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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 20 min ago

Links 19/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC6, Atom 1.25, antiX 17.1, GNU Mcron 1.1

Monday 19th of March 2018 05:27:48 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • If you owned a ‘fat’ PlayStation 3 you could be entitled to $65 from Sony because of Linux option

    Cast your mind back to when Sony released the original PlayStation 3, and you may well remember claims that the console was also a “computer”. The claims were such that Sony suggested that owners could install Linux — which, technically speaking, they could.

    However, installing Linux on a PS3 also posed something of a security issue, and Sony backtracked on the “Other OS” feature, killing it will a firmware update. Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit followed, and the result of this is that you could in line for a pay-out.

  • PlayStation 3 Phat owners have a month left to claim ‘OtherOS’ class action settlement
  • If you bought an original PlayStation 3, you could be $65 richer
  • Original PlayStation 3 Owners Could Be Entitled To A $65 Check From Sony
  • In re Sony PS3 “Other OS” Litigation –
  • Sony paying up to $65 to people who purchased the original PlayStation 3
  • If one owns an original PlayStation 3, he could be 65 dollars richer
  • PS3 OtherOS settlement claims end next month
  • Desktop
    • Ubuntu-Based Zorin OS Gets Better Support for Windows Apps, Desktop Improvements

      A new maintenance update of the Ubuntu-based Zorin OS GNU/Linux distribution arrived at the end of this week with a bunch of enhancements to its desktop environment, as well as the latest versions of core components and apps.

      Zorin OS 12.3 is here as the latest stable update of the Ubuntu-based operating system with a focus on improving the security, stability, and functionality of Zorin OS, which was always known as one of the most reliable open-source alternatives to Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

      Therefore, probably the most important change of the Zorin OS 12.3 release is the introduction of Wine 3.0, the latest stable version of the compatibility layer for running Windows programs on Linux and UNIX-like systems, which ensures better compatibility with more Windows apps and games on Zorin OS.

    • Microsoft tries forcing Mail users to open links in Edge, and people are freaking out

      Under the new rules, it doesn’t matter which browser you have selected as the default; if you use the basic Mail app within Windows, any link you click will open up Edge.

    • Google picks up another win for G Suite as Airbus grounds Microsoft Office

      With over 130,000 employees, Airbus uses a lot of office productivity software. It recently decided to make a big bet on Google’s G Suite software package after running the company for years on hosted versions of Microsoft Office, according to a report.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 3.18.100
    • Linux 4.4.122
    • Linux 4.9.88
    • Linux 4.15.11
    • Linux 4.14.28
    • More Spectre + Meltdown Updates Heading Into Linux 4.16

      Thomas Gleixner who has been wrangling all of the Spectre and Meltdown related patches for the Linux kernel tree has submitted another pull request of more changes to land for the Linux 4.16 cycle that is nearing the end of its development.

    • Linux 4.16-rc6

      This has been a nice quiet week, so rc6 is pretty tiny. Everything
      looks like we’re on a usual schedule – I’ll make an rc7, but hopefully
      that will be it.

      Mostly driver changes (usb, gpu, sound, scsi, md), but it’s all tiny.
      Some arch fixes (x86 and microblaze, tiny changes to others), and some
      filesystem fixes (a couple of small core vfs fixlets, and some btrfs
      and nfs fixes).

    • Linux 4.16-rc6 Released: Looking Good For Final Release In Two Weeks
    • Linux Foundation
      • Linux Foundation announces open source ACRN hypervisor for the Internet of Things

        ACRN’s small footprint is partly attributable to the fact that it takes a mere 25,000 lines of code for a hypervisor. There’s already involvement from the likes of ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LG Electronics and Neusoft Corporation, and it’s likely that many more names will join this list.

      • Linux Foundation Announces ACRN —Open Source Hypervisor for IoT Devices

        The Linux Foundation announced a new project called ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) that will provide generic code for the creation of hypervisors for IoT devices.

        A hypervisor is computer code for creating and running virtual machines. Project ACRN aims to provide a generic structure for an IoT-specific hypervisor component.

        The Linux Foundation says it built ACRN to be fully-customizable, and as such, the project is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor itself and a device model for interacting with the underlying hardware.

      • Linux Foundation backs new ‘ACRN’ hypervisor for embedded and IoT

        The Linux Foundation has announced a new hypervizor for use in embedded and internet of things scenarios.

        Project ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) will offer a “hypervizor, and its device model complete with rich I/O mediators.”

        There’ll also be “a Linux-based Service OS” and the ability to “run guest operating systems (another Linux instance, an RTOS, Android, or other operating systems) simultaneously”.

      • Linux Foundation LFCS: Ahmed Alkabary

        I always knew about Linux as an alternative to Windows, but never really got to experience it until 2011. I decided to buy a new laptop, and the laptop that stood out for me had Linux pre-installed on it. I remember well the pre-installed distribution was openSUSE. I was hesitant to buy it as I had no experience with Linux whatsoever, but I thought to myself, Well, I can just install windows on it if I don’t like it. Once I booted the system and saw how fast and neat everything was, I thought it is a message from the Linux gods.

        It’s really weird because on my first day I felt that Linux was meant for me not just as an operating system to use, but I felt my life will be centered around Linux from that day.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMDKFD GPUVM Support Updated For Discrete Radeon GPUs, Adds Userptr Support

        Unfortunately the AMDKFD GPUVM support for discrete GPUs isn’t looking like it will make it for the Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        This past week brought the AMDKFD updates for DRM-Next, a.k.a. Linux 4.17. While it has much of the discrete GPU support landing that we have long been looking forward to seeing in the mainline kernel in order to run ROCm OpenCL out-of-the-box, unfortunately, the GPUVM support wasn’t part of that pull. The GPUVM support for discrete Radeon GPUs was still being discussed and not ready for pulling.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Dolphin Getting More Improvements For KDE Applications 18.04 & Other KDE Happenings

        KDE contributor Nathaniel Graham is out with another recap of the usability and productivity improvements made this past week by the KDE community.

        The Dolphin file manager has been seeing improvements recently. The latest Dolphin work includes help for installing Konsole if it’s not available when trying to launch the terminal pane, reporting of a symlink’s target fi

      • [Krita] Interview with Jennifer

        When I used Krita for the first time I already knew most of the tools, so it was easy to use. But I needed to learn more, then I watched a video that explained the basic tools and method to paint. I thought then that Krita was a good tool for painting. Today I can tell it’s a great tool for digital artists. My personal opinion: Krita is the best and I really can’t use a different program.

      • Akademy-es 2018 in Valencia – 11-13 May
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Here’s GNOME 3.28 – See What’s New

        The latest version of GNOME 3 has been released today. Version 3.28 contains six months of work and new features by the GNOME community and comes with many improvements and new features.

        One major new feature for this release is automatic downloading of operating systems in Boxes, which takes the work out of creating and running virtual machines – just pick the operating system that you want to create a virtual machine of, and Boxes will now download and install it for you.

        Other highlights include improvements to the Calendar and Contacts applications, the ability to star files and folders in the Files application, and improved support for Thunderbolt 3 and Bluetooth LE devices. GNOME’s default UI font has also been overhauled to be more attractive and easy to read, and the on-screen keyboard has been rewritten to be more reliable and has layouts for a number of different locales.

      • textures and paintables

        With GTK4, we’ve been trying to find better solution for image data. In GTK3 the objects we used for this were pixbufs and Cairo surfaces. But they don’t fit the bill anymore, so now we have GdkTexture and GdkPaintable.

      • Web Engines Hackfest 2014

        Last week I attended the Web Engines Hackfest. The event was sponsored by Igalia (also hosting the event), Adobe and Collabora.

        As usual I spent most of the time working on the WebKitGTK+ GStreamer backend and Sebastian Dröge kindly joined and helped out quite a bit, make sure to read his post about the event!

      • GStreamer’s playbin3 overview for application developers

        Multimedia applications based on GStreamer usually handle playback with the playbin element. I recently added support for playbin3 in WebKit. This post aims to document the changes needed on application side to support this new generation flavour of playbin.

      • GTK+ 4.0 Getting Audio/Video Playback Integration

        The GTK+ 4.0 tool-kit has just landed its GtkMediaStream / GtkMediaFile / GtkVideo / GtkMediaControls widgets for now having native multimedia stream playback support in the tool-kit that in turn is backed by GStreamer / FFmpeg.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Review: ArchMerge 6.4.1

        The distribution I have been asked most frequently to cover so far in 2018 is ArchMerge, an Arch-based project which runs the Xfce desktop environment and can be installed using the Calamares system installer. If the description sounds familiar, it should, as this summary could equally well apply to Archman, SwagArch and one edition of the Revenge OS distribution.

        There are two main features which set ArchMerge apart from its close relatives. First, ArchMerge is available in two flavours. The full featured desktop edition ships with three graphical user interfaces (Xfce, Openbox and i3). A second, minimal flavour is available for people who want to start with a text console and build from the ground up.

        The other point which helps ArchMerge stand out from the crowd of Arch-based distributions is its documentation. Arch Linux is famous for its detailed wiki, and rightfully so. ArchMerge takes a slightly different approach and, instead of supplying detailed pages for virtually every aspect of the distribution, the project supplies quick overviews and tutorials for common tasks and issues. These overviews are each accompanied by a video which shows the user how to perform the task.

        The ArchMerge website places a strong emphasis on learning and the tutorial pages guide visitors through how to install the distribution, how to configure the desktop, how to install additional software and how to set up file synchronizing through Dropbox. There is also a section dedicated to fixing common problems, a sort of FAQ for distribution issues. Since there are videos for the topics covered, we are shown where to go and what each step should look like, rather than just being given a written description.

    • New Releases
      • antiX-17.1 released

        antiX-17.1 (Heather Heyer) released

        This is primarily an upgrade of antiX-17 with a new Meltdown/Spectre patched kernel and a few new applications for users to enjoy.

        As usual we offer the following completely systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • [Mageia] Weekly roundup 2018, Week 11 and CLT!

        Very small Roundup this week, so there will be space for the CLT report and pics – thanks Marc for writing this up!

        Loads of updates through; as always, you can check for yourself on Mageia Advisories, the Mageia AppDB, PkgSubmit to see the last 48 hours, and Bugzilla to see what’s currently happening.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • GSoC and Outreachy: Mentors don’t need to be Debian Developers

        A frequent response I receive when talking to prospective mentors: “I’m not a Debian Developer yet”.

        As student applications have started coming in, now is the time for any prospective mentors to introduce yourself on the debian-outreach list if you would like to help with any of the listed projects or any topics that have been proposed spontaneously by students without any mentor.

        It doesn’t matter if you are a Debian Developer or not. Furthermore, mentoring in a program like GSoC or Outreachy is a form of volunteering that is recognized just as highly as packaging or any other development activity.

        When an existing developer writes an email advocating your application to become a developer yourself, they can refer to your contribution as a mentor. Many other processes, such as requests for DebConf bursaries, also ask for a list of your contributions and you can mention your mentoring experience there.

      • Derivatives
        • Tails 3.6.1 is out

          This release fixes several security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • UBports Continues Work On Moving From Ubuntu 15.04 Base To 16.04

            For those still holding out the dream for Ubuntu on phones/tablets, the UBports community continues their work in updating their Ubuntu Touch fork to riding off a 16.04 Xenial base rather than the existing Ubuntu 15.04.

            UBports is working on Ubuntu 16.04 support to eventually replace their 15.04 stable base. Ubuntu 18.04 isn’t being pursued yet due to the Mir changes around Wayland support, and just being a much different target than going from 15.04 to 16.04.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 19 ‘Tara’ Cinnamon will be faster

              Is Linux Mint slow? Hell, no! The operating system is plenty fast. Speed is in the eye of the beholder, however, and the Mint developers apparently thought app-launching seemed slow when using the Cinnamon desktop environment. They didn’t have any proof, but they felt that both Mate and Xfce were faster in this regard.

              Well, rather than allow their feelings to remain unproven, the Mint devs decided to come up with a speed test to see if they were correct. Guess what? They were! Windows build time was four times slower with Cinnamon compared to Metacity, while recovery time was nearly four times slower too. So yes, app-launching on Cinnamon — as of today — is slow comparatively. The big benefit to pinpointing a problem, however, is that it is the first step in solving it. And so, Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will be faster as a result.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS Will Ship with a New Default Layout Called “Familiar”

              Ubuntu MATE’s lead developer Martin Wimpress announced that the forthcoming Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system would sport a brand-new default layout for new installations.

              If you plan on installing or reinstalling Ubuntu MATE this spring, the upcoming 18.04 release sports a new default layout called “Familiar.” According to Martin Wimpress, the new layout is based on the Traditional layout with the menu-bar replaced by Brisk Menu, which was used in previous Ubuntu MATE releases.

              The decision to replace the Traditional layout with the Familiar one was taken due to some technical issues when the development team tried to update it for Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). Traditional will still be available, but not enabled by default, and bears no changes.

              “I experimented with a change to the Traditional layout earlier in the 18.04 development cycle and this was met with some hostility and brought into question my commitment to community opinion because it strayed from something I’d previously communicated, that we would retain the Traditional layout as default,” explains Martin Wimpress.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS: What’s New?

              Ahead of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS release next month you may be wondering what new features and changes the update will bring.

              Well, wonder no more.

              In this post we round up all of the key information about the next release of one Ubuntu’s most popular community flavors.

            • Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will open apps a lot faster

              The Linux Mint development team plans to launch the next version of the popular Linux distribution Linux Mint in the coming months.

              Linux Mint 19 will be offered in multiple flavors including MATE, Xfce and Cinnamon. If you have used Linux Mint Cinnamon in the past or plan to take it for a test drive in the future, you may benefit from application loading improvements in the upcoming version of Linux Mint.

              A new blog post on the official Linux Mint blog offers some insight. It all began with a perceived feeling; team members noticed that app loading “felt” faster on MATE or Xfce versions of Linux Mint and slower on Cinnamon versions.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Google Pixel 2 Portrait Mode Tech Is Now Open Source

    The tech behind the portrait mode on Google Pixel 2 has been made open source by the company. For those who not familiar with it, one of the main draw to the algorithm in the Pixel 2’s camera app is excellent subject isolation without needing additional apparatus such as specialized lens or second camera.

  • Xiaomi releases Oreo kernel source code for the Mi A1

    Xiaomi promised that the Mi A1 would receive Oreo by the end of 2017, and the company hit a buzzer-beater by rolling out Android 8.0 to the Android One device on December 30th. But the kernel source code was nowhere to be found, a violation of the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), and an affront to the development and enthusiast community. It’s about two-and-a-half months late, but Xiaomi has finally released the Android 8.0 Oreo source code for the Mi A1.

  • Mi A1 Oreo Kernel source code released by Xiaomi

    Xiaomi’s first Android One phone, the Mi A1 was expected to receive Android 8.0 Oreo update by the end December, and the company did roll out the update to the device under the stipulated time. However, the kernel source for the upgrade was left covered with no access to it for third-party developers. This also violated the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2) and also hampered the advancement of developers who base their codes on source codes. Thankfully, after a delay of more than two months, Xiaomi has finally released the kernel source code of Android 8.1 for the Xiaomi Mi A1.

  • Events
    • 11th Open Source Day Conference

      On May 23rd, Warsaw will host the 11th edition of Open Source Day. OSD is the largest conference about open source in Poland and CEE region, gathering every year nearly 1000 participants. The programme of the upcoming edition is focused mainly on practical sessions devoted to the most important directions of IT market development. Registration for the event is already open. For the first 600 attendees, participation in the conference is free-of-charge.

      Open Source Day is the biggest event in Poland and CEE region dedicated to open source. Over 6,000 people took part in previous editions, and several thousand followed the event online. Open Source Day is the knowledge exchange platform about open software, as one of the most important trends in the development of modern technologies, enabling creation of high-quality, stable IT solutions, which today are the basis for all branches of the economy.

  • Web Browsers
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • 6 common questions about agile development practices for teams

      You’ve probably heard a speaker ask this question at the end of their presentation. This is the most important part of the presentation—after all, you didn’t attend just to hear a lecture but to participate in a conversation and a community.

      Recently I had the opportunity to hear my fellow Red Hatters present a session called “Agile in Practice” to a group of technical students at a local university. During the session, software engineer Tomas Tomecek and agile practitioners Fernando Colleone and Pavel Najman collaborated to explain the foundations of agile methodology and showcase best practices for day-to-day activities.

  • The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller
  • Elon Musk says The Boring Company’s Loop will prioritize pedestrians, cyclists

    A system of small tunnels could bypass some of the aesthetic concerns that communities might have, but it may not eliminate some of the structural concerns. Of the California High Speed Rail project, the Times wrote: “The cost of environmental reviews jumped from a projected $388 million in 2010 to more than $1 billion. The rail authority found that nobody could be sure what was under the ground in Fresno [a California city through which the bullet train would pass], driving up the cost of relocating sewers, water lines, communications cables, and electrical conduits by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

  • Elon Musk’s Boring Company Is Now All About Public Transit, and It’s Confusing

    Now, Musk seems to have heard the criticism. Well, at least part of it. In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, the CEO announced his company’s work would “prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars,” emphasizing public transit over private transportation.

  • Hardware
    • Apple Is Secretly Developing Its Own Screens for the First Time

      The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Deadly superbug just got scarier—it can mysteriously thwart last-resort drug

      It’s the first time researchers have seen colistin-heteroresistant germs in the US.

    • 7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court

      “All of the sudden, this big cloud engulfs us,” Torres said. “It wasn’t white smoke, like you would see from a steam leak,” he explained, but it also wasn’t like the black smoke he saw from the burning oil fields during his deployment in Kuwait in 1991. “It was like something I’d never seen before.”

    • EPA inspector general says Flint water crisis report expected in summer

      A report on how Flint’s water was contaminated and how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded isn’t expected to be completed until summer, a spokesman for the EPA Office of Inspector General says.

    • Transnational beer corporation creates water crisis in northern Mexico

      Just in its initial phase, it is calculated that the plant will use 81 percent of the total water currently used by Mexicali’s industries. If Constellation Brands is allowed to operate at full capacity, the company’s Mexicali plant would consume more water than all industries in Mexicali and the neighboring city of Tijuana combined. The company has stated that it plans to stay in Mexicali for at least 50 years, with the plant’s opening date set for 2019 or 2020.

      The water situation in the municipality of Zaragoza, with a population of 8,000, has already reached crisis levels because of the company’s operations. “We have no more water for human consumption,” stated mayor Leoncio Martínez Sánchez. “We are worried because we are being affected by this extraction of 1,200 liters of water per second by this beer manufacturer. It does not make sense that while Constellation Brands has industrial amounts of water to make beer, the municipality does not even have 100 liters for people to drink or use in their homes.”

    • Save water for future generations: Kavinder to people

      Kavinder Gupta said that Water is the most important element in human life and called for a need to find out a comprehensive strategy to save the portable drinking water for the future generations. The Speaker said that there is only 3 percent of portable water available for the people and providing portable drinking water to every household is emerging as a tremendous challenge for both state and central governments.

    • First case in Finland: [Moose] dies due to chronic wasting disease

      CWD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy like BSE (‘mad cow disease’), but no cases of transmission to humans have been confirmed. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns hunters in areas where the illness has been found not to consume parts of deer and elk that may harbour the disease, including the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes.

    • ‘We Must Protect the Water’: Indigenous Leaders and Allies Stage Sit-In to Protest Kinder Morgan Pipeline

      Building on the massive march against the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline that brought 10,000 people to the streets of British Columbia last weekend, Indigenous leaders and their allies staged a sit-in on Saturday at a pipeline construction site on Burnaby Mountain, kicking off a wave of civil disobedience that is set to continue through next week.

  • Security
    • Google Says Android Is as Secure as Apple’s iOS and Wants You to Know That

      Google’s Android security chief David Kleidermacher told CNET today that the Linux-based Android mobile operating system the company develops for a wide range of devices is now as secure as Apple’s iOS.

      Google recently published its “Android Security 2017 Year In Review” report where the company talks about how Android security has matured in the last few years and how it fights to find new ways to protect Android users from malware and all the other nasty stuff you obviously don’t want to have on your mobile phone or tablet.

    • Behind the scenes with the Bitwarden password manager

      Having to remember passwords for web applications, email, banking, and more begat the password manager. And that begat such popular and proprietary services like LastPass and 1Password.

      A little over two years ago, software developer Kyle Spearrin decided the open source world needed its own web-based password manager. His company, 8Bit Solutions, develops and markets an open source alternative to services like LastPass and 1Password called Bitwarden.

      Recently I had the opportunity to ask Spearrin some questions about Bitwarden’s origins, how it secures user information, where he sees Bitwarden going, and more.

    • Episode 88 – Chat with Chris Rosen from IBM about Container Security
    • Feds: Russian [Crackers] Are Attacking U.S. Power Plants

      The targets of these attacks include the country’s electric grid, including its nuclear power system, as well as “commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the statement said.

      The report is damning confirmation of what has for months been suspected: that [crackers] in Russia are capable of infiltrating and compromising vital systems relied on by millions of Americans. According to the new report, the attacks began at least as early as March 2016, thriving on vulnerabilities in these systems’ online operations.

    • Firefox’s Weak Master Password Encryption Can Be Cracked In Just 1 Minute [Ed: If you have physical/remote access to a machine and an account, then you have a lot more power over it than just a list of passwords]

      You might rest assured after setting a Master Password in the Firefox web browser, but it’s not as secure as you think. Last year, Mozilla did a major overhaul of their browser in the form of Firefox Quantum. But the non-profit forgot to fix the security holes that exist in their ‘very fast’ web browser for nine years.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • US moves to soothe Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

      Beyond quarreling over the Kurds, the US and Turkey have also traded diplomatic volleys in the aftermath of a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stoked anti-American sentiment at home, and American policymakers have explored the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey in response to Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian policies.

    • Targeting Midanki dam caused water crisis ,municipality seeks to resolve crisis

      Due to inability of the Water Corporation to cover all of the city’s neighborhoods with water, hundreds of families suffer from lack of water. Some neighborhoods do not reach the water for 5 to 7 days.

    • U.S.-Funded Afghan Military Units Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse, Report Says

      NPR’s David Greene talks to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont about a new report that details the Pentagon’s refusal to end military aid to Afghan military units who commit “gross human rights abuses.”


      The abuses include the routine enslavement and sexual abuse of underage boys by Afghan military commanders. Senator Patrick Leahy wrote a law requiring the Pentagon to stop funding foreign military groups who commit human rights abuses. But in Afghanistan, that has not happened.

    • Detroit’s Iraqi Christians Voted For Trump Then Faced Deportation

      Assyrian is a term used to represent the now nationless people’s ethnicity, and the term Chaldean commonly represents the group’s affiliation with the Catholic Church. They are sometimes grouped with Arabs, but that’s a distinction Assyrians try to make. While many Assyrians learn to speak Arabic at a young age, their mother tongue is Aramaic, which is similar in sound to Hebrew with its “khh’s” and other difficult throaty tones.

      The ICE detainments of Assyrians began June 11, 2017, but Naoum saw warning signs much earlier. “I rang the alarm bell in May, and people laughed at me,” Naoum says. He noticed Arab immigrants were becoming a larger focus for the Trump administration, which was enacting the immigration ban for majority-Muslim countries; he also noticed Iraq was left off the second ban list and wondered what bargaining chip was used to remove it.

    • Where Are the Syrians Kidnapped by ISIS?

      Amer tells me that the process of identifying DNA in mass graves may take years. In addition to the graves, he informs me, “there are dead bodies still buried under the rubble from the US-led military campaign.” He adds, “Sadly, these families, including mine, can’t do anything but wait.” The only thing they can do now, he says, is to prepare, collect evidence, and preserve it until human-rights organizations can provide further assistance.

    • China and India flex muscles over tiny Maldives

      A Chinese naval combat force that entered the Indian Ocean for the first time in four years may have helped deter an Indian intervention in the Maldives after its pro-China president imposed a state of emergency, according to military and diplomatic sources and analysts.

    • Taliban urge religious scholars to boycott peace conference
    • Teenage girl left for dead for resisting gang rape in Nawabshah

      They said that police had first refused to register the case and lodged it only after the news was flashed in electronic media. Police had not yet arrested the main suspect while influential people of the area were pressurising them to accept compensation money and withdraw the case, they said.

    • Boris Johnson Attempt to Refute My Sources on Porton Down the Most Hilarious Fail

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a statement to refute my report from well-placed FCO sources that the British government continually re-uses the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” because its own scientists refused government pressure to say the nerve agent was made by Russia, and as getting even agreement to “of a type developed by” was bloody, the government has to stick to precisely that rather odd choice of phrase.

    • Craig Murray Radio 5 Interview on Skripal Attack
    • Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on “Russian Novichoks”
    • Portonblimp Down – A Tale By Boris Johnson

      If you harbour any doubts at all about the plausibility of Mr Johnson’s story, you are a crazed conspiracy theorist and a traitor. Plus you will never, ever get employed in the BBC or corporate media.

    • McCabe: A War on (or in) the FBI?

      Andrew McCabe’s claim that his firing amounts to a “war on the FBI” doesn’t make sense considering it was the FBI’s own internal affairs office that recommended he be fired, as FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley explains.

    • In #CallForPeace Address, Sanders Takes on Endless War and Global Oligarchy

      “Increasingly, in the United States and around the world, we see an economic and political system in which a small number of multi-billionaires and corporate interests have increased control over the world’s economic life, our political life, and our media,” Sanders said. “Inequality, corruption, oligarchy, and authoritarianism are inseparable. They must be understood as part of the same system, and fought and opposed in the same way.”

    • Cambodia Joins China for Military Drills as US Relations Cool

      Hundreds of Cambodian and Chinese soldiers began a 15-day joint military exercise in central Cambodia this week, involving live-fire rocket launches from helicopters, mock tank battles, and anti-terrorism and emergency relief training. China will reportedly also donate tanks and armored personnel carriers on the occasion.

      The unprecedented show of military cooperation, dubbed “Golden Dragon,” is the latest sign that the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is relying on Beijing to further shore up its control of the country through growing diplomatic, economic and military support, according to analysts.

      They say increased Chinese military support will also aid the Cambodian army’s balance of power with its neighbors. But some warn that Cambodia’s suspension of planned joint exercises with the U.S. military last year signals Phnom Penh’s growing divide with Washington and its regional allies, as well as other Asian countries that seek to counter China’s aspirations for regional primacy.

    • US Empire on Decline

      US empire is in decline. Reports of the end of the US being the unitary power in world affairs are common, as are predictions of the end of US empire. China surpassed the United States as the world economic leader, according to Purchasing Power Parity Gross National Product, and Russia announced new weapons that can overcome the US’ defense systems.

      What is happening in the United States, in response, is to do more of what has been causing the decline. As the Pentagon outlined in its post-primacy report, the US’ plan is more money, more aggression and more surveillance. Congress voted nearly unanimously to give the Pentagon tens of billions more than it requested. Military spending will now consume 57% of federal discretionary spending, leaving less for basic necessities. The Trump administration’s new nominees to the State Department and CIA are a war hawk and a torturer. And the Democrat’s “Blue Wave” is composed of security state candidates.

      The US is escalating an arms race with Russia and China. This may create the mirror image of President Reagan forcing Russia to spend so much on its military that it aided in the break-up of the Soviet Union. The US economy cannot handle more military spending, worsening austerity when most people in the US are in financial distress.

      This is an urgent situation for all people in the world. In the US, we carry an extra burden as citizens of empire to do what we can to oppose US imperialism. We must be clear that it is time to end wars and other tools of regime change, to become a cooperative member of the world community and to prioritize the needs of people and protection of the planet.

    • Iraq +15: Accumulated Evil of the Whole

      Robert Jackson, the Chief United States Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, once denounced aggressive war as “the greatest menace of our time.” With much of Europe laying in smoldering ruin, he said in 1945 that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime: it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of whole.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Pruitt: California ‘can’t dictate to the rest of the country’ on fuel emissions

      Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said that when it comes to determining new federal vehicle emission standards, California doesn’t have the right to lead.

    • Poaching for trophies poses threat to Big Cats

      Uganda is home to three famous Big Cats; the Leopard, Lion, and Cheetah. Two of these are members of the Big Five. Most of them are located in Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo Valley National Park. Unlike the other big cats, the Cheetah is found only in Kidepo Valley. In his speech at the World Wildlife Day celebrations in Kasese, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities(MTWA) Prof Ephraim Kamuntu indicated that the lion population had declined from more than 1,000 individuals in the 1990’s to the current estimated 420 individuals nationwide. Cheetahs and leopards are under assessment but Dr Akankwasah Barirega, a board member at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) estimates the leopard and cheetah population at 2500 and less than 100 respectively. Out of the wild, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), a rescue, rehabilitation, conservation, and education centre boasts of eight lions, one leopard, and two cheetahs.
      Conservationists are worried about survival of the big cats in the wild. Unless this trend is reversed, the cats could become extinct in Uganda.

    • India lost 40% of its mangroves in the last century. And it’s putting communities at risk

      Mangroves provide excellent nesting and breeding habitats for fish and shellfish, migratory birds and sea turtles, underlining their importance to coastal fishing communities. An estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests either directly or indirectly, a 2008 paper in the Journal of Sea Research claims.


      Mangroves are also great carbon sinks. They isolate carbon at two to four times the rate of tropical forests like the Amazon and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests.

    • Greenland is melting

      Greenland is melting. As it melts, it adds roughly 1 millimeter of water per year to global sea levels. And the pace of melting is quickening.

      If all the ice covering the world’s largest island were to thaw, sea levels would rise roughly 6 meters. Scientists don’t know how fast, or how likely, that is to happen. East GRIP is looking for evidence to inform both those questions.

    • Research hints at tipping point in the Atlantic’s currents

      A new study, however, suggests that there’s a tipping point for the Atlantic conveyor that could be reached much sooner. It only relies indirectly on warm temperatures; instead, it is driven by the melting of the Greenland Icecap. And the new research suggests we’ve already gone nearly halfway to the tipping point.

    • Why what we eat is crucial to the climate change question

      Did you know that what’s on your plate plays a larger role in contributing to climate change than the car you drive? When most wealthy people think about their carbon footprint, or their contributions to climate change, they’ll think about where their electricity and heat come from or what they drive. They’ll think about fossil fuels and miles per gallon, about LED lights and mass transit – but not so much about combine harvesters or processed meals or food waste. Few consider the impacts of the food they eat, despite the fact that globally, food systems account for roughly one quarter of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than the entire transportation sector, more than all industrial practices, and roughly the same as the production of electricity and heat.

    • Wanna limit global warming to 1.5°C? Get cracking

      One surprise in the international Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions was the addition of the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. Nations have long stated that their aim was to avoid exceeding 2-degree warming (though they’ve largely failed to follow through with actions that would make that possible), and so scientists have studied that scenario in great detail. But nobody had been promising to keep this a 1.5-degree world, so the information was lacking.

    • Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire

      Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay’s densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Considering sea level rise alone, models show that, on the low end, 20 square miles could be inundated by 2100. But factor in subsiding land and that estimate jumps to almost 50 square miles. The high end? 165 square miles lost.

    • Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017

      The slaughter of people defending their land or environment continued unabated in 2017, with new research showing almost four people a week were killed worldwide in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects.

      The toll of 197 in 2017 – which has risen fourfold since it was first compiled in 2002 – underscores the violence on the frontiers of a global economy driven by expansion and consumption.

    • Climate of Fear

      Now, we are the people of the gulf and of the islands who fear for every ripple on the water, every puff of wind, and every drop of rain. We are the people of the drought who fear for every day without moisture. We are the people of the temperate lands who fear the extremes of heat and cold. We are the people of the tropics who fear the cold, and of the polar landscapes who fear the melting of the ice. We are the people of the burned lands who fear for every wisp of smoke. We are the people of the debris flows who fear for every rivulet and rill. We are the people of the flood lands who fear for every rise in the water; we are the people of the tide who fear its every incoming, and we are the people of the storm who fear its every surge.

    • Ahtium, former Talvivaara Mining, files for bankruptcy

      A state-owned firm, Terrafame, is now running the mine that previously faced bankruptcy under the Talvivaara name. After extensive environmental problems with the company’s production process, the Finnish state stepped in to take over mining operations through Terrafame in 2015.

    • Standing Rock is everywhere: one year later

      In the protection of Mni Woc’oni, it is more than oil pipelines threatening the well-being and future of our water. Near the native territory of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, concentrated animal feeding operations or “CAFOs” are draining and degrading the land and water. As a result, the air is toxic, swamps have dried up, and aquifers, to which the people are supposed to have water rights, are being drained. Residents have mortgaged their homes to fight these threats in court and lost. In other places — in mining spills across South America and Africa and at Fukushima — man has gone too far.

      Water is a source of life, not a resource.

  • Finance
    • Bernie Sanders Wants to Tell the Story That Corporate Media Fails To Tell
    • Twitter is reportedly planning to ban cryptocurrency ads
    • As Brexit Britain heads for the rocks what does Corbyn’s Labour stand for?

      The diminished global status of Britain and our future post-Brexit has been on display in the last few days. The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and the possible role of Russian authorities; the visit of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, and the continued saga of Donald Trump’s unpredictable, erratic Presidency from trade wars to his state visit, all illustrate the challenges a diminished UK will face in the aftermath of Brexit.

      Twenty-one months on from the Brexit vote we have no clear plan or detail from the UK Government. Indeed, the kind of Brexit and Britain which the UK Government represents is nothing more than a sketch and vague principles, much to the increasing consternation of the EU and the remaining 27 nation-states.

      Brexit is full of contradictions, tensions and paradoxes. Can the fabled Tory Party with its reputation for statecraft really be reduced to its current incompetence and divisions? Decades of Tory appeasement of Euroscepticism culminated in David Cameron’s pledge in 2013 to hold an in/out referendum – a pledge he thought he would never have to deliver. His subsequent failed attempts to secure renegotiated terms of EU membership – echoes of Harold Wilson in 1975 – were followed by the subsequent referendum campaign and Brexit triumph.

    • Cable’s confusion – on Brexit imperial “nostalgia” and what it means to be English

      Vince Cable’s swipe at Leave voters ‘nostalgic for a world where passports were blue, faces were white, and the map was coloured imperial pink’ sounds like the latest proof that most Remainers would rather abuse their opponents than engage with them. But, let’s assume for a moment that Vince was on to something. What if Leavers did yearn for an older if irrecoverable, idea of greatness? Why should that be, and why in England in particular?

      It wasn’t Britain that voted Leave. It was England, and above all it was England outside London, that chose to take the UK out of the EU. Within England, it is those who felt most English who gave Leave their strongest support. If it was simple nostalgia for the British empire, then the British would have been Leavers too. But residents of England who identified as British rather than English were strongly in favour of Remain.

      For all its historic resentment of its larger southern neighbour, Scotland was as invested in the British Empire as any part of England. From the financial elites to the active colonialists and administrators to the working classes in the shipyards and the protected textile industries, Scots appear to have as much reason to be nostalgic for Empire as most in England. Yet Scotland voted strongly for Remain, as did Northern Ireland. True, Wales voted narrowly for Leave, but much less than England outside London. London, significantly, also voted Remain.

    • Could Britain’s Labour Party Under Corbyn Hold the Answer to Europe’s Woes?

      For over 40 years, Britain has pushed extreme, free-market policies in the European Union (EU). While the EU has delivered, for Britain, better workers’ rights, cleaner air and water, and more enforceable human rights, Britain has consistently argued against the regulation of big business and big finance and against better social protection.

      While enjoying special privileges and rebates, Britain consistently argued for opt-outs, believing it was an exceptional member of the EU, too good for the rules that apply to everyone else. David Cameron’s pre-referendum negotiations wanted more exemptions, which would have allowed it to crack down on migrants’ rights, protect the City of London’s financial excesses and drive deregulation.


      They urge Corbyn to commit to remaining in the EU if he wins the next election, and working with allies to push a series of dramatic reforms to transform the EU.

    • Northern Irish party donors finally published – but source of DUP Brexit money remains secret

      While all major political donations in the rest of the UK have been public since 2000, yesterday’s data release marks the first modicum of transparency for Northern Irish politics.

      The Electoral Commission’s disclosure comes after a long-awaited change in the law in Northern Ireland – and after additional pressure for transparency was triggered by openDemocracy’s revelation that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had taken a controversial £435,000 donation for its Brexit campaign. The source of that money is still a secret, because the UK government reneged on its previous commitment to publish details of donations from January 2014 onwards.

      But the data – which only goes back to July 2017 – does include some interesting details.

    • Donald Trump Is Determined to Privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs

      Aaron Hughes, who was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 and 2004, now has a serious, very rare lung condition. But he told In These Times he gets “really outstanding care” at the nearby Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. “The doctors are at the top of their class,” he said.

      Because his condition is so rare, Hughes has been sent to a hospital outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for specific tests. And his taste of the private healthcare system has been sour. “As soon as I went there, all hell broke loose,” he said said, explaining there were problems with sharing records between the two institutions. “With the VA system, when you do tests, it’s all integrated.” Every doctor Hughes sees is aware of all the other treatment he gets, from vision to mental health. The private hospitals, on the other hand, often refuse to send the records back to the VA. “The private sector isn’t about sharing your information,” Hughes explained. “It’s not about healthcare, it’s about ownership of care.”

    • Statistics: Nearly 12% of Finnish residents at risk of “living in poverty”

      One-third of individuals who were at risk of living in poverty in 2016 were young adults between the ages of 18-34.

    • Forget about GDP: it’s time for a wellbeing economy

      GDP doesn’t capture the value of non-monetized or non-marketed work, like housework, raising children, caring for the elderly, or volunteering.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Koch Brothers Get Their Very Own Secretary of State

      After serving for a little more than a year as Donald Trump’s top yes-man at the Central Intelligence Agency, Pompeo is Trump’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson, the administration’s listless placeholder at the Department of State.

    • Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary

      MSNBC prides itself for progressive reporting on national security issues but continues to use apologists for the Central Intelligence Agency in reporting on key intelligence issues. The network’s reliance on former deputy director of the CIA John McLaughlin is an excellent example of the skewed and tailored information that it offers to viewers on matters dealing with CIA. McLaughlin, a former colleague of mine at the CIA who I remember as an amateur magician, regularly pulls the wool over the eyes of such MSNBC veterans as Andrea Mitchell.

      The most recent example took place over the past several days, when McLaughlin made the case for confirmation of Gina Haspel as the first woman to become director of the CIA. McLaughlin and former CIA directors Leon Panetta and John Brennan referred to Haspel as a “seasoned veteran” who had the support of senior CIA leaders. Perhaps MSNBC should acknowledge the fact that Deputy Director McLaughlin was Haspel’s boss during this terrible period in American history.

    • The Mad King

      Now he’s either fired or is in the process of removing the adults. He’s replacing them with a Star Wars cantina of toadies and sycophants who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself, and help sell it on TV.

    • ‘Trump Must Be Desperate’: President’s Lawyers File to Move Stormy Daniels Suit to Federal Court, Out of Public View

      “Attorney Charles Harder—best known for representing Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, which resulted in its bankruptcy—is handling the case on the President’s behalf,” CNN reported.

      The moves by the Trump legal team came just a day after it was reported that CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview with Clifford and her attorney will air March 25.

      As Common Dreams reported on Friday, Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said his client has been physically threatened to remain silent about her alleged affair with Trump.

      “I think it will become apparent to people when they tune in to ’60 minutes’ on March 25 as to the details relating to the threat,” Avenatti added.

    • Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared

      This blame game turned out to be a hugely successful effort to divert attention from the content of the emails, which showed in bas relief the dirty tricks the DNC played on Bernie Sanders. The media readily fell in line, and all attention was deflected from the substance of the DNC emails to the question as to why the Russians supposedly “hacked into the DNC and gave the emails to WikiLeaks.”

      This media operation worked like a charm, but even Secretary Clinton’s PR person, Jennifer Palmieri, conceded later that at first it strained credulity that the Russians would be doing what they were being accused of doing.

    • Edward Snowden: “How the Deep State Shapes Presidents”

      When Edward Snowden emerged from the shadowy world of American intelligence contractors five years ago to reveal the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, he immediately became one of the most wanted men on earth. A hero for public opinion, an enemy of the state for governments and secret services. In fact he asked twenty-one countries for protection, mostly European nations, and they completely shut their doors to him. In a newly published book “Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks” by Renata Avila, Sarah Harrison and Angela Richter (Or Books), fresh details of this global manhunt emerge, revealing what was happening behind the scenes as the social networks, reporters and TVs pursued Edward Snowden alongside the US government.

      Yes, because as soon as Snowden handed the top-secret NSA documents to journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, the United States government immediately charged him, using a draconian law created in 1917: the Espionage Act. “A law which has been around for a hundred years that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and selling secrets to foreign enemies for a personal profit”, explains Snowden’s US lawyer, Ben Wizner, to Repubblica, elaborating on the serious impact of this law on journalistic sources: “There is no investigative journalism without unauthorized sources”, says Wizner. Today Snowden lives in exile in Russia, where he only has a temporary residence permit.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • How a Norwegian comment section turned chaos into order—with a simple quiz

      Commenters offered a variety of ideas, which included everything from comment voting to more active moderation. The staff mulled over what they could implement that would be low cost and low impact to its community, and Grut had his own eureka moment while showering before biking to the office: why not a quiz? A WordPress plugin could force users to correctly answer a few multiple-choice questions before the page’s comment field would appear. Once he got to the office, he and fellow staffers spent three hours building the plugin, which Grut reminded the crowd is wholly open source.

    • European Commission’s expert group tackling fake news misses the point

      Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and appointed expert to the Commission’s fake news group, has voted against the final report which was presented in Brussels today. Monique Goyens deplores that the report does not tackle the root causes of fake news.

    • Deleted, suspended, demoted: Censorship, Silicon Valley-style

      When Google launched almost 20 years ago, its corporate motto was “Don’t be Evil”. And until last year, Facebook’s official mission was to “make the world more open and connected”.

      Things have changed since the two tech giants first came online. Both companies have been accused of working behind the scenes to silence or de-emphasise certain kinds of voices.

      “Censorship has changed completely and dramatically because of the internet and because of particularly these big tech companies which are basically monopolies. They can end your existence online,” says Robert Epstein, research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioural Research & Technology.

    • College Warns Saying “God Bless You” is Islamophobic

      That bit of information is tucked inside the college’s Anti-Oppression Library Guide – an exhaustive collection of words and phrases that could trigger perpetually offended collegiate snowflakes.

      Islamomisia is a fairly new malady that until recently was known as Islamphobia.

    • Is it now a thoughtcrime to hate Islam?

      Few will shed tears over Fransen and Golding. Britain First is an odious group. Its loathing of Muslims is bizarre and obsessive and highly prejudiced. But here’s the question, the question that cuts to the heart of whether or not we want to live in a free society: shouldn’t people have the right to loathe Islam?


      There is a dark irony to what happened yesterday. Fransen and Golding are referred to by many as far right and extremist, and there is little doubt that is true. But I would say that having laws that in some situations allow for the punishment of thought is more extreme, and more worrying.

    • RIP Matt Damon, who Terry Gilliam says has been ‘beaten to death’ by internet mobs

      Decent human being Matt Damon, 47, has supposedly perished in an untimely death brought about by mobs of angry #MeToo supporters, according to director Terry Gilliam. In an interview with AFP, Gilliam boldly shines a spotlight on the horrifying plight of the powerful and popular actor. “I feel sorry for someone like Matt Damon, who is a decent human being,” Gilliam says of those original statements. “He came out and said all men are not rapists, and he got beaten to death. Come on, this is crazy!”

      Despite his wife’s sensible advice to “keep [his] head a bit low” when it comes to saying the least useful thing at the worst possible time, Gilliam continues to spew complaints about the survivors of assault and abuse who have stepped forward as part of the #MeToo movement. After insisting that “people have got to take responsibility for their own selves,” and that “I know enough girls who were in Harvey’s suites who were not victims and walked out,” he simultaneously compares the increasing sense of accountability and intolerance for the endemic problem of sexual abuse and assault to a crazed, pitchfork-wielding mob attacking innocent monsters.

    • Don’t Censor Lil Yachty

      This debate is not only about the censorship of the word “Columbine.” It brings up a larger question of whether or not censorship of any offensive words is acceptable. If we were to allow censorship in this case, it could justify the censorship of other words or phrases that offend, disrespect or make people feel uncomfortable. Censorship of this nature could result in countless works being altered and a society with mechanisms reminiscent of the “thought-police” depicted in George Orwell’s “1984.”

    • China ramps up social media censorship

      The stranglehold on freedom of expression, particularly online, in mainland China is “a potent tool of repression” as digital rights continue to plummet under the government’s control, according to a rights group.

      PEN America released a report on March 13, “Forbidden Feeds,” documenting the rising censorship of social media, which the organization said is ruthlessly enforced and leaves little space for dissent.

      The report found through both extensive interviews and research that under President Xi Jinping the scope and severity of censorship has significantly expanded.

      “We were concerned by how the government’s regulatory power, technological capacity for censorship and willingness to censor increasingly large areas of speech are all expanding in tandem,” James Tager, senior program manager for PEN, told

    • By banning Russian propaganda, the UK will help Putin in his campaign against press freedom

      The poisoning of Sergey Skripal has led to a sharp deterioration in UK-Russia relations. For now, London’s official moves, such as deporting 23 Russian diplomats and searching planes inbound from Russia, look moderate. But Boris Johnson’s statement on 16 March was likely unexpected for Moscow. The British foreign minister came to the conclusion that Vladimir Putin sanctioned the attack on Skripal too quickly, though the Kremlin has, for now, merely commented that Johnson’s tone was “unacceptable”.

    • “Censorship is the worst it has ever been”

      There are no standards. Thatʹs the biggest problem of the Egyptian censor board. When it comes to censorship, there simply are no rules. Itʹs often left up to one particular censor dealing with a specific movie. And then there are some films, where you just know beforehand, that they wonʹt ever make it to a cinema. Mostly because thereʹs a direct message of dissent against the government. In that respect, itʹs the worse it has ever been. A lot of films are being censored at the moment. I donʹt just mean that certain scenes are cut out. I mean that they arenʹt even shown at all.

    • Orange is the New Black’s Turkish adaptation faces censorship over terror propaganda

      The US TV series Orange is the New Black’s Turkish version, Avlu [the Yard] faces censorship over some of its scenes considered making propaganda on behalf of terror organizations.

      Starring Turkish actress Demet Evgar as the lead character, the new TV series is set to make its debut on March 29.

      Cumhuriyet newspaper reported Monday that Justice Ministry officials has asked the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) to “take necessary measures” against some scenes that allegedly make prison officials look like torturers and prisons like torture centers.

    • Can SESTA Be Fixed?

      It appears that sometime this week (or even possibly today), the Senate is unfortunately likely to vote (perhaps by an overwhelming margin) for SESTA, despite the fact that it’s a terribly drafted bill which no one can explain how it will actually stop sex trafficking. Indeed, it’s a bill that many victims advocates are warning will not just make problems worse, but will put lives in danger. And that’s leaving aside all of the damage it will do to free speech and tons of websites on the internet.

      Much of this could have been avoided if anyone in Congress were actually interested in understanding how the internet worked, and how to write a bill that actually addressed problems around sex trafficking — rather than buying into a false narrative (pushed mainly by Hollywood) that the liability protections of CDA 230 were magically responsible for sex traffickers using the internet. Two academics who are probably the most knowledgeable experts on intermediary liability, Daphne Keller at Stanford and Eric Goldman at Santa Clara University, have each posted thoughts on how to “salvage” SESTA. If Congress were serious, it would listen to them. But that’s a big “if.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • U.K. Alleges Facebook-Linked Data Firm CEO Made False Statements

      Damian Collins, chair of the U.K. Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said he will ask Nix to explain his comments and answer further questions about the company’s connections to the Facebook data. He also plans to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to have a senior executive of the social networking giant answer the panel’s questions.

    • Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data was a ‘grossly unethical experiment’

      On Friday, Facebook announced that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and its political data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its Terms of Service, by collecting and sharing the personal information of up to 50 million users without their consent. The incident is demonstrative of ways that Facebook’s core business model — delivering individualized ads to users — can be exploited, while raising uncomfortable questions about how such data might have been used to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

      Cambridge Analytica is owned in part by hedge fund billionaire Richard Mercer, and first aided Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in 2015, before helping the Trump campaign in 2016. [...]

    • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Under Pressure Over Data Breach

      “It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,’’ Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Saturday on Twitter. “They say ‘trust us.’ Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary.’’ Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also separately launched an investigation.

    • New York professor sues Cambridge Analytica to find out what it knows about him

      Last year, David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, used a British data protection law to ask Cambridge Analytica’s branch in the United Kingdom to provide the data it had gathered on him.

    • NY professor sues Cambridge Analytica

      David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, filed a request on Friday with a British court asking them to order Cambridge Analytica, a data firm used by the Trump campaign, to turn over all the data they’ve collected on the professor, and the source of that data.

    • Self-described whistleblower suspended by Facebook after Cambridge Analytica reports

      On Sunday, Wylie shared a screenshot of an “account disabled” message that he said came from Facebook. He said the company suspended him for revealing something that they had already known for two years.


      Roughly 30 million of the profiles Kogan gave the firm had enough information to create psychographic profiles but only 270,000 people had given permission for their data to be collected.

    • Cambridge Analytica working to stop undercover report on its practices from airing: report

      Reporters for Channel 4 posed as prospective clients and secretly filmed a number of meetings with the firm.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Told to ‘Stop Hiding Behind his Facebook Page’ After Reports of Data Breach

      A British lawmaker accused Facebook on Sunday of misleading officials by downplaying the risk of users’ data being shared without their consent.

    • Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’ – video

      Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix

    • Thanks to the CIA, Issues of the Agency’s Most-Hated Magazine Are Now Online

      Long before Wikileaks was promoting “radical transparency” in the digital age, CounterSpy was publishing a magazine that named CIA station chiefs and exposed covert operations. Now, 23 issues from its 32-issue run have been pulled from the CIA’s own archives and digitized for your perusal. We can neither confirm nor deny that the agency is happy about this.

      CounterSpy started publishing from its headquarters in Washington, DC in 1973. Its staff and contributors were made up of journalists and former intelligence agents who wanted to expose the CIA and other intelligence apparatuses as corrupt organizations. It ran stories about subjects like the CIA’s efforts to undermine labor movements around the world and psychological warfare conducted under COINTELPRO. The spooks at Langley weren’t fans but were certainly readers.

    • Mossad starts funding sociopathic startups aiming to deprive people of liberty

      Mossad has started funding the worst of the worst of IT startups. Normally, a headline such as this would only be seen on very questionable websites, but the source for this story is the Israeli Jerusalem Post itself – and further: the Israeli Mossad are far from the only ones.

    • Raleigh cops are investigating crime by getting Google to reveal the identity of every mobile user within acres of the scene

      Public records requests have revealed that on at least four occasions, the Raleigh-Durham police obtained warrants forcing Google to reveal the identities of every mobile user within acres of a crime scene, sweeping up the personal information of thousands of people in a quest to locate a single perp.

      The warrants came with gag orders that banned Google from disclosing their existence; in their requests for the warrants, local prosecutors say that they don’t even believe that warrants are needed to get this information, but since Google insists, they’re willing to get them.

      The cops insist that this approach balances the public’s Fourth Amendment rights with their need to fight crimes. Only one of the crimes in which police used this dragnet technique has had an arrest; it’s not clear if this arrest was the result of data from Google.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Why Is No One Demanding an Explanation for the Torture of Doyle Hamm?

      While the execution of Eggers itself raises serious constitutional questions, an equally critical question remains, which has neither been asked nor addressed: How can Alabama, without having answered at all for its botched and torturous execution of Doyle Hamm a mere three weeks ago, be permitted to simply move on to execute the next man on its death row? Why is no one demanding an explanation? And why is Alabama not at least publicly explaining that what happened three weeks ago was not a systematic breakdown of its death-penalty system?

    • My story of detention in Yarl’s Wood
    • Tina Fontaine Is Further Proof That Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Need Justice
    • It’s Time to Abolish ICE

      Canon has also defended clients swept up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, and fought a Kafkaesque deportation system that, at one point, wouldn’t even disclose the location of his client. Now Canon believes ICE should be abolished entirely.

    • Abolishing ICE is the radical idea America needs to be talking about | Will Bunch

      After all the stories and viral videos — the screaming mom dragged away from her horrified young children, the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who got busted in her ambulance after emergency surgery, the pillars of their local communities who showed for a routine check-up and ended up in detention, the stepped-up raids, and all the arrests in courtrooms, outside schoolhouse doors, and behind churches — Americans are right to wonder if our out-of-control immigration cops have any limits at all.

      Amazingly, they do. When it came out a couple of weeks ago that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was on the brink of deporting the wife of an Army Special Forces veteran — planning to send her back to Honduras, where drug dealers might seek violent revenge for her husband’s past drug-interdiction work there with the U.S. military — the public outcry was so great that even this tone-deaf federal agency backed down, for once.

    • Iran jails woman for removing headscarf in public
    • Saudi Crown Prince Plans Meetings With Apple, Google

      Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman plans to meet top global executives, including the heads of Apple Inc. and Google, during his first trip to the U.S. since becoming heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter, according to a person briefed on the trip’s details.

    • No Dancing, No Swaying: Saudi Pop Concert Comes With Warning

      Many Saudi conservatives are deeply uncomfortable with Prince Mohammed’s reforms, although they have mostly kept quiet, fearing arrest. Many of the online posts about Mr. Hosny’s concert condemned the concert, not the rules governing it.

    • Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions

      Businessmen once considered giants of the Saudi economy now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command. Families who flew on private jets cannot gain access to their bank accounts. Even wives and children have been forbidden to travel.

    • Now we know why defense attorneys quit the USS Cole case. They found a microphone.

      Lawyers for the alleged USS Cole bombing mastermind quit the capital case after discovering a microphone in their special client meeting room and were denied the opportunity to either talk about or investigate it, the Miami Herald has learned.


      The court filing is an attempt by prosecutors in the USS Cole case to get the review panel to order a military judge to resume the case. Nashiri, a Saudi, is charged with engineering al-Qaida’s suicide bombing of the warship off the Yemen post of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000. Seventeen U.S. sailors died in the blast, and the prosecutor is seeking a death sentence. Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the judge, abruptly abated the case Feb. 16, saying he wanted a higher court to clarify his authority as a judge in the Guantánamo war court.

    • Telangana: Angry at teen watching porn on mobile, father chops off his hand with butcher’s knife

      According to police, 43-year-old Mohammed Qayyum Qureshi, who is an electrician by profession, was angry at his son Khaled as the latter was addicted to his smartphone.

    • 5 Ways We’re Fighting Crime (And Making Everything Worse)
    • Christian asylum seekers in Sweden face violent attacks, warns Swedish Evangelical Alliance

      They point out: ‘There are many studies focusing on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in Sweden but few on hate crimes against Christians, even though statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that police reports of the latter have risen in recent years.’

    • Illegal Minaret Calls Divide Inhabitants in Sweden’s ‘Most Tolerant Town’

      An Islamic center in the town of Växjö has been reported to the police after it was disclosed that it has been broadcasting prayer calls without permission for several years. The notification is based on a breach of the public order act, and the police are serious about the incident, Swedish Radio reported.

    • A Women’s Rights March in Turkey Has Ended With Tear Gas and Arrests

      Women’s rights marchers in Ankara met with tear gas and arrests Sunday as they gathered for a protest ahead of International Women’s Day later this week.

    • Bangladesh police say writer was attacked as ‘enemy of Islam’

      Saturday’s attack on Zafar Iqbal in the northern city of Sylhet was just the latest in a series of stabbings of secular or atheist authors and bloggers in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

      Iqbal, a longstanding champion of free speech and secularism, remains in stable condition in hospital where he is being treated for stab wounds to his head.

    • Syrian man in Germany appears on air with blood on his face after killing wife

      In an attempt to justify the crime, Abu Marwan said that his actions were a message to all women who irritate their husbands saying “this is how you’ll end.” The man and his son urged viewers to share the video.

    • Ten men deny sex abuse of care home runaway girls

      Ms Melly told the court: “Frustrated at the lack of coverage… her partner contacted Look North, telling them the abuse was ‘much wider than Rotherham’.”

    • Husband divorces wife on honeymoon for not enough sex

      The couple appealed to a sharia court in Dubai, where the man said his new wife did not allow him to touch her or have sex with her during the honeymoon.

    • In Sweden, Christians Fleeing Persecution Face Violence All Over Again

      More than half of all participants in the survey, 53 percent, reported that they had been attacked violently at least once because of their Christian faith. Almost half, 45 percent, reported that they had received at least one death threat, and 6 percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.

    • University of Auckland worker fired after trying to force female Muslim student to shake hands

      A University of Auckland academic has been fired after trying to shake a female Muslim student’s hand and then accusing her of sexual discrimination when she refused.

    • #MeToo Behind Bars: When the Sexual Assaulter Holds the Keys to Your Cell

      In January, Strawberry Hampton, a trans woman incarcerated in Illinois, settled a lawsuit about repeated sexual and physical abuse she’d experienced by prison staff in the state’s men’s prisons. What she endured isn’t limited to Illinois prisons, or to men’s prisons. Across the country, thousands of incarcerated people face sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff. In the face of these attacks — and the reality of retaliation — incarcerated people have come forward to file complaints and lawsuits, fighting back against system-wide abuse.

    • Women barred from Sidi Saiyed mosque

      They got a red-carpet welcome last September. Situation changed later with four notice boards put up at the mosque banning women entry. They read, “Lady visitors are not allowed to enter the masjid premises under any circumstances. They should see the site from the water hoj (tank for ablutions) or garden side only.”

    • Egypt struggles to end female genital mutilation

      A 2016 survey by the U.N. Children’s Fund showed that 87 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 in Egypt have undergone the procedure.

    • Delhi: Father slits throat of girl over ‘friendship’ with boy in suspected honour killing
    • Students Aren’t Waiting for March or April. They’re Protesting Now

      Every day since February 21, high-school and middle-school students across the country have protested for stronger gun laws, often by walking out of class.

    • YouTube stopped hiring white men in attempt to boost diversity, lawsuit claims

      YouTube stopped hiring white and Asian men in a blunt attempt to make the company more diverse, a lawsuit claims.

      Arne Wilberg, a former recruiter at the Google-owned video website, said he was fired for speaking out against the company’s practices last year when it cancelled interviews with candidates who were not female, black or Hispanic for technical jobs.

    • United Airlines kills another pet

      Last year the carrier killed nine times as many animals as American and Delta

    • Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel

      With the not-entirely-unexpected departure of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the brightest light in the Trump administration is now extinguished. Not that the illumination caused by that light was particularly bright, but when one is operating in total darkness, even a small candle is something for which to be grateful.

      The former ExxonMobile executive supported the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action); sought a diplomatic solution with North Korea, and not only tried to delay the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but also skipped visiting Apartheid Israel during a year-end tour of the Middle East. In each of these significant ways, Tillerson differed from his erratic, trigger-happy boss, who brooks no disagreement with his ever-changing thoughts. Add to that the fact that Tillerson was quoted in October as calling Trump a moron, and he basically issued his own pink slip.

    • ‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem

      Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Lose Copyright Infringement Appeal

        The founder of a site that provided fan-created subtitles has lost his appeal against a conviction for copyright infringement. In 2017 a Swedish court found that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime, sentencing the then 32-year-old to probation and a fine. The Court of Appeal has now largely upheld that earlier verdict.

      • Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Plan Triggers Thousands of Responses

        A group of prominent Canadian ISPs and movie industry companies have asked the local telecom regulator CRTC to establish a local pirate site blocking program. Before making any decisions, CRTC launched a public consultation which has already received thousands of responses. It appears that most people argue against the plan, fearing widespread censorship, but there is support as well.

From PTAB Bashing to Federal Circuit (CAFC) Bashing: How the Patent ‘Industry’ Sells Software Patents

Monday 19th of March 2018 08:02:50 AM

No, the patent microcosm needs no facts, only innuendo!

Summary: The latest tactics of the patent microcosm are just about as distasteful as last month’s (or last year’s), with focus shifting to the courts and few broadly-misinterpreted patent cases (mainly Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix)

IN OUR previous post we explained how buzzwords were being used by both the EPO and USPTO to allow some software patents. This isn’t good, but one must remember that a patent being granted by a patent office isn’t the final stop; courts too must examine and rule on the matter, but only if it reaches the courts (i.e. not a settlement out of court or ‘protection’ money).

US courts have become very hostile (albeit understandably and suitably — as per the law — hostile) towards software patents. This really, really upsets patent zealots such as IAM and Watchtroll. They seem to have shifted attention away from PTAB and mostly to CAFC, whose judges they are bashing and credibility/legitimacy they question. It’s disgusting because we recently saw even racial smears against Judge Reyna.

Watchtroll used to bash PTAB almost every day — sometimes several times per day — but gone are those days. Several days ago they wrote about the Zeidman lawsuit over “optimizing software code to run on a modern space processor [...] Zeidman was informed that the funding topic was seeking a software tool or tool suite capable of converting high level software languages like C++ or Matlab into a hardware description language (HDL).”

Watchtroll has always been a loud proponent of software patents; so isn’t it a shame that nobody there (with very rare exceptions) even understands how programming works? The founder got so upset when questioned about it that he blocked me in Twitter. He had made a fool of himself, making contradictory statements and showing that he hasn’t the faintest of clue what computer programs are (he thinks a Web page is a computer program, for instance, not hypertext).

About a week or two late Watchtroll wrote about the ‘car parts’ case and yesterday it mentioned Judge Reyna in the context of a case from last week (not about patent scope). The gist:

SimpleAir, Inc. v. Google LLC, No. 2016-2738, 2018 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 12, 2018) (Before Lourie, Reyna, and Chen, J.) (Opinion for the court, Lourie, J.)

The Federal Circuit vacated a district court order dismissing SimpleAir’s complaint as barred by claim preclusion and the Kessler doctrine, and remanded for further proceedings.

Days earlier a patent maximalism site, Patent Docs, cherry-picked a rarity: reversal on § 101 grounds (Mayo and Alice) at CAFC.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision on § 101, reversed denial of JMOL on infringement of the ’685 patent, vacated judgment for damages as a result of its decision on ’685 patent infringement, and remanded for the District Court to recalculate damages, in a decision by Judge Moore joined by Judge Bryson; Judge Hughes dissented.

The majority set forth the now canonical two-prong test for subject matter eligibility under Mayo and Alice: the claims need to be “directed to” a law of nature, natural phenomenon or abstract idea, and there must be “something more” amounting to an “inventive concept” that is not merely “routine, conventional, and well-understood” in the prior art. Here, the majority spends little time on the first prong, accepting without comment that the claimed invention is dependent on the “natural law” that body temperature can be measured from skin temperature at the forehead. The District Court had relied on Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U.S. 175 (1981), for the principle that claims can recite “additional steps” that “transformed the underlying natural laws into inventive methods and useful devices that noninvasively and accurately detect human body temperature.” These steps, which included “(1) moving while laterally scanning (’685 patent claims 7, 14, and 17; ’938 patent claims 17, 24, 33, 60, and 66); (2) obtaining a peak temperature reading (’685 patent claim 7; ’938 patent claims 60 and 66); and (3) obtaining at least three readings per second (’938 patent claims 17, 24, 39, 40, 46, and 49)” were known in the prior art but that was not enough. According to the District Court “simply being known in the art did not suffice to establish that the subject matter was not eligible for patenting” because “a new combination of steps in a process may be patentable even though all the constituents of the combination were well known and in common use before the combination was made,” citing Diehr. The distinction (and in some ways the distinction missing from much of § 101 jurisprudence post-Mayo) is that these methods were used for a different purpose in the prior art, in this case detecting “hot spots” indicative of tumors, fractures, or other injuries (and in at least some testimony, used in horses not humans). In addition, the invention here newly provided a “calculated coefficient for translating measurements taken at the forehead into core body temperature readings” which was not routine, well understood or conventional in the prior art.

Notice how none of these cases can really change anything. So patent lawyers reject reality, manipulate law, and latch onto imaginary things. Here we have boosters from Fenwick & West writing about the ‘vibrations’ case (covered here before). They continue to nitpick decisions and try to warp reality against Alice et al (decisions similar to it), borrowing from very old CAFC rulings, e.g.:

I have not spent too much time trying to determine whether the court here accurately applied the tests mandated by Alice, Mayo and their progeny. My discomfort comes from the specific result (that the claims are not, as a whole directed to patent eligible subject matter) more than the general result (patent invalidity) or the path to it. At bottom, all inventions work because of the physics, math, etc. governing their structure and operation. The claims here seem directed, as a whole, to the manufacture of automotive drive shafts. It seems certain to me that even a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to challenge such a claim on Section 101 grounds. Was the patent bar really that disconnected from the statute for the past century? Is the sea change brought on by Bilski, Alice and Mayo based not on difficult questions brought on by the nature of information age inventions but instead on a longstanding, fundamental misunderstanding of the statutory statement of what our patent system is intended to protect?

Not to our shock, other patent maximalists still hope to make of Berkheimer something that it isn’t (explanation in [1, 2] among other posts of ours). Patently-O mentioned it again the other day:

The case has good shot at being heard by the whole court. I expect that the court would agree with Judge Moore that underlying factual issues are possible in the eligibility analysis, the exercise is not “a predominately factual one that ‘opens the door in both steps of the Alice inquiry for the introduction of an inexhaustible array of extrinsic evidence, such as prior art, publications, other patents, and expert opinion.’” (HP Petition, quoting Judge Reyna’s dissent in Aatrix).

No cartoon of Judge Reyna this time around, for ‘daring’ to express dissent (in Aatrix). Watchtroll is still bringing up Aatrix. Yes, yet again as an excuse to assert (again!) that there’s another route for avoiding rejection of a software patent. This is nonsensical.

Then that’s that old Finjan case from January — a case in which all patents except one were discarded, causing a great deal of commotion among patent maximalists.

Sara O’Connell (Pillsbury’s Internet & Social Media Law Blog/Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP) recalled this old case, which she pushed out as a “press release” and an ‘article’ (another example of infomercials, like those we referred to earlier today). To quote:

Finjan Inc. owns patents on technology involving computer and network security. Its patents are directed toward behavior-based internet security, addressing a method of “identifying, isolating, and neutralizing” potentially malicious code based on the behavior of that code rather than by scanning and maintaining a list of known viruses and malicious code signatures like so many other providers of internet security software.

Finjan was also mentioned in this other infomercial from a few days ago. To quote:

Patent claims serve to provide notice as to the scope of an invention described in a patent. The claims can be directed to various statutory types, such as an apparatus, article, composition, method, system, or any other patentable subject matter.


CRM claims combine the functionality of method claims with the tangibility of apparatus claims: they recite operations typically provided in a method while being directed to a physical memory having instructions that are executable to cause such operations. Accordingly, whereas it is uncertain whether a method can be “sold,” “offered for sale,” or “imported” for purposes of infringement under § 271, the Federal Circuit has held that CRMs can be. For example, in Finjan v. Secure Computing Corp., the Federal Circuit affirmed that the defendant infringed the plaintiff’s CRM claims because the defendant had “sold” an infringing software product.[14] And while each step of a method must actually be performed in the United States to be infringed, the court in Finjan did not require that the instructions stored in the infringing CRM actually be executed. The court reasoned that, “to infringe a claim that recites capability and not actual operation, an accused device ‘need only be capable of operating’ in the described mode.”[15] Thus, CRM claims can operate like apparatus claims for purposes of an infringement analysis.

It’s worth noting that all they ever mention is Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix (nothing from 2017). But as we pointed out many times before (in more than a dozen articles), none of this triplet can be considered a real challenge to Section 101 and nothing at all last year even came close to that. Nothing has really changed, except the frequency of infomercials that try to ‘poach’ customers; they used to bash PTAB a lot and now they just basically cherry-pick CAFC cases and argue that they can miraculously enforce software patents. They cannot.

Patent Maximalists Keep Coming Up With New Terms and Buzzwords to Bypass the Practical Ban on Software Patents

Monday 19th of March 2018 06:39:54 AM

Reference: Buzzword

Summary: The fightback against Section 101 and the US Supreme Court (notably Alice) seems to concentrate on old and new buzzwords, such as “Software as a Medical Device” (“SaMD”) or “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (“4IR”), which the EPO recently paid European media to spread and promote

THE demise of software patents is very much real in the United States (the USPTO grants these only if semantic tricks are being used and courts don’t easily fall for such semantics). The EPO is another matter, which we deal with separately as it’s rather frustrating.

Several days ago Microsoft’s old ‘shill’ Rob Enderle was back to implicitly promoting software patents, piggybacking BlackBerry v Facebook (we covered it earlier this month). “Facebook can afford to license,” he wrote, “but is part of a wave of companies that didn’t believe in software patents and licensing and seemingly gives its products away for free.”

“Several days ago Microsoft’s old ‘shill’ Rob Enderle was back to implicitly promoting software patents, piggybacking BlackBerry v Facebook…”Facebook does believe in software patents and has already pursued many of its own, but don’t expect to get facts from Enderle. The only positive thing that Facebook does in the domain of patents is its support of PTAB (through front groups that it’s funding).

Either way, as we said above, the main route to software patenting in the US (more so nowadays) is semantic tricks, notably buzzwords like “IoT” and “cloud”. The same is true in Europe ("4IR" is the buzzword of choice this year). Days ago, Canadian Lawyer suggested patenting software under the guise of another resurgent hype wave, “artificial intelligence”. None of this is new, it’s more like a fashion and it’s led primarily by marketing-type brainstorms.

How about this upcoming ‘webinar’ on patenting software under the guise of “medical” and “device”? Judge Corcoran from the EPO had dealt with something like this (he rejected a patent of an EPO partner) before Battistelli put him on "house ban". Even if not a retaliatory move, it does make one wonder…

Watch them coming up with another new buzzword: SaMD.

“…the main route to software patenting in the US (more so nowadays) is semantic tricks, notably buzzwords like “IoT” and “cloud”.”To quote: “counsel for companies in the medical device industry on protecting software as a medical device (SaMD), and also discuss the new FDA rules regulating SaMD and how to leverage IP law to protect SaMD.”

These sorts of think tanks (‘webinars’) are sickening, yet Patent Docs, a site of patent maximalists, promoted half a dozens of these yesterday. Here’s one from the Boston Patent Law Association and the Federal Circuit Bar Association with “The Impact of Recent Section 101 Patent Eligibility Cases on U.S. Innovation” (sounds like Alice lobbying right there!).

The Federal Circuit Bar Association also gives ‘access’ to Federal Circuit Judge Kara Stoll (if you’re rich enough to be able to afford these massive fees) and there’s this “Course on Federal Circuit Practice & Procedure”. “The course will provide a comprehensive study of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC),” says the outline. We intend to deal separately with CAFC in our next post, especially in relation to Alice.

“Watch them coming up with another new buzzword: SaMD.”Last but not least, Patent Docs promoted another lobbying event (‘webinar’) of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), which is lobbying hard to thwart Alice and water down Section 101.

All in all, we remain rather concerned to see this well-funded lobby for software patents. Especially in a country where it’s notoriously easy to simply buy policy. This lobby is already extremely harmful. It often suggests merely disguising such software patents, so courts will deem them invalid as “abstract” rather than invalid as “algorithm” or invalid as “software”.

“With the success we have achieved in early implementations along with the patents we’ve secured for our innovation,” said this press release from 6 days ago, “now is the time to build our sales channels and lead the way in 3D vision guidance software.”

“All in all, we remain rather concerned to see this well-funded lobby for software patents.”So they’re patenting software. In my research area in fact. We often complain about how computer vision patents get granted in the US, sometimes because they’re laden/decorated with buzzwords like “artificial intelligence”, “machine learning” and so on (these are all mathematics/algorithms).

How about this other new press release which says “Aquiire features patented, real-time B2B e-commerce shopping” (again, that’s software!).

Are examiners paying close enough attention to what they’re granting and thus making/rendering a de facto monopoly? It takes a lot of money to challenge wrongly-granted patents and Section 101 is all over these. PTAB would be all of these (if it was petitioned to recheck). Here we have PTAB hater Gross bragging about exceptional cases where IBM ‘survives’ Section 101 and citing the IAM interview with Iancu he goes again into his ALL CAPS rant mode: “SO WE CAN EXPECT MORE ONGOING 101 NONSENSE FROM PT” (Iancu does not intend to change this any time soon).

“Are examiners paying close enough attention to what they’re granting and thus making/rendering a de facto monopoly?”The funniest from him (this past week) is this claim that “PTAB continues indiscriminate use of “abstract idea” to destroy US based innovations…”

He must have meant “destroy software patents,” which were themselves destroying US based innovations in many domains other than software. Watchtroll has meanwhile published “Dueling Visions of the Patent System, Dueling Visions for America”, which again conflates patent maximalism with the “American Dream” and all that malarkey. We frankly try not to give them much attention anymore, except for entertainment purposes (they’re a very angry bunch that bullies judges and officials, including the outgoing USPTO Director). We’ll say more about judges and courts in our next post.

News About Patents is Often Just Advertisements Composed Directly or Indirectly by Companies That Sell Patents and Patent Services

Monday 19th of March 2018 05:36:58 AM

Reference: Infomercial

Summary: Infomercials are still dominant among news about patents, in effect drowning out the signal (real journalism) and instead pushing agenda that is detached from reality, pertinent facts, objective assessment, public interest and so on

HAVING just complained about IAM, which is like a front group of patent trolls that lie as habitually as the EPO‘s management does (and gets syndicated as ‘news’, e.g. by Google News), we’d like to draw readers’ attention to this advertisement from Douglas Kim Law Firm LLC (masquerading as a news ‘article’). Like we said many times over the years, a lot of so-called ‘news’ about patents is composed directly or indirectly by firms trying to just sell something. It does, in our assessment, make sites like ours more essential. The title of this advertisement (published in the form of a report but actually an infomercial) is “South Carolina [USPTO] patent grants higher than the national trends” (this may simply mean that more large companies are based in SC compared to the national average, i.e. it’s meaningless).

“This is actually IAM’s business model. The infomercials there are often euphemised as “international reports” or “industry reports” and a lot of the rest is pure lobbying.”Notice the author’s final words: “Doug Kim is an intellectual property attorney with Douglas Kim Law Firm LLC. He develops IP strategies, manages IP portfolios, and creates IP protection plans to complement companies’ business goals and to build intellectual capital. He can be reached at 864-616-9095 or”

They even give a phone number and E-mail. In the ‘report’! How shallow is that?

It’s pretty sad that news sites are stooping so low; they actively publish commercials with misleading headlines as though these were works of journalism. This is actually IAM’s business model. The infomercials there are often euphemised as “international reports” or “industry reports” and a lot of the rest is pure lobbying. Battistelli gets his money's (actually EPO stakeholders' money) worth there.

Blocks and Paywalls Won’t Protect the Patent Trolls’ Lobby From Scrutiny/Fact-Checking

Monday 19th of March 2018 05:01:58 AM

Summary: Joff Wild and Benoît Battistelli have much in common, including patent maximalism and chronic resistance to facts (or fact-checking)

THE EPO is well known for its censorship (of its union, of its staff representatives, of this site and many other things). They’re aggressive authoritarians (the management) and they lie routinely; they just don’t want to stand corrected.

“They’re aggressive authoritarians (the management) and they lie routinely; they just don’t want to stand corrected.”A few days ago we noticed that IAM had introduced a new kind of paywall, one which was ‘built’ around its blog, too (traditionally the paywall was reserved for other sections). This is new and I am guessing they don’t want critics to see what they are writing (mostly nonsense and patent propaganda). That says a lot about IAM, whose piece about the EPO (from half a day ago) we mentioned a couple of hours ago. They know they’re deflecting/lying, so they want not to be held accountable. IAM previously blocked me (before realising how futile a measure it was as it does not prevent me from seeing and rebutting their stuff). From now on it’s going to get a lot harder to know what they say to their subscribers (the patent microcosm, trolls etc.), but we’ll try our best. A few days ago they wrote about Microsoft's former General Manager of Outbound Licensing (patent extortion basically), who joined Sonos less than a year ago and is now leaving:

Senior licensing executive Tanya Moore is leaving Sonos after little over a year at the audio business. Her departure comes as something of a surprise given that the company has continued to enjoy considerable success in its litigation against rival speaker manufacturer Denon and looked set to capitalise on its strong IP position in the rapidly…

We rely on IAM to track some of these moves. These people whom they worship and whitewash are typically the worst patent bullies, so we try to keep abreast of such moves. Around the same time IAM also wrote a euphemisms-filled piece about patent shakedown in Southeast Asia, with sentences such as these:

There is a lot more IP creation going on in this region than patent filing and enforcement statistics might suggest. And that leaves plenty of scope for technology-based deals. As more patent-oriented companies like Japan’s IP Bridge continue to explore partnerships with local firms, creative and patient deal-making will be crucial.

Translated into crude English (bar the euphemisms:

There is a lot more patenting going on in this region than patent shakedowns and lawsuits might suggest. And that leaves plenty of scope for extortion and ‘protection’ money. As more patent trolls like Japan’s IP Bridge continue to explore patent settlements with local firms, aggressive and prolonged threat-making will be crucial.

IAM is quite a funny site in all sorts of ways. But we find it valuable for keeping track of trolls (which IAM obviously glorifies). We’ll try our best to get past the paywalls and still challenge the nonsense, such as their recent attacks on a study demonstrating insurgence of patent trolls in Europe.

China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

Monday 19th of March 2018 04:27:38 AM

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has a protectionist plan and a shared agenda (not just tactics) with Battistelli, who significantly lowered patent quality for the sake of raw quantity

Summary: China now targets other Asian countries/firms — more so than Western firms — with patent lawsuits; we expect this to get worse in years to come

KOREAN giant Samsung, which employs an extraordinary number of people, has traditionally been one of the top patenters (if not the top patenter, e.g. in 2012) at the EPO and USPTO, not just KIPO. Sure, it fell behind LG (the ‘other’ South Korean giant) this past year at the EPO, for whatever reason (we don’t want to speculate).

“China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live).”Samsung, at least traditionally, is not patent-aggressive. In other words, it rarely sues anyone except if sued first. The same is said about Korean culture in general. Some time ago China began assaulting LG with patents — to the point where LG withdrew/pulled a lot of its business out of China. Samsung too came under many attacks in China and then it retaliated, even in the US. The latest in this retaliation? Florian Müller reports on the injunction against Huawei (highly CPC-connected firm):

A few days ago, reported that United States District Judge William H. Orrick (Northern District of California) expressed an inclination at a Wednesday hearing to grant Samsung’s motion seeking to bar Huawei from enforcing a couple of Chinese patent injunctions before the U.S. court has determined whether it is, in light of its FRAND obligations, entitled to injunctive relief.

You won’t be surprised if you’ve been following the case here. Two weeks ago I published a post here with a headline that contained the following prognosis: “antisuit injunction looms large”

Even though I’m just a little blogger, it’s a bit daring to offer such a prediction based on the briefing record, especially since antisuit (here, actually just anti-enforcement) injunctions don’t come down every day. But for the reasons explained in my previous posts, above all Ninth Circuit case law, Huawei won’t be able to complain.

China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live). A few days ago Managing IP wrote:

Big changes to the intellectual property office, including combining the enforcement functions of trade marks and patents, are expected to strengthen IP enforcement in China

Managing IP speaks of “administrative overlap” at SIPO. The main issue with SIPO, however, is not “administrative overlap” but really low patent quality which already causes patent trolls to soar there and few large Chinese firms (which can afford to fight trolls in court) to merely consolidate power.

“…expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents.”China isn’t what patent maximalists claim it to be (we wrote many rebuttals to that effect recently) and the number of granted patents says little about innovation. Chinese patents at European and American patent offices are basically the ‘best of Mandarin’ (SIPO patents translated, sometimes with help from foreign workers). Those are the patents that are probably actually worth something.

Either way, expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents. They know that trade sanctions are imminent (if not already in tact, e.g. tariffs), so it’s a form of deterrent or counterattack.

UPC/Battistelli Booster IAM Blames Brexit Rather Than EPO Abuses

Monday 19th of March 2018 03:42:21 AM

IAM spoon-feeds Battistelli annually

Summary: While the EPO is collapsing due to mismanagement the boosters of Team Battistelli would rather deflect and speak about Brexit, which is itself partly motivated by such mismanagement

THE EPO is in trouble. Ignore the spin which is known as “Annual Report” and does not take into account depletion of work (layoffs will come soon, quite inevitably, for the first time ever). EPO recruitment of Brits had gone down by 80% and the UPC isn’t coming (for about half a dozen very important reasons, not just Brexit); the German press too now joins the British press (3 articles so far) in talking about the petition regarding patent quality (new article by Stefan Krempl, who is familiar with EPO affairs).

Thorsten Bausch has just published the last part of his series called “The EPO’s Vision,” in which he says: “…we need to talk about (a) the intended task or purpose and (b) the extent to which time or effort is well used, when a patent is searched and examined by the European Patent Office” (EPO).

“Amid all this, the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) bemoans the UK’s lack of participation in the EPO, having been paid by the EPO’s PR agency to promote the UPC.”As we said over the weekend, the European Patent Office ceased being a patent office; it’s more like a patent-printing machine now, unregulated and reckless beyond belief. Staff is suffering while management (executives) floods its own bank accounts. It’s utterly despicable and it doesn't look like European authorities intend to do anything.

Amid all this, the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) bemoans the UK’s lack of participation in the EPO, having been paid by the EPO’s PR agency to promote the UPC. The editor of IAM wrote yesterday: “If you do incline to this view, patent data backs you up. Take, for example, the European Patent Office’s recently released annual report for 2017. This showed that UK-based entities accounted for just 3% of applications the office received last year. That put the UK in seventeenth position in terms of patent applications per million of population.”

“…EPO scandals contribute to anti-EU sentiments — whether justifiably or not — and those who care about the Union should do a lot more to tackle EPO abuses.”Further down he says “we all know that patents do not equate to innovation.” (but IAM does often say so, equating patents to innovation)

Either way, the point of this IAM post was to express that same old dissatisfaction over Brexit (to be clear, I am strongly against Brexit too) and having watched this closely over the past couple of years, it seems clear that their motivations aren’t quite the same as everybody’s. In fact, the clear absence of coverage about EPO scandals says a lot. Had IAM been objective (which it clearly isn’t; check its lists of sponsors), it would realise that EPO scandals contribute to anti-EU sentiments — whether justifiably or not — and those who care about the Union should do a lot more to tackle EPO abuses.

European Commission Again Urged to Tackle Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Monday 19th of March 2018 03:12:28 AM

Summary: Rina Ronja Kari (left) is the latest MEP attempting to compel the Commission to actually do something about the EPO other than turning a blind eye

IT IS not often that European politicians decide to bring up EPO abuses. It happens only a few times a year. But a politician from Copenhagen (same as Kongstad), a young politician (since age 29) called Rina Ronja Kari (who is “a member of the People’s Movement against the EU,” according to Wikipedia) has brought up the latest USF letter in the following question:

Parliamentary questions
5 March 2018
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Rina Ronja Kari (GUE/NGL)

Subject: Working conditions at the European Patent Office

Working conditions at the European Patent Office (EPO) have been the subject of persistent criticism for years now. The trade union federation USF recently sent a letter to all 38 of the EPO’s delegations. In the letter, the USF’s chair, Dr Bernd Loescher, describes the situation at the EPO as ‘extreme’(1).

1. What are the Commission’s views on the criticism that has been raised about working conditions at the EPO?

2. How is the Commission planning to follow up on the criticism about working conditions at the EPO?

SUEPO added: “Visit Mrs Rina Ronja Kari’s official website at the European Parliament here (to view the Q & A scroll down to Parliamentary Questions).”

The European Parliament and Commission have repeatedly failed to do anything substantial regarding the EPO. We thus expect this latest endeavour to fall on deaf ears, even amid imminent trouble.

Links 18/3/2018: Wine 3.4, Wine-Staging 3.4, KDE Connect 1.8 for Android

Sunday 18th of March 2018 11:22:41 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Surprise! Microsoft Found A New Way To Force Edge Browser On You

      On Friday, Microsoft released the new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17263 for Skip Ahead users. As you might be knowing, the changes and improvements pushed as a part of the build will be included in the semi-annual Windows 10 feature update (codenamed Redstone 5) releasing in the second half of 2018.

    • Lawsuit claims sexual harassment rife in Microsoft’s ‘boys’ club atmosphere’

      Between 2010 and 2016, women in technical jobs at the company lodged 108 complaints of sexual harassment, 119 complaints of gender discrimination, eight complaints of retaliation and three complaints of pregnancy discrimination.

    • Don’t want Microsoft forcing Edge on you? Switch from Windows 10 to Linux with Zorin OS 12.3!

      I am sick and tired of technology companies like Microsoft thinking they can impose their will on consumers. Just today, the company made a startling announcement — it will now force links from the Windows Mail app to open in its own Edge web browser. In other words, whether you like it or not, even if Edge isn’t your default browser, it will still be used for opening links from emails. This is unacceptable, and when combined with all of the other Windows 10 calamities, users should consider switching operating systems immediately.

      Since macOS requires you to buy an entirely new computer from Apple, a Linux-based operating system is probably your best bet. By using Linux, you can finally reclaim your computer as your own — not Microsoft’s. Today, version 12.3 of Zorin OS is released, and it is the perfect OS to replace Windows 10. Hell, it can even run Windows programs (including Microsoft Office) with the help of the pre-installed and pre-configured Wine 3.

    • Zorin OS 12.3 Linux Distro Released: Download The Perfect Windows Replacement

      While listing out the best distros for a Linux beginner, the ease of use and installation are the most critical factors. Such qualities make distros like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Zorin OS the most recommended options. In case you’re also concerned about your privacy and security, a shift to the world of Linux becomes a more obvious option.

      Calling itself a replacement for Windows and macOS, Zorin OS has been established as a beginner-friendly option that offers a smooth ride while making the transition. The latest Zorin OS 12.3 release works to strengthen the basics of the operating system and polishes the whole experience.

    • Ramblings about long ago and far away

      I had originally run MCC (Manchester Computer Center Interim Linux) in college but when I moved it was easier to find a box of floppies with SLS so I had installed that on the 486. I would then download software source code from the internet and rebuild it for my own use using all the extra flags I could find in GCC to make my 20Mhz system seem faster. I instead learned that most of the options didn’t do anything on i386 Linux at the time and most of my reports about it were probably met by eye-rolls with the people at Cygnus. My supposed goal was to try and set up a MUD so I could code up a text based virtual reality. Or to get a war game called Conquer working on Linux. Or maybe get xTrek working on my system. [I think I mostly was trying to become a game developer by just building stuff versus actually coding stuff. I cave-man debugged a lot of things using stuff I had learned in FORTRAN but it wasn't actually making new things.]

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • lkml: remove eight obsolete architectures

      In the end, it seems that while the eight architectures are extremely
      different, they all suffered the same fate: There was one company in
      charge of an SoC line, a CPU microarchitecture and a software ecosystem,
      which was more costly than licensing newer off-the-shelf CPU cores from
      a third party (typically ARM, MIPS, or RISC-V). It seems that all the
      SoC product lines are still around, but have not used the custom CPU
      architectures for several years at this point.

    • Linux 4.17 Spring Cleaning To Drop Some Old CPU Architectures

      Longtime Linux kernel developer Arnd Bergmann is working to drop a number of old and obsolete CPU architectures from the next kernel cycle, Linux 4.17.

      The obsolete CPU architectures set to be removed include Blackfin, CRIS, FR-V, M32R, MN10300, META (Metag), and TILE. Managing to escape its death sentence is the Unicore32 architecture with its port maintainer claiming it’s still actively being used and maintained.

    • [Older] Linus Torvalds Interview by Kristaps

      Interviewer: we all know who Linus is, but not many people know he’s also a proficient diver. Why don’t we start at the beginning: where you first started diving, and when you started to take diving seriously.

      Actually, it was related to open source, in some way. [...]

    • Linux Foundation
      • NATS Messaging Project Joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) voted on March 14 to accept the NATS messaging project as its newest hosted effort.

        The NATS project is an open-source distributed messaging technology that got its start seven years ago and has already been deployed by multiple organizations including Ericsson, Comcast, Samsung and General Electric (GE).

        “NATS has room to grow as cloud native adds more use cases and grows adoption, driven by Kubernetes and containers,” Alexis Richardson, Chair of the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) at the CNCF told eWEEK. “CNCF provides a way to scale community and education so that adopters can engage faster and at all levels.”

    • Graphics Stack
      • Six Candidates Are Vying For This Year’s X.Org Foundation Board

        There are six candidates running for this year’s X.Org Foundation Board of Directors with four seats being open this election.

        Those six candidates for this year’s X.Org elections include Eric Anholt (Broadcom), Robert Foss (Collabora), Bryce Harrington (Samsung), Keith Packard (HP), Laurent Pinchart (Ideas on Board), and Harry Wentland (AMD).

      • Vulkan 1.1.71 Released As The First Update To Vulkan 1.1

        The first point release to the Vulkan 1.1 release from earlier this month is now available. Vulkan 1.1 promoted a lot of functionality to core while also officially adding sub-groups and protected content support. This Vulkan 1.1.71 point release adds a new extension and fixes.

        This first point release to Vulkan 1.1 is officially version 1.1.71. This is because when Vulkan 1.1 was created, Khronos decided not to reset the patch number… Vulkan 1.1 was technically 1.1.70 and not 1.1.0. So now with this first update it’s bumped to Vulkan 1.1.71.

      • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Updated With Improvements For Sub-Groups & Multi-View

        The AMD developers working on their official cross-platform “AMDVLK” Vulkan driver have updated their open-source code-base for Linux users.

        On Friday the AMD developers pushed to the open-source repository their latest work, their first update since introducing Vulkan 1.1 support back on launch day earlier this month.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Ebony and Ivory, icons together in perfect harmony

      Writing about taste, style and colors is like unraveling chaos. There’s no end to it, and everyone has their own particular taste. Flat and shiny icons seem to be quite popular nowadays, but I’m actually looking for something calmer, less conspicuous, and perhaps less eye-wearing. You want to see things when you need to focus. The rest of the time, the desktop elements should be a neutral background. Nothing speaks neutral like gray.

      Over the years, I’ve tested and tried a lot of available art packages. I won’t backlink to all of them, please peruse the software section at your own delight and peril. I’ve never quite found what I needed, until recently. ACYLS and Ghost Flat are good candidates but Numix White seems to offer the best overall results, except this set might be hard to come by, and we’re cheating color wise. Well, if you have any ideas or suggestions, send them over. And enjoy the full spectrum of your desktop.

    • Best 50 HD Wallpapers for Ubuntu

      Wallpapers are useful in many ways depending on the visual it contains for example if there is a motivational quote on it, it helps to motivate you. The images are the best type of wallpaper because they have an impact on the mind of a human being. So if you are a working professional and have to work continuously on a computer then your desktop cab be a source of inspiration and happiness.

      So today we are going to share 50 best HD Wallpapers for your Ubuntu which will keep your desktop fresh.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Kdenlive Café #27 and #28 – You can’t miss it

        Timeline refactoring, new Pro features, packages for fast and easy install, Windows version and a bunch of other activities are happening in the Kdenlive world NOW!

      • Kubuntu 17.10 Guide for Newbie Part 9

        This is the 9th article, the final part of the series. This ninth article gives you more documentations to help yourself in using Kubuntu 17.10. The resources are online links to certain manuals and ebooks specialized for Kubuntu basics, command lines usage, software installation instructions, how to operate LibreOffice and KDE Plasma.

      • KDE’s Elisa Music Player Preparing For Its v0.1 Released

        We have been tracking the development of Elisa, one of several KDE music players, since development started about one year ago. Following the recent alpha releases, the KDE Elisa 0.1 stable release is on the way.

        Elisa developers are preparing the Elisa v0.1 release and they plan to have it out around the middle of April.

      • KDE Connect Keeps Getting Better For Interacting With Your Desktop From Android

        KDE Connect is the exciting project that allows you to leverage your KDE desktop from Android tablets/smartphones for features like sending/receiving SMS messages from your desktop, toggling music, sharing files, and much more. KDE Connect does continue getting even better.

      • First blog & KDE Connect media control improvements

        I’ve started working on KDE Connect last November. My first big features were released yesterday in KDE Connect 1.8 for Android, so cause for celebration and a blog post!

        My first big feature is media notifications. KDE Connect has, since it’s inception, allowed you to remotely control your music and video’s. Now you can also do this with a notification, like all Android music apps do! So next time a bad song comes up, you don’t need to switch to the KDE Connect app. Just click next on the notification without closing you current app. And just in case you don’t like notifications popping up, there’s an option to disable it.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Ubuntu Tried Adding Synaptics Support Back To GNOME’s Mutter

        GNOME developers previously dropped support for Synaptics and other input drivers from Mutter in favor of the universal libinput stack that is also Wayland-friendly. Canonical developers tried to get Synaptics support on X11 added back into Mutter but it looks clear now that was rejected.

        Canonical’s Will Cooke reported in this week’s Ubuntu happenings that they were trying to add upstream support for Synaptics to Mutter, complementing the libinput support. While it’s great Canonical trying to contribute upstream to GNOME, Synaptics support was previously dropped as being a maintenance burden and with libinput support getting into rather good shape.

  • Distributions
    • Red Hat Family
      • Fedora
        • Long live Release Engineering

          y involvement in Fedora goes back to late 2003 early 2004 somewhere as a packager for I started by getting a few packages in to scratch some of my itches and I saw it as a way to give back to the greater open source community. Around FC3 somewhere I stepped up to help in infrastructure to rebuild the builders in plague, the build system we used before koji and that we used for EPEL(Something that I helped form) for awhile until we got external repo support in koji.

          I was involved in the implementation of koji in Fedora, I joined OLPC as a build and release engineer, where I oversaw a move of the OS they shipped from FC6 to F8, and laid a foundation for the move to F9. I left OLPC when Red Hat opensourced RHN Satellite as “spacewalk project” I joined Red Hat as the release engineer for both, after a brief period there was some reorganisation in engineering that resulted in me handing off the release engineering tasks to someone closer the the engineers working on the code. As a result I worked on Fedora full time helping Jesse Keating. When he decided to work on the internal migration from CVS to git I took over as the lead.


          Recently I have accepted a Job offer to become the manager of a different team inside of Red Hat.

    • Debian Family
      • OSCAL’18, call for speakers, radio hams, hackers & sponsors reminder

        The OSCAL organizers have given a reminder about their call for papers, booths and sponsors (ask questions here). The deadline is imminent but you may not be too late.

        OSCAL is the Open Source Conference of Albania. OSCAL attracts visitors from far beyond Albania (OpenStreetmap), as the biggest Free Software conference in the Balkans, people come from many neighboring countries including Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece and Italy. OSCAL has a unique character unlike any other event I’ve visited in Europe and many international guests keep returning every year.

      • RcppClassicExamples 0.1.2
      • RDieHarder 0.1.4

        Per a CRAN email sent to 300+ maintainers, this package (just like many others) was asked to please register its S3 method. So we did, and also overhauled a few other packagaging standards which changed since the last upload in 2014.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • If you hitch a ride with a scorpion…

    I haven’t seen a blog post or notice about this, but according to the Twitters, Coverity has stopped supporting online scanning for open source projects. Is anybody shocked by this? Anybody?


    Not sure what the story is with Coverity, but it probably has something to do with 1) they haven’t been able to monetize the service the way they hoped, or 2) they’ve been able to monetize the service and don’t fancy spending the money anymore or 3) they’ve pivoted entirely and just aren’t doing the scanning thing. Not sure which, don’t really care — the end result is the same. Open source projects that have come to depend on this now have to scramble to replace the service.


    I’m not going to go all RMS, but the only way to prevent this is to have open tools and services. And pay for them.

  • About Campus Party + 20 years of OSI

    This year was the 4th year that I attended Campus Party, and with butterflies, in my belly, I went over there to show Atelier and do two talks: One about Qt and one about Free Software.

    We are working on AtCore and Atelier since 2016, and on the couple weeks of January, we made the first release of AtCore. That triggered a lot of feelings. And with the good part of those feelings, I made some partnerships(To get a 3DPrinter and material) and went to Campus Party to show our work.

  • 2018 Affilaite and Individual Member Election Results

    The OSI would like to thank all of those who ran for the Board. Volunteering to serve the OSI and support the Open Source community is a tremendous commitment in time and energy–we truly appreciate their willingness to contribute to our continued success and participate in our ongoing work to promote and protect open source software, communities, and development as well as the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement.

    The winners of the 2018 Board of Directors elections are,

    VM Brasseur (elected by the Individual Membership)
    Chris Lamb (elected by the Affiliate Membership)
    Faidon Liambotis (elected by the Affiliate Membership)
    Josh Simmons (elected by the Individual Membership)

  • Web Browsers
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Google Opens Maps APIs and World Becomes Dev Playground

      Google this week announced that it will open its Maps APIs to video game developers, which could result in far more realistic settings in augmented reality games. With access to real-time map updates and rich location data, developers will have many choices of settings for their games.

      The APIs will provide devs with what Google has described as a “living model of the world” to use as a foundation for game worlds. Developers will have access to more than 100 million 3D buildings, roads, landmarks and parks from more than 200 countries around the globe.

  • Funding
    • Easily Fund Open Source Projects With These Platforms

      Financial support is one of the many ways to help Linux and Open Source community. This is why you see “Donate” option on the websites of most open source projects.

      While the big corporations have the necessary funding and resources, most open source projects are developed by individuals in their spare time. However, it does require one’s efforts, time and probably includes some overhead costs too. Monetary supports surely help drive the project development.

      If you would like to support open source projects financially, let me show you some platforms dedicated to open source and/or Linux.

  • BSD
    • HAMMER2 Gets Many Fixes On The Latest DragonFlyBSD Git

      The HAMMER2 file-system has been available with install-time support since DragonFlyBSD 5.0 while the latest Git code continues to revise this next-generation FS for DragonFly. Landing overnight in DragonFlyBSD were several HAMMER and HAMMER2 improvements.

    • [Older] Exploring permutations and a mystery with BSD and GNU split filenames

      In summary, gsplit’s default file naming behavior is to add a letter to the prefix and suffix of a filename whenever it reaches 26^r – 26 files (with r being the current length of the suffix), so you don’t need to worry about running out of filenames (just disk space, haha).

    • Turbocharging ZFS Data Recovery

      Besides being able to display the new debug information, zdb has another new feature that brings its capabilities on par with the kernel: the ability to set global libzpool variables.

    • Intel SGX Enclave Support Added To GCC

      The latest feature addition to the GCC compiler this week is support for Intel’s new “ENCLV”.

      ENCLV is a new intrinsic that is part of the Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX). The Enclave happens to be a trusted execution environment embedded into a process with isolated memory regions of Enclaves are protected areas of execution and the ENCLV instruction is needed to put application code into that special mode.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • Developers dread Visual Basic 6, IBM Db2, SharePoint – survey

      Stack Overflow’s annual survey has revealed the tools and tech that developers love to hate: Visual Basic 6, IBM Db2 and SharePoint.

      According to the poll, which took in the views of more than 100,000 devs, Rust is the most loved programming language for the third year running. It is closely followed by Kotlin, which makes its debut in the survey.


      At the other end of the spectrum is Visual Basic 6, which has been voted most dreaded programming language. Visual Basic 6 is also linked to lower pay, with Stack Overflow saying that devs using it are “paid less even given years of experience”.

  • Porsche and Bugatti turn to 3D printing for complex or rare parts

    The last time we looked at 3D printing in the automotive world, it was still a technique limited to startups like Divergent 3D or Local Motors. But in the last few months, there’s been growing evidence that the big OEMs are waking up to the advantages of additive manufacturing. In recent weeks, we’ve seen Bugatti reveal that it has been 3D printing brake calipers out of titanium, followed soon after by news that Porsche has been using the technique to recreate out-of-stock parts for its classic cars.

  • My Search for Freedom in the Swedish Countryside
  • An information apocalypse is coming. How can we protect ourselves?
  • Science
    • Scolding female scientists for embracing Instagram doesn’t solve the gender gap in STEM
    • The battle for digital supremacy
    • Meet the tech evangelist who now fears for our mental health

      As her children grew up, she started to be disturbed by her son’s apparent compulsion to play video games. “Technology takes parents out of control. I can’t compete with an amazing monster, that level of dopamine. He doesn’t want to eat with us, to be with us, because it’s not as exciting,“ she says. She bought a Circle, a device that allows you to manage the whole family’s internet access, controlling which devices are online at which times and what they can view. “My son hid it,” she says. She tried to turn the wifi off, but he stood guarding it, blocking her way. She still does not know where the Circle is. “In theory,” she says, “if you’ve got compliant children, this would be perfect.” Perhaps that is why her combination to the safe, with his devices and hers, is 12 digits long.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • U.S. Fires a Warning Shot at Silicon Valley With Theranos Case

      “The Theranos story is an important lesson for Silicon Valley,” Jina Choi, director of the agency’s San Francisco office, said in a statement. “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday.”

    • The known unknowns of plastic pollution

      Unfortunately, of the 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s only 9% has been recycled and another 12% incinerated. The rest has been dumped in landfills or the natural environment. Often, as with disposable coffee cups, drinks bottles, sweet wrappers and other packets that account for much of the plastic produced in Europe and America, this happens after a brief, one-off indulgence. If the stuff ends up in the sea, it can wash up on a distant beach or choke a seal. Exposed to salt water and ultraviolet light, it can fragment into “microplastics” small enoughto find their way into fish bellies. From there, it seems only a short journey to dinner plates.

    • Plastic and cigarette butts make up most of debris in waterways

      Across Sydney’s beaches, the most common type of rubbish recorded was cigarette butts, which accounted for 31 per cent of all rubbish collected, with 147,900 collected since 2010. Nationally, they accounted for 21 per cent of all debris.

      In second place was foam and plastic packaging, collectively making up more than a fifth of the debris.


    • Is India’s Bangalore doomed to be the next Cape Town?

      A recent report has said the south Indian city of Bangalore could be doomed, like Cape Town in South Africa, to face the threat of running out of drinking water. But is this really the case? The BBC’s Imran Qureshi investigates.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • On Not Being Refuted

      Several million people have now read my articles on the lack of evidence of Russian government guilt for the Salisbury attack. That’s over 300,000 unique visitors on this little blog alone so far, and it has been repeated on hundreds of sites all over the internet. My own tweets on the subject have been retweeted over 12,500 times and received 8 million impressions. I know that journalists from every mainstream media outlet you can mention have seen the material, because of numerous tweets from them none of which address any of the facts, but instead call me a “Conspiracy nutter” or variants of that, some very rude.

      Yet what I wrote has not been refuted. It would be very easy to refute were it not true. The government would just have to say “Porton Down have stated that they have definitely identified the nerve agent as made in Russia”. They have not said that. Most extraordinarily, not one mainstream media “journalist” has asked a minister the question: “You keep using this phrase the nerve agent is “of a type developed by Russia”. Are you able to confirm it was actually made in Russia?” .

      There is no excuse for this. Literally hundreds of mainstream media “journalists” have slavishly reproduced the propaganda phrase “of a type developed by Russia” without a single one of them every querying this rather odd wording, or why it is the government always uses that precise wording again and again and again.

    • The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On

      Beginning just before 8 a.m. on March 16th, the three platoons of Charlie Company were airlifted to the fringes of the Vietnamese hamlets where they expected to encounter fierce enemy resistance. The hail of bullets from helicopter gunships that churned up the earth around them and aimed at suppressing potential enemy fire, created for many of these soldiers who had never experienced combat the impression that they’d been dropped in the midst of the “hot landing zone” Captain Medina had promised them. But as Army photographer Ron Haeberle, assigned to document the assault, would later testify, there was “no hostile fire.” The headquarters of the 48th and what remained of its fighters had taken refuge west into the mountains after being decimated during the Tet Offensive a month before. And the few VC who had been visiting their families around My Lai, hardly ignorant of American movements, had gotten out by dawn on the 16th.

    • 50 Years After My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, Revisiting the Slaughter the U.S. Military Tried to Hide

      Fifty years ago, on March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men over the next four hours, in what became known as the My Lai massacre. After the massacre, the U.S. military attempted to cover up what happened. But in 1969 a young reporter named Seymour Hersh would reveal a 26-year-old soldier named William Calley was being investigated for killing 109 Vietnamese civilians. Today, memorials have been held in My Lai to mark the 50th anniversary of this horrific attack.

    • Hamburg Islamist knife attacker gets life in prison

      His aim was to kill as many German Christians as possible to avenge the suffering of Muslims worldwide, they said.

    • Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan delivers anti-Semitic speech

      The Nation of Islam is a designated hate group [...]


      Rep. Keith Ellison faced scrutiny during his bid for Democratic National Committee chair over his past ties with the group, and a previous CNN review revealed the Minnesota Democrat had a decade-long involvement with NOI.

    • Pakistani court wants names, ages & family info of those who left Islam

      On Monday, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), ordered Pakistan’s Citizen Authority (NADRA) provide information on residents who reportedly changed their religion from Islam to Qadianism. Qadiani, or Ahmadi Muslims are believers of a minority Islamic sect considered heretical by other, mainstream, Muslims.


      Along with providing their names, the court also directed the citizen authority to provide their ages, international travel history, and their parents’ names. In 1974 the Pakistani constitution was amended to declare Ahmadis “non-Muslims.

    • Islamic scholar with 109,000 Twitter followers calls for those who leave Islam to be killed

      Ex-Muslim Ridvan Aydemir, writes: “Assim Alhakeem is a Saudi scholar who is ‘trying to enlighten people about Islam.’ He is quite influential on Twitter, YouTube, TV and his website. On February 24, he tweeted that apostates should be killed by Islamic law.” When he was challenged about this, “he confirmed it with more horrible words. When I retweeted it, he blocked me.”

    • How maulanas in Bangladesh use fatwas to oppress women

      The state religion of Bangladesh was still Islam. Even though passing a fatwa was illegal as per the laws of the country, it was allowed within the tenets of Islam. Islam has certain punishments specified for certain crimes. If someone commits adultery, they are to be stoned and if one is accused of something that is not Islamic, then they are to be caned a hundred and one times. In my country, fundamentalism was on the rise and the winds were blowing in their favour. As usual, women were the first to fall victim to the fatwas issued by fatwaphilic maulanas in villages across the country.

    • My husband got Imam to sleep with me for rituals – Wife tells court

      A divorce seeking wife, Musilimotu Olashuyi, on Wednesday told the Igando Customary Court in Lagos that her husband employed an Islamic preacher to have sex with her for money-making ritual.

    • The great immigration deceit

      When facing the migrant crisis in 2015, Merkel would surely have been aware of this sentiment in her own country. If she had any idea, then Merkel should have known that mass migration was not a viable long-term solution to account for low German birth rates. By fixing the root issues that are causing native Germans to have fewer children, Merkel would have been infinitely more successful in plugging the nation’s long-term demographic shortfall. Programs such a generous maternity leave, while expensive to implement, would largely negate any apparent ‘necessity’ for mass immigration from the third-world; and would avoid the litany of costs and threats to social cohesion that present themselves as a result.

    • Merkel Finally Acknowledges German “No-Go” Zones, Vows To Eliminate

      Following approval from Germany’s conservatives to cooperate with the Social Democrats (SPD) on several political impasses, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down with Germany’s RTL Aktuell where she discussed a number of policy positions – including an acknowledgement of Germany’s growing “no-go” zones, and the need to do something about them.

    • ‘Bury them alive!’: White South Africans fear for their future as horrific farm attacks escalate

      “South Africans have got this undying ability to believe in the bigger picture, and I’m talking about many blacks. There are lots of wonderful people of all colours that believe all of this stuff is wrong.

      “The question I would ask, given the rhetoric, is there a future for farming in South Africa? It’s not just about, is there a future for white farmers. It’s three times more dangerous to be a farmer than it is to be a policeman. It’s sad — it’s not what we want.”

    • Militia members accused of targeting Somalis to stand trial

      Months before the 2016 general election, members of a Kansas militia group that prosecutors say came to be known as the “the Crusaders” met in an office to pick the targets of bombings that they hoped would inspire a wave of attacks on Muslims throughout the U.S.

      In a business in the southwestern city of Liberal that sold mobile homes, the four men took precautions to avoid getting caught, putting their cellphones in a separate room and locking the door to prevent anyone from walking in on them. Three of them didn’t know that the fourth was wearing a wire as part of a federal investigation that would thwart their alleged plot.

      Authorities say that on the day after Election Day, they hoped to detonate four car bombs outside of a mosque and an apartment complex that was home to Somali refugees who had settled in the meatpacking town of Garden City, which is about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Liberal along the Oklahoma border.

    • First Recorded Successful Novichok Synthesis was in 2016 – By Iran, in Cooperation with the OPCW

      While Iran acted absolutely responsibly in cooperating with the OPCW, there are a handful of rogue states operating outwith the rule of international law, like Israel and North Korea, which refuse to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, join the OPCW or destroy their chemical weapons stocks. Russia has cooperated in the OPCW destruction of all its chemical weapons stocks, completed last year, which included regular OPCW inspection of all the sites alleged to have been in the original “novichok” programme. Why nobody is even looking at the rogue states outwith the OPCW is a genuine puzzle.

    • Have We Learned Anything From My Lai?

      On March 16, 1968, 504 women, children and old men were shot at point-blank range by American soldiers over the course of a few hours in Son My village—407 were killed in the “My Lai 4” hamlet and another 97 were slaughtered in the hamlet known on U.S. military maps as “My Khe 4,” about a mile from My Lai. The soldiers’ mission: to “search and destroy.”


      Destruction of the civilian population from the air was routine, with non-combatants the intended targets of an unprecedented array of weaponry.

    • Vietnam Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the My Lai Massacre

      The AP reports that, in one instance, a family was forced into a bomb shelter that U.S. soldiers then threw grenades into.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Adrian Lamo, computer hacker who turned in whistleblower, found dead

      Lamo was known in tech circles for his computer proficiency, which earned him a high degree of notoriety among hackers and security experts. He volunteered his security and website building skills to a number of services and companies in the mid-1990s and early 2000s before turning to mischief with his hacking of a New York Times database in 2002.

      The latter earned him a federal computer hacking conviction in 2003. He plead guilty and was sentenced to six months of probation, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay the newspaper company more than $60,000 in restitution. After his sentencing, Lamo served time in jail after refusing to allow the U.S. Marshals to collect his DNA — a standard practice for federal convicts, but one Lamo objected to on “religious grounds.”

    • Hacker who revealed Wikileaks source dead, Assange calls him ‘petty conman’

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Friday described Lamo as a “petty conman and betrayer of basic human decency”.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo who turned in Chelsea Manning for leaking classified government documents dies in unknown circumstances at the age of 37 as Wikileaks Julian Assange calls him ‘a conman’

      Kate Flavin, a spokeswoman for Sedgwick County’s regional forensic science center told Business Insider that an autopsy is being conducted and will determine the cause of death.

      Flavin also told the outlet that she was unsure when Lamo died or how his body was found.


      Lamo was well aware of his infamy telling US News last January that turning Manning in was not his ‘most honorable moment’ but he had made peace with his decision.

      ‘So many people think they know why I did what I did or what I was thinking or why I made my choice. And almost without exception they’re wrong,’ he said. ‘There’s essentially a public avatar that’s Adrian Lamo that they’re looking at, and then there’s me. And I can’t be upset about what they think of something that isn’t me.’

    • Decision shines new light on public officials’ emails

      Municipalities and government agencies are working to develop retention and retrieval policies and guidelines for public officials and employees who use private devices.

    • Adrian Lamo dead age 37: Wikileaks’ Assange blasts hacker behind Chelsea Manning capture

      The cause of Lamo’s death has not yet been made public, but a Sedgwick County coroner in Kansas, where Lamo lived, confirmed the news last night.

    • US hacker, who led to WikiLeaks whistleblower Manning’s arrest, dies

      Earlier, in a 2011 interview to The Guardian, Lamo had expressed some regrets about a possible lengthy prison sentence for Manning. He said he thought of Manning “every day”, adding: “The decision was not one I decided to make, but was thrust upon me.”

      Interestingly, Lamo’s hacking skills had also landed him in law enforcement authorities’ net for breaking into computers at the New York Times, Yahoo and Microsoft.

      Not to much surprise, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had disapproved of Lamo. On Friday, responding to Lamo’s news of death he wrote on Twitter, “Lamo, a fake journalist, petty conman & betrayer of basic human decency, promised alleged source @xychelsea journalistic protection, friendship and support, then sold him to the FBI.”

    • FBI to quiz Pamela Anderson over her visits to Julian Assange at London Embassy

      She made her name as a Playboy pin-up but now former Baywatch TV star Pamela Anderson could be forced to bare all to the FBI who want to quiz her about her friendship with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      According to US website Radar Online, the 50-year-old faces a grilling over her visits to Assange who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 after being accused in Sweden of rape and sexual assault by two women.

      Assange feared that if he went to Sweden to defend himself he would be extradited to America where he is wanted over Wikileaks’ releases of US military documents. Sweden dropped the sex charges last year.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • These provocative images show Russian [shills] sought to inflame debate over climate change, fracking and Dakota pipeline

      Russian [shills] used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to inflame U.S. political debate over energy policy and climate change, a finding that underscores how the Russian campaign of social media manipulation went beyond the 2016 presidential election, congressional investigators reported Thursday.

      The new report from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee includes previously unreleased social media posts that Russians created on such contentious political issues as the Dakota Access pipeline, government efforts to curb global warming and hydraulic fracturing, a gas mining technique often called “fracking.”

    • Republican investigation links Russian [shills] to #NoDAPL movement

      A new report from the Republican majority staff on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology claims [shills] from Russia exploited the #NoDAPL movement in order to undermine America’s energy sector. The investigation uncovered posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, showing an attempt at overseas influence.


      The social media posts cited in the report originated from accounts with names like “Native Americans United” and “Blacktivist.” The latter name has already been associated with Russian [astroturfer] farms by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has indicted a Russian government agency and 13 Russians for meddling in American politics.

    • ‘SOS’: the rainforest distress call carved into Sumatra’s oil palms

      “Save Our Souls is a message communicated to those at a distance, a reminder of the connectedness we share with nature,” he says of the acronym. “As more of the forests are lost, we lose a little bit of ourselves in the process.”

    • Halal butchers who chanted and danced as they tortured animals walk free from court

      Hussain and Hussein received suspended prison sentences yesterday at Leeds Magistrates’ Court after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to animals. Abattoir boss William Woodward was jailed for 20 weeks.

  • Finance
    • Finns falling below poverty line due to transport costs

      Heikki Liimatainen, the head of Transport Research Centre Verne at Tampere University of Technology, is certain that transport costs have dragged people below the poverty threshold also in Finland.

    • America’s richest 2% made more money in 2017 than the cost of the entire safety net

      U.S. wealth increased by $8.5 trillion in 2017, with the richest 2% getting about $1.15 trillion (details here), which is more than the total cost of Medicaid (federal AND state) and the complete safety net, both mandatory and discretionary, including the low-income programs that make up the social support package derisively referred to as ‘welfare.’

    • Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem?

      It’s not only young voters who feel this way. A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 64% of Britons believe that capitalism is unfair, that it makes inequality worse. Even in the U.S., it’s as high as 55%. In Germany, a solid 77% are skeptical of capitalism. Meanwhile, a full three-quarters of people in major capitalist economies believe that big businesses are basically corrupt.

    • Big Telco hates “regulation,” but they love their billions in government handouts

      When it comes to killing Net Neutrality, Big Telco’s major talking point is that “government regulation” has no place in telcoms; but the reality is that the nation’s telecommunications providers are the recipients of regulatory gifts that run to $5B/year, and are expected to do very little in return for this corporate welfare.

    • This City Just Passed the First Bitcoin Mining Ban in the US

      Plattsburgh, New York has imposed an 18-month moratorium on Bitcoin mining to prevent miners from using all the city’s cheap electricity.

    • Spotify will go public on April 3

      The company will go public through an unorthodox direct listing, which doesn’t involve underwriters or require the company to sell any of its stock. Such a move is unusual for a company of Spotify’s size.

    • Adapt or die: How to cope when the bots take your job

      Reports that robots, automation and artificial intelligence are going to put millions of us out of work may sound troubling, but should we believe them? That largely depends on whether we’re technology optimists or pessimists. In our Future of Work series we look at how jobs might change in the future.

    • If You Ratify The CETA Trade Deal, You’ll Break The Law, Legal Expert Tells EU Member States

      It’s an interesting argument, which the European Commission will doubtless do its best to ignore in the hope that it can just steamroller CETA through the ratification process before the CJEU issues its ruling. However, if, as seems likely, CETA’s investment chapter is indeed ruled illegal by the top court, this will present a rather thorny problem for the EU. Given the other challenges it faces thanks to rising populism in many EU countries, the Commission could probably do without this kind of constitutional crisis that would undermine further people’s support for the European project. That might be a good reason for putting those ratifications on hold for a while.

    • How Toys R Us was doomed by a leveraged buyout and shortsighted strategy

      Toys R Us will go down as a cautionary tale in retail — an emblem of the dangers of leveraged buyouts and of strategic shortsightedness.

    • The Trump administration is a government of billionaires and their sycophants
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Meet the ‘Outrage Fairy’ Protecting You on the Internet

      Though the 2017 [sic] election underlined America’s vulnerability to cyberattacks and data theft, protecting the privacy of individuals, which she says is the first thing authoritarian regimes try to strip from their citizens, has always been her mission.

    • Trump Attorney: Porn Star Broke Nondisclosure Pact, Could Owe $20M

      The filing by attorney Michael Cohen seeks to move actress Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit from a state-level court to federal court in Los Angeles. It accuses Daniels of violating the agreement more than 20 times.

    • Andrew McCabe, ex-FBI deputy and Trump target, fired days before retiring

      Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director and a frequent target of Donald Trump, has been fired less than two days before he was due to retire.

    • The corporate media ignores the rise of oligarchy. The rest of us shouldn’t
    • Malice As #News

      The theme: fake news. Which, of course, has a strong Indian edition. The realisation is growing that, in the bruising online battles these days over politics, policies and personalities, with trench warriors raining poison arrows at each other, fake news has become a key weapon of the online arsenal. On March 8, Science published a paper by MIT rese­archers that proves fake news travels faster on Twitter, though many suspect it is more pervasive and travels fast enough on Facebook too.

    • The Vulture On The Wire

      There’s no escaping it. Being on social media is like stepping out in Delhi’s toxic winter smog—even if you’re trying to find good cheer, a vile murk defines the ambient mood. Trolls are everywhere, like suspen­ded particulate matter. You could post a picture of a lunch or of an outing with friends. Share an article on the party in power or an innocuous paper showing that coffee isn’t good for digestion. If you are visible or vocal on ­social media, you are fair game for these gremlins, and a special menu of malice, rage and harassment is reserved for you.

    • Situationer: Pakistan’s social media conundrum as election looms

      In the light of growing crackdown against social media activists in the country, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal had announced plans to formulate a framework to monitor social media in order to prevent it from being used as a tool to malign national institutions and spread anarchy or extremism.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Ten months later: People of Turkey still denied access to Wikipedia

      It has been ten months since the block of Wikipedia in Turkey. For almost a year, the 80 million people of Turkey have been denied access to information on topics ranging from medicine, to history, to current events on Wikipedia. After ten months, and in the midst of the school term, the need to restore access to Wikipedia in Turkey becomes more urgent every day.

    • Vigil for imprisoned writers in Saudi Arabia

      For more than three years, English PEN has been holding regular vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London in support of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi and his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair whom we believe to be detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

    • Pakistan’s blasphemy laws persecute the weakest of the weak

      Pakistan’s blasphemy laws date back to the military dictatorship of Gen. Muhammad Zia ul Haq. In 1980, making a derogatory remark against any Islamic personage was defined as a crime under Pakistan’s Penal Code Section 295, punishable by three years in prison. In 1982, another clause was added that prescribed life imprisonment for “willful desecration of the Quran” and, in 1986, a separate clause was added to punish blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed with “death, or imprisonment for life.”

      Bibi’s case illustrates how blasphemy laws are used to persecute the weakest of the weak among Pakistan’s religious minorities. As a poor Christian from a low caste, Bibi was among the most vulnerable and susceptible to discrimination. And the legal system — which, in theory, should be designed to protect the innocent — failed her in every way

    • Has Pakistan’s top judge failed Asia Bibi?

      Asia Bibi, a 52-year-old Catholic mother of five, was a fruit picker from Sheikhupura, a town in Punjab. Her sentence is based on the allegation that she insulted the Prophet Mohammad during an argument with Muslim farm workers over a glass of water.

      She has pleaded innocent and challenged her conviction in the highest court after the Lahore High Court chose not to overturn the earlier ruling.

      However, her appeal has been pending in the Supreme Court since November 2014.

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

      hankfully, 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.

      What’s worse, Voss apparently didn’t author this draft: according to the Word metadata in the document, it was authored by an unelected European Commission bureaucrat who has previously advocated for the filters.

    • Why we must have the right to call Allah gay

      In Britain in the 21st century you can be punished for mocking gods. You can be expelled from the kingdom, frozen out, if you dare to diss Allah. Perversely adopting medieval Islamic blasphemy laws, modern Britain has made it clear that it will tolerate no individual who says scurrilous or reviling things about the Islamic god or prophet. Witness the authorities’ refusal to grant entrance to the nation to the alt-right Christian YouTuber Lauren Southern. Her crime? She once distributed a leaflet in Luton with the words ‘Allah is gay, Allah is trans, Allah is lesbian…’, and according to the letter she received from the Home Office informing her of her ban from Britain, such behaviour poses a ‘threat to the fundamental interests of [British] society’.

    • Sadiq Khan wants tech firms to do more to tackle hate speech
    • Exclusive: Activist Lauri Love Speaks Out After Twitter Suspension

      The activism community was shocked recently by the news that Twitter had permanently suspended UK-based activist, Lauri Love. Love recently won a landmark case in a drawn-out legal battle against extradition to the United States. Following the suspension, human rights activists commenced calls for Love’s account to be reinstated immediately, to no avail at the time of writing.

      Last month, UK Judges ruled against the United States’ effort to extradite Love to the US, on the grounds that extraditing him would be: “Oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition.” The finding is likely to have an ongoing effect, possibly setting legal precedent for future extradition cases. wrote of the importance of the finding: “Love was facing criminal allegations in the United States despite never having visited the country, and he also had significant mental health issues that could deteriorate considerably if he were extradited… The High Court’s ruling on Lauri Love’s case yesterday provides welcome relief and hope to UK extradition lawyers and campaigners. ”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Cambridge Analytica Took 50M Facebook Users’ Data—And Both Companies Owe Answers

      And yet, following Facebook’s announcement Friday night, sources close to Cambridge confirmed to WIRED that this data was still accessible as recently as last year. According to one source, a trove of Facebook users’ personal data was visible on Cambridge’s internal databases in 2017, despite SCL’s current denial and past promises to both Cambridge employees and Facebook that it had all been deleted in 2015. The data included Facebook IDs, and responses to personality surveys that had been administered by Kogan in 2015. Another source close to the company recalled seeing a database called “Kogan-import” in Cambridge’s system, which was only visible to a small number of staffers in data science, engineering, and IT. The source says the database was tightly controlled in terms of who could edit or delete it.

    • How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool

      The algorithm used in the Facebook data breach trawled though personal data for information on sexual orientation, race, gender – and even intelligence and childhood trauma

    • Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

      The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

      A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.

      Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

      Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals.

    • ‘They’ll squash you like a bug’: how Silicon Valley keeps a lid on leakers

      The interrogation was a technicality; they already knew he was guilty of leaking some innocuous information to the press. They had records of a screenshot he’d taken, links he had clicked or hovered over, and they strongly indicated they had accessed chats between him and the journalist, dating back to before he joined the company.

    • Judge eases feds’ case against NSA hoarder

      A federal judge handed prosecutors a significant win this week over a computer specialist accused of stealing a massive quantity of classified documents and data during two decades working at the National Security Agency and other agencies.

      U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis suggested last month that he might require prosecutors to prove that the contractor formerly assigned to an elite NSA hacking unit, Harold Martin, knew he had the 20 specific documents listed in a 20-count indictment accusing him of illegally retaining national security information at his Maryland home.

    • Selling you out: Mass public surveillance for corporate gain

      Private companies have built businesses around the concept of creating huge databases of aggregated data collected through mass public surveillance. This is a form of “surveillance capitalism” where the focus is on monetizing new forms of data extraction rather than creating goods. The money is made, in large part, through charging a fee to federal, state, and local law enforcement to have access to the data and analytical tools to analyze all the information collected by these companies.

    • Facebook brings ‘Lite’ version to U.S.
    • Facebook Lite is coming to Canada, Australia, the UK and US
    • Facebook Lite to launch in developed countries, including U.S
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • After the niqab: what life is like for French women who remove the veil

      Testimonies of those who’ve chosen to “leave the niqab behind” are rare. The number of women who have adopted it is extremely low, and the ones who then choose to renounce it must often sever their old relationships and adopt what is in many ways a new identity – they change their e-mail addresses, phone numbers and move on completely. For them the full-length veil has become something firmly in the past, representative of a transitional stage in their lives.

    • China will ban people with poor ‘social credit’ from planes and trains

      Starting in May, Chinese citizens who rank low on the country’s burgeoning “social credit” system will be in danger of being banned from buying plane or train tickets for up to a year, according to statements recently released by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission.

      With the social credit system, the Chinese government rates citizens based on things like criminal behavior and financial misdeeds, but also on what they buy, say, and do. Those with low “scores” have to deal with penalties and restrictions. China has been working towards rolling out a full version of the system by 2020, but some early versions of it are already in place.

    • Journalists say arrest of Ottawa reporter is abnormal, unacceptable

      The Crown has not yet decided if charges will proceed.

    • Uber accused of silencing women who claim sexual assault by drivers

      Court records in a California class-action lawsuit revealed that the ride-sharing firm has argued that female passengers who speak up about being raped in an Uber must individually settle their cases through arbitration, a private process that often results in confidentiality agreements.

    • “Clock boy” family loses racism lawsuit against city, school, and police

      Police and school defeat lawsuit over boy who was accused of building hoax bomb.

    • Facebook suspends Trump-linked firm Cambridge Analytica

      Facebook Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal wrote in a post Friday night that the decision was made after reports that the firm did not fully delete data given to them by a University of Cambridge professor in violation of Facebook policies.

    • Facebook suspended Donald Trump’s data operations team for misusing people’s personal information

      Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention. The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton. While the exact nature of their role remains somewhat mysterious, Facebook’s disclosure suggests that the company improperly obtained user data that could have given it an unfair advantage in reaching voters.

      Facebook said it cannot determine whether or how the data in question could have been used in conjunction with election ad campaigns. Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    • Perspective | I went to prison for disclosing the CIA’s torture. Gina Haspel helped cover it up.
    • Richard Spencer says that antifa sucked all the fun out of college appearances, calls it quits

      Elements of the left say that antifa tactics — direct, physical confrontations with fascists and racists — are a “gift to the alt-right,” letting them play victim and validating their paranoid fantasies about the persecution of white dudes — but punched Nazi Richard Spencer says that antifa tactics have worked as intended, making it impossible for him to continue his on-campus recruitment tour for his forthcoming race-war.

      Spencer’s admission of antifa’s victory was part of a long, dull Youtube video he posted last Sunday, in which he announced the premature end of his “college tour,” because “When they become violent clashes and pitched battles, they aren’t fun,” adding, “Antifa is winning to the extent that they’re willing to go further than anyone else, in the sense that they will do things in terms of just violence, intimidating, and general nastiness.”

    • Enough of the shameful kowtowing to the Saudis

      Remember Raif Badawi? He is the blogger who was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years in jail, and 1,000 lashes, for daring to advocate respect for human rights, secularism and democracy in his native Saudi Arabia. When he received a first batch of 50 lashes in a public square in Jeddah in 2015 it nearly killed him. An international outcry ensued. Since then, Badawi has not been flogged again. But he remains in jail.

    • Indonesian Christians whipped over sharia-banned child’s play

      Two Indonesian Christians were publicly flogged in conservative Aceh province Feb. 27 for playing a children’s entertainment game seen as violating Islamic law, as hundreds of onlookers ridiculed them and took pictures.

    • Why Indonesia’s Christian Diaspora Fears Going Home

      The three men’s immigration claims have shone a light on the worsening religious intolerance endured by religious minorities in Muslim-majority Indonesia. Indonesia has long been seen as a religiously moderate country and has an official national motto of ‘unity in diversity’. But over the past two decades a combination of discriminatory laws and growing intolerance from some Sunni Muslims has resulted in harassment, intimidation and violence against religious minorities. Successive Indonesian governments have failed to confront this intolerance, which has only emboldened those who victimise religious minorities.

    • El Salvador’s Gangs Are Targeting Young Girls

      While a majority of El Salvador’s homicide victims are young men from poor urban areas, the gangs’ practice of explicitly targeting girls for sexual violence or coerced relationships is well known. Since 2000, the homicide rate for young women in El Salvador has also increased sharply, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. To refuse the gangs’ demands can mean death for girls and their families.

    • Oklahoma To Experiment With Nitrogen Gas In Executions

      Oklahoma will execute prisoners using an experimental method never before attempted anywhere in the world: nitrogen hypoxia.

      Mike Hunter, the state’s attorney general, and Joe M. Allbaugh, the director of the department of corrections, announced Oklahoma will asphyxiate prisoners by locking them in a chamber that will fill with a physiologically inert gas, such as nitrogen. Such gases are not toxic but instead deplete blood oxygen levels.

      The method has never been tested, but those who support the method contend it is “more humane” than lethal injection. They point to support among advocates of voluntary euthanasia and its use in some food production processes to kill animals.

      Death penalty abolitionists, on the other hand, believe capital punishment can never be humane or just, regardless of the method. They maintain the death penalty is disproportionately used against black and poor people. It does not deter crime. People who are innocent or too mentally ill to understand their punishment are often put to death.

    • Power and the divine: self-repression in Egypt

      Focusing on the afterlife, the rewards of heaven for the just and hell for the unjust, keeps the masses in check and accepting of their social reality. This needs to change.

    • ‘Queen bee syndrome’ at workplace getting worse: study

      “Queen bee syndrome” – the phenomenon of women discriminating against other female coworkers as they rise in seniority – may be getting worse, a study has found.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Entire broadband industry will help FCC defend net neutrality repeal

      Yesterday, three trade groups that collectively represent every major home Internet and mobile broadband provider in the US filed motions to intervene in the case on behalf of the FCC. The motions for leave to intervene were filed by NCTA–The Internet & Television Association, CTIA–The Wireless Association, and USTelecom–The Broadband Association. (Yes, those are the organizations’ correct names.)

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • MPAA Brands 123Movies as the World’s Most Popular Illegal Site

        The MPAA is visiting Vietnam to discuss with local authorities how they can properly deal with movie piracy sites. One target that was singled out is 123movies, a streaming site that is said to be operated from Vietnam. According to the movie industry group, it is “the most popular illegal site in the world.”

      • ‘Dutch Pirate Bay Blocking Case Should Get a Do-Over’

        In the legal battle over the legality of the Dutch Pirate Bay blockade, Advocate General Van Peursem has advised the Supreme Court to throw out the previous order and do the case all over again. Citing recent EU jurisprudence, the Attorney General suggests that the previous freedom of entrepreneurship and information defenses are less likely to survive a do-over.

TXED Courts Are Causing Businesses to Leave the District, Notably For Fear That Having Any Operations Based There is a Legal Liability

Sunday 18th of March 2018 06:21:08 AM

Reference: Courts of Texas

Summary: A discussion about the infamous abundance of patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) and what this will mean for businesses that have branches or any form of operations there (making them subjected to lawsuits in that district even after TC Heartland)

THE Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) has been getting a bad name. It’s now nationally recognised (if not internationally renowned/notorious) for fostering patent trolls. They typically use software patents granted by the USPTO and they enjoy courts whose attitude is plaintiff-friendly and tolerant/accepting of software patents in spite of Alice. After TC Heartland, however, it became a lot harder to drag companies into these courts.

“Ironically, for Eastern Texas at least, this whole gamble on the ‘litigation’ industry may, from now on, actively discourage companies from coming and encourage those which have an office there to leave that district.”The other day Watchtroll recalled a “complaint filed by SimpleAir in the Eastern District of Texas. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded the lower court’s decision” (as usual).

It also recalled Portal Communications [1, 2], an EDTX case in which Apple is accused of patent infringement by a de facto troll (someone’s ‘monetisation’ shell). There’s also this new update on the case of an old patent troll called VirnetX. In VirnetX Inc. et al v Apple Inc. (Eastern Texas again) there was an attempt to deny Apple a right to defense:

The court denied plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment that the redesigned version of defendant’s adjudicated product infringed its network security patents because there were genuine disputes of material fact which precluded a finding of collateral estoppel.

It’s pretty clear that in spite of TC Heartland, which caused new filings in EDTX to collapse, there is still an issue. Apart from ongoing cases, there’s still the prospect of filing new lawsuits there provided the accused party has some operations there. Ironically, for Eastern Texas at least, this whole gamble on the ‘litigation’ industry may, from now on, actively discourage companies from coming and encourage those which have an office there to leave that district. We gave one example of that a week ago. Karma in action? Unemployment crisis looming?

PTAB Hatred is So Intense Among the Patent ‘Industry’ That Even Scammers Are Hailed as Champions If They Target PTAB

Sunday 18th of March 2018 05:23:05 AM

Summary: The patent microcosm is so eager to stop the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that it’s supporting sham deals (or “scams”) and exploits/distorts the voice of the new USPTO Director to come up with PTAB-hostile catchphrases

THE patent reform in the United States is very real; it’s effective. The USPTO makes it a lot harder to pursue software patents (unless they’re disguised as something different — a subject we shall cover and tackle separately).

An anti-PTAB site of the patent microcosm currently tries to frame PTAB’s opposition as “[p]harmaceutical patent owners”, but in reality it’s just greedy law firms that oppose PTAB. It mentioned PTAB’s Chief Judge Ruschke the other day after he had once again responded to critics.

Likely in response to these concerns, Chief Judge Ruschke announced the results of an Orange Book-listed Patent Study during his “Chat with the Chief” on March 13, 2018. The meeting presentation slides can be found here. During the chat, the Chief Judge also revealed the results of an expanded panel study, which we will analyze in a future post. For the Orange Book study, the PTAB classified a petition as challenging an Orange Book-listed patent if, unsurprisingly, the patent was listed in the Orange Book when the petition was filed. The data provided was through the end of the fiscal year 2017, which ended on September 31, 2017. We will look at three of the questions asked by the Office in this study.

The author, Andrew Williams, concluded as follows: “In any event, this study by the Patent Office is certainly interesting. It does go a long way to allaying the fears of NDA holders. Nevertheless, considering that an IPR is a lose-or-draw proposition for any patent holder, and that Orange Book-listed patents are so valuable to NDA holders, this may come as little comfort to the community. Instead, anything that disrupts the balance struck by Hatch-Waxman is not going to be seen as favorable, no matter how the actual numbers have been borne out.”

The patent microcosm is attempting to guard an old (antiquated and collectively undesirable) status quo — one in which patent trolls thrived, software patents had legal ‘teeth’, and lawsuits were abundant. IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, continues to amplify if not promote scammers and then appeals to SCOTUS for help. The author of this new piece is a patent extremist with a long history of promoting trolls and software patents.

“The USPTO is not a for-profit organisation. It exists to service those entitled to some protection in exchange for publication.”Unfortunately we have gotten used to it. All we have here is IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, which attacks PTAB and attempts to influence/incite Justices against IPRs. IAM is toxic, but it enjoys free speech rights (even if that speech is funded by nefarious elements).

With the context being a recent IAM 'interview' (more like PTAB bashing, or an IAM piece using Andrei Iancu to smear PTAB), we at least know who orchestrates much of the propaganda. The CCIA responded the other day as follows:

Director Andrei Iancu has been making the rounds since his confirmation. In a recent interview, he suggested that “[t]here is, for sure, a perception problem in the IP community with the PTAB” and that “when you have a perception problem you have a real problem in the sense that if the IP community loses faith in what you do then it loses faith in the reliability of the system.”

Director Iancu is right. When you have a perception problem, that can create an actual problem. But instead of looking to the IP community, which has far more widely varying views than the interview gives credence to, I’d look at the Patent Office to see the real impacts.


The post-grant proceedings created by the AIA—post grant review, inter partes review, and covered business method—were designed to allow the Patent Office to correct its own errors when it issues a patent that never should have issued. Part of this process is allowing interested parties to locate prior art the examiner never located.

But part of the process is allowing parties to correct errors made by the examiner in the art they did find. Examiners miss things when they search, but they also miss things once they’ve found a reference. That’s exactly why 325(d) says that the PTAB “may take into account” if the prior art was previously at the office.

Not “must take into account” or “can’t institute”, but “may take into account.” The statute itself recognizes that sometimes examiners misunderstand or misapply art.

Well, the Patent Office (USPTO) would be wise to listen to actual companies rather than law firms. At the moment the impression we are getting is that the USPTO’s reputation is improving. If Iancu wants to be remembered positively, he’ll maintain the positive elements and reject those who pursue patents just for the sake of having more patents or making more money from the patent-granting process. The USPTO is not a for-profit organisation. It exists to service those entitled to some protection in exchange for publication.

The Patent ‘Industry’ is Increasingly Mocking CAFC and Its Judges Because It Doesn’t Like the Decisions

Sunday 18th of March 2018 04:44:28 AM

Latching onto cases like Berkheimer when it suits them, otherwise ridiculing judges and urging them to step down

Reference: “Why court-bashing is out of control.”

Summary: Judgmental patent maximalists are still respecting high courts only when it suits them; whenever the outcome is not desirable they’re willing to attack the legitimacy of the courts and the competence of judges, even resorting to racist ad hominem attacks if necessary

LAST year the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) almost always rejected software patents that had been granted by the USPTO. Those granted patents were bogus. They should never have been granted in the first place.

“No matter the number of debunkings, they’ll continues to ‘namedrop’ these cases and attempt to give an impression that software patents are still worth pursuing. They’re not.”Earlier this year there were a few CAFC decisions (such as Berkheimer [1, 2] and others) that were intentionally warped and wrongly interpreted as resurgence of software patents. We already wrote more than a dozen rebuttals to these and would spare ourselves the need to do so again. Unfortunately, sites like Watchtroll continue to push these lies/misinterpretations; they also act like a ‘proper’ lobby group with headlines like “Law Professors Urge CAFC to Uphold Cleveland Clinic Diagnostic Method Patents”.

Knobbe Martens’ Jeremy Anapol also wrote about CAFC the other day, recalling these misinterpreted case:

The first case was Berkheimer v. HP Inc. and the second was Aatrix Software v. Green Shades Software.

No matter the number of debunkings, they’ll continues to ‘namedrop’ these cases and attempt to give an impression that software patents are still worth pursuing. They’re not. 35 U.S.C. § 101 is pretty clear about that.

“We have already seen judges from CAFC coming under attacks by the likes of Watchtroll and Crouch.”Regarding 35 U.S.C. § 112, this “Guest Post” by Gary M. Fox from the University of Michigan Law School deals with CAFC. It was hosted by Dennis Crouch, who himself also wrote about § 112 (a short time apart) in relation to Capital Security Systems, Inc. v NCR Corp.

We have already seen judges from CAFC coming under attacks by the likes of Watchtroll and Crouch. They’re not happy with the more restrictive approach towards patents. A few days ago Managing IP gave a platform to a patent maximalist who called it “CAFC’s evolving approach on patent eligibility,” saying that he “[d]escribes court’s approach now as a “touch and feel analysis”. Does something feel new?”

No, nothing new here. Patent zealots who make a living out of patents just carry on bashing not only PTAB but also ‘proper’ courts like CAFC, which support PTAB the vast majority of the time.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Carries on Enforcing § 101, Invalidating Software Patents and Upsetting the Patent ‘Industry’ in the Process

Sunday 18th of March 2018 04:00:49 AM

Latest in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v Greene’s Energy Group, LLC

Summary: A quick report on where PTAB stands at the moment, some time ahead of the Oil States decision (soon to come from the US Supreme Court)

THE past 4 years have been historic; the US Supreme Court decided on Alice nearly 4 years ago and AIA had already come into effect, adding a sort of supervisory role for USPTO examiners. They were no longer able to issue patents with quite the same leeway (which they got accustomed to). With Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) at PTAB we nowadays see a rise in activity whose net effect is reduction — not inflation — of patenting. Common sense would say that’s a Good Thing™, but for those who made a living from patent maximalism this is actually a nightmare. It forces them to make cuts.

A week ago the Financial Times (FT) said (behind paywall) that “patent “reform” during the Obama administration arguably went too far”. Remember that FT is paid by patent maximalists and trolls boosters like Battistelli. It also occasionally promotes UPC, bashes patent reform, and bashes PTAB etc. We gave many examples of that before.

Truth be said, not everyone is happy, but we need to study the motivation for that disdain and spot the pattern. It’s almost always the case that PTAB bashing comes from the litigation ‘industry’; PTAB helps reduce litigation, settling issues before they reach the court and typically by invalidating patents that would be a waste of courts’ time.

Here’s IAM, the patent troll’s lobby, with its latest attempt at PTAB bashing:

Patents in the biotechnology and organic chemistry, computer architecture, and e-commerce spaces are much more likely to survive the IPR process than those in other technology areas, new research has revealed. Semiconductor patents, on the other hand, fare the worst. What’s more, universities and small entities have a lower rate of success when compared to others.

Well noted the other day was the argument that “IPRs are more complete compared to litigation”. To quote the relevant paragraph in its entirety:

For example, they argue that IPRs are more complete compared to litigation, because litigation has selection effects both in what gets litigated and in settlement post-litigation. But IPRs suffer from the same problem. Notwithstanding some differences, there’s a high degree of matching between IPRs and litigation, and many petitions settle both before and after institution.

Anticipat, which is attempting to make a business out of PTAB hatred, keeps suggesting new ways to work around it [1, 2] and the other way suggested a way to compel PTAB to tolerate software patents. To quote:

In a recent decision, Ex parte Jang (March 1, 2018) (available at, the Board reversed an Examiner’s Section 101 rejection. In so doing, the Board panel found that the claimed software invention was not directed to an abstract idea under step 1 of the Alice/Mayo framework. Interestingly, the Board analogized to a Federal Circuit decision that had been decided not six weeks prior.

We wrote about this before. What they neglect to say is, this isn’t an IPR and it doesn’t quite concern software. On another day they alluded to Section 103 and said: “It may be discouraging to an applicant to appeal all the way to a final decision only to see the rejection(s) be affirmed. The process can take years. Fortunately, there is a procedure that allows for such a decision to be reviewed by the same panel: request for rehearing. This procedure is at times successful, perhaps counter-intuitively.”

Then they jump back to Section 101 again: “As we have reported about a Section 101 rehearing getting granted, because of the makeup of the panel being the same as the original decision, intuition would suggest that these requests never get granted. However, they do happen. Plus there are no government fees to file a request for rehearing. So it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to add on a few more months to pursue this procedure, especially after going all the way to the final decision.”

Anticipat likes to cherry-pick and highlight exceptional cases to get across an impression which is misleading. In practice, under the criteria found in Section 101, software patents almost invariantly perish.

Unified Patents, according to its latest update, has once again demonstrated that the patent troll Dominion Harbor has worthless patents and it’s losing them one by one. The latest:

On March 16, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 6,014,089 owned and asserted by First Class Monitoring, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary and a well-known NPE. The ’089 patent, directed to transmitting data via conventional SMS messages over a control channel of a personal communications system transmission protocol, has been asserted against various financial services companies such as Citigroup, Bank of America, USAA, JP Morgan, and PNC.

We are going to remain vigilant in the face of PTAB bashing. There’s an important decision coming soon (Oil States) and although we strongly doubt it’s going to change anything, one must never be too complacent/nonchalant. Just because software patents are in their deathbed at the moment (with enforcement via PTAB) doesn’t mean it will always remain that way.

Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its ‘Reforms’, Even Without the UPC

Saturday 17th of March 2018 03:47:41 PM

The EPO has elevated Luxembourg to a sort of Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) status in recent years

Summary: With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO’s terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion — a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

THE EPO has said absolutely nothing about the UPC for a long time, except indirectly. Almost 2 months! The EPO no longer wants to look foolish by speaking about something which it knows will never materialise. Even the PR/communications people no longer mention the UPC. Sometimes we feel/think that the EPO’s PR people know that their time there might be running out or is very limited, so they just pretend that things are rosy, in order to collect more salaries and build up savings before the Office implodes.

“Sometimes we feel/think that the EPO’s PR people know that their time there might be running out or is very limited, so they just pretend that things are rosy, in order to collect more salaries and build up savings before the Office implodes.”The same goes for Team UPC; at this stage these people are just lying to themselves and to one another. It’s worrying to watch. The same goes for US law firms whenever they speak about Alice.

Team UPC’s (or Bristows’) Richard Pinckney continues to prop up the bogus narrative of UPC opposition coming from the far right (e.g. AfD) — something which British patent maximalism sites such as IAM also attempted when an MP from UKIP did the same in the UK. They basically overlook many of the real barriers in the UK and Germany and nowadays obsess over news from Luxembourg (as seen earlier this month and last year) with its minuscule number of European Patents but unique role in the UPC (Luxembourg’s role in EPO and UPC was explained here before). Luxembourg is also where some shells and patent trolls register. Yesterday we saw this new article from Luxembourg (in English, based on another report which wasn’t in English). To quote:

The electronic archives of the European Patent Office are to be housed in Luxembourg, using the same model of the Estonian e-embassy, according to our sister publication Paperjam.


In 2017, Luxembourg signed an agreement to establish Estonia’s first “data embassy” in the grand duchy in early 2018, with Estonia allocating €2.2 million for a five-year rental agreement.

The virtual embassy is located in a data centre in Betzdorf and will be operated by the Luxembourg government’s centre for information and technology (CTIE). The same data centre is used by the European Commission and Nato, among others.

With the exception of few in Luxembourg [1, 2], the political establishment there likes it. A lot of cash is derived over there from rather dodgy operations (tax evasion being the more notorious among them).

Meanwhile, based on yesterday’s report from IP Watch, the EU Council ignores the fact that the EPO’s actions under Battistelli are a boon to patent trolls. It’s like this council works for law firms, not real companies, or for countries such as Belgium and Luxembourg rather than Europe as a whole. To quote:

A coalition of companies holding patents in Europe has welcomed conclusions released this week by the Council of the European Union on tougher enforcement of intellectual property rights. But the group raised concern that the conclusions failed to recognise the steady rise in the EU of patent-assertion entities, or patent trolls.

The European Council of ministers on 12 March adopted a set of conclusions on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the European Union, aimed at improving protection in the digital era and promoting innovation (IPW, Europe, 12 March 2018). This includes a list of suggested actions, including possible changes to national laws and judicial systems, bolstering customs, agreements with industry, encouraging open source, strong representation at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and possibly setting up an IP watch list reminiscent of the one in the United States.


The recent ground breaking report by Darts-ip, the world’s leading authority in intellectual property case law data, demonstrates that Europe’s innovation ecosystem and Europe’s operating companies are under increasing attack from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), also commonly known as “non-practising entities” (NPEs) or “patent trolls.” There has been a 20% year-on-year jump in PAE litigation. US-based PAEs initiated most of those suits (60%) and targeted applications of information and communication technologies (ICT) (75%). As application of ICT is central to innovation and growth across many industries, the consequences of these attacks will be far-reaching. Most importantly, data shows that it is not just large companies who are affected — almost a quarter of the unique defendants are European SMEs. Germany is the preferred venue, with 20% of all German patent litigation having been brought by PAEs.

They’re citing this recent study [1, 2], which Bristows and the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) keep publicly attacking. They even attack people who have the 'courage' to cite this study.

The Patent ‘Printing Machine’ of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

Saturday 17th of March 2018 02:56:32 PM

The EPO is flooding the market with bad patents that should never have been granted (or ‘printed’), in essence making it a parasite rather than a public service to Europe

Reference: Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Summary: The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

A FEW months ago EPO staff complained that the bosses treat the Office not like a patent office (which needs to be careful and selective in granting monopolies) but like a cash cow or investment bank that’s now essentially printing patents like some shady central banks print money. The USPTO now better understands the importance of scarcity in patents (expect grants to decline this year); people whom I speak to (professors nearby) joke about how rubbish (low-quality) patents they managed to sneak into the US. Even patents on purely fictional things.

“It’s another very considerable increase (not the first) that can discourage appeals, whereas applications got cheaper so as to help Battistelli game the numbers (after they declined).”We assume that pretty much everyone at the EPO (except Team Battistelli) would agree that patent quality is declining at the Office, which now strives only to enrich itself (at least in the short term) rather than deal with proper patent examination. Staff that does not agree gets punished.

Yesterday we saw this new article from Sanam Habib and Hazel Ford of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP (Finnegan for short). Finnegan and IAM work together towards patent maximalism; they’re patent maximalists, so surely they see nothing wrong with the EPO’s approach. More litigation is something they would profit from. This means that they would rather deal with bad patents in the courtrooms, not at the Office.

We recently wrote about an increase from €1880 to €2255 for appeals. It’s another very considerable increase (not the first) that can discourage appeals, whereas applications got cheaper so as to help Battistelli game the numbers (after they declined). It echoes a similar move in the US, which very recently adapted fee hikes for IPRs at PTAB (the number of filings still increases nonetheless, as we noted a few days ago).

The changes are due in 2 weeks and here is what Finnegan wrote:

The EPO has announced a number of changes in its official fees, mostly having effect from 1 April 2018. The majority of the fees remain unchanged; however, Applicants will see a mixture of increases and decreases amongst the selected changes. Some of the more important changes are reviewed below.


As of 1 April 2018, the EPO’s appeal fee will increase from €1,880 to €2,255 for larger companies. However, the current, lower fee amount will still apply if the appeal is filed by an individual, small or medium sized enterprise, university, public research organisation, or non-profit organisation.

The other article spoke about paying in advance (also “with effect from 1 April 2018″):

As part of the maintenance of pending European patent applications, annual renewal fees are charged by the EPO. These fees are due at the end of the month containing the anniversary of the filing date. The first fee to be paid is the third year renewal fee, due at the end of the month containing the second anniversary of the filing date.

Since 2009, the EPO has not permitted renewal fees to be paid more than three months before the due date. Payments made earlier are not valid and will be refunded by the EPO, except when paid shortly before the permissible prepayment period. For Euro-PCT applications, it has therefore been common for the third year renewal fee payment window to open after the 31 month time limit for entering the European regional phase. This restriction is applied by the EPO to prevent Applicants from making multiple payments in advance thereby avoiding future increases in fees.

However, with effect from 1 April 2018, the payment window for the third year renewal fee is being extended. It will now be possible for Applicants to pay the third year renewal fee up to six months before it falls due. This change means that, in most cases, Applicants will now have the opportunity to pay the third year renewal fee at the same time they bring a PCT application into the regional phase in the EPO.

This must be some sort of a joke, not just because it’s effective from April first. Finnegan and firms like it must be pleased because it helps the EPO’s management pretend that it’s doing well financially (borrowing from the future) while making its staff redundant and passing billions in damages to the public (defendants and lawyers’ billing).

“…the management of the EPO commits institutional suicide; it makes patents cheaper while making examinations a lot poorer (in terms of quality) and makes appeals a lot more expensive in order to leave bogus patents in tact, in effect masking the effect of quality declines.”Battistelli is passing the cost to the public by allowing mass-granting of patents in error. Where is the uproar? Basically, litigation like this would be a tax on everyone; sometimes threats of litigation alone (the modus operandi of patent trolls).

In our view (which is shared among many EPO employees), the management of the EPO commits institutional suicide; it makes patents cheaper while making examinations a lot poorer (in terms of quality) and makes appeals a lot more expensive in order to leave bogus patents in tact, in effect masking the effect of quality declines.

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.

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  • 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.

More in Tux Machines

Blockchain: DigitalBits, Aventus, Cryptocurrency

  • DigitalBits launches open-source blockchain-based marketplace for loyalty points
    Their value — or at least their versatility — could get a boost if The DigitalBits Project is successful. This community endeavor, soon to become a nonprofit foundation based out of the tiny European country of Lichtenstein, is today launching an open-source blockchain-based infrastructure that supports trading loyalty points or rewards or transferring them to other individuals.
  • Aventus Announces Development of Open-Source Protocol Foundation
    Aventus, the blockchain ticketing startup that raised 60,000 Ether via a crowdsale in 2017, has announced the next stage of development for its non-profit foundation. The Aventus Protocol Foundation will serve as an entity tasked with supporting open-source projects built using the Aventus protocol. This encourages the growth of the Aventus ticketing ecosystem while protecting the rights of holders of AVT, the native Aventus token.
  • An Overview of Cryptocurrency Consensus Algorithms
    One of the most important aspects of a decentralized cryptocurrency project is the consensus algorithm it employs. A consensus algorithm is crucial to the implementation of a digital currency because it prevents the double spending problem, a challenge that has historically limited the development of digital currencies until the recent development and adoption of the blockchain ledger method. Because cryptocurrencies are implemented as public, decentralized ledgers that are append-only, they must employ a consensus algorithm to verify that there “is one version of the truth” and that the network cannot be overwhelmed by bad actors.

today's howtos

Fedora: Release Party, Fedora Diversity, Critical Firefox Fix

Microsoft Openwashing and Revisionism

  • Microsoft joins effort to cure open source license noncompliance [Ed: Pushing Microsoft lies under the false pretenses that Microsoft plays along with the GPL (it violates, smears and undermines it)]
  • Microsoft joins group working to 'cure' open-source licensing issues [Ed: Mary Jo Foley uses this initiative to whitewash Microsoft after it repeatedly violated the GPL and attacked it publicly, behind the scenes etc. And watch the image she uses: a lie.]
    It's kind of amazing that just over a decade ago, Microsoft was threatening Linux vendors by claiming free and open-source software infringed on 235 of Microsoft's patents. In 2007, Microsoft was very openly and publicly anti-GPLv3, claiming it was an attempt "to tear down the bridge between proprietary and open source technology that Microsoft has worked to build with the industry and customers."
  • Today's channel rundown - 19 March 2018
    The six have committed to extending additional rights "to cure open source license noncompliance". The announcement was made by Red Hat, which says the move will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors. In a statement, Red Hat referenced widely used open source software licenses, GNU General Public License (GPL) and GNU Lesser General Public License, which cover software projects including the Linux kernel. GPL version 3 offers distributors of the code an opportunity to correct errors and mistakes in license compliance.
  • Tails Security Update, Companies Team Up to Cure Open Source License Noncompliance, LG Expanding webOS and More
    According to a Red Hat press release this morning: "six additional companies have joined efforts to promote greater predictability in open source licensing. These marquee technology companies—CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, SAP, and SUSE—have committed to extending additional rights to cure open source license noncompliance. This will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors and increased participation in open source software development."