey to find out more about the programmer community, and the latest set of results has just been published.

    • FYI: AI tools can unmask anonymous coders from their binary executables [Ed: Just a kind reminder that if you are e using Microsoft's tools compile source code, there will be surveillance and telemetry in your compiled code]

      Programmers can be potentially identified from the low-level machine-code instructions in their software executables by AI-powered tools.

      That’s according to boffins from Princeton University, Shiftleft, Drexel University, Sophos, and Braunschweig University of Technology, who have described how stylometry can be applied to binary files.

      That’s kinda bad news for people who wish to develop software, such as privacy-protecting apps, anonymously, as this technology can be used to potentially unmask them. It’s also kinda good news for crimefighters trying to identify malware authors.

    • How to avoid humiliating newcomers: A guide for advanced developers

      Every year in New York City, a few thousand young men come to town, dress up like Santa Claus, and do a pub crawl. One year during this SantaCon event, I was walking on the sidewalk and minding my own business, when I saw an extraordinary scene. There was a man dressed up in a red hat and red jacket, and he was talking to a homeless man who was sitting in a wheelchair. The homeless man asked Santa Claus, “Can you spare some change?” Santa dug into his pocket and brought out a $5 bill. He hesitated, then gave it to the homeless man. The homeless man put the bill in his pocket.

      In an instant, something went wrong. Santa yelled at the homeless man, “I gave you $5. I wanted to give you one dollar, but five is the smallest I had, so you oughtta be grateful. This is your lucky day, man. You should at least say thank you!”


      I still get angry at people on the internet. It happened to me recently, when someone posted a comment on a video I published about Python co-routines. It had taken me months of research and preparation to create this video, and then a newcomer commented, “I want to master python what should I do.”

  • Standards/Consortia
    • ONF Launches Stratum Open-Source SDN Project

      The growing adoption of software-defined networking over the past several years has given a boost to makers of networking white boxes. The separation of the network operating system, control plane and network tasks from the underlying proprietary hardware meant that organizations could run that software on white-box switches and servers that are less expensive than those systems from the likes of Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Dell EMC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

      Network virtualization technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) have proven to be a particular boon for hyperscale cloud providers like Google and Facebook and telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon, which are pushing increasingly massive amounts of traffic through their growing infrastructures. Being able to use less expensive and easily manageable white boxes from original design manufacturers (ODMs) has helped these organizations keep costs down even as demand rises.

  • When It Comes to Email Are You a Filer, or a Piler?

    Most of us tackle our email inboxes in different ways, ways that (we think) are unique to us.

    Me: I keep my email neatly organised using labels, groups and filters. It is both superficially efficient, but somewhat practical too. Depending on the source, sender or topic some email will end up read sooner than others — hopefully in the right order!

    Others — and I bet there’ll be more than a couple among you reading this — simply cannot bear the thought of having unread email left loitering about. Their aim: fastidiously work their way down to inbox zen aka zero, treating their unread mail as a to-do list of sorts in the process.

  • At least four dead in pedestrian bridge collapse at university in Miami, authorities say

    At least four people died Thursday when a pedestrian bridge collapsed near Florida International University, Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Dave Downey said.

    At least eight cars were crushed under the bridge and at least nine people were transported to hospitals for treatment, authorities said.

    “The most important thing we can do right now is pray for the individuals who ended up in the hospital, for their full recovery, and pray for the family members who lost loved ones,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday night.

  • Another Bridge To Nowhere

    This is a catastrophe. It was totally unnecessary. It was preventable. Multiple people had to make multiple unsound judgments to make it happen. They need to rot in jail if not to be killed. The bridge would have worked as planned if it were made of steel only, not concrete. The bridge would have worked as planned if the reinforcements had been suspended and anchored properly. Instead, lives have been lost, useful technology will be forever linked to disaster, and the life-saving passage across a busy road will be delayed a year or more. How many more will have to die because of this crime?

  • Health/Nutrition
    • UAEM Students Launch Campaign To Drop Publicly Funded Patent Claim On Cancer Drug In India

      The Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) this week launched a campaign to ask the University of California to drop its pursuit of a patent on the prostrate cancer drug Xtandi in India in order to make it affordable for patients. Xtandi sells at “exorbitant” rates in the United States, they said, a seeming violation of the licensing guidelines of the publicly funded University of California system which guarantees an “appropriate” return on taxpayer investments.

    • Global Health Governance Changing With Shift In Economic Centre Of Gravity, Speakers Say

      Political and economic shifts have modified the post-war world order, and global health governance has to adapt to this new environment, speakers said at an academic event in Geneva this week. Among the changes: with the decline of United States funding for global health, new actors such as China and India could take leadership roles, they said.

  • Security
    • Canonical Releases Spectre/Meltdown Patches for Ubuntu 17.10 for Raspberry Pi 2

      Canonical published two security advisories on Thursday to announce the availability of Spectre mitigations for the ARM64 (AArch64) hardware architecture on its Ubuntu 17.10 and Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS systems.

      In January, Canonical released several kernel updates for Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) and other supported Ubuntu releases with software mitigations against the Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities. These patches were first released for 64-bit (amd64) architectures, and then for 32-bit (i386), PPC64el, and s390x systems.

      Today, the company announced the availability of new kernel updates that address both the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities for the ARM64 (AArch64) hardware architecture, patching the Raspberry Pi 2 kernel for Ubuntu 17.10, as well as its derivatives.

    • Oracle Patches Spectre for Red Hat

      The Red Hat community has patiently awaited a retpoline kernel implementation that remediates CVE-2017-5715 (Spectre v2) and closes all Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities that have captured headlines this year.

      Red Hat’s initial fixes rely upon microcode updates for v2 remediation, a decision that leaves the vast majority of AMD64-capable processors in an exploitable state. Intel’s new microcode has proven especially problematic; it performs badly and the January 2018 versions were plagued with stability issues that crashed many systems. It is a poor solution to a pressing problem.

    • ​Meet the Scarlett Johansson PostgreSQL malware attack

      t’s not the first time an image has been used to give a victim malware, but it may be the first time it’s been used so narrowly. According to the security firm Imperva, their StickyDB database management system (DBMS) honeypot has uncovered an attack that places malware, which cryptomines Monero, on PostgreSQL DBMS servers. Its attack vector? An image of Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson.

      Now, you might ask, “How many PostgreSQL DBMS servers are out there on the internet to be attacked?” The answer: “More than you’d expect.” A Shodan search revealed almost 710,000 PostgreSQL servers ready to be hacked. It appears there are so many of them because it’s way too easy, especially on Amazon Web Services (AWS), to set up PostgreSQL servers without security.

    • Hackers Target PostgreSQL DBs With Coinminer Hidden in Scarlett Johannsson Image
    • Private Internet Access Goes Open Source, New Raspbian Image Available, Scarlett Johansson Image an Attack Vector on PostgreSQL and More
    • This Black Box Can ‘Unlock Your iPhone’ For Cops; Images Leaked

      The debate whether law enforcement agencies should be given exclusive access to iOS-powered Apple devices started when the FBI was unable to unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Eventually, FBI found other ways to get inside Apple’s secured digital fortress, through an Israel-based company called Cellebrite.

      In the latest news, we have come across about a new iPhone unlocking device called GrayKey that can be used by law enforcement guys to harvest passcode of an iPhone and other iOS-powered devices such as iPads and iPods.

    • Security: 17 Things

      A list for protecting yourself and others from the most common and easiest-to-pull-off security crimes.

      I spend a lot of time giving information security advice, such as why RMF (Risk Management Framework) is too top-heavy for implementing risk management practices in small or R&D-focused organizations, what the right Apache SSL settings really are or how static analysis can help improve C code. What I’m asked for the most though isn’t any of those things; it’s the everyday stuff that even non-technical people can do to protect themselves from the looming but nebulous threat of an information security accident.

    • Intel Says Its Next Chips Will Be Fully Protected Against Spectre Vulnerability
    • Hybrid cloud security: 5 key strategies
    • Triada Malware Preinstalled on Low-Cost Android Phones – Here’s How to Beat It
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Following Boko Haram Attack, Dozens of Nigerian Girls Missing

      So many girls being kidnapped at once seemed like an anomaly, but four years later, more girls have been reported missing following a Boko Haram attack on a town in Nigeria. On February 19, Boko Haram militants stormed the town of Dapchi, and following the attack, parents compiled a list of 110 girls missing from a school in the town, as reported by the Associated Press. Boko Haram is a religious extremist group that believes Nigeria is run by “nonbelievers” too closely aligned with the West.

    • How MS-13 Pushes Families Out of Central America

      In this op-ed, Salvadoran Estefani Alarcon explains how those outside of the United States have been impacted by MS-13, with some even being forced to move from home.

    • Bothered By Midgies

      In 13 years of running my blog I have never been exposed to such a tirade of abuse as I have for refusing to accept without evidence that Russia is the only possible culprit for the Salisbury attack. The abuse has mostly been on twitter, and much of the most venomous stuff has come from corporate and state media “journalists”. I suppose I am a standing rebuke to them for merely being stenographers to power and never doing any actual research, but that hardly explains the visceral levels of hatred exhibited.

      Today they are all terrifically happy and sharing amongst themselves a lengthy twitter thread by a Blairite and chemist called Clyde Davis in which they all say I am “owned” and my article disproven. There are two remarkable things about this thread.

      The first remarkable thing is the remarkably high percentage of those who are sharing it with commendations who are mainstream media journalists. Last I saw was George Monbiot five minutes ago, but there are dozens. I suppose it is important to them as validating their decision to support uncritically the government line without doing any actual journalism.

    • Liberals, Conservatives Worry About Korean Peace Threat
    • Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia

      Over the last year and a half, Americans have been bombarded with the Gish Gallop claims of Russiagate. In that time, the most reckless comments have been made against the Russians in service of using that country as a scapegoat for problems in the United States that were coming to a head, which were the real reasons for Donald Trump’s upset victory in 2016. It has even gotten to the point where irrational hatred against Russia is becoming normalized, with the usual organizations that like to warn of the pernicious consequences of bigotry silent.Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia

    • After State Secy, Trump decides to remove NSA
    • Donald Trump ready to fire NSA McMaster: Report
    • Trump ready to fire NSA McMaster: Report
    • Trump has decided to remove NSA: Washington Post
    • Of A Type Developed By Liars

      I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

      To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:

      This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

      When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise. My FCO source, like me, remembers the extreme pressure put on FCO staff and other civil servants to sign off the dirty dossier on Iraqi WMD, some of which pressure I recount in my memoir Murder in Samarkand. She volunteered the comparison to what is happening now, particularly at Porton Down, with no prompting from me.

    • Suitcase spy poisoning plot: nerve agent ‘was planted in luggage of Sergei Skripal’s daughter’

      The nerve agent that poisoned the Russian spy Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, intelligence agencies now believe.

      Senior sources have told the Telegraph they are convinced the Novichok nerve agent was hidden in the luggage of Yulia Skripal, the double agent’s 33-year-old daughter.

    • The GI Resistance Continues: Vietnam Vets Return to My Lai, Where U.S. Slaughtered 500 Civilians

      As a group of Vietnam War veterans and peace activists travel back to Vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, Amy Goodman and Juan González speak with three members of the delegation: Vietnam veteran Paul Cox, who later co-founded the Veterans for Peace chapter in San Francisco; Susan Schnall, former Navy nurse who was court-martialed for opposing the Vietnam War; and longtime activist Ron Carver, who has organized an exhibit honoring the GI antiwar movement at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Adrian Lamo, Hacker Who Turned In Chelsea Manning, Has Reportedly Died

      “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know [sic] all of Adrian’s friends and acquittances that he is dead,” Lamo’s father wrote on Facebook . “A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son.”

      UK’s The Mirror reports a coroner for Sedgwick County, where Lamo lived, has confirmed his death. A cause of death has not been disclosed. Lamo was 37 years old.

    • HACKER DEAD Adrian Lamo dead at 37 – Hacker who shopped Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning to the FBI passes away

      HACKER Adrian Lamo who turned Chelsea Manning in to the FBI, has died according to a Facebook post by a family member.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo who turned Wikileaks’ source Chelsea Manning in to the FBI dead at 37, says father

      Adrian Lamo, the prolific hacker who turned Chelsea Manning in to the FBI, has died according to a Facebook post by a family member.

      In the post Adrian’s father Mario Lamo wrote: “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and acquaintances that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son.”

      The coroner for Sedgwick County, where Lamo lived, confirmed his death, but provided no further details.

      Adrian Lamo became a controversial figure in the hacker community after he tipped off authorities after about Chelsea Manning providing the controversial combat video that became ‘Collateral Murder’ and 260,000 classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned in Chelsea Manning, dies at 37

      The hacker is best known for high-profile hacks of companies like Microsoft, and later for turning in Chelsea Manning to the FBI after receiving leaked documents from her.

    • Hacker who gave up Wikileaks source dies

      Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker best known for passing on information that led to the arrest of Chelsea Manning, has died aged 37.

      In online messaging conversations, Manning confided in him, describing confidential military material Manning had sent to Wikileaks.

    • Adrian Lamo, Hacker Who Exposed Chelsea Manning, Dies at 37

      Hacker Adrian Lamo, who exposed Army whistleblower Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning, died today at the age of 37.

      Lamo’s father Mario announced the news in a Facebook post. A cause of death was not immediately clear.

      Known as the “Homeless Hacker,” Lamo led a transient lifestyle. But while his living arrangements weren’t fancy, his hacking skills were legendary.

      Lamo first came to prominence in 2002, when he broke into The New York Times‘ internal computer network, added his name to the internal database of expert sources and used the paper’s LexisNexis account to conduct research on high-profile subjects.

    • FBI INFORMER Who was Adrian Lamo? Hacker who turned Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning in to the FBI
    • Hacker Adrian Lamo, known for hacking The New York Times and turning in Chelsea Manning, is dead

      More recently, however, Lamo was known for alerting the Army after whistleblower Chelsea Manning confided in him about leaking classified material to WikiLeaks. Lamo said he acted out of a sense of “duty,” but later expressed some regret for the decision, although he stood by it in later interviews. “A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone,” wrote Lamo’s father on Facebook.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo dies at 37

      A neighbor who found his body said he had been dead for some time.

    • Adrian Lamo, hacker who turned in Chelsea Manning, dies aged 37

      Called the “world’s most hated hacker” by some at the time, Lamo also said: “Had I done nothing, I would always have been left wondering whether the hundreds of thousands of documents that had been leaked to unknown third parties would end up costing lives, either directly or indirectly.”

    • Adrian Lamo, the hacker who gave up Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning, dies aged 37

      Adrian Lamo, the computer hacker who passed on information that led to the arrest of Chelsea Manning, has died aged 37.

      His father Mario broke the news of his son’s death on Facebook.

      “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and acquaintances that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son,” Mario Lamo wrote in a post to the 2600: The Hacker Quarterly Facebook Group.

    • Chicago’s DA Walks the Walk on Prosecutorial Transparency

      Earlier this month Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney for Cook County, Illinois, which covers Chicago, released six years’ worth of raw data regarding felony prosecutions in her office. It was a simple yet profound act of good governance, and one that is all too rare among the nation’s elected prosecutors. Foxx asserted that “for too long, the work of the criminal justice system has been largely a mystery. That lack of openness undermines the legitimacy of the criminal justice system.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • The Assault on Environmental Protest

      More than 50 state bills that would criminalize protest, deter political participation, and curtail freedom of association have been introduced across the country in the past two years. These bills are a direct reaction from politicians and corporations to the tactics of some of the most effective protesters in recent history, including Black Lives Matter and the water protectors challenging construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.

      If they succeed, these legislative moves will suppress dissent and undercut marginalized groups voicing concerns that disrupt current power dynamics.

      Efforts vary from state to state, but they have one thing in common: they would punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment.

  • Finance
    • Google, Facebook face 3% turnover tax in EU: report

      Multinational US technology companies like Google and Facebook will have to pay a 3% turnover tax in the EU, according to a draft proposal from the European Commission.

    • EU set to hit big U.S. tech firms with 3 percent turnover tax

      Services that will be taxed are digital advertising, which would capture both providers of users’ data like Google, and companies offering ad space on their websites, like popular social media such as Facebook.

      The tax would be also be levied on online platforms offering “intermediation services,” a concept under which the Commission includes gig economy firms such as Airbnb and Uber. Digital market places, including Amazon, would also be within the scope of the levy.

    • Flawed Assessments Caused $2 Billion Shift in Property Taxes, Study Finds

      In the first effort to measure the cost of Cook County’s error-ridden assessment system under Assessor Joseph Berrios, a new study estimates that at least $2.2 billion in property taxes was shifted from undervalued Chicago homes onto overvalued ones between 2011 and 2015.

      Because the county’s assessment system is skewed in favor of high-priced homes, the errors amount to a staggering transfer of wealth that benefited Chicago’s most affluent homeowners at the expense of people who own lower-priced homes.

      The study, released Thursday by the Municipal Finance Center at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, was conducted by Professor Christopher Berry, a critic of the assessor’s office who testified at a County Board hearing in July about flaws in the county’s assessment system.

    • ‘A Remarkable Victory for the Labor Movement’

      A deal was signed giving all public employees in West Virginia a 5 percent pay raise, after a nine-day work stoppage by teachers and school staffers that shut down every school in the state. More than 20,000 teachers and 13,000 staffers walked out February 22, mainly over healthcare costs, despite the fact that they had no legal right to strike.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Guns for Hire: China’s Social Media Militia Engage on Command

      Laoxie had joined the ranks of the wangluo shuijun, or “internet water army.” China has innumerable organized groups of these unscrupulous paid posters, ready to inundate the [I]nternet for whoever is willing to cough up cash.


      “Believe it or not, paid posters are extremely good at swaying public opinion,” says Laoxie, adding that others often follow water armies’ lead. “In many cases, lots of people don’t know anything about the celebrity, but when they see negative comments, they will jump on the bandwagon.”

    • How social media spread a historical lie

      In 2002, the University of Houston built an online American Digital History site with a page on the 1924 convention. “Newspapers called the convention a ‘Klanbake,’ as pro-Klan and anti-Klan Democratic delegates wrangled bitterly over the party platform,” it declared, echoing Maeder’s language. Wikipedia’s entry for the 1924 Democratic convention added mention of the term — in its first sentence — in 2005, inserting a citation to the University of Houston article four years later. From there, “Klanbake” sneaked into scholarly histories, popular accounts and journalism on the right, left and center.

      And so a single, offhand historical footnote began to snowball in authority. On social media, that snowball became a weapon.

    • How the Russian Presidential Election Race Looks in its Final Days

      The candidates for the presidency in Russia’s election this Sunday are now in the home stretch. Not much has changed in the past several weeks as regards the standings of each in the polls of voter sympathies. Vladimir Putin holds the lead, way out in front, with nearly 70% of voters saying they will cast their votes for him. The candidate of the Communist Party, Pavel Grudinin, has held on to second place, at just over 7% despite suffering some severe setbacks over revelations of his bank accounts held abroad. And third place, with just over 5% goes to the nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the LDPR.


      One distinguishing feature of the debates was the absence of the President, who chose to neither participate in person, nor to send a proxy.

      As it turned out, the absence of Putin from these debates was entirely justified by the utterly unruly behavior and scandals at times during the series. Moreover, had the President or his representative been present he would have been the subject of attack from all seven challengers in unison, a very unfair situation for him and not very enlightening for the electorate.

      At the same time, it is very clear that those managing the incumbent’s campaign were exploiting every legal means to dominate, indeed to overwhelm all his opponents taken together with high quality viewer and listener time singing his praises and arguing for more of the same in the coming six years. These legal means included the delivery of his annual address to the Federal Assembly, the Russian equivalent to the State of the Union address of the American President, in the midst of the electoral campaign, on March 1. This gave Vladimir Putin two hours on all the airwaves to set out what is in effect a program for his next term.

      Another device used to put the President before the electorate in a privileged manner was the launch in the past week of two new, sophisticated and full-length documentary films about Vladimir Putin. One, entitled “World Order 2018” features the popular talk show host Vladimir Solovyov as Putin’s interlocutor or interviewer.

    • U.S. government’s media agency targets Russian disinformation and Iranian censorship;
    • ‘Hostiles’ and Hollywood’s Untold Story

      But it is fair to criticize a movie for being a perfect example of a movie genre that consistently ignores the most essential themes of the American Frontier. “Hostiles” succeeds brilliantly as the latest addition to a very long list of movies that focus laser-like attention on hostile Frontier characters, rather than on the consequences of Frontier hostility.

      The American Frontier was not, as Hollywood formerly portrayed it, merely a canvas background prop for a violent soap box drama starring Cowboys & Indians – or, as more recently re-imagined, an ethnic melodrama featuring white Bad Guys versus Noble Indian resistance.

      Nor can the American Frontier be considered a particularly hostile place without expunging from history the slaughter-grounds of Cannae, Verdun, Stalingrad, or even America’s own Gettysburg – each of which produced more bloated corpses than any number of Wild Wests. In an encyclopedia of human violence, the massacres at the Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee would be relegated to a footnote.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • How FOSTA Could Give Hollywood the Filters It’s Long Wanted

      Some of the biggest names in the U.S. entertainment industry have expressed a recent interest in a topic that’s seemingly far away from their core business: shutting down online prostitution. Disney, for instance, recently wrote to key U.S. senators expressing their support for SESTA, a bill that was originally aimed at sex traffickers. For its part, 20th Century Fox told the same senators that anyone doing business online “has a civic responsibility to help stem illicit and illegal activity.”

      Late last year, the bill the entertainment companies supported morphed from SESTA into FOSTA, and then into a kind of Frankenstein bill that combines the worst aspects of both. The bill still does nothing to catch or punish traffickers, or provide help to victims of sex trafficking.

    • Congress Proposes to Fight Online Trafficking By Harming Sex Workers

      The U.S. Senate is poised to pass legislation that is intended to stop the internet from being used for sex trafficking — a worthy goal aimed at addressing a serious problem. However, the legislation known as the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or FOSTA, could harm the very people that it is intended to protect. The legislation also threatens the vibrancy of the internet as the world’s most significant marketplace of ideas, and it will inhibit its growth as a place of creativity and innovation.

      Proposals to address sex trafficking should not make workers in the sex trade more susceptible to violence and exploitation. FOSTA threatens the lives and safety of sex workers — people who are disproportionately LGBTQ and people of color. The legislation does this through a dangerously broad definition of “promotion of prostitution,” which is not limited to trafficking and could sweep in any trading of sex for money or other goods. The bill also creates a new, vaguely defined federal crime for the facilitation of prostitution which could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. FOSTA’s definition of “facilitation” is so open to interpretation that it could include critical harm reduction and anti-violence tactics that sex workers depend on to survive.

    • Artists Respond to Artspace Jackson Flats Censorship with an Exhibition

      Last month, Artspace Jackson Flats, an artists’ live-work facility in East Minneapolis, demanded that several works depicting nudes be removed from “Beauty in Every BODY,” an exhibition organized around the theme of body positivity curated by artist-in-residence Kristin Harsma.

      In response to the censorship, NCAC sent a letter to Artspace pointing out that if simple nudity was routinely considered grounds for excluding artwork from public exhibition, vast swathes of art, including many masterpieces, would be off limits.

    • Netizen Report: Internet Censorship Bills Loom Large Over Egypt, South Africa

      While the Egyptian government is notorious for censoring websites and platforms on national security grounds, there are no laws in force that explicitly dictate what is and is not permissible in online censorship. But if the draft law is approved, that will soon change. Article 7 of the anti-cybercrime law would give investigative authorities the right to “order the censorship of websites” whenever “evidence arises that a website broadcasting from inside or outside the state has published any phrases, photos or films, or any promotional material or the like which constitute a crime, as set forth in this law, and poses a threat to national security or compromises national security or the national economy.” Orders issued under Article 7 would need to be approved by a judge within 72 hours of being filed.

    • Netizen Report: Internet Censorship Bill Looms Large Over Egypt

      The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.

      Egyptian parliamentarians will soon review a draft anti-cybercrime law that could codify internet censorship practices into national law.

      While the Egyptian government is notorious for censoring websites and platforms on national security grounds, there are no laws in force that explicitly dictate what is and is not permissible in the realm of online censorship. But if the draft law is approved, that will soon change.


      Over the past four months, I’ve watched with dismay as the new Facebook algorithms have pretty much strangled the Brian Keene Facebook Page.

    • Lucha Underground Wrestling Sends Legal Threat To Journalists For Publishing ‘Spoilers’

      Spoilers suck, sure, but this is the internet and some things cannot be avoided. Still, for those that produce content, there are better and worse ways to handle the issue of spoilers. Some large entertainment groups try to sue over spoilers, but it rarely works. Others settle for mere DMCA takedowns. Most entertainment groups, meanwhile, don’t do a damn thing about spoilers, because that’s the correct course of action.

      Still, even with that wide spectrum of past responses, sending legal threats to journalists over spoilers, such as the Lucha Underground wrestling show has done, is a new one for me. The legal threats rest on the NDAs the audience has to sign before attending a show.

    • Censorship Creep Is Setting In As Social Media Companies Try To Stay Ahead Of European Lawmakers

      Law professor Danielle Citron — best known at Techdirt for her attacks on Section 230 immunity — has written a paper attacking Google, Facebook, etc., but not for the reasons you might think. Her paper [PDF] points out policy changes that have been made by several tech companies not in response to users or US government activity, but to get out ahead of increasing regulatory pressure in Europe. In the recent past, these platforms routinely defended the rights of everyone around the world to engage in free speech, even if that meant offending local governments. Now, with the internet headed towards enforced Balkanization backed by hefty fines, US companies are now routinely engaging in preemptive censorship of content perfectly legal in the US (and arguably legal elsewhere).

    • How Trump’s Lawyer’s Silly Lawsuit Against Buzzfeed May Free Stormy Daniels From Her Non Disclosure Agreement

      You see, Cohen is also at the center of the whole Stormy Daniels mess. If you somehow have been under a giant rock for the past month or so, Cohen has admitted to paying $130,000 to Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford). As multiple places have reported, Daniels was apparently paid the money as part of an agreement to buy her silence over an affair she had with Donald Trump a decade or so ago. There are a huge list of important questions around all of this, including whether the whole thing violated campaign finance laws (which it very likely did).

      A big part of the fight is over whether or not Daniels can really tell her story. We’ve noted that Trump lawyers are threatening to go to court to stop CBS from airing an interview, while Daniels’ lawyers have argued that the agreement is not valid as Trump never signed it — while also offering to pay back the $130,000 to break the agreement (which… uh… is not exactly how it works). And I won’t even get into the hilariously meaningless “private” temporary restraining order that Cohen went to an arbitration firm to get, without even notifying Daniels.

    • National Assembly quietly approved a bill allowing internet censorship

      189 members of the National Assembly reportedly voted in favour of the regulation of the distribution of online content, with 35 against and no abstentions.

      While government said that this move will help protect children from sexually explicit material, curb hate speech and revenge porn, opposing Members of Parliament (MPs) have reportedly criticised the legislation as a bid to regulate the internet.

      The next step is for the bill to come before the National Council of Provinces for its approval before it can be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law. There has still not been any formal statement from the National Assembly or the Film and Publications Board.

    • Censorship Creep Is Setting In As Social Media Companies Try To Stay Ahead Of European Lawmakers

      Law professor Danielle Citron — best known at Techdirt for her attacks on Section 230 immunity — has written a paper attacking Google, Facebook, etc., but not for the reasons you might think. Her paper [PDF] points out policy changes that have been made by several tech companies not in response to users or US government activity, but to get out ahead of increasing regulatory pressure in Europe. In the recent past, these platforms routinely defended the rights of everyone around the world to engage in free speech, even if that meant offending local governments. Now, with the internet headed towards enforced Balkanization backed by hefty fines, US companies are now routinely engaging in preemptive censorship of content perfectly legal in the US (and arguably legal elsewhere).

    • Reps. Hoyer, Price and Schneider: Poland’s Censorship Law Ignores Its History and Undermines Its Future

      In recent months, we have seen a dramatic and troubling rise in anti-Semitism across the globe. Even more alarming, it has spread after being promoted by leaders of far-right parties. Just this week, Vladimir Putin absurdly suggested that Jews could be behind his government’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Comments like these make clear that the world needs to be vigilant against anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions, and to strengthen democratic institutions around the world. That’s why we are deeply concerned by Poland’s new Holocaust censorship law. We are calling on President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the National Assembly to repeal the law.

    • Mixed ruling issued in Facebook nude art ‘censorship’ case

      A French court ruled Thursday that Facebook failed to fulfil its contractual obligations by closing without prior notice the account of a user who posted a photo of a famous 19th century nude painting.

      But the Paris civil court also refused to order the company to restore the account or pay damages as requested by the user, a primary school teacher and art lover. The court said no damages were warranted because he didn’t prove any harm suffered due to the account’s closure and there was no need to order the account reopened because he was able to set up a new account immediately.

    • French court throws out Facebook ‘censorship’ case

      A French court on Thursday dismissed a case brought by a French teacher who wanted to sue the US social media giant over his claims that his page was censored when he posted a nude painting by Gustave Courbet.

      The Paris appeal court in December 2016 upheld a ruling that Facebook could be sued under French and not Californian law.

    • French court throws out Facebook nude art ‘censorship’ case
    • French court makes mixed ruling in Courbet ‘censorship’ case
    • Google Resists Becoming Digital ‘Town Square’ in Censorship Spat

      Conservatives have fretted for months that Google, Twitter and Facebook use their power to stifle politically charged content. Now it’s a judge’s turn to weigh in.

      Google is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit by a nonprofit maker of informational online videos called Prager University, which accuses the Alphabet Inc. unit of illegally restricting access on YouTube to its conservative messages.

      Silicon Valley’s social media giants are under attack from both the left and the right for not doing enough to police hate speech, terrorist propaganda and Russian election meddling. At the same time, conservatives including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have questioned whether the increasing use of filters to restrict content has gone too far and threatens speech that isn’t dangerous.

    • Hooker Sign Should Be Used For Teaching, Not Censorship

      State Rep. Michelle DuBois of Brockton says the sign is “tone deaf” and “patriarchal,” and wants it changed to include the general’s first name or taken down.


      There are all sorts of benign words in our language that sound like words unfit for polite company. And they offer us an opportunity to teach snickering kids about Civil War history or outer space – and about showing respect for others while avoiding making fools of ourselves.

      We will never erase casual immaturity from our culture, but we can make it a trigger for knowledge and understanding, if we put down the erasers and take up the challenge.

    • Mulled EU copyright shakeup will turn us into robo-censors – GitHub

      Code-repository GitHub has raised the alarm about a pending European copyright proposal could force it to implement automated filtering systems – referred to by detractors as “censorship machines” – that would hinder developers working with free and open source software.

      The proposal, part of Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive from 2016, has been working its way through the legislative process.

      In a blog post on Wednesday GitHub explained that the shakeup was designed to address the perception that there’s a “value gap” between the money streaming-media platforms make from uploaded content and what content creators actually get paid.

    • FSW essay (3rd): Rising above censorship

      Our founders could not have foreseen the current political climate, one in which the media is constantly mocked and derided by government officials and their supporters, but this may be why they placed the freedom of the press so prominently in the Bill of Rights – to prevent the media from being censored or scorned.

      The First Amendment grants us the rights that we take for granted everyday: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


      People deserve to have a working knowledge of the world around them, and the freedom of the press allows someone, every day, to become informed.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Senator Wyden Asks NSA Director Nominee the Right Questions

      Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the new nominee to direct the NSA, faced questions Thursday from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about how he would lead the spy agency. One committee member, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), asked the nominee if he and his agency could avoid the mistakes of the past, and refuse to participate in any new, proposed spying programs that would skirt the law and violate Americans’ constitutional rights.

      “In 2001, then-President Bush directed the NSA to conduct an illegal, warrantless wiretapping program. Neither the public nor the full intelligence committee learned about this program until it was revealed in the press,” Wyden said. Wyden, who was a member of the committee in 2001, said he personally learned about the NSA surveillance program—which bypassed judicial review required from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—by reading about it in the newspaper.

    • Madison Square Garden has been secretly scanning visitors’ faces

      They use cameras to capture images of people and then run the photos through an algorithm that can compare them against a database of images.

    • Madison Square Garden Has Used Face-Scanning Technology on Customers

      It is unclear when the face-scanning system was installed. The people familiar with the Garden’s use of the technology, who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about it, said they did not know how many events at the Garden in recent months have used it or how the data has been handled.


      “I should know if I am being subject to facial recognition if I am going into any business, including a stadium,” he said. “Even if you are just running my face against a list of people who have been banned from the premises and doing nothing else with it. I want to know. I have a right to know.”

    • Maryland Court System Arbitrarily Decides Public Should No Longer Have Access To Police Officers’ Names

      Supposedly completely of its own volition, Maryland’s court system has decided to extend extra rights to law enforcement officers. Going to bat for opacity, the Maryland Judiciary has made it harder for the public to find out what officers are doing (or how often they’re being sued). This comes against a backdrop where more sunlight would seem essential, what with several Baltimore police officers facing corruption charges in a wide-ranging investigation that has already netted a handful of convictions and guilty pleas.

    • Maryland Judiciary defends decision to remove police officers’ names from public online court database

      Maryland’s Judiciary on Friday defended a decision to remove the names of police officers and other law enforcement authorities from the state’s searchable public online court database, saying the change was made in response to “safety concerns raised by law enforcement.”

      The change took effect Thursday, following a decision by a judicial rules committee last June. Officers’ names no longer appear on cases they were involved with, and searches using an officer’s name cannot be performed.

      The judiciary did not answer questions about removing officers’ names but said in a statement that it reflected a balance of “the public’s interest in access to court information with our equally important obligation to protect personal identifying information about potential misuse.”

    • Unanimous Support in Berkeley for Community Control of Spy Tech

      Berkeley’s City Council voted unanimously this week to pass the Surveillance Technology and Community Safety Ordinance into law. (This is an earlier draft of the ordinance. We’ll update this link when the approved version is published.) Berkeley joins Santa Clara County (which adopted a similar law in June of 2016) in showing the way for the rest of California. In addition to considerable and unopposed spoken support during the public comment portion of the hearing, Mayor Jesse Arreguín reported that he and the City Council had received almost 200 letters and emails asking for the law to be adopted.

      EFF has long supported this ordinance. During this week’s public comment, Jason Kelley spoke not only as EFF’s digital strategist but as a local resident and community member. He shared that “my friends and I—many of whom live here—are concerned that surveillance tech might be purchased and used without proper oversight.”

      The ordinance, part of a nationwide effort to require community control of police surveillance, will address the concerns Kelley and so many in the community share. The new law will require that before acquiring surveillance technology, city departments submit use policies and acquisition reports detailing what will be acquired and how it works. These reports must also outline potential impacts on civil liberties and civil rights as well as steps to ensure adequate security measures safeguarding the data collected or generated.

    • German Lawyers Call For Their Profession’s Bug-Ridden, Soon-To-Be Mandatory, Email System To Be Open Sourced

      Given the sensitive nature of their work, lawyers need to take particular care when communicating online. One way to address this — quite reasonable, in theory — is to create a dedicated system with strong security built in. That’s the route being taken by Germany’s Federal Bar Association (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer — BRAK) with its “besondere elektronisches Anwaltspostfach” (special electronic mailbox for lawyers, or beA). However, the reality has not matched the theory, and beA has been plagued with serious security problems.

    • Judge Postpones Trial of Woman Charged With Leaking Secrets

      Authorities haven’t described the document. Winner’s arrest was announced the same day The Intercept reported on a classified NSA report on Russian hackers and the 2016 election.

    • Suspect in leak of Russian cyberattack report faces tough legal battle

      Just thinking about the prosecution here in Georgia of Reality Winner for a National Security Agency leak triggers “major flashbacks” for Thomas Drake.

      Seven years ago, Drake – a former senior NSA official — walked out of federal court a free man after the government, on the eve of his trial, dropped 10 charges accusing him of leaking classified information about fraud, waste and abuse in NSA surveillance programs to The Baltimore Sun.

    • Judge Postpones Trial of Former NSA Contractor Reality Winner

      A federal judge has postponed the trial of a woman charged with leaking U.S. secrets to a news outlet.

      Former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner is now scheduled to stand trial Oct. 15. Her trial was to start next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps ordered the change Thursday.

      The delay allows more time for pretrial motions. Also pending is a ruling by the judge on whether Winner’s confession to FBI agents can be used as evidence.

      Winner worked for the national security contractor Pluribus International at Fort Gordon in Georgia when she was charged last June with mailing a classified U.S. report to an unidentified news organization.

      Authorities haven’t described the document. Winner’s arrest was announced the same day The Intercept reported on a classified NSA report on Russian hackers and the 2016 election.

      Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal.
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      Get in touch with our reporters.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Some States No Longer Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines. Will Illinois Join Them?

      Legislators across the country are starting to rethink laws that tie driving privileges to the ability to pay fines, as evidence mounts that those laws disproportionately hurt poor and minority motorists.

      That’s beginning to happen, too, in Illinois, where state lawmakers introduced a bill last month — after a similar bill last year was unsuccessful — to end license suspensions for unpaid parking tickets.

      The legislation likely will face its biggest opposition from the City of Chicago, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually from tickets and uses the threat of license suspensions as leverage against indebted drivers. Ticket debt sends thousands of motorists into bankruptcy each year, ProPublica Illinois reported last month.

    • ICE Is Illegally Imprisoning Asylum Seekers

      Under Trump, asylum seekers are being illegally locked up without due process.

      Ansly Damus has been locked up for one year, four months, and counting. Held behind bars by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he has not been outside for more than a year. His crime? In October 2016, Damus fled violent, political persecution in Haiti. When he arrived in the U.S., he presented himself to immigration authorities and applied for asylum. He passed his “credible fear” interview. And then a judge granted him asylum — not once, but twice.

      Damus committed no crime, and yet the U.S. government has put him behind bars. He’s not alone — thousands of other asylum seekers are also being held in jails across the country.

    • As Trump Nominates Torture Boss To Head CIA, Congresswoman Suggests It’s Sympathizing With Terrorists To Question Her Appointment

      As you’ve probably heard, with the latest in the neverending rotating cast of characters that makes up the current Trump administration, a set of dominoes has been knocked over with the tweeted firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the nomination of CIA boss (and former Congressional Rep/longtime defender of surveillance and torture) Mike Pompeo to replace him. While Pompeo was a vocal supporter of the CIA’s torture program, he didn’t actually have any hand in running it. Instead, that distinction goes to Gina Haspel, whom Trump has nominated to take Pompeo’s place. Haspel not only oversaw the CIA’s torture program, she was also directly involved with the destruction of the video tapes showing the torture procedures. The still classified 6,700 page Senate report on the program apparently contains a lot of details about the program that Haspel ran. Annabelle Timsit has helpfully pulled together some details of what is currently known from the heavily redacted declassified executive summary (you may recall we spent years writing about the fight to just release that summary). What’s stunning is that the program that Haspel oversaw so disgusted CIA employees that some were at the “point of tears and choking up” and multiple people on site asked to be moved to other locations if the CIA was going to continue these torture techniques.

    • The Asylum Seekers Who Were Locked Up by ICE for No Reason

      These asylum seekers fled violence and persecution abroad, only to be illegally jailed in the United States.

      The Trump administration’s decision to indefinitely lock up asylum-seekers, instead of releasing them on humanitarian parole while their cases are decided, is ruining lives across the country. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 asylum seekers have been denied release in the five ICE districts named in our lawsuit alone.

      Before arriving at the U.S. border, our clients led lives that were strikingly different from one another. These men and women represent five different countries; some are teenagers and some are grandparents. Before they were “asylum seekers,” they were teachers, software engineers, drivers, and students.

      But at some point, all of them encountered a level of danger so great that it forced them to flee their homes and countries. They arrived to the United States looking for safety.

    • Beaten, Tased, and Arrested for Jaywalking While Black

      Racial bias in policing reared its head in North Carolina when officers used excessive force on a Black man for jaywalking.

      Johnnie Rush, a Black resident of Asheville, North Carolina, was brutalized by police simply for jaywalking late at night. His story is yet another in the seemingly endless, endemic tragedy of police violence against people of color. Unlike many of those, it was all caught on video.

      Rush was walking home after a 13-hour shift washing dishes at a local restaurant when he was approached by two white police officers. It was after midnight, and one of the officers told Rush that he failed to use the crosswalk.

    • Clock Runs Out On Perjury Charges For James Clapper, Ensuring He Won’t Be Punished For Lying To Congress

      It almost seems like half a lifetime ago, but only a half-decade has passed since James Clapper lied to Ron Wyden about the NSA’s domestic collections. Wyden pointedly asked Clapper during an intelligence committee hearing whether or not the NSA was collecting “any type of data at all” on American citizens. Clapper gave two answers, both untrue: “No, sir” and “Not wittingly.”

      A couple of months later, the first Snowden leak — detailing massive amounts of call data being captured in the Section 215 dragnet — undid Clapper’s careful, under-oath lies. Since then, nothing has happened. The DOJ refused to investigate Clapper for lying to his oversight. Clapper exited office a few years later, becoming a go-to national security expert for a variety of news programs. He has since offered a variety of excuses for lying, but none of them are particularly good.

    • Declassify CIA Director Nominee’s Role in Torture, Rights Groups Demand

      As the CIA begins to defend its possible next director, civil liberties groups are urging the Senate to halt Gina Haspel’s nomination “until all the records on her past involvement in the CIA torture program are declassified and released to the public,” according to a Friday letter sent to Capitol Hill and provided to The Daily Beast.

      The letter, part of an emerging strategy to fight Haspel that The Daily Beast reported Wednesday, highlights the lack of clarity—mostly the result of aggressive CIA classification—over aspects of Haspel’s time overseeing torture at a “black site” secret prison in Thailand in 2002. The version seen by The Daily Beast, a draft, was signed by 29 civil-liberties groups, including the ACLU, Reprieve, Physicians for Human Rights and the Sunlight Foundation, though more may sign on.

    • UN Says Facebook Is Complicit In The Spread Of Anti-Muslim Hate In Myanmar

      The UN has decided it’s possibly Facebook’s fault things are going so badly in Myanmar. Muslims have been fleeing the country in droves thanks to Myanmar security forces engaging in widespread acts of violence (including rape) against them, urged on by hardline nationalist monks.

      For all intents and purposes, Facebook is Myanmar’s internet. Loosening of restrictions on social media access has resulted in a large portion of the population getting all their news (along with all the hate speech the UN is complaining about) via the social media giant. The UN is looking into genocide accusations but has decided to speak up against Facebook first.

    • Federal Judges Says ATF Stash House Stings Are Useless And Ugly

      A chief federal judge in Chicago has handed down a scathing opinion calling ATF stash house stings an “ends justifies the means” evil that needs to be “relegated to the dark corridors of our past.” The opinion shuts the door on two defendants hoping to show the ATF’s fake robberies of fake stash houses filled with fake drugs were racially-biased, but it does show even without the taint of bias, the sting operations are exploitative and useless.

    • The FBI — ‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’ — Still Working on Diversity

      For the FBI, the longstanding failure to diversify its ranks is nothing short of “a huge operational risk,” according to one senior official, something that compromises the agency’s ability to understand communities at risk, penetrate criminal enterprises, and identify emerging national security threats.

      Indeed, 10 months before being fired as director of the FBI by President Trump, James Comey called the situation a “crisis.”

      “Slowly but steadily over the last decade or more, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing,” Comey said in a speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black school in Daytona Beach, Florida. “I’ve got nothing against white people — especially tall, awkward, male white people — but that is a crisis for reasons that you get, and that I’ve worked very hard to make sure the entire FBI understands.”

    • Jacksonville Sheriff Admits Race May Have Played a Role in Ticket Writing

      Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said this week that “implicit bias” likely played some role in the fact that disproportionate numbers of pedestrian tickets written by his officers in recent years went to blacks.

      ProPublica and the Florida Times-Union in 2017 reported that 55 percent of pedestrian tickets written over a recent five-year period were issued to blacks despite the fact they made up just 29 percent of the local population.

      Williams and his office said at the time that blacks had not been targeted in the enforcement of pedestrian violations.

      The Times-Union had reporters at the forum this week in Jacksonville during which Williams made his statement about implicit bias.

    • Leaked Documents Expose NYPD’s Long-Running Lack Of Officer Discipline

      Buzzfeed has obtained files the NYPD never wanted the public to see. This isn’t the result of a protracted public records battle, but rather the work of an anonymous whistleblower. Presumably, those further up the chain of command are already familiar with the department’s disinterest in holding officers accountable, so there’s no whistleblowing outlet there. Also, presumably, the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s hands are tied and it cannot hand out disciplinary reports for officers never formally disciplined. So, leak it is. And what a leak it is.

    • Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People — And Still Keep Their Jobs

      Secret files obtained by BuzzFeed News reveal that from 2011 to 2015 at least 319 New York Police Department employees who committed offenses serious enough to merit firing were allowed to keep their jobs.

      Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. At least fifty employees lied on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation. Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. Another, Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched a fellow officer. Some were guilty of lesser offenses, like mouthing off to a supervisor.

      At least two dozen of these employees worked in schools. Andrew Bailey was found guilty of touching a female student on the thigh and kissing her on the cheek while she was sitting in his car. In a school parking lot, while he was supposed to be on duty, Lester Robinson kissed a woman, removed his shirt, and began to remove his pants. And Juan Garcia, while off duty, illegally sold prescription medication to an undercover officer.

    • It’s Time to Make Voting More Accessible and Secure in Michigan

      Recently, I visited Alabama with the Faith and Politics Institute for Congressman John Lewis’ Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage. We visited civil rights monuments in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, before heading to Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday. As we reflected on the rights that were so bravely fought for on that Sunday decades ago, we recognized that the fight continues on across the country. In Michigan, we’re taking the fight to the ballot and aiming to ensure all can vote. We want to make voting more accessible, secure, and fair for all Michiganders.

      Earlier this year, the ACLU of Michigan, along with the NAACP and League of Women Voters, launched the Promote the Vote, a ballot measure campaign that would secure the right to vote for all eligible voters in Michigan. This initiative would amend the state constitution to allow voters to register at any time — up to and including on Election Day; automatically register voters; require post-election audits; expand access to absentee ballots; allow for straight-ticket party voting; and ensure those in the military get their ballots with enough time to vote. Our goal is to put the amendment on the ballot this November.

    • Racism in the Office

      Today I was at an office party and the conversation turned to race, specifically the incidence of unarmed Afro-American men and boys who are shot by police. Apparently the idea that white people (even in other countries) might treat non-white people badly offends some people, so we had a man try to explain that Afro-Americans commit more crime and therefore are more likely to get shot. This part of the discussion isn’t even noteworthy, it’s the sort of thing that happens all the time.

      I and another man pointed out that crime is correlated with poverty and racism causes non-white people to be disproportionately poor. We also pointed out that US police seem capable of arresting proven violent white criminals without shooting them (he cited arrests of Mafia members I cited mass murderers like the one who shot up the cinema). This part of the discussion isn’t particularly noteworthy either. Usually when someone tries explaining some racist ideas and gets firm disagreement they back down. But not this time.

      The next step was the issue of whether black people are inherently violent. He cited all of Africa as evidence. There’s a meme that you shouldn’t accuse someone of being racist, it’s apparently very offensive. I find racism very offensive and speak the truth about it. So all the following discussion was peppered with him complaining about how offended he was and me not caring (stop saying racist things if you don’t want me to call you racist).

      Next was an appeal to “statistics” and “facts”. He said that he was only citing statistics and facts, clearly not understanding that saying “Africans are violent” is not a statistic. I told him to get his phone and Google for some statistics as he hadn’t cited any. I thought that might make him just go away, it was clear that we were long past the possibility of agreeing on these issues. I don’t go to parties seeking out such arguments, in fact I’d rather avoid such people altogether if possible.


      As I was getting ready to leave the man said that he thought he didn’t explain things well because he was tipsy. I disagree, I think he explained some things very well. When someone goes to such extraordinary lengths to criticise all black people after a discussion of white cops killing unarmed black people I think it shows their character. But I did offer some friendly advice, “don’t drink with people you work with or for or any other people you want to impress”, I suggested that maybe quitting alcohol altogether is the right thing to do if this is what it causes. But he still thought it was wrong of me to call him racist, and I still don’t care. Alcohol doesn’t make anyone suddenly think that black people are inherently dangerous (even when unarmed) and therefore deserving of being shot by police (disregarding the fact that police can take members of the Mafia alive). But it does make people less inhibited about sharing such views even when it’s clear that they don’t have an accepting audience.


      I think the fact that this debate happened says something about Australian and British culture. This man apparently hadn’t had people push back on such ideas before.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • California Introduces New, Tougher Net Neutrality Rules; Uses Ajit Pai’s Abdication Of Authority Against The FCC

      Earlier this year, California introduced new net neutrality legislation as part of similar efforts across more than half the states in the nation. At the time, we noted how the EFF wasn’t a particular fan of California’s proposal, arguing that the wording of the effort left the law open to challenges by the FCC, which has (at AT&T and Comcast behest) promised to block states that actually try to protect consumers in the wake of its unpopular net neutrality repeal. But a new California proposal has no such Achilles heel, goes notably further than the first effort, and now has the EFF’s full support.

      California state senator Scott Wiener this week introduced SB 822, a much tougher, more comprehensive proposal that would prohibit not only the blocking and throttling of websites and services by ISPs, but would ban “paid prioritization” deals that would allow deep-pocketed content companies (like, say, ESPN) from buying an unfair advantage against smaller competitors and startups. The bill also takes aim at the kind of interconnection shenanigans and double dipping that resulted in Netflix performance issues back in 2014, while leaving the door open to reasonable network management practices.

    • Calif. weighs toughest net neutrality law in US—with ban on paid zero-rating [iophk: "better ban unpaid zero-rating too"]

      “The [California] bill prohibits ISPs from blocking, speeding up or slowing down websites, applications, and services; charging online companies for access to an ISP’s customers and blocking those that do not pay; and from entering into deals with online companies to put them in a fast lane to the ISP’s customers,” van Schewick wrote today.

      Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) consulted with van Schewick on technical matters before introducing the legislation text yesterday. The bill has 14 other coauthors from the state Assembly and Senate.

    • The “Grand Challenges” of Curation and Preservation

      The two main aspects of curation in this space are selection, and adding value by enhancing metadata, both human activities that don’t scale.


      Preservation happens in three phases; ingest, preservation and dissemination:

    • Ex-DOJ Officials Raise Trump, AT&T Merger Interference Concerns

      Last fall, the Department of Justice announced it would be suing to block AT&T’s $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner. According to the DOJ, it sued to block the lawsuit to protect consumers, arguing that the deal would likely make it harder for streaming competitors to license the content they need to compete with AT&T (especially HBO programming). Consumer advocates have long argued that AT&T (with its decade of well-documented and often comedic anti-consumer behavior in tow) would simply use its greater leverage and power to hamstring competition and jack up rates for consumers (especially with net neutrality dying).

      While some have argued that the DOJ is simply following antitrust protocol, others (including AT&T lawyers) think the lawsuit is driven by other motivations.

      That’s not a hard case to make given the Trump administration’s anti-consumer, anti-innovation, and anti-competition tendencies on other fronts (like net neutrality). Trump’s pick to head the DOJ’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, was also on record, before joining the DOJ, stating he saw no real problems with the deal. Meanwhile Trump’s disdain for Time Warner-owned CNN is also well established, and reports have indicated that Trump pal Rupert Murdoch spent much of last year trying to scuttle the deal for competitive reasons (Muroch has also approached AT&T twice about buying CNN).

    • Internet Wins, And The Need To Appreciate What We’ve Got Before It’s Gone

      It’s become quite fashionable these days to gripe about the Internet. Even some of its staunchest allies in Congress have been getting cranky. Naturally there are going to be growing pains as humanity adapts to the unprecedented ability for billions of people to communicate with each other easily, cheaply, and immediately for the first time in world history. But this communications revolution has also brought some extraordinary benefits that we glibly risk when we forget about them and instead only focus the challenges. This glass is way more than half full but, if we’re not careful to protect it, soon it will be empty.

  • DRM
    • ‘Serious Sam’ Developer Teams Up With Denuvo Cracker To Pump Up Sales For Failed Game

      In all of our conversations about video game piracy and the DRM that studios and publishers use to try to stave it off, the common refrain from those within in the industry and others is that these cracking groups are nearly nihilism personified. Nothing is sacred to these people, goes the mantra, and they care nothing for the gaming industry at all. If the gaming industry is destroyed, it will be because of these pirate-y pirates simply not giving a damn.

      This notion is belied by the story of Crackshell, makers of indie spinoff of the Serious Sam franchise called Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour, and Voksi, an individual that runs a game-cracking ring. Voksi has been featured in our pages before as one of the few people out there who has been able to consistently defeat the Denuvo DRM, helping propel the software’s precipitous fall from grace. If a game developer and a game-cracker seem to be natural enemies, it will come as a surprise to you that they have recently teamed up to try to resurrect Bogus Detour from the bin of failure.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • The protection of genetic resources, traditional resources and folklore 35 meetings later…

      In a few days it will be time for the next meeting (the 35th one in fact) of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. Between the 19th and the 23rd of March, the members of the Intergovernmental Committee will convene in Geneva to discuss issues related to the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions. (This body is a WIPO Intergovernmental Committee with the mandate to conduct text-based negotiations for the adoption of legal instruments for the protection

    • Copyrights
      • US Navy Accused Of Massive Amounts Of Piracy By German Software Company

        We’ve made the point for a long time that, on a long enough timeline, pretty much everybody is a pirate. The point is that the way copyright laws have evolved alongside such useful tools as the internet makes knowing whether common sense actions are actually copyright infringement an incredibly dicey riddle to solve. Often times without even trying, members of the public engage in infringing activities, up to and including the President of the United States.

        And, it appears, up to and including entire branches of the United States military, though claims of accidental infringement in this case would appear to be rather silly. Bitmanagement, a German software company that produces virtual reality software, is accusing the US Navy of what can only be described as massive levels of copyright infringement.

      • Blind Users Celebrate as Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Bill Drops

        Today the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Bill was introduced into Congress by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Corker (R-TN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The bill implements the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, a landmark treaty that was adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in June 2013, and has since been ratified by 37 other countries. The treaty is notable in that it is the first WIPO treaty passed primarily for a disadvantaged class of users, rather than for the benefit of copyright holders.

        When passed, the bill will allow those who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise reading disabled (for example, being unable to pick up and turn the pages of a book) to make free use of written works in accessible formats such as braille, large print, or audiobook. Although similar provisions were already part of U.S. law, the amendments made by this bill slightly broadens the class of beneficiaries who were eligible for access to such works.

Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

Friday 16th of March 2018 07:49:11 PM

Tweet deleted (although everything was in tact)

Summary: Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren’t even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

THE EPO has been censoring its staff quite a lot lately. We’ve just reported some more SLAPP against the media and in recent weeks we wrote about EPO management muzzling representatives.

“We are assuming that many examiners already understand the connection/correlation/overlap with the UPC; firms that are connected to patent trolls don’t mind declines in patent quality.”In spite of this growingly toxic atmosphere, staff found the courage to speak out against EPO policies. It spoke out about patent quality declines. After we had heard about it we posted the original petition (yesterday morning) and last night we complained that only two sites had covered it. There’s now a 3rd article, this one from World Intellectual Property Review (SUEPO now lists all 3).

To quote:

A petition submitted by 924 patent examiners has claimed that quality of the European Patent Office (EPO) patent is endangered by the demands of current management.

The petition was sent as a letter to the Administrative Council (AC), the EPO’s supervisory body, ahead of its meeting later this month.

“We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention and respecting the examiner’s guidelines, or issuing ‘products’ as our hierarchy demands,” said the petition.

We are assuming that many examiners already understand the connection/correlation/overlap with the UPC; firms that are connected to patent trolls don’t mind declines in patent quality*. In fact, to them it might as well be desirable. Their staff has promoted software patents for a long time. One such firm, Bristows, stands out. For the third time in a month Bristows messed up its own site (earlier today). This firm is so incompetent that it published a page that just says “Edward” and that’s it. It also posted another “Test” page and left it in tact. So their legal advice is as bad as their technical skills; they don’t know how to use their Web site, having published 3 posts in error (in just 15 minutes today). And that’s the third time in a month. As before, hours later the mess got cleaned up.

“It’s like giving a person a money-printing machine only for that person to endlessly produce and thus devalue cash. Same for patents.”More curious, however, was today’s EPO tweet about contracts in the Netherlands because the EPO later deleted this tweet, shortly after I had said: “Reminder: the EPO burned contractors there and Battistelli also ‘stole’ money…”

Why was their tweet deleted after that? Separately, the EPO carried on boasting/bragging about the number of granted monopolies. It’s like giving a person a money-printing machine only for that person to endlessly produce and thus devalue cash. Same for patents. I told them: “It’s not a competition, you know? Besides, these are low-quality patents, say EPO insiders…”

It was then that the EPO also promoted software patents using the “4IR” buzzword (Battistelli and IAM have already admitted that this is what the term stands for). It’s the new “CII”.
* Trolls rarely need to even have their patents tested in a court (they target the vulnerable, hoping for a settlement off the record). They just need a patent granted, sometimes then sold, and the ‘protection’ racket can begin.

Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

Friday 16th of March 2018 06:58:13 PM

Summary: Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

Readers of Techrights will be aware that Željko Topić has been engaged in "whitewashing" operations for some time now.

As far as is known, these efforts started with a surreal “Apology” issued by the Croatian freelance blogger/journalist Željko Peratović in December 2014 under circumstances which have never been clarified.

Peratović announced that he had withdrawn the English language version of his article “A wrong Man sitting at the EPO?” which had originally been published on his blog on 24 June 2013.

However, archived copies of this article exist and can be accessed for example via the “Wayback Machine” using the now-defunct original URL. Another archived copy can be found here.

What is also interesting is that a version of the article in Croatian published by the Croatian news portal Metro and bearing Peratović’s name remains online.

It seems that the purpose of the “Apology” by Peratović was to make the English language version of the story disappear.

More recently it has been noticed that a number of articles about Topić published by Croatian media have mysteriously gone “offline”.

For example:

Archived copies of some of these articles are still accessible online via the Wayback Machine or other archives, e.g. [1, 2]

The circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the published articles about Topić have not yet been clarified, but there seems to be a connection with his SLAPP activities in Croatia.

Sources in Zagreb have indicated that he has filed lawsuits against some online news portals and then agreed to withdraw the lawsuits on the condition that the portals suppressed their online publications about his alleged misconduct as Director of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office.

This trick seems to have worked in some cases. However, a number of Croatian media outlets such as and appear to have been more resistant as their published articles are still freely accessible online.

One question which remains unanswered is whether EPO funds have been used to finance these “whitewashing” operations. But it is unlikely that this question will be answered any time soon — if at all.

Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

Thursday 15th of March 2018 11:24:35 PM

Reference: Media blackout

Summary: The media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

EARLY in the day we found and then posted the petition of EPO workers, who basically rebel against the management's policy. Some readers had told us about it before we found a copy. “924 EPO examiners send petition to the Administrative Council,” one of them told us. “They are not allowed to work [according] to the EPC.”

Later in the day The Register covered it and then came IPPro Patents with the report titled “Quarter of EPO examiners sign petition against product targets” (neither has been listed by SUEPO today, but maybe it’s just a matter of time). To quote from the latter:

Nearly 1000 European Patent Office (EPO) examiners have signed a petition to warn the office’s administrative council that the quality of patents at the EPO is “endangered by the demands of current management”.

According to the petition and accompanying letter, which was sent by the EPO’s Central Staff Committee (CSC) to the delegates of the administrative council and EPO president Benoît Battistelli, the “issue of quality at the EPO is becoming every day more pregnant”.

The petition’s text reads: “We, examiners of the EPO, are submitted to constraints that are no longer compatible with fulfilling appropriately our duties within the search and examination divisions.”

“We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and respecting the examiner’s guidelines, or issuing ‘products’ as our hierarchy demands.”

The group said that products should not be the “only criteria to assess the office and examiners performance, but that attention should be paid to providing a high level of presumption of validity to the patents we grant”.

Products are granted for a few actions that a patent examiner is expected to perform: a patent search, a patent grant, or a patent refusal.

Examiners are awarded points, which determine whether employees have reached their individual and collective targets.

The original text could be found in this morning’s post of ours. Where is IP Kat? What about IP Watch? Nothing. Two days ago IP Watch posted another piece for patent lawyers who had previously complained about PACE. Sometimes we wonder what happened to the “watch” in “IP Watch” because they amplify press releases/articles from patent maximalists, too. Are they going to also amplify Mingorance, who called patent rationalists "freeriders" some months ago and days ago pushed out this press release? It’s about putting patents inside standards (again):

Commenting on the outcome, Francisco Mingorance, Executive Secretary of IP Europe…

Unfortunately, not a single large press outlet (maybe except The Register) is covering this petition. The Register is focused on technology (there’s also no printed version) and only one patents-focused blog wrote about the petition.

Here we have patent maximalists in the US commenting on the Enlarged Board of Appeal, having never covered any of the EPO scandals. Ever. Sophie Blake wrote:

The Enlarged Board of Appeal has now released its written decision in respect of G 1/16 (T 0437/14). This decision resolves the question regarding which standard is to be applied to determine whether an “undisclosed disclaimer” in a patent claim introduces added subject-matter (that is, it contravenes Article 123(2) EPC).

Previously G 1/03 and G 2/10 have both addressed issues regarding added subject-matter of disclaimers; this is therefore the third Enlarged Board of Appeal decision to be issued in just over a decade on this subject, which perhaps gives an indication of how contentious an issue the allowability of introducing disclaimers into patent claims is seen to be at the EPO.

They find a lot of time to write about the Enlarged Board of Appeal (or Boards of Appeal in general), but never time/space for the ongoing crisis.

The petition must have taken a lot of effort and money; based on the few reports about it (2 so far), some of this predates the increase in ‘production’ targets, hence it goes back at least 3-4 months. Why is the media so apathetic to so colossal a crisis which jeopardises Europe’s future?

Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

Thursday 15th of March 2018 10:51:47 PM

AfD is no friend; in fact, it quite likely harms UPC sceptics’ cause

Reference: The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Summary: The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

EARLIER this month we learned about AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) walking into the UPC debate. It wasn’t going to be a helpful intervention because, as we noted the other day, we assumed that Team UPC would say things (publicly or behind the scenes) like, “are you against the UPC? What are you, with AfD or something?”

For readers who aren’t familiar with AfD, look it up. It’s not nice and it’s likely a lot worse than UKIP in the UK. As a reader recently told us, if you want something to die in politics, then you simply associate it with AfD. Some prominent people from Team UPC already refer to it publicly as “alt right”, which isn’t far from labeling it “nazi”.

“As a reader recently told us, if you want something to die in politics, then you simply associate it with AfD.”Either way, earlier today Kluwer Patent blogger (likely Bristows) wrote this piece about the UPC complainant. It starts with discussion about the complainant and then lumps in the following paragraph: “Later today, the German Parliament will discuss a motion of the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which is based on two of the arguments of the constitutional challenge. The AfD motion argues that the UPCA ratification bill did not have the requisite majority of two thirds of the members of the Bundestag and that UPC judges will not be independent since they are appointed by a panel which also includes attorneys at law and only for six years, and calls for the repeal of two acts concerning the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent. The motion is not expected to get wide, if any support.”

Bristows’ Richard Pinckney then wrote in their own blog (which barely anyone reads) that “the Bundestag (German parliament) will debate later today the motion by the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany) political party calling for the repeal of legislation enabling Germany to participate in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent system.”

“It’s as though they want Germans to believe that to support UPC is to oppose AfD. This was predictable.”This is how they prefer to frame this. It’s as though they want Germans to believe that to support UPC is to oppose AfD. This was predictable. Team UPC wrote some hours ago that the debate/motion was “[] Moved to 18:50 CET. [] AfD mentions constitutional complaint and indicates that complaint may be successful. Claims parliament should be the one rectifying the formal error of allegedly insufficient quorum. [] SPD submits AfD merely destructive, otherwise simply await judgment of Constitutional Ct, which may deal w t very issues. Bundestag had provided an opinion upon request of ConstCt concluding that Acts were in line with Constitution. [] Matter is referred to the relevant committees. Debate closed. Motion no chance of succeeding.”

Benjamin Henrion, a Belgian, wrote: “Listening to the UPC debate at the Bundestag, they all praise the EU while the UPC is not an EU instrument. Crazy to see they do not get the basics.”

Yes, these politicians hardly know what they talk about and what they support/oppose and sign/won’t sign. It’s pretty incredible and it’s worrying to see so-called ‘democracy’ being reduced to labels like “unitary”, “community”, “EU”, and “unified” (different incarnation of the same thing). In the US it sometimes seems like they pass bills based on the name/title of the bill rather than actual contents/substance.

This is why AfD’s involvement could prove to be toxic. Perhaps, at the end, all they’ll know about UPC is that AfD is against it. The question regarding UPC becomes whether one is pro- or anti-EU even if UPC isn’t the EU. One can be against Brexit and against UPC at the same time. Many are.

Speaking of Belgium, watch this incredibly incredulous tweet that the EPO retweeted some hours ago. “Patents and innovation are not the same thing,” I told them, and the EPO “is collapsing, [having] granted patents [that] are [of] bad quality…”

We already wrote about these figures that are cited. e.g. in:

The EPO later tweeted that for “[f]irst time in the @EPOorg ’s history, a Chinese company @Huawei ranked first for filing the most patent applications at the Office…”

Maybe that just serves to show that the EPO is becoming less about Europe and more about large corporations, including Huawei, a notoriously regime-connected corporation. Well, not that the EPO is so much different from China’s tyrannical government anymore, as we last explained this morning.

Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

Thursday 15th of March 2018 09:38:48 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
  • Server
    • Development Versions of Oracle Linux UEK now available on GitHub

      The source for UEK has always been available at, as a git repository with full git history. Starting now, we’ll also be posting the UEK source on By doing so, we intend to increase the visibility for our work and to make it even easier for people to access the source for UEK. We will also use this repository for working with developers at partner companies and in the Linux community. The repository contains the source for the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel including a small number of Oracle additions which have not yet been accepted into the mainline Linux kernel source tree.

      The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) is a Linux kernel built by Oracle and supported via Oracle Linux support. Its focus is performance, stability, and minimal backports by tracking the mainline source code as closely as is practical. UEK is well-tested and used to run Oracle’s Engineered Systems, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and large enterprise deployments for Oracle customers.

    • Defining the Spectrum of Cloud Deployment Technologies

      “Cloud computing” has been a catch-all phrase over the past decade to describe anything that’s a shift away from hardware servers. However, the term has become nebulous in recent times with the growing diversity in how many different ways you can leverage the cloud.

      We’ve come far from a simplistic separation between on-premises and cloud. Today, it’s about on-premises versus a range of different cloud options. Indeed, the cloud can be a confusing place for newcomers and veterans alike, with new options cropping up every few months, and the landscape always shifting towards the newer and better.

      But how do you choose between good, better and best? Let’s compare the various cloud deployment technologies available today and find the common ground and what separates them from each other.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • LinuxBoot: Linux as firmware

      Both the free-software and security communities have recently been focusing on the elements of our computers that run below the operating system. These proprietary firmware components are usually difficult or impossible to extend and it has long been suspected (and proven in several cases) that there are significant security concerns with them. The LinuxBoot Project is working to replace this complex, proprietary, and largely unknown firmware with a Linux kernel. That has the added benefit of replacing the existing drivers in the firmware with well-tested drivers from Linux.

      To understand LinuxBoot and the problem it’s working to solve, we first have to discuss how computers actually boot. We usually think of a running system as including the hardware, operating system (OS), and applications. However, for a number of reasons, there are several layers that run between the hardware and the OS. Most users are aware of UEFI (which replaced the older BIOS); for many systems, it prepares the system to run and loads the bootloader. These necessary functions are just the tip of the iceberg, though. Even after the computer finishes loading the OS, there are multiple embedded systems also running on the system entirely separate from the OS. Most notably, the Intel Management Engine (ME) runs a complete Minix operating system, while System Management Mode (SMM) is used to run code for certain events (e.g. laptop lid gets closed) in a way that is completely invisible to the running OS.

    • Shrinking the kernel with a hammer

      This is the fourth article of a series discussing various methods of reducing the size of the Linux kernel to make it suitable for small environments. Reducing the kernel binary has its limits and we have pushed them as far as possible at this point. Still, our goal, which is to be able to run Linux entirely from the on-chip resources of a microcontroller, has not been reached yet. This article will conclude this series by looking at the problem from the perspective of making the kernel and user space fit into a resource-limited system.

      A microcontroller is a self-contained system with peripherals, memory, and a CPU. It is typically small, inexpensive, and has low power-consumption characteristics. Microcontrollers are designed to accomplish one task and run one specific program. Therefore, the dynamic memory content of a microcontroller is usually much smaller than its static content. This is why it is common to find microcontrollers equipped with many times more ROM than RAM.

      For example, the ATmega328 (a popular Arduino target) comes with 32KB of flash memory and only 2KB of static memory (SRAM). Now for something that can boot Linux, the STM32F767BI comes with 2MB of flash and 512KB of SRAM. So we’ll aim for that resource profile and figure out how to move as much content as possible from RAM to ROM.

    • Preventing kernel-stack leaks

      The kernel stack is a small, frequently reused region of memory in each thread’s address space. That reuse allows for efficient memory use and good performance as a result of cache locality, but it also presents a problem: data left on the stack can also end up being reused in ways that were not intended. The PaX patch set contains a mechanism designed to clear that data from the stack and prevent leaks, but an attempt to merge that code into the kernel has run into a snag.

      By design, the C language does not define the contents of automatic variables — those that are created on the stack when the function defining them is called. If the programmer does not initialize automatic variables, they will thus contain garbage values; in particular, they will contain whatever happened to be left on the stack in the location where the variables are allocated. Failure to initialize these variables can, as a result, lead to a number of undesirable behaviors. Writing an uninitialized variable to user space will leak the data on the stack, which may be sensitive in one way or another. If the uninitialized value is used within the function, surprising results may ensue; if an attacker can find a way to control what will be left on the stack, they may be able to exploit this behavior to compromise the kernel. Both types of vulnerability have arisen in the kernel in the past and will certainly continue to pop up in the future.

    • Linux 4.15.10
    • Linux 4.14.27
    • Stable kernels 4.15.10 and 4.14.27
    • Graphics Stack
      • Intel Graphics Driver Developers Begin Eyeing The Linux 4.18 Kernel

        The Linux 4.16 kernel is at least two or three weeks out from being released, but Intel has already submitted their i915 DRM driver feature changes for Linux 4.17 and are now beginning to think about their feature changes for Linux 4.18.

        Intel’s feature changes for Linux 4.17 are now staged in DRM-Next with hitting that soft cutoff deadline ahead of the next kernel cycle. Intel Direct Rendering Manager updates for Linux 4.17 include Cannonlake “Gen 10″ graphics now being considered stable, the very early bits of Icelake “Gen 11″ support, and a lot of low-level code improvements. To little surprise, Linux 4.17 is looking like another exciting cycle on the feature/improvement front.

      • Intel BayTrail Gets Minor Graphics Improvement On Coreboot, Now Supports OpRegion

        While there doesn’t appear to be too many Intel BayTrail users out there running systems with Coreboot, this generation of hardware that’s been a bit notorious with Linux users due to varying issues can now find at least a bit better graphics support with the latest Coreboot code.

      • Mesa 18.0 Is Now Primed For Releasing Soon

        Mesa 18.0′s delay of more than one month and without any new release candidate came while the open-source Intel developers were hunkered down to clear the remaining blocker bugs.

        Fortunately, it appears the remaining Mesa 18.0 blocker bugs are now resolved, meaning the official release could come in a matter of days depending if they decide to first do a Mesa 18.0-rc5 release for last minute testing.

      • Mir Devs Are Still Working On An Example Mir Desktop Session For Ubuntu 18.04

        While Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” is just one month away from release, the developers working on the Mir display server code are still working to get an example desktop session into this release.

        Details remain light but in writing yesterday about changes the UBports’ team needs to make for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support, longtime Mir developer Alan Griffiths commented, “The Mir team is aiming to have the necessary tweaks in place for the 18.04 release along with an example “Mir” desktop session.” The tweaks needed for Mir in Ubuntu 18.04 are not using Mir-on-Mir and client applications using libmirclient cannot be using EGL otherwise only software-based rendering will work.

      • Mesa 18.0 Has Been Off The Tracks For More Than One Month

        Mesa 18.0 had been due for release around mid-February, but that didn’t happen and there hasn’t even been a release candidate in more than one month.

        Mesa 18.0-RC4 was released back on 9 February and since then there hasn’t been an RC5 or a new release.

      • Uniform Packing For RadeonSI NIR, Helps Reduce CPU Overhead

        Timothy Arceri of Valve’s open-source Linux GPU driver team is out with his latest set of patches to further enhance the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver.

        Timothy’s latest objective remains with improving the RadeonSI NIR back-end for using this modern intermediate representation alternative to Gallium3D TGSI. NIR is important for getting the OpenGL 4.6 bits in place with SPIR-V ingestion / better interoperability with the RADV Vulkan driver and the already-written code paths using NIR.

      • Supporting virtual reality displays in Linux

        At (LCA) 2017 in Hobart, Tasmania, Keith Packard talked with kernel graphics maintainer Dave Airlie about how virtual reality devices should be hooked up to Linux. They both thought it would be pretty straightforward to do, so it would “only take a few weeks”, but Packard knew “in reality it would take a lot longer”. In a talk at LCA 2018 in Sydney, Packard reported back on the progress he has made; most of it is now in the upstream kernel.

        Packard has been consulting for Valve, which is a game technology company, to add support for head-mounted displays to Linux. Those displays have an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for position and orientation tracking and a display with some optics. The display is about 2Kx1K pixels in the hardware he is working with; that is split in half for each eye. The displays also have a “bunch of lenses”, which makes them “more complicated than you would hope”.

        The display is meant to block out the real world and to make users believe they inhabit the virtual reality. “It’s great if you want to stumble into walls, chairs, and tables.” Nearly all of the audience indicated they had used a virtual reality headset, leading Packard to hyperbolically proclaim that he is the last person in the universe to obtain one.

    • Benchmarks
      • Some Windows Server 2016 vs. Linux Network Benchmarks

        Prior to the larger and more formal network performance comparison to come for Windows/BSD/Linux, while doing the benchmarks this week for the 7-way Linux distribution comparison on AMD EPYC 7551, I also ran some network tests, including with Windows Server 2016 riding on all available stable release updates on each OS.

      • Ubuntu 18.04 Versus Six Other Linux Distributions On AMD EPYC

        With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS set to be released next month and its final package configuration quickly falling into place, we have begun firing up some benchmarks for seeing how this Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” release is comparing to various other Linux distributions. Up first as part of this series of benchmarks is using an AMD EPYC workstation/server for seeing how the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS performance compares to six other Linux distributions.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Samsung/Enlightenment Developers Are Busy At Work On EFL 2.0

      Cedric Bail of Samsung’s Open-Source Group presented today at the Embedded Linux Conference on EFL 2.0 as part of the Enlightenment project’s long-standing goal to provide a new and unified API.

      While the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries 1.x (EFL1) continues to be maintained, the developers at Samsung OSG that are part of the Enlightenment team have been busy construction EFL 2.0 and hope to show off the first of their new wares in 2018.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Qt Creator 4.6 RC released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.6 RC!

        Since the beta release we have been busy with bug fixing. Please refer to the beta blog post and our change log for an overview of what is new in Qt Creator 4.6. As always this is a final call for feedback from you before we release 4.6.0, so we would be happy to hear from you on our bug tracker, the mailing list, or on IRC.

      • Present your images from the couch with Gwenview, MPRIS & KDE Connect

        KDE Applications 18.04 Feature Freeze is setting in. Or: reminder to do finally that feature you always wanted to implement.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Reflections on the GNOME 3.28 Release Video

        I just flipped the switch for the 3.28 Release Video. I’m really excited for all the new awesome features the community has landed, but I am a bit sad that I don’t have time to put more effort into the video this time around. A busy time schedule collided with technical difficulties in recording some of the apps. When I was staring at my weekly schedule Monday there didn’t seem much chance for a release video to be published at all..

  • Distributions
    • Slackware Family
      • What all happened in March so far

        I realize I have been a wee bit silent on the blog (not counting my replies in the comments section). This was due to private issues that drained the desire for social interactions. Nevertheless there was quite a bit of activity on the Slackware packaging front.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Benchmarks Of Russia’s “Baikal” MIPS-Based Processors, Running Debian Linux

        A few years back was the news of Russia wanting to get into the CPU business and at the time were aiming for ARM-based processors but ended up settling for MIPS. It turns out those “Baikal” processors are still around and being worked on as indicated by some fresh benchmarks this week.

        Back in 2015 is when Baikal Electronics/T-Platforms announced their Baikal-T1 28nm SoC with DDR3 support, clock speeds up to 1.2GHz, SATA connectivity, USB 2.0, and Gigabit Ethernet. The Baikal-T1 was initially advertised as for use in networking appliances and industrial platforms but has also wound up in some Russian desktop PCs.

      • Derivatives
        • Raspbian Remix Lets You Create Your Own Spin That You Can Install on PC or Mac

          Raspbian PIXEL for PC and Mac is a Debian-based operating system created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for those who want to run the de facto standard Raspberry Pi OS on their personal computers too. Arne Exton did a remix of Raspbian PIXEL a few years ago to include the Refracta tools.

          With the Refracta tools installed by default, users were able to easily install the operating system on their PCs or Macs, as well as to make their own remix of Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Raspbian PIXEL OS. Today’s update brings the latest software versions and rebases the OS on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Chromium and Firefox Web Browsers Are Now Installable as Snaps on Ubuntu Linux

            Canonical’s Snappy technologies are becoming more and more popular these days as the company behind the widely used Ubuntu plans to enable them by default and even make them a first-class citizen in future releases of its Linux-based operating system.

            The great thing about Snap apps is that they are secure by design, utilizing a container-style approach mechanism for deploying software on various GNU/Linux distributions that support Canonical’s Snappy universal binary format.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Faster app-launching in Cinnamon

              The development team took some time earlier this year to investigate Cinnamon’s performance when it comes to launching applications.

              It’s really hard to measure the actual time between the moment the mouse button is clicked and the moment the new application is rendered on the screen, with its window properly mapped, and the mapping window animation completely finished. It’s not something that can be timed accurately, yet we all agreed within the development team to say that it either “was”, or “felt” snappier in MATE and Xfce.

              At the time, we didn’t know if it was just down to perception (animations, composition), or a feature (registering new apps with the session for instance), or a performance issue.

              We developed a little script and a method to measure how long it took to flood the desktop environment with the creation of 200 windows. We could then measure the time reported by the script to build these 200 windows, and the time it actually took the desktop environment to recover from it and have these windows placed/mapped correctly and ready to be interacted with.

            • Linux Mint Devs to Enable Faster Launching of Apps on Cinnamon for Linux Mint 19

              As you probably know already, Cinnamon is the default desktop environment of the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint operating system. It uses parts of the GNOME Stack at its core, which means that it’s not so lightweight as its MATE or Xfce counterparts, so launching apps isn’t as fast as you’d like it to be lately.

              That’s why the Linux Mint development team spent some time earlier this year to investigate and debug any performance hogs in Cinnamon, especially when launching the pre-installed applications. They compared Cinnamon with the Metacity window manager and found out that the former was six times slower.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Warning for RSS fans — Digg Reader is closing in under two weeks

    For some people RSS is already a dead technology, and over the last few years numerous RSS readers — including Google Reader — shut up shop. But for others, accessing newsfeeds is an essential way to keep up to date with what’s going on.

    Following the closure of Google Reader, RSS fans flocked to the likes of Feedly, The Old Reader, Digg Reader and Inoreader. Now Digg Reader has announced that it is to close, and users are being advised to export their feeds so they can be imported into an alternative service.

  • 6 Real-Life Stories Way Crazier Than Any Movie (Part 2 of 2)

    While most CEOs carefully backpedal when confronted with their shady business practices, the Notorious PBL dove headfirst into supervilliany. When questioned on the practices of his company, Brabeck-Letmathe stated that access to water isn’t a right. Not “caught on a hot mic” said it — he proudly spouted that nonsense, then went home to do shots of crude oil or something.

  • [Older] Be Wary of Silicon Valley’s Guilty Conscience: on The Center for Humane Technology

    Well-meaning though it may be, the Center for Humane Technology ultimately functions not as a solution to our technologically exacerbated problems, but simply as a way of making those problems slightly more palatable. It sees the cultural space that is opening up for criticism of technology and rushes in to ensure that this space is occupied by those who maintain close ties to the tech world – and thus it sets itself up as the arbiter of what passes for acceptable criticism. At a moment when there is growing concern that the high-tech dream is turning into a waking nightmare, the Center for Humane Technology swoops in to offer lifestyle tweaks (many of which are themselves technological) instead of systemic critiques. And by putting forth a slate of “former tech insiders and CEOs” the Center for Humane Technology polices the boundaries of who gets to participate in these discussions, making sure that it remains a conversation between former Google employees and current Google employees.

  • Hardware
    • Intel Icelake Server Chips To Support WBNOINVD & PCONFIG

      The GCC and LLVM/Clang compilers have been working on Icelake CPU support for a while now as just the “icelake” target but now it’s being separated into “icelake-client” and “icelake-server” as the CPU feature differences between the desktop-class processors and Xeon server chips become more clear for this succeeding generation to Cannonlake.

      We’ve already reported on AVX-512 coming to all of the Icelake processors with no longer being reserved just for the high-end Intel CPUs. Besides AVX-512 additions, all of the Icelake CPUs will have some new additions like GFNI (Galois Field NI) and UMIP (User-Mode Instruction Prevention) and VAES.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • MPs warn of ‘poisonous air’ emergency costing £20bn a year

      MPs have demanded an end to the UK’s “poisonous air” in an unprecedented report from four Commons committees.

      The Environment, Health, Transport and Environmental Audit committees want a new Clean Air Act, and a clean air fund financed by the motor industry.

      They are also demanding a faster phase-out of petrol and diesel cars – currently set for 2040.

      The government said air pollution had improved significantly since 2010 but there was “more to do”.

  • Security
    • ​Linus Torvalds slams CTS Labs over AMD vulnerability report

      CTS Labs, a heretofore unknown Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup, has claimed it’s found over a dozen security problems with AMD Ryzen and EPYC processors. Linus Torvalds, Linux’s creator, doesnt buy it.

    • Linus Torvalds Roasts CTS Labs After They Exposed AMD Chip Vulnerabilities

      Just a couple of days back, CTS researchers exposed more than a dozen ‘critical’ vulnerabilities in AMD chips marketed under the brand names Ryzen and Epyc. The company also claimed that a backdoor exists in AMD processors. Their revelation came with a well-decorated website, a whitepaper, and a video.

    • Torvalds wades into CTS Labs’ AMD chip security report
    • Linux Torvalds casts shade on CTS Labs’ AMD CPU flaw security report
    • Intel Rolls Out Updated, Post-Spectre CPU Microcode (20180312)

      Intel has published the Intel Processor Microcode Package for Linux 20180312 release with the latest improvements around the microcode-based approach for Spectre CPU vulnerability mitigation, succeeding their microcode updates from earlier in the year.

    • Judge Says Yahoo Still On The Hook For Multiple Claims Related To Three Billion Compromised Email Accounts

      A federal judge is going to let a bunch of people keep suing Yahoo over its three-year run of continual compromise. Yahoo had hoped to get the class action suit tossed, stating that it had engaged in “unending” efforts to thwart attacks, but apparently it just wasn’t good enough to prevent every single one of its three billion email accounts from falling into the hands of hackers.

    • 3 best practices for securing Kubernetes environments

      The Kubernetes orchestration platform is such a gigantic open source project that its evolution is inherently rapid. The pace of change significantly increases the importance of adhering to security best practices when using the ever-changing Kubernetes platform to automate deployment, scaling, and management of containerized cloud-native applications.

      Ultimately, effective security also supports the entire Kubernetes project, since the technology’s overall adoption depends on the confidence and trust that Kubernetes earns and establishes. That said, standard security procedures and practices that work well in traditional environments are often inadequate for securing Kubernetes environments, where traffic is vastly more dynamic, and where there must be security in place around the pods, containers, nodes, and images.

    • HIPAA guidelines should evolve with wearable technology

      However, due to health data security concerns, patient data that is collected by wearables and shared with physicians will create an additional burden on health-care organizations. It will be the job of health information management (HIM) personnel to make sure the databases storing wearable data are HIPAA compliant.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Let’s Encrypt Starts Offering Free Wildcard SSL Certificates that Work with Multiple Sub-domains

      Let’s Encrypt started issuing free Wildcard SSL certificate from yesterday through their updated version of ACME protocol Automated Certificate Management Environment ACMEv2.

      Wildcard SSL certificates are more expensive ones than the regular single domain SSL certificates, a wildcard certificate for the domain name * could cover,,

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Following Trump’s Meeting on Violent Video Games, Experts Explain What the Research Really Shows

      Teen Vogue spoke to three experts with extensive experience studying video game violence. They shared what they thought was missing at the White House meeting and what their research has shown about the effects of violent video games. Here are some key takeaways.

    • The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam

      As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.

    • Trump Promotes Longtime Russia Hawk Just as Russiagate Loses Momentum

      Rex Tillerson, whose hotly scrutinized ties to Russia have been a centerpiece of Rachel Maddow’s conspiratorial ravings for many months, has been fired. Replacing him as Secretary of State will be Mike Pompeo, who has been a consistent and longstanding Russia hawk for years, going so far as accusing President Obama of endangering America by simply agreeing to meet with Vladimir Putin in 2015.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Finance
    • Debt is creeping back up in sub-Saharan Africa

      Today,however, the median debt-to-GDP ratio in the region is back over 50%. Although that figure may seem low by international standards, African countries collect relatively little tax and tend to pay high interest rates. As a result, they cannot afford to borrow nearly as much as their counterparts elsewhere do. The main cause is the long decline in commodity prices that has unfolded since the global financial crisis of 2008. As the proceeds from their chief exports have dwindled and economic growth has slowed, African governments have had to borrow more to fill the void in their budgets. The IMF reckons that five sub-Saharan African countries are already in “debt distress”, with nine more at high risk of joining them.

    • Google will purge cryptocurrency ads come June

      Following in the footsteps of Facebook, the search giant will clamp down on any ads promoting cryptocurrencies, their exchanges and wallets, along with companies that look to offer advice about digital money investments.

    • Wipro selling data centre business for US$405m to Ensono

      Giant Indian IT services company Wipro has signed a definitive agreement to sell its hosted data centre services business to US-based hybrid IT services provider Ensono.

    • How Amazon Became Corporate America’s Nightmare

      A year later, however, Amazon had leapfrogged to No. 6 on the list of most valuable companies. Since the end of 2014, its market value has quintupled. This was a case of preparation meeting opportunity. As the company started to clear key thresholds in several of its important businesses, it also revealed that it was sitting on a gold mine made of clouds.

    • ‘Fight fire with fire’: IMF’s Lagarde calls for bitcoin crackdown

      The head of the International Monetary Fund said authorities around the world could harness the potential of cryptocurrencies to help bring them under control, warning that failure to do so would allow the unfettered development of a “potentially major new vehicle for money laundering and the financing of terrorism”.

    • WaPo Fails to Disclose Ownership in Puff Piece for Bezos

      The Washington Post, like a lot of corporate media (CounterSpin, 10/20/17), has spent a great deal of time hyping the bidding process for Amazon HQ2, Amazon’s planned second headquarters that hundreds of localities are allegedly competing for. The thing that distinguishes the Post’s coverage is that it and Amazon share an owner—world’s richest billionaire Jeff Bezos. So it’s notable—and uniquely sketchy—when the paper not only uses prime media real estate to uncritically hype Amazon’s primary corporate sales pitch, but does so while failing to disclose that Amazon’s CEO is the paper’s boss.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Today’s Debate Over Online Porn Started Decades Ago
    • Sex Workers And Survivors Raising The Alarm About SESTA: It Will Literally Put Their Lives In Danger

      Last week I asked for anyone to explain how SESTA would (in any way) reduce sex trafficking? Not a single person even tried to answer. Because there is no answer. Sex trafficking is already illegal, and yet people do it. Nothing in SESTA makes sex trafficking more illegal. Nothing in SESTA makes it easier for law enforcement to find or crack down on sex trafficking or to help the victims of sex trafficking. Indeed, as we’ve detailed, it does the exact opposite. It puts criminal liability on internet sites that are somehow used in conjunction with prostitution (going beyond just trafficking, thanks to the FOSTA addition to SESTA), and uses a vague, poorly drafted, unclear “knowledge” standard that none of SESTA’s supporters can adequately explain or define. As we noted, from our experience in covering what happens when you pin liability on a platform instead of its users — especially using vague and unclear standards — bad things usually result.

    • YouTube Shows Dennis Prager’s Claim Of Discrimination Against Conservatives Is Laughable

      You will recall that Dennis Prager, the conservative commentator who also runs a YouTube channel to inform his viewers of his perspective on a variety of topics, recently sued YouTube. The meat of Prager’s claims is that YouTube is censoring some of his videos purely because he is a conservative — with the clear implication being that YouTube is a liberal bastion of conservative-hating video hosting. Just to be clear, there is no real evidence for that. What there is evidence for is that YouTube is trying very hard to sort through its hilariously enormous trove of video content for objectionable material, and that it often does this quite badly. None of that amounts to, as Prager claims, a liberal conspiracy against some conservative guy.

      While Prager is seeking a preliminary injunction against YouTube to keep it from administering its own site as it sees fit, YouTube is asking for the case to be dismissed outright. There are two claims at issue: first, that YouTube classifying some of his videos in its “restricted mode” amounts to YouTube censoring him and, second, that YouTube is doing this “censoring” for purely partisan political reasons. If you find yourself sympathetic to those claims, perhaps it’s because you have heard them repeated often elsewhere, over and over again (or because you’ve seen Prager sending out fundraising notices making exactly these claims), then you really should read the declaration from Alice Wu, part of the Trust and Safety management team at YouTube, filed in the case last week. Wu directly takes on both of Prager’s claims and dismantles them completely to the point that it’s almost embarrassing for Prager.

    • Just As Everyone’s Starting To Worry About ‘Deepfake’ Porn Videos, SESTA Will Make The Problem Worse

      Over the last few months, if you haven’t been hiding under a tech news rock, you’ve probably heard at least something about growing concerns about so-called “Deepfakes” which are digitally altered videos, usually of famous people edited into porn videos. Last month, Reddit officially had to ban its deepfakes subreddit. And, you can’t throw a stone without finding some mainstream media freaking out about the threat of deepfakes. And, yes, politicians are getting into the game, warning that this is going to be used to create fake scandals or influence elections.

    • Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship Release a FREE Comic Book to Help Protect Student Rights!

      As millions of American students assert their First Amendment rights in protests across the country, advocacy groups Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship released a new comic book to help protect students’ rights.

    • European Parliament ambushed by doctored version of pending internet censorship rules that sneaks filtering into all online services

      For months, the European Parliament has been negotiating over a new copyright rule, with rightsholder organizations demanding that some online services implement censoring filters that prevent anyone from uploading text, sounds or images if they have been claimed by a copyright holder.

      These filters — branded #censorshipmachines by activists — were hugely controversial: even when used as intended, they make no allowances for fair dealing and other limitations to copyright. Beyond that, they are ripe for abuse, incentivizing trolls and censors to register materials as a means of keeping them off the internet, regardless of whether they hold any relevant copyrights.

      Thankfully, the filters had been largely erased from the negotiating drafts, thanks to vigorous debate and activism. But last week, German MEP Axel Voss, rapporteur for the Copyright Directive, introduced a new draft that brought the filters back, and imposed them on virtually every kind of online platform, vastly expanding their scope beyond the worst drafts of the earlier proposals.

    • COLUMN: Censorship coddles our young people

      I contend even a spicier title – “Hickeys of the Field” perhaps – might have captured me right off. The plot is fine, but had our players succumbed to a forbidden affair, with a few words thrown in like “heaving breasts” and “heavy petting,” my hormonal focus may have grasped and retained the deeper moral objective.

      I mean, this was about the time I first began hoping Louise Alwine would be wearing certain skirts to class, and Hee Haw’s Sunshine Cornsilk left an indelible impression rivaled only by Ginger from the island.

    • Chinese reporter’s spectacular eye-roll sparks viral memes, censorship

      It was the eye-roll that launched a thousand gifs.

      China’s censors are scrambling to put a lid on a social media frenzy unleashed by a journalist’s reaction to a softball question during the mostly scripted annual parliament session.

      Impeccably coiffed and sporting a bright blue suit jacket, Yicai financial news service reporter Liang Xiangyi sighed and raised a sceptical eyebrow at another journalist’s query to a delegate at a National People’s Congress press event Tuesday.

    • In China, a reporter’s dramatic eye-roll went viral. Then searches of it were censored.

      The reporter’s question was a softball, the sort of long-winded but unchallenging interrogation that we’ve come to expect at the endless news conferences during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress.

    • Editorial: Government censorship increasing

      A newly released Associated Press analysis shows the federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade. The Freedom of Information Act figures cover the actions of 116 departments and agencies during fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30.

      The troublesome calculations cover eight months under President Donald Trump, offering the first hints of how his administration complies with the Freedom of Information Act.


      The AP analysis found that government officials turned over everything requested in roughly one of every five FOIA requests, just 20 percent of the cases tracked.

    • Censorship is never the answer, Sadiq

      The crucial question here is: who decides what is and isn’t hate speech? A new law in Germany is forcing online platforms to remove ‘obviously illegal’ hate speech or face a €50million fine. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t just handfuls of extreme Nazi-supporting posts that are being removed — so are tweets from the populist right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland. Sweeping restrictions on hate speech are often used to curtail legitimate (if controversial) speech.

    • EU wants to require platforms to filter uploaded content (including code)

      The EU is considering a copyright proposal that would require code-sharing platforms to monitor all content that users upload for potential copyright infringement (see the EU Commission’s proposed Article 13 of the Copyright Directive). The proposal is aimed at music and videos on streaming platforms, based on a theory of a “value gap” between the profits those platforms make from uploaded works and what copyright holders of some uploaded works receive. However, the way it’s written captures many other types of content, including code.

      We’d like to make sure developers in the EU who understand that automated filtering of code would make software less reliable and more expensive—and can explain this to EU policymakers—participate in the conversation.

    • Unease Over Proposed ‘Censorship’ of Historical YouTube Videos in Sweden

      A campaign against Google and YouTube by major Swedish newspapers, calling for a purge of “hate-promoting” material, including historical Nazi German propaganda films, has been met with criticism and triggered censorship concern.

      A major opinion piece penned by David Baas of Expressen, one of Sweden’s most popular newspapers, and published on Wednesday, regretted that YouTube “contributed to the spread of Holocaust-denying materials and anti-Semitic film material,” urging the media giant to remove some of its content.

    • Soft power — not government censorship — is the key to fighting disinformation and “fake news”

      In many countries over the past few years, the political process — and social cohesion — have been threatened by various forms of disinformation, sometimes misleadingly and inadequately called “fake news.” Politically-motivated and for-profit disinformation is blamed, among other things, for the U.K.’s decision to vote to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

      Disinformation takes many forms and is driven by many factors. Foreign states sometimes try to subvert other countries’ political processes. People publish false and fabricated information masquerading as news for profit. Domestic politicians lie to their own people — and sometimes these lies are amplified by news media, by hyper-partisan activists, or spread far and wide via social media and other platforms.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Prepare to be Creeped Out

      Mozilla Fellow Hang Do Thi Duc joins us to share her Data Selfie art project. It collects the same basic info you provide to Facebook. Sharing this kind of data about yourself isn’t something we’d normally recommend. But, if you want to know what’s happening behind the scenes when you scroll through your Facebook feed, installing Data Selfie is worth considering. Use at your own risk. If you do, you might be surprised by what you see.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (19/21): Telescreens in our Living Rooms

      In the analog world of our parents, it was taken for completely granted that the government would not be watching us in our own homes. It’s so important an idea, it’s written into the very constitutions of states pretty much all around the world.

      And yet, for our digital children, this rule, this bedrock, this principle is simply… ignored. Just because they their technology is digital, and not the analog technology of our parents.

    • A Smattering of Stars in Argentina’s First “Who Has Your Back?” ISP Report

      It’s Argentina’s turn to take a closer look at the practices of their local Internet Service Providers, and how they treat their customers’ personal data when the government comes knocking.

      Argentina’s ¿Quien Defiende Tus Datos? (Who Defends Your Data?) is a project of Asociación por los Derechos Civiles and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is part of a region-wide initiative by leading Iberoamerican digital rights groups to turn a spotlight on how the policies of Internet Service Providers either advance or hinder the privacy rights of users.

      The report is based on EFF’s annual Who Has Your Back? report, but adapted to local laws and realities. Last year Brazil’s Internet Lab, Colombia’s Karisma Foundation, Paraguay’s TEDIC, and Chile’s Derechos Digitales published their own 2017 reports, and ETICAS Foundation released a similar study earlier this year, part of a series across Latin America and Spain.

    • A New Backdoor Around the Fourth Amendment: The CLOUD Act

      There’s a new, proposed backdoor to our data, which would bypass our Fourth Amendment protections to communications privacy. It is built into a dangerous bill called the CLOUD Act, which would allow police at home and abroad to seize cross-border data without following the privacy rules where the data is stored.

      This backdoor is an insidious method for accessing our emails, our chat logs, our online videos and photos, and our private moments shared online between one another. This backdoor would deny us meaningful judicial review and the privacy protections embedded in our Constitution.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ACLU is Suing the Government for Info About TSA Device Searches

      The TSA won’t release information about its warrantless searches of electronic devices carried by US citizens on domestic flights.

    • TSA accused of searching domestic travelers’ devices with no warrant

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has sued the Transportation Security Administration, alleging that the agency has improperly withheld documents and other materials that would shed light on warrantless searches of digital devices at airports prior to purely domestic flights.

    • What the Senate Needs to Know About Gina Haspel

      Haspel is perhaps best known for running a “black site” prison in Thailand, where she oversaw state-sponsored torture at the start of a program designed at the behest of the CIA and approved at the highest levels of the George W. Bush administration. It was at this facility that the agency’s brutal tactics were first tested. One inmate, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times — with cruel methods continuing even after his abusers concluded that he did not have the threat information they sought.

      In addition to waterboarding, for 19 days Zubaydah was repeatedly slammed into walls, kept for hours at a time in painful stress positions, denied sleep, beaten, starved, and locked for hours in coffin-like confinement boxes. These torture methods became a “template” for a program designed to psychologically break other detainees held in a network of secret CIA prisons.

    • The Trump Administration Is Using the Parkland Massacre as an Excuse to Roll Back Civil Rights

      On Monday, the White House announced the creation of a Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to recommend proposals for school violence prevention. Included in the mandate of DeVos’ commission is a starkly worded objective: “Repeal of the Obama Administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies.”

      It’s fair to wonder what this plan is doing on a list of items supposedly responding to school shootings. Prior school discipline history does not indicate that a youth will commit a school shooting. In Parkland, discipline policies did not thwart the district from taking action, and the attacker had been expelled from school. In fact, while most perpetrators of school shootings are white, children of color and students with disabilities are the ones disproportionately subject to school discipline.

    • Torture-Tainted Nominations Recall Failure to Prosecute Bush-Era Abuses

      Haspel, a CIA operative who oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and then helped destroy tapes of the interrogations, and Pompeo, who has made statements in support of torture and mass surveillance, are both expected to be confirmed by the Senate with little fanfare.

      After all, when Pompeo was nominated for his current post of CIA Director his confirmation sailed through the Senate on a vote of 66-32. This, despite what Human Rights Watch’s Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno called “dangerously ambiguous” responses to questions about torture and mass surveillance.

      “Pompeo’s failure to unequivocally disavow torture and mass surveillance, coupled with his record of advocacy for surveillance of Americans and past endorsement of the shuttered CIA torture program, make clear that he should not be running the CIA,” Sanchez Moreno said in January 2017.

      Shortly following Pompeo’s confirmation, his deputy director at the CIA was named as Gina Haspel, who “played a direct role in the CIA’s ‘extraordinary rendition program,’ under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency personnel,” the New York Times reported last year.

    • Police Department With Eight Full-Time Officers Acquired 31 Military Vehicles Thru DoD’s Surplus Program

      The Defense Department’s 1033 program has allowed law enforcement to muddy the water on the distinction between police force and military force. Given the right reasoning (most commonly cited: Wars on Terror/Drugs), police departments are allowed to pick up surplus military gear, often for free (utilizing DHS grants) and start pretending they’re an occupying force, rather than public servants.

      This came to a head following protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where viewers around the world were treated to the sight of local law enforcement rolling up on residents in mine-resistant vehicles while clad in gear that made officers look far more like soldiers than cops. This prompted a rollback of the 1033 program by Obama, limiting the sort of gear police departments could obtain to more innocuous surplus, like computers and furniture.

    • What Happened at the Thailand ‘Black Site’ Run By Trump’s CIA Pick

      As soon as Gina Haspel got the nomination to become CIA director, America’s debate over the use of torture came roaring back. The country has intermittently reckoned with the legacy of the Bush-era programs that sanctioned the disappearance and torture of terrorism suspects—recently, for instance, when then-candidate Trump declared in 2016 that “torture works” and that he wanted to bring back outlawed techniques like waterboarding and “much worse.” And though the CIA stopped using what it called “enhanced interrogation” methods about a decade ago, Haspel was among those who oversaw their use after 9/11.

    • ‘The time for reconciliation is over’: South Africa votes to confiscate white-owned land without compensation

      Mr Malema has been leading calls for land confiscation, forcing the ANC to follow suit out of fear of losing the support of poorer black voters. In 2016, he told supporters he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now”.

      Civil rights groups have accused the EFF and ANC of inciting an ongoing spate of attacks on white farmers characterised by extreme brutality, rape and torture — last year, more than 70 people were killed in more than 340 such attacks.

      Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive of civil rights group Afriforum, said the parliamentary motion was a violation of the 1994 agreement in which the ANC promised minority interests would be protected post-apartheid.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Verizon Forced To Briefly Give A Damn About Its Neglected Broadband Networks

      Several years back Verizon paused all serious residential fiber deployment to shift its focus to slinging video ads at Millennials, an effort that isn’t going all that well. While Verizon was busy attempting to pivot from stodgy protectionist telecom monopoly to sexy new media brand, one of its core legacy businesses (fixed line broadband) was simply allowed to wither and die on the vine. As such, the company has spent the last few years bombarded with complaints up and down the east coast about how it neglected repairs and upgrades across a massive swath of its telecom empire.

      One one hand, Verizon’s disinterest in residential broadband has resulted in a growing cable broadband monopoly as frustrated users flee to their only option for current-generation speeds. That in turn results in less competitive pressure than ever, resulting in higher prices, worse service, and the slow but steady deployment of arbitrary and punitive usage caps across the board. Meanwhile, customers on aging DSL lines who stick with Verizon face repair delays and higher prices as Verizon literally tries to drive away customers it simply no longer has a genuine interest in serving.

    • Ombudsman greenlights ACMA proposed rules for telecoms consumer protection

      Ahead of the imposition of new telecommunications consumer protection rules for NBN migration, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has revealed that residential consumers and small businesses made 27,195 complaints about telecoms services over the 12 months of the last financial year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Spanish Supreme Court puts an end to a “sui generis” case concerning database “sui generis” right

      In 2010, Infonis (a Spanish company) sued IMS Health claiming that the latter had infringed its database rights. Basically, Infonis claimed that ZBSales, its pharmaceutical marketing database, had been copied by IMS Health and resulted in the creation of a competing and suspiciously similar database (Sanibricks),

    • Trademarks
      • SIPO to take over trademark duties in major consolidation of IP authority in China – agency will also cover antitrust

        China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) will be combined with the country’s trademark office as part of a massive bureaucratic overhaul across the whole of Chinese government. The re-organised IP office will be part of a new agency which will consolidate IP, antitrust and various other regulatory powers. The broad strokes of the changes are laid out in a top national reform plan that was announced at the fourth plenary session of the first session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress yesterday.

      • Ravinia Festival Blocks Brewpub From Opening Over Trademark Claim

        A demand for royalties from the Ravinia Festival halted preparations to open a brewpub in Highland Park’s Ravinia district in the coming months. The outdoor music festival sent a letter to the Ravinia Brewing Company two weeks ago demanding licensing payments and royalties for the brewery’s use of the neighborhood’s name, according to the Ravinia Neighbors Association, a local community organization.

        Ravinia has been the name of the area since 1873. It was annexed into Highland Park in 1899. The Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in North America, was founded in 1904.

      • Ravinia Festival Bullies Startup Brewery, Leading The Brewery To Shut Down Plans For Opening

        I’ve had the opportunity to write about many trademark disputes in these pages, but it’s been rare for any of them to hit very close to home. That changed this week when we learned that Ravinia Festival in the northern Chicago suburbs, at which I have seen many a concert, has decided to bully a startup brewery over its use of the word “Ravinia” in its name.

      • Brands are bulls**t

        Nobody cares.

        Harsh, but true. None of your users care about your brand. They care about what your product or service lets them do.

    • Copyrights
      • Cloudflare’s Cache Can ‘Substantially Assist’ Copyright Infringers, Court Rules

        Cloudflare has suffered a setback in the piracy liability case filed against it by adult publisher ALS Scan. A federal court in California ruled that the CDN provider can substantially assist copyright infringements by hosting cached copies of files. Whether Cloudflare did this and if it’s indeed liable, is now a matter for a jury to decide.

      • Dolby Labs Sues Adobe For Copyright Infringement

        For 15 years, Dolby supplied encoding and decoding technologies for use in Adobe products including Audition, After Effects, Lightroom and Premiere Pro. The licensing agreement between the companies allowed Adobe to self-report usage, on the condition that Dolby could carry out an audit. However, after the software company failed to comply in recent years, Dolby has rolled out the lawyers.

PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

Thursday 15th of March 2018 05:23:03 PM

Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly — a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

THE subject we’ve been writing a lot about in recent years concerns the (re)assessment of patents in the US. If some given patent is good and was justifiably granted, then PTAB will let it be; the PTAB, however, is typically approached when there’s some questionable patent, especially if that patent starts being used for threats if not actual lawsuits. PTAB helps protect from patent injustices without incurring the costs of a lengthy court battle. And we know who profits from lengthy court battles…

“Recent Patent Trial and Appeal Board developments include filing increasing in February, Managing IP revealing the top PTAB firms, the Board ruling tribal sovereign immunity doesn’t apply in IPRs, and some interesting Federal Circuit opinions,” Michael Loney summarises a new post behind a paywall. So PTAB hits/reaches “highest total since June 2017,” indicating that this year too might be a record year. PTAB breaks new records almost every year. This is something to be celebrated.

The USPTO fixes patent quality over time. It’s already being said (projected) that the number of granted patents will have declined by year’s end (for the first time in a very long time).

“They will probably attack the Justices quite soon (over Oil States).”Seeing the response to the above, we are not surprised. Patent extremists are upset. Even though their attacks on PTAB have slowed down*, they are looking for something to complain about. They will probably attack the Justices quite soon (over Oil States).

Watchtroll is now latching onto a patent scam of Allergan and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe just because it hates PTAB so much. As usual, patent law firms wrongly assume that they ‘own’ the world and attack everyone, including judges, practicing companies, politicians etc. Watchtroll merely repeats something which was noted in Patent Docs days earlier. Patent Docs‘s Kevin Noonan meanwhile loses his mind over the prospect that the patent scam may soon be ruled illegal by US Senate. Here’s what he wrote less than a day ago:

In a development that could moot (once and for all) the controversy over tribal sovereign immunity occasioned by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s ownership of patents relating to Allergan’s Restasis formulation for treating disorders of the eye, a group of Senators including Tom Cotton (R-AK), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced a bill to broadly abrogate assertion of tribal sovereign immunity in any patent-related proceeding.


Insofar as Congressional authority over tribal sovereign immunity is “plenary,” United States v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193, 200 (2004) (“the Constitution grants Congress broad general powers to legislate in respect to Indian tribes, powers that we have consistently described as ‘plenary and exclusive’”), and in view of the Senators’ politic framing of the issue both as an abuse and a cause of higher drug prices, only the seeming inability of this Congress to pass anything other than tax “reform” is likely to stop the bill from being enacted into law. Perhaps the Supreme Court will rule IPRs unconstitutional in Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, or the pharmaceutical industry or Native American tribes can arrange matters to have naysayers be the last group to speak with Mr. Trump before he is called upon to veto the bill. Otherwise it is likely that this particular procedural gambit has run its course.

Notice how they invoke “Trump”; so basically, they not only support an obvious scam but also rely on/appeal to Trump for help. Are they really so desperate that they wish to associate with those things?
* Watchtroll, the main site of patent radicals, is digging really deep (literally thousands of PTAB cases and hundreds of CAFC cases) for anything that can be spun as both being “corrupt” because Oil States is coming and they look for a “scandal”. And later in the same day Watchtroll was saying: “The appeal to the Federal Circuit comes after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) affirmed the rejection of claims covering a healthcare product for dogs after deciding that the inventor’s incorporation of a suggestion proffered by a veterinarian entitled the vet to joint inventorship.” These two posts about PTAB, both from 2 days ago, were the only such rants in the entire week (so far) — i.e. a lot less than usual. Momentum of opposition to PTAB is mostly lost.

Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

Thursday 15th of March 2018 03:31:21 PM

China is their “gold standard” because it grants a lot of patents on just about anything, even algorithms

Summary: Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that’s what they derive income from

EARLIER this week we mentioned IAM’s puff piece for Dolby, which strives to encourage patent aggression in India. These companies make little more than patents and profit from “licensing” (otherwise they resort to lawsuits, either directly or indirectly). The EPO has already been tilted into this trap, whereas the USPTO moves further away from it after judges, lawmakers and so on recognised the threat.

“Last year IAM repeatedly shamed and smeared India over its unwillingness to allow software patents.”IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, is still promoting partners that are patent aggressors ahead/amid their patent lobbying event, facilitated by IAM as usual. Check the list of sponsors; it’s rather revealing. It’s like a litigation powerhouse/cartel’s think tank and IAM gloats about it using phrases like “create maximum IP value” (they also call patent-trolling “monetisation”). They tweet things like this: “difficulty of obtaining business method patents makes protecting IP rights through contractual means all the more important” (remember that India does not allow business method patents and software patents).

Last year IAM repeatedly shamed and smeared India over its unwillingness to allow software patents. We documented plenty of examples. IAM is basically a pressure group and to find out who backs this pressure group check the lists of sponsors. Even the EPO’s PR agency is among them. And lots of patent trolls. They’re not always transparent enough about it, just rather evasive and smug.

“IAM is basically a pressure group and to find out who backs this pressure group check the lists of sponsors.”Yesterday, as usual, IAM wrote about “Chinese patent explosion”. When it looks like a bubble, sounds like a bubble, smells like a bubble etc. then it’s definitely a patent bubble. But IAM fronts for patent trolls, so it’s loving it! Trolling has soared in China. Massive growth. IAM would just call that “NPE” or “monetisation”…

Yesterday (same as above) Watchtroll’s Meredith Addy used bizarre sunscreen comparisons/analogies to direct towards China scaremongering, by which she meant to lobby for patent maximalism and Armageddon (again) in the US. She wrote this:

This of course alludes to the ongoing erosion of patent values domestically, while an increasing number of patents are being sought in other jurisdictions, including in China.

Leave aside for a moment a judgment about the innovation economy in China. What are our priorities? Growing the US economy through a stable and fruitful environment for innovators? Or government micro-management of issues that should be handled in the home?

“Growing the US economy” by giving more jobs to litigators? That is what she meant. Because these people got accustomed to making a living out of making other people’s (technical people) lives miserable. She already revealed where she stands when she wrote a rant a month ago at Watchtroll.

“The question is, what’s more important? People who speak in court (and threaten behind closed doors/in legal letters) or people who actually produce stuff?”Remember that what’s good for patent law firms (or patent troll firms) is often bad for technical firms and vice versa. The question is, what’s more important? People who speak in court (and threaten behind closed doors/in legal letters) or people who actually produce stuff?

EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO’s Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

Thursday 15th of March 2018 02:41:04 PM

“And in a clear sign of just how bad the situation has grown internally, the examiner letter even explicitly notes that they are unwilling to make their names public out of fear of attack by management.” –The Register

Summary: The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents — an issue we’ve written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

SEEING what low patent quality caused the US (the USPTO is belatedly correcting this with help from courts, AIA/PTAB etc.), the EPO‘s staff (not management) warns about Battistelli and his legacy — something we have been warning about for many years (even before we covered EPO scandals).

“And ‘producing’ a lot of low-quality patents has the same effect as printing a lot more money as means of combating inflation. That merely devalues everything and exacerbates the problem.”Battistelli’s rush to UPC (passing the task of proper patent assessment from examiners to courts) is no doubt attractive to trolls; they target small businesses who would shell out ‘protection’ money rather than take things into courtrooms. And ‘producing’ a lot of low-quality patents has the same effect as printing a lot more money as means of combating inflation. That merely devalues everything and exacerbates the problem.

Bristows, whose clients include many trolls, is perhaps the only firm still actively lobbying for the UPC. It is hilarious. Germany and Britain both prevent the UPC from ever arriving/happening anywhere in Europe, yet today we have Brian Cordery harping/obsessing over Luxembourg with almost no patents at all.

“Bristows, whose clients include many trolls, is perhaps the only firm still actively lobbying for the UPC.”Several days ago EPO staff took further action ahead of next week’s meeting of the Administrative Council. The letter has embedded in it a few links already shared by SUEPO last week and coverage in The Register from early this morning said this:

An extraordinary letter from nearly 1,000 patent examiners has confirmed what critics of the European Patent Office (EPO) have been saying for some time: patent quality has fallen thanks to a determined push by management to approve more of them.

The letter [PDF] has been sent to the EPO’s Administrative Council (AC) – the only body capable of exerting control over the organization’s runaway management – prior to its meeting later this month.

In it, 924 examiners complain that they are “submitted to constraints that are no longer compatible with fulfilling appropriately our duties within the Search and Examination divisions.”

The letter – put together as a petition – continues: “We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and respecting the Examiner’s Guidelines, or issuing ‘products’ as our hierarchy demands.”

“We feel that timeliness and number of ‘products’ should not be the only criteria to assess the Office and examiners performance. But that attention should be paid to providing a high level of presumption of validity to the patents we grant.”

The clear statement by so many examiners is an extraordinary rebuke to the EPO’s current management, led by the organization’s president Benoit Battistelli, who only last week boasted that they had managed to increase the number of patents approved last year.

The comments are worth seeing as well, for a change. Just skip many comments clarifying that EPO is not part of the EU (actually predates it, too). It’s very common to see this misconception in comments at The Register, especially with Brexiters superimposing their personal agenda. Here’s the first comment:

There is no point in poor quality patents – such are bad for business, unless your business is being a patent troll or a lawyer. Poor quality patents result in increased costs to businesses generally, which is just about the opposite of what the EU wants. The sooner the farce at the EPO is halted and that dickhead currently in charge of it ousted and replaced by someone more interested in getting the job done properly than in mere numbers processed, the better.

On international organisations:

The problem with international organisations is that they’re often seen as opportunities to extract troublesome characters from national organisations, sweetening the deal with promises of prestige and international travel. This “Ark B” approach is unfortunately incompatible with finding “someone more interested in getting the job done”…

EPO is then described as a “deeply broken” international organisation:

Yet more evidence…

…that this is a deeply broken organisation.

Then this:

So it’s a race to the bottom

Except that Europe is at least twenty or thirty years behind the US.

And some – notably Germans – tend to be too honest to stand for it.

Patents “are not there (or, at least, it was never the intention) to provide profit-making opportunities through technological monopolies,” the next comment said.

This is a difficult problem to solve…

I can’t think of a solution that is going to be wholly tenable to both sides, unfortunately.

I mean, on the one side, as a patent examiner, you want plenty of time to the appropriate due-diligence in order that you can be sure you have taken all reasonable precautions when a decision on the application is made.

On the other side, if you are a company that has literally spent millions, maybe billions, developing a technology, you want your patent as quickly as possible so that you can put your product on the market and begin to recoup the costs.

On that note: A note to corporations: We should not lose sight of what patents were originally invented for. They were invented to allow a company/individual an opportunity to recoup development costs. That’s the entire point of a patent. They are not there (or, at least, it was never the intention) to provide profit-making opportunities through technological monopolies. Though of course, it’s inevitable that that would happen.

Apple and your “rounded edges” on mobile phones: I’m looking at you, you total twats.

We’re between a rock and a hard place on patents, it seems.

We have long emphasised that the EPO totally lost sight of the goal of patents. Battistelli thinks of the EPO like an assembly line that he is managing. As if monopolies are “products”. Is this the sort of neo-capitalist approach taught at ENA? What if Battistelli was put in charge of managing a prison?

The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

Thursday 15th of March 2018 12:56:36 AM

Low-quality European Patents (EPs) are good for nobody, but they help Battistelli game the numbers while destroying the Office (this includes mass layoffs)

Battistelli sets the Office ablaze months before his departure; Not even Battistelli’s daughter (an ambulance driver) can put out her dad’s fire. Many firings are expected.

Summary: As one last ‘gift’ from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive — the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

THIS is a rather shocking reversal; the USPTO is improving patent quality, whereas the EPO quickly becomes what the USPTO used to be. We can therefore expect more patent trolls to migrate to Europe (some already migrate to China).

Earlier today NLO released this sponsored IAM piece which for the most part parrots EPO lies/spin; yes, it’s mostly repeating the EPO’s Annual Report and reusing figures from it. We wrote some rebuttals to these:

“From 2016 to 2017 the absolute number of European Patent Office (EPO) oppositions grew,” it said at the start. Grew? It skyrocketed? Because many bogus patents are being granted. This is a Battistelli policy. It’ll backfire really badly in the long run.

“So the EPO yet again makes it harder (more expensive) to oppose its rushed decisions.”Oliver Rosenthal from Haseltine Lake LLP wrote this piece earlier this week. His firm recently highlighted the surging/soaring number of oppositions [1, 2].

Rosenthal too is (re)using EPO charts and propaganda, basically copy-pasting lies from the EPO’s press releases. Are they attempting to just suck up to Battistelli like the worst law firms did whenever they wrote about the UPC, occasionally promoting UPCA scams as well? What is this, legal advice or public relations?

“A granted European patent does not lead to a unitary right,” it said, “but a bundle of independent national patents which are enforceable and revocable in each contracting state where protection is requested and the patent has been validated.”

“Applications become cheaper and stopping erroneous grants is now the ‘privilege’ of the super-rich.”Yes, Team UPC hopes to remove this ‘barrier’ in order to spur more litigation. Dehns (Team UPC) wrote this article earlier this week, noting that: “The appeal fee will increase from €1880 to €2255, except for SMEs.”

So the EPO yet again makes it harder (more expensive) to oppose its rushed decisions. All this while reducing the price of applications in order to artificially inflate numbers (after they decreased). What better proof does one need that Battistelli intentionally sabotages the quality of patents? Applications become cheaper and stopping erroneous grants is now the ‘privilege’ of the super-rich.

The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

Thursday 15th of March 2018 12:16:57 AM

The reporter in blue scoffs at a heavily-scripted question asked by the reporter in red; China is now (this week) trying to remove this scene from the Internet, just like Bergot tries to remove staff publications from the intranet.

Summary: The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it’s evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

THE EPO is connected to a fraud (warning: link), but employees are not allowed to say that, even if it’s in today’s news. Our understanding, based on reliable sources, is that there is also fraud inside the EPO, but nobody is brave enough to leak the evidence.

“Why would scholars ever choose to apply for work at an employer like that? Unless of course the EPO has already corrupted enough media and academia to mislead job applicants or hide the facts?”As we shall show in our next post, things are pretty grim at the EPO, yet nobody inside the EPO is allowed to speak about it. And according to this new report titled EPO staff committee argues against publication review (already cited by SUEPO), the EPO’s staff committee asked the management: “Would you refuse one publication describing the status quo because the prospect of a future reform causes some (in our view justified) unrest?”

The staff committee also said to Team Battistelli: “We feel obliged here to remind you that freedom of communication is part and parcel of freedom of speech.”

Yes. Well…

Team Battistelli really has become this oppressive. It censored us around 2014 and SUEPO too around that time (in various ways). Like Xi and CPC do (to journalists, blogs, social media sites, activists and so on). They threaten people and often retaliate for saying truths, even if it’s merely communicated between one member of staff and another. Here’s a portion from this new article:

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) Central Staff Committee (CSC) has issued a rebuttal to Elodie Bergot, principal director of Human Resources at the office, over a controversial CSC publication which criticised the office for alleged misconduct.

Bergot halted the publication of the CSC’s article, which took aim at recent employment proposals pushed at the office, and asked whether current EPO president, Benoît Battistelli, was attempting to rush through the “harmful reform” before the end of his tenure.

In a letter to CSC chairman Joachim Michels, Bergot suggested that the CSC should “review the content of the proposed publication and delete or modify the parts that are offensive to individuals”.

Responding to Bergot’s request, the CSC said it was “at a loss” over Bergot’s criticisms of anonymous reports allegedly circulated by staff representatives regarding the working group on modernisation of the employment framework, which Bergot argued would “generate suspicion and unjustified quiet”.

The committee asked: “Would you refuse one publication describing the status quo because the prospect of a future reform causes some (in our view justified) unrest?”

Why would scholars ever choose to apply for work at an employer like that? Unless of course the EPO has already corrupted enough media and academia to mislead job applicants or hide the facts?

Term limits have not been removed by the EPO/AC (if any such hard limits existed); but Battistelli already lobbied hard to ensure that an old friend of his becomes the next EPO President. Battistelli may remain President ‘in spirit’ for years to come. Campinos owes him one! Maybe they learned a trick or two in all these meetings with Chinese officials.

Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

Wednesday 14th of March 2018 11:17:21 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

    The “decision that will shape our company” was confirmed by Airbus CEO Tom Enders in a memo to staff – seen by The Register – who said the business is gearing up for the next phase of “digital transformation”.

    “We need technology that actively supports our new ways of working, modern digital tools that allow us to be fully collaborative, to work across our many different team, across border and time zones – to truly be one.”

    With this in mind, “Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step by moving from the Microsoft Office environment to Google Suite,” Enders said.

    “Choosing G-Suite is a strategic choice, a clean break with the past while assuring business continuity. Let’s embark together on this journey towards a truly collaborative enterprise,” he said.

    For anyone living under a rock for years, G-Suite is a line of web-based computing, productivity and collaboration tools that were initially launched under the Google Apps for Your Domain brand in 2006.

  • Kernel Space
    • Intel Open-Sources Sound Firmware, Pushing For More Open Firmware

      Imad Sousou, Intel’s GM of the Open-Source Technology Center, had some interesting remarks to make during his keynote today as part of this week’s Embedded Linux Conference in Portland.

      First up, they have two new open-source project announcements: ACRN and Sound Open Firmware (SOF).

      Sound Open Firmware has us most excited with Intel’s focus now on opening up more of their firmware, beginning with audio. Sound Open Firmware includes an open-source audio DSP firmware and SDK. The SOF stack works on all Intel hardware platforms and can assist in debugging audio/DSP issues.

    • Linux Foundation
      • SDN Trends: The Business Benefits and Emerging SD-WAN Technology [Ed: "This article was sponsored by Alibaba and written by" LF now writing ads for Alibaba, too.]
      • Speak at Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan — 4 Days Left to Submit a Proposal

        Automotive Linux Summit (ALS) connects the developers, vendors, and users driving innovation in Automotive Linux. Co-located with Open Source Summit Japan, ALS will gather over 1,000 attendees from global companies leading and accelerating the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected vehicle.

      • The Linux Foundation Welcomes Sound Open Firmware Project

        The Linux Foundation announced today that Sound Open Firmware (SOF) has become a Linux Foundation project. With significant engineering and code contributions from Intel® Corporation, SOF includes a digital signal processing (DSP) firmware and an SDK that together provide infrastructure and development tools for developers working on audio or signal processing. Intel and Google support SOF and invite others to join them in advancing the project.

    • Graphics Stack
      • A Primer on Nvidia-Docker — Where Containers Meet GPUs

        GPUs are critical for training deep learning models and neural networks. Though it may not be needed for simple models based on linear regression and logistic regression, complex models designed around convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks heavily rely on GPUs. Especially computer vision-related models based on frameworks such as Caffe2 and TensorFlow have a dependency on GPU.

        In supervised machine learning, a set of features and labels are used to train a model. Deep learning algorithms don’t even need explicit features to evolve trained models. They pretty much “learn” from existing datasets designated for training, testing, and evaluation.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • MATE 1.20 review – Are you all right, mate?

        Overall, MATE 1.20 is a nice desktop environment. It has its legacy quirks, especially when it comes to panel management and overall cross-integration between programs. But it can be styled and tamed and used with flair and elegance. However, you do feel that it’s aged in some areas, and that those areas remain neglected. Modern does not mean better, but some aspects of the 2018 computing model are superior to what we had a decade ago. The same way some aspects of MATE (Gnome 2) remain better than the touchesque flat-fest we have today.

        Xfce seems to have weathered these changes more successfully, but then it also had no identity crisis, no betrayal, and it benefits from more overall focus and attention. MATE not only had to fight Gnome 3, it also has Cinnamon to take into account. Those aside, if you do want an old-school, no-nonsense desktop environment, MATE is a good choice. Perhaps not the best one, but it will serve you loyally without any bells and whistles. Just be ready for an odd ghost of the past striking at you now and then.

        Remember, once upon a time, I didn’t like Xfce, like not at all, and look where it’s now. So MATE has survived the rite of passage, and it’s evolving steadily. The next step should be pro looks, tight integration and some acknowledgment of modernity, on a system level, and perhaps it could become the desktop environment that Gnome 3 should have been in the first place. There’s still hope. Keep an eye, and let’s see what happens. I guess that would be all.

      • Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review – For The Record

        Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review. Linux Mint and KDE haven’t always been on my list of favorite things. That said, Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition really surprised me – there is a lot to like! Great pulseaudio settings, an improved package manager, plus a whole lot more!

    • New Releases
      • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119 released

        This is the release announcement for IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119. It updates the toolchain of the distribution and fixes a number of smaller bug and security issues. Therefore this update is another one of a series of general housekeeping updates to make IPFire better, faster and of course more secure!

      • NuTyX 10.1 available with cards 2.4.0

        The NuTyX team is please to annonce the 10.1 release of NuTyX.

        NuTyX 9.0 comes with kernel lts 4.14.26 (4.9.87 in 32bits), glibc 2.27, gcc 7.3.0, binutils 2.30, python 3.6.4, xorg-server 1.19.6, qt 5.10.1, plasma 5.12.3 (in 64bits) , kf5 5.43.0 (in 64bits), gnome 3.26.1 (in 64bits), mate 1.20.0, xfce4 4.12.3, firefox 58.0.2, etc….

        Six news ISOs are available in 32 bits and 64 bits. Sizes are respectively 296 MB, 613 MB and 1.6G available on the new download page.

        They have been a lot of upstream updates related to security.

      • LibreELEC (Krypton) 8.2.4 MR

        Team LibreELEC celebrates its second birthday (and international Pi-Day) with the release of LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.2.4 which brings minor bug-fixes and new firmware to support the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ hardware announced this morning.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • build service now supports creation of VM disk images

        You can define a disk image size, select a language, set a user and root password, select a Debian distribution and enable backports just by one click. It’s possible to add your public key for access to the root account without a password. This can also be done by just specifying your GitHub account. Several disk formats are supports, like raw (compressed with xz or zstd), qcow2, vdi, vhdx and vmdk. And you can add your own list of packages, you want to have inside this OS. After a few minutes the disk image is created and you will get a download link, including a log the the creation process and a link to the FAI configuration that was used to create your customized image.

      • aput – simple upload script for a flat artifactory Debian repository
      • Derivatives
        • Neptune 5.0 Linux OS Released with KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS, Based on Debian Stretch

          The developers of the Debian-based Neptune GNU/Linux distribution announced the release of the Neptune 5.0 “Refresh” operating system, based on the stable Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series.

          Powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.14 kernel ported from Debian Stretch’s Backports repository, Neptune 5.0 uses the latest KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop environment along with the KDE Applications 17.12 and KDE Frameworks 5.43.0 software suites. It also promises new ways to run the latest software versions.

        • With this operating system you can have privacy and anonymity

          With the popularity of social media, it would seem as though people are not all that concerned with their privacy. Some like to share updates about pretty much anything they do, and while no one really cares about what anyone else had for lunch, the point is if you want to know what someone is up to, you may just have to look online.

          Just because people aren’t bashful about their lives does not mean they want everything they do online to be recorded, yet with the way browsers and operating systems are set up, there is a record of a lot of what we do. Unless you are a programmer, you may not see much of a way around it.

          But there is a way, actually. An operating system that is designed to start on almost any computer from a DVD or USB drive exists and, best of all, it is free.

        • Tails 3.6 Anonymous OS Released with Linux Kernel 4.15, Latest Tor Updates

          The Tails Project announced today the release and immediate availability of the Tails 3.6 amnesic incognito live system, also known as the Anonymous OS used by ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden to stay hidden online.

          Powered by the latest Linux 4.15 kernel with patches for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and featuring the latest Tor Browser and Tor client/server implementation, Tails 3.6 is here with up-to-date components like Electrum 3.0.6 and Mozilla Thunderbird 52.6.0, as well as new features and improvements.

        • Univention Corporate Server 4.3: Simpler, Faster, and More User-Friendly Administration

          Univention is proud to present the latest Univention Corporate Server (UCS) release. Version 4.3 of the established Open Source software now allows administrators to customize the portal pages which can be set up in UCS to suit the specific requirements of their organization very simply via the drag and drop feature. In addition, they are also able to make the more than 90 enterprise applications in UCS’ integrated App Center available to users. The users access these applications via the portal pages and, insofar as the respective application permits, only need to log in once thanks to the single sign-on mechanism. Univention has also considerably improved the data import performance. In this way, UCS 4.3 allows smaller companies to administrate heterogeneous IT environments with ease and fulfills the requirements of larger organizations with tens of thousands of users at the same time.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • 18.04 beta is as good a time as any to see which Ubuntu flavour tickles your Budgie, MATE

            The first beta of Ubuntu 18.04 is here. The finished article, due next month, will be a long-term support release and, for those who stick with LTS, the first time many see the new GNOME-based Ubuntu.

            This beta, however, does not include the main GNOME-based release. Instead this is more a community release with most of the Ubuntu flavours participating. This particular test build is slightly more noteworthy than usual since, thanks to the havoc wreaked by Spectre and Meltdown, which limited the use of many distros’ build systems, it is really the first milestone for most of the flavours. It also came a couple of days late, which is unusual for an Ubuntu beta.

            As the Xubuntu developers note: “The ISO Tracker has seen little activity for the last few development cycles. We know we have some excited users already using and testing 18.04. But without testing results being recorded anywhere, we have to assume that nobody is testing the daily images and milestones. And this has major implications for both the 18.04 release and the project as a whole.”

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Beta 1 Released

            Many of the popular flavours of the famous Ubuntu Linux system such as Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu, have released beta downloads for the upcoming Long-Term Support release of Ubuntu 18.04.

            Typically, the Ubuntu team releases an LTS edition of the OS, every two years, which will carry major security updates and patches, as well as full support, for five years.

          • EzeeLinux Show 18.12 | A BIG THANK YOU, First Look At Ubuntu 18.04
          • LXD weekly status #38
          • Lets Snap The World

            I am a long-time Ubuntu user and community contributor. I love how open-source communities generally work, sure there are hiccups, like companies mandating decisions that aren’t popular amongst the community. The idea of I being able to fix an issue and getting that released to hundreds of thousands of people is just priceless for me.

            For the long time, I have distinguished some issues in Linux on the desktop that I want fixed. Biggest is always having the latest version of the software I use. Think of Android for example, you always get the latest version of the app, directly from the developers with no package maintainer in between. That’s the ideal scenario but for us currently on Linux it may not be possible in all cases because of the fragmentation we have.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • SMARC module features hexa-core i.MX8 QuadMax

      iWave unveiled a rugged, wireless enabled SMARC module with 4GB LPDDR4 and dual GbE controllers that runs Linux or Android on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax SoC with 2x Cortex-A72, 4x -A53, 2x -M4F, and 2x GPU cores.

      iWave has posted specs for an 82 x 50mm, industrial temperature “iW-RainboW-G27M” SMARC 2.0 module that builds on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax system-on-chip. The i.MX8 QuadMax was announced in Oct. 2016 as the higher end model of an automotive focused i.MX8 Quad family.

    • Arduino Create expands to run Arduino on BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi

      Arduino announced an expansion of its Arduino Create development platform for deploying Arduino sketches on Linux systems to support Arm boards like the the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone in addition to Intel boards like the UP Squared.

      In November, Arduino announced a version of its Arduino Create toolkit that supports Intel-based systems running Linux, with specific support for a new UP Squared IoT Grove Development Kit. Today at the Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, where Arduino co-founder and CTO Massimo Banzi is a keynote speaker, Arduino announced an expansion of Arduino Create to support Arm boards. The platform provides optimized support for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone boards.

    • i.MX8M SBC on pre-order for $165

      Boundary Devices has launched a $165 “Nitrogen8M” SBC that runs Linux or Android on a quad-core i.MX8M with GbE, WiFi, BT, HDMI 2.0, mini-PCIe, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, 4x USB 3.0, and optional -40 to 85°C support.

      Boundary Devices has updated its Nitrogen line of NXP i.MX based SBCs with a Nitrogen8M model that runs Android, Yocto, Ubuntu, Buildroot, or Debian based Linux on NXP’s i.MX8M. Available on pre-order starting at $165 with 2GB RAM, the SBC will ship this Spring.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 gets rev’d to B+ with 1.4GHz, WiFi-ac, and GbE with PoE

      The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has gone on sale for $35, boosting the Model B’s quad -A53 SoC to 1.4GHz, speeding the WiFi to precertified, dual-band 802.11ac, and adding USB-based GbE with PoE support.

      Two years after the arrival of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which brought wireless and 64-bit ARMv8 computing to what was already the most popular Linux hacking platform of all time, Raspberry Pi Trading and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have delivered a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with a faster processor, WiFi, and Ethernet.

    • Meet the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

      Raspberry Pi just celebrated its sixth birthday—that’s six years since the launch of the original Raspberry Pi. Since then, it has released various new models, including the Pi 2, Pi 3, and Pi Zero. So far, 9 million Raspberry Pi 3s have been sold—and over 18 million Pis in total—and those numbers are likely to grow following today’s announcement of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

    • Raspberry Pi 3B+ Launches With Faster CPU, Dual-Band 802.11ac, Faster Ethernet
    • Raspberry Pi OS Raspbian Updated with Support for the New Raspberry Pi 3 B+ SBC

      The Raspberry Pi Foundation released today a new build of its Debian-based Raspbian operating system for Raspberry Pi single-board computer with dozens of improvements, updated components, and other enhancements.

      Probably the most important feature of the new Raspbian release, which is powered by the Linux 4.9.80 LTS kernel, is support for the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3 B+ single-board computer that Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled this morning in celebration of the Pi Day.

      However, Wi-Fi is disabled by default for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ model due to the wireless regulatory domain not being set. To set the domain, you need to set the ‘country=’ attribute in the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file to a country code closer to ISO 3166 alpha2.

    • Happy Pi Day: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Support Comes to the LibreELEC Embedded OS

      After Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Rasbian, LibreELEC is the second Linux-based operating system to receive support for the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ single-board computer announced today.

      In celebration of the project’s second anniversary, as well as of the international Pi Day, the team announced today the release and immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance update to the LibreELEC 8.2 “Krypton” operating system series.

    • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model Has Faster CPU, Better Networking

      Delicious news for all you makers out there: a brand new Raspberry Pi is available to buy.

      The new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is an improved version of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

      It features a faster ARM A53 processor and improved networking capabilities through the addition of Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2 LS BLE and dual band Wi-Fi.

      While the addition of Gigabit ethernet is a big bonus (yay) the “downside” is that it’s still shared over USB 2.0 (boo). If you connect a data-intensive USB peripheral like an external hard drive the bandwidth available may be reduced accordingly depending on what you’re doing.

    • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ now on-sale, more power and faster networking
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Launched: Offers More Power, Faster Networking
    • Raspberry PI 3 model B+ Released: Complete specs and pricing
    • Arduino Create Platform Can Now Program Linux Internet of Things Devices

      The official Arduino development team has today revealed at the Embedded Linux Conference 2018 expansion of a number of architectures supported by its Arduino Create platform for the development of Internet of Things applications. The latest release allows Arduino Create users can manage and program a wide range of popular Linux single-board computers such as the awesome Raspberry Pi which has today received a new addition to its range in the form of the Raspberry Pi 3+, AAEON UP² and BeagleBone as if they were regular Arduino development boards.

    • An introduction to RISC-V

      LWN has covered the open RISC-V (“risk five”) processor architecture before, most recently in this article. As the ecosystem and tools around RISC-V have started coming together, a more detailed look is in order. In a series of two articles, I will look at what RISC-V is and follow up with an article on how we can now port Linux distributions to run on it.

      The words “Free and Open RISC Instruction Set Architecture” are emblazoned across the web site of the RISC-V Foundation along with the logos of some possibly surprising companies: Google, hard disk manufacturer Western Digital, and notable ARM licensees Samsung and NVIDIA. An instruction set architecture (ISA) is a specification for the instructions or machine code that you feed to a processor and how you encode those instructions into a binary form, along with many other precise details about how a family of processors works. Modern ISAs are huge and complex specifications. Perhaps the most famous ISA is Intel’s x86 — that specification runs to ten volumes.

      More importantly, ISAs are covered by aggressive copyright, patent, and trademark rules. Want to independently implement an x86-compatible processor? Almost certainly you simply cannot do that without making arrangements with Intel — something the company rarely does. Want to create your own ARM processor? You will need to pay licensing fees to Arm Holdings up front and again for every core you ship.

      In contrast, open ISAs, of which RISC-V is only one of the newest, have permissive licenses. RISC-V’s specifications, covering user-space instructions and the privileged instructions are licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0). Furthermore, researchers have determined that all RISC-V instructions have prior art and are now patent-free. (Note this is different from saying that implementations will be open or patent-free — almost certainly the highest end chips will be closed and implementations patented). There are also several “cores” — code that compiles to Verilog and can be programmed into an FPGA or (with a great deal more effort) made into a custom chip — licensed under the three-clause BSD.

    • Android
Free Software/Open Source
  • Adelaide Uni open sources venerable Ludwig editor

    The University of Adelaide will release the source code of the Ludwig editor, originally developed for use on VAX minicomputers.

    Ludwig’ source code will be published on GitHub under the MIT Open Source Licence, the university announced today.

    DEC’s first VAX system, the VAX-11/78, was unveiled in 1977. Adelaide Uni purchased three of the minicomputers in 1979.

    The computers supported interaction through video terminals and replaced punch-card-driven systems that only offered batch processing and printed output,

  • 4 reasons enterprise open source works best

    The vast and growing network of enterprise open source solutions can play a key role in modernizing government’s IT infrastructures to be fast, functional and future-oriented. Sourcing technology from the top performers in a community of contributors can liberate IT managers from the bureaucratic ceilings established through proprietary contracts.

    With a commitment to the open software solutions community, the public sector can save money while building the IT infrastructures of today and tomorrow.

  • New Raspberry Pi 3B+, Infection Monkey, Samba Password Bug, Facebook’s Profilo and More

    Facebook open-sourced Profilo yesterday, “a scalable, mobile-first performance tracing library for Android”. Profilo eases the mobile testing challenges faced by app developers trying to ensure their apps perform across various operating systems, bandwidths and other variables, and allows developers to “understand app performance in the wild”.

  • Open Source Data Management for All

    We found that several of our readers had heard of iRODS and knew it was associated with a scientific computing base, but few understood what the technology was and were not aware that there was a consortium. To dispel any confusion, we spoke with Jason Coposky, executive director of the iRODS Consortium about both the technology itself and the group’s role in making data management and storage easier.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Making WebAssembly better for Rust & for all languages

        One big 2018 goal for the Rust community is to become a web language. By targeting WebAssembly, Rust can run on the web just like JavaScript. But what does this mean? Does it mean that Rust is trying to replace JavaScript?

        The answer to that question is no. We don’t expect Rust WebAssembly apps to be written completely in Rust. In fact, we expect the bulk of application code will still be JS, even in most Rust WebAssembly applications.

        This is because JS is a good choice for most things. It’s quick and easy to get up and running with JavaScript. On top of that, there’s a vibrant ecosystem full of JavaScript developers who have created incredibly innovative approaches to different problems on the web.

      • March Add(on)ness: Video Download Helper (1) Vs Cookie AD (4)

        Video DownloadHelper is the easy way to download and convert Web videos from hundreds of YouTube-like sites.

        Video DownloadHelper is a strong contender, giving users the ability to snag videos from virtually any site. The add-on automatically finds videos on a webpage. What users do with those videos is nobody’s business and anyone’s guess.

        Fun Fact: 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day. If you tried to download all of them, your computer would explode.

      • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 225
      • The new Firefox lets you stop websites from asking to send you notifications

        The Mozilla Foundation released a new version of Firefox this week—release number 59. It treads further down the performance improvement path that November’s Quantum release began, but its most interesting feature is a quality-of-life one: Firefox 59 users can prevent some websites from popping up requests to send notifications to your device or from requesting to use your camera unexpectedly.

      • Things Gateway, Part 7 – IKEA TRÅDFRI

        In this series of postings, I’ve been setting up, configuring, and playing with IoT devices through the experimental Things Gateway from Mozilla. I’ve covered the generic Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, the Philips Hue devices, and the TP-Link WiFi devices. Today, I add IKEA TRÅDFRI to this circus.

        Of course, in this series, I’ve also been doing a bit of editorializing. I was critical of the TP-Link devices because their security model requires the end user to just trust them. I’m critical of the IKEA TRÅDFRI for a physical safety reason. What does the word TRÅDFRI mean? I’m assuming it is a Swedish word that means “severe blood loss from slashed wrists” because that is what is likely to happen when opening the package. The clamshell plastic that entombs their products is difficult to open with anything short of a chainsaw. My kitchen scissors wouldn’t do the job and I had to resort to garden pruning shears and that left dangerously sharp pieces that drew blood. Be careful.

      • Firefox Performance Update #3

        Hi! I’ve got another slew of Firefox performance work to report today.

        Special thanks to the folks who submitted things through this form to let me know about performance work that’s taken place recently! If you’ve seen something fixed lately that’ll likely have a positive impact on Firefox performance, let me know about it!

      • Mozilla sends more snooping Web APIs to smartphone Siberia

        irefox has revealed it will bin more privacy-invasive APIs, deprecating access to the light sensor, device proximity sensor, and user proximity detection.

        The APIs in question have all been criticised for their invasive potential. For example, devicelight offered potential vectors for snooping on user browsing habits or even passwords.

        The other two APIs are deviceproximity and userproximity. As of Firefox 62, these will become user-controlled flags (and for users at the bleeding edge, the deprecation is implemented in the nightly build).

      • Firefox 59 for Android Adds HLS Playback Support, Improves Private Browsing Mode

        Mozilla released today the Firefox 59 web browser for Google’s Android mobile operating system bringing support for websites that use the HTTP Live Streaming protocol for video playback, and improved Private Browsing mode, and more.

  • BSD
    • LLVM Clang 6.0 vs. 5.0 Compiler Performance On Intel/AMD Linux

      Since last week’s big release of LLVM 6.0 along with Clang 6.0, I have been carrying out some fresh compiler benchmarks of the previous Clang 5.0 to this new stable release that switches to C++14 by default, among many other changes to LLVM itself and this C/C++ compiler front-end.

      For your compiler benchmark viewing pleasure today are results of LLVM Clang 5.0 vs. 6.0 on four distinctly different systems: two Intel, two AMD, for getting a glimpse at how the Clang 6.0 compiler performance is looking at this time. For those wondering how Clang 6.0 is stacking up compared to the soon-to-be-released GCC 8.1 compiler, those benchmarks will come when GCC 8.1 is officially available.

    • GRUB Now Supports Multiple Early Initrd Images

      GNU’s GRUB bootloader has picked up another feature ahead of the GRUB 2.04 release expected later this year.

      It’s been almost one year since the GRUB 2.02 release while GRUB 2.04 continues being developed with new features and the latest addition landed just minutes ago.

      This new addition to the GRUB 2.04 code-base is adding support for multiple, shared, early initrd images. These multiple early initrd images will be loaded prior to the proper initrd image — with support for the Linux distribution specifying early initrd images and a separate hook for the user to specify any early images too.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • What legal remedies exist for breach of GPL software?

      Last April, a federal court in California handed down a decision in Artifex Software, Inc. v. Hancom, Inc., 2017 WL 1477373 (N.D. Cal. 2017), adding a new perspective to the forms of remedies available for breach of the General Public License (GPL). Sadly, this case reignited the decades-old license/contract debate due to some misinterpretations under which the court ruled the GPL to be a contract. Before looking at the remedy developments, it’s worth reviewing why the license debate even exists.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Global Automotive Navigation Systems Market 2018-2022 – Increased Support for Open Source and Standard Platforms
    • Five Questions with Orta Therox

      Everyone in the Artsy Engineering team has different relationships to Open Source. Some people just work in the open — with little thought applied to the larger community aspects of it — because it’s how we work. Others embrace the ability to showcase their work to help provide a more holistic understanding of the process.

      Not all projects we work on are open source, so not all engineers work in the open. We made the conscious choice to keep some projects private: it’s Open Source by Default, not Open Source by Mandate.

    • SpaceChain, Arch Aim to Archive Human Knowledge in Space

      SpaceChain on Monday announced that it has entered a partnership with the Arch Mission Foundation to use open source technology to launch an ambitious project involving the storage of large data sets in spacecraft and on other planets.

      Arch Mission will load large quantities of data onto SpaceChain’s satellite vehicles with the eventual aim of storing data on other planets.

      “The goal of archiving and preserving knowledge of future generations will advance archiving science and human knowledge by itself,” SpaceChain cofounder Zheng Zuo said. “The ambitious goal of disseminating this knowledge throughout the solar system is finally achievable today, thanks to greatly reduced launch costs through new space launch providers.”


      The partnership would allow SpaceChain’s long-term goal of storing data archives throughout the solar system come to fruition.

    • Open Access/Content
      • Two UMD courses will have free online textbook access in the fall

        BSCI201 and 202, introductory courses in human anatomy and physiology, will use a free, open-source textbook from OpenStax beginning in the fall, said biology professor Sara Lombardi.

        To make the switch, university lecturers for the courses received a $1,500 grant from the Maryland Open Source Textbook initiative, which offers grants to encourage faculty to utilize open educational resources. The grants were announced March 6.

        The initiative — which was established in 2013 as part of the system’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation — saved students more than $500,000 through these grants from spring 2014 to spring 2017, according to the initiative’s spring 2018 update.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • OpenFlow is the Past as ONF Announces Stratum Project to Redefine SDN

      On March 12, the ONF announced the formation of the Stratum project with the audacious goal to redefine the SDN landscape in a fundamental way. Code for the Stratum project is initially coming from Google, from technology it uses for SDN within its own environments.

      Among the vendors that are backing the ONF Stratum project are Google, Tencent, China Unicom, NTT, Turk Telekom, Big Switch Networks, VMware, Broadcom, Cavium, Mellanox and Xilinx.

  • IBM thinks Notes and Domino can rise again

    Since announcing that HCL would take over development of IBM’s collaborationware, the two companies have conducted a long listening tour that saw them stage 22 meatspace meetings and four online forums. The results of that consultation, which reached 2,000 people, plus lab work already conducted by IBM and HCL, were recently presented to the faithful.

  • Science
    • Sir John Sulston, Human Genome Project Leader, Remembered For Words On IP And Health R&D

      Nobel Prize winner Sir John Sulston passed away on 6 March at the age of 75, and was widely remembered in the press and scientific circles, celebrating his research, his wisdom, and his leadership of the landmark Human Genome Project. Intellectual Property Watch recalls his visionary warning and advice a decade ago about the intellectual property system, investment, and science that is still valuable today.

    • Media Ignore Critical Link Between Natural Disasters and Climate Change

      Since the 2016 presidential election, the establishment media’s coverage of natural disasters has failed to connect the disasters with the scientific issue of climate change. Lisa Hymas’ December 2017 Guardian article exposed the media’s lack of climate change coverage. Although much climate change research reveals a link between extreme weather and climate change, “only 42% of Americans believe that climate change will pose a serious threat to them during their lifetimes,” Hymas reported. Although recent natural disasters highlight the effects of climate change this subject has received little attention in establishment news coverage.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • To Make Healthcare More Affordable, Fight Drug Patent Abuse with a Fury

      Drug prices tend to drop precipitously the moment the drug market opens to generic and biosimilar competition—typically by up to 80%. Drug patents are the linchpin of when that moment occurs.

      This is because since the 1980s, the timing of market entry for generic and biosimilar drugs has essentially depended on judicial determinations of patent infringement, validity, and enforceability, pursuant to the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act (better known as the “Hatch-Waxman Act”), and more recently, the Biologic Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”).

      If we are really going to have an informed discussion about drug pricing, therefore, we had better do it by talking about drug patents—and how to police them, effectively.

    • Measuring the Toll of the Opioid Epidemic Is Tougher Than it Seems

      As the opioid epidemic rages across the country, data tracking its evolution often lags far behind.

      A few months ago, I set out to compile data on opioid prescribing, overdoses and deaths, as well as treatment options.

      It was more difficult than I expected: Much of the data was out of date, some was hard to find and some data contradicted other data, making conclusions difficult. I put the datasets I could find into a tipsheet, which I shared last week at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference in Chicago.

      When Bruce Greenstein took over as chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in mid-2017, he, too, was taken aback by the hurdles to finding complete, current information — particularly on overdose deaths.

  • Security
    • An important Samba 4 security release

      Anybody running Samba 4 servers probably wants to take a look at this alert and upgrade their systems.

    • Samba 4.7.6, 4.6.14 and 4.5.16 Security Releases Available for Download
    • Samba 4 Updates Issued For Correcting Two Security Vulnerabilities, One Nasty
    • Samba critical flaws: Patch now but older open instances have ‘far worse issues’
    • AMD Secure Processor & Ryzen Chipsets Reportedly Vulnerable To Exploit

      Just two months after the big Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities were disclosed, Israeli security researchers have published 13 security vulnerabilities claiming to affect AMD Ryzen and EPYC product lines.

      These vulnerabilities are being called “AMDFLAWS” and the vulnerabilities have names like MASTERKEY, RYZENFALL, FALLOUT, CHIMERA, and the PSP PRIVILEGE escalation amounting to 13 vulnerabilities in total.

    • Numerous vulnerabilities in AMD processors

      A company called CTS has disclosed a long series of vulnerabilities in AMD processors. “The chipset is a central component on Ryzen and Ryzen Pro workstations: it links the processor with hardware devices such as WiFi and network cards, making it an ideal target for malicious actors. The Ryzen chipset is currently being shipped with exploitable backdoors that could let attackers inject malicious code into the chip, providing them with a safe haven to operate from.” See the associated white paper for more details.

    • Israeli firm dumps AMD flaws with 24 hours notice

      Security researchers from a previously unknown Israeli company, CTS Labs, have disclosed 13 flaws in AMD processors. All can be taken advantage of only by an attacker who has already gained admin privileges within the system in question.

    • “Backdoor” Found In AMD CPUs, Researchers Discover 13 Critical Vulnerabilities In RYZEN And EPYC
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #150
    • ACME v2 and Wildcard Certificate Support is Live

      We’re pleased to announce that ACMEv2 and wildcard certificate support is live! With today’s new features we’re continuing to break down barriers for HTTPS adoption across the Web by making it even easier for every website to get and manage certificates.

      ACMEv2 is an updated version of our ACME protocol which has gone through the IETF standards process, taking into account feedback from industry experts and other organizations that might want to use the ACME protocol for certificate issuance and management some day.

      Wildcard certificates allow you to secure all subdomains of a domain with a single certificate. Wildcard certificates can make certificate management easier in some cases, and we want to address those cases in order to help get the Web to 100% HTTPS. We still recommend non-wildcard certificates for most use cases.

    • An overview of online ad fraud

      I have researched various aspects of the online advertisement industry for a while, and one of the fascinating topics that I have come across which I didn’t know too much about before is ad fraud. You may have heard that this is a huge problem as this topic hits the news often, and after learning more about it, I think of it as one of the major threats to the health of the Web, so it’s important for us to be more familiar with the problem.

      People have done a lot of research on the topic but most of the material uses the jargon of the ad industry so they may be inaccessible to those who aren’t familiar with it (I’m learning my way through it myself!) and also you’d need to study a lot to put a broad picture of what’s wrong together, so I decided to summarize what I have learned so far, expressed in simple terms avoiding jargon, in the hopes that it’s helpful. Needless to say, none of this should be taken as official Mozilla policy, but rather this is a hopefully objective summary plus some of my opinions after doing this research at the end.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Mass Killing of Civilians by UN-Backed National Police of Haiti

      On the morning of November 13, 2017, a joint anti-gang operation between the National Police of Haiti (PHN), who were trained under occupation by UN and US officials, and the newly-formed United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) ended in the mass killing of at least nine innocent civilians at Maranatha College in Port-au-Prince. Some reports indicate up to 14 civilians and two police officers were killed.

      The United Nations issued a statement days later, condemning the violence and calling for a prompt investigation. However, the statement did not publicly acknowledge the UN’s own role in the operation, and distanced the organization from the civilian casualties. As Jake Johnston of the Intercept reported, it was not until late December that a UN spokesperson confirmed that the MINUJUSTH, the UN police, had helped to plan the raid.

      UN spokesperson Sophie Boutaud de la Combe wrote in an email to the Intercept that the UN had conducted an internal inquiry following the raid which absolved the UN. The inquiry found that UN police did not enter Maranatha College where the alleged killings took place, nor did UN police fire their weapons. Instead, according to the inquiry, UN police only “secured the perimeter” of the school. The post-operation “unilateral initiative” of some PHN members was, according to the UN inquiry, without UN authorization.

    • Ex-GCHQ boss: All the ways to go after Russia. Why pick cyberwar?

      Hannigan damped down talk in the UK media that cyber attacks against Russia might form part of the response to poisoning of Russian-born double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury in southern England last week.

      He cited UK government statements to explain this was either a state-run operation or that Russia had lost control of a chemical weapons agent. This follows Russia’s highly contentious annexation of Crimea back in 2014.

    • Assange: UK Foreign Office Gears Up for Propaganda War Against Russia

      Following allegations by UK authorities that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in the British city of Salisbury, the UK Foreign Office is preparing a smear campaign against the country.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday took to Twitter to comment on the UK Foreign Office’s video about Russia, saying it is waging a “propaganda” war against Moscow.

      The UK Foreign Office released a video with a list of the world events in which Russia in their opinion is engaged. In this video, the Foreign Office says that Russia is relevant to the Litvinenko case, to Georgia’s sovereignty, Crimea’s reunification, the cyber-attack on Germany’s parliament, interfering in Montenegro elections, as well as airspace violations.

  • Finance
    • International Finance Corporation, a Branch of World Bank, on Trial

      Farmers in Honduras are suing a branch of the World Bank for attacks and killings that the corporation has allegedly helped fund since the early 1990s. These violent acts targeted members and supporters of the local farming community in the Bajo Aguán valley region of Honduras, as reported by Claire Provost for the Guardian in March 2017.

      As the Guardian reported, according to a 132-page legal complaint filed by the plaintiffs, the farmers are seeking compensation for the role that the IMF branch known as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) played in the alleged “murder, torture, assault, battery, trespass, unjust enrichment and other acts of aggression” that resulted from the IFC’s support of the agribusiness corporation Dinant, the primary executor of the violence.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Help Us Cure Online Publishing of Its Addiction to Personal Data

      A perfect example of this non-thinking is a recent Business Insider piece that says “Europe’s new privacy laws are going to make the web virtually unsurfable” because the GDPR and ePrivacy (the next legal shoe to drop in the EU) “will require tech companies to get consent from any user for any information they gather on you and for every cookie they drop, each time they use them”, thus turning the web “into an endless mass of click-to-consent forms”.

      Speaking of endless, the same piece says, “News sites—like Business Insider—typically allow a dozen or more cookies to be ‘dropped’ into the web browser of any user who visits.” That means a future visitor to Business Insider will need to click “agree” before each of those dozen or more cookies get injected into the visitor’s browser.

    • Appellate Court Issues Encouraging Border Search Opinion

      EFF filed an amicus brief last year in the case, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California (2014) supports the conclusion that border agents need a probable cause warrant before searching electronic devices because of the unprecedented and significant privacy interests travelers have in their digital data. In Riley, the Supreme Court followed similar reasoning and held that police must obtain a warrant to search the cell phone of an arrestee.

      In U.S. v. Molina-Isidoro, although the Fifth Circuit declined to decide whether the Fourth Amendment requires border agents to get a warrant before searching travelers’ electronic devices, one judge invoked prior case law that could help us establish this privacy protection.

      Ms. Molina-Isidoro attempted to enter the country at the port of entry at El Paso, TX. An x-ray of her suitcase led border agents to find methamphetamine. They then manually searched her cell phone and looked at her Uber and WhatsApp applications. The government sought to use her correspondence in WhatsApp in her prosecution, so she moved to suppress this evidence, arguing that it was obtained in violation of the Constitution because the border agents didn’t have a warrant.

      Unfortunately for Molina-Isidoro, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the WhatsApp messages may be used in her prosecution. But the court avoided the main constitutional question: whether the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to search an electronic device at the border. Instead, the court held that the border agents acted in “good faith”—an independent basis to deny Molina-Isidoro’s motion to suppress, even if the agents had violated the Fourth Amendment.

    • The Cloud Act Is a Dangerous Piece of Legislation

      The under-the-radar bill threatens the civil liberties and human rights of global activists and US citizens alike.

      Despite its fluffy sounding name, the recently introduced CLOUD Act is far from harmless. It threatens activists abroad, individuals here in the U.S., and would empower Attorney General Sessions in new disturbing ways. And, now, some members of Congress may be working behind the scenes to sneak it into a gargantuan spending bill that Congress will shortly consider.

      This is why the ACLU and over 20 other privacy and human rights organizations have joined together to oppose the bill. Make no mistake, the CLOUD Act represents a dramatic change in our law, and its effects will be felt across the globe.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • This Mural Quotes Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape, and Now the Owner Is Facing Jail Time

      Forcing people to get government approval for artistic expression is a violation of the First Amendment.

      Last fall, Neal Morris, a property owner in New Orleans, commissioned a mural on his warehouse that depicted President Trump’s comments from the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. The mural displayed Trump’s comments verbatim but replaced some of the words with cartoon pictograms.

      Morris expected that the mural, installed on his own property by a local street artist, might stir controversy. But what he didn’t expect was a threatening letter from the city’s Department of Safety and Permits demanding that he take it down or face jail time. The letter accused Morris of a zoning violation and warned that failure to comply would yield “a maximum fine or jail time for each and every day the violation continues plus court costs.”

      That’s right. A resident of an American city could face jail time for a mural that depicts comments the president of the United States actually said — on tape. All this because Morris failed to navigate a confusing bureaucratic process requiring artists and their patrons to get government approval and a permit before installing a mural, even on their own property.

    • Inadequate Coverage is Costly: Deafening Silence on Puerto Rican Crisis

      How the US responds to natural disasters is increasingly dependent on what we see in the news. In times of disaster, fair and thorough coverage is necessary to support recovery. According to Gabriela Thorne of the Nation, “lack of media coverage makes it hard to get as many donations,” leaving those with less air-time to face a slower, more difficult recovery. This is especially true in territories like Puerto Rico. Months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans still struggle to re-establish normal daily living. Donations are still necessary for their recovery effort, yet establishment news coverage has moved on to other, more sensational topics.

    • “She Tortured Just for the Sake of Torture”: CIA Whistleblower on Trump’s New CIA Pick Gina Haspel

      Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou personally knew CIA director nominee Gina Haspel when he worked at the CIA. But their careers have taken very different paths over the past decade. Haspel, who was directly involved in torture at a secret CIA prison in Thailand, has been promoted to head the agency. Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the torture program, ended up being jailed for 23 months. For more, we speak with John Kiriakou, who spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and case officer.

    • The First Woman Picked to Lead CIA, But Not the First War Criminal

      Ray was interviewed Tuesday about Gina Haspel, just nominated to be CIA director. He found it bizarre to discuss the exploits of the current CIA deputy director/war criminal Haspel, who in 2002 ran the secret prison where “terrorist suspect,” Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times.

      Such crimes were documented by a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, based on original CIA cables and other documents — a four year-long effort, a redacted Executive Summary of which was released in Dec. 2014. It revealed a number of heinous torture techniques used on kidnapped “detainees” and — equally important — gave the lie to claims by top CIA officials that useful intelligence was acquired by the torture.

    • Trump Administration Wants To Start Sending Secret Service Agents To Polling Stations

      This appears to be the result of Trump’s continued insistence he would have won the popular vote if there hadn’t been so many illegal votes. Of course, the administration has produced no evidence this happened in the last election. The only story that surfaced as a result of this post-election scrutiny was one involving someone who voted twice… for Trump.

      Needless to say, state officials overseeing elections are horrified. The intrusion of the law enforcement branch that works closest with the president would give elections the appearance that Secret Service agents are there to prevent voters from voting for the wrong person. Given Trump’s antipathy towards anyone that isn’t white with a red hat, dispatched agents would certainly deter those not matching the chosen description from exercising their rights.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Research Shows That Published Versions Of Papers In Costly Academic Titles Add Almost Nothing To The Freely-Available Preprints They Are Based On

        The open access movement believes that academic publications should be freely available to all, not least because most of the research is paid for by the public purse. Open access supporters see the high cost of many academic journals, whose subscriptions often run into thousands of dollars per year, as unsustainable for cash-strapped libraries, and unaffordable for researchers in emerging economies. The high profit margins of leading academic publishers — typically 30-40% — seem even more outrageous when you take into account the fact that publishers get almost everything done for free. They don’t pay the authors of the papers they publish, and rely on the unpaid efforts of public-spirited academics to carry out crucial editorial functions like choosing and reviewing submissions.

      • US Copyright Royalty Board Boosts Songwriters’ Streaming Pay Nearly 50% [Ed: But will this increase in pay go to the cartel (middlemen) or actual artists that aren't just the few millionaires who are super-famous?]

        Variety reports: The Copyright Royalty Board has ruled to increase songwriter rates for interactive streaming by nearly 50% over the next five years, in a ruling issued early Saturday. Equally important, the CRB simplified and strengthened the manner in which songwriters are paid mechanical royalties, modifying terms in a way that offers a foothold in the free-market.

        The ruling, in favor of the National Music Publishers’ Association and the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International, amounts to what NMPA president and CEO David Israelite calls “the biggest rate increase granted in CRB history,” with Amazon, Apple, Google, Pandora and Spotify compelled to pay more for the use of music.

      • Game Developer Embraces Modding Community So Much They Made Their Work An Official Release

        For game developers and publishers, there are lots of ways to react to the modding community that so often creates new and interesting aspects to their games. Some companies look to shut these modding communities down completely, some threaten them over supposed copyright violations, and some developers choose to embrace the modding community and let mods extend the life of their games to ridiculous lengths.

        But few studios have gone as far to embrace modders as developer 1C, makers of IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover. The flight-sim game, released way back in 2011, burst onto the gaming market with decidedly luke-warm reviews. Most of the critiques and public commentary surrounding the game could be best summarized as: “meh.” But a modding community sprung up around the game, calling itself Team Fusion, and developed a litany of mods for IL-2. Rather than looking at these mods as some sort of threat, 1C instead worked with Team Fusion and developed an official re-release of the game incorporating their work.

      • Playboy Wants to Know Who Downloaded Their Playmate Images From Imgur

        Playboy’s initial attempt to hold the popular blog Boing Boing liable for copyright infringement failed last month. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s completely over. The publisher has requested personal information on the people who uploaded the infringing centerfold footage on YouTube and Imgur, to determine what steps to take next. Interestingly, Imgur ‘downloaders’ are targeted too, which technically includes everyone who viewed the images.

      • Pirate Site Admins Receive Suspended Sentences, Still Face €60m Damages Claim

        Four men behind one of France’s most successful pirate sites have been handed suspended sentences by the Rennes Criminal Court. Aged between 29 and 36 years old, the former Liberty Land administrators were arrested back in 2011 following a SACEM investigation. The quartet still face a massive 60 million euro damages claim.

Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

Wednesday 14th of March 2018 12:29:30 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Sourcing the Hunt for Exoplanets
  • Google’s Open Source AI Lets Anyone Hunt for Alien Planets At Home

    Last December, NASA announced that two new exoplanets had been hiding in plain sight among data from the Kepler space telescope. These two new planets weren’t discovered by a human, however. Instead, an exoplanet hunting neural network—a type of machine learning algorithm loosely modeled after the human brain—had discovered the planets by finding subtle patterns in the Kepler data that would’ve been nearly impossible for a human to see.

    On Thursday, Christopher Shallue, the lead Google engineer behind the exoplanet AI, announced in a blog post that the company was making the algorithm open source. In other words, anyone can download the code and help hunt for exoplanets in Kepler data.

  • Google Open-Sources AI Code To Analyze Kepler Data For Exoplanets
  • You Can Hunt for Alien Planets in Kepler Data Using Newly Released Google Code
  • Google AI That Helped NASA Find Exoplanets Now Available to All
  • Find Alien Life and Discover New Exoplanets With Google’s New Machine-Learning Algorithm
  • Now, use Google AI to hunt planets from NASA data
  • Want to join in NASA’s search for exoplanets? Google’s AI can help
  • Google TensorFlow now available for researchers
  • Google AI that helped NASA find exoplanets now open for all
  • Google AI models which helped NASA discover exoplanets, are now available for everyone
  • Researchers Now Have Access to the Same Google AI that NASA had
  • Google AI Is Now Publically Accessible That Helped NASA Boost Its Hunt for Exoplanet
  • A plan for rebooting an open source project

    Once in a while, you will have an open source project that needs care and feeding. Maybe you’re just stepping into an existing project, and you need to figure out where the project is and where it needs to go. It needs a reboot. What do you do? How do you begin?

    When I was in this situation, I was thrown into the deep end with a security issue. I spent a good eight months getting to know the community as we resolved that issue and other legacy infrastructure issues. After about a year, I finally felt like I had a good outline of the community and its challenges and strengths. I realized afterward that it would’ve been smarter if I had first invested time to review the project’s status and create a strategy for how we tackled its needs.

  • Google Open Sources Exoplanet-Hunting AI

    NASA’s Kepler satellite has been observing the stars for nearly a decade, and it’s produced a mountain of data in that time. Late last year, Google showed how machine learning could help astronomers dig through the Kepler backlog, and it discovered a few new exoplanets in the process. Google has now open sourced the planet-spotting AI so anyone can give it a shot.

  • Google collaborates with Ubisoft to launch Agones, an open source game server hosting system

    When you think of cloud computing, chances are you are thinking about massive server farms that let you edit documents in the cloud and update your CRM system, but thankfully, there’s a playful side to the cloud as well. All of those multiplayer games, after all, have to run somewhere, too. Often, gaming companies write their own systems for running these servers, but Google and Ubisoft today announced a new project that provides an open source alternative to managing and hosting multiplayer game servers.

    Agones, as the project is called because that’s the Greek word for ‘contest,’ uses the Google-incubated Kubernetes container project as it core tool for orchestrating and scaling a fleet of multiplayer game servers. When you play your favorite multiplayer game, it’s these kind of game servers that assure that users can see each other as they traverse an island full of 99 other suicidal maniacs, for example — and they also often run the software necessary to identify cheaters. Containers are actually ideal for this kind of scenario because game sessions tend to last for relatively short periods of time and containers can be deployed and shut down quickly.

  • Google & Ubisoft Announce Game Hosting Solution Agones
  • Google & Ubisoft announce Agones, a game server hosting project
  • Google announces new open source multiplayer server Agones
  • Google Steps on Microsoft’s Toes in New Cloud Gaming Push (Premium)
  • Google gets into multiplayer game server hosting with Agones project
  • Google Cloud & Ubisoft Announce Agones – Open Source Dedicated Multiplayer Game Server Hosting
  • Google Cloud’s Agones enables open source dedicated multiplayer game servers
  • Google and the publisher of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ are teaming up for a new weapon in the cloud wars
  • It’s Happening: Substratum Network Announces Plan to Open-Source Its Software in Next Release

    Substratum Network ( is pleased to announce it will open-source its software in the next release to further its fight against cyber-censorship. Built as a foundation for the decentralized web, Substratum’s mission is to ensure that all people have free and equal access to information, without impediment.

  • Anti-tracking browser extension Ghostery goes open source

    Ghostery, a provider of free software that makes your web browsing experience cleaner and safer by detecting and blocking third-party data-tracking technologies, announced that it is going open source and the code for its popular browser extension is now publicly available on GitHub.

    This move demonstrates Ghostery’s commitment to transparency, empowering the public to see how Ghostery works and what types of data it collects, as well as the ability to make contributions to its source code.

  • China develops open-source platform for AI development

    China has developed an open-source artificial intelligence platform as part of its plan to become a world leader in the technology by 2030, the country’s science and technology minister said, according to the Business Standard.

    “Open-source platforms are needed because AI can play a bigger role in development and make it easier for entrepreneurs to have access to resources,” Wan Gang said at a press conference.

  • Creating an Open Source Program for Your Company

    The recent growth of open source has been phenomenal; the latest GitHub Octoverse survey reports the GitHub community reached 24 million developers working across 67 million repositories. Adoption of open source has also grown rapidly with studies showing that 65% of companies are using and contributing to open source. However, many decision makers in those organizations using and contributing to open source do not fully understand how it works. The collaborative development model utilized in open source is different from the closed, proprietary models many individuals are used to, requiring a change in thinking.

    An ideal starting place is creating a formal open source program office, which is a best practice pioneered by Google and Facebook and can support a company’s open source strategy. Such an office helps explain to employees how open source works and its benefits, while providing supporting functions such as training, auditing, defining policies, developer relations and legal guidance. Although the office should be customized to a specific organization’s needs, there are still some standard steps everyone will go through.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox 59 Prepped For Release: Nukes GTK2 Code, Still Prepping For Wayland

        Mozilla’s Firefox 59.0 is now available to download from the FTP server ahead of the official announcement.

        Firefox 59.0 can now be downloaded for all supported platforms. Firefox 59.0 does deliver on dropping GTK2 support in favor of the GTK3 tool-kit support that’s now mature.

        But what didn’t make it for Firefox 59.0 is the Firefox 59 Wayland support that remains a work-in-progress and was diverted from being a target for mozilla59. While the Wayland support isn’t yet squared away, there have been bug fixes and other improvements in working towards getting this native Wayland support ready by default for those not building your web-browser with the –enable-default-toolkit=cairo-gtk3-wayland switch.

      • Version 59.0, first offered to Release channel users on March 13, 2018
      • Mozilla Firefox 59 Released with Faster Page Load Times, New Privacy Features
      • Latest Firefox available to users where they browse the web — laptop, Fire TV and the office. Plus, a chance to help with the next Firefox release!
      • Firefox 59 “Quantum” released

        Mozilla has released its Firefox 59.0 “Quantum” browser.

        The browser supports GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems, and iOS and Android mobile devices.

      • Firefox 59 released, these are the key changes
      • Mozilla’s Firefox 59 Released, New Agones Project, SparkyLinux 5.3 Available, Hunt for Exoplanets and More

        Mozilla’s Firefox 59 is available for download. See the wiki for more information on its new features, including the “option to stop websites from asking to send notifications or access your device’s camera, microphone, and location”.

      • IT Pros and CIOs: sign up to try Firefox Quantum for Enterprise
      • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Mozilla files response to European Commission ‘Fake news and online disinformation’ public consultation
      • Can Chrome Sync or Firefox Sync be trusted with sensitive data?
      • Mozilla Foundation is seeking a VP, Leadership Programs

        One of Mozilla’s biggest strengths is the people — a global community of engineers, designers, educators, lawyers, scientists, researchers, artists, activists and every day users brought together with the common goal of making the internet healthier.

        A big part of Mozilla Foundation’s focus over the past few years has been increasing both the size and diversity of this community and the broader moveme. In particular, we’ve run a series of initiatives — the Internet Health Report, MozFest, our fellowships and awards — aimed at connecting and supporting people who want to take a leadership role in this community. Our global community is the lynchpin in our strategy to grow a global movement to create a healthier digital world.

      • Side projects and swag-driven development

        Another option I keep hearing is to push Mozilla leadership into making side-projects real. That seems like a good option and I think it happens periodically. I sort of did this with Bleach. I spent tons of time trying to get Bleach turned into a real project and it sort of is now.

        Based on that experience, I think it requires a bunch of people and meetings to come to a consensus on validating the project’s existence which is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. It’s important that projects paid for by budgets have impact and value and all that–I get that–but the work to get a side-project to that point is unpleasant and time-consuming. I bet many side-projects can’t pass muster to become a real project. I think what happens instead is that side-projects continue to exist in the misty “there be dragons” part of the Mozilla universe map until the relevant people leave and stuff breaks.

        There are probably other options.

        I’ve been wondering about an option where where the maintainers aren’t locked into choosing between walking away and guilt-driven development for a project that’s important, but for some reason doesn’t have a critical mass and doesn’t pass muster enough to turn into a real project.

        I started wondering if my problem with Standups is two fold: first, I have no incentive to work on it other than bad feelings, and second, it’s a free service so no one else has incentive to work on it either.

        One incentive is getting paid in money, but that’s messy, problematic, and hard to do. But what if we used a different currency? There’s a lot of swag at Mozilla. What if we could use swag to drive development?

      • So, How’s Screenshots Doing?

        It’s been a bit over five months since we launched Firefox Screenshots in Firefox 56, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what’s happened so far and to look forward to what’s coming next.

        So far, our users have taken more than 67 million screenshots. This is a big number that makes my manager happy, but more interesting is how we got here.

      • March Add(on)ness is here

        Winter’s icy hand is releasing its grip, birds are returning from southern migration which means it’s that time of year where people everywhere rank things, put them in brackets and have them compete for bragging rights over who’s the best. It’s time for March Add(on)ness!

      • A Truly Responsive WebXR Experiment: A-Painter XR

        In our posts announcing our Mixed Reality program last year, we talked about some of the reasons we were excited to expand WebVR to include AR technology. In the post about our experimental WebXR Polyfill and WebXR Viewer, we mentioned that the WebVR Community Group has shifted to become the Immersive Web Community Group and the WebVR API proposal is becoming the WebXR Device API proposal. As the community works through the details of these these changes, this is a great time to step back and think about the requirements and implications of mixing AR and VR in one API.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Google Maps wants to simplify Indian address with open-source Plus Codes
    • Google’s new ‘Plus Codes’ are an open source, global alternative to street addresses [Ed: No, it is not "open source"; it makes addresses proprietary and more strictly controlled by Google]

      Google frequently touts that the “next billion users” will come from developing nations with different focuses and needs. To that end, the company has developed a number of optimized services, with the latest being a “simple and consistent addressing system that works across India and globally.

    • Time for ‘Open Innovation,’ Not Just Open Source

      Embedded open source software not only works; most our world runs on it today. That said, the real story is open innovation, of which open source licenses are simply one part.

      We can all agree that open source revolutionized the software industry. The effect has been profound on every segment from enterprise software to search and social networking. But it wasn’t always that way. The late Jim Ready, founding father of embedded open source software, told me once that his early prospects told him that open source wouldn’t fly because they wouldn’t trust their code to a bunch of teenagers in some far-off part of the world.

      Well, guess what? Embedded open source software not only works; most our world runs on it today.

      That said, the real story is open innovation, of which open source licenses are simply one part. Open innovation means looking outside traditional corporate silos to harness the collective knowledge of a global community of developers and using that community to create new and transformative things. Open innovation in software is enabled by many things: GitHub, app stores and crowdsourcing platforms like Topcoder (founded by our investor and director Jack Hughes) being just a few. Once enabled, though, the innovation potential of this crowd is mind boggling.

    • Inside the Vatican’s First-Ever Hackathon [iophk: "misuse of the term hackathon; hackathons are collaborative, this was an app contest not a hackathon"]

      They received consultation from 40 on-site mentors, many of whom represented Microsoft, Google, and other corporate sponsors of the event who taught the participants how to use their company’s tools and technologies [...]

    • Best 10 Free Accounting Software Packages for Small Business

      GnuCash provides a simple approach to bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses. This free accounting software is available for Android, Linux, Windows, OS X, FreeBSDm GNU and OpenBSD. The software manages invoices, accounts payable and receivable, as well as employee expenses and some payroll features.

    • Two new entries for the GNU Licenses FAQ

      We recently made some new additions to our resource Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses (FAQ). The FAQ is one of our most robust articles, covering common questions for using and understanding GNU licenses. We are always looking to improve our materials, so this week we’ve made some fresh updates.

      The first is an update to our entry on using works under the GNU General Public License (GPL) on a Web site. This entry explains that people are free to use modified versions of GPL’ed works internally without releasing source code, and that using GPL’ed code to run your site is just a special case of that. The problem was that the entry went on to explain how things are different when it comes to the Affero GNU General Public License (AGPL). That transition in the old entry wasn’t quite as elegant as we would have liked, and so people were often writing to us to ask for clarification. They were getting confused about whether the comments on the AGPL also applied to the GPL. So we’ve updated that entry, and moved the information on the AGPL to its own entry. The updated text and new entry were both created by long-time licensing team volunteer Yoni Rabkin.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Can we automate open behaviors?

      When I began studying sales training and giving sales seminars, I realized I was discovering a few basic principles. These principles were applicable anywhere in the world—and they were as true in the past as they will be in the future. They pertained to fundamental aspects of my work: Finding customers, meeting customers, learning what customers want, choosing a product or service that would satisfy customers’ needs, etc. One can enact these principles in various, situational ways. But the principles themselves are constant.

      Open organizations operate according to principles, too: transparency, inclusivity, adaptability, collaboration, and community. We can relate those principles to specific behaviors that propel the principles forward and keep them firmly rooted as part of the organization’s culture.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Google NSynth Super puts Magenta AI into open-source synthesizer

        Google’s Magenta AI has spawned an unexpected hardware device, the NSynth Super synthesizer that uses machine learning to create new sounds. Based on the Magenta research project, it’s built using the NSynth neutral synthesizer that Google released last year, embodying the AI smarts in a tactile physical interface.

      • Open Source Hardware Video Game Music Player

        [Aidan Lawrence] likes classic synthesized video game music in the same way that other people “like” breathing and eating. He spent a good deal of 2017 working on a line of devices based on the Yamaha YM2612 used in the Sega Genesis to get his feet wet in the world of gaming synths, and is now ready to take the wraps off his latest and most refined creation.

  • Programming/Development
    • Which programming languages pay best, most popular? Developers’ top choices

      Stack Overflow has released the results of its annual survey of 100,000 developers, revealing the most-popular, top-earning, and preferred programming languages.

      The most-loved languages are Kotlin and Mozilla-developed Rust, according to Stack Overflow’s 2018 developer survey.

    • Developers love trendy new languages, but earn more with functional programming

      JavaScript remains the most widely used programming language among professional developers, making that six years at the top for the lingua franca of Web development. Other Web tech including HTML (#2 in the ranking), CSS (#3), and PHP (#9). Business-oriented languages were also in wide use, with SQL at #4, Java at #5, and C# at #8. Shell scripting made a surprising showing at #6 (having not shown up at all in past years, which suggests that the questions have changed year-to-year), Python appeared at #7, and systems programming stalwart C++ rounded out the top 10.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • ONF Launches New Open Source SDN Switching Platform – Stratum

      The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is creating a new open source project that stems largely from Google’s desire for programmable white boxes that are easily interchangeable.

      The new project, named Stratum, will create a reference platform for a truly software-defined data plane along with a new set of software-defined networking (SDN) interfaces. Its goal is to provide a white box switch and an open software system.

    • Google Seeds Latest SDN Effort

      Google contributed code to an open-source project organized by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), the latest effort in software-defined networks (SDNs). Stratum will use the P4 programming language and a handful of open-source interfaces to manage large networks for data centers and carriers.

      The group aims to release open-source code early next year, available on multiple networking chips and systems. So far, the project consists of a handful of software companies along with five chip vendors, five potential users, and four OEMs, including Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Cavium, China Unicom, Dell EMC, Mellanox, and Tencent.

  • Graduate sues Anglia Ruskin University claiming she ended up with a ‘mickey mouse’ degree

    A graduate is suing her university, claiming boasts in its prospectus about high quality teaching and excellent career prospects were fraudulently misleading after she ended up with a ‘mickey mouse’ degree.

  • Hardware
    • Trump Blocks Broadcom Takeover of Qualcomm on Security Risks

      President Donald Trump issued an executive order Monday blocking Broadcom Ltd. from pursuing its hostile takeover of Qualcomm Inc., scuttling a $117 billion deal that had been scrutinized by a secretive panel over the tie-up’s threat to U.S. national security.

      Trump acted on a recommendation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews acquisitions of American firms by foreign investors. The decision was unveiled just hours after Hock Tan, the chief executive officer of Singapore-based Broadcom, met with officials at the Pentagon in a last-ditch effort to salvage what would have been the biggest technology deal in history.

    • President Trump Blocks Broadcom Purchase of Qualcomm

      Broadcom is in the process of moving its legal headquarters from Singapore to the U.S., with the company planning on finishing the move by April 3, 2018. Trump hosted Broadcom CEO Hock E. Tan in the White House last year as he announced the move, and the company had hoped that would help it skirt the national security review.

    • Trump Blocks Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm

      President Trump on Monday blocked Broadcom’s $117 billion bid for the chip maker Qualcomm, citing national security concerns and sending a clear signal that he was willing to take extraordinary measures to promote his administration’s increasingly protectionist stance.

      In a presidential order, Mr. Trump said “credible evidence” had led him to believe that if Singapore-based Broadcom were to acquire control of Qualcomm, it “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.” The acquisition, if it had gone through, would have been the largest technology deal in history.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Feds Bust CEO Allegedly Selling Custom BlackBerry Phones to Sinaloa Drug Cartel

      Now, the FBI has arrested the owner of one of the most established companies, Phantom Secure, as part of a complex law enforcement operation, according to court records and sources familiar with the matter.

      “FBI are flexing their muscle,” one source familiar with the secure phone industry, and who gave Motherboard specific and accurate details about the operation before it was public knowledge, said. Motherboard granted the sources in this story anonymity to talk about sensitive developments in the secure phone trade. The source said the Phantom operation was carried out in partnership with Canadian and Australian authorities.

    • WHO: Access To Hepatitis C Treatment Increasing, But Most Patients Undiagnosed

      The report also found that the majority of the estimated 71 million people living with HCV remain untreated, mostly because they are not diagnosed. Globally, it says, only about one in five people living with HCV in 2016 had been diagnosed, and in low-income countries, less than 10 percent of people infected with HCV had been diagnosed. Some 40 percent are diagnosed in high-income countries, says the report.

  • Security
    • Judge clears way for breach victims to sue Yahoo

      Among the suits were claims alleging negligence and breach of contract.


      Yahoo believes that all 3 billion of its user accounts were affected by the 2013 breach.

    • Data breach victims can sue Yahoo in the United States: judge

      Yahoo was accused of being too slow to disclose three data breaches that occurred from 2013 and 2016, increasing users’ risk of identity theft and requiring them to spend money on credit freeze, monitoring and other protection services.

    • Distrust of Symantec TLS Certificates

      A Certification Authority (CA) is an organization that browser vendors (like Mozilla) trust to issue certificates to websites. Last year, Mozilla published and discussed a set of issues with one of the oldest and largest CAs run by Symantec. The discussion resulted in the adoption of a consensus proposal to gradually remove trust in all Symantec TLS/SSL certificates from Firefox. The proposal includes a number of phases designed to minimize the impact of the change to Firefox users:

    • How Creative DDOS Attacks Still Slip Past Defenses

      Distributed denial of service attacks, in which hackers use a targeted hose of junk traffic to overwhelm a service or take a server offline, have been a digital menace for decades. But in just the last 18 months, the public picture of DDoS defense has evolved rapidly. In fall 2016, a rash of then-unprecedented attacks caused internet outages and other service disruptions at a series of internet infrastructure and telecom companies around the world. Those attacks walloped their victims with floods of malicious data measured up to 1.2 Tbps. And they gave the impression that massive, “volumetric” DDOS attacks can be nearly impossible to defend against.

    • Potent malware that hid for six years spread through routers

      Slingshot—which gets its name from text found inside some of the recovered malware samples—is among the most advanced attack platforms ever discovered, which means it was likely developed on behalf of a well-resourced country, researchers with Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab reported Friday. The sophistication of the malware rivals that of Regin—the advanced backdoor that infected Belgian telecom Belgacom and other high-profile targets for years—and Project Sauron, a separate piece of malware suspected of being developed by a nation-state that also remained hidden for years.

    • Hidden For 6 Years, ‘Slingshot’ Malware Hacks Your PC Through Your Router
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Microsoft Admits It Incorrectly Upgraded Some Windows 10 Users to v1709 [Ed: Windows Update is technically (not a joke) a botnet. It takes over people's PCs and hands them over for Microsoft to use up their CPU and bandwidth. Microsoft has ignored users' "update" settings since at least Windows XP days.]

      Microsoft admitted last week that it incorrectly updated some Windows 10 users to the latest version of the Windows 10 operating system —version 1709— despite users having specifically paused update operations in their OS settings.

      The admission came in a knowledge base article updated last week. Not all users of older Windows versions were forcibly updated, but only those of Windows 10 v1703 (Creators Update).

      This is the version where Microsoft added special controls to the Windows Update setting section that allow users to pause OS updates in case they have driver or other hardware issues with the latest OS version.

    • We Still Need More HTTPS: Government Middleboxes Caught Injecting Spyware, Ads, and Cryptocurrency Miners

      Last week, researchers at Citizen Lab discovered that Sandvine’s PacketLogic devices were being used to hijack users’ unencrypted internet connections, making yet another case for encrypting the web with HTTPS. In Turkey and Syria, users who were trying to download legitimate applications were instead served malicious software intending to spy on them. In Egypt, these devices injected money-making content into users’ web traffic, including advertisements and cryptocurrency mining scripts.

      These are all standard machine-in-the-middle attacks, where a computer on the path between your browser and a legitimate web server is able to intercept and modify your traffic data. This can happen if your web connections use HTTP, since data sent over HTTP is unencrypted and can be modified or read by anyone on the network.

      The Sandvine middleboxes were doing exactly this. On Türk Telekom’s network, it was reported that when a user attempted to download legitimate applications over HTTP, these devices injected fake “redirect” messages which caused the user’s browser to fetch the file from a different, malicious, site. Users downloading common applications like Avast Antivirus, 7-Zip, Opera, CCleaner, and programs from had their downloads silently redirected. Telecom Egypt’s Sandvine devices, Citizen Lab noted, were using similar methods to inject money-making content into HTTP connections, by redirecting existing ad links to affiliate advertisements and legitimate javascript files to cryptocurrency mining scripts.

    • Let’s Encrypt takes free “wildcard” certificates live
    • GuardiCore Upgrades Infection Monkey Open Source Cyber Security Testing Tool
    • A Guide To Securing Docker and Kubernetes Containers With a Firewall
    • How IBM Helps Organizations to Improve Security with Incident Response

      Protecting organizations against cyber-security threats isn’t just about prevention, it’s also about incident response. There are many different organizations that provide these security capabilities, including IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS), which is led by Wendi Whitmore.

      In the attached video interview Whitmore explains how incident response works and how she helps organizations to define a winning strategy. Succeeding at incident response in Whitmore’s view, shouldn’t be focused just on prevention but on building a resilient environment.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • ‘Modernization’: Media’s Favorite Euphemism for Military Buildup

      A variation on this tautology is “overhaul” (New York Times, 8/27/17) or “rebuild” (The Hill, 1/20/18), the idea being that something has fallen into disrepair or broken down and simply needs to be put back together. How vast new expenditures on weapons that can already end civilization can be justified in either financial or moral terms is simply breezed past. A “modern” United States is self-evidently preferable to a pre-modern one, and the United States must be “modern” to “keep pace” with perennial Bad Guys Russia and China.

    • The US Government Is Considering Drafting Middle-Aged Hackers To Fight The Cyberwar

      There’s no time like the near future to be conscripted into military service. Due to citizens’ declining interest in being personally involved in the government’s multiple Forever Wars, the Commission on Military, National and Public Service is exploring its options. And one of the options on the table is removing restrictions on certain draftees (or volunteers) headed for certain positions in the armed forces.

    • Erdogan marries Turkish ultranationalist salute with that of Muslim Brotherhood
    • The New York Times proves that Thomas Friedman was so wrong about Saudi Arabia
    • Russian to Judgement

      The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s now assure you Russian “novochok” nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil. As with the Iraqi WMD dossier, it is essential to comb the evidence very finely. A vital missing word from Theresa May’s statement yesterday was “only”. She did not state that the nerve agent used was manufactured ONLY by Russia. She rather stated this group of nerve agents had been “developed by” Russia. Antibiotics were first developed by a Scotsman, but that is not evidence that all antibiotics are today administered by Scots.

      The “novochok” group of nerve agents – a very loose term simply for a collection of new nerve agents the Soviet Union were developing fifty years ago – will almost certainly have been analysed and reproduced by Porton Down. That is entirely what Porton Down is there for. It used to make chemical and biological weapons as weapons, and today it still does make them in small quantities in order to research defences and antidotes. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian chemists made a lot of information available on these nerve agents. And one country which has always manufactured very similar persistent nerve agents is Israel. This Foreign Policy magazine (a very establishment US publication) article on Israel‘s chemical and biological weapon capability is very interesting indeed. I will return to Israel later in this article.

      Incidentally, novachok is not a specific substance but a class of new nerve agents. Sources agree they were designed to be persistent, and of an order of magnitude stronger than sarin or VX. That is rather hard to square with the fact that thankfully nobody has died and those possibly in contact just have to wash their clothes.

    • The Strange Case of the Russian Spy Poisoning

      The suspected nerve agent attack upon former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, which also affected his daughter in the English city of Salisbury last Sunday, has given rise to too much speculation, too much hysteria, and too little analysis or insight. It has provided ammunition for the Russophobic Western media to make accusations that it was another example of Russia in general and Vladimir Putin in particular disposing of a supposed enemy of the Kremlin.

    • Republicans Want to Look at Gun Violence in Movies? OK, Let’s Look

      A ticket to a PG-13 movie can be sold to anyone over 13, while an R rating requires viewers under 17 to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. The PG-13 rating (by far the most lucrative one the MPAA dishes out) was invented in 1984 when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom didn’t seem quite violent enough for an R rating, but still featured a guy’s heart being torn out of his chest. In director Stephen Spielberg’s words, it was a way to put “a little hot sauce” on a PG rating, while still allowing children to watch.

      Thirty years later, a study found that gun violence in PG-13 movies had tripled, and today there is more gun violence in PG-13 movies than R-rated ones. So according to the MPAA, showing someone gleefully firing a weapon is fine for children, but showing what happens when bullets strike a person is not.

      Hollywood’s penchant for sensationalizing violence is an old, tired argument. You can find studies and anecdotal evidence both that it’s poisoning our children, and that it’s almost entirely harmless. But while people fret over that controversy, they ignore the fact that most people get their education on how guns work from on-screen violence, and movies (and TV) mislead their audience on how useful — not to mention easy to use — firearms are.

    • Russia warns UK of ‘consequences’ of cyber strike after Skripal poisoning

      The Russian Embassy has responded to speculation the UK will launch a retaliatory attack.


      If there is no credible response from the Kremlin, Mrs May has pledged to set out a “full range” of measures to be taken in response.

      The Government has not publicly disclosed the options under consideration but reports on Tuesday suggested one possibility was a cyber counter-attack.

      Responding to the speculation, the Russian Embassy in the UK said: “Statements by a number of MPs, ‘Whitehall sources’ and ‘experts’ regarding a possible ‘deployment’ of ‘offensive cyber-capabilities’ cause serious concern.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Xiaxue finds an admirer in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after she trolls “virtue-signalling” American activist

      Singaporean blogger and YouTuber Xiaxue has drawn appreciation from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after a tweet of hers went viral.

      Interestingly, the tweet that garnered praise from Assange is about 10 months old. In May 2017, American author and activist Dan Arel was asked to provide proof for accusing someone for being a rapist. In response, he tweeted that believed victims of rape.

    • Lawyer for Assange Leaves Miller & Chevalier as Mueller Probe Heats Up

      Barry Pollack, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s Washington, D.C.-based attorney, has left Miller & Chevalier for a smaller boutique law firm and is representing an unnamed client involved in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

      “I am representing someone with respect to the Mueller probe,” said Pollack, who is now a partner at Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner, & Sauber. “The representation is not public at this point,” he said.

      Pollack said Assange, whose organization in 2016 released troves of Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian hackers, has not been contacted by Mueller’s office thus far. Pollack said he is representing Assange only in relation to an ongoing criminal investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia. He gave no hints as to who he was representing in connection with Mueller’s investigation.

    • Chelsea Manning on Sharing Military Documents With Wikileaks: ‘It Wasn’t a Mistake’

      Speaking at the SXSW Conference Tuesday morning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst said she had no regrets about her “data dump” of hundreds of thousands of classified military documents with WikiLeaks in 2010.

      “I made a decision to do something and I made that decision and I’m owning that decision. When it comes to something like that it’s not about second-guessing it or regretting it,” Manning told the audience in Austin, Tex.

    • Chelsea Manning On Life After Prison, Advocacy, And Coder Ethics — SXSW

      Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower who was convicted of leaking classified information, talked about re-entering civilian life after spending seven years in federal prison.

  • Finance
    • Central Banks Urged to Study Digital Currency Risks and Rewards

      The BIS — the club of the world’s largest central banks — said in a report on Monday that the new form of money could one day be issued by policy makers for tasks such as settling payments among financial institutions. At the same time, it warned that digital coins might destabilize traditional lenders if offered widely to the general public.

    • Magic Leap Raises $461 Million From Saudis

      Magic Leap announced Wednesday that it had raised $461 million, mostly from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment arm. The company described the investment as the second closing of a round that totaled $963 million. The first part, announced in October, was led by Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company.

      Magic Leap has raised more than $2.3 billion to date, and has been valued at above $6 billion. Google, Alibaba and Morgan Stanley are already investors.

    • Dropbox files $7 billion IPO

      The cloud storage company Dropbox on Monday filed to issue public stock at a valuation of roughly $7 billion, well below its valuation during its last public offering several years ago.

    • Zuckerberg’s Money Manager Bets on Bone-Broth Company
    • Prediction that $45 billion added to GDP from digital transformation

      The optimism about digital transformation and economic growth comes from research – Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific – undertaken by Microsoft in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific with 1,560 global business decision makers, including 100 in Australia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Tanzania: Electoral Processes Questioned
    • The Smallness of Mark Zuckerberg And why he should not be trusted as the world’s custodian of information

      People who seek high office should have a long record of honesty, good judgment, and good character. That should not be too much to ask, but it disqualifies a lot of people, Mark Zuckerberg among them.

    • If The US Government Can’t Figure Out Who’s A Russian Troll, Why Should It Expect Internet Companies To Do So?

      A few weeks back, following the DOJ’s indictment of various Russians for interfering in the US election, we noted that the indictment showed just how silly it was to blame various internet platforms for not magically stopping these Russians because in many cases, they bent over backwards to appear to be regular, everyday Americans. And now, with pressure coming from elected officials to regulate internet platforms if they somehow fail to catch Russian bots, it seems worth pointing out the flip side of the “why couldn’t internet companies catch these guys” question: which is why couldn’t the government?

    • Trump’s “fake news” smear is starting to have dangerous consequences
    • Guy Verhofstadt tells Juncker to ‘sort out’ Selmayrgate

      The scandal over the flash promotion of Martin Selmayr to the Commission’s most powerful civil service post is “bad for Europe and bad for the European Commission,” leading liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt told MEPs.

      Addressing a debate at the Parliament’s plenary session on Brexit, the former Belgian prime minister directed his opening remarks to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who had opened the session.

      “Your former head of cabinet yesterday has done something that nobody has done ever before here in this house: to unite the whole parliament, the left and the right,” said Verhofstadt, as Selmayr glowered at him from his position seated behind his former boss. “Its’a not a joke, you have to sort it out,” he added.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Schools grapple with how to accommodate student activism
    • The antiquarian assault on press freedom

      Today, the great and the good are going down much the same road when faced with speech they would prefer to suppress. Old-fashioned hair-trigger libel actions are one technique: witness Jeremy Corbyn seriously threatening to sue fellow politician Ben Bradley for libel last month over unguarded comments. But the last few years have also seen another insidious piece of legal antiquarianism being put into operation – and one concerned directly with the publication of the truth.

    • We Made A Documentary Exposing The ‘Israel Lobby.’ Why Hasn’t It Run?

      You never know who you’re going to spot at the Doha Four Seasons in Qatar. So I was only somewhat surprised when I found myself standing next to Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz in the omelet line last Saturday.

      It was a fortuitous meeting. Dershowitz had recently played a small role in an episode that was threatening the reputation of my long-time employer, Al Jazeera. So naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to defend it.

      The circumstances of the threat were these: In 2016, the award-winning Investigative Unit I directed sent an undercover reporter to look into how Israel wields influence in America through the pro-Israel American community. But when some right wing American supporters of Israel found out about the documentary, there was a massive backlash. It was even labeled as anti-Semitic in a spate of articles.

    • Dear Leader McConnell: Don’t pass FOSTA

      We have heard that the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865) may be on the U.S. Senate floor this week for a final vote. We are concerned that the U.S. Senate appears to be rushing to pass a seriously flawed bill without considering the impact it will have on Internet users and free speech.

    • Iowa Town Threatens Critical Resident With A Lawsuit, Gets Sued By The ACLU Instead

      A small town in Iowa has decided one of its residents has too much First Amendment. Boldly marching forward in the face of mild criticism, Sibley’s government had its lawyer threaten a local man with a lawsuit if he didn’t take down or alter his website that criticized the town government for its repeated failure to address a serious problem in the town.

      Sibley has less than 3,000 residents but it is the home to a large animal byproduct processing plant. Iowa Drying and Processing went into operation five years ago. Unaffectionately nicknamed the “Blood Plant,” IDP’s operations were the subject of complaints due to the pervasive foul odor emanating from it.

      Local programmer Jeremy Harms set up a website advising people to stay away from Sibley after repeated calls for action were met with a lot of doing nothing by city politicians. His website previously answered the question about relocating to Sibley with “No.” Thanks to the city’s legal threats, the answer has been upgraded to “Maybe.” In addition to pulling his hard “no,” Sibley also amended his original post to reflect the few positives the town has.

    • Trump’s Lawyers Apparently Unfamiliar With Streisand Effect Or 1st Amendment’s Limits On Prior Restraint

      Over this past weekend, it was revealed that (1) the adult film actress Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), who has claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump and then was given $130,000 to stay silent about it, is scheduled to appear on 60 Minutes next weekend and (2) President Trump’s lawyers are considering going to court to block CBS from airing it. This is silly, dumb and not actually allowed by the law.

    • SA’s internet censorship bill will break media, marketing

      Nearly half of our 400 MPs were too apathetic to pitch up for one of the most-significant debates seen by Parliament in recent years. And, of the 224 elected representatives who deigned to vote, a staggering 189 supported a bill that is so preposterous it’s almost comedic.

      The Film and Publications Amendment Bill gives the erstwhile Film and Publications Board the right to regulate online content. Ostensibly, the bill is designed to protect children from being exposed to disturbing content. Laudably, it aims to curb revenge porn and hate speech while also addressing the scourge of fake news.

    • Sobchak proposes to repeal ‘censorship’ law

      In the course of the pre-election debate presidential hopeful Kseniya Sobchak proposed to repeal Article 282 of the Criminal Code on Incitement of Hatred or Enmity. She stated this at the debates on Channel One.

      “In our program, as you know, we are for the abolition of Article 282, because this article, which was allegedly made to fight extremists, is used against people who like the posts of dissenters in Russia… Just like Yarovaya’s package, which enables all special services to monitor each of us,” – RIA Novosti quotes her words.

      “Yarovaya’s package will be used in the business interests of thievish officials, so I am in favor of repealing Article 282, and of disembodying the department – the so-called E, which ostensibly fights extremists, but in fact it fights dissenters,” added Sobchak.

    • Trump admin sets new record for censorship of federal files

      The federal government denied more public records requests in 2017 than at any other point in the past decade, according to an analysis by the AP. Out of 823,222 requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act last year, the government censored or failed to provide records in 78% of cases claiming that it could either not find the requested files or that releasing the information would be illegal under U.S. law.

    • Age Verification pushed back

      The deadline for the implementation of the Government’s potentially disastrous Age Verification scheme has officially been pushed back to ‘before the end of the year’.

    • Reporter’s viral eye-roll causes trouble in China
    • An Epic Eye Roll Enthralls China
    • This Video Of A Chinese Reporter’s Eye Roll Made Her An Instant Hero On The Internet
    • Minitrue: Do Not Hype Two Sessions Reporter’s Eyeroll
    • The student censors in anti-fascist clothing

      Student politics reached a new low this month, when Yaron Brook, an American-Israeli writer, and Carl Benjamin, a popular political YouTuber, were prevented from speaking to the Libertarian Society at King’s College London by a group of activists who claimed Brook and Benjamin were ‘fascists’ and ‘white supremacists’.

      Wearing masks, the activists punched their way through security, hospitalising one guard, before setting off smoke bombs, fire alarms and thundering through the room where the event was taking place, seeking to intimidate speakers, students and staff. From what we know, the protagonists were from outside King’s, but their stunt was organised with the complicity of certain King’s students. This was clear given that seven left-wing student societies had organised a protest the day before the Libertarian Society talk, with the stated aim of keeping the speakers ‘off campus’. It seems that students were once again successful in No Platforming speakers and shutting down an event designed to be a forum for debate and discussion.

    • The resurgence of class struggle and the fight against Internet censorship

      The American government, Internet companies and capitalist states around the world are engaged in an aggressive campaign to censor the Internet, under the guise of combating “fake news” and “Russian meddling.” The real aim is to suppress and criminalize the growth of opposition in the working class to austerity, war and social inequality.

      On Sunday, April 22, the World Socialist Web Site, Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) are holding a public conference in Detroit, Michigan to mobilize the working class against Internet censorship.

    • The Marketplace of Ideas: Assaulting the First Amendment

      Poetry of freedom, this verse has safeguarded the chase of truth in ways that no military might can provide or preserve be it in the United States or elsewhere.

      Almost 250 years later, we are, again, witness to an evident onslaught upon the core of our collective freedom… the marketplace of ideas.


      Under the First Amendment, people may elect to embrace or promote “radical” anti-American, anti-Israeli or even anti-Semitic commentary or opinion; it is a choice left to them and them alone. Neither the government nor any of its minions have the constitutional authority to limit access to information not in itself otherwise prohibited by law.

      The marketplace must be open to all ideas – even false ideas. In an open marketplace ideas must “clash” and “grapple;” they must stand up to assault and prove their worthiness. Truth cannot be pampered, too delicate to be examined – truth must be tested, forged in the furnace of doubt and questioning.

      And, where, as here, government seeks to reprimand Al Jazeera for ensuring our collective right to the widest diversity of information and opinion it is a punishment that penalizes all.

    • Russia Censors News Reports About Anti-Putin Ice Graffiti, Leaving Its Contents Entirely Up To Our Collective Imagination

      Readers here will be familiar with the Streisand Effect, by which a topic or information becomes wildly viral due to the very attempts at censoring it. The idea is that by trying to keep Subject X out of the news, the public suddenly is far more exposed to Subject X as a result of news coverage of the cover-up. This story slightly deviates from the Streisand Effect formula, but only in the most hilarious way.

      People should know by now that Vladimir Putin is a strong-arm “President” that runs the country like a fiefdom. As such, most if not all wings of his government serve him personally far more directly than they do his constituents. Evidence of this is practically everywhere, especially in how his government and non-government organizations in Russia react to his political opponents. Typically, his political rivals are jailed, silenced, or otherwise tamped down viciously in terms of how much exposure they can get to challenge his political position. A recent example of this concerns presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, whose supporters painted the ice on a frozen river in St. Petersburg with the mildest anti-Putin slogan, reading “Against Putin.” As a result, Roskomnadzor, the government agency featured in our pages for its censorship of websites in the name of literally anything it can dream up, ordered news groups to censor the contents of the message-on-ice in any reporting on the incident.

    • Twitter’s Attempt To Clean Up Spammers Meant That People Sarcastically Tweeting ‘Kill Me’ Were Suspended

      Just recently, Senator Amy Klobuchar suggested that the government should start fining social media platforms that don’t remove bots fast enough. We’ve pointed out how silly and counterproductive (not to mention unconstitutional) this likely would be. However, every time we see people demanding that these platforms better moderate their content, we end up with examples of why perhaps we really don’t want those companies to be making these kinds of decisions.

      You may have heard that, over the weekend, Twitter started its latest sweep of accounts to shutdown. Much of the focus was on so-called Tweetdeckers, which were basically a network of teens using Tweetdeck software to retweet accounts for money. In particular, it was widely reported that a bunch of accounts known for copying (without attribution) the marginally funny tweets of others and then paying “Tweetdeckers” for mass promotion. These accounts were shutdown en masse over the weekend.

    • New project pairs journalists with musicians to fight censorship

      A new project from Reporters Without Borders Germany is using a loophole in certain nations’ censorship laws to deliver news, Pitchfork reports. The Uncensored Playlist pairs journalists with local musicians in China, Egypt, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam to write songs which convey news stories that would otherwise be censored beyond meaning. The songs are then uploaded on Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music, with the names of the artists and reporters protected in their home countries.

    • New Journalism Project Spreads Censored News Through Music Streaming Services

      The Uncensored Playlist is a new project from Reporters Without Borders Germany that uses music streaming services to spread censored news stories around the world. It pairs local journalists with local musicians in China, Egypt, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam to write songs that convey the news, and then releases the songs via Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music. All of the songs have been recorded in English as well as the individual countries’ languages. For the songs’ international release, they are credited to the journalists that wrote them. However, to protect the writers and to avoid censorship laws, for their release within their original countries, they are credited to aliases and feature alternate titles.

    • “Indecent” Brings Issues of Censorship and Anti-Semitism Center Stage

      We don’t talk nearly enough about how censorship is often the first step towards total fascism and tyranny, and this show covers that topic expertly with this based-on-a-true-story rooted in that very subject. We also see America’s complacency in the horrors that happen in the rest of the world, as it’s the USA where the actors in God of Vengeance are tried in court. This is a very unusual and necessary look at world history, as our history books like to paint us as the heroes in this particular series of events. In Indecent we see the cast of characters go from eager and excited about a show to victims of actual genocide in roughly ninety minutes, and it is a powerful and important message about how quickly things spiral out of control and who’s to blame when they do. While I would like to see more from the plethora of Jewish stories available to us, this show’s focus on what leads to things like the Holocaust and its original point of view regarding those events is still refreshing. While not perfect, this show leaves us with plenty to chew on and mull over for weeks after the fact. That’s art, warts and all, and I’m grateful to see The Guthrie taking on such powerful work.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Government ‘unlawfully delegated’ bulk data powers to GCHQ, court hears

      Privacy International urges Britain’s most secret court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, to rule that the government illegally collected surveillance data from internet and phone companies until at least September 2017

    • Leaked Tools Show How NSA Pulls Back from Target Computers If They’re Already Hacked by Other Nations

      An interesting research published this month reveals how the National Security Agency (NSA) quickly pulls back from its target machines if it spots any other malware dropped by threat groups. An array of tools called Territorial Dispute was apparently dropped by the Shadow Brokers along with the infamous EternalBlue exploit, however, it didn’t receive much attention due to its non-offensive nature.

    • EFF and 23 Groups Tell Congress to Oppose the CLOUD Act

      EFF and 23 other civil liberties organizations sent a letter to Congress urging Members and Senators to oppose the CLOUD Act and any efforts to attach it to other legislation.

      The CLOUD Act (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943) is a dangerous bill that would tear away global privacy protections by allowing police in the United States and abroad to grab cross-border data without following the privacy rules of where the data is stored. Currently, law enforcement requests for cross-border data often use a legal system called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, or MLATs. This system ensures that, for example, should a foreign government wish to seize communications stored in the United States, that data is properly secured by the Fourth Amendment requirement for a search warrant.

      The other groups signing the new coalition letter against the CLOUD Act are Access Now, Advocacy for Principled Action in Government, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Campaign for Liberty, Center for Democracy & Technology, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Constitutional Alliance, Defending Rights & Dissent, Demand Progress Action, Equality California, Free Press Action Fund, Government Accountability Project, Government Information Watch, Human Rights Watch, Liberty Coalition, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Black Justice Coalition, New America’s Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia, People For the American Way, and Restore The Fourth.

    • James Clapper avoids charges for ‘clearly erroneous’ surveillance testimony

      Former intelligence chief James Clapper is poised to avoid charges for allegedly lying to Congress after five years of apparent inaction by the Justice Department.

      Clapper, director of national intelligence from 2010 to 2017, admitted giving “clearly erroneous” testimony about mass surveillance in March 2013, and offered differing explanations for why.

      Two criminal statutes that cover lying to Congress have five-year statutes of limitations, establishing a Monday deadline to charge Clapper, who in retirement has emerged as a leading critic of President Trump.

      The under-oath untruth was exposed by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who sparked national debate on surveillance policy with leaks to the press.

      Many members of Congress, mostly Republicans supportive of new limits on electronic surveillance, called for Clapper to be prosecuted as the deadline neared, saying unpunished perjury jeopardizes the ability of Congress to perform oversight.

      “He admitted to lying to Congress and was unremorseful and flippant about it,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told the Washington Examiner. “The integrity of our federal government is at stake because his behavior sets the standard for the entire intelligence community.”

    • RedisWannaMine Unveiled: New Cryptojacking Attack Powered by Redis and NSA Exploits

      Recently cryptojacking attacks have been spreading like wildfire. At Imperva we have witnessed it firsthand and even concluded that these attacks hold roughly 90% of all remote code execution attacks in web applications.

      Having said that, all of the attacks we have seen so far, were somewhat limited in their complexity and capability. The attacks contained malicious code that downloaded a cryptominer executable file and ran it with a basic evasion technique or none at all.

      This week we saw a new generation of cryptojacking attacks aimed at both database servers and application servers. We dubbed one of these attacks RedisWannaMine.

    • NSA Retreats From Targeted PCs If They’re Already Infected by Other APT Malware

      Hacking tools leaked last year and believed to belong to the US National Security Agency (NSA) contain an utility for detecting the presence of malware developed by other cyber-espionage groups.

      This utility, going by the codename of “Territorial Dispute,” is meant to alert NSA operators about the presence of other APT hacking groups on a compromised computer and allows an NSA operator to retreat from an infected machine and avoid further exposure of NSA hacking tools and operations to other nation-state attackers.

    • Aadhaar hearings: Day 15 saw arguments on Aadhaar as a money bill, interim orders for NEET registrations were also passed

      This was compared to the use of Aadhaar today. It was argued that today, it was not possible for an individual to survive without Aadhaar, and it was needed from ‘birth to death’. It was further argued that worldwide, there was a turn towards limiting the use of data while here, the opposite was happening.

      In view of this, it was argued that Section 57 allowing the use of Aadhaar for ‘any purpose’ could not be interpreted to mean use for ‘all purposes’. The Bench, here, also questioned if there was any compelling state interest in authorising private parties to mandate Aadhaar. Further, previous arguments on Section 57 as an excessive delegation of essential functions were reiterated.

    • How to Make a Clean Break With the Clingiest Social Networks

      [...] Wanting to delete your account is one thing, but actually being able to hit the delete button is another story. Social media outlets make money off of you and your information, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t want to let you go. Because of this, the biggest networks have made it overly complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.

    • World Sticks to Cash as Sweden Heads Alone Into Cashless Future

      That resurgence appears to be driven by so-called store-of-value motives (reflecting lower opportunity cost of holding cash) rather than by payment needs, BIS said. That means as interest rates fall — and even go negative some places — there is more incentive to hold cash.

    • US NTIA Boss On Whois Debate: ‘Keep Data Open For IP Rightsholders, Others’

      US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information David Redl today weighed in on the debate over changes to the storage and public display of personal information of domain name registrants at the meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Border Control Enthusiast Banned From Crossing UK Border

      Local newspaper Luton Today reports that Southern was denied entry to the UK after she was photographed in the Bedfordshire town displaying inflammatory posters that stated “Allah is a gay god.”

    • #DearNonNatives: What Native Americans Want Non-Natives To Know
    • Nebraska Is Illegally Obtaining and Storing Execution Drugs in Defiance of Federal Law

      The state has operated outside the law using an improper license to purchase and store lethal injection drugs.

      For years, the state of Nebraska has had a troubled history of cutting corners in its zealous pursuit of lethal-injection drugs to keep its death penalty program alive. In November, the state announced that it would use an experimental drug cocktail not previously used in the United States to carry out its next execution. What the state didn’t reveal, however, is that it was violating federal law when acquiring the ingredients for the lethal cocktail.

      In a complaint filed today by the ACLU of Nebraska with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the ACLU has shown that the state of Nebraska is playing fast and loose with DEA registrations in order to covertly obtain and store the drugs it intends to use for executing prisoners. The DEA should seize the drugs Nebraska has unlawfully obtained before they can be used in an execution.

      As the complaint shows, a person or entity, including government agencies, needs a DEA registration to import a controlled substance. Federal law also requires those that handle a controlled substance to have a DEA registration particular to their authorized usage. These laws apply to the Nebraska Department of Corrections and to the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP), where the state carries out executions. But both institutions are ignoring the law in order to get the execution drugs they need to carry out the death penalty.

    • The Trump Administration’s Campaign to Weaken Civil Service Ramps Up at the VA

      Last June, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by signing a bipartisan bill to make it easier to fire employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The law, a rare rollback of the federal government’s strict civil-service job protections, was intended as a much-needed fix for an organization widely perceived as broken. “VA accountability is essential to making sure that our veterans are treated with the respect they have so richly earned through their blood, sweat and tears,” Trump said that day. “Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide.”

      At the time, proponents of the bill repeatedly emphasized that it would hold everyone — especially top officials — accountable: “senior executives,” stressed Senate Veterans Committee chair Johnny Isakson; “medical directors,” specified Trump; anyone who “undermined trust” in the VA, according to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin advocated for the measure, called the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, by highlighting a case in which the agency had to wait 30 days to fire a worker caught watching porn with a patient.

    • Schools Should Use Walkouts in Protest of Gun Violence as a Teaching Moment

      A disciplinary response to the walkout is a disservice to young people and a missed educational opportunity.

      For 17 minutes on March 14, students and their supporters across the country are planning to walk out of their schools, honoring the victims of the Parkland school shooting and calling for Congress to pass meaningful gun regulation. Unfortunately, some schools view this act as a disruption and are threatening to discipline students who participate. A disciplinary response is a disservice to young people and a missed educational opportunity.

      Too often, adults discipline students for expressing their opinions or simply being themselves. LGBTQ students have been sent home for expressing their sexual orientation, and girls have been disciplined when they challenge gendered uniform policies. Students of color are more likely than their white classmates to be disciplined, especially for subjective offenses like excessive noise. A hairstyle, a hoodie, or even a creative school science project can be seen as cause for disciplining Black and brown students. Punishment has even been invoked against students who attempt to speak up when they see abuse. That’s what happened to a high school student in Columbia, South Carolina, who was charged with “disturbing schools” after daring to speak up against a police officer’s violent mistreatment of a classmate.

    • The Government’s Case Against California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Policies Is on Weak Legal Ground

      Under the 10th Amendment, the federal government cannot force states or localities to participate in a federal program.

      Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the latest move in this administration’s increasingly desperate attempts to bully states and localities into colluding with its draconian detention and deportation agenda. Following a brief aside to blame all immigrants for violent crime, homicides, and opioid overdose deaths, he told a meeting of the California Peace Officers’ Association that the Justice Department had just filed a major lawsuit against the state of California.

      The lawsuit challenges three state laws passed and signed into law in 2017: AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act; AB 103, a detention statute that was part of an omnibus bill; and SB 54, the California Values Act. The DOJ claims that these three laws “have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California.” In fact, these laws simply ensure that state actors comply with the U.S. Constitution and that local law enforcement’s limited resources are not co-opted for federal immigration enforcement purposes except in certain circumstances.

      AB 103 expands state oversight of California’s local detention facilities when they hold people under contracts with ICE because federal oversight of the ICE detention system is woefully inadequate. And AB 450 reinforces the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement by requiring employers to see a judicial warrant from ICE before they allow ICE to enter a non-public part of a workplace. The Sessions’ lawsuit details the federal government’s objections to these attempts to limit the harm caused by the deportation force that President Trump has unleashed.

    • No Money to Make Bail or Pay for a Lawyer? Too Bad, Say Officials in Glynn County, Georgia

      ACLU’s lawsuit says it’s unconstitutional to have one pretrial system for the wealthy and another for the poor.

      Margery Mock is 28 years old and the mother to an 8-year-old girl. She is currently unemployed and battling homelessness, having spent one month in a hotel and several nights in her storage unit, where all of her belongings are kept. She was recently arrested on an alleged criminal trespassing charge from trying to visit a relative at a motel and incarcerated on a $1,256 bond that she can’t afford.

      Mock is a victim of Glynn County, Georgia’s wealth-based pretrial system. The county allows those with money to walk free while they await trial, while those who can’t make bail remain locked up. It also fails to provide people who can’t afford to pay for a lawyer with a public defender to argue for their release.

      Both practices are illegal. The constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process prohibit people from being jailed simply because they cannot afford a monetary payment. The Sixth Amendment guarantees people accused of crimes will be appointed lawyers to defend them if they cannot afford to hire a private lawyer.

    • Pakistan Court Declares Mobile Data Disconnections By The Government Illegal

      In countries that put far less an emphasis on expanding human rights and personal liberty, it’s become somewhat common for them to use strong-arm tactics to stifle dissent. One aspect of that is often times the suspension or shutdown of mobile networks, the theory being that the messaging and social media apps dissenters use on their phones allow them to organize far better than they otherwise could and therefore cause more trouble. Frankly, this has become something more expected out of Middle East authoritarian regimes than in other places, but they certainly do not have a monopoly on this practice.

      However, there are governments with the ability to reverse course and go back in the right direction. One Pakistani court in Islamabad recently ruled that government shutdown of mobile networks, even if done under some claims for national security, are illegal. The news comes via a translation of a report. As a heads up, you will notice that the translation is imperfect.

    • “No Right Without a Remedy”: Why NSA Whistleblower Protections Are Lacking

      Earlier this month Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, attended a roundtable discussion with the National Security Agency (NSA) Inspector General (IG) Robert Storch. The meeting served as an avenue for the IG to hear comments on the NSA’s whistleblower program.

      In attendance was Andrew Snowdon, NSA whistleblower coordinator and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) counsel, as well as representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, Project on Government Oversight, and Government Accountability Project, among others.

      When explaining his commitment to strengthening whistleblower protections in the NSA, the IG stated, “there is no right without a remedy.”

    • Reality Winner: The Cost of Mounting a Defense Arguing the Government Overclassifies

      This is the no-win situation Winner is in, trying to challenge her conviction after having been denied bail. Because of the way we deal with classified information, she’ll have served a likely full sentence by the time she gets to trial.

      It still may be worth it. After all, if she wins at trial, she’ll avoid a record as a felon.

    • Cop Hits Woman’s Car At 94 MPH, Killing Her Infant. Police Arrest Woman For Negligent Homicide.

      This isn’t apples-to-apples (the court making this declaration was in Ohio, not Louisiana, where this accident took place) but it’s a good rule of thumb. If someone is driving 44 mph over the speed limit, they’ve effectively forfeited their right-of-way status. A left turn taken in front of a speeding officer should give the officer zero preferential treatment in the eyes of the law. The officer should be 100% culpable for the damage and loss of life. Arresting a mother who lost her infant to an officer’s reckless actions is needlessly cruel and serves zero deterrent purpose. Her daughter can’t be killed again.

      The way the Baton Rouge PD is handling this ensures Officer Manuel’s eventual conviction will also have zero deterrent value. It shows officers the PD is willing to arrest victims of their unlawful actions and give them all the time they want — with pay! — to heal up before they’re forced to confront the results of their recklessness. If the DA is smart, the charges against the mother will vanish and the cop will be rung up for his negligent actions.

    • Off-duty Baton Rouge police officer going 94 mph in crash that killed 1-year-old baby, police say

      A Baton Rouge police officer was arrested Friday on a count of negligent homicide, accused of going 94 mph in a Corvette when he caused an off-duty crash on Airline Highway that killed an infant and injured six others.

      The officer, Christopher Manuel, 28, was driving north in a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette shortly after 8 p.m. Oct. 12 on Airline Highway when it struck a Nissan at the intersection at Florline Boulevard that was occupied by four adults and three children.

    • Matthew Keys, now freed from prison, is ready to get back to journalism

      Speaking to Ars by phone last Thursday from a halfway house in California, Keys underscored three basic points about his case. The first, he said, is that it’s all said and done. There will be no further appeal. Secondly, he maintains he did not commit the crime for which he was convicted. Finally, Keys is now ready to write a new chapter of his life: one where he can get back to doing meaningful, workaday journalism.

    • New CIA Director Nominee: When There’s No Justice For Torture

      President Donald Trump nominated CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to succeed Mike Pompeo as director of the agency. Haspel was briefly in charge of a black site prison and helped destroy evidence to cover up torture.

      The possible promotion is but another consequence of the failure and refusal among President Barack Obama’s administration and the political establishment to meaningfully hold officials accountable for torture.

      Trump made the announcement as part of a tweet that indicated CIA Director Mike Pompeo was nominated to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Tillerson was effectively fired.

      Haspel would not only be the first woman to run the CIA. She would also be the first woman, who helped agency officials conceal evidence of torture and abuse against detainees in the “war on terrorism,” to serve as a CIA director.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC must defend net neutrality repeal in court against dozens of litigants

      Twelve lawsuits filed against the Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality repeal have been consolidated into one suit that will be heard at a federal appeals court in California.

      The 12 lawsuits were filed by more than three dozen entities, including state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies.

    • Here’s that Scientology TV network you didn’t ask for
    • Telecom Lobbyists Whine About State Net Neutrality Efforts They Helped Create

      So one, most of the state-level rules closely mirror the same rules the FCC is trying to eliminate, so most of them are fairly uniform. It’s also worth pointing out that these companies already have to navigate a vast array of regulations governing phone, cable and broadband service — rules that can often vary town by town. In other words, these net neutrality efforts aren’t as uncommon, discordant and fractured as the telecom industry might have you believe.

      Granted having disparate state-level protections may in some ways be cumbersome, but that’s again something ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast should have thought a little harder about before killing extremely popular and modest (by international standards) federal protections. Large ISP lobbyists created this mess and, unsurprisingly, they’re simply refusing to own it.

      US Telecom is also being disingenuous in claiming to want “permanent and sustainable rules” via new legislation. As we’ve noted several times, what they really want is a net neutrality law they know they’ll write. One that prohibits ISPs from doing things they never intended to do (like blocking websites entirely), while carving out vast loopholes allowing anti-competitive behavior on numerous other fronts (zero rating, interconnection). The real goal: pass flimsy legislation that pre-empts tougher state rules, or future efforts by the FCC or Congress to implement meaningful protections.

    • On 29th Birthday of World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee Voices The Need For Internet Regulation
    • The web is under threat. Join us and fight for it.

      Today, the World Wide Web turns 29. This year marks a milestone in the web’s history: for the first time, we will cross the tipping point when more than half of the world’s population will be online.

      When I share this exciting news with people, I tend to get one of two concerned reactions:

      How do we get the other half of the world connected?
      Are we sure the rest of the world wants to connect to the web we have today?

    • The Importance of Ending the Internet as We Know It
    • Ten Years Later, Cable Industry Finally Realizes More Ads Is Not The Solution To Cord Cutting

      For years we’ve noted how the traditional cable TV industry is slowly-but-surely bleeding customers tired of paying an arm and a leg for bloated bundles of often terrible programming. And for just as long we’ve documented how far too many cable and broadcast executives are hell bent on doubling down on all of the bad behaviors that cause these defections in the first place. That has ranged from knee jerk price hikes in the face of growing streaming competition, to efforts to stuff more ads into every viewing hour, whether by editing down programs or speeding them up to ensure maximum commercial load.

      The ugly truth most cable and broadcasting executives can’t face is that the era of the sacred cable TV cash cow is over. Television simply isn’t going to be as profitable in the wake of real competition and the more flexible, cheaper pay TV alternatives that competition is providing. And while countless industry executives still somehow think this is a fad they can wait out, there’s growing evidence that at least a few industry executives are finally getting the message.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Federal Judge Says Business Names Provided By Reviewers At A Review Site Are Contributory Trademark Infringement

        Users of the site submitted reviews of companies whose names contained the word “reliable.” The plaintiff claims some of the company names are infringing. The plaintiff, illogically, sues the third party host of user reviews of companies whose names may be infringing on the plaintiff’s trademark. This is where the suit gets tossed because the alleged infringement isn’t taking place at TransportReviews. It’s taking place at all of the businesses allegedly misusing a registered mark.

        But the suit doesn’t get tossed. Instead, the judge says it can continue. The judge actually says user reviews hosted at a review site of businesses whose names might be infringing is the review site’s problem. The only intelligible part of the opinion states there’s no direct infringement. These were only names returned in search results, all of which were input by third party users. The website did not use the plaintiff’s mark to identify its own goods or services. In fact, the site never used the names at all other than to serve up relevant hits for users’ search terms.

        Everything goes sideways after that. The judge decides that because the defendant was notified about this alleged infringement and did not immediately kowtow to a bizarre request directed at completely the wrong party (a middleman hosting third party content that had nothing to do with naming related businesses names that might be infringing), the website can be held responsible for contributory infringement.

    • Copyrights
      • Killing The Golden Goose (Again); How The Copyright Stranglehold Dooms Spotify

        For many, many, many years, we’ve talked about how the legacy entertainment industry will seek to kill the Golden Goose by strangling basically any innovation that is helping it adapt to new innovations. We saw the same pattern over and over and over again. The simple version of it goes like this: the legacy entertainment industry sits around and whines about how awful the internet is because it’s undermining its gatekeeper business model that extracts massive monopoly rents, but does nothing to actually adapt. Eventually, companies come along and innovate and create a service (a) people want that (b) actually is legal and pays the legacy companies lots of money. This should be seen as a win-win for everyone.

        But the legacy companies get jealous of the success of the innovator who did the actual work. They start to overvalue the content and undervalue the innovative service. The short version of this tends to pop up when a legacy entertainment exec says something like “why is innovative company x making so much money when all it’s doing is making use of our content?” Of course, if the service part was so obvious, so easy, and so devoid of value, then the legacy entertainment companies would have done it themselves. But they didn’t. So with the jealousy comes the inevitable demand for more cash from the innovator. And, usually, demands for equity too, which the innovator has basically no ability to resist, because they need to have a “good” relationship with the content companies. But the demands for more (and the jealousy) never go away.

      • U.S. Navy Under Fire in Mass Software Piracy Lawsuit

        German software company Bitmanagement is asking the US Court of Federal Claims for a partial summary judgment against the US Government. According to the software vendor, it’s undisputed that the Navy installed its software on hundreds of thousands of computers without permission, infringing its copyright.

      • Voksi ‘Pirates’ New Serious Sam Game With Permission From Developers

        Best known for his efforts to defeat anti-piracy protection Denuvo, the cracker known as ‘Voksi’ has revealed another string to his bow. After participating in the closed beta of Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour in 2016, he got friendly with the game’s developers. Now, with their permission, he’s giving the game away for free in an effort to boost sales of the action adventure.

Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 12:43:39 PM

Previously: The Effects of ILO and the EPO on Disability

Must be another 'coincidence'

Summary: Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli’s ‘deputy’ at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

RECENT and new (today) tweets chronicle one important case of EPO abuses.


Former Vice-President of DG1 of the #EPO threatened me with an investigation under #EPO's Circular 342 (against human rights and the principle of non-retroactivity) which I had opposed before as a staff representative.

— Anette Koch (@AnetteKoch) March 13, 2018

The threat of the investigation under C342 followed a disciplinary threat of 3 months and a reprimand by Ms. Bergot who became PD4.3 in the process, all despite my illness, and while I had been refused an employment medical examination since September 2012.

— Anette Koch (@AnetteKoch) March 13, 2018

I was clearly entitled to an employment medical examination under Article 90(2) Service Regulations. #EPO #occupational #disease

— Anette Koch (@AnetteKoch) March 13, 2018

Back in January:

Reply by Tribunal regarding temporary stay of proceedings in my less urgent cases (relevant page):

— Anette Koch (@AnetteKoch) January 10, 2018

Reply to Tribunal's e-mail of 18 (and 13) December 2017

— Anette Koch (@AnetteKoch) January 10, 2018

Very reasoned and detailed reply by the #Administrative #Tribunal of the #ILO to my email (see my last tweet)…

— Anette Koch (@AnetteKoch) January 29, 2018

IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 11:55:11 AM

Not just low-salaried labour/workforce for IBM

Summary: Having ‘championed’ lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM’s practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

IBM is trying to change the USPTO, having had a Director in it for a number of years (he’s now working for IBM as a lobbyist). IBM is a patent bully and almost a troll (IBM still sells some products, so it’s premature to start calling it a “patent troll”).

IBM used software patents against Twitter (many did not notice that), extracting perhaps tens of millions of dollars without actually doing anything.

Florian Müller, an IBM critic, has just published this blog post about a core Twitter patent in the post-Alice era. “Worst-case scenario for Twitter,” he added, is that “some of its “own” patent claims might belong to Indian inventor, who could then sue Twitter.”

From yesterday’s blog post:

It could be that an Indian patentee ends up owning what was considered a core Twitter patent. But he’s not quite there yet. His U.S. Patent Application No. 15/053,889 is facing an Alice (§101) rejection by the examiner, which he is appealing (the appeal was filed in late November). Most recently, the examiner sought to defend his rejection in his mid-February answer to the appeal brief.

Twitter’s older and narrower patent was granted at a pre-Alice time; but the broader one was granted in 2015. The USPTO is clearly applying double standards so far, holding the same claims abstract in one case after not holding them abstract in another. That’s not good.

PTAB/district courts/CAFC would likely just say, “go away, opportunist/troll…”

They’re no longer tolerant of such patents.

Speaking of India, Dolby does not create anything concrete in India; nothing but patent lawsuits. But a person from Dolby, a speaker at an upcoming IAM event in India (possibly with the usual advocacy of software patents in India), will certainly enjoy yesterday’s puff piece that says:

Documents filed with the Delhi High Court show that Dolby Laboratories called off a dispute with Oppo last December after more than a year of litigation. For the US-based licensor of audio standards technology, the Oppo deal followed on two settlements with Indian defendants during the course of 2017.

Dolby made its first patent assertions in India in 2016, with Oppo and Vivo as its initial targets. In October that year, Delhi High Court Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw laid out an interim royalty payment regime requiring both defendants to deposit 34 rupees ($0.52 at today’s rates) with the court per device sold. According to SpicyIP, the court subsequently required the two Chinese brands to “furnish bank guarantees for the entire amount of the royalty payments due to the plaintiffs”.


Dolby’s latest cases demonstrate why FRAND and SEP issues will be high on the agenda here in Mumbai.

IAM has long lobbied for software patents in India, for FRAND, and SEP (see examples from last year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). IBM did the same thing in India (we wrote articles about that). IAM is the spin department/think tank (setting up lobbying events). It’s just using Dolby (above) as a “model” example by which to drive the agenda. IAM and IBM are often on the same wavelength; both are patent maximalists that want the public to think that patents and innovation are the same thing and only patent litigation (or ‘monetisation’) is the fulfillment of a patent.

The Patent Trolls’ Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 11:17:01 AM

Some of these people enjoy a revolving doors-type career, with lobbying too in the mix

Summary: Suspicions that Iancu might destroy the integrity of the Office for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’ may be further reaffirmed by the approach towards patent maximalists from IAM, who also participated in the shaming of his predecessor, Michelle Lee, and promoted a disgraced judge (and friend of patent trolls) for her then-vacant role

THE EPO is already being destroyed by a patent maximalist called Battistelli. The USPTO dodged the bullet when years ago it decided to improve rather than worsen patent quality. Pressure groups like AIPLA aren’t happy about it [1, 2, 3]; they’re adamantly against Section 101, AIA (IPRs/PTAB) and many other things. The same goes for opportunists like Anticipat, who as recently as yesterday promoted a so-called ‘webinar’ — a euphemism for lobbying — with AIPLA in it (Patent Docs promotes similar events).

“Remember that IAM is giving honours to scammers who combat PTAB.”More disturbing, however, was seeing Iancu liaising with the pro-software patents and pro-trolls Richard Lloyd. He’s the worst of the IAM bunch. It is a very bad sign that a new USPTO Director already speaks with and participates in events of the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), which habitually copy-pastes communications from lobbyist David Kappos, a former USPTO Director. IAM brags about going to visit him in the US and the headline is the typical PTAB-bashing nonsense from IAM. To quote:

New USPTO Director Andrei Iancu has called for greater predictability in the US patent system and has admitted that there is a perception problem with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) among the IP community.

In his first interview with a specialist IP title since he took office in February, Iancu covered a wide range of topics including the need for greater guidance over patent eligible subject matter and concerns around the PTAB, but he consistently returned to the subject of predictability in a sign of what could become the defining feature of his time leading the agency.

That should provide some comfort for patent owners who have complained of the uncertainty in the system fuelled by the rise of inter partes reviews (IPRs) and a lack of clarity over Section 101 of the US patent statute.

Speaking to IAM on a crisp Friday afternoon from his top floor office at USPTO HQ in Northern Virginia, Iancu asserted that: “It is critically important to have predictable patent rights. If you have predictable patent rights then you have quality patent rights.”

Remember that IAM is giving honours to scammers who combat PTAB. IAM is far from an objective observer; it’s a front group masquerading as a publisher/media.

How about Patent Docs, whose patent maximalist Kevin Noonan has been slandering PTAB using talking points from scammers? How much damage do the Mohawk people want to inflict upon themselves with this patent scam of Allergan? Noonan has just penned this long post about Mohawk lawyers persisting, in spite of everyone being against it (US Senate, Federal courts, PTAB itself and a lot of pundits who rightly call this a “scam”). To quote:

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Allergan filed a joint motion late last week before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), arguing that its Notice of Appeal divested the Board of jurisdiction over the inter partes review proceedings related to the Tribe’s patents obtained by assignment by Allergan, and thus that the Board can no longer proceed to Final Written Decision in any of these IPRs. In the alternative, the Tribe argues that the Board should suspend the IPRs under 37 C.F.R. § 42.5(a) pending Federal Circuit review, because “the issues raised in [these proceedings] are important matters of first impression not contemplated by the statutory scheme.”

PTAB hatred isn’t motivated by justice. Quite the contrary. It’s only motivated by greed and those who are behind it are typically patent trolls, aggressors, and their representatives. To think that Iancu gives them “time of day” is a little troubling; it would be better to stay as separate as possible from them.

Patent Trolls in the United States Increasingly Target Small Businesses Which Cannot Challenge Their Likely-Invalid Software Patents

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 10:31:42 AM

Most of the patent ‘assertion’ (shakedown) activity never becomes visible to the press/public

Summary: South by Southwest (SXSW Conference/Festivals in Austin, Texas) has a presentation about patent trolls, whose general message may be reaffirmed by recent legal actions in Texas and outside Texas

THE reforms leading to stricter examination at the USPTO (it’s a lot harder to get software patents these days, let alone enforce them) has paid off for large companies. They very often beat trolls in court. That in its own right is a deterrent. But what happens when these trolls manage to avoid the courts and even PTAB altogether?

There’s this new presentation this week (yesterday) that notes the following. Slide 16 says:

A shift in troll activity?

From high-profile cases against large entities with large damage demands…

… to large numbers of low-profile letters and lawsuits against small/medium size companies more likely to settle for nuisance value.

Still within the top three issues for startups.

Why did this new presentation (from a law firm together with Engine presenting some data) titled “The Persistence of Patent Trolls in Tech” get twisted (by patent maximalists) as “Is There Still a Patent Troll Problem”? They continue to attempt to deny that there is a problem because they themselves are connected to patent trolls.

Earlier today we found this new report about fraudulent lawsuits:

A New Jersey sports memorabilia dealer on Friday asked a federal judge for attorneys’ fees as sanctions following the Federal Circuit’s ruling that a payment processor’s suit seeking a declaration it didn’t infringe the dealer’s purported interactive software patents was frivolous.

In a motion, Eric Inselberg and his company, Inselberg Interactive LLC, said payments processor First Data Corp.’s unsuccessful action was filed in bad faith because Inselberg didn’t even own the patents at issue…

It is far from the first time we see this being done; we covered more such examples as recently as a couple of months back. Should it not be considered a crime (such as blackmail) to assert rights that you know you don’t have?

There are other new stories this week, as well as old ones such as Watchtroll covering one week late how InterDigital bought Technicolor's patents on the cheap.

The Texas-based Portal Communications sued Apple in the Eastern District of Texas. Looks like a patent troll to us, having covered it over the weekend, based on an Apple advocacy site. Here’s WIPR‘s coverage, which frames this as a ‘monetisation’ effort (a technical person passing the patents to a litigation front):

The three patents, US numbers 7,376,645; 7,873,654; and 8,150,872, are all called “Multimodal natural language query system and architecture for processing voice and proximity-based queries”.

According to the claim, the patents were developed by inventor Dave Bernard and were assigned to Portal Communications.

Why isn’t Bernard himself suing? It seems to have become so common to just sue through shells, some of which don’t even have an office, just some registration somewhere (typically LLC). There’s another lawsuit against Apple in the headlines, such as ParkerVision, Inc. v Apple Inc. et al in Docket Navigator. Yesterday it wrote about litigation-friendly places/venues (such as the Eastern District of Texas above) being dodged by defendants. After TC Heartland businesses will likely decide to abandon presence in venues that sought to attract patent trolls. As the Docket Report put it:

The court overruled defendant’s objection to the magistrate judge’s recommendation to deny its motion to transfer for improper venue because defendant had a regular and established place of business in the district through its office that closed a few weeks before plaintiff filed suit.

It’s worth noting that the above case isn’t in Texas, which already lost more than half of its 'share' in lawsuits (right after TC Heartland). States that harbour trolls will soon discover that they also repel actual companies which employ locals; more so after TC Heartland. Better fix/amend their state policies?

EPO Staff Union Organises Protest to Complain About Inability “of the Office to Recruit the Highly Qualified Staff it Needs.”

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 09:59:21 AM

Recruitment barely seems to be a priority (except scabs) as internal gossips suggest layoffs are on the way

Summary: Having already targeted union leaders and staff representatives, the EPO may soon be going after those whom they passionately represented and the staff union (SUEPO) wants the Administrative Council to be aware

THE national delegates will soon come (as they do quarterly) to the EPO and SUEPO has just announced that “SUEPO Munich calls for a demonstration on the first day of the upcoming meeting of the Administrative Council on Wednesday 21 March at 12:30h in front of the Isar building. The aim of the demonstration is to appeal to the Council not to accept proposed changes in the working conditions that will hamper the ability of the Office to recruit the highly qualified staff it needs.”

Hopefully a lot of staff will attend. Battistelli is already attempting to compel delegates to pass rule changes that facilitate immediate mass layoffs.

Battistelli Likes to Describe His Critics as ‘Nazis’, Team UPC Will Attempt the Same Thing Against UPC Critics

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 08:29:39 AM

Related: Team UPC Calls Critics of the UPC Idiots, Deletes Their Comments, and Blocks Them (they also call UPC critics “trolls”)

Summary: Demonising one’s opposition or framing it as “fascist” is a classic trick; to what degree will Team UPC exploit such tactics?

THE “Nazi” theme at the EPO is unfortunately a frequently-occurring one. It’s not because of the staff but because of Team Battistelli. The Conservative politician, Battistelli, has the audacity to tell French politicians (on the record even) that his opponents are “Nazis”. SUEPO, the witch-hunted judge and others are just being painted with the “Nazi” brush. Sick ‘revenge’ for the anonymous letter comparing Lutz to a Nazi? Never mind the inconvenient truth that the roots of EPO aren't too far apart from Nazism?

Either way, we are beginning to see a pattern. We hoped it would stop or go away, but it’s not. As expected, Team UPC is attempting to frame opposition to UPC as a “Nazi” or “alt right” thing. Bristows did this. Now another UPC booster does it by writing: “Parliamentary debate on German acts implementing UPC and UP forced by German alt right and anti-EU party AfD to take place on 15/3 at 5:35pm as last agenda point of that day. Result should be in official minutes and Plenarprotokoll available the next day.”

Some sources of ours already warned that such desperate tactics may sooner or later be attempted. Either painting UPC sceptics as Eurosceptics or something even worse.

JUVE’s editor, who recently associated UPC opposition with AfD, is now giving Battistelli a platform in which Battistelli is lying again (about UPC). It’s that same old “real soon now” and “later this year” — something they have repeatedly done for many years. To quote the article: (in German only)

Benoît Battistelli ist überzeugt: Das UPC und damit das EU-Patent kommt schon bald. Er erwarte erste Anmeldungen von EU-Patenten bereits Ende 2018, spätestens aber Anfang 2019, sagte der Präsident des Europäischen Patentamtes (EPA) anlässlich der Jahrespressekonferenz. Am Mittwoch legte das EPA in Brüssel die Zahlen für 2017 vor. Demnach stiegen sowohl die Anzahl angemeldeter als auch die der erteilten Patente auf ein Rekordniveau.

Watch out for these dirty tactics of false prophecies and comparing one’s opposition to Nazis. It’ll probably intensify later this week. It wouldn’t shock us if Team UPC at one point attempted to paint the complainant as part of some Nazi/Russian plot, seeing (or hearing) that they’re already spreading false rumours about someone secretly funding that complaint.

Session in Bavaria to Discuss the Abuses of the European Patent Office Later Today

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 08:09:52 AM

Summary: The EPO shambles in Munich have gotten the attention of more Bavarian politicians, more so in light of the Constitutional complaint against the UPC (now dealt with by the German FCC, which saw merit in the complaint)

LATER today Bavarian politicians will talk about EPO scandals.

This comes only days after EPO management wasted a lot of money flooding/dominating the media — German media included — with spin.

“Why does the EPO still fall for the CRISPR monopolies that even the USPTO rejects?”Having significantly lowered patent quality and granted patents at a pace several times greater than applications come in (creating a massive deficit/shortage of work), such spin is crucial to them because layoffs are on the way and they want to somehow justify these or claim these to be a “necessary evil” (no such thing).

Recall the propaganda patterns found in the latest annual report, which we covered in the following posts: (there have been some more puff pieces about it since, but we’re just ignoring them because they’re not unique in any way)

“As I said before,” one person told us, “the EPO has an insane and counterproductive pricing model. It should be free to have your patent granted, but to be denied the patent should cost a bundle. The incentives now are completely backwards.”

“It’s a problem for many firms and applicants who obtained EPs over the past few decades (when examination was still strict).”I responded with: “Because of who it’s designed to “serve and protect”: Siemens, Philips etc. (while discouraging SMEs and always pretending to cherish SMEs and “inventors”)…”

“For the first time ever,” I told the EPO after it had posted this (yesterday), the EPO is “said to be laying off staff [...] after Battistelli destroyed the Office and quality of EPs…”

Why does the EPO still fall for the CRISPR monopolies that even the USPTO rejects? We wrote about that yesterday and so did The Scientist. There was also this new announcement yesterday:

Kuros announced today that its Dutch subsidiary, Kuros Biosciences BV, has been granted the European patent, EP3021878, entitled “Method for producing an osteoinductive calcium phosphate and products thus obtained” by the European Patent Office (EPO).

We often wonder how many companies and organisations are aware of the decline in quality — and thus devaluation — of European Patents (EPs). It’s a problem for many firms and applicants who obtained EPs over the past few decades (when examination was still strict).

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

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KDE: Discover, Qt Creator, LibAlkimia

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    This week saw many positive changes for Discover, and I feel that it’s really coming into its own. Discover rumbles inexorably along toward the finish line of becoming the most-loved Linux app store!
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    Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users. We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android). We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

SwagArch 18.02 - U Got Swag?

SwagArch sounds like an interesting concept. The aesthetic side of things is reasonable, although brown as a color and a dark theme make for a tricky choice. The fonts are pretty good overall. But the visual element is the least of the distro's problems. SwagArch 18.02 didn't deliver the basics, and that's what made Dedoimedo sad. Network support plus the clock issue, horrible package management and broken programs, those are things that must work perfectly. Without them, the system has no value. So you do get multimedia support and a few unique apps, however that cannot balance out all the woes and problems that I encountered. All in all, Swag needs a lot more work. Also, it will have a tough time competing with Manjaro and Antergos, which are already established and fairly robust Arch spins. Lastly, it needs to narrow down its focus. The overall integration of elements is pretty weak. Eclectic, jumbled, not really tested. 2/10 for now. Let's see how it evolves. Read more

How Open Source Approach is Impacting Science

Dive into the exciting world of Innovative Science to explore and find out about how the Linux-based Operating System and Open Source are playing a significant role in the major scientific breakthroughs that are taking place in our daily lives. Read more